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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