Troy’s LAST Letter: November 19, 2011

20 11 2011

Hello all,

Well, this week passed by way too quickly.  I can’t believe that I’m already writing you again.  I’m excited to see all of you and I’m glad to hear that everyone is doing well.  I’m passing through lots of emotions right now.  I can’t really describe how I feel… waves of excitement and depression.

This week was pretty awesome.  I did my last couple of interchanges and we had changes on Thursday with President Gillespie.  Doing changes was an awesome experience like always.  My very last interchange with the Zone Leaders was with Elder Arredondo, the missionary I trained in Ovalle Norte.  Did I ever tell you that both of the missionaries that I trained are Zone Leaders now?  The very last lesson we taught was with a woman who was having trouble smoking.  I read the scripture in 1 Timothy 10:13 that says God never tries us harder that we are capable of handling.  Next, Elder Arredondo asked her an amazing question.  The spirit was really strong and then we challenged her with the words found in 1 Nephi 17:3—God strengthens those who strive to keep the commandments.  We remained silent for two minutes.  She started crying.  She gave us her cigarettes and committed to quit smoking.  I invited her to be baptized on the 4th of December and she accepted.  Amazing lesson!  We both left so edified by the Spirit.  I’m going to miss teaching with such power and authority.  It’s my favorite part of the mission—watching the spirit work.

The bishop of Mirador and his wife

Today was an incredible day.  In the morning we went with the office elders to eat breakfast at the beach and then I had my final interview with President Gillespie.  He gave me a lot of advice for after the mission—how I’m going to stay active, advice about marriage, and other random things.  He gave me something amazing that he only gives to his assistants.  I’ll have to show you on Wednesday.

Well, tomorrow we will be picking up the new assistant.  Monday we will have time to visit converts, have the final dinner with everyone who leaves at the house of President Gillespie, and then Monday morning we head to the temple.

I’ll be seeing you all on Wednesday!!  Love you all,

Elder Teeples


Troy’s Letter: November 12, 2011

19 11 2011

Companionship ties that Elder Briones and I bought!

Hello everyone!

Great to hear from everyone again. I’m a little nervous to see Taryn’s hair—haha. Mom, I would love to volunteer in the school or do anything with any kind of English/Spanish translating as well. I’m glad that I will have opportunities to keep up with my Spanish after my mission. I was so excited to hear about the scholarship! Isn’t it amazing to see the blessings that come by serving a mission? I’m continually amazed. Time has passed by quickly. I’m really excited to see all of you, but to be honest I think I’m most excited to see Sparky—haha. Before I forget, are there any specific souvenirs that anyone would like me to buy next Saturday? I need to hear anything you would like me to buy before next Saturday in your letter—if you want me to bring anything home. I have a few things that I’ve picked up during the mission but I don’t plan on buying much. The best souvenirs for me are the pictures of families that I love.

Lunch with President Gillespie, his wife, their son and his wife who came to visit, and the office missionaries...

Yesterday was one of the most memorable days of my entire mission. We had a mission-wide conference. All of the 210 missionaries came down to Viña from all of their respective zones—the first time that it has happened in the history of my mission. We all had the privilege of hearing four general authorities: Elder Ceballos and Elder Richards from the area presidency, Bishop McMullin from the bishopric presidency, and Elder Cook from the Quorum of the Twelve! We got to shake all of their hands. It was amazing to meet and learn from an apostle of the Lord. He talked a lot about our duties as missionaries—to establish the church (D&C 31 and 43). He talked a lot about building branches and strengthening wards. Missionaries aren’t just marketing for the church. We are here to strengthen the stakes and establish Zion wherever we are called. It was very interesting, because much of what he talked about was what Elder Briones and I have been striving to help the missionaries understand. There is so much more that we do as missionaries than just in the weekly numbers that we send to President Gillespie; reactivating less active families, helping members with callings, loving and encouraging young men to serve missions, getting families to the temple, and lots more. Like is says in Preach my Gospel, we should always ask ourselves if we are a burden or a blessing for the ward.

It was a little crazy coordinating the arrival of 210 missionaries, planning their lunch, a mission-wide activity after the conference, and getting them all back to their zones. Last night when we got to the pension, I was absolutely drained physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This week coming up should be very relaxed. We have a couple of interchanges planned and then we are doing changes with President Gillespie on Thursday. I can’t believe we are already doing changes again. Next Sunday we will be picking up my replacement as assistant. That will be a sad day. Monday the 21st we have our good-bye dinner/devotional with President Gillepsi and his wife and all of the missionaries who are leaving. We will be leaving Tuesday morning, on the 22nd, for Santiago. We’ll do a session in the temple and then board the plane. It will be a strange and emotional time for me. Oftentimes I get emotional during my prayers at night knowing that my mission is coming to an end. It will be a hard transition for me. I love my mission so much, but I know that there are other things I have to do. The time to get married is coming up—haha.

I love you all,
Elder Teeples

Troy’s Letter: November 5, 2011

19 11 2011

Zone Council at Cumorah

Hello all!!

I’m glad to hear that everything is going great. I still can’t believe that Mr. Barry is our next door neighbor. I would love to share in his class! I’m actually really excited to see him and Mr. Wind, Mr. DeVries, and Mr. Williams. I think I’ll have to visit Fossil Ridge before we head out to Pennsylvania. Mom, thank you so much for all of the information for the MTC application. I would love to do the application when I drop off my stuff in Provo. Is there a deadline for the interview for this coming semester? I really would like to teach in the MTC. I was thinking about being an EFY counselor this coming summer as well. I want every opportunity to inspire the young men to serve a mission. The schedule for this upcoming semester looks amazing.

Service Project at Cumorah during Zone Council

President Gillespie called me yesterday evening after having talked to you. He told me about the complications about staying for one more week. I have to apologize because I completely had forgotten about Thanksgiving. I forgot that Thanksgiving even existed and I had no idea that it was the next day. The only thing that I thought would have to be changed was the date of my homecoming talk and I thought that wouldn’t be too difficult. Please understand that I love you all with all of my heart and I’m excited to see everyone. Sometimes I just forget that real life keeps going on outside of the mission—haha. Guillermo and Vanessa (the family that’s being sealed) let me know that they won’t be able to go to the temple on November 19th because of financial situations. The only way that they can go as a family is by going on the 26th with the district—the district will then pay their way. They asked me if I would be able to stay one more week to see their sealing. I love this family with all of my heart. I would like nothing more than to see their sealing, but I understand now what I would be missing if I stayed. After praying about it I realize that it’s more important to be home. I will be leaving here the 22nd with everyone else.

Well, with that said, I’ll share a little about my last week. Saturday after writing, Elder Briones and I headed up to the north with President Gillespie! We were there during interviews and did interchanges with the zone leaders from Coquimbo and Ovalle. I also had an afternoon to say goodbye to converts and members from Ovalle. It was such a wonderful weekend. We got back on Tuesday and Wednesday. We had interchanges in the interior with the zone leaders from Villa Alemana. Friday was Zone Council with all of the zone leaders. It was my 10th Zone Council—my last one and my favorite as well. Since we got 92 baptisms as a mission in October, President decided to take us up to Cumorah, a camping site about an hour away. Elder Briones and all of the zone leaders and I did a service project, clearing the area of weeds. Then we had a huge soccer game and a barbeque—best time ever. Right afterwards, we had our regular council session. Elder Briones, President and I reviewed the topics and the numbers of the mission. We left at about 4:30 pm and everyone was exhausted—a day to remember.

We heard recently that a general authority is coming to the mission! Next Friday we are having a meeting with all 200 missionaries of the entire mission. This is something that has never happened since I’ve been here. Either Elder Cook, Elder Snow, or Bishop McMullin will be addressing us as a mission. This next week is going to be full of preparation for the most important conference that we’ve had as a mission. I’m really excited. It’s going to be incredible!!
Well, I have a couple of weeks to give it all that I have. I love my mission with all of my heart. I dread the day I will be released—what a great and terrible day that shalt be!!

Elder Teeples

Troy’s Letter: October 30, 2011

29 10 2011

Hello All!

Another week come and gone.  It seems that they pass by quicker and quicker.  Thank you for all of your help with college.  I’m excited to be living with old friends and with John!!  That’s going to be absolutely amazing.  I think 15 credits will be fine as well—more time to work.  Actually, mom I want to ask you a favor.  I really want to work in the MTC this coming semester.  Can you look up what I would need to do to be able to teach there and the time schedules that would be involved?  That would be my dream job coming off my mission–that way it wouldn’t end—haha.  It’s weird to see snow down in Colorado.  Here it’s getting hotter and hotter. I recently got pretty sunburned.  It’s all right–time to bust out the sunscreen again here.

This past week was great.  We didn’t have any conferences or anything this past week.  It was just pure interchanges.  I loved it.  We got to work in five different zones this past week with five different companionships.  I have little time left, so I’m taking advantage of every second I have.  I run in the street for person to person and by the end of each day, the missionaries are absolutely exhausted from talking to so many people—haha.  I really want to be a good example of how to finish the mission well.  It’s a little hard finishing my mission in the office, because none of the fruits of missionary work that I see are mine.  It really helps me to be humble and recognize that it’s the Lord’s work.

This next coming week will be crazy.  Today we are leaving to go up to the north at around 2 p.m.  We will be up there for just three days doing interchanges and interviews with President.  On Tuesday, we will be coming back down to prepare for Zone Council next Friday.  As a mission, we had 95 baptisms in the month of October, the year high!!  To celebrate we are going to Cumorah (a place down by Valpo) for Zone Council instead of doing it here in Viña.  It’s going to be awesome.  We are planning a service project and an activity and everything.

Well I love you all and I’m excited to hear from you next week!
Elder Teeples

Troy’s Letter: October 22, 2011

29 10 2011

The Church's 50 Year Celebration of Chile's Missionaries...Can You See Me?

Hey family!!

It was great to hear from you all.  I’m glad that everything is going well.  I still can’t believe that Taryn is in Provo and that Savannah will be going soon as well.  I will always see them as high school students—haha.  It’s weird how life keeps going on.  Thank you so much for getting everything ready for next semester.  I’m excited to see everyone again down in Provo.  But seriously, I really appreciate all the help that you all given me to get ready for school.  I don’t know what I would do without such an amazing family.

I got a letter this week from Haley Tyler asking how I am and how my mission is going.  I’m afraid that if I send a letter home it might get there after I do—haha, so could you please tell her thanks for sending the letter?  It was a great boost for me.

So, let me first start out with the 50-year celebration last Saturday… wow!!  It was amazing.  It started out with a devotional from the First Presidency of Chile and then the cultural celebration. The stadium in Santiago was filled.  It was a night full of acts, dances, lights, plays, and action. There were about 400 missionaries from all over Chile.  I loved every minute of it.  We all sang I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go.  It was pretty powerful.  I’m sure they have the movie out on the church website already.  The best part was that stakes from the entire mission came to perform dances and skits, so I saw members from Coquimbo that I hadn’t seen in over a year.  There were some of my converts from Viña Centro, Achupallas, and Coquimbo at the celebration.  It was like a huge reunion with a bunch of people that I have grown to love so much during my mission.  We all got back to Viña at around 1:00 in the morning, and then Elder Briones and I had to drive some missionaries to their pensions.  We didn’t get to bed until 3:00am.  It was a long night—haha.

The rest of the week was pretty normal.  President Gillespie has been doing his interviews with every zone, so we have been accompanying him.  Every morning we have been doing a training session for the district leaders and then interchanges in the afternoon.  It’s been wonderful to get out and work a lot this change.  Last change was crazy.  We had lots of training sessions, conferences, zone councils, and other things to plan and conduct.  This change, however, has been much more relaxed.  We’ve had a lot more time just to get out and work with the missionaries.  I’ve really enjoyed it.

A cool experience that I had in an interchange was in Valparaíso Oeste with Elder Boren on Sunday.  After attending church at their chapel, we headed out to work in the afternoon. Elder Boren and I taught a family.  The parents and their daughter were all less active and they had a nine-year-old daughter that hadn’t been baptized.  We taught the whole family and the husband of their oldest daughter.  We taught a really powerful first lesson and they all committed to going to church.  Right after sharing the First Vision, we invited the 9-year-old daughter and the husband of the oldest daughter to be baptized.  They both accepted.  I then invited them to be baptized the 12th of November.  They both accepted and they were all so excited.  It was such an awesome experience.  I just love to teach!!  I love seeing the joy that comes into these people’s lives.  I really do love the Chileans.

Well, I’m excited to see all of you but I still have one month left to give it my all.


Elder Teeples

Troy’s Letter: October 15, 2011

29 10 2011

Elder Hughes, Elder Brady, and me at their going away dinner...


Well, it was great to hear from you all, like usual.  I’m glad to hear that everyone is well.  Sounds like school and work are moving along as usual.  I can’t believe that Mr. Barry has moved in back door!!  That’s so cool—haha!  We have to baptized him.  I’m excited to hear that Alex will be giving his going away talk on the same day as my homecoming talk.  That will be a very interesting sacrament meeting—haha.

This past Tuesday was absolutely ridiculous, like all change days.  In the morning, we were constantly running from one place to another, taking missionaries from the bus terminal and back, facilitating the training session for the trainers, meeting the new missionaries, and getting them all to their new wards and branches.  It’s such an eye opening experience for me to meet the new missionaries who come in.  It’s so funny to see their faces of awe and utter confusion.  I love seeing the faith and the excitement that they have for the work. It reminds me of when I got to the mission.  Some missionaries say that they would do things differently if they could start over again, but I wouldn’t.  I know that for these two years I have given my whole heart and soul every day.

So we had two days to do interchanges this past week.  I went with Elder Vargas, my old companion from Ovalle!!  It was so good to work with him again.  I felt like we were back in Ovalle again.  That’s one of the benefits that I have as assistant.  On free days we can choose who we want to do interchanges with—haha, so I just had to work with him again.  Great times!  We talked to everyone in the street all day, but just didn’t see any success.  At the very end of the day, we passed by a former investigators house that was in the area book.  It turned out to be a family of seven!!  We taught a wonderful Lesson 1.  They were loving every minute of it.  They committed to reading the Book of Mormon and praying and Elder Vargas now has another appointment for Monday.  I’m excited to hear what happens with them.

Yesterday I got to work back in Valparaíso Oeste again, where I started the mission.  We did interchanges with the zone leaders there.  It was great to work in the same ward again.  We passed by some members and even taught some people that I taught when I was there.   I t’s amazing how much hasn’t changed there—haha. It was funny.  Some of the members had thought that I had already left Chile because it was so long ago.  They were also surprised to hear that I can speak Spanish now—haha.

Our mission truck after the accident...

Today is the anniversary of fifty years of missionary work in Chile!!!  We are all going down to Santiago to a huge stadium where members and return missionaries who served in Chile will be meeting.  We are all so excited.  All of the missionaries who are in the southern half of the mission are going with their wards.  It’s going to be such an amazing experience.  We’re all excited to see who shows up as well.  We are all hoping that the prophet will go or at least a member of the Twelve.

The other car...

Well after all of that good news, sadly, I will be finishing this letter with some bad news.  I crashed the mission car this past Sunday.  It wasn’t that bad, but the bumper was destroyed and the other car looked pretty bad.  No one got hurt, luckily, and the owner of the other car was amazing—completely accepting, and loving.  I felt completely terrible afterwards.  I can’t explain how bad I felt.  I had to fill out a lot of paperwork and luckily, nothing will be happening with my driving record.  The church will be covering all costs of the damage.  How blessed am I?  It’s amazing how well the church takes care of their missionaries.  We have to leave our truck in Santiago for a week and afterwards it will be just like new.  I’ve lost my driving privileges though.  I won’t be driving for this last month.  My mission president has been really loving and great about it.  I’m so thankful for him.  I think the best part of all of it was that we talked a lot to the guy whose car I destroyed.  He is amazingly nice and his family was great about it.  We got his directions to his home, and we’re going to go by to teach him.  Can you imagine if he is baptized with his family?  The Lord works in mysterious ways—haha…

Well I love you all,

Elder Teeples

Troy’s Letter: October 8, 2011

25 10 2011

Elder Briones and me...what a view!


It’s great to hear from all of you again!!  Sounds like schools going well and that winter is right around the corner.  Here, we are finally getting out of winter.  The trees are almost all green and the sun is getting hotter.  I’m loving every minute of it—haha.  To answer your question, Dad…yes, I’ve written in my journal every single day of my mission—almost a page-long entry every day.  I have no idea how I’ve pulled it off so far—haha, but I know that I will be thankful later on.  I don’t think that I’ll have a personal journal after the mission—just a scripture study journal.

This week has been much more relaxed.  It’s the last week of the change!!!  We organized the changes with President Gillespie this past Thursday.  I absolutely loved it.  It’s such an awesome experience be a part of the process of revelation.  It’s funny because everyone always tries to get their change out of Elder Briones and me after Thursday.  We always receive calls from elders and sisters trying to crack us—haha.  We never crack!  Yes, I am honest in my dealings with my fellow men—haha.  This whole week we have been sending out emails, buying bus tickets, and getting everything ready for the transfers.  President Gillespie always tells Elder Briones and me, “I make the decisions and you both carry it out.”  It’s just like the temple—one directs and the others obey and bring to pass the vision.

This coming Monday will be extremely sad.  It’s the going away dinner for a lot of my best friends in the mission…Elder Case, Mace, Hughes, Fuhriman, Brady, and others.  I can’t believe that their group is going home.  I feel like half of my group is leaving.  I will be entering in my very last change, 16 of 16 changes.  That sounds weird.  I have absolutely loved every second of my mission.  After serving for almost two years now, I’m beginning to understand the covenants that I have made in the temple.  I’m so excited to dedicate all of my talents and efforts to the building of the kingdom.  Even though we use D&C 4 a lot as a missionary section, I see no reference to missionary work in the section.  The “work” is the bringing about the purpose of the church: perfecting the saints, living the gospel, preaching the gospel, and redeeming our dead. I’m so excited to continue dedicating myself to this work after the mission.  We all learn little by little, line upon line (2 Nephi 28:30) and grow grace upon grace just as Christ did (D&C 93:10-13).  I’m so excited to continue learning!

I love you all,
Elder Teeples