Monday, January 30, 2012

Alex's 76th email from Chile 1/30/12

Zone Pday activity
Front row: Elder Brow, Elder Leavitt, Elder Sosa
Back Row: Elder Tognetti, ?, Elder Braddy, ? & ?

Hola Familia!!

This week just flew by!! This week was a good one as well. We taught a good amount of investigators this week but mainly I have good news and bad news. Antonia the little girl that we were going to baptize we had to drop her. It was just soo frustrating. I honestly have never taught someone like her. She would honestly just sit and cover her face with her hands and not talk and it was just so frustrating. Before we would teach and after she would talk to us play around be totally normal, and then when we sit down and teach her she would just turn off and boom nothing! So Elder Tognetti and I just decided we couldn't keep going by anymore. We have a limited amount of time and we need to use more effectively. So sad. Also Juan was working outside of Santiago all week so we couldn't teach him the last little stuff he needed so he couldn't have his interview so we will change his baptismal date.

But Caroline, Sunday passed her interview and will get baptized this Saturday!! So pumped. We had an amazing cita with them this week where they were just both sharing their testimonies with us, thanking us for everything we have done for them. The best part was when Caroline shared her testimony about the strength and power of the preisthood and how she felt it when we gave both her and Marcos (her husband) blessings of strength so they could stop smoking. How she didn't think Marcos could do it but went from 40 cigerrets a day to 0 after the blessing. How she knows the church is true. The spirit was there so strong. I love this part of the mission to just watch the change in peoples lives it is so awesome!
 Elder Tognetti & Elder Leavitt
 Elder Braddy & Elder Leavitt (MTC buddies)
Look at that form

I've seen that look of determination on the soccer field, football field, basketball court & volleyball court. 

This week we also had a zone conference. It was good but way too long. It was 7 and a half hours long!! And it just took our entire day from us to work. I did get my Missionary of preach my gospel award. I don't know if I told you guys about this but they have a ton of different requirments you have to complete to get it and there are 3 different levels soldier, teacher and missionary. Obviously missionary being the highest. Well I finally got it so that is pretty legit.

Republica Zone Conference
Alex is in the third row almost directly behind Hermana King
Also this week we found 8 new investigators so lets see if we can get some that can progress that would be tight. Elder Braddy had taken his suit coat off but ya he just jumped in haha. Sister missionaries are in the campo as well. There were some in Talagante.
Elder Monson and Alex's 'thumbs up'. 
I believe Elder Monson received some kind of award.
Summer is definitely starting to kick in. The people are now starting to disappear from our ward and sector. It's gonna start getting really difficult to find some new people to teach so not to excited for that, but hey its part of the work. Ok family I love you. The time is passing by too quickly its insane!! Love you and talk to you next week.

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Alex Leavitt

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Alex's 75th email from Chile 1/23/12

Remember last week when Alex talked about how hot it was and how he felt like his skin was burning off? Read what he writes below:
A chart of the UV strength we have here in Chile - may not be so hot like tempurature wise here but it literally burns your skin because we have the highest UV strength you can get. It's terrible.

Hola Familia!!!

This week was a good one! Monday night we had a noche de hogar with the familia Ruz which was awesome! Sad news on that note their niece Dalenka who had a fecha or baptismal date now doesn't have one. Her whole family turned on her, was all against it, didn't want her to listen to us, and then to add more her boyfriend said he would break up with her if she keeps listening to us. Well she still wants to listen to us and learn, but her family won't let her go to the family Ruz's house and won't let us come over. Pretty sucky. I am really sad about it because she wants to change her life and start doing everything better and move herself closer to God.

Elder Leavitt & Elder Braddy's districts at the multi-zone activity. 
They are in their new district shirts.

A better look at Alex's district shirts

On Tuesday we had a few really good lessons. We met with Caroline who is soooooooo awesome! She is soo excited for her baptism and is probably our strongest investigator that we have. During our lesson there was an earthquake! The first one I have felt since being in Chile. It was pretty tight. The whole building was swinging and what not. We were on the 7th floor of an apartment building so it was cool afterwards. They looked it up and it was a 4 point something. But she is progressing just amazing and is sooo happy to be getting baptized. Her husband who has been inactive for over like 30 years is reactivating himself as well and had a couple interviews with the bishop and will baptize her!! (He's forgotten that this isn't his first earthquake because he wrote home about one when he was first out. He was at a training meeting and right when President King held up the Book of Mormon they felt the shaking :)

Today we had a multi zone activity where we played football so legit.

On Wednesday I had divisions with Elder Merchan in his sector it was so fun. I saw Stephanie from La Islita in Talagante. She was registering for college and we ran into her in the street it was sooo awesome! So we stopped and were talking with her for awhile because it's like what are the odds that she would be there when me and Merchan were on divisions because we both know her from Talagante it was soo awesome.  Then later that day I saw a Hermana from La Cisterna who I had not seen in almost a year it was soo cool. What a blessing. On Thursday I came back to my sector with Elder Tignetti and we had some lessons with Juan who is progressing well for his baptism and some other investigators. Then that night we met up with Elder Braddy and his companion. Elder Braddy and I did divisions because we had a leadership meeting Friday early in the morning. So we had a good time being together Thursday night and left Friday for Maipu. The meeting was good but was just way too long. It was 7 hours!!!!! 10 to 5 just ridiculous. When we got to Republica it was already late and we decided to watch the baptism of Elder Braddy and his companion which turned out to be a good decicion because I will never forget that baptism. The guy who was getting baptized was a big dude and his tiny skinny son was baptizing him. Well on top of being like 6' 4" he was big and had knee problems where he could not bend his knees. Well needless to say his son went to dunk him and the Hermano didn't bend his knees, didn't go all the under and could stand up! His son being super skinny and small couldn't lift him so Elder Braddy jumps in the baptismal font and helps him up!! Well Braddy was already in so he helped in the baptism and the Hermano was baptized! Crazyness.

Saturday we had a cosechon in the Hermana's sector where we all go and do massive contacts. It was good. Then we had a ward noche de hogar and it was tight!! We had like 5 investigators show up and then on Sunday the same 5 came to church! It was awesome! We are having so much success in our sector right now. If everything goes well we should have 3 baptisms for the 4 of February.

At the ward noche de hagar. 

Caroline is not the evangelica. In Le Legua we have not been going by with the two sectors and everything being super spread out. We are focusing alot on just the investigators that are progressing seeing that we have way too much to do. I will be honest, the work is a little more slow in the campo or country but I like the whole enviorment a whole lot more in the campo. The people are nicer. It's way more, I don't know, I just like it better. Yes, the corn has come back. Man I am sooo tired of corn haha.

Well family that was my week. I will talk to you all later.

Con mucho amor,

Elder Alex Leavitt

This is how we shop in Chile.

Chugging contest with Rocio

Monday, January 16, 2012

Alex's 74th email from Chile 1/16/12

Hola Familia!!!

So thought I would tell you guys that it is amazingly hot! It is terrible just how bad it is. I literally feel my flesh burning, but on the good side I am now very tan, but also on the bad side I am super white where the sun does not hit so it all equals out jaja. Well family I just wanted to say I love you guys. I don't know why I just have been thinking about you alot this week and praying for you guys. I have been reading my patriarchal blessing alot and trying to set some goals for my life. It says I need to do that more often. Well for the mission I decided to set the goal to fast at least once every week. I really want to end strong and I don't have much more time left which just blows my mind. I started last week and I can already feel the difference. I may have to continue this after the mission as well who knows we will see.

So this week was a good one. Since we have tried focusing on the members helping us we have had alot of exito (success) Our investigators are all progressing alot. Juan is super excited about the church and is super willing to listen to us and keep his commitments. His problem is that he doesn't have much work and since we have been teaching him he is finding alot more work to do which is good, but now he doesn't have much time to meet with us so hopefully we can get this all figured out. But he is good. Antonia the little girl, she will probably si o si get baptized but it is hard to teach her. She gets all shy and nervous and doesn't talk during the lessons which is difficult to know if she understands or has a question. But she will get over it. I found out that if I joke around a little more it opens her up. So we will get her progressing faster. Caroline is probably the best, she is progressing so fast. She is excited super stoked for her baptism. She wanted us to describe excactly how it will be the day of her baptism. She is super happy and excited and has a testimony which overall puts the icing on the cake. Dalenka will be the hardest but she also is progressing slowly. She has alot she needs to change in her life, is willing to do it, but doesn't want to be rushed which I understand when you are 17 yrs old. I told her we are not asking her to change her whole life in a week. That we are not going to force her to do anything and that everything is on her time and schedule (which she liked to hear). She said she likes listening to us and that she thinks we are funny :)

Elder Tognetti and I are doing great. He is legit. I told him you invited him to see dads star trek collection and he said him and dad are going to become best friends after the mission. I told him dad is kinda a nerd as well jajaja. He is tight. That is tight that the people in Malloco still remember me. He is still in Malloco now with Elder Florez my kid! I actually a little bit ago got some letters from some converts and families in Malloco. It feels so cool you know? to know that you have made some kind of positive impact in the lives of people.

(The 'he' Alex refers to is Elder Connor Wilcox. I had told Alex about an eamil I had received from his Mom a week ago. She told me that during their Christmas call her son had told her that in the area he is serving EVERYONE always talks about Elder Leavitt. The families and many of the investigators all LOVE Elder Leavitt. They say he was just the greatest missionary and that he was super funny.  Alex & Connor never knew each other before the mission even though they probably only live about 10 - 15 mins. away from each other. They were in different stakes and different high schools. His Mom & I became friends on the Missionary Mom's group. We have met once.)

Those were the zone ties of and it was taken in the stake center of Republica, me and Braddy have the district leader ties haha. The pictures I took and sent last week were not from my pension but just some building in my sector. It's pretty dirty huh? My sector is the most dangerous sector in our mission and probably all of Chile. It's run down.  In the summer yes everyone leaves the city and its terrible jaja but since our sector is giant I don't think we will have a problem teaching. We still have Hermanas that do our laundry and we have lunches every day without problems if not I have a couple of Hermanas here that say that I am their son and will always feed us if we need it jaja. Ya send some updated pictures that would be tight :)

Well family I just wanted to say that I am happy. The mission is amazing and it has changed my life. I have changed so much. I have such a better outlook on the stuff I want to do with my life. But the biggest change is that I feel so much closer to Our Padre Celestial.  I know he loves me. I feel like I know him so much more on a personal level. I have fallen in love with the scriptures. I have never had a relationship with them like I do now and I can't believe I had missed out on this for so much of my life. We truly can understand our Father in Heaven more clearly through the scriptures. I Love this work and how I feel so much closer and feel like I understand how Jesus Christ feels for us. One can learn to love so much easier by serving and working for others and for God. I just love it here. OK guys I need to run so I will talk to you next week :) I love you and pray for you every night.

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Alex Leavitt

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Alex's 73rd email from Chile 1/9/12

Hola Familia!!!!

This week was AWESOME!!!! Last Sunday some random dude showed up to church literally looked like a bum off the street. Well with a little investigation his name is Juan, and is the brother of one of our members. So we asked if we could come visit him some time and he said sure. Well he now has a baptismal date and is so legit. He came this last Sunday as well and is progressing so fast it's awesome. Working in two sectors is crazy they are so big. We are trying to plan a ton of different divisions with members and what not so we can work both equally and not let one die, which is hard because we are having so much success in my old sector. The majority of our appointments and what not are on that side but we are working well and in fact set a fecha in the other side with the wife of an inactive member we found her name is Caroline. She came to church for the first time this Sunday and loved it!  We are being super blessed cause we have set 3 baptismal dates this last week!!  The other fecha is a girl named Dalenka, and is the cousin of Dary that kid we are always working with. Basically we decided to visit the members a ton and try to get their support which is necisary to have working in such a huge sector and it has payed off!  We set 3 fechas last week and we are planning on setting one on Tuesday with the daughter of a lady in our ward who just never got baptized.  We were looking at our wards list and just saw this girl never got baptized. How does that happen? So that will just be a baptism for us. It's crazy how much luck we are having.

Just so you know a little bit. Elder Tognetti is awesome. He is a straight up Baller. I love him. He is one of the biggest nerds I know. He is a Treky dad would love him. He has seen every Star Trek movie and almost every episode of every Star Trek. We have had some cool conversations. You should have seen his face when I told him I like Star Trek as well hahaha.  I don't come off as the Star Trek type he told me haha. Elder Tognetti is the most patient and humble person I have met in my life. And I am not kidding he is amazing. He has that gift and to the extreme. He is a stud and a stand out guy. He has 8 months in the mission and is just legit. Like I said he is from Iowa.
Elder Leavitt & Elder Tognetti

On Sunday we had four investigators in the chapel which was awesome!! Elder Tognetti was so happy he said that was the most he has ever had in the chapel. He is really happy with the success we are having. We had 9 MAC!!! which was legit. That;s when a member is in your appointment with you. So when the missionaries meet with Oliver in the house that is a MAC and every missionary wants that.

It was really funny, Dary our buddy who always helps and leaves with us has an austistic brother. I love their family and when I first got there, Issac the austistic kid, did not like the missionaries. Well now we are friends well him and I at least. We always play together and we have our own hand shake as well haha. Well on Sunday this other little kid came over to play with me, i am always playing with the kids, well Issac saw this and was not happy. He came running over took my hand pulled me away and started playing with me haha. His mom loved it and was like "looks like Issac got jealous."  I thought it was cool.

On Thursday President King randomly decided to come to our District meeting and sat in on my class!!! Well luckily it went super well.  He actually complimented my class and the examples I used and said he loves my animo!  It's like Love/energy/excitment for the work. I did a class on goal setting and being better and what not.

I did get the RS package and I have been planning on writing but I am soo swamped! I have soo many cards to write you don't even know. That joined with DL work and two sectors I am just dead everynight and want to sleep. As my white elephant gift I got a US flag haha.  Hopefully you can tell that the work was way better than last weeks. I am pretty sure that this is only a temporary change. I think that next change they will bring in two other missionaries. Elder Braddy is the other District leader still! And I only have 1 new one Elder Brow from Baker California. He is legit! In our pension it's only me and Tognetti now since they took out the other sector. Hey mom can you send me a pulled pork sandwitch recipè. I have had a craving for like a sloppy joe type thing and then I remembered pulled pork sandwiches and I have an hermana here who likes to cook and wants to try something new so if you could get me a good one I could be eating good here haha.
I'm guessing this is the view from his pension (apartment)

Well Family I love you a ton and I can't wait to hear from you next week. It is insane how fast the time is going. I am really enjoying my time here and we are working hard!

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Alex Leavitt

Monday, January 9, 2012

Alex's 72nd email from Chile 1/2/12

Elder Leavitt's District & Elder Braddy's District at the Mission Christmas Party.
I love how they all got matching ties :) 

Hola familia!!!

So this week was hard. We worked really hard but we were not able to do much. Nobody wanted to meet with us haha or if they wanted to they couldn't and said come back in a month! Well what can you do right?

His Pac12 t-shirt from Alycia & Trevor. 
The excitement on his face says it all.

So funny, story last Monday I lost my companion. We were in the metro luckly we were with a group. Well we were all walking and my companion didn't tell anyone he was going to put money on his card. We were all talking and just kept going, got on the train, and then I was like "wait where is my comp?" When I realized that he wasn't there the doors closed! So I got off at the next stop went with Elder Sosa back, had the others get off and search the next train for Carcamo. Well he was on the next train and we met up again it was insane.
Some candy we sent him in his Christmas package.

Well like I said this week wasn't to strong numbers wise but it was still a good week. On Thursday we said goodbye to Rocio. She is going on vacation until March. I don't know if you remember but Santiago kinda shuts down during summer everyone leaves. But ya insane, so we both said goodbye because there is a chance none of us will see each other again before she comes back sad :(

On Friday we got the call Elder Carcamo has changes and they are shutting down the sector next to me and I am getting Elder Tognetti as my companion. I have been living with him for the last 3 months so we know each other really well we are excited to be together. He is from Iowa. We are going to have alot of work on our hands our sector is giant now.

Saturday we didn't do anything special. We had to be back in the pension at the normal time. Here in Chile they do like nothing for New Year's, and they only have like one firework show in all of Santiago, and so from our apartment we could barely see them so we watched those and then went to bed. Then Sunday we did our goodbyes, well part of them, today we are doing more goodbyes for Elder Carcamo.

We haven't been able to meet with Dalenka for Christmas and New Year's :( The basketball jersey got here just in time and I was able to give it to Rocio before she left.

Alex in Rocio's basketball jersey. 
Rocio in Alex's basketball jersey he had me send & 
Elder Carcamo in the background with the shorts.

Hey mom, so there is an Elder Sosa in my district and he is from argentina from the ward borges. His dad is the bishop there and says he worked alot with and knows President Northcutt.
Alex told us before that you see graffiti all over the place in the city.

Well guys I reaLLY DONT HAVE MUCH TO SAY THIS WEEK I AM SURE NEXT WEEK IT WILL BE (just realized that it was in caps but to lazy to go back and fix it :) love you) more exciting since it is a new comp and sector basically. I am going to send alot of pictures though love you guys and talk to you next week.

Con Mucho Amor

Elder Alex Leavitt

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Alex's 71st email 12/26/11

Elder Carcamo's 25th Birthday

Hola Familia!

Ok so I will mention some stuff I didn't say yesterday and that will be it. Won't be a very long letter today. On Monday like you know it was Elder Carcamos birthday. Well on Tuesday I had planned a surprise birthday party for him about a week ago so we had that it was way fun. All his favorite people in the ward were there. He was soo happy and surprised. It was cool because he was having a hard time this being his first birthday away from the family. Wednesday and Thursday I had divisions outside of my sector with Elder Enamorado and with Elder Demayer. They were cool. On Friday we had our mission Christmas party we watched the Christmas Carol that was cool. Everyone was looking at me though because I had sooo many presents and cards sent to me this year! Like I mean I had a ton sent. Mainly candy but some ties and what not. It feels good to feel like you have made an impact in other areas and people remember you.

Elder Carcamo's surprise birthday party

Saturday was when things got crazy. I have eaten soo much this weekend. Saturday I ate 3 meals one at 4ish another at 7ish and then one at 9 ish and we celebrated and opened presents with a family we are really close too. Then in the pension we celebrated latino style and we opened up our presents our families sent us at midnight. Sunday we only had sacrament meeting and we  then ate lunch with our bishop and his family and from their we basically went to Rocios house to do our phone calls and then we went home. Needless to say I am tired from lack of sleep and amazing heat.

Mission Christmas Party

We haven't met with Dalenka last week hopefully tonight! The Christmas party was with everyone and it was in La Cisterna right next to Lo Ovalle. I didn't see anyone I knew though sad. Just the four of us missionaries that live together.(I asked Alex if it was just his pension that opened presents up together and when so this is his answer) Normally yes they have Christmas and New Years off from work here in Chile and Christmas is way bigger than New Years.(More answers to questions)

 New matching Christmas ties

So to end this I want to do the same thing I did last year and share my testimony with you guys seeing that I don't have much to write. This work is amazing. To think the same thing I am doing here there are thousands of others around the world participating in the work of saving souls. I know this is God's Church, his Kingdom here on earth. I love being a missionary to feel like I am an instrument in the hands of God to help his children come closer to him. The thing I love most about the mission is to see the spirit move into the lives of the people, to see how people can literally change their lives from living the gospel principals. To me there is nothing more special than that. Basically to just sum things up,  I know Jesus Christ is our Lord and Redeemer, through Him and his sacrifice we can all be saved, made pure and worthy to live with our Heavenly Father and families after this life. I love being a missionary. I love being a representative of my God here in Chile doing his work and spreading his happiness to everyone.

I love you guys more than you know,

Elder Alex Leavitt