Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas

Our family had a wonderful time talking to and seeing Elder Santacruz! He has already grown so much over the last 3 months. He is doing very well and he couldn't stop talking about how much he loved his mission and the people of the Santiago. His Spanish is coming along great and we were all so shocked to finally hear him speak it. We love him so much and we are so proud of him and his decision to serve the Lord. We had a wonderful Christmas in the Santacruz home and hope you all did too.

First Baptism!

Elder Santacruz is so excited about something that is coming up. Hope you all enjoy this news as much as we did!

Hola como estas todo! This week was amazing every week just gets better and better!!!! So one of our investigators her name is La France and she is getting baptized for sure on the 28th and for one thing she has changed so much she has been showing that she wants to get baptized. One thing that we talked to her about is the law of chastity and about modesty and then this last Sunday she was completely modest! Another thing, she asked me to baptize her!!!!!!! My first baptism!!!!!!! ah!!!!!! I am honored to baptize her. Who would of knew my first baptism I would baptize a Haitian haha and one other thing is she only speaks French so we always have a translator but yeah that made my week.
Another thing that happened this week is my companion and I had an experience that made us even closer. I had a couple problems with him, I was annoyed with some of the things he does like he doesn't pick after himself. and so I wanted to talk to him about it and I went up to him and told him I needed to talk to him and he said lets start with a prayer and we said one and it helped sooo much! The spirit was there with us and we were able to talk about things calmly and work things out! This situation helped me so much to know that whenever there is a problem talking it out works and that I should always say a prayer. It is the best way to handle things. I will always try to do that from now on. I invite you guys to do the same whenever you guys have a problem with each other sit down and talk it out and say a prayer before. It will definitely help and strengthen you both. But yeah I love my companion so much! We have so much fun and he teaches me so much!
Everything is great! My Spanish is getting better and what we usually do is exchanges because the other missionaries only know how to speak Spanish and so that helps me a lot!
We had a Christmas devotional yesterday and the President talked about Jesus Christ and how we should be so thankful for him and that he is our Savior and that we need to open our eyes and see how much God showed mercy for us, that he sent his son to die for us that we a truly lucky to have someone in our lives that can feel our exact pain. That when we feel alone there is someone to pick us up and to guide our way. The spirit was so strong and I was so happy to feel the spirit. There was also a testimony meeting because all the missionaries were there who are in the city Santiago. There are 100 missionaries in Santiago and it took about 2 hours and I felt like I had to bear my testimony for these missionaries. I got up and my heart was gonna explode but I was able to speak the words of how I felt about my Savior it was so great! Such a great experience!
Everything is great here I love you guys! I cant believe next week I will be able see you guys and that its Christmas. Merry Christmas to everyone! Love you all and miss you!

-Elder Santacruz
Left: Elder Mateo (Dominican) Right: Elder Torres (Mexican). He loves these Elders
Alan our investigator with his Daughter

Junior, the member who translates French for us and who we help to teach his English class

Missionary probs. Electricity never works here so this is how we iron!

Ya my mission is pretty much awesome!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Week 3 in Cristo Rey!

Hola familia!!!!
Every week seriously just keeps getting better!!! My spanish is getting better im starting to understand more in conversation and its so great and also I am talking a lot more! I'm starting to use past tense and future tense more. My campionion challenged me to talk with eveyone and I have been trying my best. My companion is the best he is so great to me and helps me so much we seriously have so much fun together and it makes things so much better. I love the he has the confidence in me to do anything!
So I said I had a talk on Sunday and... I did good, well thats what people said. I was so nervous and I thought my heart was gonna explode out of my chest from beating so hard but it was so great to do it to help me get over the fear of speaking. Also 3 of our investigators came to church!!!!! So it was defintaly great. Then something else that happened this week was we  had intercambios (exchanges) and it was so hard for me because I was put with a Peruvian and he talks so fast and he mumbles his words none of the mexicans can even understand him haha but I'm gonna be honest this guy was making fun of me the whole time with his investigators but I know Heavenly Father helped me with patience because I handled it all day and night because I had to spend the night at his apartment but seriously I handled it good. I tried my best to keep the spirit with me to keep my thoughts good and to find my happy place haha but it was a good experience! I am so glad I have my companion Elder Mata!
We set up a Christmas tree yesterday! It was so great it was with the Lopez family they are inactives and they invited us over to put up their tree. It was so humbling, the only thing that they had in their house was a tree, refrigerator, and they had one room with all of their beds. It really makes you think of how grateful we are in the United States. This week was great, my district is awesome I'm still the ''greeny'' they pick on me but they are such cool guys and none of them speak English so my companion and I are the only ones that speak English. Our investiagtors are progressing a lot and everytime we meet with them we feel the spirit so much. Sometimes Elder Mata and I are amazed on how much they are progressing. So we pushed back the baptism dates to the 28th and I truly believe that they will be baptized because they are showing us that want to be. They are going to church and doing the commitments that we tell them to do. Well thats it for this week! Oh yeah today was Santiago P day it means you can go tour around Santiago and we went all of over and I saw how great Santiago is!! I love it here!!! I love my mission so much! Oh and I love the food hahah rice always with every meal. haha I love you all so much! Miss you! The gospel is 100% true! I love it!
-Elder Santacruz
Merry Christmas
Cooking Manganisa

How all the streets look in Cristo Rey

The strength of a Missionary at a service project

The Lopez Family


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Loving Cristo Rey

Hey guys! This week was fantastic! I love my mission! My week was way better than the first! I would say I am not homesick anymore. My companion is awesome! We have been working hard and guess what we have 3 possible baptisms the 21st of December! I say possible because anything can happen in that time they are great people and I love them so much. They are so nice to us and we have gotten so close with them in the last 2 week! Can you believe I have been gone for 2 months!!!!!!! That’s so crazy it feels like I just left yesterday! haha Also something crazy happened this week, we were contacting one day and we met a guy that could speak English but he had a bad accent anyways we talked to him for a bit and he asked if he could practice his English with us because he doesn’t speak it a lot here haha. He asked if he could take the discussions in English just so he could speak the language. We said yes even though he was just using us but hey it’s like service right... haha So then we went back the next day and we talked to him and he said that the church was really interesting and then we invited him to come to church and then we left. Then this last Sunday he came!!!!! Elder Mata and I were so shocked!!!!!!!! MILAGRO!!!! Haha he said that he wanted to keep coming!! He also wanted us to help him with his class because he is also an English teacher and teaches adults English and he wanted us to teach the gospel in English to them!! Which is really cool! We taught last night and the people are interested, they are all learning English. Our area is so cool the people are so nice to us they can tell that I am from the U.S. and they always ask where I am from haha. I got your guy's packages and I loved it! Also this Sunday I am giving a talk....... haha so.... pray for me and I will let you know how I do! Everything is good and I hope you all had a great thanksgiving and a great week because I sure did! Love you all, miss you so much!!! Thanks for your prayers!!! They are working!

Hasta luego!
Elder Santacruz 


Elder Mata and Elder Santacruz

Cristo Rey Santiago
Goof Balls

Beautiful Cristo Rey

Doing some Laundry

P-day fun
Looks delicious
Elder Santacruz is going to gain weight :)


First Week Down!

K Lo K (what’s up) everyone!!!!!! I love Santiago I love my area I love the people but they speak so fast here hahah and I am not gonna lie  because the people here speak really fast, I can’t really understand the Spanish. It is not Spanish it is Dominican language. My companion is fluent in Spanish and the first month he was here he couldn't understand a thing . I am still learning the language every day I get bits and pieces but it’s all good Heavenly Father helps me so much he has given me the patience and love. I will be fluent by the time I’m done with my trainer I can promise you that! The thing that I have been doing is talking to everyone. I have been speaking every day and my companion is so helpful. He is such a great guy he is so funny too. Everytime we're out contacting which we have been doing since day one, we have been having a great time. Haha he calls me his son all the time and everyone knows him on the mission. So heavenly father did bless me with such a great companion.

I am going to be honest with you guys I was homesick for the first four days and it was so hard for me to work. Reality set in and Satan was bringing me down I couldn't take it! The fourth day was really hard! That day we went to church and I met the whole ward. I couldn't understand a lot of people but one thing that I was thinking about was our ward and how it is SOOO different here compared to back home. When the time came for us to go back home I was so tired and I didn’t want to do anything. I was thinking of you guys and I was thinking of how I’m going to be out here. All of a sudden I felt that I needed to kneel down and ask for help from my Heavenly Father. I asked him to give me the strength to help me forget about home. Later that day he gave me an answer. My companion and I went to dinner at a member’s house and he could tell that I had something on my mind and he told me some advice that I’ll never forget. He told me that it’s normal to be a little homesick but he said to me that I am here to help. He told me that the most important thing you can do on this life on earth is serve Heavenly Father. He said that I needed stop thinking.... that I’m going to baptize millions of people and that I just needed to be myself and be Elder Santacruz.  He told me to have fun and to be happy for the time that I have now to have this opportunity. At that moment I was simply happy to hear those words. I felt more comfortable around my companion and I felt his love for me. That is when I felt Heavenly Fathers help, he gave the strength. The next day we went to go workout. We woke up at 5:45 and I wasn't tired at all! I was so happy to wake up and to go do something. When we got back we studied, had a great companionship study, and then a little training. After that we went contacting we had a great day. We have been working hard to find any investigators. We have been teaching 2 families and 2 people are interested that we found Friday. On Monday we gave two great lessons to a father and mother. They have committed to baptism!!!!!!!! And they want to know more!!!! I can’t believe the first week I have been here, we found people to teach!!! Everyday I have the energy to get up and work. I love it!! Also there is a girl we are teaching who is 17 and she went to church Sunday. She said that she had made some friends. Lately we have been finding members to go with us to see investigators and they are all converts and some have served missions. So pretty much we're building up a little team of Avengers haha.

How things are living here..... they are so different hahaha. The mosquitos hate Americans hahaha. The one thing that missionaries have been getting is dengue which kind of sucks but hey at least I won’t die ha don’t worry guys I will be fine and don’t look up what dengue is you don’t want to know! One thing that helps are fans. Once you put the fans on when you’re sleeping they don’t bite you. So that’s good! One of the things that I had to do for the first time is shower from a bucket. Haha Our water doesn’t work half of the time so it is a really humbling experience! Don’t even get me started on the electricity hahaha that stuff never works. I SERIOUSLY love it though!!! No joke!! My companion and I make the best out of it and it doesn’t bother us. One thing that we figured out that is so right, is that the missionaries in the states are SPOILED hahahaha jk but seriously.... haha I am having a blast guys I think I am over home and I love the people here they are so crazy haha I love my mission so much and I wish I could explain how great it is to do something that will change my life. It is already changing my life! I love you guys so much! I miss tons!!! Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all eat tons for me! Haha

Love your
Elder Santacruz