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Monday, March 27, 2017

It's always nice when we share packages from home!

Nos dormimos en el Ómnibus!

This last week I spent a decent amount of time in a bus. The buses here are crazy! This is how I would describe a bus ride.... you have to push and smash your way through waves of people in a hot metal box that bounces up and down and stops suddenly. It is like an amusement ride...but it isn't amusing. Haha! The upside is that my upper body is getting pretty strong, because I have to hold on for dear life every time the bus driver slams on his brakes. Haha.

Speaking of the bus, this week my companion and I had to travel to give a baptismal interview. It was a hot day and miracuously there were two seats open at the back of the bus. We sat down and we were both really closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep. Then, I whipped out of my dream and realized that the bus driver was yelling something at us. He was yelling "Hey! Kids in white shirts! You didn`t pay a ticket to go this far!" We looked at each other and then looked out the window and saw a welcome sign that said “Sauce.” Neither of us had been to Sauce that was quite an adventure. Unfortunately, we had over shot our a long we had to take a long return bus. Haha.

On the bus ride home from the interview, I sat down by a 20-year-old kid that was from the military. I was pretty tired, but I decided to try to talk to him anyways. We made some small talk, and then he started to ask me about our church and religious beliefs. It turns out that he was a very religious man, and that we shared a lot of common beliefs. It was an incredible opportunity to be able to share my testimony with him one to one and explain the Book of Mormon and how it can bless him in his life. I gave him a Book of Mormon and told him I would give it to him, as long as he would read it. He was shocked that I would give him a book, and he promised that he would read it, and would contact me as soon as he finished it. It was awesome to see that before I had even got off of the bus, he was already opening up the book.

I am doing great. My companion and I are working well together! We are finding some people that are truly prepared to hear the gospel! I know that the Lord is always preparing people, and I am truly blessed to work for him!

I hope that you all have a great week! I hope you all enjoy Conference weekend! I am extremely excited! 
-Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week: "The rescue is an invitation for people to rekindle the flame of faith, to again recall what brought them to their initial testimony." Elder Bednar

Monday, March 20, 2017

The soldiers in one of my more "risky" areas. They patrol to keep everything under control.

Look what we came across.....Haha.
Me encanta ver el templo
Hey! How is everyone in the 801?
I am doing great down here in the.....291.
This week we went to the temple and it was a great experience. I have grown to love and appreciate temples more than ever. I think only being able to go every 6 months as a missionary has made me miss it a lot. 
Anyways, this week was full of miracles. We were able to find some people that are truly prepared to receive the gospel in their lives. One of these people is named Marcia. We found her house when we were knocking doors looking for a less active member. We knocked 2 times, and waited a little while, but nobody came out, so my comp started walking away. I don`t really know why, but I just stayed in the doorway, and sure enough, Marcia came out of her house and started to talk to us. We had a lesson with her and we explained the message of the Restoration. Then, we invited her to be baptized. There was a long silent pause, and I could tell that the Spirit was working on her heart. She accepted the baptismal invitation, and said that she felt a burning inside of her heart, and felt joy.
It was an amazing experience. What was even more amazing, is that we left the house early on Sunday, to go pass near her house and walk to church with her. She was walking in the street, with her kids and her grandkids. She brought her 3 kids, and one of her kids brought her boyfriend and their 2 kids. The boyfriend mentioned he was thinking about getting married, and that he wanted to get baptized. It is hard enough to get one person to go to church, so my companion and I were thrilled to have 7 investigators in the church! What a miracle!

I could tell you guys about so many more blessings that my companion and I are seeing, but I honestly wouldn`t have time. I know that the Lord is preparing people who are ready to receive the gospel. Sometimes it isn`t the people we are looking is their neighbors, or relatives, but he is always preparing his sons and daughters with a way to return to him. It is our job to find them!

I am doing great! 
-Elder Vanderlinden

Knowledge is gained by obedience.

-Bruce R. McConkie

Monday, March 13, 2017

Our Church! Not too shabby.
It's too dangerous to take our camera out on the streets,
so we will just take photos at the church. Haha
This last photo is videos con taco...or pasta with sauce. I tried to take it in a way that you could see just how much oil they use. Even this photo doesn't do it justice.

Casate vos. 
This week went by really quick....
We have been working a lot to help people get married. That is a huge battle in this country, because the legal marriage process takes a decent amount of time....and most people aren’t willing to even leave their houses for "a piece of paper that says they are married.” We normally explain to them the weight of the sin they are committing, and then they are like "Oh man! I am a sinner! I need to get married right now! My salvation is at stake!"....and then they just sit in their houses and forget about it. It is a time consuming process. Haha. However, Elder Peterson and I are working with some good investigators who just need to get married, and then they are ready to jump into the water.

This week we were visiting a member, and we were talking about the mission work and then he interrupted us and was like "I don`t know why, but I am going to give you guys the reference of a complete family that I love, and I think could receive the gospel."....he totally took us by surprise, and my comp and I stared at each other in shock, because the whole mission and ward members had dedicated a fast to find people that were ready to receive the gospel.  Just that morning my comp and I were saying that one of the goals we had was to find a complete family. We asked him why he felt like he needed to give us the reference, and he said. "I just felt like I had to do it."  So we are excited to see what happens.
Also this week Elder Peterson and I were in charge of the Zone training, and it went really well. It was a great opportunity to learn together as a group.
I am doing great! I hope you all have a good week.

-Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week:  “When you drink water, don`t forget the well where it came from." -Chinese Proverb

Monday, March 6, 2017

Eating some greasy food! Haha

Saying goodbye to Jorge and Yolanda

Si ve mis cosas en la feria, compre los.

Wow, what a week! Elder Peterson and I have had a very solid week here in Belloni. I am really enjoying getting to know the area and all of the members. This week we found this side street that lead to a little village. While we were waiting at a man’s door, a little girl came out and asked us, "Do you guys talk about God? Cause I like that sort of stuff. Can you guys come talk to me?” Her name is Jasmin, and she is 9 years old, and she is quite possibly, the most mature 9 year old that I have ever met. She had already read to Acts in the New Testament......whaaatt? Her friends came over and asked her to play, but she turned them down and was like "Guys, can't you see I am busy? I will come and play after we are done talking." Haha. She is extremely loving. She gave us a photo in a picture frame of Jesus and she also showed us a children's book form the Jehovah's Witnesses....We gave here a book of Mormon to trade. My heart almost broke when she explained to us that her neighbor friend doesn’t have food to eat... and sometimes her Mom gets really mad at Jasmin loans her extra mattress and lets her friend sleep at her house, and then lets her eat with her, or gives her food, or some money to buy food. I think that she is a great example of the pure love of Christ. Someone with nothing, sharing with someone that has even less.

On a less Spiritual side, Elder Peterson and I were teaching this dude, and he was totally looking for an argument. We tried to be patient, and answer his questions, but it got to a point where we were so tired that Elder Peterson looked up a scripture and I looked one up, and we read them back to back, and it totally put him in his place. In the words of my comp. "We wrecked him.” He was pretty shocked and he wasn't really sure what to say. I don’t think he is going to try to argue with us anytime soon. To be honest we kind of regretted being so direct with him, but in the end it looks like it might have been just what he needed to start to progress. 

I am doing great, and I am really enjoying my new area. We have found a few new investigators already and we have a couple that is planning on getting married and then baptized, who came to church! So the work is moving along great! 
Have a great week everyone!
-Elder Vanderlinden

Quote of the week:
 "You just have to be as good as you can be and God will magnify you and make you more than you could ever become. The Holy Ghost will operate through us in spite of our limitations." - Elder Bednar