Tuesday, August 26, 2014

One year!!!

Hahaha I'm sorry that I might have laughed a bit to see that you are all back in school, but it also made me realize that this week I hit one year officially! This Thursday will be the mark, and it really is unbelievable that I only have one year left in the mission! Time has gone by so fast! I really cant believe how old everyone looks back home either! (the kids that is..) And that both the boys are going to be in high school just blows my mind. But keep it up in the sports. Way to keep the legacy going;)

But here in Santa Isabel we had a pretty crazy week to be honest. The hermanas in my district had a baptism so I did my first baptisimal interview, and that was really just a amazing experience. I was a little bit nervous but it was a 80 year old woman that had been evangelical her whole life but was telling me about how now she has found the true church of Jesus Christ and she was more that willing to accept all of the commandments and do everything to be baptized. It really is a special spiritual experience to be a part of the proceess of them joining the church and hearing from them their determination to follow. It really is important for all of us to remember our moment and moments of conversion. It is what gives us strenghth in challenging moments.

We also had a zone conference with President Smith which was also awesome as usual! We really learned a lot about teaching the priesthood and helping the recent converts and less actives progress in the church and be able to understand the whole other world that exists as a member of the church. It was one of those things that I never really thought about until I got here, but it is very real, and sometimes it is hard for people to understand everything and the importance it all has. So yeah, working on that:)
For me though the highlight was our stake conference we had, it was sooo good! I was very impressed with the way the Presidency handled everything and taught the members of the stake. The things that they focussed on really were what the members needed and the things that I personally needed. They focused on The Work of Salvation and the roloe that each of us plays as members of the church to do our part to hasten the work of the Lord. He is doing His part, so we definitely need to do ours! The sunday session was a broadcast from the area presidency to all the stakes in Uruguay and Paraguay, with the key note speaker of Elder Bednar, who focused on repentence and the atonement. Needless to say, it hit home. Really something that we were all needing to remind us what we ALL need to do everyday.

Alright, and the cherry on top. A month and a half ago I expressed my desire to President Smith that I would like to train my good friend Elder Bentley that is coming into the mission. he said he would ponder about it, and last night he called me and said YES!!! TONIGHT ELDER BENTLEY IS COMING TO RIVERA!!! He is going to be a trio with me and Harbold until this change ends, and then I will continue training him!! DEMASIADO LOCO!!! But yeah, I cannot wait!! This is going to be aweosme!!

I love you guys so much!! Thank you for everything, your letters, emails, and prayers. You guys are the best!!!
De Rivera con amor,

Elder Degn


Friday, August 22, 2014

The Plaza on "The Line"

 Hey kiddos glad to hear that you are all enjoying your last (hehehe) week of summer! Sad to hear about that...;) But thats crazy that another school year is about to start and that both the boys are going to be in high school together! Look out Wisconsin....here come, THE ONEDERS! But really, enjoy that summer homework to the max. The time just keeps flying by for us here in Santa Isabel. We go to the centro and the border every pday because we have to take out money and go to cyber. There arent either in our area. Then we go to the plaza on the border and eat good hotdogs and then go to the brazilian super market because there are better things and its cheaper. Then we look at all the little shops and stuff and maybe pic up a suvenier (sorry, no idea). Somedays we play soccer with the zone too, then we head back out to the house and clean up a bit. Thats the life right there. But we love it!!

So yeah, this week has been just as crazy and the truth is that the lord has taught me many lessons. Like not to assume that someone that has been investigating the church for a long time knows what they need to do to get baptized. (facepalm) But we got that doubt taken care of real quick, but she is probably going to stop reading the book of mormon so fast. She went to church again yesterday, so we just need to get a couple more things taken care of and she will be good to go!

Elder Harbold is such a boss!! I keep thinking he has more time in the mission because he is already soo much better than I was when I had his time. He speaks really well, and teaches really well too, and he has no fear to talk to anyone! That is what we have really been working on, and he just goes right at it, starting those awkward conversations until we can get enough out of them to start teaching or get a time set up to come back. We are already having a great time together and its a lot nicer when your comp has got your back.

Fa but then last night we went to go talk to a couple we found looking for old members, and it went soo good! We went and they were there with their kids and just chilling and so we got to know them a little bit, Ruben and Silvia, and his mom was baptized recently so he was interested, so we gave them one of the best first lessons I have ever been a part of. The spirit was working hard for us because the devil was also working hard, (lots of distraccions) but the spirit came through and we ended up praying right there on our knees with them and he gave a very humble, genuine prayer, and it really hit home with both of them I think. We are going back today, but yeah, miracles are everywhere!!

Also Elder Martinez called me last night to tell me that right now two of the people we found together are getting ready to get baptized!! I am so happy!! It makes me almost more happy just to hear that they are still moving forward than to be there! The Lord is great and He is guiding His work! I love you all so much, thank you for everything!!
Todo mi amor

Elder Degn

 Plaza on "The Line"
 Building a foundation
Elder Harbold deep in thought

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Walking...Talking... August 11, 2014

Hey there kiddos, I hope that you all had a good week and that you are enjoying the ending weeks of your summer! Its crazy to think that the kids almost go back to school and that Hannah hits a year this week and that I am not far behind either! Where is the time going?!? Today we played some futbol as a zone, then went and bought super good loaded hot dogs in Brazil and went to a free shop which is a store with imported goods that are cheaper than normal but only foreigners can buy there. It was a mini heart attack to being in the states again and how wierd I am going to feel.

Fa, but this week was awesome!! We walked like crazy but we made it work. This area has been chugging along for a long time, and just about everyone that we were visiting when I got here hadnt really been moving for a long time, and we have had to change the approach, and walk a lot, and talk to a lot of people, but slowly but surely, the Lord is putting the people in our way! We have been looking for a lot of old members to help us find people, and one night that was super cold we were out contacting old addresses of members and we went to one house and a woman came out and before we even said a word she told us to come in and sit down because it was so cold outside. We just expected it to be a old member, but nope!! Just a really nice woman named Maria that just let us come right in and get to know here and teach her. She was super receptive and we were quite surprised, and hopefully in this week we can get to teach her again!

We have also found a very Catholic woman that we went and in the first lesson she just told us about how a lot of her family has died and how many trials she has had, so Elder Harbold whipped out Plan of Salvation, then we just jumped right to the Atonement, and it hit he super hard. The spirit is the key to everything. The spirit was definitely there, and she was very impacted by it, and she invited us, yes that it right, to come back!! I love it!!!

Haha the portuñol is also coming along, its really not too bad....but when its bad its bad. We have a member that just speaks portuguese, and it is rough sometimes because I have to rely on Harbold to help me out because he has been on the border his whole mission. But it is really nice to listen to, and I am reading the book of Mormon a litte bit in Portuguese, but written is easy, listening is still harder. But its coming!!

We have got tons of work to do and this week should be awesome!! The district is also coming along great! Except sometimes the hermanas make me feel bad becasuse they just work like crazy....no me importa....

Love you guys! Thank you so much for everything!! The Church is true!!

Todo mi amor,

Elder Degn

ps, sorry, this computer doesnt read my camera, next week....

Bem-venidos de Rivera!--August 4, 2014

Hey guys how are you doing!? Im sorry to hear about dad, and I may or may not have chuckled a bit to myself. I know that sounds terrible, but just play that back in your mind and you will get what I mean;) Also because sometimes I feel a bit old at 6:30 in the morning getting off of my top bunk and trying to get to the ground without breaking anything. (Myself, my comp, the bed.....)
But hey! Im in Rivera! It is crazy here and I am basically going through Uruguay/Brazil culture shock again. My comp is Elder Harbold from Pleasant Grove and he has 7 months in the mission. I am his fourth comp. He is such a stud!! He is really tall too, just a little shorter than me, and really gringo, so we look pretty funny walking through the streets together. My district is two other elders, Farnsworth and Izquierdo, and two hermanas, Ventura and Amarilla. They are really fun and we actually had a really good district meeting this week and I am feeling really good so far about it! Our area is a neighborhood outside of Centro, and it is a small ward split with two other elders that live with us. We share a chapel with another ward (WHAT???) but our ward is only like 30 people usually. It was actually really good, just different from my ward in Cerro. But I am the sunday school teacher of the 14-18 year olds, which is basically 6 young women and 1 young man, so it was interesting but I really liked it and honestly just love teaching. We have a ton of work to do here because there is only one investigator progressing and their story is crazy...we will see if they are going to be able to move through some serious challenges they are facing. But she went to church with he daughter this week which was awesome! Her name is Paola. I will let you in on some more deets next week. But my comp says that in the last two weeks all of their super good investigators moved away. So we are basically starting from scratch. But yesterday we had a super good planning session and Elder Harbold is super enthusiastic which is something that I havent had for a long time, and we are both feeling super pumped about this next change!!
Haha but yeah, Rivera is right on the border of Brazil, and it is a open border so we can go into Brazil no problem. We actually go almost every Pday from what Ive heard because everything is super cheap over there. We are going in a little bit, so I will let you know how that goes. Thanks to the border here the majority of the people speak portuñol. (Portuguese and Español) Right when I was feeling like I was in the clear on spanish, I get here where they speak the craziest mix of languages. For the first two days I felt like a new missionary again, not really understanding anything. But it is amazing how fast the lord will help you. I dont really know all the words, but I understand what they are trying to say, and that really makes me feel good. I am reading the O Livro de Mormón in portugues a bit, and that is fun, it is easy to read but harder to listen too and understand. But hey, we are gettting there!!

I am also calming down a little bit because here it isnt dangerous at all basically. The first night I was like, ¨Hey why dont we lock the gate? Or the house? Or have dogs or take the keys with us or have barbed wire or not use backpacks?¨ So it was a bit of a transition, but Im really liking it so far!!! Vamo arriba la celeste!!!
Todo mi amor,

Elder Degn

ps. Happy aniversary Mom and Dad! 24 years aint too shabby. Sure seems like that has flown by... Love you guys tons! Thanks Mom for consenting to marry Dad. It worked out pretty well eh?