Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 27, 2015

Hey guys whats up!? Two things, first off, that is the biggest trophy I have ever seen Bella!! Its bigger than you guys!! Congrats Bells! Also Congrats to Mafatu, the big 16! Super crazy that he is already 16! Everyone is growing up way to fast! Just keep his hands off the car keys is my only advice for now:) Today was super fun because we went to Downtown Montevideo to go walk around, and it was awesome but really nastalgic all at the same time. I was like ´ooh this place, and oh I remember that and this..´   yeah it was really fun. Downtown is such a crazy place, first time in the big city for almost a year, and it really is so much diferent than all the other places in the country. It was awesome to go look around again though. 
But this week was absolutely awesome!!! The conference with Elder Oaks was SOO GOOD!! We all got to go shake his hand which was so cool! It was funny because I was sitting next to Elder Toledo (my old comp whom I live with) waiting for the conference to start and we were talking about the mission and life, and how he has super mixed emotions about going home and what to do and all that fun stuff, and then when Elder Oaks started talking he started right off the bat talking about the importance of life after the mission especially marriage! HAHAHAHA it was so funny to give Elder Toledo a little shoulder shrug and we both laughed, ah it was awesome though. He also focused on being a instrument in the lords hands. He used a example of a pen, that does nothing for itselft, only the work of whose hands it is in. Also that the pen doesn't decide when to write and when not to write, the writer expects the pen to be ready 24/7, hence, full-time missionaries. We are here to do His work when He wants, not our work when we want. (Even Pday;) Really a awesome conference and a awesome lesson. I was decently close to the stand, and Elder Oaks voice is just like conference, funny, but still awesome for me to see and hear in person!!!
This week we also had a huge ward activity where we showed the movie ´Meet the Mormons´ We invited a ton of people and we had a really good turnout, and everyone loved the movie! It is so good and a great way to get to know the church.  I was sitting by a couple where he is member and she isn't, and after the movie (especially the part about the missionary mom) she was teary eyed and looked at me and said, ´now I understand so much, thank you for doing what you do.´ Fa that hit me like a wall. I love what I do and as much as I miss my family there is nothing that I would give to be anywhere else in the world. Also we are teaching a awesome family right now, named Juan his mom Reina, and his daughter milagros. The came to the church for the activity, the baptism, and the sunday services!! They are soo boss and so excited! They are such great people and have been progressing so fast, I am so pumped to see where this week goes for us!
And the best for last, we had the baptism of Katy!!! She is so awesome and is a huge example for me because she has been working so hard to learn as much as she can. She studies a full and has learned so much! She was baptized by the son of her friend that introduced her to the gospel. He is 20 but is slightly challenged mentally, but has the priesthood and was autorized to do it, but wanted someone to help him, so I suited up and helped him in the font. It was really fun to be a part of, helping him get the prayer right and getting her whole body in the water. Took a couple of tries{7}, but worked out great in the end! She brought a bunch of family and friends to her baptism, and it was really just a great day. I love what I do and where I am. There is nothing better!! 
I love you guys so much and am so grateful to be a part of this great family!! Keep on keeping on!!
Con todo mi amor,
Elder Degn

 Sweet baptism of Katy!

 How to cut down trees...

April 20, 2015

hey guys whats real? Glad to hear that everyone is still keeping busy;) just the usual right? Honestly I'm just slightly alarmed at how old everyone looks ( apart from hannah of course:) but just tell everyone to slow down please!! 
So I'm sorry that I didn't say anything before because I forgot, but the highlight of the week is that tomorrow we are having a big day. In the morning we are having a all-mission conference in the one and only stake center here in Cerro, so we spent all morning setting everything up, but its a big deal because it has been almost a year since the last one. Its pretty tough to get 220 missionaries to the same place. But after the mission conference we are all going to the other side of Montevideo for a conference with the other mission featuring Elder Oaks of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles! Crazy Right!? I'm super pumped because I have never been to a small conference like this and seen a member of the 12 like this before!! Everyone is going kinda crazy getting ready for it but it is going to be amazing! Im so excited to hear from him and get some revelatoin!! So yeah its going to be a big tomorrow and I cant wait!!
Apart from all of that fun jazz this past week was awesome! We are really focusing and helping the members of the ward get excited and feel the spirit about being active themselves and then spreading the good word, and what we have been taught to use is the doctrine of the gathering of Israel. It is a subject that many people do not know very much about, so it is something that opens their minds and they feel the spirit of the reality of the work and feel the urgency to do it, and then they start feeling about the people that they know that are in a position where they could accept the gospel. It is really amazing how the spirit works like that, but it has been increadible to see the desires that peolpe have to share the gospel when they feel the need for it in their own lives and in the lives of those they love. It also strengthens their own testimony, and the result is awesome! This week was one of the few times in my mission where probably 90% of the people we tought that needed the visit went to church. It was increadible!! Katy, our investigator, went again even though she came strait from work and had barely slept in the past two days! She is super excited for her baptism that is going to be on this saterday!! Her friend that passed the reference is also very excited, I think their family is coming from the other part of Montevideo for the baptism too. We aren't sure what happened with Graciela because we had a good charla with her and everything was going good, but she didnt come to church, and are phone doesnt have money so we werent able to call her to find out. she has a very dificult family life, and I really just hope she is alright. 
Elder Gonzales is a boss and I love being with him because we get along great and teach really well together. Our area is AMAZING and we have sooo much to do! We have been finding and teaching members like crazy and we also have a good group of investigators right now as well. There is so much potential and we are already seeing the lives of many people change. What I have re-learned this week is that the greatest happiness you can find in life is in the gospel. And that no sacrifice is too great. He knows us, He loves us, and He wants us to FOLLOW HIM. And so I will follow. For the rest of my life. I know the church is true. I know that we are involved in a great and marvelous work, much greater than we can imagine. I love you all, thank you for everything!!! 
Elder Degn
ps. This morning we got up super early and ran to the beach on the other side of the cerro, and we ran and chilled at the beach and then studied down there. So pumped to go back to cali and see the beach again. Sooooo beautiful in the morning!!!

April 13, 2015--El Cerro!!

Hey guys sounds like everyone had a pretty good week apart from joshy boy #cararota jaja sorry buddy, glad to hear that it was all for a good cause though:) I also loved the foto of my man parker!! Thank you guys so much for inviting him over and treating him good. He definitely deserves it and I hope that you were able to tell him how much I love him too. It was tough leaving Elder Silva and Paysandu, but they are all in good hands. This past week in el cerro has been awesome!! My comp Elder Gonzalez is a boss and we get along really well and work really well together as well. The area is pumping right now as well as the whole zone, this place is a animal in and of itself! Our ward has had a good amount of baptisms recently and so we have plenty of work to do helping them stay on the path, and we have two investigators lined up right now to be baptized in two weeks! One is named Graciela and is a really big example for me. She is 24 and comes from a very very difficult family situation but comes to church without fail and has been reading the book of mormon for the past couple of months, and is really excited to be able to be baptized now. She is so funny because she likes chatting with us about everything and then when she is kinda by herself for a minute she starts writing in a little journal. I dont really know what she writes about, but she just smiles the whole time so I think they are jokes about us:) But apart from her there is an older woman that is coming to church as well named Katy that was introduced to the church by her lawyer and loves learning and talking as well! She lives really far away  but takes the bus with the other members that live out there. Our ward is awesome and huge!! It is one of the biggest and oldest wards in Uruguay. President Smith started his mission in this area when he served here, and so he comes every now and then to visit his converts and go to church. It is really weird to have a area where everyone knows him basically, but it is really sweet at the same time. Also we share a ward with two other missionaries, and one is Elder Toldeo! He served in this ward a year ago and now has come back here to finish his mission. It is crazy being with him again and living together again, well kinda, he lives upstairs and we live downstairs and they arent connected so there isnt a ton of interaction, but its still fun! Our house is super nice as well, literally next to the forteleza. On the first street down. Really sweet just kind of a killer to hike to every time we go home. Im soo excited to work in this area and be able to see the miracles that will happen! 
I love you guys so much and hope you all have a good week!
Con amor,
Elder Degn
ps. My comps sister is in Utah right now visiting friends from her mission, Im going to pass him our address and see if she wants to pass by to visit. (if she wants that is) She is in west valley, so really close. Just a heads up, thanks!!
pss. Me and Gonzalez at the forteleza!!

 At Forteleza

April 7, 2015

Hey everybody, Happy Easter!!! It looks like you guys had a AWESOME week with traveling and conference, and I hope you loved conference too!! I just hope that Hannah doesnt take it too seriuosly and get herself married here before I get home;) We were able to watch it just fine here in English with our little posse of gringos, so we didnt miss a single beat. Really though, I love conference!! Crazy to think thats the last one on the mission right? Feels like just yesterday I saw the last one with Elder Bentley in Rivera.... moving on.

 In other news, we did get changes this week and I am going back to Gotham City! Im sooo pumped!! Im going back to EL CERRO de Montevideo!! Crazy right!? Im going to the ward that is next to my old ward and that is literally right on the cerro. If you look up the fortress that is there, my house is in the first block down from it. The pictures I sent last week overlooking everything, yeah that was from what is now my house. Super crazy!!! My area is called Casabó and Santa Catalina. Its funny because you say Casabo to any Uruguayan in any city, and they all cringe and give you a hug like, ¨It was nice knowing you...:¨ haha its funny because everyone on the outside looking in doesnt like Cerro, but for those that have served there, they love it. I am so excited to be able to go back and serve in the place where I recieved some of the strongest testimonies of my life. My new companion is going to be a Chilean named Elder Gonzales! I met him this past change and I like him a ton and am really excited to be comps with him! I will most likely be his last comp, he ends in June or July, and then I will most likely finish the mision there. Crazy that it has come, but I am very excited to get to serve in Casabo. 
So thats that, and I am still in Paysandu until tomorrow, but I am really sad to leave so many friends that I have here. This has been my shortest time in a area, three months, but I feel like I have grown closer to some people here than in other places with more time. I am definitely leaving it all behind in good hands with Elder Silva and I know that he is going to make this place explode in his last change in the mission. He has been a great example to me of ending strong, and this last change will be a great one to go out on. We have seen some great growth here and we have met some amazing people that have been real examples to me. I have seen the Lord change lives here, and I am really just grateful to have been a part of it. Its too bad that I will not be here for the baptism of Lucresia that is next week, but it really is awesome to see her and her mom progress in the gospel. They are flying! Also with Estela, even though she can't get baptized right now because she has to go through a complitcated process to get married, she is still going to church and pushing foward. We also have recently been helping a guy that got baptized a couple of years ago but that is trying to come back after a while outside, and we went for the first time and talked about what he was doing and what he needs to fix to get everything back in line, and he did it. Immediately. He went to church three weeks in a row ever since, including the conference and we taught him about the temple, and it is really amazing to see the light in peoples´ eyes when they grasp what the temple really is and means. He is doing everything possible to make it there. I am So grateful for the knowledge that I have of the gospel in my life and for the covenants that I have made with my Heavenly Father. I am so grateful the oportunity that I had to serve in Paysandu, and the people that I met here and for the experiences that I have had. I know that Christ LIVES. I know this is his church, that He loves us and has provided a way to return to Him. Many times this past week we taught about the ressurection, and to many people they just focus on the death of Jesucristo and dont understand or even know much about his Resurrecion, and what it means for us. How grateful I am for His Resurecion! The hope we can have for the future all was made possible through Him who is powerful to save. I love you all and am so grateful for the eternal family that we have the potential to become. En el nombre de Jesucristo, amen. 
Con amor,
Elder Degn
ps. Our final district lunch!

 Loving General Conference!
 Ward Mission Leader
 My Good Friend!! Awesome young man.

 My little buddy!

March 30, 2015

Hey guys whats good?!? Thanks for the updates, glad to hear that everyone is still doing great and keeping up with everything that you guys have to do! Sounds like a crazy/fun week with the boys traveling, good luck to all everyone in their tournaments! And you girls, Semper fi. I'm super pumped for conference and really cannot believe that it is already here again! The last one I was chilling in Rivera with Elder Bentley just living it up, where does the time go? Enjoy easter as well, here it is La semana santa for the Catholic church, but it is funny because it is also la semena de turismo, or basically a fall break type thing, Paysandú is famous for this week because here is the Urugayan headquarters of a beer company that has a couple big factories in my area and this week is la semana de la cervesa (beer week). Basically a weeklong party down by the beach with tons of beer and concerts. Funny how the world keeps sliding away from God, even when we need to remember the most important event in the history of the world! But oh well, I will try to resist all the free beer;) Also this week we basically changed to Fall all at once, really just one day to another it was really cold, and has stayed nice, really relief of the heat. It was just nuts how suddenly it happened, but Im really glad its here!
This week has been awesome though! We worked on wednesday in Montevideo, and it was awesome for me to work in Cerro again, really close to my old area. I was working with Elder Goold from Idaho, and it was awesome because a year ago we were in the same district in cerro and were both junior comps. Time just goes by too darn fast. It was a great day though despite the cold and rain that we were not prepared for, but we had a amazing experience and I learned a lot as well! We are also on the stake activities committee and this week we had a stake talent show and it was super fun! My house did a syncronized swimming spoof, and it was hilarious and really gave the show the comic relieve that it needed. Everyone loved it though and it was super fun as well! 
We were feeling so good going into this week as well with our investigators too, and we were really able to make good progress with most of them, and we also found a couple of awesome new people as well! We found out that our number one investigator isn't married and doesn't want to either, so we invited her to pray about it and we are also praying that she has a change of heart. They have been together for 31 years for crying out loud, just tie the knot!! 
On Monday night of last week though I had such an amazing experience with Elder Luke, an elder that stays the night at our house because they live far away, so we were on divisions and went to a part of the area I didnt know yet to find new people, but turns out that there is absolutely nothing there, just an army base. We walked for a really long time without seeing everyone, and I realized why we had never gone there before, but then we went back to the other part of the area to talk to some people before the night was over, and we went to a house that I had wanted to visit before because their kids always said hi to us when we walked by, so we went to try to find the parents home, and they were, and they were so....normal. It was amazing, they are both police officers, have two kids, work a lot, run the kids around, and believe in God, we had a great conversation with them out front, and then we had to leave and I asked if we could say a prayer with them and she said yes and invited us in to do it. I don't know why it still shocks me so much when that happens, but it was amazing and we shared a great moment together, and they invited us to come back whenever we like. I love this work!! It is so amazing! I know that Christ LIVES. Not that he lived or will live, but that he lives NOW. I know that He is at the head of this, HIS work, and that He is the one doing all the heavy lifting. Its an honor to be on his team and meet the people that He is preparing to recieve the gospel. 
I love you guys so much, have a great week!!
Elder Degn

ps. Me and Elder Goold on their house in cerro, right beneath the forteleza.

 Uruguayan Synchronized Swim Team!!

March 23, 2015

Hey guys hows it going!? I've got to start off and say thanks for the packages that you guys sent for my birthday! Today the offices sent us the the mail stuff and I got all of it at once! It has got awesome stuff and I'm really pumped for the new shirts, sweater and pants! My black pants are really beat up and so these new ones were really needed. And the protein as well! I've been doing p90x for two weeks straight now and maybe its just because I haven't worked like that in a long time but I feel like I am getting a whole lot bigger. Really crazy actually but I feel soo good! So thank you so much for sending me the protein!! 
This week was honestly amazing though! We did do a bit of traveling thought but not as much as we thought it would be. We went to concilio on tuesday which was awesome! We talked about everything that we need to do to be more efficient in the mission and how we can change things to make it better. Always just kinda mind blowing seeing the long term mindset of presidente Smith, but it really helps us remember what we are here for. We are really trying to focus on starting with the end in mind, and something that we are being instructed to teach to members is the doctrine of the Gathering of Israel. For months now I have been studying and it has completely blown my mind and changed my mindset about the Book of Mormon and the plan of God. It is all just so perfect!! As we teach and study we are trying to get the members to think about the Gathering of Israel in every moment! It really helps to understand what is happening right now and how the Lord allows us to participate in his work!! I love it and I now that it is happening! 
But anyways back in Paysandu we worked a bunch with our investigators, and really made some awesome progress! We have decided to push back a little bit the baptisimal date of one just to make sure she is all set and that she feels like she is ready too. Still really excited for it all though! On Saturday we had the zone conference and interviews with President Smith, who was in town for the whole weekend because he was invited to the stake conference this week as well, and it was such a awesome weekend! We had a awesome capacitation from him and he is helping everyone understand and be able to apply the direction of the area and the mission. Our stake conference was also amazing! There was an area seventy as well and they really gave great messages to help the stake be able to continue to grow. In the general session on Sunday all of the messages were incredible and there was such a powerful spirit! It was amazing as well because there were more people that were in the stake conference than any other week in the stake since I have been here! It was a full house! It was really one of the best stake conferences that I have ever been too, and we are so excited to see how we will be able to progress even more from here on out! Today is the day that the Lord is hastening his work, and now is the moment to save His vineyard! I know it, I love it, and I live it! 
Thank you guys for who you are! I love yall so much!! 
Con mucho amor,
Elder Degn
ps. Me, my roomates E´ Neilson y E´ Woodcock and the Assistant Elder Stafieri that stayed with us for two days. He is traveling all over Uruguay with Pte this week, so he was our guest on their stay in Pdu. Awesome dude and big chargers fan! Goes home in 10 days....

March 16, 2015

Hey guys thanks for the party, it looked like some real good sheetcake!! I cannot wait to eat that stuff again, but my boys here hooked me up pretty good for my birthday. We live right across the street from the most famous place in Paysandu called Chajá. It is a desert place, and the other Elders we live with, Elder Woodcock and Elder Neilson (aka my bffs) bought me a cake from there and it was sooooo good! Especially with the ice cream I bought as my gift from President Smith. It was sooo nice! so don't worry yourselves, I had a good day, pizza, cake, and ice cream, what more can a boy want? Alright jk, but lets just say the next one will be even better right?:)
Apart from it already being a great week because it was my special day, we had such a miracle filled week!! We worked really hard to get back to all of the people that we found last week and it just worked out so good!! I love it when things go like you want, every now and then it is nice to have that stuff happen:) We went and tought our investigator Estela that couldnt go to church last week, but we had great lessons with her and her grandkids and nieghbor that also want to go to church, and this week she made it to church with her granddaughter!! It was so nice because she already knows one of the hermanas in the ward, and they really made her feel welcome and she felt so good! It was beautiful to watch!! She needs this so bad, and it makes me feel so good to see her be able to take these steps in her life! She is progressing really well and we are super pumped to see where she will get! 
The other family that we are working with right now, Yaquelin that is a recent convert and her daughter Lucresia that is getting ready to be baptized, are doing amazing as well! We went and taught Yaquelin about family history and such and she is doing great living the life of a member of the church, and her daughter has progressed so much! In the beginning I was a little bit hesitant to teach her because she didnt seem interested and didnt remember anything, but this week we repased a lot of the lessons and she shocked me with how much she knew and now has a lot more interested and does the things because she wants to and she likes to, something that you dont really ever see in that many people! She is getting ready to be baptized here in two weeks if all goes well! 
We also had an awesome experience this week while we were working with a member in our ward. She is an ex-missionary and has three kids now and she left to visit people with us but brought the youngest, Mateo, who has 14 months, in a stroller. So anyway it was fun being with her and her son, and we went to a family that we are working with where the kids are inactive and the parents arent members, and first off the grandma (that is also member) greeted us and was SO drunk! She grabed my arm when I shook her hand and firmly said, ¨dame un beso´ and I was like, ¨Im good thanks, maybe next year´. Haha it was hilarious but kinda freaked out the hermana we were with. But anyways in the lesson we were having the baby Mateo was making himself a lot of work crawling all over, and the hermana totally kicked into mission mode teaching this family with my comp, and I felt like it was more important that the hermana taught the lesson so I played mr. mom with this baby while they taught, and it worked out fantastic! The hermana was so pumped afterwards to have relived the glory days, and the lesson went great as well! Those little sacrifices are definitely worth it!:) 
So this week was definitely unforgetable, the Lord is really coming through for us, as long as we keed doing our part! This week is going to be a little hectic, but it is going to be awesome!! Thank you guys so much for everything that you do for me everyday, and Im looking forward to those packages!;) Sorry that you guys never knew me as the boss 19 year old that I was, but the 20 year old me will be even better!!
Les quiero con todo mi corazon!!
Elder Degn
ps. here we´ve got fotos of my birthday night bash, the service we did with a youth in our ward on my birthday, and me and silva at the huge catholic church a block from our house, cheers!!

March 9, 2015 Happy Birthday Week Zach!!

Hey guys thanks for all the good wishes, I hope that you all enjoy this last week of me being 19! Im sure it will be just like all the others...haha but do enjoy some good Texas sheetcake in my honor on saturday! The birthday is really such a funny thing in the mission because everyday seems the same and the only difference is that there might be a cake or something. Im really just excited to be able to say that I will be 20 so that people stop giving me a hard time for looking so darn old. But really I just feel the same, working on keeping the old man body in shape is all;) But really, thanks guys, I love you all tons!!
But anyways this past week was absolutely awesome! We did divisions with our boys Elder Woodcock and Elder Nielson and we had a great day working with them, and then apart from that we just found sooo many new people to teach!! It is funny because there are so many people that live in our area that are baptized but inactive, that almost every contact we do there seems to be someone that is already a member of the church, which either helps a lot, or doesn't help at all. But it was just awesome to see how we were able to find such solid people that were really right under our noses the whole time. I'm pretty sure I mentioned the family of Yaquelin before, she was baptized a couple of months ago, and we are working with her daughter now that she is going to church really good again, and now she is getting to be baptized at the end of this month! Also, one of the biggest miracles we saw was with a woman that was a reference from a member that has a lot of problems with her family and other things, and Silva went on divisions and met her then the we went twice together taught her about the restauration and the gospel and prayer and the atonement, and we saw a huge change in her! In a very short time she recieved a huge desire to go to church and wanted to bring her two grandkids that are 11 and 8. We were so pumped because we also invited her to get baptized and she accepted in a heartbeat! It was just amazing! She was so enthusiastic to read what we left her and go to church with the member that she knows, but then was unable to go because of family problems. {her kids sold her nice shoes to buy drugs, so she felt embarassed to go in flip flops. We didnt get there till later to be able to explain to her that it would have been just fine..} But we have big hopes for her! We also found a super solid young couple, and when we contacted them we were thinking a bunch of new investigators, then in the next few minutes find out that he was a member, his sister and father as well, but that his girlfriend wasn't. But it was great because she was the most interested and enthusiastic! We also had a girl contact us in the street asking us about our church and as we struck up conversation it turned out that she was a long-lost relative of the member that was working with us. Such a crazy little family reunion that went down right there, it was nuts. She was really young, like 20 maybe, but with loads of problems, very catholic, but at the moment very lost espiritually. We taught her a little bit right there and invited her to church, but she didnt make it either. Honestly the day everyone we find and teach goes to church we will need a much bigger chapel. It will be glorious! But until then we will continue working to followup and get back in contact with everyone we found and already had! I know this work is real and that the Lord is above it all. I love what I do, and there is nowhere else I would rather be!!
Thank you for everything you do and for who you are!! I love you all!!!
Elder Degn

March 2, 2015

Hey guys happy march!! Yeah I cant believe that it is here either, its going by sooo fast. And no, I dont feel like I should be 20 yet either. I feel kinda the same that I was when I was nineteen....I honestly am just glad to be able to stop saying 19, absolutely NO ONE believes me. Don't know if thats good or bad, but I will take it. That is awesome that Dio made it to you guys, I'm so glad you were able to meet him. I love that guy a ton and it was crazy to see him in our house, I was with him a month ago! For Dads information, we will have changes now in 6 weeks, I think in the first week of April, right after General Conference.

But this was a super crazy week for the changes, there were about fifteen missionaries that came and left through Paysandu, and we ran that place like kings! Got about three hours of sleep, but apart from that there weren't any problems. One of the companionships that we live with got taken out, so now our house is just four. But it is soo big!! We got a better bathroom now, so that is really nice. The truth is that it has been a bit tricky up to now to get our investigators to progress but we are seeing some really good movement from a couple of people. We are teaching a family that the mom was baptized three months ago then went inactive shortly thereafter, but she is coming back good now and we are teaching her daughter as well to be able to be baptized as well, and she is coming along really good too! She is just needing her time to be able to understand everything well. We also had an awesome experience with a family that is all members that we are working with to get active again and that are progressing. We went to do a family night with them and the girlfriend/partner of one of the sons was with us and she starting asking a ton of questions and sharing experiences about her believes and we answered her questions and taught her about the restauracion and the spirit was super strong and she just wants to follow God and do things right. She said that she wants to get married to set things strait, and we were both like, ´sorry what???´ miracles!!! We really hope that she is able to progress too, this week was complicated for them, but we have some really big hopes for her! 
This week we had a great experience leaving with a 23 year old guy that got baptized a month ago and is set on going on the mission. His name is Alfredo, and he is such a stud! He is from a different ward in the stake, but wants to leave to work with all the missionaries, so we took him out and we found a woman that has been suffering on the inside about the unexpected death of her husband a few months ago, and Alfredo was just ready with his testimony of going through the same thing with his mom six months ago as well. It was increadible to see someone without training or practice just give it all from the heart, thats really how it should be. Really impacted him, us, and the woman, she is very very catholic, but we made a big impression on her and are very excited for what will come.
Our ward is growing and we are seeing little miracles every day! I love you guys so much and I know this gospel is true!! Thanks for everything you do for me!
Cuídense y que pasen bien. 
Les quiero,
Elder Degn
ps. Elder Silva in the elevator with a bunch of stuff we were moving to other houses during changes...we may or may not have walked around the city carrying beds on our backs...the things we do for hermanas;) 

February 24, 2015

Hey guys glad to hear that you all had another great week with the wonderful ex-hermana Degn and that the sports are all going well still with everyone, really sounds like quite the schedule. Im also excited to drive around in the new Fun-vee as well when I get back! It would be nice to get a foto or two of our cars, I still havent seen either one...But yeah, glad that you are all doing good! That is also awesome that you got a letter from Elder Bentley! He told me about that, haha it is funny becasue we still talk quite a lot because now he is the senior financer in the mission and so we always have to talk to him when we have got problems with stuff in the zone. My little boys´ all grown up and off to war! #proudfather
This week for us has been strait up crazy and this one is also going to be super nuts as well, but Im pumped for it! This past week we inverted a lot of time in a stake activity, (we are part of the stake board of activities) and a ward activity. We also did a zone activity which was super fun, but lets just say that we did a whole ton lot of planning and working for all of them and that I dont really want to have that calling, too much stress. Just leave me alone as scout master and call it good. It was a ton of work and planning and last minute crunching, but in the end it all came through, and the stake activity was a huge hit! We did the activity of Lehi´s Dream. It started outside but then there was a chord that ran throught the outside and then inside through many rooms of the chapel and it was basically like a haunghted house idea. Everyone had to walk blindfolded and then be ´tempted´ by all the distractions of the world until they arrived at the sacrament room and it was closed off with peace ful music and a tree with the fruit on it, it was awesome and really impacted a lot of people. We also left on Saturday at 230 in the morning for a conference in Tacuarembo with Elder Viñas of the seventy, which was awesome! I learned soooo much! Everytime I feel like I am smart we have a conference and I just get my knowledge destroyed. So much more to learn, but I love it! He is Uruguayo and talked a lot about stuff that we need to do to establish the church here and help the members grow spiritually to make the church more solid. Really a awesome day and I saw a bunch of friends! It is freaking me out though because I dont want to admit that I am old in the mission but I now dont even recognize half of the missionaries that I see when we go to conferences. Super crazy. So anyways, apart from all of that, yes we were able to get some work done which was great, and it came through because one of the families we visit came to church again! She is awesome and got baptized in November, then went inactive for awhile but now she is coming back and she brought her whole family to church on Sunday and we are talking with her daughter to get her ready to be baptized! Right now we are in a spot where I feel like there is so much potential and that in the moment that we get to everyone in the week that they will get moving! We have some super solid investigators and one is the family that we met the first week here, and we gave her the book of mormon and she just thanked us and said that she was really needing it. I love those moments so much. Makes everything worth it. 
This week was also changes, I hope you realize that now when I dont write on Mondays that is what it means. Thankfully Elder Silva and I are staying together here in Pdú!! I cant believe how fast this change went by and I cant believe how little time there is left. This change is going to be awesome because there are a lot of great missionaries coming to our zone. The only down side is that this week we are basically going to be travel agents/real estate agents/jedi knights. Apart from that last one it is all real. We have already started sending off missionaries, and all day tomorrow we have people coming and going to and from and pasing through Paysandú. And guess who has all the tickets? Thats right, this guy. So it is going to be a crazy couple of days here, but it is going to be a great start to a awesome change! 
Well guys thank you so much  for who you are and all that you do for me here in Uruguay! Les quiero con todo mi corazón!
Elder Degn
ps. Elder Sanchez goes home tonight!! I have been living with him this last change. Really fun to remanice with him before he left. 

February 16, 2015

Alright.....so first off, Im real freaked out seeing Hannah back in the homeland with the whole crew. I cannot believe that the moment has come and gone. I love you Hannah, just hit me up with some packages and cartas while you can cuz yall know, six more months and Im up too...jaja alright honestly Im happy for Hannah but Im glad we can all stop being so trunky so that my pdays arent so darn hard anymore. Moving on...
So this past week was honestly super crazy complicated and this one is going to be crazy as well! We spent one and a half days working in our area, just the joys of being the ZLs...We had a day were we spent the whole afternoon shopping for the Hermanas that moved into a new house and taking care of some of that stuff,  the next day we had stuff go down in the other hermanas house, and then in the afternoon the missionary couple that works in the offices came to paysandu to fix a bunch of problems we have with the houses that the mission is renting here, so we had to show them around, and then there were emergency changes in Argentina, so we had to recieve the new guy here, and send the guy from argentina to Salto. It is super complicated for missionaries to cross into argentina, the just cause problems for the missionaries no mas. We have learned with the ZLs over there that the only way to make it work without getting anyone thrown out of the country or slammed with a huge fine is traveling undercover. They travel in pday clothes, and then take off their placas when the get to the bridge, and pass without problems, even the Americans. Crazy right?? But we definitely felt like we were doing a human smugling deal just because everyone thinks the missionaries are perfect little angels...ya something like that:) So that was a crazy day, and then we went to Montevideo for the next day which was great! It was a awesome conference with the leaders and President, where we basically just repased all of the changes that are going on in the mission this year, but to make sure that we follow the plan that we have recieved from the area presidency, it is a very inspired plan for this part of the world, and we are starting to see the results of it, it just takes a lot of effort and a change of mindset, and that is what we are working on, but the work is going on!!!
So we got home and started running around to all of our people to get them all fired up for church and everything, but just about everyone is out on vacation because right now it is holidays for carnaval. south america is crazy about carnaval, and Elder Silva my brazuca keeps going wild randomly. (he is super excited to go back to carnaval;) But we did have some great charlas with some less active members we are working with and they went to church for the first time in five years!! Super pumped about that!! We also found a woman that knows a lot about the church but that had her daughter pass away in a moto accident two months ago, and we had a great first experience with her, and are super excited to go back to visit her again. The work is definitely going good, and we are making some really good progress, and we have some big hopes for this week as well! We are working with so much potential, and I know that it will soon pay off!! Im so grateful for the plan of salvation and for my eternal family!
This week we have a bunch of activities in the ward and stake because everyone is taking advantage of the vacations, and then on saturday we are going to Tacuarembo for a conference with half the mission and Elder Viñas of the 70, a uruguayo!! I am super pumped!! so we are in for another great week as well!! I love you guys soo much!!! Take care!
Con amor,
Elder Degn
ps, turning into the uruguayo doing the bbq for the zone today at our zone activity at the beach, super boss!

The lone wolf...Feb. 9, 2015

Hey guys this week has been great! Full of some ups and downs, but thats how it goes some times! We tried really hard getting back to everyone we had been working with these past couple of weeks, and trying to help them get going on the road. The hardest step really is the first here. It takes so much time it seems like getting someone to read, or to go to church, or to do them constantly, and with that comes a lot of diligence and patience. We taught another lesson to our young friends this week and there are actually a couple that show genuine interest, and we are trying to teach them more, but this weekend they went on a little fishing outing and werent able to go to church. Its hard with the river so darn close, actually wish that they had invited us, sounds pretty nice to be honest:) They are coming along well, we are just going to need to teach them more and asnwer their questions and they will be all set. Our other top investigators werent feeling well this weekend, so that also put a hole in our plans, but they are coming along. It also amazes me how every person you teach has a different level of understanding and can take a different pace of teaching. Really interesting actually. We are also teaching a whole ton of menos activos and that is probably the hardest part for me. So many people that have been faithful members for so long and then drop off for some reason or another. It is something that I have learned a lot about, and there are a lot of families that we are really trying to help right now and hopefully we can help them. We also went on divisions this week and I went with a Peruano named Elder Durrand that ends the mission in two weeks, and lets just say that I never want to end the mission. Between talking to him and thinking about Hannah, I had enough about the end of the mission for awhile. Also makes you realize how much you love your own comp after divisions, no matter how good of friends you are with other missionaries, you are meant to be with your comp. This week we also are going to Montevideo on Thursday for consilio with Pres. and the ZLs of the mission. I am really excited for it and the direction we are going to get from our leaders. Going to be fun to see a lot of friends again as well. Also, it has been super hot this week. Nice and crispy, just like I like it. I also got the package with protien, it got wrecked on the way here, but I was able to salvage most of it, and it is awesome having it! Thanks a ton! I love you guys so much and hope you have a good week with Hannah! Give her a big hug for me!!!

 I cant believe either that the time has come so quickly that the faithful Hermana Degn has come to the end of her days in the mission field...She really has fought the good fight and given her all to the Lord in these 18 months. It is a honor for me to wear the same name as her on my placa and represent our family here in Uruguay. Something that I have thought about is how interesting it is that when a missionary ends the mission it seems like the constant battle between good and evil that they have been fighting doesnt end. They leave but the fight continues, almost without anybody even knowing that you served or that you made a difference. No matter how much you did or did not do, the battle will always wage on. And so it will wage in Peru, and so it wages in Uruguay, and so it wages in Utah, but the Lord send his soldiers where He needs them. The hope lies in knowing that we are doing our part, not allowing the darkness to win OUR battle, letting the Adversary know that where we are there will be light also, and that he shall not win. We cannot change all the world at once, but we will change the world one person at a time. One child of God at a time. Luckily, I am not alone in the army of God. I have brothers and sisters at my left and at my right, In Scotland, Korea, The Philipeans and in the four corners of the earth I have brothers that fight for the light. The enemy is stronger than ever before, but the Lord was ready, too ready. For that reason He sounded the call to all the world that Today is the Day to defend your belief, wherever you may be. The Lord calls deciples, and he calls them FOREVER. For that reason I am here, for that reason I will fight; here, at home, and wherever I might go. The battle might not end today, or tomorrow, but one day it will end, and He will say the work is done. Until then, we will go on, and His work will continue, it cannot be contained. I am so proud and humbled to be a part of His modern day army, and to shine the light He has given me to the world, and whether it be big or small the difference that I make, I will do my best. Because the only person that knows everything is God; and I do not fear man more than God. He knows what I have done and what everyone has done, and will continue to put his soldiers where he needs them. Keep on fighting Hermana Degn! 
All my love, 
Elder Degn