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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