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Monday, July 17, 2017

Did I mention that we had to ride the bus to Montevideo.....again?

At least we had a good view.

A Montevideo otra vez.

Ooopa Che! (the couch)
This past week was great despite the fact that Elder Cabrera and I had to travel to the city again. Luckily, the next time I have to make that trip will be my last. He had to go sign some documents, so I pretty much just had to wait around all day. 

This week we were able to find some new people to teach which was awesome. Also, to end off the week we decided to head out to a village that is pretty far away. There is a ward over there with about 5-10 active members. We went out there to see if we could help them out a little bit. There are only a couple of buses that head out there, so we made the decision to stay until the last bus, that would pass by right before the end of the day. It was kind of an interesting decision to stay until later, considering that we didn’t know where we were...but we decided to stay. We felt like there was something there that we needed to do. We roamed around and talked with people and we were able to serve a few people. Late in the night, we found a little old lady that was sooo happy with our visit. When we walked in the door I saw a picture frame of the First Presidency hung on her wall. She said she never would have imagined that the missionaries would pass by to visit her. (They took out the Elders from that village a while ago.) She was thrilled by our visit! I am glad that the Lord was able to use us to cheer her up.
Y si?

I am doing great! I hope that you all have  a great week!
-Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week: "What we do and don’t do really matters because actions have consequences as does inaction." -Elder L. Whitney Clayton

Monday, July 10, 2017

Our recent convert, Andres
My new area
¡Pasamos demasiado tiempo en el omnibus!

Hey everyone how are you all doing?
This last week was great. I really like my new area. It is out in the countryside. Everyone here is super laid back, and compared to the city where I used to work it seems like everyone here is living their life in slow-motion. Haha. Everyone walks down the street slowly. People drive their cars slowly. There is no rush to go anywhere to do anything! Haha. It is awesome. It is also really safe here. Everyone leaves their doors open even when they aren’t in their houses. The other day we knocked a door and it swung open but nobody was home. There are also a lot of cowboys here. It is funny to see someone dressed up like they are from a wild wild west movie walking around in a super market. "This supermarket ain’t big enough for the both of us.”

Elder Cabrera and I are getting along and we are working well. When I got here we finished up the lessons of one of our investigators, and we baptized him this last weekend! His name is Andres and he is really cool. We are working with quite a few other people so I am really excited for what happens this last change!
See you all soon!

-Elder Vanderlinden

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Missionaries on Sunday
Missionaries on p-day

¡Me voy a 33!
Happy 4th of July!!!! AMERICA!!!!!
My companion and I decided to celebrate the 4th of July by making some awesome steaks, some amazing mashed potatoes and some stuffed grilled bell peppers. It was amazing! 

Changes got here, and I am headed out! It looks like I will be spending my last weeks in a place called Olimar, 33. It is really far away and there are a lot of gauchos (Cowboys) out there. So it looks like I will be teaching to the people out in the countryside. I am excited! It will be a huge change from where I am at right now, because I am currently in the city and I am headed very far away from the city. I had no clue that I would be changing areas for my last change, but I am sure that the Lord has something there for me to do. I will be living with only Latinos, so hopefully I can come home with my Spanish in tip top condition. I don’t know how well my English is going to be though.

I am doing great. Time is flying by super quickly. I don’t have much time to write today because I have to get back to the house and start packing. This last week Elder Childs and I have been working really hard. We were able to learn "Long suffering"....Looonnngg Suffering!Hahaha. This last week really helped me develop more patience and endurance. I am grateful for the gospel in my life and I hope all of you are also! 

-Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week: “The most effective missionaries always act out of love” -Dallin H. Oaks

Monday, June 26, 2017

Visiting Old town Montevideo

Playing a little basketball for p-day. President Eddy's son joined in.
It has been a very interesting winter week down here in Uruguay. It was freezing just a few days ago, and then today it was really warm outside. One day I walk out with a scarf and gloves, and the next day I get a sunburn with a short sleeve shirt on! It is crazy! 
This last week I went down to Ciudad Vieja and I became a legal resident in Uruguay! That makes me wonder what I have been for the past 21 months. Haha

Elder Childs and I are doing great. We are working hard. This last week we had a few exchanges with some of the other missionaries in the zone. I went with one of my good friends Elder Manzanares and we had a great time. We found lots of promising people and the lessons we were able to have went really well. Everything seemed to work out, and it was a great opportunity to work with a good friend of mine. We have been in the same zone for like 7 months now, and that was the first time that we had worked together.

On Sunday night, we had an activity called “This is why I believe” where the recent converts got to share their testimonies and their conversion stories. It was awesome to see how the Lord was preparing those people to be baptized and helping them get where they are. One of the converts that spoke had been baptized on Saturday and then confirmed on the Sunday of the activity. He did great! Haha. Talk about hitting the ground running.

I am having a blast! I hope that you all have a great week!
-Elder Vanderlinden
MVD Uruguay

Quote of the week: “I´ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I´ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s why I succeed.”-Michael Jordan

Monday, June 19, 2017

An older photo with some of my pals!
¡Perseverar hasta el fin!

This last week was very cold.... I don’t know if I can explain with words how cold a humid cold feels. The wind chills you to the soul. Haha. This last week was also rainy, which made things a little bit difficult. My companion and I couldn’t help but laugh as we walked around in the pouring rain without umbrellas. Let’s just say that the ¨Water-proof¨ jacket from Mr. Mac is NOT waterproof. In fact, I am pretty convinced that it is “water absorbent.” Haha

My companion and I are doing well and we are working hard. We had a lot of let downs this week and lesson after lesson kept falling through. I was trying to understand what  Heavenly Father was trying to teach us. We felt guided and prompted to knock doors of people that would reject us, so we were walking around kind of confused. On Sunday we were both disappointed to see that our investigators didn’t show up to church. As I was sitting in sacrament, I was trying to think about what lesson I was supposed to learn from such a challenging week and then one of our investigators sat down next to me. I was pretty stunned. I feel like the lesson I was supposed to learn this last week was patience. I am glad that our Heavenly Father is always willing to teach us, as long as we are willing to learn. The investigator loved church and wants to come back next week. 

I hope you are all doing well! Have a good week!
-Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week: ¨The surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed.¨ -Richard B. Sheridan

Monday, June 12, 2017

Living the good life!

Re piola!
This last week flew by in the blink of an eye. It was full of ups and downs. We were able to find a few new promising people, but we had to let go a few people that weren’t progressing. We had one day in specific where almost all of our charlas fell through. We were trying to keep our hopes up and we decided to knock on one last door and make one last effort to end off the night. We found a very bitter man who didn’t want ANYTHING to do with us, and he made sure we knew it. I shared my testimony with him, politely and patiently thanked him for his time, and left. That experience made me think a lot. It made me grateful for the testimony of the gospel that I have, because I am constantly reminded of how a life without the knowledge of the gospel would be. 

Another thing that happened this last week is that we started a contact with a 19 year old kid who was really nice. He explained that his family is from Brazil and he wants to move back there to play professional soccer. We started talking with him about religion and we started to explain the Book of Mormon. I pulled out my Book of Mormon to show him a copy of the Book. I was shocked to see that I was holding a Portuguese Book of Mormon. I hadn’t even noticed that I wasn’t carrying a Spanish one. It seemed like it was meant just for him and his family. It was a very cool experience! He gratefully accepted the copy and took it home with him.

Have a great week everyone!
-Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week:
"If you’re going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now.”


Monday, June 5, 2017

Leadership Meeting

“Another grand week in the Uruguay Montevideo Mission” 
-Old mission Slogan

Así es la vida!
This past week was pretty eventful. On Wednesday I had to travel to Old town Montevideo to get my citizenship papers figured out. It took quite a while, so while we were waiting for everyone to finish up I was able to take a stroll around some of the most beautiful parts of the city with a few other missionaries. There are many old and historic buildings that have interesting statues or designs on the outside, and the government made it illegal to destroy the look of the outside of the buildings. The owners are allowed to make the inside brand new, but they aren’t allowed to change the outside, only restore it. That has helped preserved the old town feel of the city which is actually pretty neat.

Elder Childs and I were able to find a lot of new investigators this last week which really helped us fill up our teaching pool more. We had a multi-zone conference on Thursday and we are trying to apply what we are learning to see the results in our area. This past week I was able to teach a lot about the Book of Mormon and the importance of the Book of Mormon in my life. President Eddy asked us to think of all of the things we know thanks to the Book of Mormon, and then for a minute, forget about all of them. As I thought about everything I would not know, and everything I would lose without the Book of Mormon, I came to realize all of the blessings that I have in my life thanks to the Book of Mormon, and how much it has changed the person that I am.
I am truly grateful for the Book of Mormon and the clear and precious truths that it teaches me. I know it is true!

Have a good week everyone!
-Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week: 
The past is behind, learn from it.
The future is ahead, prepare for it
The present is here, live it

-Thomas S. Monson

Monday, May 29, 2017

Our zone conference was right by the temple!
Say hello to Elder Childs.

Ooopa Che!

Changes! My new companion Elder Childs is finally here and we hit the ground running. We are talking with a lot of people, and we are finding some quality futures. It is interesting to see to what extent people will go to in order to not have to talk to us. Sometimes you will see elderly people sprint to get into their houses and we quickly clap in front of their house before they can get inside. Haha. This week Elder Childs and I made a contact with a woman who initially wouldn’t even shake our hands. We tried to make small talk and then we just started sharing our message even though it didn’t really seem like she was listening. It was interesting to see how she started to change and her heart softened. I am glad that the Spirit has the power to soften peoples hearts, because it is a huge help! 

Today we had a zone activity and we played soccer with the zone. There is a Elder from Peru who played semi-professional soccer before the mission. It was interesting to see him wreck everyone in his black church shoes. Haha. It was awesome! I am really excited for the zone this next change. We set some huge zone goals and I believe we have the faith and work ethic to achieve them! Big things are happening here in Uruguay, and I am sure glad to be a part of it. I am doing great! Have a great week!

-Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week: "Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you're right." -Henry Ford

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What a busy week!!
This week was really special. It was Elder Peterson’s last week in the mission, and we both felt an urgency to work and testify. As soon as we left the house last Monday night, I could feel that the week was going to be different. It was as if there was electricity in the air. On Monday alone we were blessed to be able to find 10 new investigators!!! This is pretty unheard of. We gave it all we had and it paid off!

During the week we also were blessed by the visit of Elder Packer from the Quorum of the 70. President asked me to conduct the meeting. I felt pretty special sitting up on the stand with such powerful men.

Changes got here last night and it looks like I will be staying here in Belloni! My new companion’s name is Elder Childs. I am excited to show him the ropes, and to work hard!

Story-There is a store called TaTa where we almost always go to buy our food and stuff. After passing by the store so many times, we have gotten to know the people that work there pretty well. When we go we normally pass by right before they are closing, so the workers are generally more talkative. Lately they have been asking us questions about what we are doing and why we are here. My companion and I have been able to share gospel principles with them and we even stayed to teach them for a little while. Long story short, two of the workers have Books of Mormon with our testimonies written in them and are reading what we marked for them! Haha. I don’t know if they will ever progress, but it was still a fun opportunity to share something so special with them. Now we are the super stars of TaTa. They treat us like royalty. Haha

I am doing good, and having fun! Love you all!
-Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week:
“Kneel down to pray. Step up to serve. Reach out to rescue. Each is a vital page of God’s blueprint to make a house a home and a home a heaven.”—President Thomas S. Monson, “Heavenly Homes, Forever Families”

Monday, May 15, 2017

Having another asado!

It's sorta hard to see, but yes, those are just a couple of horses hanging out in front of the church.  

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Mothers day! I loved talking with my family, and it made me happy to be able to see their faces. 

This past week has been good here in Belloni. We are working hard to talk with lots of people. Last night a couple of people approached us in the street at started to talk to us. The people almost never approach us, so I thought something was a little fishy. We asked the man who had started talking with us if we could walk to his house. He accepted, and we walked to his house and sat down with him in front of his house to teach him. After we started talking to him we quickly found out that he was crazy. Haha. I don’t want that to sound mean or anything, but he really was crazy. Various people that were walking by in the street stopped while they were walking by and just stared at us talking with this man. It was a really odd situation. This guy was just saying a bunch of weird things and the people watching were probably like, “Look the crazy guy is talking to the missionaries.” Oh! I almost forgot to mention! There was a crazy girl there also who kept on staring at my companion and kept trying to touch his knee, and then was like, "I am pregnant"...and the crazy guy was like, "Congratulations!" Then they started holding hands and cuddling....and it turns out they were cousins…..

This week we also had a huge ward activity with all of the priesthood leaders in the ward. There are two people in the ward that work in the cooking business, so they made some awesome food for everyone. Then we had a serious ping pong game and it was tons of fun. The people here are surprisingly good at ping pong. 

Other than that we had to do some traveling to old town Montevideo to get some paperwork done. It was a fun trip. 

I hope you are all doing well!

-Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week: "If you worry about yesterday’s failures, then today’s successes will be few.” -?

Monday, May 8, 2017

This is my Zone

¿Que te iba a decir?
This week was pretty solid. We had an interview conference and it was awesome. It is always a privilege to listen to President Eddy and to hear what he has been influenced to speak to us on. I enjoy having a mission President that works so closely with us.

This week passed by really quickly. I went on a change with Elder Richmond, and it was fun to work with him because he has been a friend of mine since nearly the beginning of my mission. We visited a family that he is currently teaching. It always makes me grateful for what I have when I see people that are living in such humble circumstances. I like to hope that the mission has taught me to be more grateful for what I have, and to make the best out of it. 

Funny story: A little while ago we went to visit a man named Miguel. He offered to say the closing prayer. He said it in a very quiet voice. We could just kind of hear him mumbling a few words. It was really hard to hear what he was saying and then out of nowhere he just stopped talking....We waited in silence for him to continue for like 30 seconds...Then I started peeking to see what was happening, and he was just sitting there...and his eyes were slightly I just assumed he was feeling the spirit and having a special moment. I closed my eyes and waited, and after like 30 more seconds, I opened up my eyes again. My companion opened up his eyes also and we were just staring at Miguel waiting for him to talk. He was staring off in the distance and then he looked at us and said, “I am sorry if you didn’t like my prayer because it was so short.” We then realized that he had said,  "Amen," and ended his prayer, but we hadn`t heard him and had just been sitting there with our eyes closed. We had a good laugh about that. 

I am doing great down here. I have been eating a lot of yummy food lately. My companion wants to learn how to make some local dishes before he goes home, so some members are showing us how to cook! 
I hope that you all are doing well!
The church is true!
-Elder Vanderlinden

"Good things come to those who wait, but better things come to those who go out and get them."