Monday, October 15, 2012

We`re doing good down here.  Starting to warm up a bit, which is nice.  We`ve had a great week. 4 of our investigators have baptismal dates for the end of this month or the beginning of the next.  We have been so busy.  I don`t know if I told you last week but we`re visiting 62 families (Investigators, Less Actives and Converts).  We just don`t have time to visit everyone every week.  But we`re working on finding a rhythm.

A lot of people came to church yesterday.  Two investigators came for the first time, which is always a blessing. They changed the Relief Society Presidency a few weeks ago.  The new President is a doll.  Her name is Sandra and she is the sweetest thing.  So we`ve been working pretty closely with them and the Elders Quroum Presidency.  Its really important to work with the ward leaders and try and help the ward be involved in the missionary work.  

On a totally non-related topic. Chile is really big on fads.  And the newest fad is this nasty Tibetan Fungus or Mold.  They swear it does everything, cures cancer, helps your vision, improves circulation, helps you loose weight, the whole bit.  And we`ve been hearing about it for months now. Well, Hermana Chamberlain and I finally jumped on the bandwagon and we`re taking the fungus.  We have noticed any changes yet.  But its only been 4 days.

Well, I think that's about it for this week.  We have Elder Bednar this Saturday, so say a prayer for me that I`ll be able to play the piano piece well. 

More Pictures From Apoquindo:

Wasn`t Conference amazing?!  I loved it.  I don`t know if Conference is just different as a missionary or if this Conference was even better than normal.  I think its probably a little bit of both.  But, I felt like one of the underlying themes of the Conference was a focus on us becoming better members of the church.  I loved Elder Bednar`s talk about the difference between having a testimony and being a convert.  He`s actually coming to our mission in two weeks.  I`ve been asked to play the piano for a musical about pressure.

What did you think about the change in ages for the missions?!  So cool right?  Caroline are you thinking about going?  It is seriously the best.  You should totally seriously consider it.  I remember praying when I was 19 that the age limit would be changed so I could go on a mission early...

This week with Hermana Chamberlain has been great.  She is so fun.  We have the same sense of humor and she's just such a great person.  But what's really nice is that she's willing and knows how to work.  She totally carries her weight and really makes the work fun.  I love being with her.  

All our investigators are doing well.  We're preparing for Bastian's baptism on the 28th and we have 3 other baptismal dates for the end of this month and the beginning of the next.  Hopefully we`ll be able to get them all ready and baptized before I have to leave. Luis is still trying to quit working on Sunday but he's ready and just waiting to be baptized.
Things are going well.  It's still pretty cold here.  It's been rainy lately.  It's so weird to think I'll be coming home soon.  It doesn`t feel real.  I feel like it will be just another transfer and I`ll be staying here in Apoquindo and be able to continue working as a missionary.  5 more weeks...sooooo weird...

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's been a good week.  On Saturday night we had the ward party to celebrate September 18th, which is Chile´s independence day.  It was so fun.  I think I sent you a few pictures from that with us all dressed up.  A hermana in the ward lent us two of the typical dresses.

Monday was super fun.  We went with the Familia Vergara up into the Andes mountains to go play in the snow.  It was the first time that Hermana Achucarro had ever seen or touched snow.  It was lots of fun.  The drive was about two hours and it was amazing.  We stayed up on top of the mountain for about an hour and then drove back down.  It was lots of fun.

The week flew by.  We had a Zone Conference with President Arnold, who is the area president of the South America area.  It was really good, but it looks like our mission has a problem with obedience.  It was sad to see.  But he gave us a lot of great counsel, and taught us a bunch so I think we´ll be able to do better.

This week we had a lesson with Luis and President Wright.  It went pretty well.  Luis is basically ready to get baptized, and wants to get baptized with all his heart but he works on Sunday and hasn´t been able to find a way to switch his schedule or find another job.  But I think the lesson we had with President really helped to motivate him and hopefully things with be able to work themselves out soon.

We also had a great meeting with our ward mission leader and finally put together a ward mission plan.  And the ward just came up with this awesome retention and activation plan that we´re super excited about.  So things are going really well.  Our converts are doing awesome.  Camilia had an interview with the bishop yesterday to extend a calling, I don´t know what it is yet, but she should be sustained next week.  I´m so excited.  We also found some great old investigators.  We found them on Saturday, taught them a great lesson, and they came to church on Sunday.  And Sacrament Meeting was awesome and they loved it.  So I´m excited about working with them.

Can you believe I´m about to start my last transfer?  It doesn´t feel real.  It makes me sad to think that some of these people we are working with are going to get baptized and I´m not going to be here to see it.  And there's a chance that I could never see any of these people again in my life.  Its hard to think about. 

It's starting to warm up here.  And everyone is getting ready for the 18th, which is Chile´s Independance Day!  I´m so excited.  It's a big deal here.  We´re going to a have a fun week this week, and next week too with all the festivities. 
This week has been good.  I´m finally 100% better after being sick for over a month.  Tomás recieved the Holy Ghost yesterday :)  And the missionary work continues to progress.  We found a lot of people this week that we had lost touch with.  And we´re trying to start and find new people to teach because everyone else is getting baptized. Luis is doing great, he's ready to get baptized, he just has to wait till they switch his work schedule.  Camila is awesome.  They are working on a calling for her and we´ve started helping her with family history.  Tomás is super excited to serve a mission and has already started collecting his toys that he can sell to start saving money.  It's so cute.  We bought him a piggy bank to start saving.  His cousin, Bastian is doing awesome.  We´ve kind of lost track of Karen because her mom doesn´t want her to go to church anymore because she doesn´t want her to get baptized.  :(  Oh well...
The coolest thing about the mission is that you can see the gospel in action and watch it change the lives of people.  It's amazing to realize that all the things I´ve learned since Primary and have always trusted to be true, and really and actually very, very true.  Its amazing.  We meet so many people who are so unhappy and I just want to pound it into their heads that what they need is the gospel!  If they would just live it they would be so much happier!  And that all these worldly things don´t matter.  We are literally children of our Heavenly Father, which means he loves us perfectly.  Our worth is inherent and nothing we can do can change that.  It also means we have the capacity to become like Him, just like every child can become like their parents.  It also means we were born with some of His qualities, just like we are born with characteristics of our parents.  And if everyone could just understand that, really understand how special they are and everything they were created to be, they would be so much happier.  But it's all very, very true.  I know it beyond a doubt and I´m so, so, so happy and grateful to be able to help other people learn how to be happy.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I´ve attached a bunch of pictures from the baptism of Tomás that we had yesterday.  It went really well.

We spent most of our week making sure we had everything ready for the baptism so I don´t have much else to report.

The missionary work is going well.  We will be baptizing the uncle and cousin of Tomás in October.  And we´ve got some other people we are teaching that are good prospects.

The time is going by so fast.  It's crazy!

This week was good.  I'm feeling alot better.  I still have a bit of a cold, but other than that I'm doing good.  Camila recieved the Holy Ghost yesterday.  She is now officially a member of the church! 

I guess the biggest news is that we had changes.  Hermana Achucarro and I are staying together.  This will be Hermana Achucarro's 5th transfer in this area (thats 7.5 months)  and my third (4.5 months) and our third change together.  

We actually had this great specialized training with President this week about the Atonement.  He talked and taught about how to access the power of the Atonement, not only for the forgiveness of sins, but all our problems.  It was super cool.  We were able to turn around and use it with our investigator Luis.  It was great.

But everything is going good.  The missionary work is moving along and we're trying to keep up.  I'm out of time, so I'll talk to you all next week!

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Camila got baptized yesterday!  Everything went perfectly, except for the fact that we forgot to turn off the water when we were filling up the font and it almost over flowed.  So like 10 minutes before, the poor elders were bailing out water with trash buckets.  It wouldn't be a baptism if there wasn't an adventure right?  But the rest was perfect.  Our ward mission leader didn't say anything weird, her family came, the Relief Society provided refreshmants, people from the ward came, it was great.

We took a ton of pictures but I forgot to bring my camera to send them :(  But I'll send them next week for sure.

And as for everyone else we're teaching, we have 4 other baptismal dates set so things are going well." 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"Things are going well.  Hermana Achucarro is still a little sick...but hopefully she´ll be able to get the medicine that will help her soon.  Just keep us in your prayers.
Things are going really well.  We have had a good week.  Camila is getting baptized this Sunday!  We´re so excited.  I´ll make sure to send pictures.
But other than that things are normal.  Time is flying by." 
"Its been an interesting and very long week. The beginning of the week started out great.  We had some great lessons and everything.  And on Thursday we had interviews with President.  It was wonderful.  He is an incredible man.  Very loving and kind.  What's nice and different is that he's a lot more accesible.  It was a great experience.

But right after our interviews with President, Hermana Achucarro came down with a stress headache and we had to go home.  And it just kept getting worse and worse until we ended up in the hospital on Friday.  It's been a roller coaster of a ride ever since.  We spent one day in the mission home with President and his wife and they took great care of her.  And I got to spend the day with them, which was super cool :)  After 6 days in bed, she's doing a lot better.  

As for me, I did go a little crazy being inside so much.  But I´m okay. I was able to make a lot of yummy things,  Apple Pie, Banana Bread, Sugar Cookies, and Cake Bites...  

But we´re good now, and do to the fact that we were inside the whole week, that's all I have to report.  But I love you all bunches and bunches."

"This week has been a little bit more stressful. But, the hardest times always come before the greatest blessings.  And on Sunday our big blessing came!

We had a lesson with Camila and President Wright in his house and it was amazing!  We talked about the Book of Mormon and the Spirit was so strong.  And at the end she asked to put a baptismal date!  So we set the date for the 12th of August!  We are SO happy!!!!  We have another appointment to teach her in the mission home this Wednesday.  

Our other investigators are doing well.  We're going to talk with Karen and her Mom tonight about her baptism.  Luis is still working on changing his work schedule so we'll see how it goes.

It's still pretty cold here.  It will stay cold until about September.  But it hasn't been as bad as last year, for which I'm grateful.   

We were supposed to go down to Puento Alto today to visit some of the families down there but our Zone Leaders forgot to ask permission.  So, we just lounged around all day.  It was nice to relax because we're going to have a busy week this week.  I can't believe we're already half way through this transfer...time is flying by.  We have interviews this week and I'm planning on begging President Wright to let me stay in this ward for the rest of my mission. Just two more transfers...oh boy."

"We had some great successes this week.  We were able to put two baptismal dates with Karen and Luis for the begginning of August. We´re super excited about it.  They both have a lot to overcome before thier dates, we have to talk to Karen´s mom, and Luis has to find a way to stop working on Sundays, but we have faith its all going to work out.

Church was a little lame yesterday because its the middle of winter break so everyone is out of town.  But Camilia was there.  We tried to put a date with her but she says she still feels like she's missing something.  We didn´t have much time to talk to her about it, but hopefully we´ll be able to work through her doubts this week and hopefully set the date, at least as a goal."

"We had changes and Hermana Achucarro and I stayed together in our sector!!!  We were super happy.

This week has been pretty chill.  My companion has been struggling with stomach pains and migraines so we lose a lot of time, but we´re going to see another doctor this week.  So hopefully things will get better.

All our investigators are doing great.  The usuals all came to church on Sunday except for Tomás, because he was with his mom.  But they are all progressing and doing great. We just need to get them all with a baptismal date.

Two cool things happend this week.  1.  On the way home one day we were riding the bus and a boy asked me if I knew where he could get a Bible.  I explained that I didn´t have any copies with me but that I did have a copy of the Book of Mormon that I could give him.  I presented the BofM and he was super interested.  We chatted a little bit more and I was able to get his information and set up an appointment.  The next day he called us to tell us he had been reading the Book of Mormon and that he loves it and is really interested in learning more.  It was a Saturday and I happened to mention church the next day and invited him to go.  And on Sunday when we got to the chapel there he was sitting waiting for us.  He stayed for all the meetings and is super excited to learn more.  His name is Daniel.  He's from Colombia and is here in Chile to study Piano preformance.  It was such a cool experience.  The only catch...he doesn´t live in our area.  He lives two streets outside of it.  I was so sad.  But today a really great Elder was transfered in so we´re going to pass along the reference.  

2.  Since the beginning of the change Hermana Achucarro and I had set the goal to have 100 people in Sacrament meeting.  The average is normally around 70.  So we´ve been working hard and the attendance has slowly been going up each week, but its never reached 100.  So this last week was our last week in the change and we prayed and prayed that we would be able to meet our goal and after Sacrament Meeting we went to talk to the ward secretary and......the assitance was 101!!!  We were so happy.  We have a lot of great goals for this next change as well.

I was thinking about it alot this week and talking about it with my companion, but I feel like although we´re working hard, I don´t feel like we´re working any harder than I have in my other areas.  But I feel like we are having SO much success and seeing so many miracles.  I just feel so blessed and so lucky.  Seriously, my mission and, let's face it, my life, have both been a breeze.  And success just seems to fall right into our laps.  All these blessings, all these miracles, and I feel like I haven´t done anything to deserve it.  It just helped me realize how much Heavenly Father loves us.  How merciful he is that gives us so many great blessings.  And that all of it is really His work,  it happens in Him timetable and we are just privledged to be apart of it and see it happen.   Its amazing."

Farewell Letter from President and Sister Laycock

Dear Family and Friends,
As the Santiago sun softly sets on our three-year service as Mission President and Companion of the Chile, Santiago East Mission, we stand hand in hand, gazing with awe and wonder at the breath-taking beauty that Heavenly Father’s love for His children is creating in this spectacular country of Chile (John 3:16-17).

We offer our sure witness of the remarkable miracles that have taken place in the Chile, Santiago East Mission during the past three years. We testify that the Lord has loved, inspired, and protected his Chilean children (including his missionaries) in miraculous ways, and we will always cherish the warmth and the sweetness of this country. We testify that the Lord has sent his chosen leaders, missionaries, and angels to minister to and guide his Chilean children, and we will never forget the miraculous love that we have felt for and from the people of Chile. We will treasure the relationships we have formed. And we will pray fervently for all who will serve here to be able to “establish the Church” and to help the Lord achieve the “real growth” that Chile so desperately needs.

Before our mission service began, we prayed fervently to know what the Lord would have us do. We attended the Temple. We fasted. We prayed. And we prayed some more. Each time, the answer we received was very simple: “Teach them that I love them.” “Teach them to love me.” We continually received the inspiration that Godly love should be our focus: “If you love me, keep my commandments,” always echoed in our hearts and minds. And the Savior’s words, “Lovest thou me?” and “Feed my sheep” were a continuous subject of ongoing revelation for us. We tirelessly invited others to demonstrate their love for God by keeping his commandments and feeding his sheep. 

When we first started our mission, we were extremely excited, and we wanted our mission to have the highest number of baptisms in all of Chile; we are competitive by nature. But the Lord had other plans, and we quickly learned that obeying his commandments means doing his work in his way. Real obedience creates so much more than mere numbers can ever show. With our limited view, we thought it was all about baptisms. Instead, the Lord had a better way, and we learned that it was not about numbers of baptisms alone. Instead, it was about ministering one by one and sharing his love by doing the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way so that he could provide the blessings that he desired to provide for our mission.

We soon discovered that our mission actually needed more worthy priesthood holders to love and care for the members we already had. We wanted every single member to be able to remain active, so we prayed fervently to know the Lord’s will, and he answered our prayers through His chosen servants.

Elder Holland has said, speaking of Preach My Gospel and the Lord’s plan for mission work: “You may think you have a better way. You really don’t.” We have come to know that this is true, and we found answers in Elder Holland’s wise counsel. We asked the Lord what we needed to do in order to better be able to do his work in his way.

We began to invite men (priest age and older) to eat with the missionaries in order to comply with the rule in the handbooks that states that missionaries should never be alone with a member of the opposite sex unless another responsible adult of his or her own sex is present. Immediately, our missionaries began teaching more men. Because of this, and other seemingly small acts of obedience coupled with the good efforts of many people, we saw our numbers of full-time missionaries leaving from our wards increase. We saw the miracle of many families becoming complete as we found men and families that we could teach and baptize. We saw the activity in our stakes begin to increase as we worked diligently to involve men in our teaching and in the time our missionaries spent in our members’ homes. We saw miracles because we did the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way. The Lord’s ways were not our ways. His ways were, of course, much better. We did his work in his way, and we receive the blessings that he wanted to give his mission. We are so thankful that the Lord helped us to know and understand his will. We are thankful that he taught us that it was not about us, nor was it about our limited understanding. Instead, it was (and always will be) all about his plan, his will, and his love.

It has become crystal clear to us that our assignment here has been to teach our missionaries and those within the boundaries of our mission, that there is no better way to do missionary work than to do it according to the Lord’s will, through the Lord’s love and in the Lord’s way, always obeying his guidelines.

Every time we taught the Plan of Salvation, we were reminded of how Satan heard Heavenly Father’s plan just as Jesus did, but that Satan wanted to do it in his own way. Satan thought he had a better way. He did not desire to do the Father’s work in the Father’s way. He was cast out, and he became miserable and bitter.

In contrast, our Savior did his Father’s work in his Father’s way, and he found true joy, satisfaction, and completion. He accomplished the Atonement and made it possible for all of us to gain eternal life and exaltation.

We have painstakingly and earnestly tried to do all that we have done here in the Lord’s way, following his guidelines, and using his tools. This endeavor, based upon our personal study and the Lord’s inspiration, has blessed our mission in remarkable and unusual ways. We have seen the miracle of his love and how it transforms his children. We know that he is the way, the truth, and the light.

This is his work. We know that we have been privileged to be his mouth and his hands during our mission service. We expect that we will experience a huge void in our hearts as we remove our missionary name tags on Friday, and our full-time mission service as President and companion ends, but through this remarkable experience, we have come to better know and understand our Heavenly Father’s love and his plan, and we promise to continue to share that love and that plan forever more.

We are eternally grateful for the blessings that have come because of our Santiago service. God’s love has colored our own lives with even more heartfelt devotion to our Savior.  God’s love has shone with brilliance upon our own family members, and we are thankful to each one of you for your support, your prayers, and your encouragement. We love you! God’s love has warmed and transformed our missionaries’ hearts. God’s love has showered glowing particles of faith in Jesus Christ over the lives of his Chilean sons and daughters. And it has been a privilege far beyond our greatest expectations for us to be a small part of the spectacular manifestation of Godly love that we have discovered in our missionary service. Every single day of our mission has been a sweet, personal tutorial in Godly love and the miraculous, transforming power that it offers the world through the eternal gift and power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

We understand that the majesty of the sunset that we are now experiencing immediately precedes the dawn of a new day for our missionaries, under the divine direction of the Lord through President and Sister Wright who are our successors. We offer our promise that during our three years here, we have done everything within our power to bring our mission into complete conformity with the inspired guide lines that we have found in Preach My Gospel, the Mission President’s Handbook, the Missionary Handbook, the scriptures, and the direction of our living prophets. We find great joy and satisfaction in knowing that we have done our very best to do our Father’s work in his way. We understand that he blesses us, his children, with what he wants to give us when we obediently and diligently strive to do his work in his way. His way is much more glorious and wonderful than we can ever imagine!

Con mucho amor y gratitud,
Presidente Larry R. Laycock y Hermana Lisa D. Laycock
La misión, Chile Santiago Este

"Today was really fun.  We were going to go to this cool museum with the Pino Family but when we got there it was closed.  So we went bowling instead.  And thus, the pictures.

It's been a great week.  Well, except for the fact that President and Sister Laycock left.  I was a wreck at their farewell.  But, I only cried a few other times during the week.  Mostly when I wrote in my journal about them or remembered they were leaving.

But we met President Wright and his wife.  We went on Saturday to meet them and then Hermana Wright actually went out with us to do some visits.  They are so nice and really fun.  We are so spoiled to have them in our ward.  We will be eating with them in their house every Thursday and they assist our ward!  We were so happy when they said they would be come to our ward.  It will be a great help to the families.  Actually, this last Sunday, I don´t know if it was because it was fast Sunday or because they were there but the Spirit was SO strong.

Things have gone really well with everyone this week.  Camilia fasted but we haven´t taught her yet, so I´m not sure where she's at.  Luis is doing great, he's starting to think about baptism.  He's going to try and talk with a friend at work so he can avoid working on Sundays and go to church.  Karen is doing great, we met her mom this week which is an answer to our prayers.  We´re hoping we can start teaching her whole family so we just don´t baptize her and leave her without support.  We haven´t seen Familia Catalan Zapata since our amazing lesson but we have an appointment with them this Thursday.  So I´ll let you know how it goes.

But things are going great.  Sorry I don´t have time to write more.  My fingers are frozen so it takes me longer to write my emails now."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

President Laycock Goes Home This Week

President Laycock
Sister Laycock
"Our mission president goes home this Friday.  I´ve only cried about it once though.  But we do have a farwell we are doing as a mission tomorrow night and I´ll probably be a wreck.  The new Presdient, President Wright, is from Oregon and looks really nice, so we´ll see.  The mission home is actually in our ward, so we´re planning on going over with the Bishop to greet him and his wife this weekend.  The other mission presidents have chosen to go to other wards where there are more people who speak English, but we think it would be a huge help for our ward if they would participate with us.  So we´ll see how that goes.

We´ve had a great week. We worked really hard and it paid off.  We saw a lot of results.  I can´t remember if I've told you about them before, but we´re working with a whole family,  Familia Catalan.  And the first time I went to visit them, the Hermana told us that she wasn´t interested in religon, and she would never get baptized so we shouldn´t waste our breath.  But that they loved to receive the missionaries so we are welcome to stop by whenever we want.  Well I can´t remember if it was that night or a couple nights later, but I had a dream of the lesson that we needed to teach them, and the way we needed to teach it and everything, so that they would be willing to listen to the discussions.  Well yesterday night, we gave the lesson and the spirit was so strong,  It was amazing.  We invited them to give us a chance and listen to what we had to say and they all agreed!  It was a miracle.  The hermano even talked about getting baptized.  It was amazing.

We´ve also been working with an inactive family, the Familia Guzman.  We´ve been struggling with them because we´ve been going by but we haven´t really seemed to click with the family.  So every visit was awkward and a little uncomfortable.  But this week we were finally able to talk with the mom and gain her confidence and now we´re doing super well.  Two of the kids actually came to church yesterday.  

Camila is going great.  We weren´t able to teach her this week, but she came to church yesterday and we had a class about fasting.  So she is going to fast to see if she should get baptized!  Yay!

We taught Karen again,  She's doing great.  We´re nervous about baptizing her because she's only 10, and we don´t want her to go inactive because she doesn´t have the support of her family.  So we´re going to try and meet her mom and her brother sometime soon and see if we can start teaching the whole family.  But she came to church yesterday as well."

1 knife and 3 plates...and a waffle iron!

"It's been raining like crazy these past few days.  Today it finally stopped, but it was wet, cold, and miserable there for awhile.  It looks like we're going to have a really cold and wet winter.

We've had a really good week.  Our investigators are all doing really well.  Especially Camila.  Poor thing, her boyfriend left for the mission this week and she's been so sad.  But we had a great lesson with her on Friday.  Unfortunately, the rain detered a lot of our investigators from making it to church yesterday, only two showed up.  But this week will be better.  

We had another great meeting with our Bishop.  He's great.

Mom asked more about the ward and our aparment...well the ward is good.  There are only about 8 active families.  But the attendance has been steadily increasing. When I got here the average was in the 70's and last week we had 98 people in church!  It's lacking in Priesthood, and all the presidencies of the organizations are all incomplete.  It looks like a lot of people are extended callings and then turn them down.  I'm not really sure how to help excite the members about serving in callings and doing their visits for visiting and home teaching. 

Our apartment is normal.  We live on the last floor (the 4th) of a building (theres no elevator...)  It has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.  We are living there just us two for now, so we each have our own bathroom.  We use one room to study, and one room to sleep.  And the other room is just storage.  We only have 1 knife and 3 plates but we do have a waffle iron which is a huge deal. They don't eat waffles here and the waffle makers are expensive.  There's no centralized heating in Chile, or air conditioning for that matter,and our apartment is freezing. But we have a little heater that we tote from room to room wherever we are.  We have a washer, but no dryer.

I think that's about it.  I'll talk to you next week!"  

Monday, June 4, 2012

One of the best week's of my mission!

"This week has been super, super good.  Probably one of the best in my mission.  The sector is great.  It's a lot different than Cordillera.  Half of it is SUPER rich and the other half is just normal.  But we´re up a little bit more against the mountains so there are a ton of hills.  We were so tired today that we took a 4 hour nap! 

We have some amazing investiagtors.  We have one named Luis, he is the sweetest thing.  He is in his 50's and he is the only member in his family that isn´t a member of the church, but his sister is menos activa, and his mom just recieves the sacrament in her house on Sundays because she´s super old.  He's autistic, which makes it hard for him to interact with people socially, even to be with us while we´re teaching.  And he's had such a hard life.  He's going through some really hard things right now, but we had a wonderful lesson with him this week where we read the story of Job.  The spirit was so strong.  At the end he gave a beautiful prayer.  It was so sincere.  And he talked about a promise that he had made with God recently to follow his path.  We´re pretty sure he knows it's true and is ready to get baptized, the only problem is that he works on Sunday, so he can´t go to church and there is no possible way he can quit right now.  So we´ll just have to see what happens.

We´re also teaching another girl named Camilia.  She's 19 and super sweet.  She was a reference from her boyfriend who leaves on his mission in a week and a half.  We taught her the first lesson and it went super well.  She accepted a baptismal invitation and is super excited to learn more.  I´m not sure if we´ll be able to get her baptized before he leaves, but she went to church this week and things are going really well with her.

They have a few more investigators, one with a baptismal date, but I haven´t been able to meet her yet.  But 
we´ve recieved some great references this week, so we have a lot of work to do.  I´m excited.  

Hermana Achucarro and I get along great.  We´re already bestfriends.  We laugh all day long which is super fun."

Transfers: out of the ghetto and up into the mountains

"I´ve been transfered.  I was taken from the most ghetto sector for Hermanas in our mission to one of the richest.  I am now in a sector called Apoquindo, which is in the community Las Condes.  It's a little bit more up in the mountains and it's beautiful.  My new companion is named Hermana A.  She is from Paraguay and she has 3 months in the mission. She is so sweet.  We already get along super well and I´m super excited to spend this change with her.  We´ve had some time to talk already since we´ve been together and her life has been pretty hard.  She comes from a really broken home, a mom who sleeps around, a father who abandoned their family, a step-father who is an alcholic and abusive.  Shes been in charge of raising her younger siblings since she was 5.  She told me was in charge of caring for her 4 month old baby sister when she was 8!  And her family wasn´t really supportive of her coming on the mission, so she arrived with basically nothing.  Just one suitcase and only things for the summer.  And she had a great first change with her trainer and then got put with the worst hermana in the mission.  Poor thing.  She's had a hard life and so far, a hard mission.  But I´m excited we´re together.  
We´re going to have a good change together."

Monday, May 21, 2012


*picture taken by Sister Laycock at a recent zone conference

"It was a good week.  We worked really hard and taught a ton of lessons.  We now have an hermana in charge of our lunches which is great because now we get to eat everyday.  We still don´t have a ward mission leader but it now looks like we´re going to have our correlation meetings directly with the bishop now.  Which is a huge step of progress.

Singleton was sick this poisoning...poor thing...she barfed her guts out.

We made some huge progress with Erik this week.  I 
can´t remember if I told you, but we had a lesson with him and his mom the other day and we kind of hit a road block when he refused to say the closing prayer because this wasn´t his religion.  But we went with a member this week and had a lesson with just him.  We talked about all his concerns and his beliefs (saints, virgin mary, etc) and it went really well.  And when we went back the other day we asked him if he had thought about what we had talked about and he said, ¨Yeah, I´ve decided to just denounce all religion and just believe in God...¨ at first we were like...Uh oh... we didn´t want you to renounce your religion.  But then we realized it was a good progress, because it meant he was really thinking about what he believed and what the truth is and relying on God.  So I think we´ve made good ground towards him gaining a testimony.  Eliana is still doing great.  In the same lesson where Erik refused to say the prayer, she told us she had recieved her answer and feels really good about everything so far. Unfortunately, they didn´t show up to church yesterday.  We tried to stop by in the morning before church but nobody answered.  So we´ll see what happens.

Hermana Singleton finishes her mission so I´ll have a new companion for sure, but I don´t know if I¨ll stay in this sector.  So we´ll just have to wait and see.

I love you all tons and tons!"

Monday, May 14, 2012

I completed a year on the mission last Friday.  We ordered pizza to celebrate.  I was sick for most of the week, which wasn´t fun.  We actually had to stay inside one whole day.  But I´m all better now.  

We had a bit of a cold spell but it started to warm up again yesterday.  But not before it rained cats and dogs the other day.  It rained cold and hard for almost 2 days straight.  All the streets flooded and we had to wade through it.  Some of the water came up to the knees of Hermana Singleton.  It was ridiculous.  I had my boots and my rain coat so I was okay.

Anyways...want to hear a funny story from this week?  So we went to visit a menos activa in our ward named Iris, I think I might have talked about her before.  Anyways, shes in her 80s and recently had a midlife crisis and got married out of the blue and moved to the middle of nowhere.  She still has her house in our sector and is there occasionally, and we were able to catch her this week at home.  We talked to her for a bit and asked her how things were going with her new husband and her new house and she told us how there is a Catholic church right next to where they are living and how she decided to go over and share the gospel with the priest who runs it.  Now keep in mind that Iris has been inactive for 12 years.  So she goes over and starts explaining the priest the Word of Wisdom...and she says "basically there are only five things that we can´t use, Tobacco, Alcohol, Tea, Coffee, and Aji (which is a spicy pepper like a jalapeño)."  She then went on about how it was so hard to keep the Word of Wisdom because she loved Aji.  Hermana Singleton and I had to try our hardest not to laugh as we explained that there was nothing in the Word of Wisdom about spicy things.  But I still don´t think she understood.  

Erik came to church yesterday!  We were going to make them breakfast and then he and his mom were going to come, but when we got there Eliana was sick with the same flu that I had.  So we made pancakes real quick and gave her breakfast in bed.  And then we went with Erik to church.  It was really good.

Two of the menos activo families that we have been working with came to church which was great.  But two people that had started coming back and that we´ve been working really hard with didn´t show up.  But we´ve already talked with one of them and she said she´ll be there for sure next week.  She actually had a legit excuse.

But things are going really well.  The mission is wonderful.  It's amazing to work so hard to help other people make changes in their lives that you know will make them happier and then all of a sudden notice all the changes God has been making in you.  Its amazing.  

I don´t think I share my testimony often enough in my e-mails, I think its because I don´t want them to be those cheesy, super spiritual, and ridiculously boring missionary e-mails, and plus I get to share my testimony with people a million times a day.  But just so you know, I know it's all true.  What we are doing is real and is of eternal importance.  We are the only true and living church with the authority to carry out saving ordinances.  God is real.  He loves us, He is involved in every moment of our lives.  He is working with us and for us.  And with everything the world has to offer, there is nothing that compares to the happiness and joy that comes from having an eternal family, that you can protect and guide with sacred covenants, and have the Lord's promise that they will be yours forever.

I love you all very much.  If you´re thinking about serving a mission.  Do it.  It is the best decision I have ever made.

We had transfers today.  Both Hermana Singleton and I are staying.  This is her last change which hopefully means that after this change I´ll get to stay another to lead the sector!  Yay!  I love Cordillera.

We had a ward talent show this past Friday.  It went SO well. I was a little stressed out because we started an HOUR AND A HALF late!!! But it turned out really well.  We were the last act and we danced the cueca, which is the national dance of Chile. I¨ll attach pictures but I´ve heard there are videos of us dancing on facebook.  I´ll try to figure out who has them so I can send you their names so you can watch it.  It was super fun.  

We are still teaching everyone.  It was really frustrating because Eric and Eliana promised to come to church yesterday.  And we made arrangements to stop by and pick them up.  But when we got there yesterday morning they wouldn´t answer their phone, we knocked on their door, their bedroom windows, rang the doorbell, called, yelled, and they didn´t answer.  I was so sad.  But Scarlet and Benjamin came to church again.  And Scarlet made a comment and read a scripture with out complaining or yelling that she's atheist!  A great success!

We also had one of the menos activas that we´ve been working with since I got here finally come to church.  Her grandson is in the mission and we visit her every week and every week she says shes going to go to church and then she finds some excuse not to go, but yesterday she came!  I was so happy!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Santiago at Night

"Me with my mini me.  There is a dog that had 6 puppies, and we gave them all names.  
And this one is named Bailey.  She´s the cutest." :)

"Guess who completes a year in the mission this week?!  ME!!!!  I get the papers to buy my plane ticket home this change. But it could be worse, my companion got her flight itinerary today. 

We´ve had a good week this week.  We´re both sick.  I´m pretty sure its because they made us get flu shots last week and we´re having an adverse reaction to it.  It's started getting cold again. Not quite coat weather yet, but definitely sweater weather.  I bought hot chocolate today at the grocery store.

We had another big temblor the other night.  It was really strong and long, almost a minute.  Apparently there are some big wig Brazillian scientists that predicted it and they say that they have found some way to detect it.  They are saying we´re going to have a big earthquake soon.  But they also said we were going to have another strong temblor last night and nothing we´ll see...  

As far as missionary work goes, things are going really well.  We taught Susana again this week and we have another appointment with her tonight.  So we´ll see how that goes.  We had another lesson with Scarlet and her family and she seemed a lot more receptive.  I think it probablly helped that their mom wasn´t there.  But they didn´t come to church yesterday :(  But guess who did come to church?!  ERIK Y ELIANA!!!!  Yay!  They were actually waiting for us by the door when we stopped by to pick them up in the morning.  It was great.  They seemed to really like it, but we didn´t get much of a chance to talk to them afterwards.  But we have an appointment with them tonight so we´ll be able to find out.  Also, another family Menos Activo that we´ve been working with went to church for the first time in over a year.  We didn´t have a chance to meet with Mario or Paloma this week but we´re going to try and track them down in the next few days."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lost in Santiago!

This week we had a great lesson with Hermannia and Mario. Last time we talked a lot about the temple so we decided to talk about the family this time and it went so well. He had a lot of great questions and seems to be genuinely listening and thinking about what we teach. Hermannia is thinking about going through the temple to receive her endowments, so he is really interested in the idea of an eternal family. However, they didn´t show up for church yesterday. I think he still doesn´t feel a need or strong desire to go, and with two little kids it's really hard for Hermannia to get there.
We had another lesson with Pablo and Paloma ( the parents of Valentina) it also went super well. He's kind of a nut and likes to talk about deeper stuff like the creation and evolution and dinosaurs and how that all fits into what the church teaches, but everytime we bring it back to the basics Paloma responds really well and when she expresses her opinion its almost always inline with what the church teaches. I think we´ve started off on a good foot and if we keep going she´ll continue to progress and see the need for the church and a baptism because that's her biggest difficulty right now. However, they too, failed to come to church yesterday.
Eric and Eliana are doing great. They are reading in the Book of Mormon and are excited about everything we teach them. They promised to come to church and they didn´t show. I was so sad. I think we´re going to be a little bit more frank with them this next time because if they aren´t willing to come to church there isn´t much else we can do to help them progress. But, I have confidence they´ll be there next week.
The good news is that Scarlet, our atheist, came to church!!! I´m pretty sure her dad made her and her brother come, but the important thing was that they were all there! She slept most of Sacrament meeting, but then they stayed for Gospel Principles (which I got stuck teaching at the last minute) and she started the lesson with her headphones in and her music really loud but by the end she had turned her music down and had the book out and was following along! Well, at least until her mom tried to push her to make a comment and she slammed the book shut and screamed that she was an atheist! But we´re making progress. She came to church and she was listening.

Elder and Sister Richards Visit the Mission

"During the month of February, we experienced the blessing of a mission tour with Elder and Sister Richards. Elder Richards is a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy and serves as the second counselor in the Chile Area Presidency.

We started the week with a dinner on Monday night where President and Sister Laycock were able to discuss the needs of our mission with Elder and Sister Richards.

On Tuesday, we met with some of our Zone Leaders early in the morning so that they could learn from Elder and Sister Richards. At 9:00 AM one third of our missionaries arrived for a whole day of conference taught by Elder and Sister Richards. We had a short break for lunch, and then Elder Richards interviewed some of our Missionaries while Sister Richards conducted a scripture activity with those waiting. Tuesday night, we were able to meet with all of the Stake Presidents and the Area Authority Seventy over our mission.

On Wednesday morning, we met with more Zone Leaders and received more wonderful instruction by Elder and Sister Richards. At 9:00 AM another third of our missionaries arrived for another day of spiritual enlightenment, lunch, and interviews. At the end of the day, Sister Richards took all of the Sisters in our mission and taught us and answered our questions. Wednesday evening, we held a fireside for all investigators in our mission. It was a miracle. The entire chapel and back to the stage was filled with missionaries and investigators and new converts. Elder Richards again taught us! It was so beautiful. We loved every minute.

On Thursday, we began with another Zone Leader meeting and another conference. Then at the conclusion of the day, we held a Zone Leader Council and learned how to council together.

This was truly a blessed event for our mission. We will feel the affect of Elder and Sister Richards' teachings forever in our mission. We experienced an outpouring of the Lord's love and the enlightenment of the Spirit. We will treasure this mission tour forever and ever."

Missionaries are Prepared for an Earthquake

From Sister Laycock:

7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dear Parents and Families,

You will hear reports that Chile experienced a 7.2 magnitude earthquake today, Sunday, March 25, 2012. We certainly felt the quake in the Santiago East Mission, but we suffered no damage, and we are all safe and protected here. Today's quake was near Maule which is approximately 130 miles South of Santiago. We are grateful for your consistent prayers and for your love and support. We are thankful for the opportunity we have to serve here in this beautiful country, with our Missionary Angels, and we love the Chilean people very much.

Our missionaries are prepared for this type of occurrence, and we know that when we are prepared, we need not fear (D&C 38:30). As many of you know, we completed a mission tour last month. President Laycock and I visited every single apartment in our mission. We prayed with every companionship in their apartment, and we asked for a blessing of safety to be upon each apartment. We requested and confirmed that every missionary update and/or prepare their 36 hour kit. Also, during the last two weeks, we updated and delivered a copy of our mission emergency plan to each missionary. Our missionaries are prepared. They are brave and strong and capable in every way. We love them dearly, and will continue to serve beside them as we strive to do the Lord's work in the Lord's way.

We will continue to pray for those who live South of our Mission who may be affected, and we will update you as we learn more.

Con amor,
Presidente y Hermana Laycock

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Photos of Missionary Life in Chile...

Their "califont" which heats all the water for their house
The Hermanas' tiny little washing machine

Bunk beds...Hermana Bailey sleeps on the top bunk

Chilean Pesos

The consequences of wearing closed-toed shoes in such hot weather...:(

Earthquake! But, we're fine...

Hows life in the United States? It's still hot as heck down here. But in a month it is going to start getting really cold.

As you may have heard, we had a earthquake yesterday! We normally have 4 or 5 that you can feel any given week but they normally are fairly short and not very strong. But, the one we had yesterday was a 7.2 and was almost a minute long. We were actually headed to our apartment so I could get something and just as we were about to walk in the door we felt it. It was strong enough to knock all cell phones out of service, some for more than an hour. We actually had another earthquake a little shorter and less intense the other night. A lot of people are talking about it because they say that when several intense earthquakes come back to back like that it usually means tension is building and a big earthquake will come soon. So we´ll see. But don´t worry we´re safe.

Yet again we spent most of our week working with menos activos which paid off because several of them came to church this week! Unfortunately Erik and Eliana still didn´t come because her dad was in town. But we´re going to keep trying. Things are going well with Scarlet. We´ve gained her confidence so now we just need to find a way to teach her the gospel without her mom jumping down her throat and them fighting the whole time.

But, we´re working away. Like normal. Lovin' the mish, saving one soul at a time!