Monday, October 3, 2011

From: Daniel Kellis 
Date: Mon, Oct 3, 2011 at 9:46 AM
Subject: Craziest Week of my mission life

Hey so Im alive! haha man its been quite the crazy week! Im excited to tell you all about it and all about my new area and companion.
So the zone leaders always call us on Monday nights of transfer week. Tuesday is P-day (mostly for packing and stuff) and Wednesday is travel day. Tuesday we said goodbye to everyone and made tacos with a family (they didnt like them at all because they were too spicy...I think they got kinda mad) haha
So there isnt really any direct busses from Cardona to anywhere, you have to go to Colonia first. So we left Tuesday night from Cardona, took two busses to get to Colonia. my bus to Salto was gonna leave at 5am Wednesday. The missionaries in Colonia on transfer night always have a full house because everyone from the little towns in Colonia come in to wait for their bus. Well, right when we got to Colonia the zone leaders let us know that a bus strike had just started. So we left Colonia and the Senior couple brought us to another companionships house with extra matresses. We stayed the night there (all my bags and everything were in the other house still) and I was out of money for the month. (no food) so we just cleaned their church and worked in their area for the day. It was funny, we did a joke with some recent converts that I was the new missionary coming into their ward and that I was brand new and didnt speak Spanish.
Wednesday night the strike ended and I was able to get on the bus to Salto at 5am Thursday. So I was on that bus alone for a while (which is super weird) until a SIster Missionary got on half way to Salto in Fray Bentos. That was even more weird. She was super flirty from Chile. My comp greated me in the Salto Terminal. He seems super cool. He is from Lima Peru. He was recently trained in this area. We took a taxi to our house and I started getting confused as we left the city for about 10 minutes into the wilderness towards artigas. We drove down a dirt road for about 5 minutes and we passed a couple houses on the way super spread out with huge citrus orchards and green houses between each house. There was a house out in the middle of nowhere that we pulled into. We`re here! 
So our branch is only about a year old. It has about 60 active members and they are all recent converts. The church has been in Salto for many many years but Elders opened the area im in to missionary work about a year and a half ago. We have a huge handful of investigators and they all work in the orchards and green houses. Every lesson we go to is about a 15 minute bike ride on bumpy dirt roads. Im definataly physically getting used to that! Especially with these piece of junk bikes! The pedals are broken, theres no brakes or shocks and the only gear that works is the lowest one so im always pedaling super fast to go super slow. But its all worth it because the people out here are amazing. There is a bus that picks everybody up each sunday and brings them all the the little rented house that we use as a church. I definately am used to being out in the middle of nowhere but I feel stupid for ever complaining about having to take an hour and a half bus ride to district meeting in Cardona because now its a 40 minute bike ride (8 Km-i dont know how many miles that is) to the closest bus stop with then takes us to the stake center on a 20 minute bus ride. The closest place to buy food is about a 20 minute bike ride. Which isnt too bad. Its just the dirt roads and the bike that kill me. Im gonna be super in shape though! haha The house we live in is actually only a year old so it is in decent condition.
There was a HUGE storm on friday. We rode our bikes through this one spot in the trails where the water was up to almost the top of my bike tires. I just got off and walked it. I was impressed with Elder Olivares. He didnt think twice about crossing it to get to that lesson. He loves our investigators so much. He is an incredible young kid. He is super obedient and super strong. Hes been a member for 3 years and has about 3 months in the mission. He could be a trainer already. I took a shower with all my clothes on because I was completely drenched in muddy water. We came into town to watch conference at the stake center, and stayed in another Elders house. Two nights on the ceramic floor with diaheria and a fever and super sore legs. The conference was incredible and just what I needed to hear. President Uchtdorf`s talk brought tears to my eyes as I felt the love of God through all the suffering. It was such an incredible conference. I love how the talked alot about missionaries and the work. I started thinking about Tyler and imagined him in a white shirt and tie with a name tag here in Uruguay out in the orchards on a bike and I just started crying. It is such an incredible experience to be here doing this work and I love it so much. I love Tyler so much and thinking of him receiving these blessings was super emotional for me.
I know the work we are doing is the work of God and that it may not be easy but it is so important. I cant wait to start another week in the best two years.
Elder Daniel Kellis
La Mision Montevideo Oeste
Enrique Martinez 1167
Montevideo Uruguay CP 11.800

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