Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My last area

Hey!                                                                           May 31, 2015

How are you mom! It sounds like with each new week there are new challenges and new things to get done! But thats how life is! 

I was in a ward activity when the 1st counselor of the bishopric informed me that Elder Perry had passed away. I was sad to hear that. It was hard to take. But I believe that those men have no fear of death. Im sure that Elder Perry knew it was coming and that it was his time to go. He is a great example to all of us.

And yes, the time has come. Me and Elder Wallace will no longer be comps... It is sad but we had a good run together. We learned alot together and I am grateful for his great example! And yes I will still be a zone leader but I will be going to the zone of Angol. 32 missonaries hahaha. My sector is called Alemania. It is spanish for Germany. No I will not be speaking german haha thank the heavens! My comp will be Elder L! He is from Texas and his dad is Mexican, but he is as gringo as it gets haha. This will actually be his last cambio in the mission, which means that I will be ¨killing¨ him (I will be the comp that ends his mission) haha.  He his a great guy and I actually lived with him when I was in Boca. We lived together for about 2 months and I have known him since the beginning of my mission. He is a convert of a little over 2 years.  His parents are not members. But he has a really strong testimony of the Gospel and I am excited to be with him!

This last week was another struggle haha.  We ended the month of May with 8 baptisms in the zone, which may or may not be the highest in the mission, but we will enter June with only 2 baptismal dates. That doesn't mean we will only have 2 baptisms but it doesn't mean we will have 50 haha. I know that Elder Wallace will be able to handle it tho, he is a stud.

It will be hard to leave Labranza and I will miss the people here that I was able to know and meet. Especially Z and L. They are both great people and once L gets baptized some day in the future the will both be great members of the church.

I pray for the family every day and I may not be aware of everyone's personal challenges but I know that the answer is found in the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no other way (2 Nephi 31:21) That leads to true happiness and peace! I love you mom and I love this gospel! I hope that you have a great week and know that I am okay. I am fighting the battle that needs to be fought! I love you!!

Elder Noel

The Labranza Zone

My Testimony

Hey Mom,                                                               May 25, 2015                                                                     

 How are you doing? It sounds like this week that just past was a big week and that alot of things were going on!   Me and Elder Wallace have a week left, we will make it a good one. L is still there, we are pushing for him to get baptized this weekend.  But I would like to share with you and the family some of my thoughts on the mission.

This week for us was full of challenges and difficulties, but with each challenge and difficulty that we face the Lord gives us a chance to respond in righteousness and to follow Christ. I listened to many talks this week by Henry B Eyring. I am not sure why but I really enjoy the talks that he gives and the spirit that he has.  In his talks he talks about how trials are blessings and that if we act in the way of the Lord we can learn to endure trials with patience and long suffering.  I tried to notice that in my life and especially in my mission, as I look back on my mission I am so grateful for the trials and the problems and issues that I went through. I am not saying that they were easy or that I enjoyed having them, but I am grateful for them. The Lord gave me the opportunity to act in faith and to rely on HIM and on HIS SON Jesus Christ. I never really noticed it until now. As I think and ponder over the blessing that the Lord has given me through my trials, a feeling of peace and love come over me. I cannot fully express the gratitude that I feel for God and for our Savior Jesus Christ.  I know that He loves me. I know that He lives and I know that He gave his life for me.  I don't and can't understand or fully comprehend why He did it or how He was able to do it but I do know that He did it. He suffered and died for me.  This knowledge just helps me to be more grateful for his atoning sacrifice and love.  

My mission has been the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life. Physically, mentally, emotionally,  and spiritually I have never been so tired in my entire life like I have been on my mission.  Before my mission I would ask return missionaries if they liked their missions and they all responded that they loved them. They then would explain that it was the hardest thing ever. I did not understand how you could love something that was hard to do. I now understand. It is not something that is explainable with words, its something more than that. You have to live it.  Before my mission I felt that I was in debt to the Lord, in debt because of the blessings that he has given me, and I went on a mission thinking that in these two years I would be able to pay the Lord back a little of the debt that I had, but as my mission has gone by I realized that I am in even more debt than when I started, because the Lord has blessed me more than ever.  I now that its not over and that I still have time left to give what I can to the Lord. I have learned that we can never pay the Lord back for what he has given us. The only thing we can do, is his will.  I am not perfect, far from it. I have realized that I have more weaknesses than I thought.  But that is what happens when we do our best to come unto Christ (Ether 12:27).  I am again grateful for the opportunity I have to represent the Lord as a full time missionary, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I love Him, and I know He loves me.
I love you mom and family! You guys are the greatest and I hope that you have a great week! This week I just hit 19 months, wow. Time flies.
With Love,
Elder Noel

P.S. Today is Elder Wallace's birthday

Fun times with a sheep

Some of Elder Wallace's birthday decorations

Thursday, May 21, 2015

We had a baptism:)

Hey Mom!                                                             May 18, 2015

  Sounds like you had a good week and that this upcoming week will be even better haha! Cole graduated from seminary, I cant believe that I did that same thing 2 years ago haha man does time fly. Tell Cole that I am proud of him and happy for the decisions that he is making in his life right now, he is a good kid and he will be a great missionary! But anyways......

Down here it has been raining like crazy as well! On sunday I thought that it would be a good idea to just wear my slip on shoes to church, well it turns out that that was not a very good idea because I ended up spending all of church with wet socks and with wet shoes, but oh well, it happens.

Can you say Baptism??? Haha Z was baptized and of course she was married the day before! It was really cool to see her get baptized and she was really happy. She is probably one of the happiest people that I have met on my mission. She is awesome and now we just have to keep helping her on her way and hopefully her husband will start to listen to us, that would be awesome!  The whole week we were just hoping and praying that she would be able to be baptized and it paid off because she made the decision! The day before her marriage we went to her house and her mom and sister were there, Z had told them that she was going to be baptized and her sister and her mom were really supportive! Something that almost never happens! Haha, in fact Z´s mom came to the baptism and she just happens to be from one of Elder Wallace´s old sectors, Yumbel. So we talked to her and she said that she would like it if the Elders came to teach her at her house! It was really cool! 

The rest of the week was good but also very stressful, we had to make sure everything was good with the baptism, then about half of the zone got sick and some couldn't work, also the assistants came down to work with us so that was cool, they helped us out a bit with some stuff so we were happy about that.  I think this Zone Leader thing might bring me to death hahha jk jk. I feel like I'm one of those chinese guys who spins plates on the end of a stick. I feel like I am spinning about five different plates and that pretty soon they are all going to come crashing to the floor haha. But I am trying to learn some new things that can help me be a little more organized.  I like it and it is good for me because it pushes me to do my best and to try and help others at the same time. Its hard but I think slowly I might be getting the hang of it!

L came to church again this week. We talked to him on thursday and challenged him to fast with us. The purpose of the fast was that he could recieve an answer to his prayer about getting baptized, so we are hoping that he was able to feel something so that he can just get baptized. I love that guy, he is awesome.

Everything else is going pretty good! It looks like I might only have 2 weeks left here in Labranza, cambios are coming up soon and I have been here for almost 4 and 1/2 months, including 3 months with Elder Wallace, that usually means the boot. I would love to stay another cambios, but I guess we will just leave it up to the Lord! As my time in the mission keeps on going I start to think about the future and what it holds, like school, a job, a FAMILY , I can't support a FAMILY haha. But I know that the Lord will bless me as I keep the commandments. 

But hey I love you mom! Thanks again for all that you do and I hope that you have a great week! Take care! 

Elder Noel

Happy baptism day

Sight seeing!

the Day after Mother's day Skype

Hey Mom!                                                                    May 11,2015                                                          

It was great to see you yesterday and to be able to talk with you face to face! Well.. almost face to face haha! It was really nice to see the family and to see how much everyone has grown up! It is amazing to me to see how fast all the kids grow up! They look so much older but wiser to! Haha

I basically told you guys all that is going on in the work right now, we are just really praying and hoping for Z! We really want her to get baptized and remain active in the church because she could be such a great member! I wish I could introduce you all to my investigators and things like that just so that they can see that the gospel really does make families happy! 

I dont have to much more to say this week other than i love you guys and i am so grateful for you and for this gospel! I hope that you had a great Mothers Day and that you were able to enjoy your day! Tell everyone back home I love them and that if they get a chance they can send me a letter or two!

Have a great week mom! I love you! 

Elder Noel!

Trunky letters...... Its the letter that has some of the info about returning home 

                        Pretending to be Ok with the letter

Pday tacos

Hard Week

Hey Dad,                                                                       May 4,2015                                                                                                 

As you imagined this week has been a bit of a swirl for us. With what happened everyone in the mission was sort of discouraged and I had sort of a ¨sick to my gut¨ sorta feeling. 

You are completly right when you say that we seem to be humans that like to ask ¨why¨ I think its only natural because as people we like to know the reasoning behind things. We like to see the ¨evidence¨ but God doesn't work like that, because when he does, people still don't believe him.  But problems always give us the chance to learn how to grow and become better people. There are reasons that God has, that we can't understand completely yet.

This week in the sector was sorta rough, as every week haha, but on tuesday we had a concilio with president and the rest of the ZLs and we weren't able to be in our sector for two days because of travel. Which is not an excuse for why some things didn't get done, but it is an obsacle that we have to climb over.  

L came to church!!......Again.. Haha! He is awesome, he did not accept a baptismal date, but I think that we are getting somewhere. He was baptized catholic and he has explained that he feels like he is still baptized, so we tried to help him understand priesthood authority and the reason that God has uses the priesthood to bring to pass his divine purposes.  Trying to show people what they can gain is better than showing them what they lack or what faults they might have.

The zone is doing alright, the hermanas are AWESOME!! Every last one of them!  As you know I am a pleaser, I like people to like me. But I have learned that it is really close to impossible. Which frustrates me sometimes, because I do want to help the missionaries be better and achieve their pontential, but I think most of the time they just see me as someone who just commands and demands.  I know that I can do a better job with it but sometimes I just get frusturated haha.

The volcanos are erupting like crazy, we just hear from people when things happen because we never watch the news, but the volcanos are more to the south, not in our mission, so we haven't been too affected by them, but hopefully they just don't spout hot lava haha.

As the time goes on I start to think about my mission and how fast it has passed me by. I really can't believe it. It sorta scares me because I see so many things that I could be doing better and I just don't know where to start or I can get sorta discouraged by only seeing that I have 6 months left. But I read today in Alma 32 about how we need to have diligence, patience, and faith. I know that I won't be the perfect missionary but I do hope that I can be the one that God needs. 

I love you dad and I love this gospel. Every time I am in a lesson I can see how it can bless the lives of these people if they would just LISTEN hahaha. I know that agency is given to us so that we can grow, and some of us, in fact alot of us grow differently and slower or faster than others. 

Thanks dad for everything, your awsome, keep up the good work! Have a great week!

Elder Noel

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Another week

Hey Mom!                       April 27, 2015
It sounds like your week this week was a good week!  I can't believe that Colton and Mason get home in a little over than a month. I bet all the girls are starting to line up! It will be a cool thing to see how much they have grown and learned over the past two years! Time goes by faster than we all think!

It sounds like the kids are doing pretty well! I’m sure that they are all ready to get out of school and get on to summer haha, I know that the last month of school was the best but as well frustrating because time seems to move really slow haha.

This week was a pretty good week! It was a rough week but a good one. The wedding is still on and Z came to church so that made me really happy and she is excited for her baptism, now we just need to talk to her about enduring to the very end, but I am really excited for her and we hope and pray that she will be able to be baptized on the 16th of this month!  L as well is doing good, he came to church again and loved it, again. He now has gone to church 8 times in a row, he is more active than some of the members haha. We are really praying and trying to find out what we can do to get this guy baptized. This week we are going to challenge him to get baptized on the 16th of May! I love that guy!  J, a convert from Boca Sur has been emailing me and has told me that she is doing really well, she moved to Valparaiso about 1 month ago to study and told me that she is going to institute and has finished the Principles of the Gospel book, and has finished the Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.  She is doing really well and it makes me happy to hear about what she is up to!

Stress is an interesting thing.  I find that when I am stressed, which is almost always haha, my mind wants to just sort of give up and go home but my spirit says the opposite. It can be hard sometimes to overcome feelings of stress especially when we are doing things that are really important. But I try to take a step back and look at the reason that I am doing all of this. Why am I preaching the gospel? It helps me to have more spiritual strength to over come the down times when my natual man is telling me to just quit. I think I could go on and on about things that I have learned in the mission but I don't have all day to write haha. 

How are you doing? How is work and everything else? I love you! Your the best mom ever! Take care this week! 


Elder Noel

Together again

Hey Mom!                     April 20, 2015

Another week down and also another cambio, I swear the cambios go by faster than the days haha, its really weird!  

But today we recieved the cambios and me and Elder Wallace will be together for at least another six weeks!! He gets to enjoy my presence for a little bit longer jk. I'm glad that we will have more time together because we have alot of plans for the zone and I know that we will help the zone to reach its maximum potential!!

But anyways about Z, she came to church this week! And she even came early so that we could show her the baptismal font! She really liked it and we are planning her baptism so that she can get baptized  the day after she gets married, it should be a really cool thing to see!  L is still there, man he is a man of mystery we don't really know what else to do with him because we have tried just about everything to get this guy baptized and for some reason he just tells us that he doesn't feel the need to take the step in his life, so we are trying to think of what we can do to try and help him feel the need to be baptized! Its something that is hard but I think we need to just have and exercise faith! He also came to church this week,that makes 7 attendances in a row.

It sounds like you guys had a pretty crazy week this week! Lots of things happened, alot of ups and alot of downs.  I will be sure to write grandma, I remember Uncle Jay, that guy was awesome. I don't think I ever saw him sad or mad or grumpy or anything, he was always happy and had a smile on his face. But thanks to the Gospel we know what will happen and that we can see him again!

I don’t have to much more time to write, but just know that the people here take care of me just fine and they help me out so

I got the package so THANK YOU! It was awesome! I’m not sure what to do with some of it haha like the spike balls haha. But I’m sure I will find some use for them! 

I love you mom and I hope that you have a great week! Take care! I love you!

Elder Noel!

Zone Activity

Hey Mom!                          April 13, 2015 
This week went okay! L came to church again and he really liked it, this week was testimony meeting and I think that he really enjoyed hearing the testimonies of some of the members. He was also able to attend a baptism that the other elders in our ward had and he really liked it. We had a lesson with him during the week and he told us that he knows the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet and everything, the only thing he lacks is he says that he feels so good right now, that he doesnt feel the need to be baptized. But when he came to the baptismal service I think that it sparked something in him, he is a stubborn guy haha but he is really good and when he is baptized I know that he will be a really good member of the church!

We are also working with some other investigators, like Z, remember her? We challenged her and her boyfriend to get married and it looks like they are going to be getting married on the 15th of May. So once she gets married she will be able to get baptized! So we are just praying that everything goes through so that she can get married and then later get baptized!

Today we had a zone activity, we went to the stake center and watched a movie and played some games, then we had some hermanas from Mexico make some tacos for the zone so we helped them out with that and it was great! We had alot of fun!

But hey mom I love you! Thanks again for the pictures and for the letter! I really enjoy reading and seeing what is going on up there! Have a great week and Perseverar Hasta el Fin!! LOVE YOU!

Elder Noel

My last general conference

Hey Mom!                                  April 6, 2015

We were able to watch the conference at the stake center on a projector, but I  had to watch it in spanish, which is okay! But it's always nice to hear the voice of the prophet himself. With all of that said it was still great and I feel like watching conference on the mission is totally different than watching it at home, maybe I am just getting older but I feel like I am able to understand more of what they say and importance that their messages have. It is something really awesome. 

I felt like one of the main topics of conference was marriage and dating like you said, it was sorta scary but I started take notes on stuff like that haha. All the missionaries were saying that as soon as they get home they are getting married hahaha, it was pretty funny to hear and see. 

I couldn't believe it but while I was watching conference it ocurred to me that the next conference will be on the last weekend before I end my mission. I almost fainted because I can just not believe that I have been a missionary for almost 18 months. In fact, today marks 6 months until my return date. Im sure you already know that but it is crazy and each time I think about it I realize more and more that the time I have to do what I am doing is short and that I need to take advantage of it as much as I can.

That is also pretty sad to hear about the people going to conference just to scream ¨no¨ to the prophet. I guess they were trying to make a stand or something. I just don't know why someone would let us bother them so much that they have to go to general conference just to scream no. But I'm sure it's not the only time that it has happened and I am sure it will not be the last either. It happened in the scriptures and it has been prophesied as well. So the only real thing these people are doing is proving that what the prophets and scriptures say is true. But you gotta love everyone right?

We were able to have some people in church this week so that was cool, one of those being L. He really liked it, but he did tell us that he had been thinking and that he feels like he is not ready to be baptized this coming weekend. So we will keep working with him. We told him last week to kneel and pray and to ask God if he should get baptized and the next visit we asked him how he felt and he said that in that moment he wanted to get baptized. But when he woke up the next day the feeling went away. It taught me how important it is for us to act upon the promptings of the spirit as soon as we recieve them because we dont know when they will leave.  L has his answer and has told us multiple times that he wants to get baptized, but not yet. So we are working with him and we will just keep praying!

But your right mom, we find many people hear who just say that they can't go to church because they work or something like that. But it's becuase they have filled their lives with the things of the world, and when that happens we lose sight and we lose our eternal perspective! 

I love you mom! Thanks for all of your love and support and tell everyone at home that I love them and that they are in my prayers! Stay strong! Your the best! 

With love, 
Elder Noel

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Haircut and Evangelicos

Hey Mom!                                  March 30, 2015

Another week has gone by fast and it's Monday again, I cannot believe it. How have you been doing! I hope that everything is going good! 

This week was a good week with some ups and some downs, just like every week. Me and Elder Wallace are doing good and on Monday we decided to go and get our hair cut, he decided that he was going to cut it really short like a buzz cut. I was just going to trim mine up a bit. Well, he got his hait cut first and then it was my turn. So the lady asked me, ¨How would you like your hair cut?¨ I said, ¨Well I would like it the same style but just a little bit shorter.¨But apparently my spanish is not as good as it sounds and she understand that I wanted my hair the same style as my comps but a little shorter than his. And well, she buzzed my hair off hahahah. Elder Wallace could not contain himself and started laughing uncontrollably and so did I. The lady cutting my hair then started laughing, but just because we were laughing. She didn't know why haha. So that was a good start to the week, with some good miscommunication.

Z is doing well but she wasn't able to make it to church. She has some issues we need to work out but it's okay because people have obstacles they have to climb over if they want to follow Christ. We will see what happens! 

L is the man that we have been teaching and again he came to church, 4th week in a row. He is the MAN! I really love that guy. He gets it. He gets the Gospel and it is really cool to see. The only thing really holding him back is his catholic traditions, I guess you could say. His parents, his wife, are catholics, they don't go to chruch or anything, but I think he is afraid of what his family might think, we are going to talk to him about just trusting in God and things like that. He also has already commited to coming to the General Conference this weekend, so I know that he will love it and hopefully something will click for him. You can always put your money on the Prophet.

We also worked with the assistants this week and I worked with an elder named Elder R, he is a convert of three years and is a really great missionary with a strong testimony of the Gospel, we knocked doors for about 3 or 4 hours and nobody let us in. Then we went to this old investgator that some elders before me (Elder W) had been teaching. We talked to her about baptism and she accepted.  It was really cool, I learned alot.

On Saturday me and Elder Wallace decided to go to a country part of our sector to go and contact and things like that. Well these to guys let us in and they told us that they were evangelicos (surprise surprise). We taught the restoration and then we asked if we could leave them with a prayer and they said that they wanted to pray for us which is totally fine. They then both stood up, came over, and put their hands on me and Elder Wallace and they started to pray both at the same time and pray like saying Glory to God! Glory to God! Things like that. It was definantly a little adventure. We soon left after that but they were really nice guys.

Tell everyone hi and that I love them. 

Hey mom I love you. Thanks again for all that you do and I really appreciate it. I pray for you guys always and time just keeps flying. Have a great week and we will talk soon. 

I love you, 

Elder Noel
Whats the deal with our hair?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Busy week

Hey Mom!                                      March 23, 2015

How are you and how was your week? From all of you letters and from the family it sounds like everyone is doing pretty good! 

Pdays are sorta boring here. There is a volcano that we can go visit but I don't know how to get there or anything, so until I can figure it out pdays will continue to be boring.

Time keeps flying by and I can't believe it. I just completed 17 months today. It seems like yesterday I just got on the plane with Elder Wallace, and now he is my comp and we are in the home stretch...
 WOW! I can't believe that my time as a missionary of the Lord is going by so quickly. I need to take advantage of this time because it's the time that the Lord has given me to try and grow up haha. The hermanas in my group from the mtc go home in less then a month and I told them that their mission is only 18 months because they have less weaknesses to overcome haha. 

.You are sure right when you talk about satan. He is constantly working. When we sleep he keeps working. I see it now more than I ever did before, I see it with myself, investigators, members, less actives. But the perfect thing to fight him with is the gospel, that is the good thing. How blessed we are to have the gospel in our lives.

Well this week went pretty well. Me and Elder Wallace are working hard trying to help out our sector and also the zone. It can be hard and stressful sometimes to balance both of them, but we are doing it.  We had a mom and a daughter who were planning to get baptized this next saturday, all they had to do was come to church, well the daughter showed up but the mom didn't. So we will keep working with them and hopefully they can get baptized the week after conference.  L came to church again. This time to all three meetings. I think he really enjoyed it. He has come three weeks in a row now. So I think that he is really interested. He asked us about Doctrine and Covenants and so we taught him about it and gave him a triple. He was really happy and excited when we gave it to him. I just hope that this week we can finally put a date for his baptism. He is really prepared and ready for it, he just doesn't think that he has recognized it yet, but he has. We will just keep praying!

Elder Wallace and I are teaching this lady named Z. The first visit we had with her she told us that she just felt like she needs to get baptized and that what we had taught her was true. It was really cool. She came to church and she really loved it. After church she came up to me and said, ¨Where will I be getting baptized?¨ haha, it's not every day that you find people like her, I hope and pray that she can continue to progress so that she can get baptized! 

This week we had a couple zone conferences, president taught one of them and we taught the other. They must have learned something because this is the best week the zone has had since I have been here. We have 15 baptismal dates and they all came to church this last week. So we are praying that we can end this month well and then hit April hard. The work is always going! 

Well lately I have been thinking alot about the atonement and the importance that it has in my life and in the life of our family. I am understanding more about the love that God and his Son have for us and for me personally. He truly has a plan that can help us acheive our divine potential. Now whenever I feel discouraged or sad I just try and think about the Saviour. I know that he felt the same way. But He pushed through it, and in the end he did what God, his Father, needed him to do. I just hope that at the end of my mission, that God can be proud of me
Elder Wallace and I are having a great time together. He is a good example to me and he is a hard worker. We keep each other on task and focused on our purpose. 

  Please tell all those who I didn't respond to that I'm sorry because I just run out of time so fast! But I love you mom! Keep up the good work! 

Elder Noel