Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28, 2013: Week 67

Hey family!
So this week was great! It started with the baptisms of Carlos and his daughter Carla! WooT! I was really excited for them and they are really going to help lift up this branch. They are a great family and now they are a family inside the church. It was really great to see them grow and progress to take this step in their lives. He is a really great guy and it helps us here in the Rama (branch) since we are short priesthood holders. He isn't getting it, the priesthoot, yet but soon he will. His daughter is really great too and she is who keeps them going. They said that the week before they didn't want to go to church but that the Carla had told them that if they didn't go to church then they wouldn't be blessed and that they needed the blessing so they had to go. She's very persistant, lol!

Victor is going good also. He got a new job that lets him have more time off and he can go to church now, which is a miracle. He will be getting baptized on the 16th of Feb if all goes well. This week we're going to try to find the other Carlos, because he was gone to Tacuarembo until February. Hopefully we can get him started up again. He was really progressing before he left, so I hope that desire to continue hasn't changed.
This week the story is of the baptism. We asked the wife Monica to give the first prayer and it was the first time in years she had done a prayer in front of people besides the missionaries. She did really well and it was really emotional especially when she asked that her husband and daughter could feel the same love from our Heavenly father that she felt when she was baptized and how she was eternally grateful that her family could be together in the church. Not lying... her prayer brought a little tear in my eye. And it really set the mood of the baptism and invited the Spirit so well. After that we had great talks and an overall great experience. I'm very grateful to have been able to be a part of the life of this family and be able to help them change it for the better. I know that God puts people in our path that need to hear the word from us and with this family I can testify of the truthulness of that. I'm happy that I can be here in Uruguay serving the Lord and that I've been able to meet and help such wonderful people.
I'm getting along well with Elder Rodriguez. He is really a great guy and we have a lot in common. He's not the best at sports and i sa little slow at that but other than that no complaints. I know that I could be better at serving my comps and I'll start doing it and tell you how it goes.
SO, souds like the family is the same as ever, runningall over the place and having alot to do. Sounds like Sarah is taking after me in driving eh? lol ;) Kaili more like Emily, lol! JK! Emily you drive fine, most of the time...... at least now you'll have more to drive people around soon.
Remember to send me pictures and stuff when you finish the renovations. Oh and from Emily's email... Hey Pace! What's up man?
We'll I love you guys and I hope that you all have a great week full of happy moments and the Saviors love.

I love you guys,
Elder Jordan Duke
Some pics below:
 The chapel in Tranqueras

 Our "study area."

 Low ceilings!

 Elder Rodriguez, Carla, Carlos, Elder Duke

 Elder Rodriguez, Monica, Carla, Carlos, Elder Duke

 Elder Rodriguez in his Uruguay jersery

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21, 2013: Week 66

How's every one doing?

I'm great! I'm actually in Rivera right now because we came to Rivera for P-day. This week has been good and bad. We had some ups and downs but as always there's always blessing to count and hard times to forget.

So sounds like the renovations are more then you bargained for, lol! Seems to always happen that way no? Hope all goes well and maybe I won't recognize the house when I get back.

So as for the investigators this week. All is great with Carlos Machado and his daughter, who by the way is named Carla. I don't know where I got Alexsandra from... They are getting baptized this Saturday! We have everything planned and it's going to be great! I'm so excited and grateful that I was able to meet such great people and help them come to know of the truth of the gospel. It's really a great experience to be a ble to see someone dressed in white ready to make a covenant with our Heavenly Father. This truly is the work of God and being a missionary has helped me to realize that and build my testimony of that.

 As for Victor it's so-so. We had a good charla (discussion) with him about coming to church and how it will help him throughout the week with his job. He has Sunday as the only day off and he works from 5 am to 10 pm everyday so he's is always really tired. We told him that we know that it's a sacrifice, but one that's worth it. And how all the things that are worth anything in this world require sacrifices. He really has the desire to follow Christ in his life and change it for the better, He just needs a little push to get up in the, kind of like me sometimes ;) but don't worry i still get up on time.

Carlos Nuñez went to Tacuarembó for work and doesn't get back until February, but when he gets back we'll be working with him. Also this week we found some youth that come and play futbol with us sometimes. They are great and we teach them after futbol always but their Mom doesn't want us to come by their house. She's is a less active member and that might be why. I don't know really what to do to convince her to let us teach he kids, but we are going to pray about it and go with the Spirit as our guide. They are all really great kids and it will help them out a lot if we can get them going to church with their Mom. Oh when I put futbol I meant soccer, lol always make that mistake...

Little bit more about my comp. He's from a family of 4. Him, his sister, his Mom and his aunt. His parents are seperated and his dad lives in another city. He has been a member all his life but was inactive before the mission. He really is a great guy, just needs some help remembering things sometimes, since he was gone for so long from the church. He is younger than his sister, He's 20. She's 25 I think... and he's from Arequipa, Peru but i think I already said that.

We've also found some of the investigators and recent converts that Lopez and Tyree were working with and sadly not too many want anything. They had been going by for weeks and didn't progress. We decided to stop visiting a few and find some new people that will progress.
I know that the Lord will help us if we ask for it and we are worthy for it. I asked Pres. Heaton what he wanted accomplished here and he told me to baptize the repentant and find new people through the Spirit. So for the time I'm here in Tranqueras that will be my goal: Find and teach the people so that they can repent and be baptized.

I know that this gosple is true and that through it we will have eternal life. I'm so grateful for the oportunity that I have to serve the people of Uruguay and be able to see the change in them. I know that we can live together forever as a family and I always tell the people here that I have seen the blessings of the gospel in my family's life and for that I want them and their families to have the same blessings. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Jordan Duke

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 14, 2013: Week 65

Hey Family!

I'm doing good. This morning the office elders scared us telling us we had to call urgently. It was just for the cell phone because were getting a new one in a week.... I thought something had happened to you guys or something else bad. ¡Que asusto! Well I'm glad to hear that you guys are doing good. The normal, running around everywhere hecticly....that is my family, lol! So the bathroom, Lauren in YW, Sarah as section leader, Mom in school, Internet, Emily back in school, Josh in the Honor band.... sounds like a very busy week. I hope you all passed it well.

This week for me has been good. We had a great week with some ups and downs but overall good. The bad news is that we didn't have any contact with Carlos Nuñez at all this week and he didn't go to church either... But we have an activity of futbol on saturday and we're hoping to find him again there. We invited him and he said he's coming. Victor couldn't come to church either because he was working out in campaña con leña (field with firewood), but he's still animated (that would be "excited" in English, Elder Duke) and really wants to get baptized. We just had to move the fecha back to the the first week in February. The good news is the Carlos Machado and his daughter Alexandra went to church and are both still super excited for their baptism the 26th of this month. I'm super excited for them as well. Their such a great family and will be great members to help lift this branch up. Elder Petersen always told me to not count my eggs before they're hatched, but I'm just soooo sure that they are getting baptized that I already count them as converts. We also have been helpinga family Paroli who are menos activos and they have come to church the last 2 weeks. We helped them set some goals for this year and they put to go to church every Sunday and also to go to the temple to be sealed. I hope they can complete with their goals. it would make me really happy, but would make them even more happy, and more united as a family.

I'm sorry to hear the Seahawks lost.... whata bummer... We'll there's always next year. Sounds like it was a crazy game though, always better when they are close like that.

I still didn't get my package, but I got a paper that said it was in Deo in correo uruguayo... so I should get in tomorrow, hopefully.

Great job Josh! And Sarah as Section Leader that's soo awesome! Work hard and you'll do great, and Josh keep being a stud bro!

Bueno, Elder Tyree left bacause he already had 6 months here, and ELder Lopez they sent to the offices. That's why they both left. THe city of tranqueras is really small. Like one main road and a bumch of roads that branch off. I think around 5 thousand people live here. Almost all of them work out in the forrestation with wood and stuff. Also me and Elder Rodriguez are the only missionaries here and we are 1 hour away from other missionaries. We're in the Zone of Rivera and Our Ditrict leader is Elder Goekeritz from Alpine, utah and our Zone Leaders are Elder Valero from mexico and Elder Ramirez from Chile. They're all really great Elders.

Question did you send my glasses with the packages, because i never got those either...

Don't forget to send pics and I'll remember to get some taken to send to you next week. I love you guys and hope you have good week. I know that this gospel is true and that We can be an eternal family in the celestial kingdom. I love you guys!

Love, Elder Jordan Duke

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7, 2013: Week 64

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!! 44! How old, lol ;)

So this week was crazy, but very fullfilling. It was my first week as senior comp as you know and it was actually not as hard as I thought. Really we just work together as a team and divide it half and half and this week was a great one. First I got to the area, and I'm not going to lie, I thought it was going to be little tough, but I was shown otherwise. I first met the Familia Machado. They're a family of 3. The Hermana, su hija Alexandra and the investigator, the husband Carlos Machado. We had a really good lesson with him about the gospel of Jesus Christ: faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, endure to the end. It was really great and he accepted (baptismal date) fecha for the 26th of January. To make it even better he came to church for all 3 hours! which is really hard to happen here in Uruguay without a lot of pushing. He is really prepared. It will be great because we will also be baptizing their daughter with him as she's 8.

Second I got to know Victor. He's 17 and wants to change his life. He's already done a lot to fix stuff, since before He did drugs went out to mess around with friends, a lot of really bad stuff, but now he's 100% changed and is ready to accept Christ in his life. He is soo prepared and he reads everything we leave him and more and he is really is applying the Atonement in his life already. He also came to church and has fecha for the 26th of Jan.

Last but not least is Carlos Nuñez. He's 27 and is the boyfriend of a recent convert. Sad part of the story is that she/s 17 and 6 months pregnant...but the good thing is they are still together and want to get married and become an eternal family. He also came to church but the thing with marriage here being a really, really, really long process, He doesn't have a fecha for baptism yet, but soon he will.

Our Branch Pres. is name Marcos Da Rosa. He is a member of around 20 years, but just recently is active. He has a great family of his wife and 5 kids, who's names I can't recall, but I've only known him for a week so I'll figure them out. Only problem is that he's the only active member in the family.... His wife really doesn't have any excuse not to go, just that someone offended her and blah blah blah. We're working with her because they are a great family and should all be in church together. I can't remember her name either...... my mind is blank right now with names but I'll remember them eventually.

Also the most helpful members I've met are the Flia Suarez. It's a family of 9, but 2 don't live there so I don't know them. There's the Dad, I don't know his real name but everyone calls him "El Chino". then there is Sylvana the mom, She's the recent convert, also the Hermano isn't a member, working with him as well, then come the Kids. All daughters! Laura 19, Marcia 17, Keila 15, Camila 13, and Gimena 7. All the girls are super helpful and are always willing to help us in lessons. Also they want to serve missions which is really great and would be a good example for the branch. Really they are the life of the branch. Well other then that there isn't much. Leaders of the church besides the Branch Pres. and the Sociedad de Socorro (Relief Society) don't exist. There is no priesthood besides the Pres and us but we're about to change that.  As you can see we have all Men investigadores. I don't know why but I've just had more success with the men. More open then women I guess ;) lol.

About my comp. He's name is Ernie Rodriguez. He is from Arequipa, Peru and is from a family of 5. Him and his parents and his little brother and sister. He has 7 months in the mission and is a great guy, He works hard and really has a love for the people here. It's going to be great to work with him and be able to help do great things in the branch of Tranqueras. Also for Mom, there were misionaries before, just they both left this change so we "opened" the area because we're both new here. and it's a diferent Elder Lopez. Actually there are 3 in the mission and about 5 Elder Rodriguez.

We'll it's good to hear that your doing good and doing work on the house. I love to see the bathroom when its' done. Sorry you were sick Dad. I was sick for about 1 1/2 months coughing non stop, then it just went away, but it was terrible! ¡Que te mejores! That's cool that we beat Lehi in Basketball, Woot! Also cool that the Seahawks are doing good in the playoffs. I don't know what is Les Mis, but I guess I'll have to see it when I get home... that's what I'm told... good luck in school Mom. You'll do great and remember that you always have your Heavenly Father to help you, I love you.

I have definitely had a great week and have seen a lot of miracles. Tranqueras isn't like what I was told. There are alot of people who are being prepared by the Lord and also those who have already been prepared. I'm grateful that I'm here in this area and I know that I have work to do and people to bring the gospel to. I love this gospel and my Savior. I know that the work I'm doing is helping the Atonement of Christ be a part of these peoples lives. I love you guys and I hope to hear good noticias (news) from you as always.

With tons of love,
Elder Jordan Duke

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January 2, 2013: Week 63

Hey Fam,

So as you figured this week is changes, but my changes story this time is very interesting...

To start off, I was in Artigas with Elder Woolston at the house after the day and I recieved a call from President Heaton. He asked how I was doing then asked if I was ready for my assignment. I was sure that something big or crazy was going to happen, because he doesn't just call anyone. I told him yes and he told me that I'd be going to a small branch in Rivera named Tranqueras and going up as senior comp. But that's not all. I'd be opening the area so I needed to leave early to learn the area for when my comp comes we can know at a least a little bit. Of course I was freaked out a bit. Then on Monday I still didn't know what was going on, until I got a call at about 10:30 from the offices. They told me that I needed to pack fast because my bus to Rivera left at 12! So, I packed super fast like a mad-man, probably the worst packing job ever, and was ready around 11:30. Westarted calling taxis and the line was busy.....We couldn't get ahold of any of them. So we called to offices and the AP's were texting us and we had everyone in Artigas trying to get us a taxi. The only problem with the idea was then 3 or 4 taxis showed up at our house and by that time the bus had already left so we had to tell them all we didn't need them anymore. Of course, some got mad, but whatever. So they then told me that I'd be leaving wednesday, and I thought alright at least I'll have time to say goodbye, but no....I then got a call that I was leaving at 2:30 through a bus route in Brazil and that I had to be at the terminal at 2:00 to get my ticket. We went to lunch superfast and ran to the terminal, I got on the bus and that ended my time in Artigas. Just like that, chau. Ya super crazy and stressful. So right now I'm in Rivera and my comp will be Elder Rodriguez. I don't know anything about him. For now until next Monday I'll be with Elder Lopez, who was here in the area before, so he can teach me the area and then he's gone and Rodriguez is coming. So my fin de año was loco!

Other than that I'm not sure of much. I have a few names of the investigadores in Tranqueras that I know. There's Carlos Machado, Victor, another Carlos and Hno Lemos. Really I'm excited for this and there's a lot of work to do here.

I'll look for that money soon from Grandma and my packages still aren't here but I should get them next week. If not........I don't know.

I can't believe that Dayna and Glenn are married already!! Time is flying by soo fast. So crazy! Well for now I don't have much more to say. Thanks for the video I'll watch it next wek when I have headphones.

I love you all and I hope you have a great week! Stay close to the Savior and be safe!

Elder Jordan Duke