Saturday, October 25, 2014

Love service!!!

Hey guys how yall doing? Sounds like you all had a good week and enjoyed a little bit of time off. This week was changes which I'm sure you are aware of now since I am writing you on Tuesday, and luckily, Elder Bentley and I are staying together!! VAM´ ARRIBA!! Yeah we are pretty pumped about it and can't wait for these next six weeks! It scares me how quickly every change ends, but I'm still loving every day! It is going to be really interesting from now on because our mission expanded and now includes a part of Argentina and Brazil! I can't imagine going anywhere out of Uruguay, but it would be one crazy adventure. Just to be safe, Elder Bentley and I are studying up a little bit on Portuguese just in case. Actually, if you could find a couple of really basic Portuguese things like pronunciation and such and send it to me on the next email to print off that would be great. I understand reading it, but don't really know how to say it and understanding is pretty tough too. Its like I'm a new missionary again!! It would also be crazy if I went to Argentina too because it is the first area that Audrie had and then she left and it became a part of our mission. Crazy right? And such is the life here in Rivera Santa Isabel. Ps dad we live on the street Juan Nuñez 165.

This week has been great though! We did a bunch of service which we loved, been a while since we have worked liked that. Painting mostly, its just that time of year;) It is getting pretty warm, but thankfully it has been raining a lot, so that keeps it pretty cool. We spent yesterday morning, our cleaning day, to mow the front lawn and trim our bushes and trees. Really not a big job, but we only had one machete, so it took awhile, good shoulder/forearm workout though.

It has also been interesting in the bishopric, I conducted church yesterday which was fun and quite an interesting experience. I felt good about it afterward and think I did a pretty good job. The other counseler with me is leaving this week, Elder Berry, he will be missed. The new guy coming in is Elder Bedoya from Bolivia I think. I know him from Cerro, he is awesome and I cant wait to have him here with us. It will just be a big change for us because now we are going to live with two latinos.

Haha speaking of Portuguese, we had a charla with our friend Antonio. Let me just say, he has some profound beliefs about God. He is so smart, and his ideas are almost TOO smart. Thank goodness God is so simple and clear with us. There aren't any secrets. In the transcourse of the charla, in which we would speak English every now and then mixing in spanish, his friend came over and she is brazilian, and so we starting learning some portuguese with her. Then we went back to english with Antonio, then spanish with them both so she understood too. My mind was in such a whirlwind, it was crazy!! Makes me really want to be able to learn this language too.

We have been doing a good bit of contacting as well this week and while we found the hermana of one of our old investigators. She has been going to a lot of churches, including ours, and really wanted us to come by. So we visited her and she has so much potential! I really feel like anyone that can be taught to understand the gospel of Christ would follow Him. Thats what we´re all about.

I also got a small package from you guys this past week with candies, the flag, and matching ties! Elder Bentley says thanks. Me too while we are here, thanks you guys for everything! Keep it up! Les quiero! La iglesia es verdadero, no tengo ninguna duda! Nunca se olviden!

Elder Degn

ps. The district. A bunch of latinos and TWO SOJO BOYS!!!

 Home sweet home

 Mowing the lawn
 Painters for hire...
 Enjoying our mate

Monday, October 13, 2014

Good bye fleas!

Well there kiddos glad to hear that you all had a good week, made me real jealous to see you guys out in the wilderness like that. Haha its funny to see it getting cold, it is starting to get nice and toasty here again. It rained almost all this week, but not before we got a nice taste of that blazing brazilian humid heat. Really though, this is the second hottest place in Uruguay, and we will be buying some nice sombreros soon to protect our faces. Gonna be looking fly;) I also got my card this past week which was awesome! Thank you so much for getting that taken care of. I especially enjoyed that you remembered what picture I had on it before.

We had a pretty interesting week to be honest, we got our house sprayed to get rid of our flea infestation. (Poor Elder Bentley, they like the fresh blood) I didnt get it too bad, just my ankles and forearms. Finally got that taken care of though, going to be sleeping a little more peacefully now... Also I am now officially a counselor in the Bishopric along with one of the other missionaries in our ward, Elder Berry. He leaves most likely next week, so it will be interesting to see who comes in his place. It has really been interesting to be real on the inside of the ward, and it is great to finally to be able to help the Bishop who has been basically been doing his job solo that is really too much for anyone to take. He was holding up really well, but there is a reason that he is supposed to have help. He has gotten better really just knowing that now he has the two of us to help him out a lot more. It will a interesting experience, and Im excited to learn about how the system works, I'm directing sacarament meeting next week, so we´ll see what happens!
This week was actually surprisingly impacted by all the rain, and we had a hard time finding many of our people again to visit, so we are still in the dilema of getting all of these investigators to church. However, like always, the Lord always gives us just a nibble to keep us going. There is a 73 year old man that we visit that was baptized 48 years ago, and hasnt gone in 46 years, named Hernesto. He worked for a really long time in the campo, so he could never go to church, then here he has always been scared to leave his house and little store he has in his house because he doesnt want to get robbed. So for a long time we have really been trying to help him figure out how to fix the problem, and he put chains on one of his doors that doesnt lock, and we found a really old lock in our house that we gave to him to lock the chains shut. After doing just something so simple, he rode his bike to church twenty minutes early, and participated for the first time in 46 years! It is really the best feeling ever to see someone that comes after so long and is finally able to get back on the path!
We have got a few of our investigators right now looking at the conference online and seeing what they think about it, and this week we are really going to be working hard to get them moving and find more people! Also, you guys should go check out Elder Bentleys blog, he writes a whole lot more than I do. He also makes me feel like a old missionary, just praying for one letter every week while he just gets showered by love by his family and special friend. #missionlife. But I love you guys all the same, comin through in the clutch!! Thank you guys for everything, I love you so much! Have a good week!!!
Todo mi amor,
Elder Degn


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

General Conference? Yeah!

My most dear associates, I hope you realize that the true power of conference is only truly appreciated once on the mission. I went into it feeling like I was going to be watching the super bowl. The only thing missing was the huge pan of seven layer dip or wings or something...but I did the best I could! It was awesome to watch the talks in spanish though! All the gringos watch it in English in a separate room, so we just changed the transmission channel, and watched in spanish, it was crazy to see it in general conference, but it was awesome! It was also crazy because when the portuguese guy spoke, those times where you hear their voice and not the translation, I actually understood almost all of it. Super crazy, but awesome right!?

I also saw my boy Ty John in the choir, and made my whole day! Shout out to that stud!

This week was honestly nuts!! We were running around all week inviting everyone to the conference, and we had multiple promising investingators say there were going to go, and we were sooo pumped for them to see the living profet and apostles!! We take for granted how privileged we are to say that we have TRUE apostles and profets, called of GOD. It has been awesome teaching people how men called of God will speak to us and answer the questions and doubts that they have. We honestly had so many miracles happen this week and I was soo excited to see what was going to happen at the conference. We had a family that we contacted and were invited right in and had a great conversation with them and invited them to the conference and said that they were going to go, and then we found Elizabet. She is the neighbor of an old investigator and we talked to her outside of her house a week or so ago, but went back to visit this week, and she is a lovely little 60 year old grandma that is sooo evangelical, but said how she has a burning curiosity to know about our church. She has been looking for something and had just a ton of questions, and it was so fun to just use the bible to answer questions with her, then slip in bits of the book of mormon without her knowing because she still wasnt all game about that. That first charla was awesome, and she asked for our names and didnt want the Elder Last name business, and despite our work, we couldnt get out of it. I told her my name is in the old testiment. And she got to Zacarias pretty quick. When we came back a few days later, the first thing she said was, "vos sabes Zacarias, que yo voy a ir a tu iglesia." I almost cried, it was beautiful. She was all set to go on sunday to the conference. Then during the conferences I had the craziest mix of feelings ever. I loved all of the talks, and watched in shock as almost one by one, the speakers spoke exactly about the questions and doubts of the people we were teaching. The only hard part was that none of them went. It was really disapointing, but we are going to be using these messages to help them. It will happen!! Elizabet also called in between conferences to say that she could not go because her husband that is a pastor of another church wont let her and wont let us come back to her house. It cut me real deep, but we arent about to give up, she was soo sad, and I know we will be able to help her. Right when we were about to give up hope, we had one person come that hadnt been to church in over 10 years. She loved it and is looking prime to make some big steps in her life! The Lord always helps out when we need it. I know without a doubt that this church is true and that we are lead by God himself. I loved all the talks, like Prs. Uchtdorf, and Elder Christofferson. Elder Robbins came to our mission three months ago, and his talk hit me real hard. Never forget which way you face! Alma 48:17

I love you all so much and am so glad to hear that you are all doing wel!! Thanks for everthing!!!

Con todo mi amor,

Elder Degn

Shooting hoops before Priesthood session

Sunday, October 5, 2014

#merica--letter from Sept. 29, 2014

Wow. Im not going to lie, those pictures really made me quite jealous, it looked like an awesome trip and I'm really glad that you guys were able to go out and have a fun trip by yourselves. Im sure that it has been way too long since that happened. Then I realize that I am in Uruguay doing the best thing in the world, and I feel better:) That's crazy though that you guys ran into Elder Jewkes and Elder Ogden! I was honestly just joking around about that stuff, didn't think there was a chance in the world...Just hope that you guys kept it professional during Oktoberfest.
But for us, this past week has been crazy!! We have been trying soo hard to find people that will progress and come to church because in all my time here we have only had one go. It is a lot bigger commitment than sometimes we think, especially if they are active in another church. We have invited so many, and have some awesome investigators right now! We right now have three that are some of the most intelligent minds I have ever dealt with on the mission. With Jorge, he has been Evangelical for a long time, knows the Bible back and forwards, but we have had great discussions with him about the restauration and baptism, and we have really got him thinking right now, which is a great place for him to be. We started visiting with one of the sons of a old member that just knows all the mormon myths and has a lot of questions about polygamy and Book of Mormon proof. We straight up read out of DyC with him, and explained a few things as well. (Side note, how many Nefite cities are there? 38. Learned that from him.) But yeah, he knows a ton. He also works in the psych ward of the hospital and sticks up for us like crazy there. He fights with the Evangelical people that work there to keep el libro de mormon in the library and invite us to visit the patients because they always invite pastors. So we have definitely got a bro in the hospital right now, and we will probably be visiting some people there this week. Then we had a aweomse charla with Aldo, who was really hit hard by Alma 32:16-21 that we read with him. He is just looking for the truth, and waiting for a awnswer. I honestly love visiting these people so much! It is some of the hardest charlas we have, but it really makes it all the better! The church is so true!!
Then just to top it all off, we were walking down the main street in the area and we were called down in English by a old classy looking guy, we went and he got out of his cute little red Ford smart car, blaring a really jazzy version of "la bamba" and invited us to his house the next day. So we went and it turns out that this dudes house is actually a super intense museum!! We were both in shock! His name is Antonio and speaks four languages. His english is alright, but we talked the whole time in it. But it is basically a historical arms museum, so I was in heaven. Every time we looked at something he was like, take it, play with it, see how it works. It was actually unbelievable! Elder Bentley and I were just like little kids in a candy store. He invited us to eat, drink wine, drink water, and come by whenever we need anything. His son works for the embassy in Brazil, so anything we need from there, he says he's our man. At the end after swapping numbers, he just said, "Now we are friends." Yep, I love the mission.
The work is moving so fast right now, and we are so close to breaking this place right open!!
I love you all, and thank you so much for all that you do for me and our family! The church is soo true!! Also, look out, I'm getting pretty good at Futbol. Heads up Abby...
Todo mi amor,
Elder Degn
ps. Ligit US marshall badge, winchester rifle, and colt revolver. #merica.
pss. I still havent recieved anything, but mail day is tomorrow and district meeting, so I will hope to see it all there! Thanks for everything!!

 Elder B. flipping pancakes!