Monday, April 29, 2013

April 29, 2013: Week 80

Hello everybody,

I don't know why I started the email like that I just felt like it I guess.
So how's everyone doing? I'm doing really good. I still haven't recieved any of your letters or the packages so we'll see when it gets here. To answer your questions about my comp. Yes it's the Elder Lamb from Canada...Kamloops or whatever its called. He is really great and he actually is teaching me a lot. He's been out a little under 6 months so he's pretty new and I have to help him sometimes with his Spanish. We get along really well and he's a really great missionary!
So with Mothers day it's most likely that we'll be skyping so get ready for that. I'm not sure if I remember my skype address.... but I'll remember. The details will come later when it's gets closer.
Elder Petersen has a facebook but I'm not sure of any of his info. It might help if you type it in Petersen, because his dosn't have an o and his first name is Eli.
Noooo! Not a Minivan!! Lol! Well if it's what she wants.....but a minivan........oh well.
No I did not get my "trunky papers" yet, probably tomorrow. ya..
So this week was really great! We had some miracles in church and in the week. Sara is progressing soo good it is blowing my mind! She is really one of those Golden Investigators. I thank Heavenly Father everyday for the chance I've had to know her. She came to church again....early....and loved it. We are teaching her with the hermana (Sister) who gave us the referral and the lessons are great. I always feel really uplifted after the lessons with her and it just feels great! She's has a fecha bautismal (baptism date) for the 18th of May.
Pablo is doing good, He's a little fallen, but we're picking him up. We're taking him to a lesson with us today to talk to an investigator with some of the same problems. We're hoping it can help the two be more commited to doing good.
We also had Camila come to church and Juan Pedro. They both are doing great, but aren't progressing a ton. Camila needs more support from home and until we can get her parents to came to church with her she isn't going to progress much. Also Juan Pedro was just picked back up as an investigator yesterday when he showed up to church. We talked with him after church with Pte de Rama (Branch President) and asked him if he really wanted to follow this or not. He said yes so we gave him fecha for the 25th of may and we set up another lesson for today.
I still think about how surprising it was to get the change and knowing that I'd be staying for a 4th change in Tranqueras, but after seeing the miracles we've seen in just this last week. I am glad I stayed and I know that it was revelation from Pt. Heaton that I should stay. I'm glad for all that I've learned here in this great town and for the great people I've gotten to know. I really think that when I leave Tranqueras will be the place I miss the most.
I'm glad to hear that you're all doing great and that your week was good. I hope this next one is just as good if not better!
I love you all tons and I can't wait to talk to you again in 2 weeks!
Elder Jordan Duke
 The missionary "gang?"

 Distrito Rivera

 Elders Hermosilla & Duke

 Elders Lamb & Duke

 Put down the machete, Elder...and I'll stop correcting your Spanish... ;)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 23, 2013: Week 79

Hey family,
Interesting news, I'm staying in Tranqueras for a 4th change. Clearly there is something I still need to do here and I'm determined to do all I can to accomplish it. Yep, Elder Hermosilla is going to Cerro, Mdeo. It's the most dangerous area in the mission. There they don't allow the elders to carry backpacks or a lot of money, stuff like that. Also luckily for me skinny white elders don't go there, lol!
My new comp is Elder Lamb from.........Canada! What part I don't know, but he's coming from where I started, Tacuarembó.
About the word on my release date, I should be getting it next week in the bolsa.....I can't believe that I'm this far already...I also realized that I now have 0 of my former senior comps in the mission, the last 3, Elders Ruiz, Woolston, and Petersen left this change.
For my birthday I would actually like first face wash, because the climate here does not help with the
skin. Also if you could some crest whitening paste and strips, because the toothpaste here doesn't really help much... I brush my teeth 3 times sometimes 4 a day and well...let's just say I'd like them a little whiter. Oh, and if you can there is a card game called BANG! that I would love to have. My last 2 comps have had it and it's really fun and great to use for Family Home evenings for the activities.
Well, since I'm staying in Tranqueras, I'll tell you about the investigators and stuff. Pablo had a little fall and we caught him with alcohol. He is a really great guy and it hurts to see him falla little, but we're helping him get back up. As for investigators, we receuved a miracle this week. As we were walking down the road to a members house to pick up our clothes they had washed, the Hermanas (sister missionaries) called us with a referal for us. They gave us the address and it was close to where we were gonna go after, so we decided to go and we contacted the lady named Sara. She was really receptive and accepted everything we said. She accepted baptism as well. Funny thing is as we were walking away, I told Elder Hermosilla "I feel something special about her. I don't know why but I feel like she is going to be one of those golden investigators that reads like 5 extra chapters besides the one we left." We went back for the second visit and guess what? She had read not just the chapter we left her, but read all of 1st Nephi, plus the pamphlet we left her on the Restoration. When she showed us where she left off on her reading I couldn't believe it! We asked her how she felt reading it and she told us that she felt good and believed that it was true. That was such a great moment for me. And to make it even better this Sunday was stake conference so we had to go to Rivera which is an hour away in bus. We invited her to come and she wasn't sure because her husband was going to leave or something like that she said. We prayed that she could come and as we were walking to the church to catch the bus who appears at our side? Sara! She was there earlier than all the members! She is really a great person and I can see that she is already so prepared for this.
Soooo great to hear about everyone getting married..... ;) Shocks me though to see some that should have gone on a mission, but didn't.  Little dissapointed, but happy for them. Hopefully the marriages will be in the Temple.
Sorry to hear about Bishop Baillargeon. Hope he's well. I'm sure I spelled his name wrong.
The letters I haven't recieved any nor the package, but I'm sure they'll be here soon. Lately I've been studying in chapter 10 of Preach My Gospel.  I've learned a lot about how important it is to work as a companionship and listen as well. I realize that listening is just as important if not more than speaking. If we don't listen to the investigator or member and really understand where they're coming from, we'll never be able to give them that portion that they need to hear.
Well hope all is well back home and that you can see the blessings that come this week.
I know this gospel is true and I love serving the Lord as a missionary. I love you guys!
Elder Jordan Duke

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15, 2013: Week 78

Hi family,

Well this week was good. And the way it ended made it even better. I'll tell you about that later in this email. Anyway, to answer some questions. Elder Hermosilla has 1 year and a couple weeks in the mission. He is a really great missionary and I'm sure He'll go up to senior comp next change. Also something interesting for the next 3 changes 30 new missionaries are coming in to the mission. and the 4th change 60! I'll be leaving when the 60 come in, but wow! I don't know where there going to put 150 extra missionaries in this little País (country)! Also as a side note thingy, I'll most likely be leaving Rivera this change, changes are the 23rd of April, and I wanted to buy a few recuerdos (souvenirs) to bring back home to you guys. Would it be possible to shoot me a little $, like 25 no more to buy them. I would just buy them, but I'm trying to save my money in case I am transfered and I'll need it for some reason.
Well, to tell you about why the week was even better at the end. Pablo, the guy we've been working with to reactivate came to church again, but this time it was something a little more special. It was testimony meeting and to my surprise he got up to give his. It almost brought tears to my eyes as he shared his experience of coming back to church. He talked about how sometimes we feel alone, but it's not because God abandoned us, but becauses we abandon him. He said that he's learned that God was always there lovingly and patiently waiting for him to return with arms open. He also thanked us (Elder Hermosilla and I) for not giving up on him and sticking with him. It was one of the testimonies that has impacted me the most in the mission.
Interesting story. We were walking down the street and a man, easily recognized as Jehovah's Witness by the way he was dressed and by his briefcase of church material, stopped us and without hesistating told us, "You guys teach doctrine from the devil." We asked him how he knew and he started to tell us about polygamy and baptisms for the dead, etc. I asked him why he thought that it was of the devil and he said that neither polygamy nor baptisms of the dead were in the Bible. Not trying to be rude I asked if he had actually read the Bible and then procided to show him in Corinthians where the apostle Paul talks about baptism for the dead, and the story of Jacob, who later became Isreal, who had 4 wifes. He, of course, didn't have anything to respond and we explained that we don't practice polygamy and that it was a law that was used before, but later had been abolished by leaders of the church. He was astonished to realize that 2 jovens (young people) knew more about the Bible than he thought and we asked him simply if he'd like to listen to our message. He said no, because it was still "of the devil" what we taught. I was happy that I could nicely put my hand on his shoulder look him in the eye and say, "No, what we teach is of God, and I know that's true, I know that the messsage we have to share can bless your life and the life of your family, if you choose to accept it." After I bore my testimony to him he simply said, "Ok, but I still don't want to hear you message." We said that was fine and we wished him luck in his day. It was a very interesting experience, but it helped me realize the confidence that I've adquired here in the mission and I was proud to defend the faith.
Emily, I'm so proud of you! You may not have won, but you definitely did amazing if they chose you for the directors award. And for the rest of the bunch I love you and always have you in my prayers.
I love you guys and I want you to know that I know this church is true. I love my Savior and I know He loves me. Hope you all have a good week!
Elder Jordan Duke

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8, 2013: Week 77

Well, I definitely think that was the best conference so far in the mission. I really loved all the talks and some more than others. I really liked the talk by Craig A. Cardon from the 70 on forgiveness, really great talk, and also Pte Uchtdorf on Sunday morning.
Some quotes I liked where these: Elder L. Tom Perry: "Obedience to law is Liberty"; Pte Uchtdorf, (this isn't exact but something like this) "Darkness exists but we don't dwell there. We choose where we stand." Also Pte Uchtdorf, "We don't wait to cross the finish line to recieve God's blessings."
Pte. Monson " The great test in this life is obedience." Elder Holland "The size of your faith is not the issue, it's your integrity to the faith you do have." Also Elder Holland "You have more faith than you think you do." I really like this one from Elder Oaks. He told a story of a man whose family was killed by a drunk driver. After forgiving the man who killed his wife and kids, he was asked why he did it. He said, "As a disciple of Christ there's no other choice." From Elder Erich W. Kopischke "Having the Holy Ghost as your constant companion is the ultimate indicator of God's acceptance."

Those were just some that I liked. I wasn't able to see Priesthood session and missed the beginning of the first session on Saturday so until yesterday I didn't know they changed the YW Presidency. I'll be downloading the Priesthood sesion today to listen to it. Gonna be great.
Everything is going really well here in Tranqueras. Pablo is a capo (stud)! He invited friends to the conference and one came-- another menos activo (less active), Oscar. Pablo is doing really really great and he said that Conference really helped him especially the talk about the family and marraige by Elder Clayton.
Sounds like everything is going good at home. Kaili and Sarah might have to re-teach me how to drive, ;) lol! Just don't wreck the cars before I get back! I'm glad to hear that the papers are getting done for the house. I can't wait to see it, but don't worry I'm not thinking about coming home yet..
I love this gospel so much and I feel deeply grateful for this chance I have to serve here in Uruguay. I love to preach the gospel and hearing the Apostles and Prophet talk so much about missionary work gave me more energy and ganas (desires) to work and bring more souls to Christ.
I hope you guys enjoyed Conference as much as I did and that you have a great week.
I love you all tons!
Love, Elder Jordan Duke

Monday, April 1, 2013

April 1, 2013: Week 76

How's everyone this week?
For me this week was good. We didn't have too much success as far as investigators go, but we had success nonetheless. This week we saw some great miracles and had a great time being able to share with people the real meaning behind the pascua (Easter).
As for Elias, this week he wasn't home, because he and his family went to Rivera for the "Semana Santa" and still aren't home since last night when we went to check. We did however have a miracle in finally finding Camila, the daughter of a member that we've been trying to find for weeks now. Camila is a great girl, just needs a little more support from her Mom.
The great part of the week is with Pablo. Pablo is a member of about 5 or 6 years, but has been inactive for almost all of it. He lately has passed through hard times, with the divorce of his wife and recently being able to overcome his addiction to marijuana. We started by just getting to know him, because he's the son of the primary President, Hna Dora. We started off by just being friendly with him. Playing some card games or just talking about futbol. And after establishing the friendship the miracle came. We went over to the house on Wednesday to pick up lunch from the Hna and as we were waiting for it to finish, Pablo asked us if we could start teaching him how to have more faith in Christ. He explainied his situation and how he knew that we could help him. We gave him a short lesson there about how doing the little things like, prayer, reading the scriptures and going to church help build that strong foundation of faith. He commited to come to church and to start reading and praying. Since then he has already changed alot. He has been praying morning and night. Reads his scriptures and also came to church. He is alot happier now, and even though He just started coming back, the changes are already grand.
We recently had entrevistas (interviews) with Pte Heaton and he told us that in Tranqueras he wants us to focus the most on rescate (re-activation of members) . We've been doing that and have seen many miracles like the one with Pablo. This has helped me with my testimony in revelation, that Pte. Heaton knows exactly what is needed in an area and who needs to be there to do it.
Speaking of revelation, General Conference! I'm super excited! We're going up to Rivera to watch it because they don't have it here in Tranqueras. I can't wait to be able to recieve revelation personally and also for the mission, area, etc. I've definitely come to appreciate more the conference here in the mission and I know that it's something important that we need to grow and be able to follow the will of the Lord.
I love you guys and I know that this gospel is true. As this week has passed I've thought a lot about the Savior and what He did for us. I know that through him all of us can overcome both physical and spiritual death. Through his suffering in Gethsemane and his death and resureccion, we have the oportunity to become like him and be able to enter in the House of God clean.
I love you all tons and Feliz Pascua!
Elder Jordan Duke
Pics below!

 Elders Duke and Hermosilla

 Their new pet!

 Get off the tracks, Elders! :)