Monday, 26 September 2011

SEMANA UNA EN EL CAMPO - 26TH SEPTEMBER 2011

Hola familia!!
 
I am here in Chile and I love it! It´s too bad that the phone was being stupid in the airport... and make sure to take my money to pay for it. That´s cool to hear that there´s a new playground!! It´ll be cool to see. Jakob already went on a canoe trip!? Awesome!!! You´re super lucky. And you have new piano teachers Charly and Jake. That´s awesome.
 
Alright!! So the mission field is basically the greatest thing ever. I was pretty choked that the phone crapped out on me in the airport, especially cause that one call cost at least 10 bucks but then you couldnt hear my voice. Right afterwards I had to board the plane and there was nothing I could do. There were 12 in my travel party all going to the same mission. First, we flew to LA from Salt Lake, then  to Lima, Peru, where we stayed on the plane, and then to Santiago. We thought we needed our bags to go through customs so we were looking for them forever but we were misinformed. Also, there was a screw up and we literally had no time to catch our plane to Concepción. Luckily we had someone from my branch in the MTC with us from Toronto who grew up speaking Spanish who helped a ton. Also, I left my journal behind at the MTC but Elder Hague luckily has it and is gonna send it to me. I gave out a pass along card and a mormon.org card to some people at the airport. It was super nerve-wracking haha cause I hadn´t done it before!
 
Finally we arrived in Concepción, met the Mission President and his wife, and went to the mission office. The President and Sister Humphrey are super nice and really cool. We went, they did stuff with our visas, went to a welcome meeting, and met our companions!! My companion is Elder Navarrette. He´s from Santiago, Chile and is super awesome. His English is good for a Spanish speaker but mostly we speak in Spanish. It was super tough at the beginning because my brain got zero down time, but  it´s good now. I can communicate most things to him. He´s a super good teacher and has 6  months here. I´m lucky to have him as a companion. Anyway we then took a 5 hour bus ride to Talca, which is north in the mission, while Concepción is in the south. I slept on the bus cause I was exhausted. Our sector is the Florida. Each sector has one companionship of missionaries.
 
So the people here speak super fast!! I could understand almost everything in the MTC, but this is completely different. They speak a million miles and hour and always drop s`s. It should be ¿comó está usted? but it sounds like ¿comó etá uted? It´s super hard but I love it. Everyone says I speak really well for being here only a few days but I think they´re lying and just trying to make me feel better about myself hahaha. I love it here though. When I arrived I couldnt stop smiling!! It´s super tough for me to teach because I only know so much of the language so can only say so much, we sometimes makes the lessons unsmooth. Also, it´s hard for me to address the needs of the investigators when I can´t understand them. I keep praying for the gift of tongues though and I´ve noticed a ton of improvement.
 
Ok about Chile, or about Talca anyway. For one, when we first arrived, some drunk  guy came and asked us for money which was funny. There are dogs EVERYWHERE!!! Seriously we see like 100 every day on the streets.  Elder Navarrette said he was attacked by a pitbull once which is crazy. On the way over here to where we use the internet we saw a dead cat too. Crazy stuff. Everyone knows I´m foreign hahaha. Sometimes kids say `hello` when we walk by instead of hola, and sometimes say hello gringo! It´s really funny. The people here are super nice. Almost everyone is super friendly with us when we go contacting. The houses here are really small which is really different. Our apartment is really trashy haha but its ok. Most places have a hot water thing that heats up the water as it flows through like we were looking for for the cabin. It works, but not great. It´s definitely not as nice as Calgary. Our schedule here is different than other schedules too. We wake up at 7:30 instead of 6:30 and go to bed at 11:30 instead of 10:30 because of the culture. Everyone stays up super late here its crazy. Also we have 4 hours of study everyday. 1 hour of personal, 2 hours of companion, and 1 hour of language. Elder Navarrette studies English. The meals here are different too. There´s tons of different kinds of cool food that I haven´t  tried yet. We have a small breakfast at around 8, eat a huge lunch at a members house everyday at 1:30, and have ´once´ which means eleven, at around 10 o clock at night. It`s really different.
 
The biggest problem here is getting people to go to church and follow through with their commitments. We have 5 people with baptismal dates right now, but only one is a progressing investigator. The problem with him, José Luiz, is that he doesnt have a testimony. He´s 18, and always wants to play Chilean monopoly with us instead of us teach him. We were more firm with him yesterday though. We asked him what he thought the Spirit was and he said money and cars and stuff. We have a lot of work to do hahaha. We´re trying to help him focus and get a testimony. The only reason he lets us teach  him  is because Elder Navarrette´s previous companion was American and I´m Canadian and he thinks that´s cool. We keep praying for hime though. On Wednesday, my first normal day, we found a mother and her mid twenties daughter. The daughter committed to be baptized that lesson, and both promised to go to church this week, but apparently the husband, who had just left them the day we found them, came back saturday night, and said they couldnt go. Interesting. Two nights ago we were teaching this awesome family that we found, and all the power went out. In Santiago too. It was cool. They had an emergency light  so we kept teaching and sang a hymn. I think they let us in because they want to find a man for their daughter, but we told them we can´t date, and they were super super receptive to our lesson! The husband prayed with us the way that we pray, and  was super awesome. I can´t wait to go back. There are a bunch of other investigators I could talk about but those are a few interesting ones.
 
Today we went and flew kites on a hill with our zone and another zone which was pretty cool and ate some chorrillanas which were super good.
 
The ward is awesome. There are about 80 members and it´s sweet. Everyone is super super nice and it´s great. They´re good at giving us references. One sister washes and irons our clothes for us every week. It´s super nice.
 
I´m gonna try and send pictures with this email if I can. Sorry I don´t have a ton yet, hopefully next week I´ll have more. It´s probably best if the family emails me now and not dear elders cause I  have as much time as I want on the computer here, and DearElders take forever apparently.  Unfortunately though, I can´t email friends.
 
Also if you could put some of my money in the bank so I can use it if i need to. I wanna buy some sweet leather scripture cases with pictures on them.
 
I´m so lucky to have my family. I had a letter that I almost finished in the MTC but couldnt finish it because we can only write on P-Days. I´m gonna try and finish it send it off soon. Thanks for always being so supportive of me and so helpful my whole life. I love you all so much!!
 
Really quick, I wanna  give you some high-horse preachy missionary wisdom hahaha. For Michael, know the scriptures really well and study preach my gospel. It´ll help a ton. Also, for everyone, open your mouth to everyone!! It was tough for me at first and still is cause I can´t speak Spanish, but really  we have nothing to lose. Helping others come unto Christ is the best thing ever, and talking to your friends about the church can help them sooo much. Also, when the missionaries ask you for references, if you can´t think of someone, just give them someone you know. And whenever you have someone that you think the missionaries need to visit, call them. I love it when that happens here.
 
I know the church is true. I have zero doubts. It just is! The Spirit has told me time and time again that it is, and I´m giving two years of my life for this. Jesus Christ really is our Savior and he loves us. We have the Book of Mormon, which is incredible. It really has the word of God! I wish I had studied it better before my mission. Joseph Smith was a prophet. It says in the scriptures, by your fruits you may know them. The Book of Mormon is the fruit, and it is true. There is nothing bad in the Book of Mormon, and I have a testimony that it´s true. We have living prophets today. That is incredible!! No one else believes what we do, and nobody else has such a happy message!! Sometimes we don´t know everything. And I think that´s great!!  If we knew everything, and if everything always made perfect sense, we would have people diving into the baptismal font, and we wouldn´t need faith. I know we have the full gospel of Jesus Christ. I know he died and suffered for us, and that we can truly repent and that He now lives!!
 
Adios familia, you´ll be getting a letter soon (well i dunno how soon). You´re the best.
 
Elder Blomfield
 
 

Monday, 19 September 2011

LAST WEEK AT THE MTC - 15 SEPTEMBER 2011

Hola familia!
 
I can't believe I'm leaving on Monday it doesn't seem real!! I'm super excited to teach real people. I don't feel ready but I don't think anyone ever feels fully ready. It's good to hear about how well everyone's doing. Congrats Jake on making the soccer team, and good luck Mike on the ACT!! I know you'll do great. Then you can get your BYU application in and you'll be good to go. I'm sorry to hear about Becky and Steve... it's too bad. I hope both of them are doing ok. I'm super jealous of Michael. You get a sweet job, and YOU GET TO GO TO THE SEMA SHOW!!!! Lucky butt. I asked to go but was never allowed hahaha. Have fun though that'll be awesome! Oh and by the way I sent my coat along with my white belt that I don't need to the cabin.
 
Alright this week's been pretty interesting... On Monday when we were playing soccer, Elder Hague was being goalie and got kicked in the thumb. He threw up after cause it kinda freaked him out, then we went to the BYU Health Center for an x-ray and they said it was broken. He got a little thingy for his thumb that keeps it in place, but we weren't worried cause a broken thumb shouldn't affect his proselyting ability. Yesterday we went to the hospital in Provo (same hospital that I opened my mission call in) to see a hand specialist, and the doctor was concerned about ligament damage and stuff. Elder Hague can't go to Chile for at least 6 more weeks. I feel SO bad for him. His face just dropped when he found out. Luckily, he is most likely gonna get reassigned to Provo temporarily. The only reason he couldn't go to Chile is because he needs to see doctors about it regularly because he can still proselyte.
 
So I'm not 100% sure cause I forgot to bring my travel plans with me but I think my flight leaves at 9 Utah time and I land in Los Angeles at i think 10 LA time which is 11 Utah time. I then have I think a two or three hour layover before I fly to Santiago. If you could be ready between 10:00 and 1:00 that would be great... I'm really not sure what the deal is with calling home cause they haven't told us anything. The flight to Santiago is 13 or 14 hours, and then I fly to Concepcion. I'm so excited!! I'm nervous though cause I've never had to open my mouth like I'll be doing in a few days, especially in Spanish. I fasted for confidence to talk to others today and have been praying for help to open my mouth in the field so I'm sure I'll get the help I need.
 
Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke on Tuesday!!! It was awesome. Two Apostles since I've been here. If I had more time I'd write about it more.
 
So I'll be leaving for the field soon so if you're gonna send letters it'll probably be better to send them to my real mission address. Please put it up Mum and Dad. Also, I don't think they forward dear elders to people that have left so if anyone sends me a DearElder and I don't write back, try again to my mission address.
 
I know the church is true. It has the power to change lives. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Joseph Smith was a prophet, and we have a prophet today. Jesus Christ lives, and He suffered for our sins. We can have all the weight of pain and sin lifted off our shoulders through Jesus Christ. I know this is God's work, and I can't wait to share this message with everyone. It's true, and we can be so happy through it.
 
Anyway I'm outta time!! Love you all so much! Keep writing everyone. I'll talk to you in a few days!!!
 
Adios
 
Elder Blomfield
 

I'M ALMOST DONE AT THE MTC - 8 SEPTEMBER 2011

Hola familia!
Thanks for all of your letters. Thanks for getting on Grandma and Grandad Steward and Blomfield's cases for not writing me. I got their letters and I'm sending out some replies. That's awesome that Mike's seminary council president! I know you'll do a great job. Charly that's cool that your teacher is Mr. Jackins. He's super cool. Tell him I say hi, and ask him to play dead ants. It's super awesome. Mrs. Stiles is awesome too. I really like her. How's Jake liking Junior High?? I'm so happy to hear about Ricki's baptism!! That gets me super excited especially as a missionary. I can't wait to go and teach real people. That little story about Izaac is hilarious!!! He cracks me up so much. How come everyone's taking piano lessons from a new teacher? Good luck with the new baseboards, the house is gonna look completely different when I get back haha. Keep playing the piano Mike, I wish I had done more before I came, cause there are opportunities to play, and I think I'll have more in the field. I need to practice more. Also, study Preach My Gospel and the scriptures in it. It's awesome. If you get familiarized with scriptures for different situations and where they are now you'll be so set for your mission.
This week's been pretty sweet! Elder Stapley, Sister Hamilton's nephew is in my district which is pretty cool. Yesterday we got to welcome the new missionaries which was really cool too. We have someone named Elder Barton who Caroline Erasmus dated at BYU, and it's funny too cause 2 Elders in my district, Elder Pugh and Elder Carlson know Caroline too. Dad apparently you played soccer with someone who's now in the MTC? I welcomed her last night too! Dianna Munez I think? It's crazy how small the world is at the MTC. On the way back from the temple today I saw Becky Vance too! I'm not allowed to stop and talk so I just kinda waved and said hi and kept going, but it was still pretty cool.
Alright so I'm expecting my travel plans to either get here today or tomorrow morning. It's crazy! Elder Hague and I just got emails from people in our mission giving us instructions on what to do in the airport and stuff. I can't believe it's only 11 days away!! I think the flight's gonna be super long, but we'll see how many of the passengers we can commit to baptism on the flight hahaha. The good thing is I'll be flying with 5 other missionaries from my district I think who will all be flying to Santiago, with some of us going further to Concepcion or to Osorno. I'm so excited!!!!
Hmmm what are some interesting stories that I can tell.... We have people that start our gym period everyday that are employees. One of them we aren't too fond of. It's hilarious cause he's on a huge power trip since he controls the gym period. Some people... His name is Jake and he's been given nicknames Gake and Jimbo. He stopped a soccer game once cause people were falling when it was wet, and told everyone that they know better than to slide around like that, and that he has the power and will stop the games. I can't really describe it, but it's pretty funny and ridiculous. Yesterday this one elder was taking it WAY to seriously and put someone in the headlock for absolutely nothing, and was freaking out whenever someone on his team messed up. It cracks me up sometimes how some missionaries can act like 5 year olds. He was on the other team, and lets just say I was less than sorry when I took his feet out a couple times afterwards haha. I know I should be more loving, but some people just don't deserve love. hahaha. There are so many more funny stories but it wouldn't be funny unless you knew the people or heard the stuff they say. We have a lot of fun here at the MTC.
Spanish is getting a lot better! I'm trying to use more pronouns when I speak, and use the weird subjunctive tense that we don't have in English. It can be hard cause we don't think that way in English, but I'm confident I'll figure it out in the field. I love being a missionary!
Anyway I'm running out of time!!! I know the church is true. I feel it renewed everyday as a study and teach. I can't wait to see the Holy Ghost work in people's lives in the field. This work will go forward and I can't wait to be a part of that now and for the rest of my life. Joseph Smith was a prophet, and the Book of Mormon is true. Something that I've always liked is that nothing ever bad comes from the church, so of course it's true. But more important than that is the Holy Ghost bearing witness that it is. I know it is with something more than sight. It's incredible.
I wish you all the best and send you my love!!
Hasta 2013,
Elder Blomfield

Friday, 2 September 2011

SEMANA SEIS - 1ST SEPTEMBER 2011

Hola familia!!
 
Thanks for all the letters they were super awesome!! I didn't know Mary-Clare got engaged til Mum told me!! That's super exciting! Tell her congratulations for me and tell her to write me. Also tell Grandma and Grandad Steward and Blomfield to write me. I haven't heard from any of them yet. Also I'm super excited to hear about Ricky! That made me sooo happy when I heard that he's getting baptized. Dad, you should tell all the guys at work that they can write me if they want as well. I'd love to hear from them. That's the best thing ever to hear about people accepting the gospel and being baptized. It's like a dream come true! Also, thanks David for writing me and sending me those brownies, it was really really nice. I'll write back it's just tough to find the time.
 
Alright so this week was our first week oficially as Zone Leaders. It's really cool cause we get to greet all the new districts that come in. Our zone is either advanced or intermediate Spanish speakers which is pretty cool. It's fun to see how "deer-in-the-headlights" all the new missionaries are and it reminds me of what it was like for me.
 
By the way I've been singing in the choir every week here. We practice on Sunday before our Fireside, and then sing on Tuesdays at devotional. I've been on the camera 4 or 5 of the 6 I've sung in. It's cool. On Tuesday, ELDER HOLLAND CAME!!! I was sooo excited. He's my favourite. The only person I'd rather hear speak is President Monson. It was seriously the best thing ever. Elder Pugh in my district is really good at the piano, and played for some ASL sisters at the devotional. One of them could hear and sang, and the other is deaf and signed. It was incredible. Normally they don't do musical numbers at the Tuesday devotionals so I was suspicious, but Elder Pugh found out early and told us. They replaced the closing hymn. Elder Holland really lays down the law which is the best. My favourite part was how he said if the church had any kind of symbol or icon, it would be two missionaries walking side by side. Also he said that people think that the missionaries are perfect, and although we aren't, they have the right to think that. He yelled and said we do not have the right to corrupt that image. It was so awesome. It made me wanna be so much better. He also said he can't live when people choose to come home early or return from their missions and go off the rails. He said that so many blessings come from a mission, and that our whole lives will be affected by it. He seemed really sad about something when he was speaking, and mentioned something about someone giving their lives for the work 4 hours ago from when he was talking, but didn't explain. We found out today when Elder Pugh and the ASL sisters were performing just for the MTC Presidency (yeah they were so good that the MTC Presidency wanted an encoure) that some sister missionary in I think New York was t-boned and killed. It was crazy to think that one of 50 000 missionaries dying upsets a member of the Twelve so much. It was a testimony to me of the divinity of their calls and how much they love the church. He also said along with the prophet, we are the most prayed for people on the earth. It was really awesome.
 
The language is coming. We did a strictly Spanish day on Monday which was brutal but awesome. It tires you out so much to do that. I was completely burnt out at the end of the day. I bet it's gonna be like that in the field at first. I'm gonna die, but eventually figure it out. I just can't wait to teach real people! It's gonna be incredible. I wish I had more study time here cause I love it so much. I'm prepping for lessons by finding and marking scriptures with tabs and stuff for when I teach. There's just so much more I wanna learn!!! I'm excited to leave, but I also wish I had more time. It's weird. 
 
By the way I found the two missing pairs of socks. My companion accidentally stole them.
 
Anyway I need to get going. Thanks for all the letters and keep writing me!! Get more people to write me too hahaha. I love you all so much and pray for you everyday. I love being here. I know the church is true. Joseph Smith did see God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. The Spirit does testify of the truth and I can't wait to help others feel of that Spirit. The Prophet and the Apostles are God's servants on the earth. The Book of Mormon is true. It is the most correct book of any on the earth, and does bring us closer to Christ. Jesus Christ did die and atone for my sins. Through the atonement I can receive forgiveness of my sins, and I'm so excited to bring the message that we can repent and feel the burden of sin lifted off our shoulders. This is true. It just has to be.