Monday, August 28, 2017

August 28, 2017 One Year

Hello family and friends,

Well this week was pretty crazy. Well not really but I did hit my year mark so that was cool! 

Okay so for the week, first off Monday night we had a cool noche de hogar (Family Night). Yeah well it turned out pretty good. They brought like 2 friends to it so that was cool. Later on this week we were able to visit them again and Jose Manuel, the dad was just cracking jokes the whole time. I was dying laughing, my poor comp couldn't understand a thing so I explained it all to him later. He gave Elder Cobbley this super awesome real madrid tie clip though thats more than 40 years old! 

Tuesday we had our district meeting with the missionaries here in Badajoz and Cáceres. Okay so this was hilarious. During district meetings sometimes we do these things called practicas where someone pretends to be an investigator and the other two people teach them while everyone else watches. So my comp and I got selected and we were going to teach elder Stephenson. He is like super humorous person like always joking around. So during the practica it just went super crazy and in the end we asked where he got his utah state tie and turns out he was already a mormon. By this point everyone in the room was laughing so hard they were crying. It was pretty funny im sorry y'all were not able to be there to enjoy it. 

Wednesday I hit my year mark. It was pretty cool because somehow without even realizing I ended up finishing reading the book of mormon again that morning! So that was kind of a cool little thing haha. To celebrate president silva had us over for lunch and we burned a shirt on his roof. For those of you who don't understand this part its just a little tradition missionaries do when they hit their year mark. It was pretty neat cause president told us about when he was on his mission when they burned his shirt. They did it inside their piso 😂😂 

Anyways it feels crazy that I have been here for an entire year, sometimes it feels fast sometimes it feels slow. Looking back it has been good. It has been really hard and I have just wanted to give up a lot of times but I have learned from every one of those hard experiences. I have developed attributes that will help me through the course of the rest of my life and I am thankful for that. 
I love you all and I wish you the best of weeks :) 

- Elder Childers 

August 21, 2017 Raw fish, chicken feet, heart attacks & cookies

Hey ya'll, well this week has been off the wall!
First off Mom and Dad you're gonna be proud of me for this one, and all the rest of you should be too haha. This week I ate ceviche, for those of you who don't know what this is.. It is raw fish that they soak in lemon juice and apparently the acids in the lemon juice somehow "cook" the meat so its okay to eat. It surprisingly was pretty good. The texture and idea of it was a little weird but I ended up liking it and my stomach didn't freak out at me for eating it so that was a plus! Then after that I ate chicken feet. Okay now these on the other hand were pretty gross. How you have to eat it is you put the entire foot in your mouth then kinda pick it apart with your tongue until all the little bones separate from the meat. The bones you spit out on your plate and you swallow whats left. I didn't like that much haha the meat was like pastey and left a bad aftertaste. Anyways though I never thought I would eat two foods that weird in the same sitting. The members we were eating with loved it. They were pounding those feet down like they they were popcorn chicken!
Second crazy thing that happened this week has to do with our investigator Pedro. So he's the guy that was having those weird health problems that he said were from the mosquito disease he got in the army. Well we passed by his house on tuesday and his sister answered the timbre and told us he was in the hospital because he had almost had a heart attack! Yep everyone's having heart attacks lately, but we will get to that later.. so the next day we stopped by with some cookies and were able to get to know his family a bit which was cool. 
Wednesday morning we got to play soccer with our old group of fútbol homies again and we surprised them haha. They split the teams up all us missionaries against their team of all spaniard teenagers which everyone thought would be super unfair. They thought they were gonna destroy us. Well.. we completely wrecked them, it was hilarious. We had scored over 10 goals and they hadn't even scored one when they finally admitted defeat and decided we should mix up the teams. So yeah we have improved a ton with our soccer skills 😏 Now its actually pretty fun to play haha 
Thursday morning a family moved out of the branch here. They live out in a little pueblo about 20 minutes away and they wanted to pack up the furgoneta at 5:30 before the sun came up and got hot so we got up at 5am and the branch president came and picked us up to go help out. Oh yeah and a furgoneta is like basically just a big van, thats what they use to move here. It literally took us only like 30 minutes to load it haha. 
Alright here for the coolest part of the week. So about a week or two ago our brach president asked us to try to track down an old menos activo family. So we had been going around to all the members trying to see if anyone had any way of contacting them. Finally we found an address this week so we decided to head out there Friday morning to visit them. So we walk way out there and ring the timbre. The dad comes out to meet us. He's this short older guy and he has this massive scar all the way down the inner side of his leg. He explained to us that he had suffered two heart attacks this past month and that they had to take veins from is leg to put into his heart. He lifted up his shirt and showed us the huge scars he had there too. It was pretty crazy. So they invited us in and we sit down and he talks to us for about an hour just telling us his entire life story. It was absolutely crazy but also really awesome. He was a journalist for 35 years and lived in 22 different countries mostly throughout south and central america! He has 7 children so thats a family of 9 which is a ridiculous thing for any Spaniard since the average family has 1-2 kids. Anyways so he did all that for years and years then he finally gets back to spain to retire and they give him a pension of 366 euros a month! For a family of 9. That is completely ridiculous. So he has basically written big articles and been interviewed by the news for the past couple of years about it. (For those of you who are spanish speakers I will post the one he gave me on the icloud.) Anyways just saying how unjust it is and stuff because there are literally criminals who have recently been released from prison that they give 800 euro pensions to for just one single person. So yeah its just really crazy his whole situation trying to support that huge family with so little money. So we talked to them for a while then the next day we took them some cookies since we still had quite a bit left over. When we were talking to him he said that night after they left he and his wife were talking and she said "I think its time we start going to church again." So now in a couple more weeks once he feels a bit better they are coming to church, and tonight we are going over to their house to have a noche de hogar! So that is super awesome and exciting. We'll see how it goes :) 
Well cool yeah so thats the coolest thing that happened but besides that I have another talk in church yesterday. My topic was Sostengamos a los Profetas. It was a good one I really enjoyed the preparation part, the talking part not quite as much but only like the first minute was a struggle then I felt pretty comfortable up there. I was able to share a little bit about how great of an effect my goal to read and listen to 2-3 conference talks every day has had on me. How it has helped me to receive personal revelation and inspiration on how I can be a better missionary and as a person in general. 
Here is a short little cita out of the Gospel Principles book that I really liked-
"Many people live in darkness, unsure of God’s will. They believe that the heavens are closed and that people must face the world’s perils alone. How fortunate are the Latter-day Saints! We know that God communicates to the Church through His prophet. With grateful hearts, Saints the world over sing the hymn, “We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days” (Hymns, no. 19).

Preparing and giving the talk made me feel so much more grateful to have a prophets and apostles guiding us today. It is a huge sign to me that God still loves all of his children. Knowing that the living prophet Thomas S. Monson and all of the apostles lead the church today under the direction of Jesus Christ is a great blessing and comfort. Once again I invite all of you to take the time to study the words of the prophets and apostles, they truly receive revelation for those living in the world today. I invite you to set a goal maybe just one a week on sunday afternoons. However big or small your goal is I can promise that you will see the blessings. I have had so many days this past year where I am trying to figure out some problem of my own or of someone we are working with and I read the conference talk and my answer is right there! Anyways so I invite you to do it and I promise you will see the same results! 

Hope you all enjoyed the letter, sorry its so long haha. Have a wonderful week! 

- Elder Childers 

August 14, 2017 Coincidence or miracle

Alright well not a ton happened this week basically just the norm but there are a few main points I will share. 
First off earlier in the week we did a little service project with the ym in our branch and cleaned/organized the storage room here. It was a complete disaster because stuff has just been piled up there for like the past 8 years since they moved into this building. So yeah you can see the included photos it was a pretty good change and it made the branch president really happy. Reminded me of organizing our garage all the time back home haha kinda fun like a little puzzle finding little places for everything.

Secondly we had our zone conference in Sevilla. This time it was really cool because president and his wife did their talk together and this time they made it more of a discussion in english. So it was alot more personable and interactive. They shared a bunch of stuff they learned from the mission president training that happened this year. I guess they got to watch a lot of the sessions because they posted the videos online for them. The focus this time was studying the lessons in chapter 3 of preach my gospel enough where they basically become apart of you. They really want us to know and understand the doctrine of Christ so that we are able to share it easily using our own words. At the end they showed us the beginning of Bruce R. McConkie's final talk just 9 days before he dies called "The Purifying Power of Gethsemane" their main focus was how at the beginning he talks about how the words he has read in the bible, book of mormon and other scriptures and the words he has studied from other prophets have been engrained into him and because he has felt the spirit testify to him personally of their truthfulness they are his own words. When we got home from conference I watched the rest of the talk and boy it was powerful! I would like to invite all of you to take the time to watch it or read it yourselves haha I finished watching it then later that day to watch it again because it was so good. 

Okay last of all another one of those cool little things that happens to us as missionaries that some people think are just coincidences but they happen way to often for that to be. Saturday night we were going up to play soccer with some guys in our branch and some of their friends and we somehow got confused and got on the wrong city bus. So it at least gets us a little bit closer but we are still a pretty long ways away because it kind of took us out at an angle. Anyways so we are going to be late so we decide to run. As we are running up the road we see this older guy walking down some stairs next to a building in this alley and right then he falls and rolls a ways down. So immediately we turn and sprint over there and he is pretty out of it just in a lot of pain. We are able to help him and wave down this nurse guy to come over. It was pretty lucky that we would have been there running through that little alleyway just at the moment he fell. It was kind of tucked up back out of sight where likely no one would have found him for quite a while. Its always just cool to have those random little experiences though where we just look at each other and we are like "Well now we know why we got on the wrong bus." Or now we know why we decided to walk his way today." Just cool little miracles that you have to be looking out for or you might miss em.!  


Alright last of all just a fun little video I wanted to share with you that our little branch activity had as part of the message. Its a short little animated video by pixar called Piper. Hopefully you can find it on youtube or something. It is just a fun little video about how sometimes problems and challenges seem really big but it isn't until we are right in the middle of them, sometimes literally buried under them like the little bird in the video. That we open our eyes and begin to see the experience and knowledge we are gaining. Well just watch the video and you'll understand more, its a little hard to explain writing but yeah its really good :)

Well love you all tons! Have a great week! 

August 7, 2017 Peeing Fire

Well I'll start off by explaining the subject line of this email. Soo we get back to our Piso Thursday afternoon. I'm in the kitchen making lunch when all the sudden I just hear ahhhhhhh!! come from the bathroom. Turns out my comp Elder Cobbley got a urinary infection hahaha. So luckily we had our interviews with president that night and he talked to the mission doctor who called us the next morning. "Good Morning Elder Cobbley. So I hear you are peeing fire..?" Haha it was pretty hilarious not gonna lie, the poor kid was on the verge of crying every time he went pee. Its all good now though. The doctor told us what antibiotic we needed and said that it does require a prescription but that they have a bad habit of just giving out whatever drugs here. He said to go to 3 different pharmacies and try to get it and if they didn't give it to us he could send us an emailed prescription later. So off we went to the pharmacists. The first one we went to I asked for the medicine the guys looked at eachother said "Doesn't this need a prescription?" I said "oh I just got off the phone with my doctor he said this is what I need." Then he just goes "oh you just talked to your doctor, alright" went to the back pulled it out of the cabinet and gave it to me. So that was easy hahaha Spain. 

Cool so what else happened this week. Well we met a crazy new guy. He invited us into his house then went off for an hour about how when he was in the army back in the day they didn't give them a change of pajamas or let them wash them for 7 months so they all smelled terrible and got invaded by tons of mosquitos. So he ended up with this crazy recurring  desease where his feet swell up super big and his lungs too. He got out of breath super fast just talking to us and his feet were massive it was crazy! It was cool to talk to him though and hear some of his story. His name is Pedro. 

Another funny story, so I was just going through this list of peoples names we have and calling them all to see if they were still interested in meeting with the missionaries. I call up this guy named Kevin and he's like yeah I live right by your church and I'm actually passing by right now. So we head over there and no one.. so I call him back, it rings and rings n rings then gets to his voice message. "Que Dios te bendiga soy Jesucristo, deja tu mensaje." (God bless you, I am Jesus Christ, leave a message.) so that was super weird hahaha

Oh yeah other kinda crazy/painful/ funny thing. So my comp was bedridden for a morning because he felt super sick from the infection. So I started cleaning up the piso a bit and decide to try to change some burnt out light bulbs with some I found in the drawer. So I turn off the power go up change it then go and when I turn the power back on there's just this big boom from the light switch on the wall. It like exploded on the inside. So the lights are stuck turned on over our table, the ones by our beds are stuck turned off and the switch is broken. So that was kind of a bummer, then later that night I go to try to turn the light because it is like a swivel on and I touch the casing and just get shocked super bad by the 220V electricity here and almost fall of the chair. Oh and on top of that now these lights wont turn on.. so now we are without lights in half of our piso.. we are going to have to call the dueño later today and try to figure that one out haha.

Today our branch president took us out to this super cool castle and then to a big bridge that got bombed in the war here years ago. It was pretty awesome. I put all of the photos on the icloud so enjoy! It would stink pretty bad to be a soldier back in those days. They poured boiling oil off the towers on the people trying to get in. They also had super cool architectural acoustics in this one meeting room so that they could eavesdrop in on the other private conversations in the corner. You could stand in one corner of the room but your face right up to the wall and talk super quietly and the people on the other side would hear it clear as day it was sweet! They also had this "bathroom" for the guard tower that faced toward Portugal haha "TOMA PORTUGAL!" It was pretty funny good times :)

Training my new comp is going really good. Its been fun studying preach my gospel with him. This week we went over a bunch of the points on how to begin teaching and created little hand symbols to remember them it was fun haha. Tonight he is getting the ultimate lesson, I'm gonna teach him how to cut his own hair 👌🏾 should be pretty easy for him because its so curly he basically just sheers it like a sheep haha. 

Well good times, sorry for such a long letter this week but I hope ya'll enjoy it and the photos! Love y'all 💙💙

- Elder Childers 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

July 31, 2017 Trainer to Elder Maiz, "Corn on the Cobbley"

Hello everyone! Another good week here in Badajoz.
Well the week started out pretty crazy! Since I was called to train I had to leave here on Monday and travel all the way down to Málaga . I ended up leaving here Monday afternoon at around 5 o'clock. I then went and stayed the night in Sevilla. Oh yeah funny story so the other Elders who were supposed to pick me up in Sevilla were super late, so I ended up standing alone on the street waiting by the church for an hour so that was fun haha lots of awkward looks as people passed me by. Anyways they eventually showed up and we walked forever to their piso. Then next morning got up early to go catch my train down to Málaga . Yeah I got lucky this time and got a train so that was sweet! So Tuesday we had a little trainers training meeting then we got assigned to our new little gringocitos. Afterwards we got to go to the mission home, it was my first time haha! So we caught the cercanías out to Fuengirola where President lives. Man that city is sooo nice. Basically just feels like a vacation town. They made us some nice taco salads for dinner with ranch dressing! Haha I forgot how good salad dressing was after only having vinegar and tuna on salads for the past year. We all stayed the night there then the next morning we were off again back to Badajoz. This time we weren't as lucky with our travel plans. Our first bus left Málaga at 3 pm. Then we caught another bus in Sevilla at 7. So we didn't end up getting back to Badajoz till 10, so that traveling really wore on me for the rest of the week. 
Anyways so far training has been good. My companion is named Elder Cobbley he is from Illinois the land of the corn so everybody calls him corn on the Cobbley or Elder Maíz (Corn). Its pretty funny. 
When he first got here the branch presidents family and I got him with a pretty funny little joke. So we went to their house pretending they were old investigators who wanted to be taught again. About halfway through the lesson his wife was like I'm thirsty go get something to drink. So they brought out some Tinto de Verano sin Alcohol. So it basically looks exactly like wine but doesn't have any alcohol in it. So im like oh sorry guys like thank you so much but we don't drink alcohol and they pretend to be super offended and are telling us oh the missionaries before drank it no big deal and stuff haha. So eventually they are like alright if you drink just this little cup we will come to church with you guys for the next 2 months. I pretend to hesitate for a minute and am like alright and just chug it. Oh man you should've seen the look on my companions face, it was priceless hahaha. So then we are just like alright whose gonna tell him and President just hands him the bottle. Man it was so funny he was just in shock for the next hour the poor kid but it was a fun little prank that'll make the first day of his mission memorable haha. 
He is learning super fast though, he already speaks way better Spanish than I did at that point in my mission so thats good. We have just been practicing a lot reading Preach my Gospel out loud in Spanish during our comp study to work on pronunciation so thats helping a lot. 

For my birthday the branch president had us over for dinner and some cake. He also gave me this really awesome case for my Predicad mi Evangelio from his mission in Peru some funny socks and some cereal from America yummy! Haha they are the best! Then at the end the best surprise of all, they turned on the tv and there they were my family! They surprised me with a nice little video singing for my birthday. Thanks so much you guys you're the best! 💙💙💙

Okay so last two little things. This Sunday a sister missionary who had served here about a year ago came through with her family to visit. So I got to translate for them in the classes. Man it was pretty rough haha cause I can like understand everything but remembering all of the words in english and trying to make a good translation while listening for the next phrase is super hard. After church my brain was just completely fried haha. It was kind of a fun opportunity though. 

Last of all we had a cool little miracle. So we had left our piso and were on our way to an appointment that was far away so we decided to take the bus. So we were waiting for the bus to come and right as it pulled up I realized my wallet wasn't in my pocket which had our only money in it. So I kind of panicked we looked all over the ground by the bench and everything but no luck. So we ran back to piso and there it was under a piece of paper on our table. At this point though we were going to be late if we waited the 30 minutes for the next bus so we started speed walking across town. On the way some guy sweeping the streets started waving us down. I wasn't sure if he was just one of those people that just wanted to yell at us or what so we kind of approached him cautiously. Turns out he is a member that the other elders have been trying to get in contact with forever but had gotten a new phone so they had no way of reaching him. It was pretty cool that I just happened to forget my wallet so we walked through a way that we wouldn't have ever passed through otherwise right in the moment that he was there. The lord works in mysterious ways.. 

Anyways well thats about all, this ones been a little long sorry haha
 Love you all! 

- Elder Childers 

July 24, 2017 Gladis

Good day family and friends,

Well I got some exciting news. This week we were on intercambios doing our personal study Saturday morning when President called. Its always scary when he calls haha. Anyways he presented me with the news that I will be training! Elder Balukoff will be going to Cartagena near where I started and will be a DL now. So he's pretty nervous about that. I'm super excited but also pretty nervous haha. I'm currently on a bus to Sevilla where I will stay the night then tomorrow morning I will catch a train to Malaga. Tomorrow will be a pretty full day. We will have trainers training which will start at noon. Then we will finally be assigned to our trainees at 5:00 where we will have a little meet and greet type dinner in the capilla. Then Wednesday we will make the long trip back to Badajoz. I'm excited and just want to know who my comp is already but I'm also pretty nervous to be training. I'm sure it'll be a great learning experience for the both of us though! 

As for the rest of this week it was pretty good. During the intercambios we had one really awesome lesson. Friday night I went out with Elder Moore and one of the young men in our ward Gabriel who just turned 18. We taught a woman from Ecuador named Gladis. She was pretty down because she just lost her job about a month or so ago and is really struggling trying to support herself and two kids. We taught a really powerful little message to her about how God gives us trials so that we can grow. I testified to her about the power of prayer and the comfort and guidance it brings. It was really awesome to see her smile at the end and thank us. Gabriel the young man I mentioned just was called as the new branch mission leader. He's an awesome kid, we are trying to get him out working with us more because he is preparing to go in a mission. Elder Balukoff and I are hoping he gets called to Boise haha :) 

Anyways yeah that's the big news this week. Hope y'all enjoyed it. 
Have a good one! 

- Elder Childers 

July 17, 2017 - Fried Rice

Dear Mom and Dad, 

Hey first off thanks so much for sending the fried rice recipe. I got the email from you this morning and it sounded really good so we came home and made it for lunch. DELICIOSO!!! Y super fácil! We were going to make the Hawaiian haystacks this past week but we could not find cream of chicken soup anywhere. I don't think canned soup exists here... any thoughts on a replacement for that? I know its kinda like the main ingredient soo... idk haha. 
Anyways this week has been a bit slow. Mostly cause its been really hot here. As a result of the heat here everyone does like a reverse hibernation. They just try to spent the whole summer asleep in their piso. We can call people at 11 am or at 8 pm same result always asleep, its ridiculous. Also another crazy thing, everyone here has "summer vacation" basically they all just go take a month and a half off work. Businesses just completely close up its weird. Its just hard cause the time when everyone starts coming out is just an hour or so before we have to be. Also whenever we do go and try to contact people in their homes or call them they are almost always angry cause we've woken them up haha its like well its not my fault you sleep 14 out of the 24 hours in a day! And they wonder why this country has so many social and economical problems.. Well anyways this week we have just been trying to find some investigators. We found one new guy named Vicente on the street but when we passed by his house his wife answered and said he had left on vacation with some friends and would be back the first week of August so that'll have to wait. Like I said things are pretty slow right now cause no one really has ganas to do anything. What else happened.. well we had our last district meeting up in Cáceres because it was the Gibsons (the senior missionaries in our district) last week in the mission. So from now on they will be here in Badajoz every week. For the last one though she made us pulled pork sandwiches and cupcakes for mine and Elder Nye's birthdays. Normally our bus back home leaves at 2:45 so we left at the usual time and got there at about 2:40 to find out he bus had left at 2:30 just 10 minutes earlier because they had started the new summer schedule this week and we didn't know about it. Anyways so we got stuck up in Cáceres for a solid 4 hours which wasn't terrible just had some extra studies in the bus station. 
This week we also started trying to work with some of the young men in the branch. There are 3 and our branch president wants them to come with us and do like a mini mission just during the day. Since we have a new rule that no one can come in our piso except for other missionaries we planned out to meet him at the church and do studies and stuff there but he never showed up. Turns out he had lost his phone the day before and never got our last text confirming the time. This week we plan on doing it again though so that should be fun. 
I think thats pretty much about it. We started up the push up challenge again this week which has been fun. I decided to step it up a notch this time and do 75 every morning and night so 150 a day. Maybe in a week or so ill kick it up to 200 we'll see haha. 
We also cleaned our piso up super well and moved the beds into the main room so now we'll have air conditioning at night cause its started getting too hot to sleep. We'll see how that goes. It'll be nice to have a room with some floor space to work out in now. 
This upcoming Sunday we will get transfer calls, unless I end up training then president would call on Saturday. Everyone seems pretty dead set that I will train so I'm kind of nervous about that. I think it might be kind of fun but stressful and hard at the same time. I'm excited for transfers but not haha its been really fun with Elder Balukoff we get along super well. On the other had though its good to have different companions because I grow and learn so much from each and every one.
I miss you guys a lot. I hope everything is going good there. I love seeing all the pictures each week and hearing about what you are all up to. Excited to hear about you guys headed off to trek. That was a fun experience it'll be cool to see what Zach gets out of it. Make sure to take tons of pictures! 
I've been going super hard on my scripture study lately, took up Tori's challenge to read the BOM in 50 days. I just got to the part in Alma where it talks about Moroni and Teancum and their special ops missions haha. I love this part so hard to put it down :)
Fun to think back on our family scripture studies when we read these parts. 
Well I love and miss you guys a ton! Thank you so much for all that you have done and continue to do for me. Thanks for encouraging me to serve a mission. It is no doubt the  most challenging thing I have ever done in my life but also the greatest learning and growing experience. Thanks for the support and prayers. 
I love you the mostest toastest!
 Your son,

Elder Childers