Great Britain !!!

First piece of news. I am writing from the comfort of a bad plastic chair and not from my lovely swivel chair in the mission office….but it is fine 🙂 Haha, one of the many small changes from last week. It has been a great week.

Questions about the week:

Tell us about your new companion

  • My new companion..Elder Bojorquez.  He is from Pasadena California. He is my slightly more tanned clone (a lot more tan..and without red hair) but my clone nonetheless.
  • It is funny. Many of the things that he says and desires are the same things that I desired and said at the beginning of my mission:”to be the best” (but isn’t sure the best at what, just the best). He wants to know the why of everything. Not because he doesn’t want to do it, but just because he likes to understand why he has to do it. He also got frustrated the other day because I told them that for the amount of time he has that he is doing fine. These were his words “I don’t want to be fine, everyone else can be fine, I want to do great, I want to push the limits.” [I can certainly hear Elder Tonkinson saying something like that] I love his ambition.
  • It is great because I understand how to help him and how to explain things. We get along really well. He was also studying in BYU and also went traveling to europe right before he left on the mission. He likes to play soccer and is fascinated with reading. I am terribly excited for these next couple of weeks. The other funny thing is that just like I did not like being touched by others when I got here, he does not like being hugged all of the time…so I give him hugs all of the time 🙂

and area.

  • I am in (translation, Great Britain), which was where many of the rich englishman settled Valparaiso. It is not such a rich sector anymore and has a lot of gorgeous English homes that are slowly deteriorating. (I will send pictures next week). It is a branch [congregation] of roughly 40 people, and I love it. There are things that happen in small branches that could not happen in other places…for example yesterday a brother answered his phone during the sacrament meeting [the main worship service], “Hello, how are you? Fine thanks I am good. But I am in the church. Yep the Church in Rio Frio (street name) so I will call you back. Thanks bye.” Just as casual as you could be in the middle of the sacrament. There are a lot of simple concepts to be taught. For example, we also taught the secretary how to use the MLS system [the computer software that keeps membership and donation information] to print branch directories and how to print them on both sides of the paper. It was something so so so simple but they are just things that never get taught.

What are your goals for the next 3 weeks?

  • I want to exhaust myself :). Like that last lap kind of deal.
  • I want to do well things that I feel have been hard for me all of my mission. For example, we are getting up every morning to go running. I have always done my exercises, but I have not pushed myself as much as I could have. Also, my area book [a book listing investigators they have worked with and promising contacts they have made with non-members] has always been good but I want to leave it instead of a 90 in a 100.
  • I want to finish the Book of Mormon. I have fallen a little behind but I will make it without problems. (I was fixing some problems with the pension (mold on a wall, faucets that didn’t work and really bad organization) that took up a little of my time but today we finish)
  • I want to find another family that can get baptized. It was an incredible experience to help a family make the decision to be baptized and to watch as they really became converted to the plan of salvation and have the desire to have an eternal family. I want to see that again.
  • I don’t want to worry about the things that are going to happen after but at the same time I do take the time to think about how I am going to apply certain principles that I do not want to leave behind after I finish.
  • Other then that, I want to leave my companion ready to fill my place as the district leader when I leave, and I want to share with him everything that I have learned in two years.
  • There are lots of things I want to do. We are going to see how much I can make happen 🙂

Share whatever is on your mind.

  • This week, I had a great experience. With all of the time that I have had in the office I have formed a strong relationship with President Kahnlein. Therefore, when the new assistant arrived last monday, President invited me to continue participating in everything. So, I made like a third wheel and just enjoyed all of the benefits for a while. For example, I went to the goodbye dinner (my 6th goodbye dinner) and then the next day I went to Santiago to leave the old missionaries and get the new ones. All the way to Viña, the new missionaries asked me how much time I had 🙂 “24 months” I said. Which left the majority of them scratching their heads for a second and then they would ask “wait…are you going to go home as well?” And with greatest pleasure I told them “not yet” 🙂
  • But the best experience was actually after the goodbye dinner, and it is the reason that I include this in the email. The goodbye dinner is on Monday night (we eat sushi) and ends with a testimony meeting and some final words from Hermana Kahnlein and from President. We finish normally about 9:00 and the missionaries go to a couple departments to sleep. However, this time two of them had to stay late and do an English test that is available. That test takes about another hour and it took a while to get them started so they got started at about 9:30. At this time, Elder Gatica and Elder West (my replacement) went to the office to do things for the next day, and I stayed in the mission home to accompany the elders and to renew my temple recommend.  So at about 9:30, we went to the living room because both offices in the mission home were in use, and we sat down to have the interview. We finished relatively quickly, and then we just had time to talk for 30 minutes, just the two of us. It was great. He has a very clear vision of what he wants to accomplish. He thanked me for my service where I was, and we then talked a little about what was left to do in the next couple weeks and his expectation that I did not get distracted. 🙂 (I am like a train though, I have rails and I cannot leave them).  We then just talked about other things that we had talked about before, he also shared with me some impressions he had and then we talked about patriarchal blessings and their power to help us understand a little of the future and our path into that future. I think the best is that one can just feel the special spirit that there is with someone that is dedicating their life to the work. It goes easily in the top experiences of my mission.
  • This week I also got news that the father of the family we baptized got the priesthood and will be blessing the sacrament next week. WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

All is well in Zion, Zion prospereth!

Hugs for everyone!!!

Elder Tonkinson

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