Monday, June 29, 2015

Volcano Llaima, Chile in Semifinals Soccer, Exchanges, Conference

Hey guys sorry I didn’t write last week.  I will try to fill you in on everything that has happened for the last two weeks.  Two weeks ago from today on P-day we had a really fun activity between the two zones here in Temuco.  (Pictures on my last blog entry) We all piled into a bus and headed up to a volcano named Llaima.  It was the first time that I had seen snow in a year and we had a fun time throwing snowballs and hiking up there.  Unfortunately it was pretty foggy so we weren’t able to see the volcano very well but it was still a really fun time.

 Later that night there was a Chile soccer game, which for the past couple of weeks there have been and Chile hasn’t lost yet in the world cup and they are playing against Peru tonight in the semifinals!  I LOVE watching soccer now, something I never thought I would say, and the Chile team is so sweet.

Also that week I did an exchange with and Elder named Elder Oxborrow.  This is his first transfer in the mission so it was really fun working with a newbie.  We were in a place called Carahue which is in the middle of nowhere but it was very beautiful there and it reminded me of the scenery from The Hobbit.  I  met a family there that was one of my most favorite families I have met.  We hit it off from the moment I got there and now the mom wants me to marry one of the daughters and take them back to the United States.  I had to reject the offer at the moment haha.   However, they made plans to come visit me after the mission.  It still shocks me how much I love meeting new people and how amazing some of the people I meet are.  I also did two more exchanges this week with the other Elders in our house.  Elder Hatch and Elder Casmuz, so that was a lot of fun.

For the past couple of weeks we have been finding and losing people to teach a lot but the one cousin of the member that came to church two weeks ago has been progressing well.  His name is Joaquin and I think we are going to be able to prepare him to get baptized on the 11th of July, the last day my companion works in the mission!  It’s very cool to see how the Lord prepares people for us but how it’s our responsibility to find them.

Another big thing that happened this past week was that we had a conference with the Area Seventy, the President of the South America Area, President Gonzalez.  The conference was really good and I learned a lot from him and President Bluth.  I also was able to see Elder Haynes, my companion from the MTC and Elder Casperson and Elder Healey, my two old comps who are actually companions now! And Elder Katschke was comps with Elder Casperson once so it’s like we just did a swap haha. 

The last thing that was cool that happened was a ward activity on Saturday.  We had an “Argentina Night” so we pretty much just drank mate, which is kind of like a tea, and ate all sorts of typical foods from Argentina.  Also some members in our ward put on a show and danced Tango.  I wanted to participate and learn how to dance it but unfortunately we can’t dance as missionaries, as I have said before.  I’m am going to learn how to do it after the mission!  That’s pretty much all that has happened that was noteworthy for the past two weeks.  Hope everyone has a good week!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Obedience, Mapooche Market, Birthday, Blessings

*Moms Note:  Connor didn’t have a lot of time this week to answer all the wonderful birthday emails he got, he wants to thank everyone for writing to him, he said it was good to hear from you!  Because his time is so short, he writes his letter the night before and takes a picture of it to send, then I get to type it up :)

Hey guys! This past week was another hardworking, rainy miracle-full, and good experiencing week.  My relationship with Elder Katschke grows and gets better every day.  We are learning a lot together and trying to become better missionaries/people.  Being with him has been a pretty big change to my mission, we are planning a lot better, working a lot harder, and being 100% obedient.  We have been able to see the blessings and miracles that come from those things. I will tell you guys about this week from the beginning and going through the week.

Last P-day was a lot of fun!  We went to the Mapooche Market, which is way fun and entertaining to go to.  We met up with a bunch of other missionaries there.  Also while we were there, there was a man who was doing sketches of people and I had him do one of me!  It was kind of funny because a pretty big group of people circled around us to watch some really old Chilean sketch a young gringo from the United States.  Also I was able to tell him a little more about what we do as missionaries and our church.  After that, we all went to Jack’s which is a restaurant of a guy who is from the States and he makes real hamburgers!  It was a lot of fun, good first P-day with my companion. 

The next day was really cool too because we were able to find a family name the Family Sepulueda that the missionaries here use to contact a lot and it would be really cool to see them progress and help them. 

The next day was…  my BIRTHDAY. Haha not really anything happened, it was just another hard working day. In the morning I opened the package from my family which contained the softest blanket I’ve ever felt that has my name and mission sewed into it, also a poster that everyone from my extended family had signed and wished me a happy birthday, which was awesome as well.  But probably the funniest part about it and the most like my mom thing to do was, there was all the materials in it to bake a cake! I don’t know when I am going to have time or where I’m going to do it haha but it’s going to be a good time when I do.  There were however a couple things that happened on my birthday with our investigators and members that were cool as well.  But mainly just a chill day.  It was my first birthday away from home which made it a little hard because I missed all the birthday texts, and wishes and posts on social media but as well, it was cool to experience it here in Chile. 

From that day and on, temperatures in Chile dropped, it’s pretty cold here and at the moment we don’t have any sort of way to make heat, like no stoves or anything but we are working on that.  Thursday we found another really good investigator that the missionaries has been contacting named Maria.  She’s very good, really receptive and truly wants to find the true church.  Also that night the American Cup in soccer started.  Soccer is huge here so we weren’t able to work during this time and we actually were able to watch a little bit of it.  Chile won 2-0, so as you can imagine, all of the Chileans were going crazy. 

One of the last things I’m going to talk about in this is about the visits that we have been able to have with members this past week.  We talked with two returned missionaries who talk to us a lot about their missions and their lives now and how the mission has affected them.  I know that this mission has affected and changed my life.  I understand obedience a lot more now and especially why we do the things that we do.  And the best thing of all, I have grown to have and understand my testimony and know what I believe.  The mission changes lives.   It’s amazing.  It has changed mine for the better.

The last thing I am going to share with you guys a little bit is a little miracle that we saw in church on Sunday.  All this week me and Elder Katschke have been striving to find investigators and commit them to attend  church this week so that they can progress towards baptism because it’s Elder Katschke’s last transfer in the mission and we want to baptize together.  We had found and committed about 8 people to church by Saturday.  But Sunday came and one by one they all fell and didn’t come.  It was really hard to see because we had worked so hard and had prayed and fasted to be able to have someone come to church this week.  No one showed up until an hour into church, an hermano  in the ward came up and introduced us to his nephew… and invited us to come to his house this week because he is interested in our church!  Also an old investigator showed up to church as well! The Lord is blessing us.  Even if we aren’t able to baptize together, we promised that we would leave this sector better than it was and prepared for the next missionaries that come.  Well, that’s it for this week, sorry it was a little long! J  Hope everyone has a good week, love and miss you all!

Elder Clay

Monday, June 8, 2015

Working Until I Drop, Literally!

Family and friends, this week was one of my most favorite weeks on my mission.  It was also one of the hardest working weeks that I have had here in Chile.  Having Elder Katschke as a companion is amazing and I’m learning so much from him.  We have really dominated how to be exactly obedient and have fun at the same time.  We are already seeing changes in this sector and we are going to get this sector where it needs to be.
                                                                   Elder Katschke

To tell you guys a little bit more about my companion, he is from Nevada, and as I already said, this is his last transfer in the mission.  He is 20, the oldest in his family and the first missionary.  He played a lot of basketball before the mission.  He’s one of the hardest workers and really strives to be the best that he can be. We have both helped each other out a lot already and I’m grateful  for his example.  We spend our time outside in the pouring rain, working hard but somehow laughing a lot of the time and talking with everyone.  Also the planning and goals that we do really help and encourage us. All in all, we get along very well and we are working really hard, good times. 

                                                                Elder Ludena

To tell you a little about our week I will start off from last Monday.  After I got over the shock of hearing I was going to be comps with the ex-assistant, we went and started saying goodbye to all the people for Elder Ludena. Every time that I say bye or watch others say bye to someone they have met from their sector it’s crazy to see how difficult it is.  The love and friendship that we have with the people as missionaries is something I can’t explain, but it’s amazing.  The next day Elder Ludena left for Mulchen, carrying all his suitcases and bags in the rain made everything  pretty stressful and about the hardest workout that I have had.  Every time we have transfers I get kind of excited because I know that a good workout is coming, carrying all of the suitcases and everything. Haha  Also after, we do shopping for the week and we have to carry all of the bags of food in our hands all the way to our house! Haha, it kills my arms.
                                                 Elder Hatch & Elder Casmuz
I worked with Elder Hatch and Casmuz until Wednesday night when my companion got here.  Spending two days with them was pretty fun, we contacted all the time we were together but it went well.  Elder Casmuz is really fun and us 3 would have a lot of fun with the contacts.  When we went to get my new companion we also met a missionary named Elder Snyder and he has his brand new Gringo son in the mission with him.  His name is Elder Oxborrow, it’s always fun and cool to see new gringos start the mission.  It’s easy to mess with them but also I like giving them advice and help.  The rest of the week we have just been working really hard in the rain.  We are starting to reap what we have sown and starting to find people to teach and also are strengthening the members in our ward. 
Elder Katschke is a real good example for me, even though he is ending his mission soon, he is working very hard and going all out in every sense!  By the end of the day I am dead tired and fall asleep instantly when I hit my bed.  I can’t explain it.  When I was working out every day and playing lacrosse I thought I was tired but the mission is making me more tired than I have ever been in my life.  But, I am loving it! Hope that everything is going well for everyone back home and I hope everyone has a good week!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Armor of God, Cunco, Transfers

Hello, this past week was my last week with Elder Ludena and today is transfers, I will talk more about that in the end of my letter. This week was filled with rain and going to the doctor’s office a lot because my companion has some things that he has to clear up in his throat and other issues. 

Last Monday we had a Family Home Evening with a family we know and I was sharing about the Armor of God when their son, who is like 6 looked at his mom and said “no, no, the Elders are wrong, it’s the Armor of Ironman!” haha It was the funniest thing ever!  He refused to accept the term Armor of God and kept saying the Armor of Ironman was better, so I tried to relate the two things and I think it turned out pretty well!

Something that has been happening this week that has been sad is I have had to say goodbye to a lot of missionaries, who are really good friends, who are ending their missions.  Elder Knecht, Elder Douglas and some others.  It’s pretty sad seeing them go, I have learned a lot from their group and I have made some really good life friends. 

Also this week was probably one of my most favorite days in the mission.  I was able to do an intercambio with one of my best friends in the mission, Elder Faas!  It was honestly so much fun and we were able to do so many things.  I went up to his sector in a place called Cunco.  The hour and half bus ride up there was pretty cool, very beautiful.  Cunco is so sweet, I loved it there.  It is surrounded by mountains and you can see a huge volcano and it’s just all very beautiful. I also was able to meet one of the sickest people I’ve met here in Chile named Maun.  His family moved to Cunco from Santiago about 6 months ago and I was able to talk to him about the change and everything.  His mom had always had a dream of living in a house in the “campo” which is pretty much just living in the mountains or nature with lots of property.  He’s around 18 and has been a member for 3 years.  I would love to be assigned to that sector!  My exchange with Elder Faas was the best.

Saturday night we had a ward activity which had a very good turnout.  There was lots of people, food, music and performances.  As missionaries we did some sketches which were pretty funny and got the whole ward laughing. The activity ended with dancing, but as missionaries we can’t dance, so we just left early.

Now I will tell you about transfers.  My companion is leaving this sector and my new companion is going to be…. Elder Katschke! Yep the same missionary who is an assistant to the President and I did an exchange with last week.  He has one transfer left in the mission so he got released from Assistance and is going to spend his last time with me!  I know that I am going to be able to learn so much from him and I kind of feel honored to have this opportunity.  It’s going to be pretty weird being with someone who is ending their mission but I have always wanted to “kill” someone in the mission! I’m pretty pumped to work with him, I know we are going to be working really hard and I’m excited.  I will let you guys know how it goes next week!  Ciao