Monday, September 23, 2013

I cant believe that its been just under 2 weeks already

Hello Family!

Just another fantastic but crazy week here! Time FLIES out here. its crazy. I feel like ive been here forever... but i cant believe that its been just under 2 weeks already. i know two weeks is no time at all but it still doesnt feel like its been that long. The language is the slowest part. im decent at everything church related but as soon as we stop that and end up in real life... i just sit there in blankness. but its better! always getting better! maybe in a few months i will be able to say i can talk to people :)  

This week was independance day for Chile. september 18. they love it so much. the whole country basically stops working and just chills. for the whole week. so it was a rough week as far as missionary work went! we tried to visit people but even members didnt want to talk to us. so not super productive but thats ok! saturday it picked up again! Saturday we did contacts for like 5 hours in the afternoon. we had people screaming at us that they didnt want to talk to us. a few drunk people ( drunk people think they are hilarious, they see that i am a gringo and they start screaming out random phrases in english "my name is!" "wheres the bathroom" "i will buy that" "how much does this cost?" and always followed by a huge train of laughter). but mostly we have the people who are just to busy right now, but we can come back another time! but they dont know when because they never have time. sooo that always good. but it never seems that bad for some reason. i thought it would be a lot more depressing than it is. you just have to keep your head up. cuz actually finding people rocks!

This week we had one of the ladys that we have been working really hard with came to church. i was nervous! but she liked it! so we will meet with her again, adress some of her fears and see where we are! Also  on sunday we found a family knocking doors and taught them the first lesson... that rocked. i love teaching so much. i love those moments when everyone is feeling the spirit. the kids stop  moving and everyone is just listening. We also found another guy who had work so he couldnt come to church this sunday but we are gonna keep working with him, and hopefully his family too. I love how the Lord just guides through unsuspecting actions. we talk to random people or knock random doors and find people that even if they arent going to come to church we definitely affect. its awesome. Its the seed mentality, even if they arent ready for us. we plant the seed. and you can definitely tell when you plant a seed.

Its fantastic to be out here! I have a way nice house, good food and great people in comparison to most of my MTC district. And yet, its a massive leap down from the states. We are SO blessed to live where we do. we have so much. SOOOO much.

I love you all! thank you for everything!

Elder Gold

Also! we found this guy that spoke english. I LOVE ENGLISH! i could teach! Well! and answer all of his questions! and not worry about my words! ah. loved that

 Last pictures with the district in Mexico City at the temple and the CCM

First pictures from Arica, Chile: with his trainer (from Peru) Elder Villavicencia, the house(?), Chilean Independence Day celebrations, food, and.... other mysteries of missionaries in Chile

(Henry gave no explanation for these photos... I'm not sure if it's a natural medicine for sunburn, or if they all love tomatoes so much they want to wear them, or....)

Monday, September 16, 2013 we are just gonna start with the airport!

Alrighty! family! Well, lots to stay so we are just gonna start with the airport! checked in! Elder Mangum was already talking to someone from Chile, good gracious hes so good at spanish. the airport was a wake up call! for the first time in six weeks we saw immodest girls! loco! then we went to chilis.... my word that was so good. so much deliscios. then a nine hour flight. big plane! i sat next to a guy who was headed to iquique! in my mission! we talked for a good two hours about chile and all, a little about the church... he gave me his contact information so im gonna email him and see what happens! that plane served dinner and breakfest! way good! it was all sorts of fancy! TVs that i couldnt use and everything. then we arrived in santiago and headed out 4 hours later! the guy next to me totes shut me down so we flew in relative silence hahaha... but thats ok! then antofagasta! 

antofagasta is Mars. the dirt is red, there are tire tracks in it like the mars rover. and thats all there is. at least next to the airport which is way out of tow. so we met the mission president and everybody and got on a bus and headed off to take a picture which the mission president should have given you... and then back on the bus to a building where we met the guys who were gonna be our trainers, but we didnt know who was gonna be with who, we had about 15 elders who arrived. then orientation meetings, interviews, and empenadas. which are incredible. i love empenadas. after orientation we had a big group meeting about the specifics of our mission and our vision and such, then we unveiled our companions! you sit in the hot seat, and open a letter which has your city, zone, district, and then specific sector, all the trainers obviously know their own sector so after you read it your trainer comes up and gives you a hug and buffs your shoe! My trainer is Elder Villavicencia from Lima Peru, he only has 4 and a half months! but hes a great guy and a great missionary! then after that... a few more materiels and your off to the bus stop! super weird to leave Elder Mangum... but thats ok! 

my first area is Arica! Río San Jose B! antofagasta is about in the middle of the mission and Arica is the most north! 12 hours on a bus! luckily... i slept the whole way haha. Arica is also like mars but more brown and less red. immediately after its off to the room. we share a room with two elders who also share our ward. we have 4 missionarys in our ward, but we have seperate sectors. one Gringo ( so i have help when i really need it) and one Chilean (its getting better now but i could almost never understand him). then we had zone meeting (after i showered cuz... i needed that). Then we went to work! with absolutely no base!

zero investigators. but thats ok! we headed off into the mess of houses and passageways that apparantly have names... but you must have to be really smart to find the names because there certainly arent signs! anyways! we started just trying to meet with members and share a brief message and ask for contacts. thats what we did for the first day until like 8 when we did contacts for and hour and a half. they tell you that knocking doors is really ineffective and that its way better to work with members, and i so much believe it. knocking doors is not a very affective way to proselite. But the ward was all at the temple this week! and we were starting at square 1! (which im learning is because my companion and the other elders in our room werent exactly obedient... apparantly they basically just chilled with member all the time. my companion never woke up at 7 until i got here. but hes good now, we are working hard. trying to fix things. but the missionarys in this ward dont have a fantastic rep right now other than the fact that theyre really fun to be around. we are trying to fix that. lots of work to do! someone has to start the change.) plus its really hard because almost everyone in northern chile works in the mines so their schedules are like 15 days working 5 days off. so we work a lot with recent converts and trying to keep them activated, thats one of the responsabilities of the ward... but theyre small so they cant really handle that right now. so we are doing it for them. if we can get more people active and going to church then one day they will be able to! basically everyone here is catholic or an inactive member of the church, so we have lots of work to do that isnt going to look super great in the numbers but as long as we are working hard and trying to keep our priorities right we will be fine. 

ummm i dont have a lot of pictures right now and i dont have a ton  of time, but i will try and take more pictures throughout this week. a couple highlight would be all the drunk people that love to talk to us. Estrella, we painted her room on saturday and were probably going to finish it sometime this week. this reallly old sweet lady that i can never ever understand but shes just awesome :) also we have made three different appointments in the same family with different people. we make one with one member but they arent there. so we teach another person and make an appoint ment but they arent there. so we teach another... its fun! also we are teaching this old lady dariella, who talks fairly slowly and clearly which is nice for me! she is catholic, knows a ton about the bible, and is also a VERY firm believer in reincarnation... yes, strange. so we are working with here. very slowly, we will see what happens. she doesnt want to get baptazied and doesnt always agree with us but shes fulfilling commitments and wants us back... we will see.

Yesterday in church was nuts! (this is my language shoutout by the way) Not only because there was barely anyone there but also because EVERYONE was trying to talk to me. Everybody tells me im way better than most at spanish, and i understand a lot, especially when its church related, but talking is slow. and when everyone talk to me at once... i can never understand! PLUS, Chile is crazy with speaking, they dont pronounce words, they mumble, and they go a zillion miles per hour. this is not spanish. its chilean. its so hard! only 3 more months of pain before i start getting better ;) its all good. still happy! the work is hard sometimes, but im happy. all is well here in Arica! 

Love you all!!

Also! so many people recognize that we are messengers sent from God, yet... they dont wanna come to churhc. confused. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

From Sister Dalton, Henry's Mission President's Wife

We are pleased to let you know that your son, Elder Henry Russell Gold, arrived safely in the Chile Antofagasta Mission.  We had an enjoyable time greeting him at the airport today.  We are thrilled to have him as a part of our mission.  Thank you for the sacrifice you are making to support him on a mission.  We appreciate the trust you have placed in us and we promise we will take very good care of him.  We have attached a few photos taken shortly after his arrival.  The first several were taken in front of our local landmark, the La Portada Arch, with the city of Antofagasta in the background.  Two are of your son with the group of missionaries he arrived with and one with us, President and Sister Dalton.  The other photos are of him receiving his assignment and with his first companion, Elder Villavicencio.
 Love and best wishes,
 President and Sister Dalton
Chile Antofagasta Mission
Henry with his new mission president, President Dalton, and his wife. They are from Boise, Idaho.
These are pictures of the new missionaries with President and Sister Dalton at La Porta
 The following are pictures of a fun tradition for new missionaries that they do in the CMA (Chile Mision Antofagasta).  This is the explanation of that tradition given by the former mission president's wife (Sister Bruce) in a blog for the CMA, Camina Conmigo. 

"After the administrative work is done the training meeting starts and the group begins with a song, "Called to Serve" and during the second verse our trainers come into the room enthusiastically singing too.  These missionaries have been in another building receiving their instructions on being a trainer to a new missionary and are VERY excited to meet their nuevitos [newbies or "greenies"].  When the singing is over we have introductions by everyone.  We share our names, where we are from, and for the trainers, how long we have served in the mission. How do the new missionaries find out who their first companion will be?  We inherited this tradition when we arrived in the mission and all the missionaries love it.  Presidente Bruce has an envelope for each new missionary with his/her companion and sector [district] enclosed inside.  The nuevito sits in a chair in the middle of the room and reads about his assignment."  
As soon as the trainer's name is announced he jumps with excitement and runs to greet his new companion."
"The trainer has a shoe shine brush in hand and poses as if he is shining the shoe of his nuevito while pictures are being taken.  I think the new missionary is in shock a little with all the excitement and doesn't know what is going on but it is as exciting as Christmas morning for our trainers as they meet their new companions."

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Navidad (Christmas) at the September?

Hola Familia!

I love you guys! just know that! i love my family! all of you! i love that we are all close! thank you so much for the examples and the fun times :) you rock!

This week was a lot! again! i may not do a very good job of writing it in my letters but its always just a lot! Life as a missionary is incredible! goodness! and im not even in the field yet! tomorrow is in field orientation... all day long. and then we get travel plans on saturday! hopefully leaving monday! its crazy that i havent even really started yet! im still in the MTC! but im feelin good! im happy! im ready (or as ready as i can be knowing that its going to be a huge shock as soon as i get there). Alright!

so! Friday night was Navidad... yes :) our District is nuts! but were awesome! we built a christmas tree out of dead palm fronds and tied it together with dental floss hahahaha... then we all got presents for someone and put them under the tree, decorated it with bits of paper and a pamphlet on the word of wisdom. just having a good time. left it up all day then at night we were gonna do navidad! (oh this all started because they always wanna sing christmas songs but we never let them, so when Elder Mangum was no longer DL they just did it hahaha. but it seems like they got their fix for the one day) We went around to all the districts like we do every night just to check up, talk about a few things, and see how they are. but it took soooooooo long! we have a DL who loves to tell us all about their lives and stuff so we just sat there. then we went to the new district that had come in on tuesday and talked to them for a bit, let them know not to leave until nine thirty and such, talked about any questions they have. then finally got back in for Navidad at like 9 15! they had drawn a fire and stockings and stuff on the white board.. just funny. so we sang like 6 christmas songs then started opening presents! (p.s. i got potato chips... i get made fun of so much for being the potato man but thats okay, as long as theyre enjoying themselves.) during this time we had this great idea to have a zone wide prayer and song! so we went and told everyone... but the new district had left! literally 10 minutes after we told them not to! ( and they continue to try and leave early! we have told them clearly at least four times but they tried to leave early again last night. they arent disobedient! theyre just struggling!) So we did it anyway and it was really cool. had a prayer, bonded a bit. felt happy :) yay

Then Saturday we taught both Kambel and Timoteo (both of our teachers aliases) Kambel is getting baptized this saturday and we have already taught him everything so we just had another lesson about faith and persevering to the end and such. he basically just lead it which was way good. then we taught timoteo in front of the whole class and the spirit was so much there... he is really struggling with the whoole idea of our church, but we basically commited him to baptism :) it was so good :) i love the spirit.

Sunday we had testimony meeting and learned that the new district is porbably gonna be really good! they had some good testimonies! then a live stream by D Todd Christofferson. it was treally great! not the empowering speeches that were used to, but just a thank you, keep moving, we believe in you, speech. I knew it was exactly perfect for what some of the members of the zone had been feeling :) its all interconnected! :) Then we watched that video of Christs coming to the nephites... it was really good! except now everyone just quotes corihor all the time hahahaha. he has some zingers. its funny. overall a good day.

Monday was happy! started subjunctive! a whole new tense! thats fun stuff! but im still working hard! loving the language!

Tuesdays are always fun cuz we get the newbies :) theyre so funny! some try and understand your spanish and some just say, dude! im not even gonna try! speak to me in english or go away! hahahahaha funny times :) our teacher also ran off to the beach with some of the other teachers so we had a sub and she was so cool! we have an awesome district! She asked us to come talk to her district to try and inspire them! we really do have it down though, we work hard, play hard, and love eachother a lot. happy times! then i got asked to give the talk in devotional, no pressure! but it was fine, we had a great talk by an area seventy about working with the members! weve been hearing lots about that! and we also got invited to do a teaching presentation in front of the newbies!

Wednesday we taught the newbies and did a great tjob, it was more of a how to begin teaching thing so we just asked her a lot of questions and tried to understand her and show her that we loved her and wanted to help her then we say "can we begin with a prayer" and thats their key to let us go. Spirit was definitely there! thats all we needed! thats all we can ever ask for! but when we got their it was supposed to be in english! it really was hard at first! we kept responding in spanish or starting in spanish then having to switch to english! its just natural now! muy bien, como esta, si. the little phrases like that that i hadnt said in english forever! but its good! after about a minute of teaching all my english came back haha :) we will see what its like after 2 years!

Loved the temple again today! always love p day! happiness! im ready to go!
Also this week another Elder came to us in tears and we were able to give him a blessing, it was so great, i love it when things just work out. he had a hard night, but after the blessing and some other help, he felt way better. hes doing great now. weve also been working really hard with one of the districts who have been struggling with being depressed about the work. Elder Mangum and I went in and taught them a lesson one night and it was just fantastic! felt the spirit! thats always what i look for! if we felt the spirit it was good! so they are doing WORLDS better now. its been a great week! spanish is still just coming along, im feeling happy with it, working hard! i just have to remeber never to compare myself to Elder Mangum cuz he picks it up faster than i thought was possible for any human ever! its nuts!

Love you guys! love this work! love life! everything is happy!

Elder Gold



 more pictures! these our our mexican friends that we grew to love! they left monday! lots of pictures and memories and such :)

and this is a picture of one of Elder Mangums stalkers! i got one with her too so it didnt look as bad. ;) makes me giggle! pictures with hermanas are super awkward!