Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Lost, Tired, and Happy

I survived!!!

Not only did I survive, but this has truly been my most enjoyable week on the mission. I've never been so lost, never been so overwhelmed and never been so stressed on the mission, but I've also never grown and learned so much. Elder C and I are 100% different people but I think we compliment each other as well. This week I decided I wanted to just give everything I had to serve as a precedent for the many months in the future in which I'll be serving as Senior companion in the mission. Everyday I came home absolutely spent, but everyday I came home knowing we had done everything possible that day to further the Lord's work in Galvarino 1. 

The two brothers that were going to be baptized now have no interest in going to church because they say it's "boring" so that leaves us with even fewer people to work with but we've also been able to start finding some new people as well. It seems like this ward is willing to help in the missionary effort as well, so I'm sure we'll find success here at some point. For now, we're taking it contact by contact, lesson by lesson, and day by day. The more I learn the more I realize that I don't know, but the more I'm motivated and willing to learn. Maybe someday I'll figure out this whole mission thing, but for now I'll just do what I can.

Some other side facts:

There are SO MANY HAITIANS HERE! It's awesome because they're just the nicest most humble people you'll ever meet and also super receptive to a message about Jesus Christ, but sometimes it's hard to communicate with them because most don't know a ton of Spanish.

Yesterday I did all my legal stuff (travel visa) which took about 6 hours and was the worst day ever, but I get to stay here so it's all worth it.


I'm looking forward to the opportunities of this week!!

Love,
Elder Birrell

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

MORE CHANGES!!

Well, this week was crazy again and AGAIN I got special changes.

On Saturday my Chilean companion Elder Carreño left and then on Sunday, Presidente Videla called us and told us that Elder Kelsey would be leaving to finish the training of a missionary because his trainer wasn't focused on the mission. He then asked if I was ready to be compañero mayor (Senior Companion) and Elder Kelsey said yes. So now I'm in a sector I don't know with a companion that isn't very focused and I'm the senior companion.

Other than that this week was great! It was super fun being in a trio for a week. We worked hard and had a lot of fun doing it. I also ate sushi twice this week and it turns out that it's actually way good. Not all Sushi is just seaweed and raw fish! We got a type called tempura and it was super good (chicken). 

As for the investigators in this sector there aren't too many but there are some. We are working with a family that attended all three hours of church on Sunday and they loved it. They said they expected something a lot weirder, but they said something that I loved. They said there's a ton of hours in the week and by sacrificing just three hours to God, their whole week will be better. They're a super super cool family and I believe they'll be baptized someday for sure. We're also working with a couple of kids who have a lot of support from her mom, but she can't be baptized yet because her boyfriend is still working through the divorce process with his wife. Her two sons (Jhon, 15 and Christian, 14) have been through a ton in their short lives, but the gospel is helping them a ton and they'll be getting baptized pretty soon. We also found a Haitian that doesn't speak any Spanish but speaks OK English and we starting working with him.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed but I know that everything will be okay. I just have to learn a little bit everyday and know the sector and the people a little bit more everyday. With my Heavenly Father on my side I know this is possible and this will teach me a lot about what I really can do as I put my whole confidence in Him.

Have an amazing week!

Elder Birrell

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

What a CRAZY week!!

I had an absolutely CRAZY week and to be honest I'm completely drained mentally and emotionally. I've had 9 companions in 10 days now which sounds crazy but I'll explain how this all went down. It started not this past Friday but the Friday before that.

Friday- Elder Smith went to the temple as is the tradition of missionaries that are leaving, there were also some classes and stuff for them and so I went and worked with a Zone leader from a nearby zone for the day

Saturday-Sunday I was with Elder Smith and everyone knew he was leaving so he said goodbye to everyone.

Monday-Wednesday- I was with Elder Cuadrado, it was a super good learning experience for me and I learned a ton. I was in charge of all the planning and stuff because I knew the sector and I actually really loved it.
Thursday- I woke up just before 5AM and went with Elder Harrison (the mission secretary) to the airport to drop off Elder Cuadrado so he could fly to Easter Island, and then he took me back to my area and then I brought some of my stuff over to the sector right next to ours and I was in a trio with two elders- Elder Christiansen and Elder Kilcollins.
Friday- I was still with Elder Christiansen and Elder Kilcollins.
Saturday- Elder Fortunato arrived from Easter Island! He`s Brazilian and a really awesome missionary FULL of energy. I was excited to finally be with the comp I was going to stay with for a time. 
Sunday- Still with Elder Fortunato- I helped him get to know most of the members and most of the people that we're working with, super amazing day.
Monday- President calls us and says that were having special changes. He said I had to pack up my suitcases and that I needed to be ready in an hour. An hour later we made it to my new sector and realized what happened. A new Elder from Brazil had some kind of stress attack thing that made him super sick. He'd really been struggling with the language and some different stuff and had been unresponsive for 24 hours. They brought him to the hospital and I think he's better now. Now he and Elder Fortunato are in my old sector. I'm in a trio with a Chileno named Elder Carreño and a gringo named Elder Kelsey. Elder Carreño will only be here for like one week more and then he'll be going to Salt Lake City.

As I said, it's been an absolutely crazy week and I don't really know what to think. I truly felt at home in Rosende, I feel like I just left my family without even getting to say goodbye. I know there's something to be learned from this experience, but I just don't know what it is yet. I have complete trust that the Lord knows why and so I'll try to put even more trust in Him.

Please pray that I can get used to this sector fast!

Love,

Elder Birrell

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!




HI Familia!!! 

SKYPE WAS SO AWESOME! I think I might even want to do it again! (for Christmas) I didn't even really talk in Spanish with you guys!!! Next time I'll only talk in Spanish, so you better get practicing!! For some people, talking to their family is a distraction, but for me, you guys are motivation!


I wasn't able to see the Williams, but I saw Scott again at changes. I got the package from you guys!!!!! Muchas Gracias!!!  My new companion, Elder Cuadrado, is really cool! He's from Argentina and he talks with the Argentine accent- "sho me shamo Elder Cuadrado" instead of "yo me llamo Elder Cuadrado". SO far we've worked super well together but he's actually going to Easter Island on Friday so I'll be companions with the missionary that's returning from Easter Island (a missionary from Brazil). 

It was sad to have to say goodbye to my trainer, Elder Smith, but it's also a necessary step in my learning process as a missionary. I get to lead the sector for as long as my comp isn't used to the sector, so it's been fun! A little scary, but still fun! I'm loving being a leader. It's just far more fulfilling, it's harder but better. I'm sure I'm failing in many ways, but I trust as I continue to do absolutely everything I can, it'll be ok. I'm so grateful I've been blessed with such great companions and for all that I've learned from them. Other than that I can't really remember what happened this week, so I´ll talk to you next week!!

I love you mom and I hope you really did have an amazing mothers day!!!

Love,

Elder Birrell

Elder Williams last day as a missionary
New Companion - Elder Cuadrado
Happy Mother's Day!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

"Yo soy Elder Smith"

So my companion goes home in 6 days now and that's all anyone wants to talk about with him (I think he just wants to forget about that fact and stay focused on the work). It's crazy how fast these weeks have gone by but I'm officially done with my training as a missionary. Does that make me a REAL missionary now? Maybe. Also I had the opportunity to lead the sector on Friday when we did interchanges with the Zone Leaders and I think I did okay! Something funny that happened though- my comp almost always starts the contacts, so I guess I had just gotten used to the first person that starts talking in the contact to say "Yo soy Elder Smith" and so without even thinking, I started out the first contact of interchanges by saying- "yo soy Elder Smith y éste es mi compañero". I didn't even notice, the Zone leader had to tell me what I just did.

Overall it was a good week, though! We're still working hard with our investigators and really trying to find new ones as well! Sandra, a less active member we're working with was assigned as the Gospel Principles teacher and we're excited to help her fulfill this responsibility! Mario continues to wow us as he bore his testimony again this Sunday and is now starting to fulfill his calling with the Young Men! Overall it was a good week and we're excited to finish off Elder Smith's mission strong!!!

I CANT WAIT TO SEE YOU GUYS IN FIVE DAYS!!!! 

Elder Birrell
 
(We get to talk to Seth on Mother's Day. We only get to talk/Skype with him twice a year, once on Mother's Day and the other day is Christmas. We are so excited!!)

One of our kittens (don't worry they live outside).