Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25, 2013: Week 71

Hey Fam,
So this week was really wet. It rained practically all week, but it was still good. Even though we didn't have anyone in church. Really not even most of the members showed up either... but we still had success. We started using the Area Book more and have gone over the ex investigators and we have foudn some more people to work with. We have also been praying to be able to find more people to teach, because it's been a little slow lately from lack of investigators.
We have seen some miracles this week, first we went by a menos activo that we haven't seen in over a month and there we found her husband and daughter. Both are great people and can progress. They had talked to the missionaries before, but for some reason didn't accept then. We'll be praying so that this time they do.
Second miracle came when we were trying to decide what to do for this week and who to plan for. We received a call from another set of missionaries in Rivera who gave us a referral of a young man named Elias. It really doesn't seem like a lot, but when you're stuck with not much and it's the first referral you've received the whole 2 months out here, it was a miracle. We're going to go today to contact him, and I know that he will be someone that we can help to receive the gospel. I know that we didn't receive that referral by coincidence.
SO sounds like you guys are busy just as usual. Hope Kaili and Sarah do good in Drivers Ed. I'd be worried if I were the instructor, LOL! jk ;) You'll definitely have to send me pics of the house as you upgrade it.
Hearing about all the homework and tasks you have to do makes me glad I don't have to worry about that for now. Sometimes it's a bit of a relief knowing that we just have to focus on one thing really and that's bringing souls unto Christ. Really it's not that easy, but for me it's a little bit easier to talk about the gospel then do a math equation.
Really, Jaron is coming here? That's cool. I'll almost be gone by the time he gets out here but it will be cool to see him, if I do see him that is. Tell him hi for me and that that's super cool that he's coming here.
Well not much more to say, but I want you to know that I love you all and ya I miss you a little ;) but thinking about you guys motivates me to do better out here, because I want my family to be proud of me and also God to be happy with the work I've done in His vineyard. I love you all and we'll talk next week.
Elder Jordan Duke

Monday, February 18, 2013

February 18, 2013: Week 70

How's everyone doing? I'm good. We've had a good week and I'm learning more and more that Tranqueras isn't how everyone told me it was. I always heard of Tranqueras as a small branch that was really hard and there was no support and no one to teach and that overall it was a terrible place to be. But I got here and found something different. There may not be a lot of members, but they are always willing to help. We may not have a lot of investigators. but the ones that we have are sincere and they progress and to me I'd rather have 3 or 4 that progress than to have 10 that don't. There are a lot of great people here and even though it is small and there isn't much to work with, I feel blessed to be sent here and to have had the chance to get to know all the great people here.
This sunday Carlos was going to bless the sacrament, but we went by on Friday to see how he was and we had a lesson with them. During the lesson we found out that he had drank a little bit with his uncle. He doesn't have vices or anything, his uncle offered him it and he took it. He was super sad and mad at himself for messing up, but we let him know that we still support him and that it's normal to slip up. We're not expecting him to be perfect, but that he needed to repent and keep going. He also said that he had gone to the Branch President and had told him that he didn't feel worthy to partticipate in the santa cena (sacrament, or literally "holy supper"). I was surprised that he had the courage, especially as a new member, to go and talk with President da Rosa about it. Also that he understood the importance of the sacrament and how sacred it is. It wasn't anything big, but to see how this man has taken what he's learned and how he's applying the Atonement in his life has helped me more appreciate the importance of repentance in our lives and how that ties in with the Sacrament; helping us to renew our covenants and be clean again of our sins. All of course made possible through the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ.
It's gone good with Juan Pedro as well. He didn't come to church because he was in Campaña, and we had to move back his fecha to the 2nd of March. He's still got the animo (excitement) to continue and he wants to change. His big problem is with the word of wisdom, but I know that we can help him quit and of course that God will help him if he trusts in him.
I'm glad to hear that all is good down there, bueno up there ;). Sounds like you're still super busy with the house, that's good. I've told everyone here that it's almost like my family moved, because I'm not going to recognize the house when I get back. Tell Uncle Lee "Hi" when he comes.
Also good to here that the kids are doing good and all growing up fast, just not fast enough. I'm sure I'll still be the tallest when I get back ;) So how was the comp. at Westlake? Did it go well? How did Kaili and the guard do?

I want you all to know how much I love you guys. You really don't realize how much it is until you're away from them for soo long. and no this isn't trunky... I'm just coming to appreciate more the great family that I have at home and how much I've learned from all of them. I love you guys and I love this gospel. I couldn't think of anything greater than being with all of you in the Celestial Kingdom and I hope that we can one day all be there together. I love you guys and hope that your next week is full of blessings from God.
Elder Jordan Duke
P.S. here are the pics I didn't send last week.

P.S.S. HAPPY 19 BIRTHDAY EMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Probably thought I'd forgotten huh, LOL! Love you! Have a good one!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February 12, 2013: Week 69

Hey family,
SO this week has been good. I have some good stories to tell also. To start off I'll explain the fotos. one is of the rubix cube that I did a design in. One is of my comp and me after a hot sweaty day of servicio. Another is of 2 dogs that live in front of our house and "guard" it... lol. Really they're just lazy and leave garbage all over!. Other is of our district here in Rivera and last but not least a mouse that we found in our toilet! My comp found it early in the morning and didn't realize what it was till he had already gone pee, lol! gross no?

Also we had a flood in our house about 2 weeks ago, I just forgot to tell you guys. It wasn't anything serious, but it was a little annoying. We had to clean it all up. Luckily it didn't destroy anything. What happened is that they cut the water and we had opened the faucet in the kitchen to see if there was water, but we forgot to shut the faucet off. So when they turned on the water again it started pouring out. We of course we weren't home and when we got home the house was a swimming pool! OK, only a little exaggeration :)
Other story. We went to the house of some menos activos and they weren't home. We left only to realize that their dog was following us and now she's been following us for the last 3 days! We just barely got rid of her last night by taking to her to another members house to take care of her till the family gets back. It's really not fun trying to do contacts or lessons with a dog following us around and whimpering. SO annoying, but it was funny too.
SO as for the good part, Carlos recieved the priesthood on Sunday. It was really great to be able to help this man become the strong priesthood holder in his house he's meant to be. He, of course, still has a lot to learn , but he's making the right decisions and is following the right path. The family is really progressing and I love to have been part of it. We went by their house and they said that they have noticed the difference that the Gospel has brought to their family. They say they're more united and happy together and they want to continue. We are now working on them to put a goal of getitng to the temple to be sealed next year. I won't be here...sad...but I'll be really happy for them when they get there and I know that I'll see them some day.
We also had a good week with some other people. We found a joven (young man) Juan Pedro in the Area Book. And we went by and we started teaching him. We invited him to church and with out help he came to church. Coming to church by yourself here, especially for a teenager, is something amazing. He is a great guy and he accepted fecha to be baptized on the 23rd of February. He has problems with drinking and smoking, but we have faith that he can get over the addiction. Prayers for him and his progression would be great.
I'm glad to hear that you guys are doing good there at home. I'm praying for you everyday and for the things in the house to keep going well. Oh and by the way if you think I forgot,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! how old are you now 42? Lol!
I love you all and I hope that you are all doing well in school, church, work, etc. Have a great week and always be looking for ways and oportunites to share you testimonies.
 A little diversion to occupy the mind!

Missionary "Guard" dogs! :)

I love you,
Elder Jordan Duke
(The other pics never showed up....hopefully next week!)

Monday, February 4, 2013

February 4, 2013: Week 68

Hey family,

This week has been good like always. We have just a little problem that can be fixed easily. The full name of Carlos wasn't said in his baptism so we have to re-do it... It's alright though. He's still going good and his family. He came to church in a shirt and tie! It was great. Next week he will be getting the priesthood. It's really great to see already the progress he's had.

Victor changed jobs again and now works at night. He still has yet to come to church in a few weeks and we are going to have a lesson with him and be very straight forward as to whether or not he really wants to follow this. We also have great news. Carlos Nuñez came back from Tacuarembo, so we are going to start teaching him again. We also found the brother of his girlfriend and we started teaching him. His name is Alejandro and he's 19 and really a great guy. He says that he went to our church before and that he like it a lot. We're going work with them so that we can help them recieve the gospel, and help the rama (branch) . I've noticed that we've been led to all men and boys here. What really lacks is the men here in Tranqueras and I feel as if God is leading us to these men because He knows that the rama needs strong Priesthood holders to move forward. and I know that Carlos and the others that we are teaching. Carlos Nuñez, Victor, Alejandro are answers to my prayers of how we are going to help lift this Rama up and get it moving. I feel really blessed to be here and to be able to share the gospel with these wonderful people.

So the bathroom looks good. :) did you know that here most the toilets have buttons on the top. So I'm going to call it a Uruguayan Toilet, lol ;) I hope all is well with his family and let him know that they're in my prayers.

Remember to send me pics when the downstairs and all that is done too.

So everyone is growing up, eh? Fah, I can't believe that the deacons quorum is Diaz, Gonzalez and Jones. Last time I checked they were all like 8 years old, no? And since when was Jayden Kemp 8? wow! I was thinking the other day about how old everyone is. I was thinking about how Emily's 19th birthday is in 2 weeks and how when I left. Emily was 17, Kaili 15, Sarah 14, Josh 12, and Lauren 10. and now its almost 19, almost 17, almost 16. 14 and 12.... It's weird being the oldest because everyone is still growing. When I talked to you on Skype for Christmas I didn't recognize Lauren's voice. Seriously it changed a little and It looks like everyone is getting more mature and bigger from the pics. Just some of my weird "trunky" thoughts of the house. :)

Well I'm glad to hear that everyone is growing up and that the ward is doing good. Also weird to think that it's almost time for us EM boys to be getting back from the mission. I really never thought that this time would come, but I always like to look at all that I've accomplished and all that I've done this time here instead of focusing on the time I have left. It always works better that way and it seems to help make the time go by. I love you all and want to you know that I have a testimony of this Gospel. What I'm doing out here really has helped me see that importance of the gospel in our lives and how much happiness following it brings. I love this gospel and I love our Heavenly Father who gave us a perfect plan so that we can be together as a family forever. I love you all and hope you have a great week.

Elder Jordan Duke