Monday, December 26, 2011

December 26, 2011: Week 10 First Week in the Field and the "Christmas Call."

We received Jordan's call on Christmas day and it was wonderful to hear from him.  He sounds just like Jordan...but again somehow different. He is adjusting fine to being in a place where he can't understand anyone.  I had been wondering, since his Missionary Training Center experience had been in Argentina, if it would be different than mine, having trained in Provo with a bunch of "gringos" and no native Spanish speakers save one teacher, and if he would understand the native Uruguayans a little better than I had with the people of Ecuador.  Turns out it's no different. ;)  However, knowing Jordan, he'll pick it up quickly.  If anyone understands how easily he picked up music while playing his sax, then you'll understand that.  It's all in the ear...language or music.

Jordan's first companion is Elder Atkinson, from Monument, Colorado.  We had the chance to speak to him yesterday as well and we told him to work Jordan hard! He sounds like a very nice young man.  The first think he told us was, "Your son is really cool!"  That made us feel good.  As anyone whose served a mission can attest, a good first companion is vital.

We've made an arrangement to send Jordan a new SD card for his camera every month so he can just send us his "used" card and we'll use those to post pictures.  Hopefully he will have sent his current card to us this week so we'll have it in a week or two and post some more pics from his MTC experience and first days in Uruguay.

Well, here is Jordan's first letter from the field:

So This probably won`t be very long because I told you everything pretty much everything that has happened so far last night. So..I`m going to just tell you about my first P-day. We started off the day with a training meeting for the DL`s and ZL`s and since Elder Atkinson is our DL I had to go. I Waited with Elder Cerna from Honduras and Elder Ramirez from Mexico. While we were waiting Elder Cerna pulled out his Music Player and we listened to some music. The best was the Tarzan Soundtrack, We Belted out "You`ll be in My Heart" for a good 10 minutes because we put it on repeat. After me and Elder Atkinson wentto a bakery called Buen Gusto for lunch. It was DELICIOUS!! Then we went back to the stake center and played some basketball. We played a game of horse that lasted for almost 30mins because no one could make a shot. After we got approval to watch a movie so we watched Kung Fu Panda 2. It was flippin` Hilarious! We just finished it and now I`m here E-mailing you guys. I´ll have more to say later on, once I actually know what`s going on in our area and stuff.

So how is everyone doing? Tell Chris I`m super proud of him. (Don`t worry it`s not the bad kind ;) ) I miss you guys a lot and that phone call last night didn`t help. But it was great talking to you. The next time will be in May, so in about 5months but after that it`s not for another 8 until next Christmas. Hope you had a great Christmas, Mine has been really good! Hopefully I get those packages in the Bolsa tomorrow. But if not it`s not the end of the world. Next week i`ll definitely have more to talk about next week, but for now I love you guys and I can`t wait to tell you guys all about what`s going on next week.

Love, Elder Duke (Jordan)

P.S. I have a list of the people I`m Writing today so I won`t forget.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20, 2011: Arrival in Uruguay

Dear Duke Family,

We would like to inform you of the arrival of your son to the Uruguay Montevideo West Mission. He arrived here safe and sound this morning and met President and Sister Heaton. He will receive some training in the mission home to help him get to know the mission and feel comfortable in Uruguay. The missionaries will have lunch with the Heaton Family and, afterwards, will be attending a session in the Uruguay Montevideo Temple. Tomorrow he will meet his trainer and leave for his new area. It is such an exciting time for him, and we wanted to share it with you. We have included a picture of your son with President and Sister Heaton. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to get in contact with us. Our email is We thank you for all you have done as parents to help your son reach this point in his life.

Elder Zachary C. Hales
Executive Secretary
Uruguay Montevideo West Mission

Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19, 2011: Week 9 Pics from MTC

MTC District

Typical Argentina MTC room

Jordan's companion, Elder Minter

December 19, 2011: Week 9 Jordan's Last Email before leaving for Uruguay

I´m leaving tomorrow morning at 5 am to go to the airport, and i´m really nervous. I know it will be a great experience. I don´t have much time so I just want to know how you guys are doing and how everyone's life is going, mine is going great. I've definitely grown a lot over these past weeks and months and I just can´t believe how fast time has gone by. I want to share an experience I had when I was proselyting last Saturday. Me and my companions were walking and an older man stopped us and so we started talking and we came to find out that he didn't believe in God, he knew he was there but he couldn't understand how he could let bad things happen in the world like innocent people dying and other things. He then related that he was a sinner and that God didn't love him. He then looked me in the eyes and asked "Do you think I´m a bad person?"  I told him "No"  there was a short pause and I looked back into his eyes and told him "I know God loves you."  As soon as the last word left my lips he started to cry. I looked at him with tears in my eyes and said again,  "I know that he loves you." He grabbed my arm and brought me into a hug and just cried, I felt really awkward, but at the same time I knew that the spirit had touched his heart and I knew that he now knew that his Heavenly Father still loved him. After our short awkward hug, he let go and shook our hands said "Thank you" and walked back into his house. For the rest of the day I couldn't stop thinking about that man. We got his Son´s address (His son is a member of the church, we found out.) and we made a referral card with his sons info, but we put in the notes that the  person who needed the gospel was the older gentleman. I really hope that the missionaries find him, because I know that he has felt the love of his Savior and I believe he is ready to learn more. I´m so thankful for the gospel and the blessing it is in my life. I love my Savior. I´ll see you all in 2 years.
Love, Elder Duke (Jordan)

December 17, 2011: Week 8 Last week in the MTC!

I can´t believe how fast time has flown. I start packing for the field in 3 days! I´m really excited but also really really nervous. if you asked me if i´m ready, I´d be lying ifi said yes. But I know that no one is ever fully "ready" to go out. You just have to have faith. Today I had a little interview with the President for leaving and everything. he related to me about trying to take a backseat for a little bit, because i tend to talk a lot and don´t give my comps time to talk. He said that would help a lot and i believe him, so I´m going to try better on talking less and giving my comps a chance to put in some insight.
I got my Packages!!!!!! It pretty much made this P-day the best one yet! Also our teacher bought us all Argentina futbol Jerseys with our names on them!! So today so far is the best p-day!

This morning we were practicing using the area book and the info the last missionaries left to figure out what to teach. After we were done our teacher shared an experience with us. Se said she was at the MTC in Provo learning English. They had the "Progressive investigator" and they went up to a man sitting on the bench, he was sitting there looking at his cell phone. She was really nervous because she didn't know much English, and she didn't know what to say. Plus there was a huge camera recording so the teacher could evaluate after. They said a prayer and asked for the spirit. She was a less nervous then. They started asking the guy what the most important thing in his life was. he said his cellphone then looked back down at it. Her comp looked at her like "what are we going to do?" She sat there for a second then simply "I know God loves you." The man just sat there looking at his cellphone. After about 15 secs of silence he looked up and he was crying. She didn't know why but she explained that when the spirit prompts you to do something you follow it. 

I know this is true and I want to implement that into my mission; listen to the Spirit and it will guide you.

I love you guys and I will talk to you on Monday before I leave,

Love, Elder Duke (Jordan)

December 10, 2011: MTC Week 7

So this next week is the last week for me in the CCM. IT´s scary to think how fast time has flown.... I feel like I just left the SLC Airport and headed to Dallas. I´m super excited but really nervous at the same time. I know I don´t have the language down at all, far from it really, But I know that I will eventually. This last week has been great, I´ve gotten to know the new Elders and it´s always fun to meet new people and hear about their lives. Last Sunday was fast Sunday and I got up and testified a little about the Devotional that Elder Bednar gave a few moths ago. He related a story to the Elders and Sisters about how he always would get asked the same question. ¨"How do I know if it´s the spirit, or if It´s just me?" His response was what struck me the most. He said simply "Don´t worry about it. As long as your doing whats right and following the rules, your path will be guided." I really loved that and it helped me feel more confident in speaking up when I feel I need to say something. when we´re teaching. I also told everyone that I hope that I can actually tell what Dad says at the end of all his letters, when he writes in Spanish ;)
Proselyting was fun again this week. The beginning was a little depressing because our appointment with Carlos fell through, but we found more people and we got a few more referrals for the Missionaries here. I have another question for Dad though, other´s can put their input too. How would you help someone with making the decision to be baptized, if they know it´s right and they should, but their family has said they´ll "disown" them if they do? We got that in our Progressive Investigator and we got stuck and didn´t know what to say. I ´m just curious at how you would approach that situation.

Thanks for all the e-mails,  I haven´t read them yet but I´m sure their great. The packages still haven´t gotten here, but I´m hoping they´ll be here next week. I remember Mom saying something about a letter from Grandma also, which I haven´t received either... Oh well hopefully they´ll get here soon. 

So how about you guys are you doing good? How is school going for everyone? Has Josh won any games yet? Does Emily know where she´s going now? How´s Lauren doing with the flute? Good I hope. I took a peek at a couple of the emails and saw Kaili made Saber, That´s Great! Congrats! How´s Sarah? Still getting straight A´s I assume. Mom and Dad, how are you holding up? How´s work going? I know a lot of questions, but since I can´t be there I figured I need to ask to know.

I´m still hoping that I´ll get some friends to write but I can´t really expect much. How are Levi, Kyle, Alex, and April? They having any success? I would love to get their addresses so I can write them. Tell Jack have fun in Africa and good luck. Also a interesting fact I learned about in a devotional 1/3 of missionaries go to Latin America, and only 2% of missionaries go to African missions, so Jack is one of few. 

Well my time is coming to an end, I love you guys and can´t wait to talk to you again next week

love, Elder Duke (Jordan)

December 3, 2011: MTC Week 6

1. I would like more ties, some american candy would be awesome, like reeses, or starburst, or jolly ranchers, also I want a REAL Salt lake soccer jersey get the cheaper kind ( not vintage), preferably the really good striker who messed up his foot this year, I can´t remember his name..., and whatever else you want to send my way.
2. Not really needed yet but your sending it anyway.
3. it has to be package envelope thing not a box, boxes can´t get passed customs here, but in uruguay it´s opposite; boxes no package envolopes. so hopefully you didn´t send anything in boxes...
4. yes i´ve gotten the letter from you and the pictures.
P.S. I don´t read what you send until after I type and log off, so I answer questions from the last week in my e-mails, because i get 30 mins total

Now for this week, It´s been good. We went out to proselitismo and me and my comp ran into 5 people who spoke english!! it was crazy. 
We also got our first return date! We were talking to a mna about the Restoration, and he was really interested and asked us to come back next saturday. I hope we can plan a good lesson for him. Also we got 3 other referals for the missionaries out in Buenos Aires so I´m happy. Today we just got new Elders. it was sad to see the other´s leave because we´ve been with them for 6 weeks now, but it´s cool to see new people and get to know them. Their is Elder´s Brown, Brown, Kohl, Nord, Childers, Wald, and Elder Mitchell from New Zealand and a lot of new latino Elders. They´re all pretty cool and it´s always fun to be the "big dogs" who know everything. 

We almost had to swith teachers too, whoch would have been sad because We´ve had the same teachers for 6 week now and they´re the best. But it was a missunderstanding so it´s fine now. also my spelling is not very good because 1: I´m using a spanish keyboard, and 2. Spanish is messing with my spelling alot, so sorry....

I found out the NBA finally made a dal to start around Christmas.......FINALLY! too bad half the season will be lost. You would think they would have learned from last time this happened.... But  i´m glad to hear it´s not over.
With basketball is Josh still doing good? how is he improving? Tell him to just be more aggresive, and really work on bounce passing, because you can get passes into pretty tight spots with a nicley placed bounce pass, and it´s harder to steal bounce passes. Josh just keep being aggresive and prove that you can play, and play well and just keep working hard, YOu growth spurt will come.....hopefully ;)

As for the rest of the week, sunday I spoke about La Virtud (virtue; for you non-spanish speakers) and it went well, Hermana George said my pronuciations is really good. The rest of this week has been kind of same as always, learn more spanish, get better at teaching play some b-ball, same as always, but it´s good.

So how are you guys doing? How´s everyones life? also since letters take forever i´d love it if all the kids e-mailed me as well so I can get stuff to read every P-day. Because p-days without letters makes an Elder very sad :( SP i´d love e-mails, and I print them off so I can read them after and send a letter in response.
another thing, has anyone besides family and band kids sent me a letter? Because I´ve only gotten letters from Dad and Mom and the kids and band Kids and one from Sister Merrick. Tell the friends they should write, like Chris and Mike and Tyler, I want to know how they´re doing. Also Get Jack´s Address for his mission to me, So I can write him.

Speaking of Merrick´s, Tell Chris that Elder Valle is now Serving a mission in Paraguay, Asuncion Norte. Elder Valle was Baptized by Chris when he was living in Melbourne. So tell Chris he did a good job and That Elder Valle says hi and he´ll never forget what Elder Merrick did for him in helping him change his life.

I love you guys, I don´t have time to write more, I talk to you next thursday, I love you 
Elder Duke (Jordan)

November 26, 2011: MTC Week 5

I can´t even remember how long i´ve been here because it´s all just a blur. A lot of new Spanish and new spiritual experiences. We started learning about direct and indirect object pronouns and it´s kind of confusing. Just some of the ways that things are said in Spanish is completely backwards. With spiritual experiences, we have what´s called "Progressive Investigator" which is where one of the teachers plays the part of an investigator and we have to teach them lessons and get them towards baptism. Our last investigator was Bruno. He was very nice and really willing to learn. he read the BoM in a week. And our last day with him we committed him to baptism, and he accepted! It felt awesome, until we realized it wasn't real.......But thinking back on how happy I was, I can´t wait until I can have that felling for reals. That experience made me want to go out and bring the truth to everyone I can find.
Proselyting was hard last week because we went to a new area and the people weren't as friendly. We only got 6 contacts and even then only 1 actually listened to more of our message. i felt really sad that no one would listen, And I felt helpless. It was not a good feeling. Also we got a new investigator and he`s a pastor for the Evangelical Church......I don`t have a clue what we should do, because anything we say he contradicts us and throws scriptures at us like Revelations, where it says" don`t add any more to these writings..." What do I do? Any advice, any help would be appreciated.
I´m going to start writing to all the kids, one per week, starting with Emily. and I´m going to write one to Mom and Dad every week, also if anyone else wants me to write them, put there addresses in an email for me and I´ll start next week when I can. Also about letters and stuff, Did you send that package with my exercise stuff and the pictures and whatever else you were going to put in it? because, I still haven´t gotten it. I don´t know if you just sent it and it hasn't arrived or if you haven´t even sent it. But I would be very happy if I get it soon.

Today is Thanksgiving!!! We had a delicious luch today with Turkey and Jello and sweet potatoes, it was the best part of the day so far!!. So what are you guys doing for the holidays? Are you going up to Idaho, or staying down in Utah? How is the weather? It´s so HOT down here it´s crazy! I can`t believe it`s November and it`s like 85 degrees outside! Has it snowed yet? How much? Just so you know I`m going to cry because I can`t go snowboarding, and I won`t see snow for Christmas :(

How is everyone else. Are Grandma and Grandpa holding up without me there to help ;)
How about Josh and Basketball, he`s starting right? He`d better be. If not work hard and earn it.
Lauren keep practicing that Flute!
 Emily do good in College
Sarah make sure you guys win all the time in Marching band next year
Kaili keep doing great in school and color guard
Mom and Dad keep being great parents
I love all of so much and I can`t wait to see you again and share all the wonderful experiences I have with you

(Jordan) Elder Duke

November 19, 2011: MTC: Week 4

So this week has been really great. During proselyting we taught 2 different people the restoration and I handed out my first Book of Mormon. I told the guy that it was another testimony of Jesus Christ and that it would bless him in his life if he would read it, and he accepted it and when we walked away, and I turned back he had it open and was looking through it. Hopefully he reads it. Also we got new investigadores for Progresive investigador. They're Raquel and Bruno. We haven´t really gotten much from Raquel in terms of commitments, but with Bruno we've committed him to pray for the first time, and read the BoM and he´s done both. He´s also "coming to Church" with us on Sunday so It´s going really well.

I sent a letter directed to Wards (the family) and also a personal letter to each of the kids. I haven´t finished the ones for Mom and Dad so they´ll come later. I've also learned a lot about how better to word questions so they´re more meaningful to the investigadores. Sometimes it´s really hard to come up with a good question, but with practice and faith in the Holy Ghost´s guidance it gets easier. With Elder Minter, It´s true that its hard when we have little in common, but when your both out here for good reasons it really doesn't matter what you look like or how good you are at sports. What matters is that you work together with the spirit to best convey the message of the true gospel. But I am working on making him a better sports player ;).
Also by way of camera, it wasn´t broken, the battery just wasn't in all the it works, but the computer won´t read the camera when you plug it in so I can´t get any pictures sent. I promise as soon as i can I will though, because I have some to send your way. 

November 12, 2011: MTC Week 3

SO this week has been fun, we had only 15 missionaries in the CCM for about a week, because the other district left early on Firday and we didn´t get new people until today. I´ve learneed a lot more Spanish but it´s hard to remember it all. The new Elders are Elder Whiting from Idaho and Elder Alvey from Ogden, UT. Elder Alvey is like 6´6" and really huge. He´s really cool though. The Other Elder I haven´t really talked to so idk what he´s like. We always eat really good food and it´s always with a lot of meat. This email isn't going to be very long because There is a REAL letter coming you way. I love you all so much. By the way that´s kind of weird that you guys looked up my companions parents........just kidding as long as you act like normal people.  (Editor's Note:  No we were not creepy stalkers...we just look his comp up on FB...and his parents... ;) )

 I want you all to know that I´m really loving the experience so far and I hope it´s just gets better and better. Also I got the letter with the kids and the Band kids letters inside, but none from Dad or Mom....... Did you send separate ones? If yes then they just haven´t made it yet. If no then hurry up and send some, because e-mail is only for 30 mins every P-day so I can´t really answer all your questions and really say everything. I love and miss you all sooo much, but I know that i´m where I should be and I love being a missionary. Also i hope that the letter I sent gets to you soon, but don´t freak to much because it can take up to 3 weeks to get from here to there. Also tell the kids I´ll write them back letters in response to their letters, and thank all the band kids for their support. The advice on not getting killed by Yoshi was especially helpful ;). I know that being on a mission is hard and involves a lot of work, but I know if I just try my best and put all my effort into the work, I will see the benefit. I hope that I can change peoples lives with the knowledge of the truth that I have of this wonderful Gospel. I love this gospel and I love my Savior, En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen. 

Again, I love you all so much and thank you for all the support.

Love, Elder Duke (Jordan)

P.S. Is Emily keeping everyone up to date with my FB? If not tell her to get on it, also tell any of the friends they can just send A letter my way and I´d be a very happy person, and I´ll respond back. See you all in 2 years!!

November 5, 2011: MTC Week 2

Things are about the same here. We eat alot of Argentine food for meals but it´s always really good. It usually consists of a lot of meat and then usually potatoes or some kind of veggie on the side. The breakfast was a little hard to get used to because they don´t keep their milk as cold as we do. It´s good though, and a little thicker than ours. About Sundays, we have a chapel in the CCM and it´s just us missionaries and the president and his wife. One district does the sacrament, one does the musical number and then President George just picks at random who is going to speak, so we have to have a talk ready every Sunday, and in Spanish.
On Saturday we went out and proselyted in a little area of  Buenos Aires. it was really hard at first to not be scared to walk up and talk to people, but after a while it got easier. I still have a hard time understanding them though. I´ve learned a lot of verbs and learned a little about present, past, and future tense conjugations. Irregular verbs are a pain in the butt! But I know that I´ll get it eventually. There isn't a way for me to download those pictures, so if you can send me a photo album with the pictures in them. Also I need you to send me those push-up stands and the resistance bands so I have something to workout with. Also I forgot to bring a backpack which is really important so if you can send one down I would be very happy. 

Tell the girls that i´m sure they did great and sometimes what one judge says doesn´t matter and that if they did their best that´s good enough. Tell Josh I expect him to be a starter and he better work towards being one if not, I love you little bro. Lauren, keep working on that flute and try your best. I love you. Emily, do good in you last year of H.S. and don´t slack off at the end, work hard and you´ll succeed in college as well. Kaili, Keep working hard and know that God is always there to help you with anything. Sarah, you keep working on being the best you can be in school, and in you other activities, don´t let anyone tell you, you can´t. Because you can. Mom, thank you for always being there and just being a great mom, know that I miss you everyday, but take comfort in the fact that i´m where i´m supposed to be and the Lord will bless our family. For Dad, Yo Sé que vive me señor. Yo sé que José smith es un profeta. Yo sé que el Libro de Mormón es verdadero. Yo sé que José Smith trasaldaró el Libro de Mormón con ayuda de Dios. Yo sé que jesucristo es mi Salvador. Yo sé que Dios bendecirá nuestra familia para mi servicio. Yo amo mi Salvador y mi Señor. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen. 

Tell everyone that worries or asks about me that i´m safe, and let them know that i´m where i should be at this time in my life.

I love all of you so much,

Love, Jordan (Elder Duke)

October 29, 2011: First "Real" Letter (Week 1 in MTC)

Hey everyone! So about President and Hermana George. I don´t know their last names. About the packages it´s because it´s hard to get them to the MTC or the CCM as they call it here. You can send me packages when I get to Uruguay though. if you need to get stuff to me just send it in one of those big padded envelopes. Tell Lauren I really appreciated the letter and tell her to not cry and be happy. Tell her to tell all her friends how happy she is that her brother is following the Lord. Tell Josh I love him and miss him soooooo much and I tell my fellow elders about his mad basketball skills and how he´ll be an All-star one day. He also better be working out and getting ready for basketball. Emily, find a job. Don´t follow my example and take forever, I love you. Kaili, I struggled with Chem too, so no help there...... I´m kidding, Just work hard and pray for help and you get it. Sarah keep up the good work and don´t ever stop. You´ve always been an example of hard work to me. Mom thanks so much for the quote and don´t be sad, I know that what I´m doing is the right thing to do and that i´ll be blessed for it. I love you Mom. Dad first of all, Yes I am attractive, thank you for noticing and i´m pretty sure my good looks weren´t from you ;) also yes i know alot of verbs and i knew all the ones you mentioned. I still struggle alot with just putting it all together in a sentence that makes sense, but I´m working on it and ´getting better each day. Thanks for always being there for me, I love you. We have a class called Investigador Progresivo (Progressive Investigator) where we have a teacher (Maestro) pretend to be an investigator and we have to teach them. me and Elder Minter (first name is Shawn BTW) are working with "Mariela" and we´ve gotten pretty far with her. She has kept most of the commitments we've given her and seem to like what we´ve taught her. She´s prayed and felt the spirit and she believes that Christ is our Savior. We just don´t know if all her doubts have been resolved. We just learned about irregular verbs. and they are a pain in the butt. there are so many rules and all you can do is memorize them. tell Grandma and Grandpa that I love them and That Josh should be getting stronger with Basketball workouts and he can help ;) . Tell Grandma Duke I love her and I wish I could have seen her before I left. I love all of you and want you to know that i´m out here so that I can bring the truth of the Gospel to the people of Uruguay. I love this Gospel and the Savior and I know that I´ll be blessed for my service. I love all of you so much!
P.S. Tell Jack that´s Awesome!! Congrats! 
P.P.S. I don´t have any pictures but I will next Thursday.
P.P.P.S. I haven´t finished my letters and they won´t be putting them in the pouch until next Thursday.

I love you all again and i miss you all so much

Love, Jordan (Elder Duke)

October 22, 2011: Week 1 First Email from Missionary Training Center in Argentina

We got the the airport around 9 AM. It was really long and hard to fall asleep. I couldn't take any pictures on the way because I left my camera in my baggage above us. I promise to take more though. P-days are Thursdays and I will e-mail you then. My companion is Elder Minter from California. Sister George said not to sent boxes at all, send stuff in the padded envelopes. I love you,
Elder Duke