Monday, September 22, 2014

Service on the Playground

Hey guys, cant even lie, sounds like you kiddos are in for a really fun week, but I think mom and dad got the better end of the stick. Look out for some Bingham boys out there in Denmark and Germany, I think the place is crawling with em by now. But all you guys just enjoy it! Shout out tambien to my man squash boy for looking soo fly for the dance, just like we did it back in the day;)

I hope you guys live it up the best you can, because right now me and Elder Bentley certainly are! It is so much fun I cant even explain it! I was feeling like I was growing up a little bit but then he got here and now I just feel like we are back in highschool again! Its funny because we had a zone meeting where every companionship had to teach in front of the zone and when we went, despite his spanish, everyone was just shocked at our unity and ability to play off the other guy. (We didnt tell them we had four years head start on all of them, but we felt super pumped after that!)

We also went to a little school for a stake service project to repair the playground equipment and just fix up the facility. It was tons of fun and the place really turned around. Not many feeling better than doing service! Ha we also had a little ward activity because this week was ward conference and Elder Bentley represented la obra misional by playing a couple of really awesome arangements of hymns, and really was a treat for the ward because there arent many people that can do that here. He is also the ward pianist, props to him for that one. Really a big difference with a piano. Appreciate that one.

Recently I have really been studying the apostasy and the Bible because Rivera is seriously a place of "great excitement on the subject of religion". We honestly feel like we are living in the same time of Jose Smith. With the influence from Brazil, there are SOOOO many churches! In our medium sized area we have probably fifteen! Just last night during planning we were listening to the sunday night rock services at the church a couple blocks from us. Felt like they were right next door... Basically we just are having to help people understand what Christ did, and what he left for his followers to do. That is exactly what has happened with our investigator Aldo. We have had some really profound conversations with him, he is rediculously smart, and I always leave with a enhanced vocabulary afterward. But we went this week and just started reading 2 Nefi 31 with him and he understood perfectly that he needs to be baptized, he believes the Book of Mormon is perfect, and he believes we are the true church...He just wants to not have any doubts and have is faith solidified. Sooo close, but with the right direction!! He will be getting there no doubt.

It is also a lot easier contacting with Elder Bentley because he spent the summer as a door to door salesman and so we come up with good approaches and then when they still play hard to get I just turn it over to him, let him get all tangled up in spanish, then play the innocent, happy new gringo that is just trying to learn the language. Then we become friends:) It honestly makes me sad to see how well it works and how I can't sell that one anymore...Haha its just a crazy world down here, but I love it so much!! I love you guys tons and hope you have a good week, no matter where in the world you are! Thanks for everything!!

Con amor,

Elder Degn
 Jungle Gym
 Putting in a Teeter-Totter!
We had a little visitor...Yum! haha

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Feliz Cumpleanos Mama!!!

First and foremost...FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS MAMÁ!!! Seriously mom, have a great day!!! Buy yourself something nice for me! I can't believe that you're all growed up. 29 right? I say that partly because I honestly dont know for sure how many years you completed. But its probably better that way right?;) You´re the best mom a kid could ask for. Love ya.

Haha I cant even tell you guys how crazy this last week has been! On that pday I had in Deo we went to the Temple with the Montevideo zones, and then I went again the next day with Elder Bentley, and it was fantastic!! I love the temple sooo much!! Especially here in Montevideo it is a huge sacrifice to get to the temple because the closest one is in Montevideo, 7 hours away. I love it so much, go as often as you can. But the day we had together in the mission home was awesome too! Some amazing american food, temple, and seeing a bunch of my old friends in the mission that are also training. Crazy that most of them were 18 year olds that just graduated. It was really just an awesome little get away!

So when we got back we only had three days to work to get people going to church. We visited a lot of our investigators, and had just milagro tras milagro! Our first day back we were finally able to have another charla with Ruben and Silvia that Harbold and I found a month ago and had an awesome first charla. So we got back to them and taught them about the LDM, and Elder Bentley just goes right out there and invites them to get baptized, and they didn't really understand, so we both got a little scared. They looked at me to explain, and I just asked them exactly what Bentley said, and they looked at each other and thought about it and said yes!! Que capo mi hijo!! I was so proud of Elder Bentley, and super pumped for this family. We also finally got in to a family that the missionaries found a couple of months ago then got left for awhile, and as we started teaching them, one by one, all of their NINE kids came in and sat down and listened to us. It was increadible! They only have two beat up couches, we were on one and the parents were on the other, and there was one lightbulb in the big room, so it was pretty dark, and all the kids were just sitting wherever they could, a couple in chairs and the rest on the floor. We had a great charla with them and extended them the invitation to get baptized as well and they said yes too!! We were both just freaking out on the inside! It was almost to good to be true! We were quite disappointed when none of them came to church or the other ten menos activos that promised to go, but we went back to their houses last night and they both just had last minute things that came up, but are still asking for us to come back, so we´ll see how this goes!!

And while we were sitting in church all sad that no one came, one of the menos activos Jose Smith came in! He is such a stud and just made everything worth it. Just one. It honestly felt like we won the super bowl with just one there. Makes all the effort worth it. D&C 18:15

Also this change they split up the zone because it is the biggest in the mission as far as missionaries, so now we are in the new zone, but I am still DL, and there are five companionships in my district. Its a little bit more, but I love who I've got!

It is honestly so much fun with Elder Bentley, feels just like old times! It honestly feels like working with my long lost brother. I dont even feel like I am training him, just guiding him around and letting the spirit work through him. He is an awesome missionary already and is tearing it up and just makes me so proud. I love the mission so much!!! No where else I would rather be!

Love you guys like crazy! Thank you for everything!

Con Amor,
Elder Degn
 At the temple with President & Sister Smith
 SURPRISE!! It's Elder Degn and I'm your companion!
Fixing something on the's all good

Friday, September 12, 2014

Jose Smith...yeah!

I am here in MONTEVIDEO again! Since this is the beginning of another change, Elder Bentley needed to come in to get trained by Pte. Smith to "start the mission" So we were called last minute last night and rushed to get on the midnight bus to Deo and showed up right on time. Then we chatted for awhile and got a couple of hours of sleep on the seven hour bus ride. But we got here a couple of hours ago and then we were just chilling at the zone leaders house here and the secretaries came by and just picked up the two new missionaries, and left us chilling in the rain. So I am sitting here in a cyber in crazy downtown Deo, its raining really hard and I dont have any of my rain gear, my son is gone, and I left my toiletry bag in his overnight duffel. But life goes on. Tomorrow I will go to the temple to pick him up so Im super pumped for that!

But yeah, this week has been really crazy! The trio was definitely an adventure it only worked so well because we all got along so well. Elder Harbold is off and running now to Salto to be his trainers last comp which he is SUPER pumped about! Good on him, he deserves it. It was awesome to be with him and I really learned a lot and we became really good friends.

This week we had one of the coolest charlas of my mission too! There is a 23 year old guy that lives in our area that is named Jose Smith. Yes, after the profet! His whole family were members and he was very active until he was 16 and his dad was excumunicated and their family fell apart and went inactive and he turned to the darkness of the world. But now he has cleaned up and is dating an awesome girl and he wants to come back to church so bad, and he really just opened up completely to us and we were able to help him out and he promised he is coming back. It is those moments where everything that you ever have to deal with is worth every minute.

Thanks to the help of some members we found some new really awesome people to teach, and for the most part, they are all very very intelligent. As in they are going to have to go through a vey intense conversion process. But thats the beauty of the spirit. Im sooo excited to see where we can go with them! The ward is really starting to make a huge effort to help us out with visiting people, and that is going to make all the difference!

Also this week, I told a Catholic woman that her baptism was invalid. It took some good explaining as well, but I felt quite accomplished afterwards. I love the authority of the Priesthood!

Elder Bentley is doing sooooo good! He is picking up spanish soo fast and already helping me out tons! This is going to be a awesome three months!!

Love you guys tons!!! Thanks for everything!!
Con amor,

Elder Degn

ps. Mi distrito. That dude next to me is from peru. One of hannahs little friends probably;)

 Bentley and I at the "Line"
Biggest snail I've ever seen---still very slow!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Elder Bentley!!!---September 1, 2014

Well, there folks, it sure sounds like you are all getting back in the swing of a super busy school schedules, and don't worry, I definitely remember those days. I'm glad that the big anniversary fest with gma y gpa Hart went well and I'm glad that they liked everything. They sure do deserve it.

But I know that you are all waiting to here about my son ELDER BENTLEY!! Yes world it is true. He is here in Rivera Uruguay with me right now. He says hi. IT was a very crazy start for him because he showed up right in the middle of the change here, so instead of having a nice tranquilo two day stay at the mission home and get the whole mission pitch from Pte. Smith and go to the temple and all that jazz, he just got picked up at the airport and taken straight to the bus terminal in Montevideo by Pte. y Hermana Smith and told a couple of important things, then he was thrown on a bus to Rivera. It was crazy how fast it all happened, but it has been awesome to have him here! We are going back to Montevideo next week when changes end so that he can go through the temple and talk to President Smith more. Actually looking foward to that myself..

But the trio is marching! It is actually really different and has its challenges, but it is super fun! I just feel like I am still comps with Harbold and we still teach and everything together, then its like, oh yeah, let the new guy talk...but it is really coming along really well. I am SO impressed with the preparation that Elder Bentley has. He already is doing a lot to contribute to the lessons and to planning and everything. He spent the summer doing door to door sales, so we are working on some pretty creative door approaches:) He also just has no fear to go out there and speak that spanish. He already speaks a lot better than I did, and he works like crazy to learn as we go. I just feel like I am guiding him along really, not leading him or pulling him anywhere.
But this week was NUTS! I completed a year in the mission! I cannot believe that to be honest. Some days do feel long, but looking back, I feel like it just flew right by. To celebrate I bought some chorizo (sausage) and we had a bbq in our back patio for lunch. It was a fun little party to be honest. I know that I still have a long way to go, but my spanish sure has come a long way as well. Even though it is basically just Uruguayo, not really true spanish, but I love it still.

This week we had sooo many miracles though!! We are really just trying to talk to a bunch more people to open up our teaching pool and people that can progress, and this week it just went through the roof. We let Elder Bentley choose a house to contact and we went and a very well dressed man opened the door but was on the phone, but he just invited us in without us saying anything. We sat down and waited for him to finish his phone call and he came in and started talking with us about his beliefs about the bible (actually a ton, almost too much) and how the restoration isn't necessary. He was very very nice, and right when we were about to get going on some doctrine, his wife and daughter got home and started talking to us about the states and english and stuff like that and then we ran out of time and had to leave. I honestly felt like I was walking out of a members house as we left and he invited us back anytime we want. Crazy.

We also have found a very very intelligent man that has talked to missionaries for a a little bit but then didn't get anywhere, but we talked to him and he left the catholic church when he was a teenager because he said their church didn't do half of what the bible says, and that who knows ¨maybe he will be a mormon¨. We also have a seventy something old awesome little old lady in our ward that has been fasting and praying to find someone to share the gospel with that will progress in the church, and so she went with us to go visit the four people that she thought of, and all of them are showing some really big potential! The Lord´s hand is everywhere in Santa Isabel!! I love the mission so much and love the Lord more than anything. He is coming through for us big time right now!
I love you guys a ton too and hope all goes well!!

Con amor,

Elder Degn

ps. The big three at the bbq
 The trio!
 My man, Elder Bentley...