Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Birthday to me!

Hola Familia, Te amo mucho, Chile es mejor que antes, yo aprendo mas y mas todos los dias. la Gente aqui esta mi segundo familia. Y mi Cumpliaños fue perfecto. no puedo creer yo cumpli 19, que bacán cierto;)
If you knew how much I hate Pulgas (Fleas) right now, you would probably be worried I was a little crazy.... Pulgas are little tiny tiny animals that get into my clothes and beds and backpacks and stay there... forever.... and bite me.... everywhere.... That is the main thing missionaries have problems with... and I´m about ready to punch the pulgas in the face.. they such so much, they are all over my waist line because they can´t crawl past my belt line, they bite me all over my legs and arms.... I hate pulgas....
I just cut my hair by myself for the first time ever hahah, I look so flayte I love it hahah, My birthday was perfect though, I got 3 different  cakes from either recent converts, an investigator that we just met who own a pastry shop, and one of the ward families that are so awesome. and Elder Smiths converts, Shirly and her family, are like our parents here. They love us so much and will give us anything. They got me presents for my birthday...... like really.... such an amazing family. I got cologna and a cute scarf :P Happy Birthday Mom, I hope it was as good as mine.. Probably better cause you're in the states and I´m not haha.
Our baptism fell through this week. the mom and her daughter disappeared. ughh.. so flipping frustrating this weekend... but on the bright side, Elder Smith and I were tocando puertos cuando we found Aliza. Aliza has been meeting with the missionaires and going to church for 12 years but she has been Con Vive, (living with a guy) this whole time. But when we talked to her she told us she is getting married in June and she wants to get baptized... how awesome is that, we basically walked into a blessing, so that is cool. She has a fetcha for the 8th of June and hopefully we can find Ruth and Carolina and baptize them this weekend... so technically we have 3 fetchas and 5 other progessing Investigators.
James and Rocio are the Con Vive couple and were going to try and set a marraige date for them and baptize them this month also. Then we have Daniella and Sonia, they are tough ones. Sonia is like 60 and Daniella is 22, their whole family are recent converts and we give a lot of juice at their house so we know them very well. They are such a great family but Daniella and Sonia are just some tough cookies, but we're going to try and set a date for them this month. And other than that we have Naomi, she´s 13 and her mom is 27.... you see that a lot here. Chile is known for having A LOT of 13,14,and 15 year olds getting pregnant. but the 27 year old mom was a member her whole life. She went through sunbeams all the way through young womens. Then she got pregnant... that's just how things work here. But she loves the church so much and wants her daughter baptized. So hopefully we will set a fetcha with Naomi too. Everything is moving along perfect. Just keep praying for me and my Spanish and all the people here in Chile.
Its so insane that all my friends just graduated.... so hard to believe that was a year ago for me.. I´m so excited for all them to either come out here on missions or start the college life. 
This week we had the Newbies Conference and also Zone Conference, The Newbies Conference was about 5 hours and we talked about basically any questions we had about our disobedient companions, the culture here, how the Latins will try and steal your money. Then we had Dominos Pizza so that was good... Zone Conference happens every 3 months and its basically a conference where President Bruce pumps us up for everything. He throws out some deep doctrine that gives us motivation and we get to see all the other missionaries from the sectors around us. So I like Zone Conferences ha ha. 
The people of Chile really really love their hot drinks.... tea, coffee.. They always offer us Ecco... we're allowed to drink it cause it doesn't have caffeine or something but it tastes disgusting.... and we can´t say no. So everyday I hurl down a glass of nasty coffee..... so awesome... Chileans and their weird obsession for warm drinks... IDK.... 
Today is my official 2 month day... it doesn't seem like I've been on my mission for 2 months. Time flies by.... My companion is getting really really trunky, he goes home in 1 1/2 months and is counting down the days.. It´s not a bad thing but he likes to give lots of juice at members and recent converts houses. I wouldn't mind working a little harder. But everything is good... I´m sorta learning what not to do while I'm with him. But I love him he´s a baptizer and that's why I'm here so that's good. 
Well, I love you all so much. You guys don´t realize how much I think about you all, both family and friends. D&C 6:36. Here´s some pictures of me at La Portada and me on my birthday and a bunch of other random stuff:) Here´s my address to send me both letters and packages. I really like letters and packages, it takes a while to get to me and for me to send things back but its worth it:) Love you all.
Elder Mason Craig Paxman
Chile Antofagasta Mission
Sucre 220, Oficina 504
Edificio Bulnes
Antofagasta, II Region

Monday, May 20, 2013

2nd Week

Quile Peliar?   I doubt I spelled that right.... Chileans have a lot of slang words and different words for a lot of things then regular Spanish. I dk... I´m still confused with all this different language stuff.... I think I went up from understanding 4% of what these crazy Chilean speakers speak to like 9%..... so looking at the brightside..... I´m getting better haha. sorta.... Jota Kay.... everything is starting to get better though. I´ve gotten in a routine so I now know where places are and sorta what I´m doing and also sharing a little more in the lessons. 
Our Baptism with Carolina (14 year old) and Ruth (45 year old) got postponed because the mom´s brother was in town.... shoot... I´ve learned in this short time that Satan is trying his very hardest to not have these people baptized. But we set the date for the 25th of this month (Mom´s birthday) so we will really really push to get them in this month... we can do it. But if not we might have to do it in June... ugh... We need to reach our goal this month of baptisms as a zone and we need these 2. I like reaching goals, we don´t focus on goals tooooo much because we want to do all this in the Lord's time but goals are good to have.
Ruth and Carolina are the only ones with baptismal dates but we have 4 really good potential investigators (Investigators with at least 2 or more lessons taught and are keeping committments). 
James and Rocio are Con Vive... they live with each other and aren´t married, usually these people are hard to work with but Elder Smith and I have a good feeling about them. They have been wanting to get married for years and we might have come into their life to fix all that. They have 2 beautiful kids and they live in a one room house that is as big as my room at home... its so humbling to see all these people and the crappy living conditions they have to deal with. But they seriously are such amazing people with the kindest hearts ever. Even when they slam doors in our faces they do it in a kind way hahah. 
Daniela is our other investigator. Her whole family are recent converts but her boyfriend is Catholic. She opened up to us our last visit and I think is changing her mind about how she is living her life. She is about 22 years old and has a 2 year old son, Martin. Martin is a fetching boss I love that kid so much!!! I want his mom baptized so he can have a good life. I´ll try and get a picture with him this week because we´re best friends haha. But he´s been having some really bad stomach pains and Daniela wanted us to give him a blessing this week so we did. What a great experience that was even though he was crying the whole time. Hopefully Daniela´s mind will be opened even more to know what she has to do. 
Naomi is our other Investigator. We were touching doors the other day and it was the VERY last door we touched, about 9:50 at night and we decided to knock one more and her mom answered. Her mom is 27 and got pregnant when she was 13, P.S. that is very very common here, and now the mom has 5 kids. Naomi is 14 and then 4 sibling under the age of 3... and the dad just left after the last one was born.... its so sad the circumstances of some of these people. But the mom is baptized and loves loves the church but she is working all the time and can´t go and since she got pregnant at 13 she hasn´t gone in years but she went from sunbeams up to 13 years old. so she wants Naomi baptized. So this week were gonna teach her and hopefully set a fetcha.
Chile is awesome!!! they love English music so walking in the streets I hear lots and lots of music hahaha oops... sinner.... and the Spanish music is awesome too. When I get home that´s all I´m going to listen to so be ready hahah. Barchata is the sickest kind of music hahah. The little kids here love the gringos.. they run up to us and yell, HELLO 1 2 3, cause that´s all the english they know. Then when they do that we say, "Oh my gosh you speak English I´ve been looking everywhere for someone who speaks English how are you? Where are you from? How old are you? Whats your favorite jello...." hahahahah were so mean. they just stare at us with a blank look.... suckers hahaha. 
Oh yeah I threw up this week... that night I was looking at my plate a member gave to me and I was praying that I would finish it.... You HAVE to eat everything on your plate or it´s very mean... I ate it all but 4 hours later I threw it up hahaha. I´ve prayed many times already that I could finish my plate haha. Chile is weird cause they have all their food and milk and condiments and EVERYTHING in bags... yeah bags... fetching weirdos but I love it. The Chilean people are such nice people, they love everyone we start church 15 minutes late every week cause all the members are kissing and hugging each other and shaking EVERYONE'S hands. haha I love it. I hope everyone is doing good. I love you so much.
Elder Paxman

Monday, May 13, 2013

Antofagasta, Chile

Hello Family and friends. 
I know I just talked to you yesterday but I probably forgot to tell you a lot, so here's a recap of the past week I've been here in Chile. I got here in Antofagasta last Tuesday morning after a 15 hour flight from L.A to Santiago, Chile. and I've been trying to catch up on sleep this whole past week. I've been so tired because of the time difference, the amount of walking, and the fact that I was only getting like 6 hours of sleep the first few days. But once I got into my routine of how they do things here in Chile I've been getting 8 hours of sleep a night and all is good. 
My companion is Elder Smith (Taylor Smith). He's been out 21 months and has about 2 months left, he's a little trunky (excited to go home) but we work hard, sometimes. He likes to Dar Jugo (Give Juice) or (Relax) ha ha. We give juice a lot but I know that he´s trying so I just try to keep him motivated. He´s so awesome though. He speaks such good Spanish and is so friendly to everyone. He has a way of talking to everyone and they all love him. He's an awesome guy. He went to the University Of Utah for a year before he came here, so that's way awesome! He's definitely going back there for school when he gets back. So that's way cool that we have that in common. 
We live in our pension (House) it's not too bad. The living room/dining room is pretty big. The kitchen is tiny and it has a stove, sink, and a washing machine. So that's pretty cool that we can wash our own clothes. Our bedrooms are tiny! But that's okay. We have a bunk bed and 2 desks where we study everyday. We live with our Zone Leaders, Elder Hales and Elder Vales. Elder Vales is from Boston and everyone else in our pension is from Utah. The floors are so dirty just because of all the sand that is here in Antofagasta so you have to wear flip flops everywhere you go. All is good though.
Sorry I'm honestly just throwing all the information out in this email cause so much has gone on this past week that it's hard to know what to say. So everything that pops into my head, I'm writing down. Sorry if it doesn't make any sense. 
I am in the city of Antofagasta for now, there are 13 cities in our mission. I'm not quite sure of all the names of them but when I get called to them in a few transfers I'll let you know. I was lucky though that I didn't have to take a long bus ride Tuesday night to go to a different sector. From the bottom of my mission to the top is about a 24 hour bus ride and Antofa is like right in the middle. I´ll learn the names of the cities soon enough. There are about 50 missionaries in Antofa and we all have our own sectors, if that makes sense. We all have our own zones. So mine and Elder Smith's sector is idk.... like 3 miles wide and 3 miles long... Whatever it makes sense in my head. but I fetchin love it here. 
The thing about my mission is that it looks the exact same from the bottom of my mission to the top. Imagine the mountains in Utah... Just huge ginormous mountains in the East but they are FILLED with sand.... nothing but sand and dirt everywhere you look but when you look to the West you see the Ocean.... how weird is that.... pretty weird..... About 10 of the 13 cities here are right on the coast. So we're always by the water. It gives us something good to look at I guess. 
Chile doesn't have Animal Control so I´m not kidding when I say that on one block of about 100 ft. there are 7 dogs lying on the sidewalk. In my sector of 3 miles by 3 miles I have seen about 3,000 different dogs..... Sooooo many fetching dogs. It. is. insane. A lot of Missionaries get bitten but I haven't had problems yet. Basically if they come at us we either pretend to pick up a rock and then they usually run away or if it comes down to it, we have to kick them. Lots of missionaries get bit though. There are quite a  bit of cats too. Not quite as much as dogs but they hide on the roofs of the houses. 
The houses are in bad shape. Just beat up brick walls with gates on the outside of every single house! It´s hard to explain, but like with those commercials on TV where it shows the starving kids and in the background just beat up orange and green and all different colors of houses... I dk what I'm saying. They are very 3rd world houses. That's what I'm trying to say. And a lot of the time you'll have whole families living in a house that's as big as our living rooms. It's so sad but these people are so humble. The people here will give EVERYTHING they have to us. I don´t know if it's all the Latin Culture or South America culture but they love EVERYONE even the people that don't wanna hear from the missionaries are super super nice. 
Elder Smith has been here for a transfer before I got here so he knows a few converts and investigators so I sorta walked into a Baptism with Ruth and Carolina. Ruth is about 45 and Carolina is 14. They've wanted to get baptized for about a month now. The mom just works all the time so she can never get to church. But Carolina goes all the time and absolutely loves it. Technically you're supposed to have 3 church attendances before you can get baptized but you make exceptions for people who have certain circumstances. So Elder Smith asked them if they think they are ready to get baptized and they said they were. We've taught them all the lessons so this Saturday is the day. Ruth wanted Elder Smith to baptize her and Carolina wanted me to baptize her. I´m sure if she had a choice she would want Elder Smith to do them both but since I´m new he sorta nudged her to have me baptize her ha ha ha whatever I´ll take it. I´m so excited though to get my first Baptism under my belt. 
Last Saturday was an awesome day too. We helped some other elders in the sector over from us with a baptism they had. This guy is about 60 and he is paralyzed on the left side of his body and hasn't left his house in 4 years. But he wanted to get baptized so we got 5 missionaries in the font and carried him in (I was one of the 5) and held him like a board just had him lay on our hands and we just dunked him down, it was so awesome I don´t know if that made any sense but it was such a cool experience to help out with that baptism. 
The Chileans speak sooooooo fetchin fast. To be honest I understand about 5% of what they say in our lessons and when I'm talking to them on the streets. It's really frustrating but I know that all the missionaries go through this for the first few months. I just hope I learn fast. The Chileans slurr their words together and don't say their s's.... you can imagine how hard it is for me when I didn't know normal spanish in the first place. Oh well, it will come. Keep me in your prayers. 
Lets see, what else..... we have about 5 investigators including Ruth and Carolina. We were touching doors my 3rd day here and we found Eliana who is from Bolivia and she was telling us that she's been going to a different church but she's been thinking about coming to ours, how awesome. But she bailed on us Sunday morning so we couldn't get her to church... I've learned that people are very flaky here. I love them to death but they always seem to get sick or lose their phone from Saturday til Sunday night. Oh well, they will realize one day how important it is. 
James is our other investigator. We found him in the grocery store line. Before my mission I would never talk to people like we do here. We just said Buenas to him and he was like, Oh hi Elders, and we said how do you know the elders. He said that he's what we call an investigator so that was awesome he was investigating the church in a different sector than us but he lives in our sector so we took him and now we´re gonna start teaching him. Hopefully that works out. Touching doors (knocking) isn't very effective so we get lots of referrals from Menos Activos (inactives) and members. I absolutely love this work. The days fly by especially when I just lose myself in the work. I fetchin love it here. 
The food here is very bland and boring. Lots and lots of chicken and rice. The members feed us every Saturday and Sunday and it's usually chicken and rice. I´m not mad, I love it but my companions and zone leaders tell me that is gets old really fast eating the same thing. Oh well, I´m so happy to be here and wouldn´t want it any other way. I pray for all of you every night. I probably forgot a lot, but I´ll talk to you all next week:) Love you all so much. 

Elder Paxman

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mason Has Arrived in Chile!

Dear Family and friends.

I just wanted to quickly write to you and let you know that your missionary has arrived safely in Antofagasta, Chile!  We had a wonderful day today with a group of 21 missionaries that we welcomed into the mission.  What a wonderful spirit of enthusiasm and testimony they have brought with them from the MTC.  With the exception of a very few of them, most of them were put on overnight buses and sent out to their new sectors where senior companions await them.  Do not fear however, all of them are traveling with a former assistant from the office, or another experienced missionary that is traveling to their area with them.  We marveled at the greatness of this group!

Also, for the past several months we have maintained a mission website and a mission blog where we constantly updated photos, stories, and converts.  However, in our latest mission president seminar, we were asked to disband our “social media” and maintain a very “low profile” so that privacy issues were not divulged and so that the church did not incur any liability.  Thus, we have significantly curbed our social activity on the internet (unfortunately for all of you as it is very fun to see your missionary in action!) but do so in obeying our called church leaders.  We can testify to the wisdom and clairvoyance in this counsel!

For your immediate comfort, we have provided you a link to our first day together.  If you have any questions about your missionary, do not hesitate to respond back to me.  Also, in maintaining a low social media profile, Sister Bruce is very active in Facebook and I would recommend that you “friend” her (Tracy Taylor Bruce) as she often will post a photo or two throughout the week as we visit with missionaries. Thank you for all that you do in raising these fine missionaries!

Presidente Leland E. Bruce
Misión Chile Antofagasta