Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 28, 2012: Week 45

Well to start off I'm..............going to Artigas, Barrio 2!! My new comp will be Elder Petersen, no idea where he is from, just know that he's gringo. I now have 50/50 3 latinos, 3 gringos as comps. The only thing that isn't great about going to Artigas is that it's 12 hrs of traveling in a bus..... at least there will most likely be other missionaries also. Elder Ruiz had to come down from Artigas all by himself. Also something funny is that I'm going to the exact same area that Elder Ruiz came from. He was telling me about the area, and it sounds awesome! He also said that there are alot of great people there and alot of people to baptize.

Also we just got the news from Pte Heaton that Elder Oaks is coming 27th of Oct. and we're going to have a reunion in Montevideo with both missions!! That's going to be crazy packed!! I'm super excited to get to meet an Apostle. It will be my second time in the mission! Elder Christofferson came to the CCM when I was there. Also this month Elder Viñas is coming. These next 2 months are going to be crazy! Not to mention I'l hit my year mark...

I was talking to Elder Atkinson last night and he told me that his family is coming to get him and they'll be in Artigas on saturday and sunday. I think it's going to be weird seeing him again after a ton of time and with his family... It will be great though. I still can't believe he is leaving.....so crazy fast.....

To tell you more about Elder Ruiz. He is from a family of 6. He is in the middle. He has an older brother an older sister and 1 younger brother. The family is all members. His parents are converts of about 25 years. His older brother served a mission in Colombia, and his younger brother is filling out his mission papers and will most likely leave the end of this year or beginining of the next. Also his older brother is maried and has a daughter. So Elder Ruiz has a niece that he doesn't even know yet. His dad is the Bishop of their ward. Elder Ruiz studied english in college before coming on the mission and worked as a DJ. I do talk to him about a lot of stuff I just forget to tell you guys...lol
We didn't get anymore baptisms, but there are a lot of great people that we are working with. I was told that there are a lot of great people in my new area that need to get baptized.

I hope that Kaili and Sarah get there licenses soon....lol. I don't know how good I'm going to be as a driver after 2 years without touching a car...

I glad to hear that all is going well and that everyone is busy being awesome!! I love you guys! I'l have more to say next week when I'm in Artigas.

Love, Elder Jordan Duke

Here's more pics. One is a tower of animals I did, another my last district in Colonia, another of my Zone in Colonia. One is me in front of the Ocean in Colonia. And the others are me and Elder Ruiz using a really old lawmower. Enjoy!

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20, 2012: Week 44

Wow! this change flew by! It's really worrying me how fast this is happening. I realized when I read Dad's email that I have exactly 2 months until I have been gone for a year.... I swear I just left. Also scary because I'm at that point where I could go up as senior comp and I could train. I don't think I will quite yet, but it's possible. Also to answer your question Dad, yes we have junior and senior comp and what's called "Compañeros de Proselitismo." (Co-Comps) Most of the time no one is Compañeros de proselitismo--usually goes straight to senior from junior.

Also Marcos got confirmed yesterday. If all goes well we should have 2 more baptisms possibly 3, two more friends of Marcelo Gomez and a granddaughter of a menos activo that we recently reactivated named Ayelen (Here in Uruguay pronounced A"sh"elen because the y and double l makes the "sh" sound).

I can't believe that your already in college Emily!!!!!!!! That's nuts!! Who is your roommate? Is she cute? lol ;) Have fun in college and don't be a slacker like me. What is you major anyway? You changed so many times I don't remember which one you finally went with...

As for the mail, absolutely nothing is coming into Uruguay. No packages, letters, nothing. We aren't even getting the letter from the pouch. I sure hope it ends soon, one things for sure is that the Bolsas are going to be overflowing when it ends. Going on almost 1 1/2 months now with no one getting anything... I also thought that since I'm pretty sure that you guys are still able to get letters from us, that it would be good for now to use that urugoest@gmail.com that we have to write me letters until it stops. But for now nothing handwritten with a stamp is coming my way.

Funny thing is "that girl" has probably gotten more letters from me than some in my family...but I'll write her. I'm pretty sure I sent one last week or 2 weeks ago. Still I will write another. Also I knew I'd never get that ring back (Jordan's CTR ring....not THAT kind), either from her or Emily, whichever one ended up with it.

Why am I not surprised that Dayna is engaged... :) You know, the name Andrew McCoristin sounds really familiar. I think I know him. All I have to say is that he better have gone on a mission. ;)

Did Kerryn or Laura get married first?

I sure hope Chandler is still considering a service mission at least. If not that he stays active in the church. I know that he doesn't really have much help from his screwed up siblings, but he's a good guy and I'd hate to see him lose his way. I'll be praying for him.

The investigators are good. Like I said, we have 2 possibly 3 baptisms before the end of August. Also we are starting to talk to some of the sibling of Kevin but not much progress there because we haven't had much contact with them lately. We are also doing A LOT of menos activo visits and it's paying off.  This sunday we had almost double the assistance (that would be "attendance" in English....the Spanish word for attend is "assistir a") in church with a good 6 or 7 menos activos (less actives).

We're working right now to start building up the youth part of this Branch which is sorely lacking. The youth are definitely the "life" of the Ward(branch). Also turns out the JW's only wanted to Bible bash. Not a big surprise, but they did give me a folleto from their church and it's pretty interesting, of course it's a bunch of bologna, but still good to know more about the other religions.

I'm still Junior comp for now. It's possible that I go up in the next change or few. I think I will be a little dissapointed to leave the area, because there is still sooo much to do here, but if it's what happens I'll just go with it and keep working hard.

I still can't believe that Elder Atkinson is leaving! I got his little goodbye letter in the Bolsa last week. just weird....

Wow, Cotton is now gone also.

And I think that Elder Atkison said that he has a friend in the Rapid City Mission, is it English or Spanish speaking for Garrett?

It's great to see how many people are going out on mission we really need it.

Elder Viñas will be here 19th-21st of September and Elder Oaks is coming in October, should be great!!

Contacting here is a little diferent. Here you clap your hands to "knock" the door. It's still a little weird, but I'm getting used to it. Sometimes it's just knocking on the door or ringing the doorbell, except that 9 out of 10 doorbells here don't work...

Thanks for always  being the best most supportive family ever! I love you guys super tons (I don't know if that works grammatically but I don't care!). Stay on the path or like I read in a quote recently from some church leader: "I don't follow the straight and narrow path to exactness, but I try to cross it as much as possible." :)

I love you guys!

Elder Jordan Duke

P.S. Here's a picture of me knocking on the Devil's Door ;)

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13, 2012: Week 43

Ok this time I won't write in Spanish. There is google translate you know ;) This week was great as you can tell by the pics, Marcos got baptized! The pics didn't turn out to great, someone had their finger in front of the lens. (Can't trust a 11 year old to take a picture, lol). It was so great that his parents finally gave him permission to make this step. All the group of friends came to the baptism and were there to support him which was great.  Soon we'll have that whole group of friends baptized ;) Also in a couple of weeks Marcos will recieve the Aaronic Priesthood. Now we have 2 jovenes (young men) instead of 1. The Young Womens still doesn't exist, but we'll fix that :) That was the miracle this week.

Also we had a good turn out in church, and we got Marcela Rodriguez (Menos activa of around 2 years) and Hna Crespo to come back to church and they both have said they are back for good. We'll see. I'm hoping so and we are definitely working with them to keep them going strong.

Janet-  Left again for Buenos Aires so we didn't have much contact with her, really not at all. Still doing good and Ezequiel is helping a lot.

Kevin- We found his sister and his cousin who both live with him and we are helping him work towards the 19th, this next Sunday. His cousin and sister would be in a few weeks like the end of August, beginning of September.

Marcos- (see photos for more information, lol) BAPTIZED!

Daiana- She is doing good. She was really sick this past week and couldn't come to church but she is progressing well. Still a little stuck on the traditions of the Catholic Church, but she is starting to notice how many contradictions there are in the Catholic Church. (Really not hard to do that, just look at the first 2 commandmentsof the 10.)

Alejandra and Matias- They're doing alright. Alejandra is still looking for a job because she quit the one at Los Balla. We're trying to help her with that and as well to help her finally quit smoking. She's right there, she only smokes like 5-6 a day. I think by the end of August they'll be in white.

Claudia- She just dissapeared, still hasn't showed up from her trip. I don't know. She doesn't respond to our messages either..

Also this week we found a young couple who are Jehovah's Witnesses and a man named Julio. He's a little more open as you can imagine. The young couple is very nice but I wonder whether they just want to fight over who has the truth, or if they are willing to listen.  We'll see.

Also speaking of Jehova's Witnesses, we met another one who told us we can't be the true church because we help in the army when our country is at war, and we are breaking the commandment "thou shall not kill." We tried to explain to her how it means innocent blood, and that someone with a gun trying to kill you isn't really that innocent. As well that the Chosen people of God went to battle hundreds of times. She told us that was back then and that now is diferent. After a few minutes of talking we just told her that we don't want to fight with her. We nicely invited her to read in Matthew 18:11 and to have a nice day. (The Bible of the Jehovah's Witnesses doesn't have that scripture, it just says 11.---- with a line after the number. ;) )

So a few things I need to say:
First- There is an international stoppage of mail, so no one is receiving nor have we recieved any kind of mail in a little over a month, but they decided to just tell us so we all thought that our families had forgotten about us ;) but I knew you guys hadn't. So just so you know I haven't gotten any letters or anything for about 5 weeks now. Hopefully they'll tell us when they stoppage is over. The "Bolsas" are going to be HUGE when they do.

Second- I went on divisiones (splits) with Elder Ponce from Perù. His area is Nueva Helvecia. It's all decendents from Germany and Switzerland and other places over in Europe. Everyone there has weird names and are all whiter than me! Ok, not all are whiter than me.... but it was weird! It's a super pretty place though. I didn't get pics because I forgot my camera.

Lastly- HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
:) 15 NO? Hope it was great and full of Fun and Cake!

I love you guys and hope all is going well over there.  Know that I love you guys and that my favorite part of this is showing people pics of my family and explaining to them how I know that I will be with them not just in this life but forever and how they are the best and biggest blessing I've ever received! I love you all and I hope you all will stay strong and never waver from the staight and narrow.

Love, Elder Jordan Duke 

Monday, August 6, 2012

August 6, 2012: Week 42

Hola mi familia, ¿Còmo andan por ahì? ¿Todo Bien? Yo estoy bien. Por alguna razon tengo las ganas a escribir en Español. Espero que me entiendan..bueno por lo menos Papà. (Para que sepan el tidle no funciona correctamente, entonces esta alreves) Todo bien por acà. Hemos tenido mucho èxito y estamos trabajando como locos. Encontramos muchas personas esta semana pasada y intentamos a bautizarles!

Hello family!  How's everyone doing there?  I'm good.  For some reason I feel like writing in Spanish.  I hope you understand it...well, at least Dad.  (The accent mark isn't working correctly, it's typing backwards.) Everything is good here.  We have had great success and worked like crazy people.  We found a lot of people this week and we intend to baptize them!

Los Investigadores: The investigators:

Marcos- todavia no nos ha fallado. Hace casi tres meses empezò a venir a la capilla y ha asistido cada domingo sin falta. Si todo va bien se bautizarà este domingo el 12 de Agosto. Tambien tuvimos contacto con la madre de Kevin y fijamos para pasar este Miercoles.

Marcos-he has yet to fail us. It's been 3 months since he started to come to church and he has attended each Sunday without fail.  If all goes well, he will be baptized this Sunday, August 12th.  We also met Kevin's mom and we set a date to meet with them this Wednesday.

Janet- Anoche tuvimos una lecciòn buenìsima con ella y su hijo Ezequiel. Le ayudamos a entender la significaciòn de "Nacer de Nuevo" y porque es algo importante para ella. Ezequiel nos ayudò bastante y ya es una nuevo persona despues de su bautismo. Sì o sì ella va a bautizarse.

Janet-Last night we had a very good lesson with her and her son Ezequiel.  We helped her understand the significance of "Being Born Again" and why it is important for her.  Ezequiel helped us a lot and he is a new person since his baptism.  She will be baptized.

Marcela y Flia- No hemos tenido contacto con ellos toda la semana pasada porque ella trabaja en la famacia y las farmacias toman turnos en estar abiertos 24 horas por una semana y esta semana fue la semana que tocò la Farmacia de Marcela. Pero, esta semana vamos a trabajar con ellos mucho. Alberto no tiene fecha por ahora porque no ha asistido por dos semanas por su trabajo. Èl es vendedor de medecina que viaja mucho a Montevideo y otros partes de Colonia y Mercedes.

Marcela & Flia-We haven't had an appointment with them all week because she works at a pharmacy and the pharmacies her take turns being open 24 hours/day for an entire week and this week was her pharmacy's turn.  But this week we are going to work with them a lot.  Alberto still does not have a baptism date because he has not come to church for two weeks because of his work.  He sells pharmaceuticals and has to travel a lot to Montevideo, Colonia and Mercedes.

Con el resto de las personas estamos ahì. Todos estàn progresando, algunas màs ràpido que otras. Realmente pienso que hay muchas personas muy buenas aqui que precisan El Evangelio en sus vidas. Estoy 100% Seguro que vamos a tener bautismos en Agosto.

With the rest of them, we're here and there.  All are progressing, some faster than others.  I really think there are a lot of people here that are looking for the gospel in their lives.  I'm 100% sure that we'll have some baptisms in August.

¿Entonces Los Estados Unidos estàn Dominando los Juegos Olìmpicos, eh? no mucha de una sorpresa. Ya sabìa que somos capos ;) Ni es una competencia en Baloncesto. Escucho que China aùn està en Primer Lugar con 30 mas o menos y que tenemos como 28 por ahì. No se si ha cambiado ya pero esto es que escuchè.

So, the US is dominating the Olympics huh?  Not much of a surpise.  I knew we were studs. ;) Not any competition in basketball.  I hear that China is in first place in total medals, with 30 more or less and we have 28 or something.  I don't know if that has changed, but that's what I heard.

Yo tengo que contarles una historia que pasò ayer y hoy en los estudios en la mañana. El Presidente de la Rama pidìo de una hermana su DVD hace algunos meses. Ahora la hermana quiere que devuelva su DVD y porque està enferma, nos pidìo para pedir por el DVD. Entonces lo dijimos al Presidente y todavia no nos a respondido.
Despues durante los estudios yo estuve leyendo en Mosìah 4 y en versìculo 28 dice asì: "Y quisiera que recordaseis que el que de entre de vosotros pida prestado a su vecino, debe devolver aquello que pide prestado, de acuerdo con lo que prometa; pues de lo contrario, cometerèis pecado y tal vez hagàis que vuestro vecino peque tambien." Me Reì tanto cuando leì este versìculo jaja! Al final decidimos que no vamos a ser parte de este problema y que ellos pueden solucionarlo entre si.

I have to tell you a story that happpened yesterday and then today in my studies.  The branch president asked for a DVD from a sister a few months back.  Now, the sister wants it back and because she is sick, she asked us to ask him for it.  We asked the president, but he hasn't gotten back to us.  During my studies today, I was reading in Mosiah 4, verse 28 that says, "And I would that ye should remember, that whosoever among you borroweth of his neighbor should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree, or else thou shalt commit sin; and perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also." I laughed a lot when I read that verse! In the end, we decided that we're not going to be part of the problem and they can solve it themselves.

Les quiero muchìsimo y espero que todo estè bien y que tengan una buena semana. Algo para leer: Mosìah Capìtulos 2-5, son los capìtulos en que El Rey Benjamìn habla a su pueblo y ellos tienen un cambio de corazòn. Hay mucha doctrina muy buena en estes capìtulos.

I love you so much and I hope that all of you are well and that you have a good week.  Some to read:  Mosiah, chapters 2-5, they are the chapters where King Benjamin speaks to his people and they have a change of heart.  There is a lot of very good doctrine in those chapters.

Yo se que la obra en que soy un parte y en que todos somos parte es verdadera. Se que nuestro Salvador vive y nos ama. Se que Èl murìo y despues de tres dias se resucitò. Tenemos un Padre Celestial que nos escucha y que siempre esta ahì cuando le necesitemos. El Libro de Mormòn es un libro verdadero y contiene las respuestas de cualquier pregunta que tenemos. Yo amo esta obra y amo mi Salvador.

I know that the work that I am involved in, and that we are all a part, is true.  I know that our Savior lives and loves us.  I know that he died and rose again in 3 days.  We have a Heavenly Father who hears us and is always there for us when we need him.  The Book of Mormon is true and contains the answers to whatever question we have.  I love this work and I love my Savior.

Les amo y deseo el mejor por todos.

I love you all and desire the best for you.

Tu hijo, hermano, amigo fiel,

Your son, brother and faithful friend,

Elder Jordan Duke

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July 30, 2012: Week 41


How's everyone doing? Me good. This week we met a lot of new people because we are trying to get a bigger investigador pool. We did so many contacts, but sometimes it's fun to do them just to hear some of the responses you get. Like one guy that told me he wasn't interested because he had diferent philisofical beliefs in the creation of the world... I really didn't know what to say in that moment and it didn't really matter because he shut the door right after.

For the Investigadores:

Ruben-...................not good. We are going to have to give him a little time. We went over on saturday to talk to him about his doubts about needing to be baptized a 4th time and he had a bottle of wine half empty in his hand and was really drunk. He also during the lesson was drinking right there in front of us and told us he didn't care. He then told us that he will always be Ruben Efrian Gallardo Casanova and that he'll never change. He told us that he's always been a drinker and smoker and always will be. Also that the true church for him is his Apostolic church that he went to for 20 something years. Knowing that He was drunk we explained to him that we still will be stopping by to see how he's doing, but that as for more than that we're going to wait a little until he decides to put his faith in the Lord and puts forth the effort to drop his vices.

Janet- We had a great lesson with her yesterday. We helped her recognize how she can grow her faith and be able to reach the same level as her son. Her big concern is that she isn't sure she has enough faith to recieve an answer but we are helping her on it.

Marcos and Kevin- Still doing good. They came to church again. Parents of Marcos still say no because he still isn't showing changes of attitude. Kevin's parents are never home and when they are no one answers the door. That's what I mean by we can't find them.

Claudia- Still gone on her truck. She has been keeping us updated on the reading and she is actually reading alot. She says that it helps her. We'll see how it goes when she gets home.

That's so cool that you got to go to all those temples mom! I'm sure it was great. Emily and a 3 day hiking trip don't sound like a great match.. We'll see. lol

I didn't mean to put the account in the negative. I still have money with me I just pulled it out to make a emergency stash thing. oops.

Don't worry, I'll be praying for Mom and you Dad so that you can start working out and get rid of that back (front) problem ;)

The only thing I've seen or heard of the olympics is stuff about Uruguay and Argentina. We heard that the soccer team of Uruguay lost to senegal 2-0. Other that that I have no idea really what's happening.

Michael Phelp's time to shine I think is gone. He's seems to be dying out from what I've heard. Also I agree that that's dumb about the gymnastics. If she's in the top 10 she should compete.

Ya I actually thought Kyle hitting 1 year. That means I'm next...... scary...... I really don't like how fast time is going by.

I definitely want to get that same response from my father in heaven about my mission and I'll do whatever I can to recieve it.

I love you guys and want you all to know that I love this gospel and my Loving Heavenly Father who provided us with this wonderful plan.

Hope you all have a great week and we'll be in touch next week.

Love Elder Jordan Duke

P.S. I sent a letter to Lizzy last week....they take awhile to get there. :)