Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23, 2012: Week 40

Hey fam!

Doing good here, and you guys? This week has been good alot of interesting stuff. First for changes we went down to Colonia and we went around so Elder Glenn could buy recuerdos. Then we were waiting for our new comps and when they showed up my comp wasn't with them. So we called the office and they said that they had to buy a ticket for Elder Ruiz directly to Carmelo. So I had to take a hour and a half bus ride by myself. It was really weird...

Then we met not one but 2 crazy old ladies that were trying to convince us that reincarnation is true.... Really weird and the one said that she saw Jesus and that he was sitting by a river, so she took her grandkids that were with her to go be baptized by Jesus. (at this point I was trying really hard not to laugh...) Then she said that her husband saw her walking towards the guy and freaked out and chased the man into the woods with his guacho knife.(Right there is were I almost lost it and had to look away from her and cover my mouth to keep from laughing). Then not even a day later we ran into another lady that told us that she was going to die and reincarnate into one of her kids. (which makes no sense because her kids are still living...) Then she asked me "If I asked you who/what are you, what would you say?" So I told her that I'm a Son of God. And her response was that I was trying to find who I was outside instead of looking inside. So then I explained to her that I never said I think I said I know and that I wasn't looking for anything because I had already found it. But didn't matter anyway because she just ignored my response and started going off on how we're all just pieces of the universe of something. Really weird.


Ruben- He fell super hard this last week and even went to the point of returning us the books and folletos (pamphlets) we had given him. He was smoking and had drank and told us that he didn't want it anymore. So then we explained how we were there to just help him. and that we didn't come miles and miles to tell him a lie. We asked him to that night say a prayer and ask if this is the right path and if he felt it was then to come to church on sunday. He didn't come.... but were going to pass by today or tomorrow to visit him and see if he prayed or not. We're not giving up on him that easy!

Marcos and Kevin- Still have yet to miss a Sunday in who knows how long. Problem is still with the parents not approving it. Well in Marcos' case anyway. Kevin--we still can't find his parents but were working on it. Both great kids also and are always there every Sunday without fail.

Marcela y Flia- they're doing good. We've had a couple visits with them, but they didn't come to church this sunday. Alberto is leaving for Deo again this week and doesn't return until next week. We're going to get them in the water though for sure.

Janet- No contact this week because she was in Deo for EZEQUIEL'S BAPTISM!! He is such a stud! future missionary right there.

Claudia- no it's not Oscar's mom. We found her on thursday and she is great. She is 40 mas o menos and lives with just 1 daughter of 15. She is a truck driver as her occupation and is gone alot, but she said she was going to take the BOM with her and read it when she travels. Hoping it goes good with them.

We have other great people as well like Marita who we had a great lesson with, and Hna Nubia Bulfo. Also Hno Ferrer is in his house now after his operation on his foot. He's doing good and we are taking him the santa cena until he recovers and can come to church.

That's it for investigadores this week.

I'm positive that Elder Glenn  will learn alot in Spain. I'm glad to know that Elder Glenn thinks that I have a "Rock Solid Testimony." In the end I realized that the assistants do put their pants on one leg at a time....just faster. ;)

Sad thing I don't remember almost any of the names from people in the ward especially the newer people from when we changed the boundaires. I guess it's because I've just been meeting so many new people in such a little time that there isn't room in my brain for all of it. Sorry Bro Chenn and Thomas...

Not surprised that Josh cooked well. I would have loved to have been there. Maybe when I get back they call me into scouts or something, then I could be there with my little bro as his leader. What do you think Josh?

Elder Ruiz is from a city outside of Quito called Ambato. He said it resides in the Quito mission. It's almost literally right in the middle of Ecuador and it sits at the base of a volcano. Mt. Tungurahua. He said that there are missionaries in his ward also.

I love you guys and am so grateful for all the support! Que tengan una buena semana!

Love, Elder Jordan Duke

Friday, July 20, 2012

July 17, 2012: Week 39

Hey everyone, This week was a little weird because of how funny Elder Glenn was. Don´t get me wrong, he warked super hard until the end, just the mornings when we were studying he´d be freaking out. It was kind of funny. We have a lot of great people we´re working with and the area is going good.

First off my new comp is Elder Ruiz from.............Ecuador. Where I don't know, but when I find out I'll tell you. All I know about him is that he's my MTC comp's trainer (Elder Minter) and that he's coming from Artigas.

The investigadores we have are as follows:

Ruben- He's 60 yrs old mas o menos (more or less) and he has problems with smoking and drinking. he only drinks wine though and hates beer, vodka, etc. He's down to 2 cigarettes or 1 a day but he just needs help and a little push to get that last part before his baptism on the 22nd of July.

Alberto(40), Sonia(17) & Tamara(10)- They are the husband and daughters of Marcela (menos activa). They are a really great family and Alberto came to church on Sunday. Sonia is 17 and she is a little bit harder. She likes talking and listening but doesn't seem very interested. Alberto is a for sure baptism though and probably around the beggining of August since the first time he's come to church was this Sunday. Tamara is 10 and likes everything but lives with her dad and is almost never there.

Andrea(35ish), Julio(35ish), Ignacio(Nacho)(14), Juan(10)- This is the family of six. They have another older daughter, 17/18 who lives in Mercedes and 3 younger kids, daughter of 7 and twins, 2 1/2. They are a great family and all are very active in the lessons and want to learn more. The thing with them is they are really shy and so we're trying to work with getting friends for them so they have some one to be with them on Sundays. Also Julio and Andrea aren't married...

Marcos(12) & Kevin(11)- Both friends of Marcelo Gomez (active member) and Oscar, our convert. Marcos is a shew in for baptism and hasn't missed a sunday in almost 3 months. The problem is with his parents who say that he needs to start behaving better at home before he makes that commitment. We are working with him and trying to help remind him to behave at school and home. Kevin is a great kid but his parents are impossible to find. We've tried for a couple weeks to find them. He's been coming pretty much all the time as well.

Janet(50ish)- The mother of the soon-to-be-missionary/ getting baptized this saturday Ezequiel. She still has a few doubts but the big one is that years ago her cousin was trying to invite her to her church and to listen to the sermons and pastors and stuff but she never went. Now she thinks that if she starts coming with us that she'll be going behind the back of her cousin and she is afraid it will ruin the relationship with her. Don't know exactally what to do there but we're praying about it.

That's about it for now on the investigadores. We've found some new people and I'll update you on them if they start progressing.

I'll be sending a bunch of photos to show kind of what's been going down.

Dad going camping with the Scouts! lol, It's hard to imagine that. ;)

I'm glad to know that Sis. Western got my letter. She writes all the time and it's really great to have the support.

Don't worry I'll write Chris, but until the letter gets there tell him I'll kick his butt if he doesn't get back to church. I worked at a grocery store and one that was even tougher about Sundays, I know how it works and it's not hard to get off, at least some of them.

The Branch President is Victor Hugo Gonzalez. His wife is Lilian and they have 4 kids all grown up and living in Argentina. All menos activo as well... He's a good man, but like all people has his faults. He is really brutal sometimes and offends a lot of people, but then again it's because the people here are softies ;)

Make sure to get that message to Elder Jensen!

Emily leaves in 5 weeks! wow........ well have fun with 4 kids in the house.

I love you guys and want you to know that I love my Savior as well! I'm so glad I chose to come on a mission. It's the best! Josh, my brother, I'm doing this mostly for you. You'd better not let me down and miss this once in a life time chance. I expect you to be even more prepared than I was. That means start now, bud. Read scriptures and pray every morning and night. Don't worry though, you don't have to get up at 6:30 every morning ;)

I love you all more than I love Alfajores (a sandwich cookie, shortbread with dulce de leche in the middle), which is a lot!

Love, Elder Jordan Duke



Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9, 2012: Week 38

Hey family!

How are you all doing? I'm great! We are going to have another baptism on the 15th. His name is Ruben. He's the older guy who lives in a little 1 room house. He had problems with smoking and drinking but now we've helped him drop those vices. He is a really humble man and has a lot of faith. I know that this will bless him in his life so much. Also we've had some little miracles where we found the rest of the families of Andrea and Marcela. Last night was the birthday of Marcela and it was great. We had super delicious cake and a nice little lesson with the family and friends. We've kept a little contact with Janet (the lady with a son in Deo) but she went to Argentina for a week or 2, so it's going to be hard for a little. We still do soccer and it's going good, we've met a lot of great kids and are working with them. Also we have talent show on the 14th with the Branch. It's going to be so fun!

So to start off I have a few questions/stories. First is that I gave my taco mixes to a member to help him make tacos for his birthday. We didn't end up using them all and we asked for a couple back to make tacos with another family, and I told him I'd get him more taco packets back to replace the ones I took. So, long story short I need more taco mix. Second is a question: How old is Grandpa Ward? Is he 88 or 87? Third was about the stamps so you already answered that.

Last is a story of something that happened last week. SO in the morning we were leaving from a lesson with Ruben and we were contacting down a certain street. As we were walking a man motioned us to come over. He asked us if we wanted to sit down and we said sure. he got chairs out and we sat down and the first thing he said was, "I love what you guys are doing trying to help people, but I'll tell you why your wrong." It took us by surprise. "What do you mean wrong?" "Well you see in the Bible it talks about how you can't add anymore to the Bible in Revelations, and Paul says that if a man comes saying he recieved good news from an angel, cursed be him and blah blah blah." Of course we thought, "great another one of these people...." We bore him our testimonies and then started to explain to him more. He just got frustrated and kept giving us the same reasons and scriptures of why we're not right. This is were the story gets crazy. He then told us that he knows the truth. We asked how, and guess what he said... He told us about how he saw Jesus Christ in a blue light, (first indicator there, the light wouldn't be blue...) Then he said that he had written another book of his accounts and claimed it to be scripture. We just listened to him, and then told him thanks for the time but, we're just going to leave now. Then he got mad and started saying that I fell into the trap of satan because I use glasses.....and how if I had real faith I would be healed. Which made no sense because he had to use glasses too. I just nicely as I could explained to him that he was wrong and that no matter what he said, we know the truth and nothing he said will steer us from the path. We then just got up and left. I felt super weird and Elder Glenn said he felt weird also. We then were talking about it and how it says that satan can come in the form of a angel of light, but if it was really Jesus it wouldn't be a blue light and Jesus wouldn't "tie" you down to your bed with his power like the guy told us. So we met a crazy Prophet man last week, really interesting...

I told Elder Glenn about how you guys were invited to his homecoming and he says "Great see you there!"

Tell Brad he'd better watch it. ;) 

Scout camp! The memories are endless. Hope the food is good. The food that we made was like a breakfast burrito without the burrito. It had rice, ham. cheese, peppers, onions, and potatoes with seasoning. It was great!

Good thing we finally got rain! I was scared that utah would be all black and burnt when I get back ;) It's a great blessing though.

Wow, sounds like the NBA is going to be interesting this year, well see what happens.

Lehi in 5A, weird. And good luck with Timpview. I think we'll do great!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA!!! I'll make sure to write a letter and tell you in there, too.

Thanks everyone, family, friends, church leaders for all your support in helping me be where I am now. I'm grateful for all your examples to me. I know this church is true and that I'm helping to complete the Lord's work in Uruguay.

Elder Duke

P.S. I'll definitely not do anything stupid, Lauren ;)

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2, 2012: Week 37

I can't believe that June is already over! Time is going by soo fast! Elder Glenn is getting worried because he leaves on July 18th, which is changes. People always ask him how much time he has in the mission and he hates it, lol! Then they ask me....

The thing I hate the most is when they say "Oh, your Spanish is worse than his, which means that he's been here longer." No Duh. Thanks, Captain obvious... I've kind of just gotten used to it now. Still bugs me a little though.

Anyway, the area is good. We are seeing a lot of miracles out here and we definitely can tell that God hasn't given up on Carmelo, even though sadly a lot think that way. This Sunday we had a small amount of people in the church. We had the friend of Marcelo that plays futbol, Marcos. And the Mom of Ezequiel went to church with him down in Deo (Montevideo). Ruben is doing better and we had a great lesson with him on La Palabra de Sabidurìa (Word of Wisdom), and he dumped out his last bottles of beer and we confiscated his tobacco. He has the desires to follow Christ and change his life. He couldn't come to church though because he had to go to the hospital from an asthma attack. Don't worry, he's alright now. The big family is doing good, still haven't gotten the rest of the family to church but we're working on it with them. We also found another family with 6 kids. They are super great and we are going to do all possible to get them to church.

Last night we were at the Branch President's house to give his wife the Santa Cena (Sacrament) and a blessing because she has missed church for almost a month from problems with diabetes. We had a nice time and we set up a noche de hogar (family night) with them and some of their friends who they want to know the gospel. Hope it goes well. Also one of their neighbors found their cat that had been missing for a few weeks. It was kind of weird how emotional they were, but I was happy for them. We also ran all the way across the city to get some cans of tuna that we had at the house. First time I've ran in a long time, and it was SUPER humid so it was hard to breathe.

WOW! I can't believe that marching season is almost over! I swear it just started....I mean thought, I can't swear.... ;)

How are the kids liking it. Looks like it's getting pretty hot up there. Here has been weird, it's supposed to be cold but we've been having a weird heat wave and it's like we're in summer also.

Mason is home? No me digas! (You don't say!) And Bean gets home in a month? Craziness! Mason went to a "Spanish" speaking mission right? How is his spanish? Mas o menos? I'm doing alright in Spanish, I understand pretty much everything now and I definitely speak better. For some reason, I can write Spanish better than I can speak it. No sè. (I don't know.)...the accent button is screwed up on this computer, I know it's supposed to be the other way.

About then money, I plan on saving it. I want to save it to have some when I get home and also to buy some souveneirs before I leave. Definitely not going to buy some every week though. I pulled some out because I had literally 0 and we couldn't turn in reembolsos (reimbursements) because we went to the hospital instead of District Meeting. But it's all good now and we got our money for the month today.

Funny thing about that First Presidency address, I am in the middle of my mission! Sort of. But I like what it says, when I first started I was like that and was scared to talk, now I just come in more naturally and I feel alot better about the lessons when I give my part and my testimony.

I'm glad that Josh (Jensen) says hi, Is he nervous to be leaving in 2 days? I'm sure he's not half as bad as his mom ;) Give him this note. and don't translate it for him he has to figure it out. "Suerte Elder, tu misiòn serà una de las bendiciones mas grande que vas a tener en tu vida. No te preocupes, el español vendrà con tiempo. Bienvenidos al Ejercito de Dios!"

I love you guys and am happy to hear that being out here is helping to bless our family. I want you to all know that I consider Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father my best friends. I love them and am very happy to be able to represent Christ each day as I put on that name tag. I know this is the Church of Christ and that through living it we will recieve the greatest gift that God has for us, Eternal Life.

I love you all TONS!!!

Elder Jordan Duke

P.S. I'm going to attach some pics as well

1. A funny sign at a burrito place in Ciudad Vieja in Montevideo.

2-4. Us cooking by ourselves for lunch...scary I know. ;)

5&6. Ciudad Vieja (Old City), Montevideo.

7&8. Elder's Glenn, Salmond, Pineda and me at a burrito place in Montevideo