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Monday, December 28, 2015

Hello everyone!
I hope that you all had an amazing Christmas! Christmas in Uruguay is celebrated very differently than in the United States. On the 24th of December, families and friends meet up around 10 o`clock at night and have dinner. Then at midnight, they light off fireworks. The fireworks are incredible here. It is because there are no rules, or limits to the amount or type that you can buy. Everyone buys huge amounts of extremely large and dangerous fireworks, and lights them off right in front of their houses. My companion and I went to the lookout of our building, and we could see tons of fireworks going off. It was an amazing sight! Then, after fireworks, the kids open their presents, and then go to bed around 2 or 3 A.M. on the 25th. The adults normally are out at parties, and the crazy ones don´t sleep on Christmas. Sooo, yeah its pretty different than in the United States.
As for the missionary work, this week we made a bunch of progress with our area. The members are really starting to like us, and they are starting to trust us with their references. This week we taught a 26 year old named Fabio. He is super down to earth, and he was super curious. We met him in the street a little while back, and we finally got around to stopping by his house. It was our first lesson with him, so we taught the restoration, and I was able to explain the first vision. The spirit was really strong. As we were finishing up the lesson me and my companion asked ¨Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone with the correct Priesthood authority?¨....He accepted!!! We haven´t set a date yet, but we were super excited. Other than that, we don´t have a ton of lessons right now. We will have a lot in the near future, but unfortunately, everyone scheduled their lessons for ¨After the holidays”. So this week we are doing a lot of street contacting, but in the beginning of January we should have a lot of work. 
Anyways, I hope all of you have a great week!
Happy New Year!!! Remember to set some goals for yourself. A successful person can tell you where they are going, how they are going to get there, and who they are going to bring with them. 
I love you all!!
-Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week

¨Fortune sides with him who dares¨

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My testimony (In English)

During this Christmas season I want to share my testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. He suffered for our sins. He knows our trials, our problems, and how to help us. He was born, he died, but he has been resurrected. He lives! He is the guide of this church. I know he lives. I know that we can live with our families forever. I want to testify that we can be clean from our sins through the atonement. During Christmas we have gifts of all kinds, but I ask you to remember the most important of all, Jesus Christ. I am very grateful for him, and I am grateful to be teaching his gospel. I know that this is the only true church on the earth. I love this gospel, I love all of you. Jesus Christ lives, in the name of our Redeemer, our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, December 21, 2015

My buddies from the MTC
A Chivito

Hello everyone!  
I hope that everyone is doing well this holiday season. This past week we had our mission wide Christmas party! The night before the Christmas party some companionships asked if they could spend the night at our house, so they wouldn´t have to travel in the morning. We had 8 missionaries sleep in our is a 2 elder house....and it was never been more apparent than that night. Haha! The next day, the party was super fun because I got to talk with all my buddies from the MTC. 

This week we met with a woman named Blanca Vasquez, and we invited her to Baptism. She accepted, which made us super happy. Her son Jonathan is a recent convert to the Church, and he really wants his mom to join as well. He helped us teach her, which was a really great experience. As we were getting ready to leave, Jonathan pulled out bags of Christmas presents for us to take. One of the gifts was a beautiful tie. I asked him to sign his name on my tie. He wrote his name, and then started to write me a short message. Everyone in Uruguay thinks that they can speak a little english (It is hilarious), so he started to write in English. He wrote ¨I Love U Fried¨.......I tried not to laugh.....but it was so hard.
Speaking of fried, this week I ate something called a Chivito. It is a hamburger that is like the size of my head. It has hamburger, cheese, ham, steak, and pretty much every greasy food you can think of, topped with a ton of peppers, salsa, and sauces. It tasted great, but I could almost feel my heart slowing down as I ate it. Haha just kidding. 

With Christmas time coming up, I would like to share with you the only gift I can. My testimony.
Durante este tiempo de Navidad, Quiero compartir mi testimonio de nuestro salvador, Jesucristo. El sufrió por nuestros pecados. El les conoce sus pruebas, sus problemas, y el sabe como ayudarnos. El nació, el murió, pero el ha sido resucitado. El vive. El es la guía pro su iglesia. Yo se que el vive. Yo se que podemos vivir con nuestros familias para siempre. Yo quiero testificar, que podemos ser limpios de nuestros pecados mediante la expiación. En Navidad, tenemos regalos de cada tipo. Yo pedí que ustedes recuerdan el mas importante de todo..Jesucristo. Estoy muy agradecido por el, y estoy muy agradecido de ensenar su evangelio. Yo se que esta iglesia es la única verdadera iglesia en la tierra. Amo este evangelio, y los amo a todo ustedes. Jesucristo vive, en el nombre de nuestro redentor, salvador, Jesucristo, Amen. 

I love you all! Feliz Navidad!
Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week:

¨Obedience is the price, Faith is the power, Love is the motive, the Spirit is the key, and Christ is the reason¨ -unknown 

Monday, December 14, 2015

I hope that everyone is doing well. How is the weather in Utah? Here in is really hot. I never realized how much the humidity makes a difference in the temperature. I am roasting! Haha. When I wake up in the morning, it is 85 degrees.....with like 90 percent humidity. Imagine walking around in a sauna in a white shirt and a tie....Uruguay! Haha.

Even though it was really hot, this week was really productive. We made a bunch of contacts, and we have  a lot of future investigators that look really promising. Also, the members are starting to be really nice to us. When I arrived in the area, we had meals like twice a week, but now we have food every day, and the members are trying to give us more. It is pretty sweet!
 This last Saturday, we had the ward Christmas party, which went really well. A lot of investigators and less active members showed up, so that was encouraging.

So in our house, we have like 1 million church magazines, so Elder Fonseca and I decided we were going to decorate our door with pictures that we cut out. We cut out tons of pictures, and taped them to our door. After we did that, I had a ton of extra pictures left over. I had cut out a picture of a person making a funny face (unintentionally), and I taped it in the Front of Elder Fonseca´s planner. We laughed about it, but then we forgot about the picture. Later, after a lesson with a investigator, we were going to leave her with our number. Elder Fonseca flipped open his planner...and that huge picture was still taped there. I saw it and I almost started laughing, but I quickly bit my tongue. Elder Fonseca noticed, and quickly tried to cover the picture with a pamphlet....but the lady definitely saw. We just kinda stood there awkwardly for like a minute .Haha. It was really funny. 
Anyways, Montevideo is kind of in a blackout right I don´t have much time to write more of this e-mail.....because I am e-mailing from a mall somewhere outside of the city.....Weird huh.
I hope you all have a great week!
If you haven´t watched the Church´s new video about Christmas, I definitely recommend it!

Quote of the week
¨The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.¨

-Elder Vanderlinden

Monday, December 7, 2015

Visiting a recently converted family!
The Uruguay Montevideo Temple

Hello Everyone,
Last week I was able to go through the Uruguay Montevideo Temple. It was such an amazing experience. I was able to feel the spirit so strongly, and it is super interesting to go through in Spanish. It showed me that it doesn´t matter what language the gospel is in, the Holy Ghost can speak through every language. The Uruguay temple is pretty small. The Temple is probably around the size of my high school seminary building. Haha. However, It is really beautiful. It is so well kept, and soo clean.

Well, to start off, my companion and I started a soccer league...Haha. Everyone here loves soccer! We hold games on the church´s soccer field, because we have the keys. We invite kids on the street during the week, and then we meet on Saturday. This past week we actually had a decent amount of kids show up, so it was super fun to play with them. Each week we are trying to invite more kids, and we start the games with a prayer and a spiritual thought. Hehe 

So this past week, we did a lot of street contacting, which is not very effective in South America. People think that we are trying to sell stuff most of the time, or that we are asking for something. It is also difficult because the people are generally in a hurry. My companion and I were talking to a man in the street, and it was going very well. We asked if we could come share more about our message at his house....He paused...and said ¨Sure¨. We pulled out our notebooks to write down his directions. “What is you address?” we asked. ¨What street are we on?¨ he asked.....then...he gave us the address of the house...we were literally standing in front of. It wasn´t his house. In fact, a man named Kevin lives there. Haha. you can imagine, this week was full of rejection. However, when we were at our lowest point, just when we were about to give up, we made two great contacts, and they are potential investigators. What I learned from this experience, is that sometimes, we aren´t blessed with success until we first go through a trial. We need to experience hard times, in order to truly appreciate the good times.

Quote of the week
 ¨The only way to do great work is to love what you do¨-Steve Jobs

I love you all! Have a great week!

-Elder Vanderlinden

Monday, November 30, 2015

¡Hola! ¿Todo Tranqui?

I hope everyone had a great week! This week, I have been in my house...a lot. My companion has a kidney he can´t walk like more than ten this week I have been doing a lot of Personal Study. I am almost finished reading through the Book of Mormon. It has been an amazing experience. It has so many amazing stories and answers that I never even noticed before. We were able to leave the house a few times this week. One of them was to teach a lesson with a less active family. My companion wasn´t feeling very well, so he asked me to prepare the lesson. I decided to read some scriptures that I had been studying that morning. We went around the room reading Alma 32 16-28. When we read it, they all looked super happy, and almost a little bit surprised.. Then they explained that the scriptures we shared answered the questions that they had been praying about during the week. I was sooo happy, because I realized that my scripture study hadn´t been for me, it had been for them. Heavenly Father had answered their questions, through me, and I am extremely grateful for that. 

This week has also been full of some very funny experiences. We were visiting a less active member last week, and he offered us a drink. It was super hot outside, so we said yes. He pulled a large brown bottle out of his fridge, and poured us each a glass of what looked like extremely cold rootbeer. He left the room, and I grabbed my glass and took a huge gulp. It was the most disgusting drink....I think I have ever tasted......I was close to spitting it back out. In Uruguay, it is very rude if you don´t finish food, or drinks that people offer I knew I had to finish this horrible drink. He was still out of the room, and I didn´t want him to see how disgusted my face was, so I chugged the whole thing.....he returned, and sat down. ¨You must have liked the drink,” he said…seeing my glass was empty. Don´t worry, he said, its non-alcoholic...I just like the doesn´t have alcohol. I glanced at my companion........Long story short, not only is drinking beer against the work of wisdom, but it is disgusting. Enough said. The drink was called Malt...I have no clue what it is.

Also this week. I finally decided that it was time to cut my hair, so I explained to my companion instructions on how to do it. He took one pass with the clippers....and the clippers went up in smoke....SORRY MOM! I guess my adapter wasn´t working or something...but that was after he had cut one stripe out of the top of my head! So I was rocking the Miley Cyrus haircut for a day. Haha

I hope you all have a good week!
Elder Vanderlinden

¨All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them¨
-Walt Disney

Monday, November 23, 2015

3 Zones got together for some fun! I am in the very middle.

The soccer field and a cool sunset!

Hello 801!

This week has been crazy busy! I had a few intercambio´s, (Where I live with another missionary for a day). My companion for the day focused on trying to get me out of my comfort zone in nice of him......So, he would sit silently to force me to talk. We went to visit one of his progressing investigators that is going to be baptized, and I gave the spiritual thought and taught the lesson. It went super well, and it was a very spiritual experience. They must have liked me a lot, because the husband gave me a tie, the wife gave me an invitation to their baptism, and we left carrying a ton of food! 
Later in the week we were visiting a less active member, and we asked how his family was doing. He explained that his son plays soccer for the Uruguay national team, but pulled a muscle in his knee, and is going to need he can´t practice with the team right now.. Long story short, I gave my first blessing in Spanish to his son, the soccer player. I was super nervous to do it in Spanish, but during the blessing, I felt a overwhelming amount of peace. I am sooo grateful for the Holy Ghost, especially in times like that.

On a not spiritual side.... We organized a soccer game this week with some older teenagers. I have gotten a lot better at soccer since I have been here......but I totally got destroyed. Somebody watching probably would have thought that I had something wrong with me. South American´s are sooo good at soccer..

Also, I have another question for the people at home...Do people wear swimsuits for fun? Boys are always wearing swimsuits. Quicksilver swimsuits! And they aren´t the kind that you can pull off as shorts either.. I laugh to myself every time I see someone walking around in a swimsuit and crocs.Haha.
I love you all! Stay classy, don´t wear those things(:

Quote of the week
¨You must expect great things of yourself, before you can do them.¨
-Michael Jordan

Elder Vanderlinden

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ivan got baptized!
I finally got ice cream!

This week has been insane...I had 3 intercambio´s this week. A intercambio is where I go and live with another Elder in my zone for 1 day and 1 night. It is like a spiritual sleepover....haha. It was super fun, but also extremely tiring. One of the days, I was with the Finance manager for the mission, so I balanced the mission´s receipts and payments for a day. My accounting classes finally came in handy! 

This last Saturday I had my second Baptism!! The convert´s name is Ivan Gomez. He is 22 years old, and he used to play professional Rugby for the Uruguay national team. He is like 5´10, but seriously one of the most ripped guys I have ever met. When he shook my hand, he nearly broke it in half. Haha. He has been being taught for about a month now, and the gospel has completely changed his life. He was a pretty rough dude before. He has a few tattoos, he rides a motorcycle, and he had a pretty foul mouth. The gospel has literally changed his life. He is attending church every Sunday, reading the Book of Mormon, and he wants to get married to his girlfriend in the temple, and best of all, he wants to live with his future family forever. Man, this gospel is truly amazing. His conversion goes to show, that no matter how far off track you are, the gospel can always help you get back on track.

As for the baptism that we were supposed to have next week, it fell through.....The kid is named Benjamin Machado. His parents are divorced, and we reactivated him and his Dad. Unfortunately, he cannot be baptized, because his Mother won´t let him-. The parents are divorced, so she has half custody...I am super bummed about that, because he was really excited to be baptized. Hopefully he can convince his mother to change her mind. Other than that, the work is going great. It is extremely hard, but I am having an amazing time. I am trying to give my all. 

I figured I would tell you a few things about Uruguay that you probably did not know. First off, the people are extremely blunt. They call each other nicknames, that would be offensive any other place. For example, a Mother or Father would refer to their son or daughter as ¨This fat one¨. Or another example, is that we were describing a person to a member, and they asked if it was the fat short man that wears the little glasses.....accurate description...but kinda rude. Haha. I laugh to myself whenever I hear stuff like that. Also, it is custom to touch cheeks and kiss the air, or kiss the people on the cheek here. Everyone does it. The missionaries can do it with men, but not with girls. So when girls try to kiss us on the cheek, we shake their hand....I have had many awkward situations because of that....Or sometimes, I will hug a old man, and he will like half kiss my is that awkward.....Haha.

Anyways, here is my quote of this week. I put my quotes on my planner, and look at it all the time. I live by a different quote every week.

¨If opportunity doesn´t knock, build a door¨.-Milton Berle

Love you all,
Elder Vanderlinden

Monday, November 9, 2015

My first baptism! His name is Thadeo

My house
Hello everyone!
This week was extremely eventful. I had my first baptism! So our area reactivated the ¨Beron family¨ a little while ago, and one of their kids, Thadeo was baptized. We were allowed to baptize him, even with the strict rules, because his family was actively attending church. It was an incredible experience to be a part of. He was sooo happy after he came out of the water. This gospel truly brings a happiness that nothing else can.

The language is coming along pretty good! I figured out an equation for how much I understand....For every tooth that a person is missing...I understand 10 percent less of what they are saying. Most people...have like 10 I can´t understand them at all...but when they have close to the right amount of teeth, I can normally understand them.
Also, I have a question for everyone,  
Are Crocs coming back into style?
Crocs are huge here. Everyone wears all the time. They are under the impression that Crocs go with every outfit...Haha. If you feel like wearing PJ´s ...Crocs...If you feel like dressing up....wear a nice shirt...and...Crocs....If you feel like wearing normal street clothes....Crocs! Haha
Anyways, I am doing great! Elder Fonseca and I are being blessed with a lot of success right now. We have a baptism this Saturday, and the next. I am loving it! Talk to you guys next week!

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender...that is strength.¨
-Mahatma Gandhi

Oh yeah, send letters!!!!
Now that I am in the field, I would love to hear from all of you if you would like to write me. I love getting mail! If you want to send me a letter, it seems that going through the church’s pouch mail system is the best option.(Only 2-3 weeks) Here are the instructions for sending a letter through pouch mail:
You can only write on one side of a piece of paper and no envelope. You lay the letter blank side down. Fold the bottom of the letter about one-third of the way up the page and crease. Fold the top of the letter to the bottom of the first fold and crease. Secure the long side with two pieces of tape about one inch in from each end, but do not seal the ends. Write your name and complete return address in the top left corner. Affix first class postage in the top right corner. In the middle, write my name and address.

Elder Benjamin Vanderlinden
Uruguay Montevideo Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City, Utah 84130-0150

Monday, November 2, 2015

Me and my companion

Where I spend my free time
This week has been super busy, and it has been full of tons of awesome experiences. First, was that I had the opportunity to bear my testimony in church this Sunday. I had written down most of what I was going to say, so that I could practice it. When I speak Spanish, I am normally translating what I want to say in English, into Spanish. However, while I was bearing my testimony...I didn't. While I was talking I came to the realization that I was speaking Spanish, without translating it from English. I finished my testimony, and never even had to look at what I had written down...the gift of tongues is real! However..I think the gift only works with gospel related topics, because if someone asks me a question that isn't about the sounds like they are speaking Chinese. Haha

So here in Uruguay, the activity rate for members of the church is 10 percent....that is because a long time ago, the rules for baptism were not strict at all. Missionaries were baptizing hundreds of little kids, and now those kids are adults...and they don't go to church. Because of this, the rules for Baptism are super strict, and Uruguay is the hardest mission to get baptisms in, in South America. My companion and I have been super blessed so far, and we have 3 baptisms lined up for the next three weeks. We have the highest baptismal goal in the whole we have been working super hard. I will describe the investigators more, after their baptisms. That being said, I have my first baptism this Saturday! 

Also, I thought I would share a funny story from this week.So my companion and I were having lunch with a less active member, and the lunch was fantastic. The food was the best that I have had so far. As we were finishing, she said she had some cookies for us. The word for this is "Galletitas". Then, she proceeded to bring out something that looked like a large loaf of bread. I grabbed a piece, expecting it to be sweet, and sugary....but was bread. It was just normal bread. What an outrage. Haha. Then, the next night, we were at a members house, and she asked if we wanted cookies. We said yes, of course, and then she brought out a plate of crackers....plain crackers......Haha, The people of Uruguay throw around the word "Galletitas" like its nothing. Obviously they don't know what a cookie is. It is a disgrace. Haha

Love you all,
Elder Vanderlinden

"If you truly love life, don't waste time; because what life is made of"

-Bruce Lee

Monday, October 26, 2015

Me and my companion Elder Fonseca

Hello everyone!!
I am finally here in Uruguay! I am so glad to be here. The last week in Argentina...was interesting to say the least. I am going to miss Argentina...but not a ton. Haha. We went proselyting for one last time in Argentina....and two of the companionships got robbed at knife I wasn´t too sad to board the plane to Uruguay.

The schedule was pretty crazy...but I got here at about noon, got assigned a companion, dropped my luggage of at the house, and got to work. My companion´s name is Elder Fonseca. He is from San Paulo Brazil.....and he literally speaks no English. In fact, he speaks Portuguese, so I am not even sure if he speaks Spanish! That has been a little bit difficult. Haha. I am learning the language pretty quick though...because I have to in order to survive. We are in an area right now called Camino Carrasco. It is just outside of Montevideo. I was expecting there to be a ton of tall buildings....but there are actually a ton of small huts, and dirt roads.

Seeing the living conditions here has really made me grateful for all I have. Most houses are one or two rooms, with a small kitchen, a table of some sort, and normally a bed on the ground in the corner or something. The people typically only have a few pairs of clothes, which are normally spread around the house to dry. Our house is pretty much exactly like that. different than what I am used to living with...but I have everything I need! At church, most members are wearing the same clothes that they wore on their baptism day. With that said... please, be grateful for what you have!

As for the work. We have 6 possible baptisms-investigators, and one baptismal date set in stone. I will fill you in more on them next week, but I don´t have any time this week!

Love you all!!
-Elder Vanderlinden

Here are my quotes from the last two weeks:

¨If you can´t fly, then run, if you can´t run, then walk, if you can´t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.¨ -Martin Luther King Jr.

¨Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up¨ -Unknown

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hello!! I am glad to hear from all of you. I am here, in a internet cafe. I am here safe!!! I am in Uruguay Este. It is really close to the city. My companion`s name is Elder Fonseca. He is from Brazil, and doesn`t speak English. There is a language barrier for sure...Haha. The house we are in is super...interesting. It has made me appreciate my house at home a lot. Anyways, today isn`t our P-day…so I cannot respond to my e-mails until Monday. That is my new P-day. I will try to write a lot more then. I love all of you and miss you a lot!!! It is time for me to get to work! This was just an update, I can write again on Monday.

-Elder Vanderlinden

Thursday, October 15, 2015

These are my crazy Brazilian roomates!

The field is white and ready to harvest.......not quite how I pictured it.

Como están?
This is my last week in the MTC, so as of Tuesday I will be in Uruguay!!! I am so excited to finally be free of this prison. Haha. So this last Saturday we had our second chance to go proselyting. This time, we got dropped off in South Buenos Aires. Elder Taylor and I got assigned to a residential area. Unfortunately, it was during siesta. Everyone was off the streets, and all of the houses were locked up... So, after 5 hours of street contacting, we made 4 contacts. As you can imagine...we got rejected...a lot. You will not believe the length that people go to in order to avoid talking to us. It is actually pretty funny. People will run across the street, grab their kids and take them inside, or pretend to be busy, and speed walk past you. One lady even went to the extent of grabbing her cat, and running inside. I was like...¨What am I gonna do, baptize your cat?¨..Apparently that might be a legitimate fear here. Just kidding! Either way, here is the weird thing, after only 4 contacts, I was happy...In fact, I was thrilled. I was not concerned about the numbers, I was concerned about doing my best. I have been thinking about how that applies to everything...It isn´t important to think about the numbers, it is important that you try your best.....because if we do (In the words of Neill F. Marriott) ¨It will all work out!¨
Also, I have a funny story from proselyting. We were walking down a empty road, when a large siren started blaring. It grew louder and louder. Now, this wasn’t a normal car siren, it was super loud! It was a city wide alarm. So, initially, I suggested that I thought it might be a city wide earthquake alarm....or a warning for something. It sounded like a bomb was going to hit, and the siren still continued to blare. Next, two grown men sprinted past us running down the street, as if they were running away from something...Elder Taylor and I saw a boy step out of his car, so we ran up and asked him what was going on. He responded..¨Bomb eras Incendio¨...Then he quickly ran inside. Elder Taylor and I looked at each other stunned….."Incendiary Bombs???” we said as we stumbled out into the street. I kept glancing at the horizon, expecting to see planes begin to drop bombs on the city. ¨I wonder if a war has started?¨ Elder Taylor said, as we ran down the street. We decided to double check our suspicions by asking another woman.....And it turns out….Bomb-eras means firemen....The siren was calling all the firemen in the area.....We felt extremely stupid....because for 3 minutes...We thought the world was coming to a end...Hahahaha 

Love you all!
Elder Vanderlinden

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The View from my window
View of the neighbors

Hello everyone!

Another week down in Argentina! As I am sure all of you know, this week we were able to watch conference. Conference is like the Superbowl for missionaries...Haha. For the first time in my life, I listened to every session, and didn't fall asleep. How incredible is that! Conference was extremely spiritual and it was very motivational to all of us. However, it was also very sad...If anyone heard the talk that Jeffrey R. Holland gave...thats why. Elder Holland talked on the importance of women, and specifically, mothers. As you can guess...everyone started crying...Haha. Overall though, it was excellent. There were tons of amazing talks, such as Neill F. Marriott´s talk "It will all work out," and many others. They seemed to stress the importance of women, so I just wanted to say thank you to all the women who have influenced my life. Thank you to my friends, thank you to my relatives, and thank you to my mom.....Next, did anyone see President Monson’s talk? It was super scary when President Thomas S. Monson was finishing up his looked like he was going to drop...and I am sure glad he didn't.

Other than that, this week has been....extremely...boring...Haha. I don´t have any stories this week, but we are going proselyting this week, so I am sure I will have tons next week. To give you an example of how bored we have been….we calculated the speed of our classroom fan in MPH, on every setting...and I am getting extremely good at paper football..haha. Everyone here is getting a little anxious to get out in the field and get to work. 

I love you all!! Talk to you next week

"If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way."
-Nepolean Hill
Elder Vanderlinden

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Me and my companion Elder Taylor

Hello everyone!

This week has been an amazing experience for me. Last Saturday, all of the missionaries in my district hopped on a bus and drove about an hour away from the MTC. We drove through a main part of Buenos Aires. It is a very beautiful place, is definitely interesting. To describe the culture shock, I will give you a few experiences. There were horses standing between the barriers of the freeway, and there were kids playing soccer under the freeway overpass. The speed limit on the freeway is pretty much however fast anyone wants to drive, and nobody uses their blinkers. The motorcyclists fly between cars and get close enough to touch them...When we arrived to our area, the bus doors opened, and we were greeted by a large playground, where kids were running around laughing, and there was a small carnival going on. It looked like tons of fun and we were excited...but after the girl in our district got off the bus, they closed the doors and started driving to where the elders were getting dropped off.......haha.

Elder Taylor and I were in a very interesting area...Remember how I said we were directly next to the danger zone? How true that was... Haha. The streets were lined with abandoned houses and stray dogs. I even saw a dog standing on top of a destroyed house. Regardless of our circumstances, we got to work. We were able to contact quite a few people, get some contact information from a few people, and even pass out both of our Books of Mormon. Keep in mind, that this is after two weeks of Spanish. It was an exhausting day, but it was well worth it, because I felt good about what I was doing.

The day was also full of people turning us down, which I just laugh off. When I would ask people walking by how they were doing, they would say ´´no´´. Haha. I got so used to being turned down, that one time, I was caught off guard by someone accepting it. I said, “we are missionaries for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, would you like to hear our message?”After a few moments...she responded that she would. I was totally caught off guard...and I didn’t even have a message in mind to share with I just said quickly...Jesus loves you. We believe in the Book of Mormon....which led to another door getting closed in our faces....hahaha. At least I tried.
"The greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and we miss it, but that we aim too low and reach it!¨ -Michelangelo

That’s all I got! Love you all!
-Elder Vanderlinden

Ps. Feel free to write me a letter! I will be here at the CCM (MTC) for 3 more weeks and then I will receive mail at the mission home:) Here are both of those addresses.

MTC mailing address:
Elder Benjamin Vanderlinden
Uruguay Montevideo Mission
Argentina Missionary Training Center
Autopista Ricchieri y Puente 13
1778 Ciudad Evita. Partido De La Matanza
Buenos Aires

The mission:
Elder Benjamin Vanderlinden
Uruguay Montevideo Mission
Dalmiro Costa 4635 Bis
11400, Montevideo

Thursday, September 24, 2015

This is my district. From left to right. Elder Wells, Elder Yolkum, Elder Bowyer, Me, Elder Bess, Elder Taylor, Elder Neff, Elder Sarkayde, Elder Hayden, and Elder Call.

Hello everyone!!
This week has been full of crazy experiences. The older missionaries in the MTC left on Tuesday, so in the entire MTC, there were only like 20 people, when there is usually closer to 90. I was disappointed to see the older missionaries leave because I was really good friends with a few of them. On their last day in the MTC, they hid a bunch of alarm clocks in our room to go off at different times. They thought they were super clever, so we decided to prank them back. Our district ripped up a bunch of paper and put it in a bucket, and taped it to a clock. We hid the clock in their ceiling, so when it went off, they thought we were pulling the same prank on them...So one of the elders jumped up and yanked the clock out, pulling the bucket full of paper shreds over, and sending small papers all over their room. Haha...After that had happened, we thought we had won. Later that night, they came into the kitchen while we were writing in our journals, with ties wrapped around their heads...They passed down a holy scepter....*Which I think was a piece they broke off one of their room's blinds.. to a new missionary. They then made us all write down a number between 1-100. My companion wrote down the closest number to the one they had thought of, so his punishment, was getting bideted in the face. A bidet is a spray toilet....used to clean yourself after you go to the bathroom. My companion gets on my nerves sometimes, so it was nice to see toilet water sprayed in his face...hahaha. 

This week has been full of spiritual experiences. The classes are going great. I think I am starting to pick up the language pretty well...Although I probably have the vocabulary of a 8 year old..haha. What is a day like at the MTC?  Wake up at 6:30 every morning....clean the kitchen, and then get dressed in our church clothes for breakfast at 7. Next, we have 1 hour of language study, 3 hours of classes. We eat lunch at noon, and then have another hour of class. At 1 we have physical activity. At 3:30 we have more classes until dinner. Then after dinner we have classes until we go to sleep at 10:30…..It is a super exhausting schedule. 

We went to the temple today in Spanish for a second time, and that is an amazing experience...Other than that...we have just been teaching practice lessons like every single day. Anyways, this Saturday we have the unique opportunity to practice our Spanish by driving to a area and proselyting for the day. They must have a lot of faith in my companion and I, because our zone is right next to the danger zone. The danger zone is marked off, because people have been known to get mugged and robbed pray for me! haha. I hope everything is going well in Utah! I love you all!

Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week
Do you want to be happy? Forget yourself and get lost in this great cause. -Spencer W. Kimball

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I am here in Argentina! I am alive! haha. The flight was super crazy! There were 5 other missionaries that left Utah with me, and when we reached the Atlanta airport we met up with 6 other missionaries. We then had a overnight flight and landed in Argentina at 9 A.M. As we walked through customs and baggage claim, tons of people were trying to ask us questions, and yelling things that we needed to do.....and I just stared at all of them....and did not say a word. The MTC here is pretty nice. There are about 30 american missionaries and 40 Latinos. Immediately we started attending classes and studying the language. My companions name is Elder Taylor. He is from Kaysville. He is the district leader, and so he is super strict on the rules....It has been interesting to work with him....I can't say that much about him..because he is practically reading over my shoulder...but lets just say we have very different ways of doing....everything...Anyways.On our second day in the MTC Elder Taylor and I had to teach a practice lesson to a pretend investigator. The lesson is called a IP. We had to do it in all Spanish....It was extremely difficult because we wanted to say a bunch of stuff, but we couldn't, and whenever the investigator would ask us a question....we didn't know what the question was or how to respond..haha. I have had tons of funny experiences this week, along with a ton of spiritual experiences.
Spiritual///Every single day, we have a devotional, and there was one that stuck out to me in particular. We talked a lot about life, and there were a ton of great quotes. I am going to share a little bit about what I learned. The race of life is not a 100 meter dash. We are running a long distance race. Each of us have different ways to run the race. Sometimes the race is easy, and sometimes its very difficult. At some point...we will long would it take you to get up? Have faith, and endure to the end.I know that my mission will be full of ups and downs, but I didn't come on a mission to start a race, I came to finish it.
Funny/// So this week in class we were asked to show pictures of our family and tell a story about them in all Spanish. We all proceeded to attempt to tell a story about our families to the class and show pictures. We got down to the last missionary, whose name is Elder Bowyer. He has a super serious girlfriend back home, and he is completely convinced that they are going to get married. Anyways, he walked up to the front of the class, and opened his book. As he was starting he yelled....Es Mi Novia! which means "Its my girlfriend". It was filled with pictures of him and his girlfriend kissing and stuff...and you should have seen the look on our teachers face. We all busted out laughing, and he flipped through page after page of pictures of his girlfriend. The teacher asked where the pictures of his family were...and it turns out...he didn't bring any. She got upset with him and said he was supposed to bring pictures of his family...He then tried to get out of getting in trouble by explaining that she was going to be his family...In two years. Another quick story is that the two strongest elders in the MTC, who are both wrestler, decided they were going to wrestle on the lawn. Everyone was watching them, including all the girls, and one of the elders python squeezed a very loud....fart...out of the other elder...It was insanely awkward...and everyone was silent for like a minute, and then we all just starting laughing until we were crying.  Haha. Anyways, there have been tons of funny moments, but its hard describing them because sometimes there are just things you have to be here to see.

The language is starting to come along. I try to talk to the locals a lot, but they speak super fast. There are lessons where I will understand every word, and others where I understand none of them...Learning the language is going to be difficult, but I am supposed to be here.

Every weakness you have is an opportunity for God to show His strength in your life.
Love you all,
Elder Vanderlinden

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I am here! I am alive! The plane ride was super long..but it was ok because there were like 10 other elders flying with me. I only have like two minutes to write you guys this week, but I just wanted to tell you I am here, I am happy, and I am ready to serve a mission! Let the fun begin! I will try to include pics after the first week! Love you!
-Elder Vanderlinden
I will be here six weeks. The MTC mailing address is:

Elder Benjamin M Vanderlinden
Uruguay Montevideo Mission
Argentina Missionary Training Center
Autopista Ricchieri y Puente 13
1778 Ciudad Evita, Partido De La Matanza
Buenos Aires