Tuesday, July 25, 2017

July 10, 2017

Apparently very excited about a recent shoe purchase, Sam's letter started like this:

Honestly, I am loving life. I have had a lot of trials and things I never thought I would go through during my entire mission but.. whats new.?! We are working really hard and it has been awesome to see the blessings.
I think the biggest blessing has been witnessing how endurance has been rewarding. The people I taught and got to see enter the waters of baptism are great. Some of them have a hard time with trials but they have always found their way back to the truth. Same with many of my family, we have all messed up and then somehow we feel the gentle light of truth and it over overpowers all the darkness we thought we were in. It has also been incredible to see how the truth will always prevail.

"Ely, your engagment/proposal es tuanis!.

Well yesterday we went to do "shut-ins." I have been begging one of the youth in our ward to go with us when we do it because I have always had that really, really, strong feeling to do so. He told us no for like 3 months because he was nervous to say the prayer. He finally came and it was awesome. We went to a sister in the ward, who everyone calls Abuela. She loves to be called Abuela, ha ha ha, she is awesome! She has a super strong testimony but cant go to church because no one takes care of her brother and her brother doesn't want to go. We don't want to give her the sacrament every week for two reasons. #1 We don't want her to depend on the church to get her the sacrament and #2 we want her to always feel the need to go to church. She tends to make excuses like she is too tired etc. We are super busy with all the other stuff we are doing so it is hard. So anyways, we went yesterday because she said that it has been too long since she has had the Sacrament. So that young man said okay I'll go, and his little brother tagged along. it was awesome! She gave us something to eat and it was an awesome experience as it usually is with the Abuela. The youth Jerson, got to say the prayer for the first time and his little brother gave her the bread and water, it was the BEST! We stayed there and talked to her for a sec and when we left both of them (the boys) said to us, "I LOVED THAT it was so great I felt the Spirit so strong!" I loved the way she looked when we showed up and the happiness that was on her face. It was so neat seeing how happy they were when they were doing their priesthood duty! I loved bringing the Sacrament to the "shut ins" back home. I really did like visiting the people and telling them like 900 times what my name was! I love the priesthood and I am really happy that God once again has restored it to the earth.

I love you all and have a good week!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

July 3, 2017

This week!
Well my companion left me. I have a new companion and his name is Elder Porter from Dallas, Texas. He has 9 months in the mission so he is pretty new for me, hahaha! He was in La Loma, the area I was in before coming down south. He was in the other companionship. So when I came down here I didn't have anytime to say goodbye to anyone because its a very special case. Anyway I had to stay with him and his comp in La Loma so I got to say goodbye to a bunch of people! It was great! I am loving life and it truly has been great being here. With my last companion we focused on preparing the members to receive new investigators and teach them how to do stuff. So with my new companion and I we have been able to take advantage of that preparation and now we are ready to baptize like LOCOS: honestly we have some pretty cool investigators and it makes it fun to teach them. Its possible to have 5 or 6 confirmations in the next 2 months so I am really happy for that to happen.

So anyways, in this lovely little mission I am in we have permission to talk to converts on Monday! Almost all of them are doing great, a few of them have callings and a few of them have been inactive for a while and its been awesome to see how through my efforts of loving them even though I am not close to them that they still have a relationship with the truth. Words don't describe the power or love that I feel for the people that I have taught. It has truly been a gift being able to know them.
I love you all and hope you are all doing well!!

Monday, June 26, 2017

June 19, 2017

Life has been really hard here, leadership in the branch is tough, everyone is learning the gospel and learning to lead. Its so hard to be here, we pretty much have to do it all. Yesterday, I gave a talk and led the hymns in Sacrament Meeting. Then I taught 2 classes, it was fun but hard. I love it because it is making me push myself. Its awesome!
Love you all!

June 12, 2017

That is crazy what Jared said in his talk (Jared Walton just returned from serving a mission in Sweden. I wrote down a couple of his comments and sent them to Sam) I couldn´t be more supportive of what he said when he said that "he was prideful in the Gospel" and that being on his mission taught him what he did not know. I felt the same way, like I truly didn't know anything. I guess it's just something that us Utahn's are born with, just kidding. We just got really used to giving the primary answers for everything!

That's cool that Zoey is going to be having a child in November. Hopefully I get home before she is born, because I have missed way too many things and that would just be icing on the cake, hahaha!

My area is cool. We are not even looking for members and we are just focusing on strengthening the members that are active because they don't know much. If members teach the lesson its not going to be taught well because they don't know the doctrine as well as they should to be teaching. I lead the hymns and teach the Sunday school class, I love it. I love looking at the members faces and watching them truly learn something more and put it together correctly.

Congrats Mom you are the clumsiest person with the most coordinated children! Well boys! You fell off your bike on the Parkway and that is embarrassing!

I actually want to share a scripture with you. From the same chapter, Mosiah 2:41 we are promised a state of happiness when we keep the commandments. Its the biggest blessing there is.
I love you all and I hope you're all doing well..!

Do you like how I put more spaces and lines in between the sentences to make it look like a longer email? Love you all!!

June 5, 2017

Wow, Mom I am so sorry to hear about Uncle Randy! I remember how happy and loving he was, he seemed to always look for that "someone" in the group that wasn't talking and include them or help them to help them join in. I'm sorry that happened. I know you are stressed about speaking at the funeral but something I have learned is this...As humans we tend to complicate things for ourselves, we sometimes want to say the the words to make things sound better. We want to add new paint to an already famous painting. It is something all of us do about even with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We sometimes try and take the words in the scriptures and twist them so that they come across more ¨beautiful¨ but the thing is if we are 100 percent honest with what happened and how things went down we really just let the truth be whats beautiful. So Mom don't worry about more things to say about Uncle Randy. Just tell things how they were, tell everyone about his life, what he was to you. He was a great person and you don't need to add to that!

But honestly Mom, I am loving it here. It's super challenging, with such a little amount of members it is really hard to make sure that there is an environment of love. Its super difficult and that's why I love it. Sometimes we fall in a routine as people and this lovely little RAMA has thrown a mix into the things. I love it here. Sorry I don't have much to write but I love my family and that's going to be great to come back to!

May 29, 2017

I'm 20....

Well, I literally had one of the best birthdays of my entire life. It's super weird to think that I came out here when I was 18 and now I am 20. It's so weird to think about all of the things I have learned out here and the way these past 18 months have made me feel. I truly can not deny the power of a strong family. I look at picture of you guys and I can truly feel a sense of strength, I really do.

It has been a really powerful feeling knowing that for the past year and a half is when I have been the most obedient and loyal I have been to the commandants of God. I have truly learned a million life lessons in this mission. I really don't want to talk or tell you all about how much I have learned I want you guys to SEE the changes that I have made in my life. I have had the opportunity to teach this restored Gospel to hundreds of hundreds of people. But honestly I think I am the one who is learning more than the people I teach. It truly is an amazing gospel. I'm happy you guys sent me all of those videos and pictures. I love them so much, hahaha!

Let me explain to all of you about what I did on my birthday!!

The night before my birthday (Saturday) I opened my package because we don't have much time Sunday in the evening. So I stayed up until like 12 reading all of those letters! I loved them all! I think my companion wanted to kill me because a lot of the people who wrote me shared a funny story or memory so I was keeping him awake telling him stories. Hahahaha, it was great. So then we woke up and went to church. I lead the music so that is always fun! I also was offered an opportunity, by my lovely companion to give a talk and so I had to whip out a 10 minute talk out of nowhere, it worked out ok! I like talking because its always a challenge. Then I had to give the Sunday school lesson in the class to the youth, 3 showed up and one of them is an investigator so that was cool. I started talking and teaching about the Book of Mormon and the Bible and the similarities of the writings. It was cool I really, really, really, love teaching about the Book of Mormon. I have definitely studied it more than the bible!

When church finished we went to a members house and she made us a really, really, really, really, good cake from Panama. It's called ¨volteado de piƱa¨ and it was really yummy, so that was fun! We then went and visited a few investigators and a few less actives and we finished the night with a cake and a few eggs to the head. It was a good day, I loved this birthday!

So, basically I love everyone who wrote letters that were put in my birthday package. It was the best thing I have ever read in my life. I loved hearing from so many people that have affected my life and hearing them say that I affected theirs. It goes to show that we are truly here on this earth to love and help. Its been an amazing trip this whole mission thing and I am very grateful for all of those who helped me get out here. The best 18 months of my life and I'm going to finish this mission weaker in my body but stronger in my desire. I love you all have a good week!!

May 22, 2017

Well I am about to kill my first companion here in Neily!! He is awesome and he is going home in 6 weeks!! It's weird because the hermanas from my group are going home now...WEIRD! I guess I'm a sister missionary now, NOT! Anyway once again I had no time to write today! We had to do a bunch of things for the missionaries who came into the zona sur today!! But I am happy and I am loving life! Have a good week everyone!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

May 8, 2017

"old lady (does all this crying) stands up to bear her testimony" 1-2 minutes
"talks about all of the terrible things that happened during the week" 3-4 minutes
"finishes with her testimony about something she learned through those experiences" 35 seconds

Monday- Puerto Jimenez. Such a beautiful place. We went in Lancha and it was so cool!! We played soccer on the beach and it was a good time! Until someone fell on my companions leg and he got injured! So I was all relax just waiting for him to rub some dirt on it and we were going to keep playing! But here he is still with his knee up. Honestly it was pretty bad and honestly he is really hurt but its just hard because we both want to work but we couldn´t 100%.

Tuesday- We went to Golfito and it was cool. We went to a member that rubbed out my comps knee. It was cool. I don´t know what she gave us to eat but we ate it all and it was decent.

Wednesday- We were both in and out of the bathroom and it was literally terrible. So yeah we couldn´t really work that day because we were pretty sick.

Thursday- We were super sick still and it was terrible because what fell from the sky was not only rain, it was a torrential down pour! It's super crazy and honestly it was hard to go out and work. Its also the day where we normally have the most contacts because everyone shows up to the MEJENGA.

Friday- We had divisions with the Elders from San Vito and it was the only day that we could really work but still I felt sick and I wasn't able to work 100% percent.

Saturday- I was at like 90% percent and my companion and I had gotten like a little cold. I just had a headache but my companion almost couldn´t get out of bed. So I studied a ton and cleaned the house real well. We live in a nice house and its been nice because there is air conditioning.

Sunday was a good testimony meeting and it was great to be in the church again. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL....to top of the stellar week with one heck of a bang, a dog bit my companion, hahaha! Nothing serious and lets hope the dog wasn´t infected with something crazy but we will see!

That was my week and I encourage all of you to try and top it! Love you all and have a good week!

May 1, 2017

April 24, 2017

WOWW! Ely, cut his hair! I want to see pictures and even though he made a promised he wasn't going to cut it. It makes sense if he is owning his own business, I am sure he looks very handsome!!
Life is different in the Zona Sur, it is hot, my back has a ton of diseases I think from the sweat and we haven't been having much success. I know that I have been here for very little time but I still would like things to be moving a little more. We are in San Jose right now to go and renew my cedula. It expires in 2 days so this was the last day I could go or else I would be illegal! It's a struggle, hahaha!

That's incredible that John Boy is getting baptized soon, that will be so awesome!! Also Dayana is getting sealed soon, I am so happy for them. I need Porter's email! Also I want to see pictures so just start taking pictures like a crazy women!!

My very good friend Shumway who is now home, emailed me and it's just super weird to think that when I met him he only had about 7 months in the mission. He is doing pretty well and it's just weird to think that I already have 6 months left. Its crazy! Things are just going way too fast and it amazes me how time keeps going and the world keeps spinning!

Nothing else has really happened in our little branch of 35 member attendance! We are working really hard with the members! It has been fairly difficult because many many members have never worked with missionaries so they don't ever really want too! But life really is good. We are working a ton to raise this zone up again because its had very little success in the past few months/years. So we are working pretty hard!

I love you all and I hope you're all doing really well! I will see you guys next week!!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

April 17, 2017

Life is good. I got so freaking happy when I saw that picture of the whole family!! I kind of got a little homesick because I love Gma's House! Grandpa looks a little "butthurt" in those photos, but it come with age! I love seeing the whole family all together and it will be crazy when Keller and I are back.

We we are coming up on 17 months of this shindig and things are getting crazy. I'm at that point where I need a plan and all that jazz but I still have a lot to do here, it feels weird. A lot of the people I know are home or getting there soon. It is just getting weird for me is all.

Things are going well here, but I cannot tell a lie, it is really, really, really, hard to work in this area! It is blazing hot and we live close to the beach so with spring break this last week we were walking a lot. We are looking forward to the success here and I am looking forward to my Easter package. I am going to the office next week so I will be able to pick it up there. I live far away so it will be a while to get packages.

I really don't have much to say today, sorry. I feel bad but its just fun getting to know a new area and new members and friends and stuff like that. All the members here are really cool so they all want me to come back and visit them. whats cool about that is that its about an hour and a half away from the beach so I am definitely coming back here!

Life is going really well and President Hayes wanted changes here in this zone and so we are going to start with that. We are putting a mini rule in place; everyone in the zone has to finish the week finding 10 new investigators and putting 5 baptismal dates! We also have to invite everyone in the house to listen to the message so that we can start blessing more families with the restored gospel. Its going to be great and we are really excited about how its going to end up. I love the work and honestly the best part of this week were the pictures so remember to look at the drive..

Love you all!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April 10, 2017

CAMBIOS: I got sent to Zona Sur, it is a district of 5 branches and the average church attendance is about 30 people. So far it is awesome. Super different from what I am used to but I am really excited to keep working and pushing myself. I'm in an area called Neily, It is about 15-20 minutes from the Panama border, so yes, I went there today. It is also around 90-95 degrees every day, so basically its hot, hahaha!

Something cool that we are all learning here, "How to live the Higher Law set by Christ."

In the time of the Old Testament Moses had set the "Eye for an Eye" law. For instance, people had the right to stone you as punishment, you could only walk a certain number of steps on a Saturday, etc. There were a lot of people trying to catch someone breaking the law and NO LOVE! When Christ was here on the earth He set the Higher Law. The blessing from Christ's law is that we can now be our one people (decide for ourselves).The only way we can return to live with our Father in Heaven is through obedience and love. Having agency allows me to obey when I want to obey. God loves me, He gives me the opportunity to obey and learn. The reason and the absolute only reason that we should obey is out of love not fear or guilt. We should not have to be forced to obey or to love. When we come to know Heavenly Father in a way that we are grateful and happy we will want to obey and please Him. We will want to receive all the blessings He has for us.

The other day President was talking to all the Zone Leaders and Assistants. In his words he said. "Elders, you now know from being in the mission for more than a year that it is almost IMPOSSIBLE to obey all the rules of the mission. So I trust all of you to do the right thing, but not to stress out! Don't worry so much that you do not enjoy your mission. What we need to do is push ourselves to work hard but still keep the LOVE for ourselves and others that Christ taught us." "So Elders and Sisters, if you are not going to get home on time at night do not run to get home, you might run right passed someone who wanted to hear a message. If you are in someones house for longer than 45 minutes its okay, that person needed to hear a little bit more. Just love the mission Elders, but stay smart! Be your own judges because you are no longer children!"

I love this gospel and I love how simply beautiful it can be. I love the way Christ taught us to have His pure love. I love everyone and I am really truly grateful that we are no longer living the Law of Moses! Stay safe and love this gospel, Have a good week!

Here are a few photo's of saying goodbye in my last area!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

April 3, 2017

Conference was super incredible! I loved Rasband's talk as usual and I love how they all look so comfortable up there. I also loved Holland's talk and I loved the talk directed to the investigator! They (investigators) need to give us a chance to teach them! It was super cool. I watched it in English and that was great. I understand everything in Spanish, it's just preference.

We ended up setting the goal and we finished the month with 17 baptisms.. Something Zona La Paz has not seen in more than a year, so its been really great.

Elder and Sister Calderwood are great! They helped us out with a Family Home Evening with the family that got baptized and it was really cool to see.

Changes... I'll try and explain in one email. So we have changes every 6 weeks and the Friday before the Monday that changes always fall on the Zone Leaders and Assistants have something that is called Leadership Meeting. Its fun, but its super stressful. We talk about everything. Every missionary and every baptism. Its a super long meeting and its really stressful if your zone hasn´t had success. I'm not too stressed because we have been doing pretty well as a zone. This is also when they send out the changes and the Zone Leaders send out all of that info. So we see them a day earlier. President Hayes told me like 7 weeks ago that I had to take advantage of my last change in La Loma so I did and it went really well! He also told me in the temple that he might need me to finish a newbies training. I do not know what to expect, I am going in as a blank page. I love the mission and I am ready for the next challenge that comes my way.

I love all of you and I just loved Thomas S. Monson´s talk. He basically said that it doesn´t matter how much knowledge (temporal) we obtain here on earth. Obviously the goal should be to obtain a ton but he said. If you don´t have a testimony get one. Its that simple. A testimony is the certainty that we need as members of the only true church on the earth. I love all of you and have a good week!!

A surprise for Mama Hench!

I received this wonderful photo and kind words about Elder Hansgen---Makes a Mom's day to get something like this!

Sister Hansgen, I just wanted to send you a picture of your son this past weekend. I am a senior missionary serving in his area. He is a great dedicated missionary and a joy to work with! Sister Caulderwood

March 31, 2017


We had the chance to go to the temple with the family (in the photo) that got baptized and it was such a great experience. They seem a little confused because everything is happening at once but they are doing really well!

HELP, I lost my camera, please send me one for my birthday, see if Stevie has one I can borrow, I will take anything!!!

We went to the temple today as a mission and it was so incredible.. President Hayes asked us to pay attention to the 42 principles of this Gospel.. Or what we teach.. So I was realizing in the temple and in my studies that Christ, although perfect, after every cycle of time in the creation he was required to show His works to the Father. The Father was to see if His works were worthy for Gods greatest creations to live, US. I realize that even though we may push ourselves and work hard so, so, so, so, so hard we always have Our Father in Heaven to correct and guide us. I love you all and I hope you all know that!! Have a good week. I don't have much to say because honestly I'm pretty freaking "butthurt" that I lost my camera!
I love you all!!!