Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 28, 2012: Week 32

Hola, Familia!
This week was good, and to top it off we had 6 people in the church this week and a total of 33 people came to church, which is more then have come for over a year. It was really great! It especially helped to gain a little more confidence from the Branch President. I thought about what you said Dad, and you're right. I shouldn't think of not bringing people into the church. I was just frustrated with this area and the lack of support from the members. Now we are working hard, and we have 4 people with fecha for bautismo (Baptism date). So this week was super great!

Also we went fishing this morning with a member at a little pond. It was really beatiful and I caught like 6 fish! Half of them were too small to keep but afterwards we cooked them and had fish for lunch. It was delicious!

WOW! I remember when I graduated from seminary. I still remember that phone call from Bro Becar like the day before asking if I would speak. When is graduation for HS? Its coming up really soon huh? You guys really are getting old. 2 out of HS.

How excited is Aunt Shawna about Alex coming home in less then 5 months? It's so crazy that he is almost done! Feels like just yesterday that he left. Another crazy thing is I'll have 1 year exactly in the mission when he has 2.

Ouch! I'm sorry to hear about Grandma and the surgery. Hope all goes well there. I will definitely send her a letter. Tell me how the trip is if you go out to visit them.

Yeah! Graciela is a menos activa (less active church member), and we are working with her son as an investigator. I already have the newspaper clip stashed away to keep as a recuerdo (momento). It's funny because it's a sea of mas o menos darker skinned people,,,then BAM tall skinny white guy right in the middle, LOL! I thought it was super hilarious when she showed me the picture. Watching them turn the Puente (bridge) wasn't that exciting but it's cool that I got in the front page of the newspaper of Carmelo. BTW, I didn't get more pictures of the Puente because I forgot my camera in the casa.

I knew you'd buy a nice TV after I left! Only a little less then 1 and a half and I can enjoy it too! :)
Lol, it's great that mom thought 42" is small! Love you mom!

Way to go Josh! Capo! (means stud in spanish, and here they use it as both terms for stud) All 12 major scales in under 90 secs! I don't think I could have done that. Then again with percussion you don't have to breathe as much ;) Keep up the awesome work, Josh!

That's super cool that Sis. Diaz's daughter came to church with them. She has to have like 20 something years no? It's great to hear that they are excepting her as family. Maybe coming to church and the graduation is what will start her investigation in the church and capàz (perhaps) eventually joining of the church. I'm sure that would be great for Sis. Diaz, especially.

Good, I espect reports on how your missionary work is going with any new neighbors.

We have found a lot of great jovenes (young people) for the rama (branch) from our activities de Fùtbol on Saturdays, which is good because the rama has 2 jovenes total, both deacons. All of them have excepted fechas de bautismo and are preparing for the 16th of June as their fecha. We'll see how it turns out.

To tell the truth, I haven't really thought about my birthday. Remember that I'm the kid who slept in until like noon on my 16th birthday and who forgot it was even my birthday until I was surprised by all the friends from the neighborhood in the house singing to me. But still it's crazy to think that I am leaving the "Teens." That makes me feel old! Not as old as Mom and Dad of course. ;) Hopefully my birthday packages come tomorrow. If not I'll get them on the 7th of June, so not too bad.

Sounds like this next week will be super busy with graduations and parties and band and all. Actually, doesn't sound like much more running around then a typical day at the Duke House.

Tell Alicia congrats on her graduation and Lizzy about her Young Womens medallion.

EMILY, HAPPY GRADUATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How do you feel? A little nervous? Don't be it's not that bad. WOOOHOOO!!!!

Have fun "Celebrating" Memorial Day!

I love you guys and want you all to know how much I love my Savior and what he has done for me. I love this gospel and feel priviledged to be able to share it with others.

Keep being awesome!
Elder Jordan Duke

May 28, 2012: Pics from Tacuarembó & Carmelo, Uruguay

Add caption

With Elder Atkinson at their "separation."

Elder Lopez

Elder Lopez

Outside their house in Tacuarembó

Tacuarembó District

Drawn by Elder Duke

Fishing in Carmelo

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21, 2012: Pics from Tacuarembó

May 21, 2012: Week 31

  In the apartment in Tacuarembó.

This week has been good. it went by fast. We got some stuff repaired in the house because we're most likely moving houses soon, and we need to have the house in good condition before we leave. Let's just say it wasn't very "good" when I got here.

We starting to get a little more together with the ward, but we had a big fall when my comp called one of the members a Pharisee. I told him that was not a smart thing to say, and the Branch President talked to him and asked him to apologize. So now were trying to climb back up. The longer I've been here, the more I've noticed, that this branch isn't ready for new converts. There is way too much contention between the members and half the branch stopped coming to church because of who the branch president is. We've had meetings with the Branch Presidency and have talked about how right now if we brought new people in, they would come in one door and leave out the other. So right now the big thing we are working on is reactivation of part member families and getting those that aren't members baptized.

I still wonder sometimes why I was sent out here to Carmelo, but I know that Pres. Heaton didn't just pull our names out of a hat, and I have faith that he was inspired to send me here. SO, I'm just going to work hard and do everything I can to help lift this branch back up, because right now it's on the verge of collapsing.

So thats how the branch is going. Investigadores; Lucas has lost most of his interest, we don't know why but for some reason he just stopped caring. We'll see how it goes.

The wedding of Eduardo and Cintia is still on, we are super excited for them and we are working with them to set a goal for the Temple, after he gets baptized of course ;)

We haven't been able to get ahold of Susana and Carlos this week, They might have gone vacationing somewhere or out to visit relatives up in Artigas.   think that is where they live. We're going to go by and try to "refind" them tomorrow.

Agustin has been hard to find as well because of school and some troubles in their family. I think they said the Mom's dad,  or his grandpa, is really sick and probably won't be here for much longer so they've been gone a lot this week. We did however have a good lesson with him and Eduardo in the house of Eduardo about the plan of salvation and how families can be together forever (Cintia the, Fiancee of Eduardo, is the older sister of Agustin. Yeah,here everyone lives next to each other here as families, sometimes like 4 or 5 generations in the same little land area.

About Lizzy....I was planning on waiting for her reply so I could reply to it and answer questions, but I still haven't got it. I'm almost positive you said she sent another letter, but it hasn't showed. If she wants I'll just send her one and reply to the other when it comes.

Still haven't received any packages yet, but tomorrow we get the bolsa so we'll see.

For the commitment pattern stuff I'll put it this way:  If I don't do it, it doesn't happen. I don't know why but Elder Salgado doesn't commit them to do anything, I'm starting to wonder if he's given up on this area. He just wants to go by people and watch little church movies like "The Restoration" and talk about it for a few mins. So I've gotten a lot of practice with commitments. ;)

That's awesome that Josh is on 2nd part. Tell Kaili good luck with colorguard captain! And about the Lemens.  So awesome about their new daughter. Let them know I love them and am glad for them.

I have an idea/desafio (challenge) for the family. Go talk to the neighboors and invite them to church or someting and try to get them involved. Keep me updated on how it goes :)

Thats so cool that so many people are leaving on missions now! Send them good luck and best wishes from me.

I'll be looking forward to those packages and Letters and Emily's Graduation invite. I can't believe she is almost out of high school!!

Mom and Dad, you really are getting old ;) lol!

I love you guys! Keep being awesome and know that Your Heavenly Father is always there.

Elder Jordan Duke

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012: Week 30

¡Hola Familia! ¿Còmo Estàn? Ya estamos en la tercera semana de mi cuarto cambio. El tiempo esta pasando tan rapido.

(Hi Family!  How are you? Well, we're in the third week of my fourth change.  The time is going by so fast.)

Ok that's enough spanish for now, but it was SUPER AWESOME to talk to you guys!!! It's great to know that your doing good. I was going to ask you guys this but I forgot; What's the time difference from here to there?

I pulled out only a part of the money, I'm just going to keep the rest in there for later or emergencias. Thanks for the reminder! I'll write a really long letter, It'll say "PICS."
There aren't any DHL or UPS FedEx here, so you'll just have to wait for the snail mail....lo siento.

Me and Elder Salgado are doing better. There are still days where I want to strangle him, but for the most part it's mejor (better) . We aren't over at a bunch of memberes houses on the internet anymore. I think it's because Presidente said something to him in his weekly e-mail. For now all good.

Something funny, I've thought the same thing before, "Why do some of these "trucho" (lazy) goof-off elders have success and get baptisms, but I'm not and I'm trying to be obedient?" I definitely love the people, they are always really sincere and have big hearts. They can still be lazy, but I can't change that. I'm definitely working on accepting their culture more and loving them more. And Dad, I don't consider it lecturing when you talk to me. I love hearing your advice. It helps me a lot to hear from someone who has experience. Thanks Dad.

Ya, I'd love my ring, and I'll think about the other one ;) lol!

Hey, something random I was going to bring up in the call but I forgot, my arm hairs are darker now and now I could probably grow a nice goatee...I have to shave all the time now.  Random, I know. ;)

Tell Emily that I don't want to see a wedding invitation in the mail. She has to wait until I get home so we can go on some double dates or something. I think that I would care a little more about Her kissing some guy on the Aggie A, if she hadn't already kissed a bunch of boys..... What's the count at? like 15? lol Just kidding I know it's not that high......or is it.........hopefully not. ;)

I don't have much more to say because we talked yesterday.

I want to leave you guys with one of my favorite scriptures: D&C 6:33-37

"Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.
Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.
Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.
Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven."

I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Jordan Duke

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012: Week 29 Second Week in Carmelo

Hey family! And whoever else actually reads my emails. Before I start I have a few questions and things to say, and if I don't say them now I'll forget. I recieved the package of Shoes socks and the SD card and pics. Also I got a letter from both Grandma Duke (with the $20) and a letter from Grandma and Grandpa Ward. I recieved a Letter from Dayna, but I can't respond without her address because she used the Gmail to send it, so I need her address.

Ok now to start. I still have no idea about the calling, but we have Zone Conference on Wednesday so I'm going to ask then. I'll only be calling because no one here has Skype. The people here barely have internet. I'll be doing a quick call to Mom's phone so you guys can have my number to call me. I figure I'll be calling around 8 P.M. which is 5 there I think.

My conversation with Elder Salgado definitely went.....well good wouldn't be the word to describe it. He tried to use the Missionary Handbook to justify his "service." and then tried to show me how I was wrong for not wanting to serve the people. I then showed him where it says we can't use the internet besides writing our families and President, and he got mad. I really don't know how we have success, (we are pulling the best numbers in our District), because our relationship as a companionship isn't good. He doesn't want to listen to what I say, so I'm going to have to take it to the President. I'll let you know how it goes. BTW, thanks for the tip Uncle Steve, lol!

I'll be waiting for those surprises and B-day presents :) and hopefully the package with my coat gets here with the coat in it...

As for the money I think I'm just going to keep it in there to use for souveneirs later.

Wow, Emily ran all that???  I thought she hated running......hmmm. Great job though, both Emily and Sarah!!! BTW, Emily looks beautiful in her picture. I'll make sure to show it to as many missionaries as I can ;) lol!

I knew Jonathan (Bardalez)  was in dance company, but I didn't know how good he was. Tell him Hi.

Josh, way to be awesome!! Keep working on those drumsand I'll see you on Drumline when I get back :) Lauren, Hopefully I'll know who you are when I get back, from what I hear, your growing alot. Keep up the practice and hard work on the flute.  BTW I got your letter, thanks!

I had no idea about that stuff about Carmelo. I knew there were alot of drunk people here, but now I know why. I'll definitely work on that with them ;) (Carmelo is known for its wine production.)

I figured the Jazz weren't going to do too good, but they'll be better for when I get back. I actually have gotten more into soccer now and tell everyone that REAL Saltlake is the defending champs of USA. Of course, then they tell me that USA Soccer isn't that good anyway.  UVU baseball has 24 wins im a row? WOW! and they beat BYU. IMPRESSIVE.

As for here in Carmelo, I know we will definitely be getting baptisms this change. We have some super good investigadors. Again the only problem is coming to church. I'll give the names so you can pray for them.

Carlos and Susana, he is really receptive, but she is super hardcore catholic. They just need help with coming to church.

Lucas, His mom is menos activa (less active) and is a pushover with her kids. He needs help understanding that not all the churches are the same.

Agustin, he is the son of a menos activa family and were working on getting them back to church.

Eduardo, he is the husband of a menos activa, they have an 4 yr old and are expecting another soon. They are getting married on the 25th of this month and we are working with them to get him baptized and then to the Temple.

That's all I can think of for now. Thank you for all the support and for being the best family in the world!!

Con Mucho Cariño y Amor,
Elder Jordan Duke