Elder Talon Walz

Elder Talon Walz

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dia de Independencia!!

Okay so this week was nuts! It was Dia de Independencia here! The holiday was the 18th but people started partying on the 16th and stopped today on the 20th! Haha! That is why I have p-day today! Nothing was open yesterday because it was the day after the holiday! That didn’t make sense to me but it was cool. Sunday and Monday we returned to our houses at 7pm because a lot of people get really drunk and they didn’t want us to be in any bad situations or anything. But the holiday was great! Members hooked us up with food! I sent a lot of photos this week. Sorry I don’t have time to explain them ;) 

I tend to finish showering and getting ready in the morning at around 7:35am, so I have till 8 to do whatever. I like to write to friends and family during that time. Other than that, I really don't have any extra time but it's all good!;) I still LOVE getting letters!

We can only receive packages every 2 weeks at our district and zone meetings so I should get the last one you sent next week. I hung up the piƱata you sent for my birthday but didn't take any swings, I like it as a decoration! :) 

I’m happy to hear that my experiences have positive effects on your life and hopefully other people's back there because I don't feel like I contribute a whole lot yet here. It’s getting better though! This week I started to understand the words that people say, I don't know what those words mean because I can’t translate quickly enough, but at least now I know that they really are speaking Spanish! Haha! 

I read in Alma 43 and 44 this week. I tried to think of ways to apply it to our lives today. To me, our armor is the Lord, the commandments, the atonement, and our knowledge. The commandments help us keep away from bad situations. They help us stay in a healthy mindset. The atonement assures us that we will be okay (like when wounded in war). Any time we have hard times or need help, we can have that help through the atonement! Then our knowledge is also our armor. We know that Jesus Christ lives! We know that if we live righteously, we can be together in heaven! I guess knowledge can also kind of go with “reasons for fighting” or reasons to live the way we do!:). We know that there is much more than this life. We also know that our eternal happiness depends on our actions here. We want to be able to enter into the celestial Kingdom when that day comes. We know that as we live righteously, we will have blessings from on high! Blessings that we can't even comprehend. That alone is a good enough blessing to want to always try our best. We have our family to fight for. That is probably the biggest reason for me. I want to do all I can to be with you guys for ever and ever! But just like in Alma, the wars (or our lives) are difficult. Our "spies" or guidance in life are through prayer, scriptures, and modern day prophets. We can receive revelation through the Holy Ghost to help us in all sorts of situations. Then every general conference we are given knowledge on how to live in this day and age. The Lord warns us of things through the prophet and his apostles. I don't know about you, but that is some serious spy work to me! :) But yeah, like in Alma 43:21, we need to make Satan afraid of us by doing our best and immediately repenting when we mess up. We aren't perfect, no one is! So never feel bad about needing to use the atonement! Then like in 43:48, it will be hard at times. I know you have had hard times, but remember your end goal and what you can still fight for! In 43:51, we might be outnumbered at times, but that doesn't change anything. We have the Lord's help especially when we are living worthily. In 43:54, we also need to have the forgiveness of Moroni. He could have easily justified killing them twice! But he didn't! There will be many times people will hurt us maybe knowingly or unknowingly, but we need to try and have charity. It's so hard. I am still struggling with that here. But I know that it is very important. Haha. Sorry that was longer than I anticipated but hopefully it makes a little sense:).

Well, another weird thing here is that all my clothes are getting too big. I have lost a lot of weight and muscle! It's really weird. I might have to tailor some of my pants here if it gets any worse. We get done planning around 9:30-9:40 and 4 days this week went till 10 or later! That's hard because I don't have time to shower and wash my face and stuff, oh or eat dinner!

Okay so for the last thing. I have a challenge for all that want to accept haha! I started reading the Book of Mormon and Libro de Mormon. Every morning I read 3-4 chapters of The Book of Mormon during personal study and throughout the day I read the same 3-4 chapters in the Libro de Mormon. So I am going to read The Book of Mormon from start to finish in 2 languages! About 3 chapters a day and if you or anyone else wants to join me that would be awesome! :) It takes you guys half the time it takes me to read it in Spanish so I know you can do it! It will take like 2 months but it will be worth it! 

Well that’s all today. Hope all is well!

Love Elder Walz

Monday, September 12, 2016

Happy Birthday!

Wow! Another P-day already! I feel like this week flew by. I have about 20 minutes this morning before personal study so I wanted to write ya!

I wanted to tell you how great my birthday was! Man, I don't think you could have picked better candy to put in that box, haha! And that hair gel was perf! So thank you so much for that. A lot of people say birthdays kind of suck out here so thank you for making sure that didn't happen. You are seriously the best!

I also wanted to tell you what my roommates did. They all woke up early and set up your gift and all of their gifts in the kitchen. When the alarm went off at 6:30am, I was the only one still in bed. So I got up and Elder Catola said "Elder Walz! Get down here now!" Then when I got to the kitchen, they were singing happy birthday to me and they had bought me a cheesecake! They set up the candles you sent also! Then after they sang they all gave me a gift. E'Catala got me a leather jacket somehow and then also he bought the cheesecake. E'Rodriguez drew me a card and got me candy. E'Agostinelli bought me candy and also gave me a ring. The ring has been passed down a few times on the mission. The ring says "730 on the outside and the inside says "days to serve, a lifetime to remember". Then they all went around telling me some words of wisdom and needless to say this put me into tears, haha. The elders I live with are all so awesome! That ring is literally so cool. 730 might seem like a lot until you put it into perspective of a lifetime, haha. I'm so glad I made it out here. I honestly never thought I would be here until this last year.

Then also, a member had my same birthday so they also had us over for dinner and cake! I think they sent Tan a picture but I am not sure. So I just wanted to let you know I had a GREAT birthday!! :)

So yeah the Haitians went to church and now we are actually teaching like 7 of them. There are 2 couples that are progressing more than others. When we got to laws and ordinances I was kind of nervous especially about the law of chastity and word of wisdom. Both couples live together and aren't married. But when we taught both those lessons they like immediately believed that they were true commandments of God! And they are both planning on getting married soon to follow the Law of Chastity and then they agreed to try and stop drinking coffee every morning too. It was just crazy to see how receptive these guys are. I expected more complaints and wanting reasons for why we have the commandments. So yeah the Haitians are sweet!

Some lessons that have been meaningful to me are in 1 Nephi 16! This is the chapter where Nephi's whole family gets discouraged. They all murmur to the Lord for not being able to eat, even Lehi. But somehow Nephi is just a boss and never ceases to have faith in the Lord. He eventually makes a new bow and goes and gets food. Then he brings it back and shares it with his whole family who were just complaining. I don't know if I could stay strong like that when everyone around me was complaining. This story is such a great example of staying strong when others aren't doing what’s right. Even when times get rough, just have that faith that the Lord will provide. And when he does finally bless you, have the charity of Nephi and still share it with others that aren't doing what's right. Always be that example. I know this to be true in many experiences of mine here on my mission. I was struggling a ton but as soon as I put all my faith in the Lord things started to get better. I hope this makes sense because I don't have time to look it over :)

Oh one other interesting thing here is that the church has some huge olive and walnut farms here in Melipilla. I guess the church owns farms like these all over the world. (Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Florida, Cali, England) In Florida I guess the church owns like 15% of the land in all of Florida haha! This was interesting to me how much the church actually sells on the open market. I want to learn more about that someday. There are a few members in the ward that are in charge of it here. That is how I know a little bit. But yeah I thought that was super interesting!

Well I think that is it this week! Spanish is getting a little better :) haha No huge improvements yet but it is coming. Take care and have a great week!

Love Elder Walz :)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Things are going better!

Okay so first of all, this is the letter I wanted to send you last week! haha I think I was struggling a lot when I wrote it so you can take comfort knowing I am doing much better this week! The other pics are of my room and then also the place we went to eat today. My companion is from Peru so he took us to a Peruvian place to eat! I’ll send you another email in a little!

I figured I would write you and tell you some of the little stories about what happens and also my feelings here and there. I'll tell you in the email this week, but my time in the field so far has not been great. I have definitely had good times still though.

So my first day in the field after meeting with the Mission President started great! I got to the chapel where we would find out our trainers and when I saw I got a Latino from Peru, I thought it was cool because I would probably learn Spanish quicker. I'm hoping that will hold true but as of now it is very hard. It is stressful spending a whole day with someone that you can barely communicate with.  It gets a little boring quick. I really am doing my best to stay positive though.

The hardest part though is in lessons. I swear the people here in Melipilla slur so much. You know how it is kind of hard to hear hill billy's because they don't pronounce all their sounds? Well imagine a hill billy speaking another language. It is so hard. It literally drives me bonkers and makes me wish I would have gone English speaking. I know once I figure it out, I will be extremely happy to be here. I'm sure it isn't true, but I feel like I am worse than I should be. Everyone keeps saying for only being here 6 weeks, I am doing fine. But I really feel like I have to guess everything that is said. I am going to write to Brennan this week to see how Spanish was for him. I hope he struggled like me. That will make me feel better about myself.

One crazy thing is that I already had fleas in my bed! SO sleeping has not been great here so far haha. I didn't realize it was fleas until about a week in. I know I'll joke about it soon enough but I was so angry at first. I was like seriously! The only time I have to relax is in bed and for 2 days I knew i had fleas and couldn't do anything but wash my sheets before I bought the spray. I have around 20 bites throughout my arms and legs. They itch but they really aren't too bad. Getting to live like this really does make my appreciation for what I have at home increase a lot! I pulled out the flea collar you sent. I think it’s all good now and I'm starting to laugh a little about it. It’s rough but I can already see progress in my mindset. I still can’t even think of what person I'll be in 2 years, but I've already made so much progress in the way I think and act.

As far as lessons go, I am starting to teach more and more. Especially the restoration and the plan of salvation. I don't know what the people say when responding to me but my companion answers their questions and then I start teaching again! :) Our Search for Happiness is a great book! And read Chap 4 of PMG. I read that this week and my prayers have been strengthened a ton! It applies to missionaries but I’m sure you can apply it to everyday life at home too. haha

So Melipilla! Melipilla is the area I am in and it is the largest section of the mission. Which means we cover the most area. Melipilla itself isn't too bad but we cover like 20 tiny farming communities around it. It is also pretty ghetto around here. Our house is decent but almost everyone else's houses are pretty bad. Everyone we have taught so far has been really poor and missing teeth. It is really weird to experience life like this. I hope I get used to it.

Okay so my last complaint, lol. My left foot and backside of my right knee have started to hurt. We walk so much and always so fast so that is the other thing I need to get used to. Luckily, yesterday, we got to go to the temple for the whole afternoon. It was a ward temple day and my companion had a recent convert going to do baptisms for the dead. So we got to go and I loved it. I was able to see some of my friends still in the CCM. I also saw my teacher that I liked. It was weird, I felt back at home there. I don't feel comfortable in Melipilla yet. But yeah, we were the 2 witnesses for a session of baptisms. We told the guy whether or not they went fully under water. Then we also got to confirm a few people. But yeah, I really needed the trip back to Santiago to get some confidence back. I also found out that all of my friends from the MTC are struggling just as much as I am so I don't feel so behind:). Oh one more thing. We can only listen to Hymns and MoTab. :( Haha. It isn't a big deal but now I won't be using my iPod for 2 years. So we also do a ton of contacting here. I didn't realize that. Our schedule is like..

During Proselyting, half of it is contacting. Lunch is always with a member and then we can have dinner after planning if we want, but I am usually too tired. Then I also think it is weird I only have a half hour to study the language!

Well darn, I haven't told you too many stories yet and I am already 2 pages in! So I'll just tell you a few..On Wednesday night, we contacted into some Haitians.They were all black and they invited us in to their house. All of them looked sketchy so I was legitly kind of scared. But after we taught them the Restoration, they agreed to come to church today. So hopefully we will see them today!

Another story was the next night, we contacted someone at 8:20 pm when we were about 20 minutes from our house. We have to be home at 9 unless we are in a lesson. Then we have till 9:30. Anyways, this lesson ends up going till 9:17 and we had to be home by 9:30 so my trainer made us run the entire way! It sucked but looking back on it, it is a funny story. It is also cool to see how obedient my trainer is. Every day we also have to take sketchy buses to areas. That is how large our area is. We take the bus like 30-40 minutes and then slowly make our way back.

So I just got home from my first Sunday and it was really good. I had to go up and introduce myself in Sacrament meeting but it wasn't bad. I didn't really understand anything but that is okay. After church, we had lunch at a member’s house. They were super cool. They cooked all kinds of meat including blood sausage! Look it up:(  Then potatoes and salad and beans. One weird thing here is their salads. All salads in Chile have plain oil and then a lemon for you to squeeze on it. Super weird. Anyways, after that we had a total of 4 lessons. In the last one, I was able to get 3 people to agree to be baptized if they receive a confirmation from their prayer. So that was really cool.

I hope I don't sound too sissy in this letter. I just needed to express how I was feeling. I know these tough times will bless me so much. I think I would not have been able to get through any kind of med school without this. I have never pushed myself so hard in my life. I still have a lot to go but my confidence for post-mission life is already growing. I also know eventually I will love it here, haha! It will just take a little. I LOVE you mom! I pray for you probably 3 times a day. I hope life is treating you well! Study the scriptures every day! It really is a way to receive personal revelation. Also, please pray for me :) por favor! I will be fine but I could use the extra help. I think it is in Alma10. It talks about praying for others really does help them. You are the B-E-S-T! Yo estoy muy agradecido por tu!