Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013: Week 75

How's everyone?

I'm great. This week was a little slow with alot of stuff falling through, but I still had a good time sharing the gospel and just spreading joy. Really, I've come to learn that even if things aren't going perfect and it seems like you're stuck, just think of the positives. Look back and see the blessings. Like President Monson explained in last conference. We'll be a lot more happy if we step back and notice the blessings in our lives, even the smallest blessing can help keep up our spirits. I've done that over the course of my mission and it really helps.

So as for investigators, Elias is doing well. He's so awesome! Yesterday we taught him about the first 5 commandments of the 10 and by then end of the 10 mins charla (discussion)  he had them memorized. The only thing that lacks is the church attendance. We have tried so much to help him come and there is always just some little excuse. I don't know if you guys have any suggestions of what we can do to help him. We had to drop Juan Pedro because he just doesn't want to progress. This is the 2nd or 3rd time that I've taught him with my comps and everytime he just doesn't come to church or read or pray. He always says that He doesn't have the "ganas" to come. Oh ya ganas means that he doesn't feel like it. We started talking a little with the parens of Elias also and Their nice people, but interest in the gospel is very low.

The big thing we've been doing that is helping is doing Rescate (Reactivation...the Spanish word literally means "Rescue."). It is really needed here and we've come in contact with a lot of great people that just need a little push and they'll be back. Especially priesthood holders. We had a big week of lessons with recent converts and less active members and it was really great to see that glow of testimony flicker back on as we taught them about Christ and His Atonement. We focused a lot on the importance of the Sacrament in remembering Christ and His suffering, and how we need to go to the church to renew our covenants and make the Atonement part of our lives. Because if we don't then we are making the suffering that Christ did for us in vain. A lot of people got it with that and a few tears were shed. I definitely felt the spirit this week as I testified and as we helped these people come back to the fold.

We had a good week in church with people who hadn't come in a while, but a lot of the regular members weren't here because it's vacation here, so we had 9 in church. I was still happy though because we helped some people come back.

It's so great to hear about what's going on back home. Levi's home..... I can't believe it! Also crazy that so many are leaving. I think for me the saddest news is that the Pedrozas are leaving....I'm gonna miss them. I really hope that Chris keeps it up with church, because I really worry about that kid sometimes. Make sure to tell him Hi for me and that he'd better be sending in those papers soon for the mish.

I love you guys and I love to see how much you're growing and learning. I know this gospel is true and that it changes lives, because it's changing mine. I've seen so much change in my attitude towards things and the Saviors love here that it's hard to describe. The mission is definitely the best decision I've made in my life so far and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I love you all a ton,
Elder Jordan Duke

P.S. Dad I'm now reading in chapter 3 under the commandments section, lesson 4.

Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013: Week 74

Hi Fam!

How's everyone doing? Me good. SO to tell you a little bit more about my comp. His name is Jared Hermosilla. He lives in a city called Luque. It's about 30 mins from Asunción, the capital of Paraguay. He has his parents and 1 little sister of 4 years. He's really great, can be a little strange sometimes but he is willing to work a lot and loves to teach the people. I'm really having a good time with him here and we're seeing a lot of little miracles everyday. We have been working a lot with the recent converts and finding those that have been baptized recently to help them come to church and it's helped us to find new people to teach also.

This week was great, because we found some great people. Blanca and her daughter Monica are a couple of them. They are actually relatives of a recent convert of my comp Elder Hermosilla from his old area in Rivera. They are really receptive. Especially because their sister/daughter recently was baptized. Also we were able to talk to the parents of another recent convert from the old area of Elder Hermosilla, who live here in Tranqueras. These little miracles that have happened are a testimony builder for me that the changes are from God and that President Heaton doesn't just pull names out of a hat.

Also going great with Elias. He wasn't able to come to church because his parents had him working in their almacen (grocery store) in the morning on Sunday, but all is good because we talked to the parents about how it was important that He comes to church on Sundays and they were OK with it. We also invited them, but they weren't too sure about it.

Juan Pedro is going mas o menos. He told us he was coming, and when he hadn't showed up we went to find him. he told us that he was too tired to come and that he didn't have the ganas (desire) to go. We explained to him a little about why he should come and that he'd feel better by coming and he said he'd come for the last hour. The last hour came around and he didn't show. We actually ran into him early today and he apologized for lying to us and said that si o si he's coming (come what may) this sunday. I hope that he does and will be praying for him alot.

The President is doing good. His family not so much. Sadly he is the only active one in his family. We've tried to talk to his wife, but she doesn't want anything at all. I really don't know why she's like that. The kids don't go either because "if mom doesn't go, then I don't have to." It's really sad and we are trying to help, but his wife is very stubborn. Him personally he's doing as good as he can. He just got off of vacation time from work so he's going to be less available then before.

Kaili looks great! Really grown up. I can't believe that they're all getting so old. Crazy! I can't say Irecognize any of her friends there, but looks great. The photos turned out really good.

I love you guys tons! I really love this work and my Savior. I can't wait to be able to share with you guys all the great memories and recuerdos. No I'm not trunky but I'd be a liar if I said that I don't think about you guys always. I hope that you all have a great week and that after this life we can be together forever as a family.

Lots of love,
Elder Jordan Duke

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March 12, 2013: Week 73

Hey Fam!

How goes everything over there? Here it's all good. So first to answer the questions. I'm staying here in Tranqueras and Elder Rodriguez is going to Montevideo, Estaca Oeste with Elder Velazquez. I'm staying here with Elder Hermosilla from Paraguay. What part I don't know. I think that covers about all of them. Once I know a little more about my new comp I'll let you know. To answer your question about the package, I'd like of course PB, also if you can send me some of those salt and vinegar chips. I miss those sooo much. Well not as much as Dr. Pepper, but still. Anything else yummy you can think of would be great.

Well as for the area, it's going good. Cool story, we met a guy yesterday who was really great. We first saw his dogs, He has like 4 or 5 pitbulls and other dogs like that, and he tolds us that he uses them to hunt wild Boars. Crazy no! The cool part is that he showed us the heads of the boars and they were huge! I didn't have my camera with me though..... I'll have to remember the next time we go. He was really nice and told us we could come back and teach him, so we're gonna go back some time this week. Also we're doing good with Elias and alright with Juan Pedro. Elias is progressing well and really shows interest and he keeps up with the commitments. Only thing he needs now is to come to church. Juan pedro started working again and now it's getting harder to find him. I'm not sure if he's really into it. He's not really keeping up with his commitments and doesn't seem to have much interest right now. We haven't seen Camila because they went to Rivera for a few days, because her mom is going to start hair cutting school. I really believe that we'll have a couple of people ready for baptism before this change ends.

Really I've enjoyed my time here with Elder Rodriguez and I learned a lot. Even though I was senior comp I felt like we were more just companions with one purpose. I learned that from my other companions before that, you should work together and really there isn't a diference in junior and senior comp, beside that one has a little more time and experience. Speaking of time, this change I hit my 1 1/2 mark.. :S That scares me. Time is going by way to fast. It's really a mixed feeling, because I can't wait to see you guys again, but at the same time I don't want to leave. I've had such a good time here serving and I don't want it to end. What I Will do though is work my hardest this last 4th of my mission and just knowing that I did all I could for my Heavenly Father here in uruguay will be good for me. I really Love it here in uruguay. The people are great and really nice and open. The food is alright, lol. Overall I couldn't have asked for a better place to serve and I feel that really I was meant to be here.

So, sounds like your all keeping busy. From Mom's email it appears that it's just as hectic as I remember, with everyone running around with alot to do. I hope all goes well in your diferent things you have to do.

I love you all and want you to know that I know that this gospel is true. Everything in it is intended to make us happy and even though sometimes it seems like others outside are having more fun and are more happy. That happiness won't last and the real happiness is found in loving and living the gospel. I love you all so much and i wish you the best in this week.

Lots of love,
Elder Jordan Duke

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013: Week 72

Hey family,

Tis week has been good. We found some more great people to work with and it's starting to move along nicely here in Tranqueras. We are teaching Juan Pedro, who just returned from Mdeo. Also we found the daughter and husband of a menos activa named Camila and Pablo. And our miracle came true! We found Elias yesterday and he's great! We also found his parents, who's names I can't remember...... but they're great people and really interested. Elias also has a sister who he said is interested in listening, but we haven't met her yet. We have a lesson with them tomorrow, so we'll see how it goes.
Really I'm excited to start working with the new people we have found, because I really can see their desires to progress. The only downside is that there are changes again on the 12th of this month in a week and I'm not sure if I'm staying or my comp, especially since we came together. It really could be either of us. The only thing that's certain is that one of us is leaving. If it's me I definitley don't regret anything here. I feel I've worked hard here and that I've helped in what I could to keep this Rama (branch) growing and progressing. I have loved my time here so far and I'll be sad to leave it if I have to, but it will be a place with people that I'll never forget.
I'm happy to see that you're getting the house looking nice. I'm not sure I'll recognize it. The floor looks good. A little dirty ;) Is that the computer for the house behind the foto of Sarah? What kind is it? Sorry random question.. It's soo good to hear from all of you and know that you're doing well. I love to hear how the kids are doing in school and hear about how much they're growing up.
Nice to know that you're stalking practically all the misionaries I know Dad, lol! (Yes, his dad is "missionary blog" stalker!" :) ) Also cool to hear that so many are accepting the call and going out. Emily told me that Tywahn got his call to Indianapolis. That's cool. Tell him Hi for me if you can and good luck on his mission. Keep me posted on those that receive calls, I love to hear about that stuff.
I want you to all know that I have a strong testimony of this work. I love it and for these 2 years (well 1 year and 5 months almost) I've lived it, and I can say without a doubt that they've been the best years I've lived. I've learned soo much and grown closer to my Savior than ever before in my life. I love my Savior and I love this chance I have to serve him and represent him in this the great work. I love you all and hope that you are blessed in this week.
Elder Jordan Duke