Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 27, 2013: Week 97

So it's just hitting me that I'm going in to my last change.... I don't want it to be over so soon.. No time to think about that though, because we have too much to think about in the work. A lot of people are progressing and some should be getting baptized soon if all goes well. Sofia and Ana should be getting baptized on the 7th of September. Sofia is the daughter of Rosa and Hugo, Rosa has fecha for the 21st of September, but has to get married before she can be baptized. We haven't been able to talk to Hugo about it yet, but tomorrow we set up a lesson where he is there and we can talk about it with him. I'm sure she can get baptized and that God can soften the heart of Hugo to accept getting married.
We had a great experience with Rosa as well where we got her to finally pray with us. She never wanted to and we were thinking about what to teach her and we thought of sharing lesson 1 and the story of Joseph Smith and how she can have an experience just as powerful as his with prayer. of course she wasn't going to see angels or God, but the feeling would be just as profound. She accepted to pray after the lesson and gave one of the most heartfelt prayers i think I've heard in the mission thus far. After she said that she felt much better and since then hasn't had problems with saying the prayer.
We have only one new change. Elder Rodriguez left and Elder Gutierrez from Chile is coming to be comps with Elder Mendoza. It's always interesting changes time, though up here in Bella Union we don't hear much of anything. We're a little bit islated or aislated however you spell it.
Glad to hear that Josh is getting a drum set. I put one of my goals to learn the drum set. knowing that you'd buy him one before I got home ;) Sounds like everyone is about as excited as usual for school. Emily: mixed feelings, Kaili: normal I think, maybe a little scared about being a senior, Sarah: good a lot of boredom, Josh: a little bummed out and bored, but super excited to be playing the drums, and Lauren: just overjoyed as always ;)
I hope you all do good in school and get good grades! When I get home I'm going to challenge you all to a "who gets the best grades contest!" I'm sure that I can win ;)
I love you all and want you to know that I know that this church is true. I love this gospel and the work that I'm in. I've come to love the people of Uruguay and I'm sad that my time here is almost up. I know that they will all be fine without me though and life moves on. I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Jordan Duke


Monday, August 19, 2013

August 19, 2013: Week 96

How's everyone doing? It's great to hear from you again and I love hearing about all that's going on. Sounds like you had a crazy week! A family reunion, Alex's wedding, and school shopping. It sounds like you're almost as busy as me and Elder Watts ;) lol! but seriously we're busy people.
It was really weird getting up in front of all the missionaries and realizing that they were looking at me like some wise, all knowing oldy that has tons of experience and was going to give them the secret to success. I don't even remember what I said, but I know that the spirit was there and I loved hearing all the other testimonies. Besides me, Elder Webster from my group was there and we talked after about how our missions had gone and how we had both changed a lot from the beginning.
Well me and Elder Watts had a great week and it all ended with another great week in church. We had 4 people come and the assistance (attendance..."asistir" means "to attend" in Spanish...Elder Duke is mixing his languages... ;) ) of members was higher than it has been in the last month or two.
Agustin was able to come again which was great to have him there. He is definitely progressing a little faster than his sisters but all are doing well. The girls Soledad and Gabriela went to a friend/family's birthday party and ended up staying there so they didn't go.
Rosa came again also and this time came with her whole family, menos her husband Hugo, we are working with her and she came to the baptism on saturday of a girl from the other missionaries and she asked us what she needs to do to get baptized. Of course we were happy to explain to her what she needed to do and she has been progressing even more since. Her daughter Sofia also came for the 2nd time.
Ana, the daughter of a family who is just reactivating, also came and she wants to be baptized as well. We are going to start focusing on her more that before, because she has all the support and knows everything already. She could very well get baptized the end of this month.
All in all we had a great week and even though we missed a couple of days for traveling and other things the Lord blessed us and we were able to help a lot of people come one step closer to our Heavenly Father. I know that this church is true and I am grateful for the time I have to serve him. This time in the mission has taught me a lot and I've grown a lot spiritually, not so much physically. Wasn't the best at doing effective exercises...but I'm glad for every minute I've had here to serve and I wouldn't change it for anything.
I'm glad that I have you guys as my family and I couldn't ask for better. Thank you and all in the ward and everyone that I know for all the prayers and support. I love you all tons and I hope that your week is filled with many great memories and blessings!
Elder Jordan Duke

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013: Week 95

Well how is everyone doing? We are doing really good here. Especially after this last Sunday. We had a lot of success. Rosa, Agustin, Nicolas, and Ana, the daughter of a menos activo family, all came to church. Soledad was sick and Gabriela wasn't home so they didn't come, but now that Agustin and Soledad have gone it will be easier to help them come again and get Gabriela with them. Rosa came and she loved it. She told us in a lesson that we had after that she wants to "Convince" her husband Hugo to come and with him and their daughter Sofia who is 11. The family of Ana has been inactive for a little more than a year and surprised everyone in the ward by showing up to church. We talked to them after and they said that Ana had decided that she wanted to be baptized and that they were going to support her and come back to church. Really excited. I know that little miracle is an answer to our prayers to be able to find people who are prepared and ready to be baptized. 

We have a goal of 10 in church for next week and it's going to be a little bit of a challenge especially since it's a holiday here, but we have the faith and the names and we know that we can do it. Everyone we teach is really great and all are progressing and show interest, some a little more than others, but all have real desires to learn.

Fabian and Ricardo seem to have flaked out. It's sad to see, but we know that at least we could plant that seed and maybe one day they'll accept.

Sounds like everyone is getting ready to start scool. I can't believe that the summer is already almost over! Time is going by so fast! This Wednesday I give my last testimony in Zone Conference. My comp gives his first ;) He's going to do great, probably give the best testimony of the greenies ;) not bragging or anything but my comp is a stud! 

Haha, I laughed when I read the story about Sarah's first date! lol! I imagined Dad throwing her over his shoulder and all that and it sounded like quite the adventure. Sarah has her license? Well we'll see how much of the car is left when I get home ;) lol jk. I'm sure she drives fine....if it's better then Emily it's ok, lol!

Wel,l I am glad to hear that all is well and that everyone is doing good and enjoying life. Remember to always rely on the Lord and He will help you. I know that He is there and that He listens. My testimony of prayer has really grown here in the mission and I don't know what I would do with out a prayer in the morning and night. God really does answer prayers and He answered mine. Before this change started I had been praying that if it was His will that he allow me to train. I always wanted to and this would have been my last chance. When I received my change and they told me, I was happy and grateful and determined to do all that I could to show God how grateful I was that he gave me this chance, so I'm doing all I can to help Elder Watts become the best missionary he can and to go strong until the end and make these the best 2 months of my mission.

I love you all and hope that you have a great week! This church is true and we can be happy only through obedience to it's teaching.

Tons of Love,

Elder Jordan Duke

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5, 2013: Week 94

Hey fam!
How's it all going? First off promise, Dad, that you won't do a countdown. Haha! We played basketball today, and afterwards everyone was saying how they we're tired. I asked Elder Watts how he was and he said that he had been tired since yesterday. Meaning that we work hard yesterday ;)
Also he showed me a part of an email from his sister that told him to not let me get trunky. Don't worry I'm not, or at least I don't let it show in the work. I'm sure that every missionary thinks about the house even a little towards the end, the thing that makes the difference is how they react to those thoughts. I think the fact that I'm training helps me a lot to not bring out those tunky thoughts that sometimes come. Really I'm grateful that I was allowed to train and I think doing it at the end is a strength to me to help me endure to the end. I'm happy to say that as a companionship we are doing so and that the work is going good.
Speaking about that work, We were able to see the fruits of our labors and Soledad was able to come to church with two other friends of hers that we got to know last week, Alison and Barbara. We have a lesson with all of them and they all enjoyed the church. It was fast sunday of course and as we were sitting there waiting for someone to get up, Soledad and the others told me that I should go up. Thinking that it would be a bad example of a representative of Christ to decline the chance to testify, I told them I would and got up, and looking the 3 in the eyes, testified of the truthfulness of the church and of all the things that they had heard that day from the members' testimonies. When I sat down, next to themm since your supposed to sit by your investigators to support them, they just gave me a sincere "thank you." I felt good knowing that what I had said had touched them. They are all excited to come to church again next week. This time with all of those that listen to us in that house, being 7 or 8 almost everytime. Soledad, Gabriela, Agustin, Alison, Barbara, Nicolas, Richard, Emanuel, etc. We seriously find someone new in that house every time we go by! We're going today, so we'll see who we find.
The rest of the investigators are good. We've had to drop a few from not progesssing, but the Lord has blessed us with new investigators to replace the empty hours.
Something I'd like to share about new investigators is this: After being in cyber last monday, as we we're walking down the street to a lesson, a couple of men stopped in the street, and my first thought was, "Great, here they come to mess with us." Admittedly, the first impression of them wasn't the best; they both had cigarettes hanging out of their mouths and the one had what looked like a bottle of alcohol. One of them spoke and the words that came out of his mouth surprised me. "A few years ago, people like you came to my door and told me that they had a message about Christ. I rejected them. I was wondering if I could have another chance at hearing that message. Would you guys teach me?" It took a second to register what I was hearing and with a huge smile on my face I told him that we would love to teach him and we set up a lesson for that Thursday. We would have taught him right there, but we we're running to get to a lesson we had set previously. We got there Thursday and we had a great lesson. They both were very much engaged in the conversation and everything about the message of the Restoration fascinated them. When we pulled out the Book of Mormon and explained a little about how it's written scripture from here in the Americas, the first thing they said was "If we read 15 pages per day, how long till we read it all?" I'm not the best at math so I didn't answer them directly but we promised them that if they read and asked God if it was true then they would recieve an answer. They accepted easily. We haven't been able to talk to them since because of some dificulties with the land lord where they live, who is a huge anti-Christ, God, church, everything really that has to do with being happy really is what it seemed like. He was a very grumpy man to say the least. But, I thought about what Dad had said about finding that one that would help bring more to the Gospel and thought about their enthusiasm about what we taught. I feel that they could very easily be those "two" that do it. We have set up another lesson for today and we're going to see how their reading and praying about the Book of Mormon went.
So how are you all doing? Sounds like you're all good. Good to hear that everything is going well with the house and that Band camp went well. Can't wait to see the show! (not meant to be a trunky comment.) I'm sure that they'll win a ton of trophies!
Sarah HAPPY 16TH BIRTHDAY!!!!! Love you! Hope you all have fun on her birthday! Eat tons of cake for me!
Crazy that Kyle is home, tell him I said hi and that I wish him well on his homecoming talk, also to Tyler that he has a great mission and good talk.
I love you guys and want you to know that I know that this work is true. That God lives and loves us. I know that Christ suffered and died for our sins and that we can be cleansed through the atoning power of that sacrifice. I love this work and wouldn't be anywhere else. These past almost 2 years have been the best I've ever had and I'm grateful to my Father in Heaven everyday for this chance he's given me to know this beautiful country and people. Love you all and hope you have a great week full of the Lord's blessings!
Elder Jordan Duke