Monday, December 24, 2012

Feliz Navidad!

To All, Merry Christmas! I hope you all are doing well and are excited for Christmas! Apparently I will be calling by Skype at 12 noonish tomorrow in our time here or 9 in Texas. Dad said that should work out. Anyways, this past week was great! Finally we had 5 investigators at church. It went really well, mostly because we gave the Gospel Principles class and we also used the second hour to do the first Aaronic Priesthood class that has happened here in at least a year. There is no YM presidency. Everything went well and I believe our investigators really enjoyed church. We are doing everything we can to help our investigator Marcelo, who is 17, to be baptized this Sunday. He has the desire and lacks almost nothing of teaching, but his mom is hesitant to give him permission so far. We´ll see how this week turns out! His little brother and sister also attended church with him this week and we also had an older lady named Nadia and a miracle named Maigdel. haha, yes, her parents did make up that name. On Thursday we decided to pass by some people on the ward list that nobody knows and we just so happened to find a family in the which there is a 9 year old daughter who hasn´t been baptized and they had a strong desire to return to church. So we set an appointment Saturday, and put a baptismal date with the girl and on Sunday the family came to church! They should be great. Anyways, I´ll be talking to ya´ll shortly so I don´t need to write too much, right? I'll also include a picture of the huge hill we climbed today, I guess I got pretty burnt- don't worry mom, I'm putting on sunblock at least once a day... haha. Anyways, love you all! Hope you have a great Christmas! I should be there for the next one! haha. Turns out Elder Sheffield and I are 5th cousins now that we did the calculations!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Casi Christmas

To All, Yet another week has gone by. My time is going by too fast! I've already been here for a third of all the time I'll have in Chile! Ahh.. but it has been pretty good so far. Turns out we received a response from Elder Sheffield's family if we were related thanks to the info that Grandpa provided. Here is what the grandparent's of Elder Sheffield sent him- It was fun to hear your new companion is a distant cousin. Your common ancestor is James and Sarah Adlaide Wilmer Sheffield. Their oldest son was John Heber who is your line and their youngest son was Franklin Lorenzo (also called Frank). His daughter was Erma with brothers Herman (your Grandpa Sherman worked for him at Southern California Univ), Ralph and Dean both of them we knew. Grandpa says he remembers her but did not know her as well. They were cousins to your great great grandfather Heber James (the one who had the island experience, and was Sherman's grandpa). Anyway, it is kind of fun to make the connection. As Grandpa says, You two Sheffields should really do great things. Haha, isn't that funny? I enjoyed it. We have a few great investigators that we're working with at this point, but they're all pretty much still struggling to church, though many of them have already received spiritual confirmations that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Despite their struggles we have faith that they will begin to attend and be able to baptized in January. My favorite moment of this week was when we were teaching a family where the mom has been inactive pretty much since her baptism 30 years ago and so she is the only member in her family. Her name is Angelica and her daughter that is really interested is as well named Angelica so they call her "Malu" haha. Anyways in the lesson with them we read Mosiah 2:41 that talks about how we are blessed and happy if we keep the commandments and so we asked her a comprehension question after reading it and she responded saying, "it's so obvious! Everyone is unhappy because they aren't keeping the commandments! If we would keep the commandments then we're blessed and happy." haha- it was great. She already has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and committed to live the word of wisdom. She has a baptismal date for the 20th of January because she will be working every Sunday until the end of the year when her job contract ends. Other than that, we're really excited for Christmas and our calls to the fam! You'll only get one more and it will be the week before I get back I think. haha, perfect timing to make beach plans. hahaha. Anyways, I love you all and hope you have a great Christmas! I recommend the videos the church is making to help us have the Spirit of Christmas, which is the Spirit of Christ. Watch this one :) Love you!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Chilean Sun

Hello all, This week went relatively well. We have some great investigators and potential at the moment that we are hoping to capitalize on. We had district conference this week and so President Kahnlein came and talked and gave a training (although we never even got to shake his hand, lame.) and everything went really well. We ended up having two investigators go even though the conference was an hour away in a place called Los Vilos. This week I will be answering some questions received thanks to Hurricane Survivor (Nicole) how do transfers work there???? you just wait for your companion or do you all meet somewhere??? Well, I am a few hours out from the "mission base" as you could call it so it can vary, but they do do a meeting in Viña where President announces the transfers and then everyone goes out. I ended up just waiting for my companion here in Illapel and it was all very secretive and thus I didn't really know who my comp was until he arrived. Kind of weird in that regard. haha tell me about your investigators and stuff and the branch. Our best investigators right now are la familia Saldivar, Karina, and a new investigator named Angelica. The familia Saldivar is 2 parents and 4 kids between 10 and 18. Right now 2 of them have accepted a baptismal date, but the dad hasn't been all to receptive and is mostly absent from the home as he works far away in the mines. Karina is a great investigator and already has a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, but her husband won't listen to us and is mostly absent from the home as well and so we can't really teach her in her home and so lately we've just been having short contacts on her doorstep. :/ Angelica! She is great. We found her this week cuz we talked to her mom in the street and she said she was baptized in Vina about 25 years ago! So we went and Angelica listened as well (the current "husband" of the mother says he is atheist), and agreed to a baptismal date in early January. She is progressing pretty well, but currently she can only attend every other sunday for work until January. are there lots of sister missionaries in your mission? Not really I guess, but a ton are coming. Supposedly like 30 more by next june. I think we have between 15-20?? haha, I dunno. Americans or natives? Is this a preference question? hahaha, there are like 70% americans. Lame. what are your living conditions like? Uhh, decent? we have 2 orange trees and Chile is pretty nice. A lot of American imports and things that don't exist in Argentina. We can drink the water and yeah! Anyways, outta time. Love you all! Have a great week and enjoy this tidbit of scriptures! Doctrine and Covenants, D&C 58:2-4 "2 For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven. 3 Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. 4 For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand." Love!

Monday, December 3, 2012

A New Transfer

All, Well, transfers came and went and... I wasn't transferred! But Elder Stacey was transferred. I am now with Elder Sheffield from Ogden, UT. He seems to be a pretty cool guy and a great dedicated missionary. I'll be his second companion and this is his 4th transfer in Chile. Should be a bit of a change from being companions with Elder Stacey. I'm pretty excited. The Zone Leaders here in Illapel were also transferred and so 2 new zone leaders came to white wash the area. They have a lot of excitement. One is from El Salvador and one from Chile. I don't know if I mentioned it or not but a senior couple also arrived this week! Quite a few changes are happening here in Illapel and I believe that we are about to see a lot of results from the changes and our efforts. It was great to hear the members bear their testimonies on Sunday saying that they feel their prayers are being answered as the Lord makes these changes. Should be a great time to be here in Illapel. We also were able to help 3 young people attend church from the Saldivar family! The 2 younger ones seemed to really enjoy it. The mom still doesn't see the need to attend a church as she says she is fine praying in her home. Hopefully she will humble herself soon to be able to accept the true doctrines of Christ, the Sabbath day, and the Sacrament. Any ideas let me know :) Other than I'm getting excited for the phone call home, weird to think that the next call I make will be the week of me going home! haha, weird... We'll be able to do it by skype, hopefully I'll get more details soon. I'll for sure let you all know. Sorry about the pictures last time, the email thing told me last minute it was too big. Sorry, blame google. haha. Love you all! I know the Lord puts us in places where we can help others if we search for the opportunities and are prepared to follow his Spirit. Pray for some opportunities to serve others this week and pay attention so the opportunities don't pass you by! Love you all and appreciate all your support. First pic is of Elder Stacey and I being sad that he is leaving at the bus terminal Second is of Elder Sheffield and I Love!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Week 6 of a Six Week Transfer

Dear all, I write you this week a tad bit sore! haha. We played some soccer today. Hopefully you'll be able to receive some pictures that I'll try to attach. It was pretty sweet and I scored a pretty nasty goal. haha. I had to buy new tennis shoes though cuz I might have gifted my other ones away to a less active joven (young man). Other than that, this week was pretty average. This week will be the last week of the transfer so you will all find out if I'm leaving next week when I'm already there... I think. haha, I'm not really sure how this mission works yet, everything is pretty weird. We were able to find a bunch of new investigators and a lot of them accepted the baptismal invitation and even accepted a specific date to be baptized, but unfortunately our investigators struggled against the monster that is the sheets on Sunday morning and unfortunately we didn't have anyone attend church with us as far as investigators go. We have however, been able to help quite a few less actives attend church. I think the less actives are what are keeping me sane, because we've really struggled with getting people to attend church with us. The best was that our ward mission leader (who is actually a less active due to his work schedule) took us to a less active who wasn't on the ward list and we actually ended up finding out that he was married and has a young girl. We talked with his wife and she told us about how she was baptized in another part of chile where they had moved, but that she had just come up this past week to visit her husband, John Paul. We ended up inviting her to tell John Paul about basketball the next day that we play with investigators on Saturday morning and they both ended up coming and they came on Sunday. I guess they don't have any set plans, but they're seeing if they'll move back down south or what, because John Paul came back up here after a while because he never found work in the south. We are hoping that they will stay and that we'll be able to share with the man that they are living with who is a "wizard." haha. We met him and he was pretty cool and said he was excited to talk about baptism with us. Should be fun if we can teach him this week. Anyways, enjoy the pics. One is a flower that was at a house that looked super trippy, the other is a spider in our apartment... grr!! and the last of the zone of Illapel at our church after playing soccer. Love you all! thanks for your support! Have a good week and please go to church :) haha.

Monday, November 19, 2012

P Day

All, This week was a pretty good week here in Illapel. We're still battling with our investigators trying to help them to attend church, but we've met some great people lately so I know we'll start seeing some results from our work soon. I have been learning a lot about sacrifice and patience. I suppose anyone who would have a mission time spanning 3 years from when it started to when it would end would learn those things. haha. The other day I read about Abraham and Isaac, which is a story that has always intrigued me and taught me a lot. I found the following scripture- D&C 101:4-5 4 Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son. 5 For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified." His test was so interesting, and he proved worthy. The Lord knows all things from the beginning and knew that Abraham had enough faith to do what he was going to do, but I believe the Lord allowed him to get to the point of sacrificing his son so that Abraham could learn and grow and see how much faith he really had in the Lord. So as we pass through our trials I believe we can learn something important from the trial of Abraham. Sometimes we are tested to get stronger and also so that we can look back later and say, "wow, I didn't know I really had that much faith." or "Look how far I've come" We all have to pass through the refiner's fire at some point to be sanctified. Just something to chew on for the kiddos. :) Anyways, we had a great lesson with a lady named Karina and her mom, Orina this past week. We found them shouting (that's how you knock outside a gate, you shout haaallloooo). They accepted the Restoration really well and had already read Alma 40 from the contact we did with her before the appointment and understood it really well. We're excited to see their progress this week and to help them to attend church on Sunday. Other than that I took a 2 day trip to Los Vilos (another area in the zone which is by the beach and is thus a lot cooler in temperature) because my comp had a leadership meeting in Viña. I was with a new missionary and it was pretty good. Anyways, on the way home we were waiting at the bus terminal for our roughly hour long bus ride when a car pulled up and it ended up that it was a councilor to a mission president in a place called Rancagua, which is close to Santiago. He said David Archuleta is serving in his ward. haha. Anyways, he agreed to drive us home. It was a great favor and allowed us to work for an hour that evening. He and his wife then returned on Sunday and took us to lunch! hahahaha, it was so funny. They took us to some really nice restaurant, but it was really funny cuz it was Sunday. They were super nice and it was a great favor, because they came from another area in our zone named Salamanca on Sunday which is about an hour drive away because they had gone their for the wife's mother's funeral. The Lord blessed us with a tender mercy. Anyways, love you all! Shame on the siblings for not writing in 2 weeks other than Colesters. haha. Have a good week! Eat some turkey and play some football!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Otra semana

All, Not too much to say today! Haha. Just a forewarning, mostly for Josh. This week was pretty rough as far as investigators and visible results go. We taught and then invited 15 people to go to church and 13 just straight up told us no... haha. I guess we'll have to keep looking for people that are willing to act and not just listen. Other than that.... oh! I just remembered, the worst part about Chile- PULGAS! Or in other words, fleas! grrr... they make me so mad. They're everywhere and recently they've been loving getting in my bed with me at night and so my sheets are acquiring some blood spots because they like chewing on my feet. The bites are pretty itchy all the time, but oh well, I think I'm getting used to it. Haha. Oooh, I just remembered a story! haha. This past week we went up this hill to these houses that the people just kind of built on some land and we talked to some people and then a dog came up from behind us so we started walking down the other way and basically there were houses on the right and a really steep hill with bushes on the left. So as we were walking forward all of a sudden like 6 dogs came in front of us! ahh... haha... So my comp decided to charge forward with his book of Mormon in hand and fended them off and then he saw a little path down the steep hill so he jumped down with me hot on his heels fending of the dog behind us with my book. I just jumped off the little ledge and kept waving my book at the dogs for a second and then ran down... luckily they were afraid of the steep hill and didn't follow us. hahaha, it was pretty funny. Other than that, not much stories and our investigators are struggling. Hopefully we can get the young couple Lillian and Fabian to church this week... Lillian is just struggling cuz she likes staying out late on Saturday nights with her friends or something. Anyways, love ya'll. Keep me in your prayers! Have a good week and try and brighten up someone's day this week :) Love!

Monday, November 5, 2012

No hay chiles en Chile

Dear all loved ones everywhere, First off check this out- This week went pretty well here in Illapel. I particularly enjoyed our long walks (about 30 min) to our area amongst the hilly Chilean countryside. The cows even sounded to greet us more cheerfully this past week. hahaha, ok ok ok, but really it was a pretty good week. Our investigators struggled to go to church, but we did manage to help a less active family attend. They're great and I'm learning some sign language because one of the sons is deaf (he's about 20). Hopefully they'll be able to keep showing an example so that their husbands get involved with the church (they won't meet with us currently). On Halloween (which is kind of new here, but is celebrated and the kids go knocking doors), we went to a bonfire and the members shared scary stories, it was pretty fun. Today in the morning we also traveled to Salamanca, about 45 min away, where the rest of our District is at and we made tacos and played basketball and soccer for a bit. It was epic. I'll try and attach some photos, but some of you have been having issues receiving them according to the rejection emails I get back from your email providers. Other than that, I'm running out of time. I love you all mucho! Questions brought to you by Rach: How is Chile? It is good. I'm in a part really far away from everything right now, and it is getting hotter each day. haha, at least our hills aren't as big as some in the mission. Do you like it better or worse than Argentina? Haha, umm, I dunno, they're 2 really different places, but alike in many other ways. I like and dislike things about both I suppose. What the heck happened with your companion? He fainted and fell, we think it is cuz we ate a lot of meat and his blood sugar went down because he is a little hyper glycemic? yeah... Is he healthy now? Haha so weird. He is just chipper, with a nice scabby. Anywho, love you all! Have a great week, you're always in my prayers :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Illapel no pics

Welp, After a full week here in Illapel I have a lot of stories to tell! Haha... This morning at about 5 am I heard my comp elder stacey get up and then I was sleepy so I don´t remember much but then all of a sudden he was like groaning and after like a minute he shouted "Elder Trayner, help!" So I got up and he was laying on the tile floor in the main room and I couldn't really see much else so I turned the lights on and he was laying next to a pool of blood! He told me he had fainted and I was just like... what?? haha... I didn't really know what was going on, so I got him a pillow and his blankets cuz it was really cold and cleaned up all the blood. He then tried to get up when all of a sudden his face went like blank and he just laid down again and was unresponsive. It was crazy! But after like 10 seconds he was responding again, but it was pretty scary. He said that he had fainted again. So he asked for a blessing and I gave him one and then I called the zone leaders to get the mission nurse's number. They didn't have it, but I looked it up in my folder they gave me when I arrived. I told her about it and she told me to give him some sugar water and get him back in bed. So I did and he took his time and then had to go the bathroom so he asked me to give him a bottle... hahahaha. so he did his business in the bottle and then I had to throw it in the toilet. Yuck. hahaha. Then he finished the sugar water and I carried him back in to his bed. It was all kind of gay.. but whatever, that's how missionary work is sometimes hahahaha. He is doing fine now, but he's got a pretty nice battle wound on the bridge of his nose and a few marks on his forehead. Hahahaha, I hope you all enjoyed that story. Hopefully you can get the photos attached. Other than that, we started out opening this area with 0 investigators, but we taught 11 new people this week, so that was good. The coolest people would have to be Victor, who is an English professor and is Adventist. He was really interested and we actually taught him the first time we met in English. Haha, he is super cool. After explaining the restoration he asked how Peter James and John could have ordained Joseph Smith if they were dead. Or basically his question was where it comes out in the bible that they had already resurrected. So we left him Alma 40 and we'll be talking about how the first resurrection already started right after Christ resurrected. Should be good fun. Haha We're also teaching a young couple named Lillian and Fabian that we met knocking. She expressed her desire to keep the tradition of baptizing babies in her family because they have a little wawita (baby in chilean), and so we talked about baptism and infant baptism and left Moroni 8 for her to read. When we went back a couple days later she told us she had really liked and understood it. Everything is going well and we'll be talking about the restoration soon. We also helped a couple of less actives to come to church that hadn't been in a looong time. It was exciting to see. There really isn't anything better than helping someone and seeing them start receiving the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Other than that, everyone is excited for Halloween here. I can't believe it, but they actually celebrate it like us back in the states. Chile is very much more americanized than Argentina. Anyways, not much else to say or tell. Love you all! The first photo is a barbecue (asado) we went to with some members of the branch. Second is of Elder Stacey this morning.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Yo, So this past week due to the fact that we had the visit of Elder Oaks we had an early transfer and thus I'm writing today rather than tomorrow. I found out Wednesday night that I was getting transferred and then on Thursday I went to a meeting and met me new comp (see photo), Elder Stacey and found out we were heading to..... Illapel! Haha... it's a tiny little town about 4 hours north of Viña. Anyways, because of the meeting and traveling issues, I stayed in Vina until after the meeting with Elder Oaks on Saturday. The meeting with Elder Oaks was great. We started off by all shaking his and his wife's hands, and also President and Sister Arnold (Area President). It was a great experience. After that we got to hear from President and Sister Kahnlein and they talked about serving with all of your heart, might, mind, and strength. Then President and Sister Arnold spoke and they talked about teaching the basics of the Gospel and also about dedicating 100% of ourselves to the work. We finished off hearing from Elder and Sister Oaks who talked about revelation and he allowed us to share our experiences with revelation and then he expounded on the gospel truths we shared. It was a great meeting and I left feeling inspired to be more dedicated and to work even harder to bring to pass the salvation of God's children here in Illapel. I also learned a lot about revelation. I think a lot of the past few months the Lord has been teaching me about revelation. We arrived here late Saturday night and moved into our "new" apartment... there were old people there still taking their stuff out... it's pretty much a mess... haha.... so hopefully they get all their junk out soon so we can clean it up a bit. They said they would remodel the bathroom today... let's hope that gets done... haha. Then Sunday morning we managed to find our way to church and we arrived in the branch with our zone leaders. One is the 2nd counselor of the branch and the other the secretary. In the end between us missionaries we blessed and passed the sacrament, gave the talks (I talked about the why of missionary work). and directed the meeting as the branch president was sick and the 1st counselor is inactive. haha. There was an attendance of 27 counting small children and 4 missionaries. hahaha, we are excited to get to work and get the attendance up. There are a lot of less actives and the zone leaders have been working with the members at all and they don't have a good relationship with them... it should be fun! I'm excited. I love small branches. Anyways, time to go! Love you all! Thanks for your love, support, and testimonies. Share it with someone this week!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vina Del Mar

Everyone, I don't have much time to write today, but this past week was pretty rough, but I still have my head up. :) Transfers are next week so I think I'll write on Tuesday. Just so you know. I was sorry to hear about the passing of Pa, but I know we'll see him again. Death always makes us reflect on where we are and what our priorities are. It has almost been a year since the 2 missionaries moved on from the McAllen mission. That was an event that helped me see things more clearly and motivated me to be better. How grateful I am for the knowledge we have of the Atonement and the Resurrection. I appreciate all of your prayers on my behalf. I miss you all, but know I am well! I love this work and can't escape the feeling of gratitude that fills my heart, just being able to be here in Chile serving the Lord. Hope you all have a great week!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Chile week 2 no pics

Dear All, This week was pretty good here in Vina del Mar and General Conference was great! We had a couple of amazing lessons this week. We are teaching an 18 year old named Jean Franco, we left him a Book of Mormon and the assignment to pray and when we went back a few days later he said he had received his answer. We knelt down and prayed at the end of the lesson and he gave God thanks for the answer he had received and he said "I testify that I have felt that this book is true." It was amazing. It is always great to see your investigators receive their testimony before your eyes. We also had an amazing lesson with an older lady named Roxana. She is probably about 60 or so, but she is very active. We only had the one lesson with her, but she talked about her faith and how she had overcome breast cancer. We talked to her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about the Book of Mormon and a little bit of the Restoration. She had previously heard some good things about the church from a good friend that was a member that she had when she used to live in Santiago years ago. When we handed her the Book of Mormon she hugged it and was so happy. I marked her a few paragraphs in the introduction and also 3 Nephi 11 (we talked about Jesus Christ visiting the Americas). At the Sunday afternoon session we didn't see anyone until after it ended I walked into the chapel and she spotted me and came up all super excited saying how she had loved it! She is a very special lady with so much love and excitement for the Gospel. The Lord truly gave us a miracle this week. Anyways, I loved conference! I don't have my notes so I'm left to what's in my mind right now, but I loved the talk about having a testimony and being converted and how they are different, but how they go together. I truly have felt my conversion happen within these last 3 years, though I did have a testimony. Conversion takes living the gospel and having it change your heart and your desires to those of God. I love the Gospel, I love being a missionary, and I love my life! Mom and Dad- thank you so much for everything you've taught me and your amazing examples. You have raised a great family. Siblings- you all have inspired me so much and have shown me the way to or back to the path. Thank you. I love you all very much and I'm so grateful for these experiences the Lord is allowing me to have as one of His representatives. I truly have been blessed. I love you all! I hear Pa isn't doing well. I'll keep him in my prayers. I just want you all to know that I know this gospel is true! I have always truly known, but I hadn't really been living it until these past few years, which thus was impeding my conversion. I can truly say today that I have been converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that I have felt to sing of his redeeming love. I hope every one of you have felt that or can come to feel it, because it is the best thing that has happened to me. I also loved Elder Holland's talk. Let us be true followers of Jesus Christ. I don't have much else to say and I need to head to go sign some paperwork! I love you all! Have a good week and please write me about your favorite conference talk/experience. Love!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chile Po

Dear all, I made it to Chile! The flights were long, but I had some pretty interesting people next to me on the flights so it wasn't too bad. haha. President Kahnlein picked me up at the airport and then we picked up the assistants from the temple in Santiago (they got a special exception to go because one is leaving at the beginning of next week) and then headed to the mission home where I proceeded to eat lunch with the Kahnlein family! Haha- it was really funny because I've never had a mission president with children. It's pretty fun. Then my comp came and picked me up. His name is Elder Rivera and he is from Guatemala. He is super cool guy! Another missionary (From Ecuador) and I arrived randomly this past week so they actually just put us both with the zone leaders here in Vina del Mar and we split the area until transfers in 3 weeks. Splitting the area didn't go very well for us just because it is all mountainous!!! My legs are really sore and I've got a couple gnarly blisters, but I'll be fine. haha. We're back to the good ole days of being late and running to the apartment. I'm sure I'll lose plenty of weight. I'll try and get some pictures of the giant hills we climb soon. They say it is worse in Valparaiso... haha... I'm sure I'll get used to it. The members seem to be super cool... I'll go ahead and answer dad's questions now. 1. What does the language sound like in Chile? They sound like Argentines but with no sh sounds. They use a lot of different words though, but most are for slang things. Other than that basically the same vocabulary as Argentina. Elder Rivera always laughs at my Mexican spanish because it is pretty much the same as Guatemala. 2. Any strange foods yet? Nope, I've only had 2 meals up until this point. One at the mission home which was cheese burgers and another with a member yesterday that was like a 4 course meal (they live in a really nice area)/ 3. Any signs of mountains or is it all flat like Texas? As I said, it's like all mountains. Or super big hills... whichever you prefer. But then you can definitely see the beach and everything. It's super pretty. Definitely a lot better looking place to go on a reunion visit than Buenos Aires... haha. Definitely nothing like the landscape of Texas. 4. What was your first Sunday like? It was good. They had me share my testimony- it went well. There are 10 missionaries in the ward right now actually with us 2 newcomers.. haha... so in that aspect this ward reminds me of texas, but other than here there are generally 2 elders in each ward. We just have 4 office elders, the assistants, and us 4. 5. Have you used any of the words you got from Elder Cañas yet? Haha, yup, I impressed many Chileans with my chilean vocabulary. All of them are very confused about how I speak Spanish so well. haha, I just say I lived on the Mexican border to make things simple. 6. What about all those ties, did customs let them in without a tax? hahahaha, yep. My roommates were bewildered when I took them all out. So funny. Mom- I forgot you put those dried mangos and nuts in my bag! I just hurried and ate them all on the flight to make it simple and not have any problems. haha. What else? I forgot how ghetto the housing for missionaries is down here. They say ours is one of the best. haha. I've successfully impressed many people with my Spanish. President Kahnlein gave me a "10." haha. The work is quite a bit different here, and they've been struggling. On average they've been baptizing about 60-70 a month. When I left Buenos Aires we were baptizing 130-140 a month and in McAllen about 70 as well. Soo, the mission needs some help and I'm happy to be here to be able to help out! In other news- i just realized I forgot my big coats and my winter boots... haha.... but it should be warm the whole time I'm here. Right now it is kind of chilly in Chile. haha... sorry... so we wear sweaters (stupid call packet...), but I'm just wearing short sleeves because it feels so great coming from texas. haha. I don't really know what else to say! I love you all! Hopefully I can send some letters out soon to the friends and everything, but it might take me a couple weeks to get settled and find the post office and all, and then I'll probably be transferred... haha. I appreciate all the letters, even though it seems mom and dad are the only ones who love me this week! haha, j/k, i just talked to most of you anyways. Love you all! Take care and thanks for your support!

Monday, September 24, 2012


All, Welp, if you haven't heard... I'm heading to Chile on Friday! Haha... I'll be serving in the Chile, Vina del Mar mission. They say it is kind of like San Francisco geographically. Pretty mountainous and yet close to the coast as Chile is such a skinny country. You can research a bit if you want by looking up Vina del Mar or Valparaiso. Anyways, I'm super excited! Haha- I never thought I would go out of the country again, but the Lord surprised me. Haha. Even better is that my Mission President is from Buenos Aires. Not going to lie, I am a bit trunky- but it isn't bad to be trunky to go to your mission, right? haha. Anyways, I spent a good week with the Zone Leaders in the Mission Zone (Alton, Tx). We had 10 people at church and helped 2 people accept a baptismal date for this Sunday (they've already been learning and attending)! Pretty exciting stuff. I don't have much to say... I'm sure I'll have plenty to say next week! Haha. Someone send me another good list of questions and I'll respond. That seems to work best. I love you all and appreciate your support. Keep me in your prayers and I'll see you sometime next year! :) Oh- also, I won't be using this email anymore. Please write to the following email or the following address will be the mission office address. Elder Zachary John Trayner Chile Viña del Mar Mission 4 Norte 1112 Casilla 631 Viña del Mar Valparaiso Chile

Monday, September 17, 2012

Another Transfer of E Trayner

To All, Well I just got transferred again. It was a long morning of riding in a truck, but I made it in one piece back down to McAllen. I'm in the Mission zone now with the Mission Zone Leaders, Elder Maldonado and Elder Sanchez. I'm excited to work here, but I'm getting antsy for the reassignment news. I suppose it should come soon, but as we know there never really are time expectations for Zach Trayner. Haha. Well the baptism for our friend Jillian went well yesterday. Her family was sad to hear I was leaving, but that's just how the mission is. I would send pictures, but these library computers aren't letting me :( Anyways, I heard about the BYU vs UofU game... Lame! I guess they're just saving it all until I get back next year. Everyone should send in their guesses on the reassignment! I already have a couple to Florida and California, and some random guesses like New York, Montana, and the Carolinas. Haha. Anyways, I love you all! If you want to mail me something it is probably best sent to the mission offices at 200 w La Vista Ave, McAllen Tx 78501, Have a great week, until next week!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Big News

A Todos, Hello everyone. This week was pretty decent. We taught a new investigator whose wallet was still wet, love it! He went to church with his brother who is a permigator (an investigator forever). Other than that our good friend Jilly (she is a 9 year old in a part member family that we've helped reactivate) passed her interview and will be baptized next Sunday! The big news, however, is that we got news from the Missionary Department!!!! But the news isn't my visa. haha- they just said I could choose if I wanted to count some of this time I have served here in McAllen, and also if I wanted to get reassigned or what. So after much prayer and fasting I decided that I would like to be reassigned now while still waiting for the visa and that I want to finish in mid May/early June. Sooo they should be reassigning me shortly to somewhere until my visa comes. I think it will be the best because if I end up not having much time left before May then they won't send me to Argentina, so I figure it's better to reasssign now rather than later and just doing a couple months. I love the Texas McAllen Mission, but I think it's best that I get a little further away from home haha- plus I don't think the General Authorities will reassign me to somewhere where I'm not supposed be. Haha, so I'm excited. It's also good to have a end of service date, I think it will help motivate me a little bit more. Anyways, this past week I finished the Book of Mormon again! I love it! It's always a great feeling to finish it and realize how much stronger your testimony grows each time. I know it was written by ancient prophets of God and that Joseph Smith was the Lord's instrument in bringing it forth and translating it. I know that whoever will take the time to read it, ponder it's teachings, and pray with an honest desire to know will come to know of it's truth and validity by the power of the Holy Ghost. I am so grateful for having been into such a supportive family that has taught me priniciples of light and truth. I am grateful for opportunity to be a missionary and for the desire God has wrought in me to be better than I have been before. I have learned that if we put God first, everything else will turn out, and that in the process of passing through trials the Lord is able to refine us if we turn to Him. The mission has been a refining and defining experience up to this point and I know the Lord only has greater things in store for me ahead. I pray for you all every night! Thank you so much for your support and love! You all are part of why I am here and why I am who I am. Thank you for your examples that have spoken much louder than your words and I hope I can emulate your example and continue to bring more people to the truth! I love you all! Until next week.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Yo, This week was a pretty good one. We're working with a couple part member families who have a child each that need to be baptized that are progressing well. We dropped a few investigators this past week and so we'll be looking to find more new investigators and families this week. I keep waiting for the visa, though I've been praying and thinking about it and I might have a change of plans soon, but we'll see. Hopefully the visa will just show up this week :) haha. Anyways, I don't have too much to say! The mission is great! It's always sad getting transferred because you come to love the people so much, but I've learned that no matter what happens there are always great people that you can come to love if you serve them. The mission is so great to prepare you for life. I feel extremely grateful for the opportunity the Lord has given me to be a missionary and to serve Him at this time. I know I'm here for a reason, so I'll keep working as hard as I can to help Him bring to pass His work. Love you all! Until next week!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Laredo-Nye City

Hello all, This past week I was transferred to Laredo to a place called (for some reason...) Nye City. I am with Elder Quezada, who is originally from California, then somewhere in UT, then he was studying at UT State. Haha. He's a pretty cool guy. To start off I will be answering questions from Josh. How is the new area? Good! There is a lot of potential, I feel like the people here are really receptive and humble. We have some good things already going, but we'll get more going :) Are you serving in a branch or ward? Spanish or English speaking? 2 Branches- 1 english 1spanish, they are all branches here because it is a District here in Laredo. The whole mission is just "Tex Mex" speaking. What size is the congregation? How many actually attend? Good question, I'm sure dad could tell you. haha, but they are both decently sized with like 6ish missionaries in each branch. What are some interesting stories from this week? I got really sick and my tonsils got all huge. I suppose that's interesting. Oh- I suppose it is interesting that in a large portion of my area you can see Mexico and even the river! haha, pretty cool. Do you eat with the members? My companion said we do, but I don't think we really do. I'll be fixing it shortly and making a schedule with the members so we can work more consistently with them. Are you still engordando? Not this week. I just ate fruit blends that I made (licuados). We'll see what happens in this regard in the following weeks as my throat heals. Why do you always send pictures of you with funny faces eating cereal? lol. That last one is funny. I send them for my nephews and nieces so they don't get too bored and because I know you all love my face. What was the hardest thing about this week? We have been working with a large family whose mother disappeared after bringing them over from mexico, and we had a really good lesson about church, but they failed to attend once again. We'll most likely be dropping them this week. :/ What was the funnest thing you did all week? Funnest thing... We taught a couple good lessons to little kids and we were also asked to help teach primary... haha.... so I suppose you can imagine what kind of fun was to be had there. My comp kinda looks and acts like a darker pee wee herman. hahahahaha. Anyways, those were his questions. Haha, hope you enjoyed them. But the area here is good. The apartment and car were TERRIBLE when I arrived, but today we did a pretty good job cleaning and I'm sure it will be a battle and process to get them to where I want to be especially when my roommates aren't so inclined to cleaning... but yeah, should be fun. Hopefully I'll be able to get some pictures sent soon, I don't know if we can send them at this library, but this area is pretty humble, poor, and dirty- which is great! Makes me feel right at home, except a little (a lot) hotter. Anyways, I think my visa will come next week. We'll see what happens. Love you all! Here is my new address- 310 e San Pedro #4 Laredo, Tx 78041 Love!

Monday, August 20, 2012


Dear all, Time is short, but all you really need to know is that I'm getting transferred! I'll be heading out west about 4 hours to Laredo! Apparently I'll be right next to the Mexican border there as well (we have the bridge here in Hidalgo to go to Reynosa). I'll definitely miss all the people here in Hidalgo, but that's how the mission goes. Hopefully I'll find my way back down here to the valley to visit all of my friends after the mish (if it ever ends... haha). I'll put some farewell pictures in the email. Other that that I don't have any funny stories or anything (sorry!). Anywho, I'm sure I'll have plenty to say next week, try and ask me some questions about the place so I can answer them! I'm not very good at describing things. haha. Love you all! Keep up on your scripture reading!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Waiting in South Texas

Dear everyone, Another week has gone by of waiting in South Texas! At the end of this week it will make 5 months of waiting as a missionary! This week I have attached a few photos. I did win the game of bowling and that is my score at the top. That is our buddy Mack who was baptized by Bro. Bentley. He described it as one of the best moments of his life and he couldn't stop talking about how he liked it. Elder Fullmer appears at the end modeling a Jorongo or Zarape according to our Norteño friends (people from the north of mexico). Anyways, hope you enjoy them. I don't have too much to say this week- Mack was confirmed and we're helping him to continue progressing- hopefully we can get the ward a little more on board. Haha, they're doing alright. Anyways, I'm out of time today! Sorry! I'll try and be more entertaining some letter soon. love!

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Baptism of Mack Wright

Dear everyone, This week went well. We had the baptism of our good buddy Mack Wright. He was baptized by the member who referred us to him who is his eye doctor, Bro. Bentley. He also happens to be the high priest group leader, which works out quite nicely as Mack is 73 years old. It was an adventure getting him all ready and into the font, but it all worked out and even his feeble old knees were able to bend enough to make it under the water. He will be confirmed the following week. It was a great experience. Unfortunately the computers here at the library aren't allowing me and my comp to access our cameras, so I won't be able to send a picture this week- please remind me next week. There is still no word on the visa for those of you who, like me, are anxiously waiting. Although Dad did hear from President Gulbrandsen and he says he is getting to the point where he wants to pull strings to get me there! haha. Well other than that we have some new investigators, but I'll tell about them once they start progressing a little more, but most of our previous investigators have fallen off the boat unfortunately. Anyways, time to go! Thanks for all your support and love! Take care and do a good deed today! Love!

Monday, July 30, 2012


Queridos amigos, This week went pretty well. We are preparing our good bud Mack for baptism on Sunday, he had a fight with coffee, but he committed himself and has done really well staying away from it. This week was another week full of food from our members, but luckily we've gotten them to progress a bit in their participation in missionary work! haha, tonight we'll have an fhe with a member family who has invited their friends over. Should be fun. Other than that, not too much going on here... we'll be going bowling today and I suppose my visa will be showing up shortly! Another visa waiter received his this week, so mine shouldn't be far behind. As far as other investigators gooo... Brandon and his family have dropped the ball pretty bad so he won't make it to his date which was for this week and Victor moved to Mississippi and so he obviously won't be getting baptized the 12th either. So there were some pretty rough disappointments this week, but we're excited for Mack and we're excited for the progress the members are making. We're actually planning an activity that we'll do in a few weeks where we'll assign the members to make some typical mexican foods from each mexican state and then we'll kind of rotate around to the different states and have a presentation about the states. Should be exciting. We've already gained a lot of member participation so now we just need to work on them reaching our goal which is for each family to invite 3 people and that at least one comes to the activity. We're excited, but my visa should probably be here before then ;) haha, anyways, love you all! Thanks for your support and letters (emails). Have a good week!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Dear loved ones, This week we faced some challenges. Our main investigators are Mack (the old man referral from member), Brandon (the 9 year old in the less active family), and Victor (the 21 year old son of a less active). Unfortunately the latter 2 did not attend this week and Mack has been struggling with coffee. Though in good news a friend moved in with a less active recent convert (who is now returning to the church) who lost her husband and is left with her 2 young children (7 and 2). We only had time to explain church and invite her, but she went! Hopefully this week we'll be able to teach her and get her progressing towards baptism and salvation :) Other than that... not much goin on! Just lookin for new investigators and waiting for a visa! Some members said they're going to bring me over some mexican clothes from Reynosa (Mexico)- should be good. haha. Other than that we had a couple of good lessons- one of which is when we shared a Mormon Message (Forgiveness: My Burden Was Made Light) with some members and we were able to feel the Spirit really strong as we talked about how we build our foundation on Christ and that we only have that foundation through the Restoration of the Gospel. Hopefully they'll start participating more actively in missionary work now. Not much else to say! Keep praying for my visa and I guess we'll just keep waiting on the Lord! Love you all! Thank you for everything you do and have done. Have a good week and don't miss a day of scripture reading!

Monday, July 16, 2012


Dear all beloved friends and family, Another week has gone by here in Dihalgo (Hidalgo). This week was... ok I suppose. Mack Wright (our old friend)'s baptism is set for the 29th, but we need to make sure he stops drinking coffee ASAP, so that he can make it to that day. Yesterday a senior missionary gave him some type of replacement, so we're hoping that will work for him. Other than that we've been able to see the Spirit start to work on him, we've been focusing a lot on the plan of salvation and I think that is what has really helped him most. In other news, our baptismal date for the 5th of August, Brandon Fuentes, also went to church. The bad part is that his parents didn't :( . Supposedly something happened to their truck is what Grandma Fuentes told us. But at least all the kiddos went! They're a great family. Hopefully we can keep the parents going. Other than that, we have a few other investigators that are hard to get a hold of, so they aren't doing too much. In other news, I had my companion try flan this past week! Haha, he liked it. We're still being spoiled by our members with food, which probably isn't very good for our "diets." haha. But we've been playing basketball 2x a week in the morning at least. Anyways, things are good, hopefully they'll keep getting better and then I'll get the cherry on top (the visa...) haha. Love you all! Thanks for your support and letters/emails- especially mom and nicole, my emailers in the family this week. ;) Have a good week!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Another Transfer

Yellow all, This week marks a new transfer in Hidalgo! I'll still be with Elder Fullmer, but some changes will be happening in the District, so I am pretty excited for the new blood. This past few weeks have been pretty tough, as I feel like I'm having to face a lot of trials, but everything seems to be turning up so it must mean my visa is coming any day now. Haha. Mom sent me a letter with a quote from this talk so I read it all- it is really good if you would like to read it (recommended). Haha. Anywho, we put another baptismal date with Mack Wright, our old buddy for the 29th and we successfully stole all of his coffee this past week, so we're excited for him to progress and make that leap of faith. We also started working with a less active family who are actually distantly (by marriage) related to my converts Martin and Alicia. The whole family went back to church for the first time in 5 years yesterday. They have a 9 year old who hasn't been baptized and he agreed to prepare to be baptized the 5th of August, so we will be working with them so he can do that. The only thing is (Dad I might need some direction with this...) that the kids don't speak spanish so they can't go where most of the family goes and they didn't want to go to the English ward where they belong, so they want to go to the other English ward in the stake because the dad of the family (Eddie Fuentes)'s aunt goes there. So anyways, we'll see if they end up attending there or where, but at least they went to church again since it has been a loooong time. Our good buddy Victor also showed up at church so we'll probably put another date with him, he just needs to stay in town... 0.o Welp, love you all! Thanks for your support! Keep prayin for that visa :) haha Take care and read that talk!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Almost my 3rd 4th of July in the Mission

Hello everyone, I almost celebrate my 3rd 4th of July in the mission. I came home in June though so I just missed it though. Laame. But anyways, hopefully this week goes better because last week was pretty bad. We've been really trying to find new investigators, but so far nothing has worked for us- everyone fails the following appointments and avoids us. But not much we can do, but reanalyze our effort and keep trying. So far no word on the visa, who knows when it will come... it's been almost 4 months now! Hopefully it comes soon so then I can go home (to McAllen) in June of next year and then head home with the rents in July. That would be good, but I guess it just comes down to what the Lord has in mind and not what I have in mind! I don't really have much to say... hopefully you guys can come up with some interesting questions so I can write something more exciting. Haha. I guess the fun fact of the week is that we got fed almost 2x per day almost every day this week by the members- at least I've been working out more in the mornings, we spend a lot of time feeling full. Now if they would just give more referrals! :/ Anyways, love you all, have a splendid week and don't forget to read and pray daily. :) Love!

Monday, June 25, 2012


This week was pretty decent.  A few of our investigators failed us (especially on Sunday), but we look forward to a great week this week and the opportunity to find new investigators who are ready to keep the commitments.  Everything has been going pretty well other than my visa never coming... I found out today there are 24 of us waiting to go to my mission in Buenos Aires... So keep praying!  At least President Gulbrandsen said that he wants me to go whenver it arrives and not to wait for a transfer.  Hopefully it will come soon so it won't further adversely affect school next year.  Anywho, sometimes it seems like I'll be a missionary forever, but I guess that's a great thing to be stuck as forever.  Haha.  Anywho, I love you all and love reading your emails and uplifting words!  Take care and make sure to keep doing the little things!

Monday, June 18, 2012


A mis seres queridos,
This week was a great week here!  Our investigators that we've been working with have encountered a few problems and so they might take some more time to fully accept the gospel, but we found a couple of great young men (19 and 20) who are excited to learn more and both accepted baptismal dates.  Ricardo who is 19, unfortunately did not attend church, but we are hoping to keep working with him and get him to receive the blessings of church next week.  Victor, whose mother is a member, has been really receptive and was almost baptized a few months ago before he left to new york for a year.  We are really excited and happy with what is going on in our area.
No news yet on the visa, keep up your prayers and perhaps this is a visa that can only be taken out by fasting!!  Haha.  We'll see, hopefully it gets here soon, next week is transfers in Buenos Aires.  No other news to report...  I love you all!  Keep up the good work and share the gospel with a friend or coworker this week!  Invite them to "come and see," thus giving them the option to receive the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ!  Have a great week!

Monday, June 11, 2012


Dear All,

I don't have much time today, but I just wanted to write quickly.  We're still working with a few investigators (Mack and Carlos) and they are slowly progressing, but it looks like we'll probably have to move back their baptisms.  This week we really want to find new investigators and get them progressing towards baptism.  I am also praying my visa comes soon, President Gulbrandsen said that some visa waiters are going to the other BsAs missions next week, so let's hope I sneak into that group.  To be honest the past couple weeks have been pretty hard, but I know I just need to keep my head up and be patient and that with faith everything will come out ok.  I love you all and hope you are all firmly holding onto the iron rod.  Have a good week!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Elder Fullmer arrives, Elder Nielson leaves

Dear everyone,

This past week was a pretty trying week, but we ended up with a few people at church and we have a lot of great people that should convert from potentials to actual investigators this week.  Last Tuesday my companion, Elder Nielson, was transferred up to Corpus Christi, and my new companion, Elder Fullmer arrived.  He as well is from Idaho, but from Pocatello.  He is excited about the work and being back down here in the valley and speaking Spanish.  His Spanish needs some work, but it is definitely a step up from Elder Nielson's.  Haha.  It should be a great week this week.

Other than that, I hope you all are praying daily!  Not just to pray, but to pray for my visa!  haha, we'll have to wait and see if it ever comes.  It's great working in this mission, especially here in Hidalgo, but I am really excited to get to Argentina... Anyways, I love you all and appreciate so much all of your support, not just the support you have given me now, but for all the prayers through the years and the examples you have been to me!  Especially the family :)  Love you all!  Have a great week!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Baptism of Martin and Alicia Teran!

Dear all,
This past Sunday after church we had the baptism of Martin and Alicia Teran!  I have attached a photo of just them and their daughter, as my camera died before we could take more pictures.  Haha.  It was a great service and supposedly we (the missionaries) sang our special number really well and everything seemed to turn out really well and we had decent participation from the ward members as well.  Baptisms are the best.  You can just feel the Spirit so strongly during the ordinance and I love when the converts give their testimonies after (which they did).  It's great to hear how grateful they are for your service as a missionary and also to hear how the Gospel of Jesus Christ has changed their lives.  :)  So yes, it was a great first baptismal service for me as a missionary here in Texas.  I hear that the 2 people I was teaching in Brownsville in preparation for baptism are also doing really well.  The Lord really has blessed me to be able to meet such great and prepared people.
Anyways, my comp (Elder Nielson) has already left and I am currently on an exchange with another Elder while I wait for my companion (Elder Fullmer) to come down from Corpus Christi at 6 PM.  It should be interesting seeing if I can get around this area as I've only ever sat in the passenger seat and my comp always knew where he was going.  But it should be a good experience and I'm sure it will help my comp to learn the area quickly as well.  I am hoping that this companion speaks a little more spanish as Elder Nielson really struggled with Spanish, but if not I'm sure he'll progress quickly.
I don't have too much else to say!  The work is going great here.  I feel like the members and leaders have a lot of confidence in us as missionaries (at least for my area, and the others are progressing as well), and we are starting to work better together to accomplish the work of the Lord here.  I love being a missionary and being able to help in these small wards.  The people are great, and I think dad was right when he said I probably love the people here as much as I do the people in Argentina.  haha, but don't worry it will all change when I get back there!  Haha.  Anyways, I'm excited to get started with my new comp!  But I'm going to keep praying for my visa to hurry up haha :)  Love you all!  Thanks for your love and support and letters and packages (ok well you could send more packages... haha)  Have a great week!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hidalgo and El Bautismo

Friends, family, and... conocidos,
This week was a pretty solid week down here in Texas.  We found a solid new investigator named Mack Wright, who apparently went by Sonny Wright and was the number 1 golfer in mexico for 3 years.  Haha, he was a member referral and he is pretty old, but he is really excited to learn and to be baptized on the 16th of June.  We have to teach him really slow and allow him time to swear at his dog, molly, and as well to allow him to say how "dang ignorant" he is.  Haha, he's been a hoot so far, but we're excited to help him out and get him to church this week.
This Sunday we'll have the baptism of Alicia Teran!  She is super excited and passed her interview on Sunday already.  The interesting part is that we have been waiting for her husband, Martin's, records to come in, but we still have no results so we're going to call in today or tomorrow to find out for sure.  If the church offices can't find anything then it looks like he'll have to be baptized again, because he doesn't have the certificate and he doesn't remember the dates or the names of the people that did the ordinances.  We have an appointment tonight, so we'll see what he says.  We might end up baptizing him Saturday, having him confirmed then or on Sunday, then interviewed and able to receive the priesthood so he can baptize his wife, but we'll see.  Haha- it's always an interesting circumstance.  Anywho, that's pretty much all for me this week.  It was great hearing from all of you and just so you know there is still no word on my visa, we just keep waiting!  Keep praying for it to come if (well those of you who aren't here... haha) you would like to be able to see me again any time soon.  Hahaha.  I love you all!  Thanks for your support!  Don't forget C.P.R!!  Church, prayers, and reading!  haha :)

Monday, May 14, 2012


Howdy amigos,
Another great week has gone by in the life of Elder Zachary Trayner.  I enjoyed my first week in Hidalgo and so far I like it mucho.  It's like Brownsville, but without all the things I didn't like.  Haha.  I prefer the small wards and less missionaries, so I feel a lot better here.  Haha.  The members seem super great and I already knew quite a few of them haha.  So it has been pretty fun and we had a good mothers day activity on Saturday that we enjoyed with the members and with Alicia Teran (our investigator who is preparing for the 27th).  We're still waiting for her husband's records to arrive to the ward so that the bishop can interview him for the priesthood.  Hopefully it will arrive this week so that they can do the interview and get him the priesthood before/on the the 27th.  They're great.
Mmmm... I don't have much else to say.  Ask me some questions and I'll be able to write better letters.  haha.  I love you all, thank you for your support!  Don't forget to read your scriptures today!  Hope you enjoy the attached photos!

Monday, May 7, 2012


Greetings all acquaintances, friends, and family members,
This past week was really great!  We had 9 investigators at church and are set to baptize weekly this month... and then I got picked up last night (Sunday night) and transferred to Hidalgo.  Haha.  So I'm going to miss the baptisms of a couple of amazing people (George and Sister Garza), but I am excited to work here.  There were some issues with disobedience and so an Elder was transferred and that's how I ended up here and now I'm the District Leader, so it should be exciting.  I'm excited to help the missionaries here and to build up the wards (we have an English and a Spanish ward).  So far it seems like we have one solid investigator and a couple that have just been kind of "floating," but hopefully we'll be able to meet with most of them and set expectations of what we really intend to do (help them exercise their faith and repent by starting to read, pray, and go to church, be baptized, etc.).
There is still no word on my visa, but they have everything they need from us for a few weeks sooo... hopefully it will be soon.  I have a bunch of pictures I need to send, but I just keep forgetting and I don't have a sd/usb adapter.  But I should be able to borrow one soon.  I showed mom some and she loved them haha.  I don't really have too much to say... I'm excited to work here in Hidalgo!  Oh, and my new comp is Elder Nielson from Boise Idaho.  This is still his first area and he has been here about 8 months, so he should know it pretty well, we'll see how it goes.
Anyways I love you all!  I appreciate your letters and emails!  Sorry if I haven't written some of you back, I wasn't in charge of managing time on Pday so I didn't have much time to write (like last week when I didn't even get to send an email...haha)  Anyways, I should be able to write soon. I love you all!  Don't forget to read in the Book of Mormon today!

Monday, April 23, 2012

A few more weeks here??

Dear todos-
Another week has gone by here in Brownsville, this week our investigators faced a lot of opposition.  The Almeida kids (Barbara, Oscar, and Deborah) ended up not getting baptized.  At first it was just Barbara who said she didn't want to get baptized any more- she just said it was cuz her life was already good and she didn't really want to start another one.  We tried to explain how even Jesus Christ was baptized and that it is a commandment that we're all baptized, but she just didn't understand or want to understand.  But Oscar and Deborah were really excited to get baptized and had and passed their baptismal interviews, but then Saturday night that had to go with their mom to their uncle's house- and we think they got anti'd there or something.  We tried to go by many times during Sunday, but they weren't home and finally we got a call from Carmen (the mom) and she just said they didn't want to get baptized anymore... :/  So we'll have to see what happened, but it was a super downer for Sunday.
On a positive note- we were able to see a miracle when our investigator Hermana (sister) Garza came to church by herself.  We had an awesome church tour with them earlier in the week, but we knew her husband already had to go to mexico on Sunday, but her 20 year old daughter was supposed to go too, but last second she backed out on her mom, but her mom came and loved church.  We had an excellent member/recent convert talk with her and she started crying and everything, but it was awesome to see how brave she was by coming by herself and trying to set the example.  We just need her to keep it up and we know they will follow.
I went on a few exchanges (well, I didn't really exchange myself for anyone, but rather went and helped another area haha) this week in other areas and was able to talk with a lot of intersting people.  I will actually be returning to go out with Elder Irwin and Jackson to teach a family for the second time that we found knocking when I was with them.  We knocked and the mom answered and we started talking to her about the restored gospel and she was really interested- so she made her 12 year old and I think 9 year old boys come to the door to listen too.  We then asked if we could continue talking inside and she let us right in.  She had a lot of excellent questions- where did we come from?  Why are there so many churches?  How can I find the truth?  And so we taught to her needs and shared the restoration and she loved it and said she believed it.  We gave her the Book of Mormon and left her with a chapter to read and right as we were going strong with the Spirit and the Book of Mormon her baby daughter started crying really loud and so she asked if we could come back another day to teach them.  So anyways, Tuesday was the best we could do because they go to mexico a lot because they own a big syrup type company (their house was really nice).  Anyways, I am excited for all these people we're teaching in the zone.  Anywho, time is short!  Love you all!  Share with me about your Book of Mormon reading this week, or your favorite chapter and why! :)  Love!

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Strange Week

Dear everyone,
This week was very strange.  I went to the mission home and slept there Tuesday night and flew to Utah on Wednesday.  There were all kinds of funny stories.  Everyone was really excited for me thinking I was going home, then when we landed in Salt Lake there was nobody waiting for me at baggage claim hahaha, A lady even let me use her cell phone to make a couple calls.  Pretty awkward.  Also when Josh dropped me off at the MTC they didn't understand very well where my companion was hahaha.  Good times.  Well with all that and missing my flight back to McAllen, it was pretty fun.  It was great to see some family and 4 buddies that already were home from their missions (Jared, Rem, Luke, and Josh).  It was super weird and I might have gotten a little trunky (don't worry I'm already back and focused... haha)  It didn't really feel like home there as I haven't even been there in 2 years and I lived in Provo for a year.  It was really weird to be honest haha- McAllen feels much more like home these days.
Other than the trip, this week was pretty uneventful.  We had a bunch of good investigators at church and hopefully we'll be baptizing 3 next Sunday (The Almeida family- Barbara, Deborah, and Oscar).  We still have a lot to teach them, but they're great.
Oh!  Other exciting moment of the week was when we went to go talk to our investigator and she was outside watering her grass, so we went up and were talking when all of a sudden Elder Vance saw a tarantula!!!!!!!  ahhhh!! haha- it was big and ugly and weird, but we killed it and threw it in the road haha.
Anyways, that pretty much sums up everything.  Just trying to get back into missionary mode, it has just all been so weird with all the different circumstances I've been in, I can't imagine how it is for the people that live down here that have to serve here- it'd be hard to get in "missionary mode."  But it is good, and I have learned a lot of things.  I now see how great the MTC is at preparing you, but also the Lord has helped prepare me to come back as well.
We have all my paperwork all done now, so now we're just waiting on the consulate to grant me the visa!  Everyone pray that it will come quick- that is if you ever want to see me again.  Hahaha.  Anywho, great week last week and I'm excited for this week!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Week 3

To whom it may concern,
Another great week has gone by!  We are teaching a few more people now and a few more went to church.  Unfortunately the Almeida family didn't go to church and didn't answer our calls and weren't home all day :/  But the kids are still progressing really well towards their baptismal date and are consistently reading.
I don't really have too much to say again this week.  I still am getting used to the work here- I think by the time I do and get it figured out I'll be back in Argentina getting used to what I already was accustomed to.  Haha.  Oh well, but it is good and being here has been really good for my spanish and getting back in the groove.
As most of you know I will be heading to Provo this week to meet with the Argentine consulate as I apparently have to do that in order to get my visa.  So Tuesday night Mom and Dad will pick me up and then Wednesday I'll leave for Utah and get back Friday from what I understand.  Not really sure how everything will work out, but it will.  haha- I'm kind of nervous about it, it will be really weird going to Utah for me haha, but it will be awesome to see Josh and Brit and their family.
Anyways, I bought an argentine soccer jersey today :)  haha, should be good to play in in 15 minutes.  I love all of you and miss you!  I shall see a lot of you soon this week!  Make sure you are holding fast to the iron rod and doing the simple things, because those are the things that will keep you grounded and protected.  Love!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Week 2

Another great week this week, I can't really write because my companions are already done... :/  Sorry, but I love you all a lot and I'll actually be seeing mom and dad tomorrow at ZLC, so that should be good fun haha.  My companions are great and I'm learning lots from them.  The Almeida family came to church on Saturday for conference and they are still progressing well towards their baptismal date, but the mom (Carmen) has a few obstacles, but we're working on them with her so that she can be baptized along with her 3 kids.  We bought a tie bale, but we haven't been able to look through it, it weighs a little over 100 lbs... like 114 or something.  haha- should be fun, I have lots of ties now, but feel free to send me some more :)  haha I love you all and I miss all my McAllen friends a lot!  (And don't worry SoJo friends- I miss you too, it's just that I haven't seen you in 2 years haha)  Love for everyone!  Reread the conference messages and share the Gospel with someone this week!  I love you!  Until next week!

Monday, March 26, 2012

First Week Back!

Greetings friends, family, and associates!
Welp.  First Pday eh??  Pretty sweet.  My companions are Elder Vance and Elder De La Fuente for those of you who don't know and they are the zone leaders down here in Brownsville.  I arrived on Wednesday and we got to work.  We visited the Almeida family who they had contacted a day or two previously and met with Carmen Almeida and her children Barbara (13), Oscar (12), Deborah (10).  I was able to invite them all to be baptized and they accepted to be baptized the 22nd of April, so we are currently working with them and we were able to meet a few other families.  The area here has some problems and they have kind of been struggling in this area recently.  Here is what I sent to dad about it-
The work in Brownsville is... ok.  As soon as I got here I was able to tell that there wasn't much member support, but I think most of it is due to previous missionaries.  So this past week we have  been focusing on improving our relations with the member families in our area.  So lame how there are so many missionaries in a ward, I think it makes it so much harder to build solid relations with the ward members.  Despite it being hard, I think it is definitely possible and I think the ward should be soo much stronger for having so many missionaries.  We have like 10 missionaries just in our Spanish ward- how is this not the most active unit in the church when we have 10 people committed full time to try and bring others unto Christ?  Anyways, my companions definitely agree with me and we've been able to help a few members so far and we hope to be able to connect with all the members in our area and then hopefully the other leaders as well. But the area is good.  I can definitely tell the Lord has prepared a lot of people here.  What you say about the mission here is true, there are a lot of people who are so welcoming and kind to us, and that is great, but most of them aren't really willing to act or change their beliefs, but there are still plenty of people that are prepared to receive the gospel.
Other than that... Ummm... there isn't really a set schedule for eating here with members and they were outta money so I pretty much bought our groceries last week, but we split it this week.  Anyways, I'm looking forward to continuing working with our families and getting them prepared for baptism and to meet the Lord!  This mission is definitely different, but I think a lot of the things that I loved about missionary work in Argentina are missing here and hopefully I'll be able to help the missionaries here with those things, especially with their relations with the ward members and leadership.  The Lord loves the people of south texas!
I love being a missionary and I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to be here serving while waiting for a visa.  I hope to be able to learn as much as I can until I go and I know I'll be able to pick up a new perspective that will for sure help me when I arrive in Argentina.  I know that my experiences there will also help me here and help the missionaries and wards here as well.  Anyways, please forward this email to all the family and remind them to write me :)  I love you all and miss you mucho!!  The Gospel is true and leads us to true happiness!  It might be hard, but it is always worth it.  Write me before next week!   Love you all and I love you Nicole!