Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013: Week 88

TO start off, no I'm not better than you were, Dad....I already mentioned to Elder Ramos that I had less weeks left than he had months ;)...but it's alright. Some of the best missionaries I knew where a little trunky. You just gotta work hard when you need to be working and really during the day out working you don't even think about home at all. There's no time to.
I'd love to try to get in to USU if it's possible and it might be better if I have to wait until summer to be able to save up a little more money. Also I'd love to have an Appplication put in for me when you can.
I'll know tomorrow if the packages came or not, most likely but if not no worries it usually takes between 3 to 4 weeks.
This week was great! It was a little different because we had a zone meeting and the goodbye of Pres. Heaton so we didn't get into Bella Union to work until Friday, but it ended great because Karen along with 3 others from the other Elders here were baptized! Yes I'm sending pictures ;)
Also all is good with Soledad, Gabriela and Agustin, we have a lesson with them today and they are progressing really well. I always feel the Spirit strongly when we have lessons in their house.
Ramona and Romina are there still, Ramona still struggling with the cigarettes, she isn't showing much will power and desire to quit, but we're being patient with her. Romina still is doing good, but didn't go to church because she was up until 5 am at the birthday party of her sister..
We had a miracle this week also. A joven (young man) out of no where walked in during the baptismal service and asked if He could watch. Of course we said yes and when we talked to him after he asked what he had to do to be baptized. He came to church on Sunday and is really great. We set up a lesson with him today. His name is Enzo by the way and I really feel that he is a prepared person.
WOW! I don't even recognize the house! It'll be like we moved when I get back! I like it though, very classy ;) lol, I have no idea why I said that it's just what popped into my head at the moment.. Emily looked great too on the float! Congrats Em!
Well, love you guys and I love the chance I get every week to write you. I hope you all have a good week and that the Lord guides you in all you do!
I love you guys tons!
Elder Jordan Duke
Elders Lopez, Larson, Delgado, Duke and Simpson.

Elders Duke and Ramos with Kevin, Maria, Emanuel and friend from Barrio Bella Union.

Monday, June 17, 2013

June 17, 2013: Week 87

Hi family,
So this week has been great for all of Bella Union. We had 10 people in church. Investigators that is. It was really great! We have a baptism of 4 people coming up this Saturday the 22nd. Our baptism is Karen and the other three are from the other elders so I can't remember their names..
The package that you sent me had the animal cracker cookies and other candy like warheads and stuff. To answer all you questions. All four of us are in the same ward in Bella Union. It's a ward of about 60 active members. It's just us four in the district and we're in the zone of Salto. The ZL's are in Salto and it's about 2 hours away from us in Bella Union. The other elders in our district are Elder Rodriguez from Bolivia and Elder Mendoza from Colombia. ZL's are Elder Laycock from Utah and Elder Hewlett from I think Utah also.
The first district meeting was great! I was fine and not nervous at all. I think that fact that I have a lot of experience and knowing that I had more than a year more in the mission then the next oldest missionary in the district it gave me a little bit of confidence that I knew what I was doing and that with the Spirit all would be fine. I talked about chapter 1 in Preach my Gospel and what we can do to better ourselves as missionaries and focus ourselves on our goals and objective.
We will see Pte. Heaton for the last time on Wednesday. They are coming this week to all the zones for a goodbye conference. It's going to be so weird with them gone, but adjusting won't be too hard either. The new president seems like a great man and I'm sure the work will continue without problems.
So about the other investigators, We have Soledad and Gabriela and Agustin who are brothers and sisters. Soledad came to church but Agustin couldn't because he had a game on sunday and didn't go and Gabriela didn't want to go. I'm positive that they all will go this next week though because Soledad loved church and she wants her siblings to come with her.
Also we had Ramona, who is a great lady and the mother of a recent convert. Her only problems are that she has to quit smoking and get married. She is down to 1 cigarrette a day so she's doing well. The getting married part is a little harder. We've explained to her that if she feels better in the house of her daughter than at the house with the guy, who isn't the dad of her daughter, than she should do what makes her happy and what's best for her.
Romina is the other one that came to church and she is great! She is the little sister of a bunch of members and she is just the next in line for baptism. She is a little uncertain about baptism and I think it's because she also goes to a catholic school. We helped her understand that she needs to listen to what God tells her and not what the other people around her say. She commited to pray and the work towards the 6th of July as her fecha bautismal.
This week really went well and we had a lot of success as a district and zone and for that I'm excited and happy. It makes me happy as well because I'm the leader and whether I like it or not it reflects on me how our district does and so I'm really happy that we are moving the work along and that we're are having so much success.
I love it here in Bella Union and I think it's a great place to end the mission. I'm not 100% sure that I won't be switched, but I wouldn't be surprised if I stayed.
I love you guys and I want you to know that I know that this is the true gospel. I know that if we want blessings that we need to obey the commandments of God. Like Elder Perry said in his talk in Conference. "Odedience to the ley (law) is Freedom."
I love you and hope you have a great week!
Love tons,
Elder Jordan Duke
Grafitti says "Bella Union"

Clockwise from top left; Elder Ramos, Peru (standing) Elder Rodriguez (Bolivia), Elder Duke, Children of ward mission leader, Elder Mendoza (Colombia).

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10, 2013: Week 86

Hey everyone! I'm not going to ask how your doing because I already know. Cuz I pray for you all every day. But just so you know, I'm fine. To clear a few things up. I'm not training, I'm with an Elder who just reciently finished being trained. He has a little more than 3 months in the mission. Elder Edgar Ramos is from Lima, Peru. He has 1 sister and 3 brothers. They are all members, but were baptized recently just a little over a year ago. His last brother got baptized, just a couple weeks before he left on the mission. His parents are seperated and he said that his dad is really stubborn and doesn't want anything to do with the Gospel, but we and they keep praying that some day he'll accept. And yes I'm his second comp.
We have a triple frontera (border) here in Bella Union, and it's great. The city in Argentina is about 1 hour away and the one in Brazil like 15 mins. We can go and went today, I'll send pics too. ;) The city is small, but a lot bigger than Tranqueras. It's a ward here and it was weird being in a church building after so long in the little house we had in Tranqueras. There are 4 missionaries here in Bella Union and I'm district leader over just us here in Bella Union.
Pte Heaton is going to come to all the zones and have like mini-zone conferences the last 2 weeks before he leaves. He always tells us in his emails to us that we be exactly obedient to Pte Smith and that we don't put that excuse of, "well, pte. Heaton didn't do it like that." It'll be great to see Pte Heaton one last time, he really is a great man and loves the work.
The new area is great and there is a lot of work to do so I-m super excited. (the exclamation point doesn't work so just imagine my excitement...) We have one with fecha for the 22 of this month and a few possibles for the beginning of the month of July. Karen is the one with fecha and the others are all brothers and sisters named Soledad, Gabriela and Agustin. I've only been able to visit them a couple times so I don't know a lot, but from what Elder Ramos told me they're all really great and are all ready to get baptized. I'm happy and excited, but at the same time from all I've learned I know to keep them going and to not get too relaxed with them because the adversary works hard.
It's great to hear that your all doing well and that everyones keeping busy. Haha, funny that you bringing up me getting pulled over to helped me recognize where it's (the new Ridley's grocery store in Eagle Mountain) located, lol. darn exclamation point...
I love you all and hope that you have a good week. I know that this gospel is true and that it blesses our lives if we follow it. I hope to be able to live with my family for forever and that's really my biggest motive to keep going everyday, even with all the dificulty there is. I love you all more than anything in the world.
Elder Jordan Duke

 With Elder Lamb and Others

 Saying "Adios" to Elder Lamb

 With Elder Ramos in Bella Union


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

June 4, 2013: Week 85

How's everyone? I just realized I always ask like the same thing every time. It's just that I don't really know how to ever start these things..
Biggest news, I'm going to Bella Union! It's like clear up as far north as you can go! I'm also the new District Leader! My comp is Elder Ramos from Perum I think, he's new so no one is sure where he's from. I'm going to be out in the middle of nowhere again, but that's kinda become the story of my mission really. It's alright though. I like it. Elder Lamb is training so I don't know his new comp..
Well that's it for the changes, on to other stuff. Thanks a ton for all the happy birthdays. En verdad (truthfully), I don't feel like I'm 21. It's just weird to think about.. I'm sure I'll keep forgetting and tell everyone I'm still 20. Haha, it took me forever to stop saying that I was 19. So crazy how fast time is flying by. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to end in Bella Union, just from a little part of an email from Pres. He said, "Sprint to the end there in Bella Union." Figured that was enough proof, but we are changing Presidents so you never know really.
We had a great week this week and we had the church more full than ever before since I've been. Almost 30 people came! It was great! A lot were less actives that we've been working with and I was glad to see them. Intersting thing, the Hermana that sicked her neighbor with a machete on us came to church with her son, Leandro. Elder Lamb plans on going back to talk to them. I sure hope and will be praying that she accepts it this time and lets her kids get baptized, because they are really great. Also the wife of Branch Pres. came which was awesome! I was so glad to see them together in the church and I could tell that he was a lot happier.
I'm glad to see that you still remember that my favorite cake is cheesecake, haha! I really think that I'd prefer with just the strawberries like Emily said, but both would be great, because it's Cheesecake! Also looks like the kids had fun in the parade, besides being in uniform full. That would be miserable!
Funny how that works out there in EM, You leave but guaranteed to be back at some point, haha! Tell Parker that I wish him well in Afghanistan and tell him to get his butt to church! Random Q about the pics, who's van are Kaili and Lauren standing in front of in that pic? Nice sax section also, I really like the part on the right, and yes of course I'm talking about the Domino kid ;) lol!
Well, I can't think of much more to say except that I love you and that I know that this church is true. That through living it to our best we can be an eternal family. I love the mission and I wouldn't change this time for the world. I love the Lord and I love serving him.
I love you and I hope you all have a great week and enjoy your last summer break without me! :)
All my love,
Elder Jordan Duke
P.S. I couldn't send one to Kaili, because I don't have an email for her for some reason...
also I'll be sending a few more emails with pics.
Distrito Rivera Junio de 2013

 Con los gatos!

 W/ Elder Lamb and the cake that Elder Lamb baked for Elder Duke's 21st birthday!