Monday, March 24, 2014

Pullay Parade, Completos, and Baptisms

Pretty normal week as a missionary.

The baptism of Evelin went amazing. She has so many fellowshippers in the ward. Our Mamita is literally the BEST with being so nice to the people that come into the church. Everyone feels so welcome because of the members. Few in number but they literally are so awesome. Evelin spent the whole day with Mamita yesterday after church and even went to the Stake Center in Copiapò for a Young Single Adults meeting or something. YAY FOR MEMBERS DOING THEIR JOB! Evelin is great. My Son did a great job for his first ever baptism in his life. He was happy. I was a happy father, we`re a happy family :) Yesterday I had the opportunity to give Evelin the Holy Ghost. I will never forget these experiences. Some of the greatest in my whole life. As I say amen seeing tears run down her cheeks puts into perspective how freaken awesome the church is. I love it. 

At this point now we don´t have much... We are working super super hard but we just don´t have many people progressing... or any.... But is that going to keep us down? NOOOOOO We are using this thing called the list. It's complicated but let's just say we basically have every address of every member that is now living in Tierra Amarilla. Even the ones who moved here without bringing their baptismal registry  from where they were originally baptized... We`re sneaky. So hopefully the work powers up soon! We need people. 

A great sight yesterday in church was having our 2 recent converts, Andres and Luis Josè, BOTH blessing the sacrament together. (The picture is with Luis Josè looking good in his white shirt and tie). I honestly couldn`t keep myself from smiling the whole time seeing my 2 Bolivian friends up there excising their priesthood, and also my other Bolivian friend, Evelin receiving the Holy Ghost.... Great sight in church yesterday. I love converts!!!!

There is this party-parade every year here in Tierra Amarilla. Really quite entertaining watching the Chileans trying to make these big floats to go down Main Street. There were some creative floats but some others that were very...... Chilean.... (2 transvestites pole dancing with little very clothes on). Silly Chileans... I love them hahaha. The parade was right after our baptism and we had to go get our traditional completos (Chilean hot dogs but better than hot dogs) like we always do after baptisms. And so we accidentally walked and took pictures by the parade... The parade is called Pullay.

Sorry not much more big news happening. I'm happy. I turn 1 year old in the mission in 3 days... That's depressing... I don't like thinking about it much. I don't want to come back. But I`ll send some pictures of me burning a shirt following the tradition of the mission. Luis Josè and Lizzeth both go back to Bolivia today... That's sad too. I'm gonna miss my Bolivian friends so much. I'm happy. I guess my package never came.. That also makes me sad. I sent some plaques for Mom, Dad, and Chase and some Chilean money holders for everyone, and watches to Chase and Seth, and also a Soccer Jersey to Chase... I Think the package got stolen. I sent it 2 months ago... That makes me sad... Oh well, worldly things... Love you all so much. 

Elder Paxman

Monday, March 17, 2014

Futbol Y Asado

Bueno Familia,

Una Semana Tranquila. We started off the week really well with a conference from our President, President Dalton. What an amazing man he is. He has so much love for us as missionaries. I can`t explain all that well what an affect it has on me hearing from someone like him every 3 months. We have some new rules in the mission coming from Elder Ballard of the 12 Apostles.... No more touching doors!!!!!!!! POR FIN!!!! hahaha nah that rule is going to help us as missionaries work with members, members, members!!! That's the goal. That's how the investigators really really get converted and stay in the church. So I'm really excited for that. It's not like I always touched doors, just when we had nothing to do. But it will help. Another rule is we have to talk to 20 contacts (random people in the street) everyday... That's a little tough but it's coming from an apostle so we gotta do it!
We had a great week in church this week. Richard came!!!!!!! Wooo He had so much temptation in his house this week. 3 different parties his brothers threw but we passed by 5 times this week and I gave him a call every single night just to see how he is doing. HE DID IT. He came and the members were sooo happy to see him and Richard was very happy to leave his past behind him and stay with the church. Our fecha Evelyn also came and stayed all 3 hours. She will be getting baptized this Saturday. Pray for her that she stays strong this week. We are getting my Son his First Baptism. That's what I like!!! Evelyn is so prepared and in her Baptismal Interview with Elder McCusker expressed her pure intent to finally change the course of her life for the better. She is awesome. I love Bolivians. 
Marcelo came to church again and loved it mainly because of the SICKEST talk I have ever heard from a recent convert named Ximena in sacrament meeting... She freaken tore it up.... She was sooo nervous and asked for our help so we helped her prepare a little and she literally dominated the room with the words coming out of her mouth.... I got teary eyed just seeing her up there... I DON'T GET TEARY EYED. She has grown so much. Alleen (her 17 year old daughter, also recent convert) is going to give a talk at the baptism this Saturday. Luis Josè received the Priesthood yesterday our recent convert blessed the Sacrament for the second time. Ahhh I love the recent Converts and their conversion in the church. I don't know where we would be without them. That's what makes the mission worth it. Seeing the change in the lives. 
The woman that I did my first interview for, Lesly, got baptized this Saturday. A little Peruvian 20 year old. So awesome. It was a great baptism. Elder Carreon got his first baptism here in Tierra Amarilla so it was a great day for all of us. I seriously love the feeling when I can feel the Holy Ghost... I honestly couldn't tell you before the mission of the feeling you get when you feel the Holy Ghost... But right now I yearn for that feeling. I search daily for that amazing peace. There is literally nothing like the Holy Ghost. I love it that's what testifies... Not me... The Holy Ghost... Earn the chance to have the Holy Ghost in your life. You won't regret it. 
I love it here in my mission. Here in the North of Chile about 90% of the men we talk to work in the Mines... That's all there is here... Mines... How awesome.... I am so good at talking about the Mines hahah cause that's all the men know. That and Fútbol. We had a great game of Fùtbol today and after an asado (barbeque) Man its been a while since I have had a good barbeque... Best P Day errrr. My Soccer skills are basically at the level of a beast.... Don't mess with me on the soccer field... I love Soccer... 
We got on a micro (public bus) the other day and this kid said... Hey you shouldn't be on here you're supposed to walk everywhere... Hahaha we have a reputation here! Caminando mas que un Mormon. haha I love the experiences I have everyday with the drunk people that want us to change their lives... Silly Chileans... Love you all I'm happy. 

Elder Paxman

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tierra Amarilla on Steroids

Hello Family and Friends.

First I wanna give 2 Shout outs to 2 of My Best Friends. 1. Tanner Webster just received his mission call to the Philippines. He leaves July 2nd. He is speaking Hiligaynon... He is super super excited and so am I WOOOO (my excited scream). Go Tanner. Such a stud. Also my boy Elder Sargent is up there in Antofagasta TEARING it up as district leader as well. He`s finally getting the success he deserves. We're so close... but oh so far... 8 hours away... I can't wait till I see Elder Sargent again. Studs! I have cool best friends.

We had some really really cool experiences this week. Very spiritual, sad, happy experiences. I won't tell you all of them. Just a few. We obviously have been working with the Bolivian family for quite some time. GO BOLIVIANS!!!! Andres, recently baptized, is now our Branch Mission Leader! Lizzeth, recently baptized, is planning on serving a mission in a year. Andrea, left to Bolivia, is loving church in Bolivia. Luis Josè is.... well he`s just Luis Josè. He is a stud hahah. Anyway we are now working hard with another friend of theirs that lives in the same house. Her name is Evelyn. We had a fecha with her before but it fell because she started living with someone. After some confusing conversations and explanations we discovered at this point she is not living with anyone. The same room yes but she is sleeping on a mat on the floor. Skeptical yes, but we told her The Church still looks at that as living with someone and you can't get baptized unless you find a new room alone. We were scared telling her that because the day before we set a fecha for the 22nd for her baptism and she took the news very very well and that night Andres gave us a call and told us he took initiative and helped make a room for her by cleaning out a storage room and now... SHE ISN'T LIVING WITH ANYONE. wooooo. She gave us a call this Monday telling us that she wanted to change her life and she misses the Church.. So we went right over and she accepted to be baptized..... Pure miracles... She is awesome and has so much help in the house with all our Bolivian friends. 

We had 2 great talks with Richard. A Bolivian in that same house that is a member who was doing soooooo good not too long ago. He was our Branch Secretary a few months ago doing so well. But Satan got a hold of him and these past few months have been rough. This Wednesday we had a very very spiritual talk with him and Andres. Although he was drunk, you could honestly see the pain and misery in his eyes. He started bawling to us and all I could do was just hug him. The closest I have come to crying in front of a member or investigator on my mission. Such a touching experience to see how his heart and mind are just soooo far. But he has that desire so bad, I literally love Richard with all my heart. After that we put some goals for him for this Sunday... Church and talk with President. He was doing sooo well. Saturday night he ironed his shirt. He was in his room with Andres and Evelyn and Luis Jose and Lizzeth talking about how excited they were for tomorrow morning to go to church. The temptations in that house are terrible. All of the other friends-family aren't good examples and through a long long night of fighting, blood, stealing, yelling, drinking, and Satan using his powerful tools. Richard Fell again... Yesterday night we were able to talk to him, With yet another spirit feeling- heart wrenching lesson about how much his Heavenly Father - Jesus Christ - and also us missionaries love him. They aren`t mad... they honestly want to give him a giant hug right now and see him follow the correct path. More tears from him and more eye opening experiences that I will cherish for the rest of my Life. Actually being someone that is getting called when there are real problems, real temptations, in their lives. My love for Richard and that family of Bolivians is enormous... We are going to be calling him everyday, passing by every 2 days, and also tonight President Castillo will pass by his house to help him out. This week is huge for Richard. 

We are doing great here in Tierra Amarilla. We are in a big process of doing lots of door-street contacts. I honestly have not done too many street contacts in my mission, But freak... I love them... A little scary to start... But now I look for opportunities for them. Me and my kid are talking to literally everyone in hope to find some people who want to listen and go to church. I have learned sooo much these past 2 weeks as a trainer and also district leader. My brother, Chase is helping me with some great advice. Something he said to me was I will never feel like I have mastered being a trainer or district leader. When I finish I will think that I was just getting the hang of it, but right now, in the moment.... My best is all I can ask for. And that is exactly what I'm doing. I love love love it.

My first ever district meeting went sooo well. I didn't have much nerves talking in front of the other 4 Elders in Paipote and the other 3 here in Tierra Amarilla along with the 2 stud zone leaders, Elder Soto and McCusker. I honestly love teaching. We talked a little about some main points that President Dalton taught me when I was in Antofagasta this past week, As a missionary all we really need is 3 things. 1. Preach My Gospel 2. Preach My Gospel and 3. Preach My Gospel.. We went over some awesome points inside of it and got some great points of view from the Elders. I love learning from them. In the district we are lacking fechas for baptism so I decided to see some of the Veteran Missionaries, Elder McCusker, Cordòva and Hotvedt teach Lesson 3 about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to set a fecha for baptism. I honestly have never felt the Spirit so strong in a practice of missionaries like I did with that. The younger missionaries got to see how some studs of the mission put fechas and teach with great conviction. It went awesome!!!!! I love learning from other missionaries! 
We also did a competition for the next day (Chase gave me the idea) That from 7:40 till 8:10 in the morning whoever did the most push ups out of the 8 of us I have a Root Beer for them (Root Beer doesn't exist here in Chile, but I found one in Antofagasta the other day). I won with 276 push ups but that's lame if I take the Root Beer. So I'm going to give the Root Beer to Elder De La Peña who did 270 Push Ups. His first time ever trying Root Beer so It should be an awesome experience hahaha. We have fun with the Elders. I love it. 

This Past Thursday we had an English class in the church. Lots of missionaries try it in their areas to find new people to teach. At times very unproductive, but we went cray cray with invitation this past week literally inviting everyone and their dog to the English class. We had 17 people show up!!! With tons of investigators! It went sooo well and Elder Hotvedt taught so well and everyone loved it. Silly Chileans trying to speak English... Makes me laugh hahah but everyone loves English here. Very hard to learn though I'm lucky I didn't have to learn it. Its hard.. 

 Tierra Amarilla is treating me well. I love the mission. I love talking to investigators about baptism, about how they have felt the Spirt. I love doing intercambios with other Elders like Elder Storey in Paipote (other City), I love The Elders here in the Mission. I love Chileans even if they make me so mad at times. I love the members here in this Branch. I love the memories and opportunities That I will never be able to experience outside of the mission. I love my son, Elder Malan, such a stud. I love that God gives me patience with him at times. I love the mission and never want to leave... Love you all. Be good people and give the missionaries a referral this week. 

Con Amor Elder Paxman

Monday, March 3, 2014

Video in Antofagasta, Chile

Video taken on Mason's birthday. May 22, 2013 in Antofagasta.

Video in Antofagasta, Chile

Video taken in May 2013 in Antofagasta.

My New Son Elder Malan

Hey Family.

I always write down little notes of what happened during the week in my planner but I forgot my planner. So hopefully I remember everything. I'm here with my son!!!!!!!! His Name is Elder Malan. A gringo!!!!! He is from Southern California, 19 years old. He is taller than me (like all my gringo comps). He is such a great Elder. He has all the excitement in the world. It's different because he still doesn't have very much time studying the language. So it's very hard for him to understand everything that the Chileans are saying. But everyday we are seeing an improvement in his Spanish. He is such a stud. He has very good Spanish for just starting the mission. It makes me reflect and remember my first few weeks in the mission. It's a completely difference experience. Right now I'm so used to it, it's my life. But for him it takes a little time to get used to.
 But we are working super super hard. Talking to tons of people in the street - at doors to help him get used to talking and being a missionary. He is a great Elder. We are gonna do great things these next few cambios together! We had some really great meetings in Antofagasta with President Dalton before meeting our kids. Basically telling us that we need to be perfect from here on out. We are helping our companions start their mission and how they start will have a great impact of how they will be the rest of their mission and also the rest of their lives!!! I have a big responsibility but I am so excited to help Elder Malan start off on the right step. After the meeting with president we ate some Pizza Hut..... It has been sooooo long since I have had Pizza Hut.... I was so happy..... After lunch at the trainers sat on one side of the room and all the newbies on the other and we put a chair in the middle of the room and the newbies would go one by one and read a letter saying where they are going to be serving and who their papito was. Then everyone yells and screams and we give giant hugs to our kids.. It was awesome!!! It was so intense every missionary that went to read who their papito is. And after you get down and the papito starts cleaning the shoes of the trainee because in these next few months we are going to be serving our kids all day everyday!!! It was an awesome experience.

We got back to Tierra Amarilla on Thursday at 6 A.M and we then woke up at 7:30 A.M and after an 8 hour bus ride from Antofagasta. We passed by a ton of members, inactives, investigators houses so they can all meet my new companion. It's always slow the first few days with a new comp. Getting to know them and stuff. On Saturday we had an activity with the primary kids from the stake. All 40 missionaries sang a few songs and then about 30 primary kids all came to the center of Copiapó and we did street contacts with 8-12 year olds.... Some people can be so mean.... Even to little 9 year old girls..... hahaha No but it was a great experience with the little kids to hand out little cards with a picture of Jesus on them. They all were little missionaries that day. It's amazing looking back on how I looked up to all the missionaries in the street growing up, back when I was in primary, and now they are doing the same thing with us!!! I love being a missionary!!!!!! 
As a District Leader one of the coolest things we get to do is interview the investigators in my district that are planning on getting baptized. Saturday afternoon I did my first interview with Lesly. An investigator of the other Elders here in Tierra Amarilla. It was such an awesome experience to talk to her, and talk a little about her conversion and why she wants to get baptized, and the difference she has seen these past few months investigating the church. One of the coolest experiences in the mission so far. 
Saturday night we had a Noche De hogar (Family Night) in the Church with a few members. We played some games, talked, didn't eat cause we were fasting. But it turned out great! I love when we do little activities where the members gain better relationships with each other!!! We talked a little with our recent convert, Lizzeth. She is going to try and study here in Chile so she can prepare for her mission here in Tierra Amarilla!!!!!!!!!! How awesome is that.... GO LIZZETH. The Lord has helped prepare her heart to hopefully in a year go on a mission!!!!!! So cool.  
On Sunday we had a rough day in church. This past week was the last week of vacations so everyone left.... We didn't have very many people in church but it's okay.... It will be better next week! We had 2 great lessons with some inactive members who in 2 different occasions, cried while we were teaching them. We felt impressed to give a blessing to one of them who felt sick and once we ended the blessings we looked at her and she was bawling. I love when people feel the spirit! The other man is named Richard. He has had a hard time with drinking and smoking on the weekends. Not too long ago he was in the church blessing and passing the Sacrament. But Satan has a grip on him right now. We found him drunk in his house yesterday but yet still wanted to sit down and talk with us. First time we have talked with him in about a month. He feels terrible with what he is doing and wants everything in his power to come back. He couldn't stop crying during the lesson when my companion shared 2 Nephi 4. Take the demons out of you. My companion was inspired to share that.. My kid is a stud. But I feel like Richard, with a little help, will be able to overcome this recent problem of his. He is such a great guy. He is a family member of all the Bolivians! So he´s gotta help us be that example to everyone! He is awesome though! 

We had a great week. We are talking with everyone. In hope to find some people that are prepared to follow through with our commitments. Pray for the area here. We need to see some miracles!!! I love you family and friends so much. I'm happy. My son is happy. I'm training him the best I can. I'm turning into the best leader possible. Show through example. Like Chase always says, "Good People Learn From Great People, Great People Learn From Anyone"... I'm gonna learn and soak in everything from all the younger Elders in my District! Couldn't be more happy to be here on the mission. I never wanna leave.

Con Amor Elder Paxman