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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

This little guy is a Carpincho!

These are my Zone Leaders and some of my best friends!
Elder  Mitchell (left) Elder Rapella (Right)

Changes! Tomorrow I am getting a new companion. His name is Elder Santa Cruz, and he is from Chile. That's pretty much all that I know about him. Haha. I am going to stay here in my area, which is good, because I really like it here, and I think it has a lot of potential for success. My companion Elder Leaño is leaving, because he got called to be zone leader in another area of the mission. It has been a few difficult weeks with Elder Leaño, but I have learned a lot, and he has helped me grow a lot.

So, this last week was Easter. The church came out with a video for Easter, and I loved sharing it with everyone. I enjoyed focusing my studying more on the life of Jesus Christ, and the grand sacrifice that he made for each and everyone of us. The Atonement is a perfect part of the plan of happiness, and it can change our lives if we choose to apply it. 

 This week we had a ward movie night, and we showed ¨The Life of Christ¨ and made popcorn for everyone. It turned out great, and a decent amount of people showed up. I don´t know why, but nobody else knew how to make popcorn in a pot except me, so I was the popcorn chef for the night. I have never made so much popcorn in my life.

Anyways, to sum up this week, it was super good, but man...was it busy. I am really enjoying the missionary work. Sometimes, it gets hard, really hard...but I like to think that every time it gets hard, the Lord is testing me, to see if I am ready, to find the people that he has prepared. He already knows where the people that want to get baptized live.... and he knows where the people that are going to slam the door in my face live. So sometimes I wonder...¨Why doesn´t he just tell me, why doesn´t he help me find where they live? But then I remember, that he is testing me, to see if I am worthy, to see if I am willing to go to extra mile, knock on an extra door. When it gets hard, I remember this quote from one of Elder Holland talks. He says, “It is never easy for us, because it was NEVER, easy for him.” 
I hope you all have a good week. I love you all, and thanks for your support! 
Happy Easter, 
-Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week- “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him”--David Brinkley 

Monday, March 21, 2016

This food is called Bauru!
Hello everyone,

I hope that you are all doing well. This week was so busy!  To start off, we had a multi-zone conference in a place called 33. On Thursday, we woke up super early and headed to the Stake Center to meet up with the other missionaries. Then we climbed into a 16 passenger van, and set off. The drive...was....uncomfortable. Haha. We were flying up and down huge dirt hills, and I felt like I was on a roller coaster. It was fun...for about 15 minutes. The next hour and a half was pretty rough, and when we arrived, everyone jumped out of the van as quick as they could. The conference went great, and I learned a lot. During one of our teaching practices, President Cook decided to listen in on my companion and I teaching. He gave us some really good advice on how we could improve, and it helped a lot.

Also this week. My companion and I were walking when it started to sprinkle. We got our umbrellas, and set off. Then it started to pour.....super hard. The streets turned into rivers and there was water everywhere. While we were wading through the water, my companion told me a story about his Dad, and that in his mission, it started raining super hard, and when they knocked on their investigators door, the investigator said that she wanted to be baptized, because anyone that is crazy enough to walk around in that weather must have an important message. As you can guess, this hyped both of us up, and we hurried to the home of one of our investigators. His road was made of dirt...and it was completely flooded, like a river. We ran through the water, and knocked on his door. He came out, and asked us what we were doing. He had to yell it, because it was raining so hard, and it was super noisy. We explained that we passed by to talk to him, and see how he was doing. We waited anxiously for his response....then he yelled ¨You can´t come in....and DON’T COME BACK!” …definitely not the response we were expecting. Haha. My companion and I took off up the road, trying to run up the river and mud. We were both laughing super hard, and then we made it to the paved road. That is when...we started to smell bad...really bad. It turns out, that the reason the water was soo dirty on this particular because some of it was rain water...and the other part was sewage water. What an experience! Every time that I have an experience like that, I know that the Lord is testing me, to see if I am humble and patient enough to find the people that are ready. I am learning something very important and that is… There is a difference between going on a mission, and serving a mission. 

Have a great week everyone!
-Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week ¨Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events in motion that affect someone´s life for eternity.¨ 
-Pres. Uchtdorf, April 2011

Monday, March 14, 2016

I teach an English class on Saturdays.

6 Months!!!
It is crazy to think that I already hit 6 months in my mission. Thinking back on everything that has has definitely been the busiest 6 months of my life, but honestly, I love it!

This week...I am pretty sure my companion and I found every ¨Hater¨ of the church that lives in Uruguay. Haha. To say we were rejected a lot, would be a understatement. Everyone was looking to argue with us, and tell us why they thought that the church wasn´t true. However; every time that someone rejected us, I left with a stronger testimony. It was an amazing opportunity, to share my testimony of the truth. My companion and I would boldly testify of something that we know to be true....and then they would go off on some crazy rant, and completely disregard what we had just said. Every-time that we walked away, I wasn´t disappointed, I wasn´t sad, I didn´t feel bad for myself...In fact, I walked away happy, and proud to be a member of this church.

So this week, my companion and I had to teach the law of chastity to one of our investigators....The law of chastity, has to be one of the most awkward lessons for two 18 year old boys to teach to a 50 year old man. My companion tried to compare the law of chastity to a delicious sandwich.....The example that he used, was so dumb...and I wanted to laugh sooo bad. I bit my tongue, and tried to think of sad thoughts, to avoid laughing during this serious moment....but my companion continued with this super dumb example, and then he turned to me to give me a opportunity to speak. At this point, I was biting my entire lip, smiling, trying super hard not to laugh. They were both staring at me for a few seconds, and there was a really awkward silence. Then the investigator just started giggling, and I just turned the teaching back to my companion, without saying a word. Haha. It was probably one of the most awkward lesson of my mission. 

Also this week, I went to Rio Branco on the border of Brazil, to help some of the missionaries with their area. It was super cool to travel, and to see what their area is like. It is amazing to see how the gospel affects every part of the world.

Have a great week everyone!

¨Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out."
-John Wooden

¿Ete....como es?
-Elder Vanderlinden

Monday, March 7, 2016

This food is called Fideos con Tuco...and as you can tell, it get's pretty old.
There are dogs everywhere!

¡Hoy, Fui a Brazil!
Hello everyone! This morning my companion and I went to Brazil! We took a short bus and went to all of the Brazilian shops. They sell tons of weird fruits and candy, for really cheap. It was super fun! However, when I went to buy all of my stuff, the lady at the counter started speaking to me in Portuguese.....I didn´t understand her at all......She realized that I could´t speak Portuguese, so she called over another worker, who then tried to talk to me in Spanish...However...His Spanish was super I just stood there.....and just started nodding my head....After a little while of awkwardness...they angrily rang up my stuff and sent me on my way. Haha. Maybe the gift of tongues only applies in gospel related situations. 

Anyways, this week was super good. I love my new area so far. The ward is really receptive, and there are a decent amount of people. Last week at church we had around 100 people. When I closed my eyes, for a second it almost felt like I was in an American ward. In Uruguay, 100 people in church is fantastic. Most wards have around 30-50 people, and there are a handful of smaller wards and stakes, where the church services are held in a small house or room. Those services, as you can imagine, only have about 10-20 members. Since we are so far away from the city, our area contains a Pueblito, a super small village, that has one family of church members. They travel to our church, every Sunday.

The area is progressing very well, and my companion and I are working really hard to find some new investigators. Right now, we have one investigator, with a Baptismal date on the 26th, but for now, that is just a goal. We are extremely hopeful that we will be able to find some more people this week. However, for now, we are visiting a lot of less actives....I had a chance to glance at the ward records...and there are 1500 listed members.........the church attendance is 100....... Stay strong folks! Haha

 Have a great week!
-Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week: "What seems as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise."