Saturday, October 31, 2015


hi my friends,

good stuff today. we had a really great pday, we carved pumpkins, ate big macs, I drank mtn dew for the first time in a year, and we just had a great time together as friends. Happy Halloween! dont want to think about next years halloween. spoooooky

So usually I try to be super positive in my letters home. Today Im going to take a kind of different perspective though. Mission life is amazing, but at the same time really hard and humbling. Im going to stray to the humbling side this letter.

So we live in a pretty cramped apartment with 6 dudes in total. Sometimes it gets a little stressful trying to keep it clean and things done with so much distraction. Its 4 gringos, (me, my comp, and the assistants) and 2 latinos from Bolivia (other secretaries). I got really frustrated one night because things just werent going well that day, with everything. I said a few harsh words to the other secretaries and they shot a few back. I felt justified, but there was a really bad spirit that entered the apartment. As I said my prayer that night, I got the strong impression to go say Im sorry, and to please forgive me. That was the opposite of what I wanted to do, and sometimes the Spirit tells us to do hard things like that. After a few minutes of internal struggle, I got up, knocked on their door and just kind of explained my feelings to them and said I was sorry, and to please forgive me. They didnt really say anything, but that bad feeling went away. I felt Gods assurance telling me I did the right thing. 

I was pretty humbled that night, to do something I didnt really want to but was so worth it in the end. I was also humbled as we entered the field one night. We hadnt had really planned very well, and we walked around a good 2 hours trying to find, and enter into a house. Nothing worked. I went home that night feeling discouraged. I promised the Lord I would do better. A quote by the prophet comes to my mind, thinking about that, "Sometimes courage is the little voice that says, try again tomorrow". Thats probably not the exact quote, but thats how I feel it. 

We also had district meeting today. I was thinking a real lot about the talk that Thomas S. Monson gave a few days ago, about being an example and a light. When I got here, I read a list of my duties. One of them was to be the example to the whole mission. That really struck me. We are pretty much in the spotlight of the mission, the face. I spoke to my district about how we can accomplish that, throw away that dang contention, throw away the attitude, put our heads down and just work and have that look in our eyes, that says, as it says in 1st Timothy 4:12, "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an exampleof the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." 

When we are an example in that way, people will notice the difference and we will be a light in dark times. We lit candles and talked about it for awhile outside, it was real spiritual and its little moments like those that really make me love what I do. 

Love what you do this week. Have a good one.

Elder Caldwell.


the candles. 

pumpkin head

a picture on my bulletin board

Monday, October 26, 2015


I also had joy with the hammock this pday. muchas gracias al pituco parque en peru.

this one is for you jye. and the shakadoys


Hi there!

Love you guys. Today is a good day. We've been working hard here. We've made a lot of friends, and I'd like to talk to you guys about them today.

Well, I don't think first of all I've talked about my companion yet. His name is Elder Talbot, and he is from the great, almost unknown town of Cornville, Arizona. He is hilarious and looks kind of like Woody from Toy Story, haha.

As I've talked about before, we've made a lot of friends with our taxi drivers (we have to go around the whole mission a lot to do random things). One of them is named Joel. He is kind of like our personal chauffer now. He isn't a member of the Church, but he loves us and we love him! I know that the love he feels from us will help him one day to maybe make the decision to get baptized perhaps. He lives in a different area so we don't really get the chance much to sit down with him and teach him the gospel, but we have a great friendship. In fact he actually made us some Arroz Chaufa with his wife for us just to be nice recently.

Another friend, not a taxi driver, but a hard factory worker, is named Francisco. He works all day so we only get the chance to meet up with him a little later at night. He has come to church now a bunch, and we are excited about that. He was baptized not too long ago in another church but we sure enjoyed explaining a little about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Restoration. He is understanding as some of them do, little by little precept upon precept. Sometimes as missionaries, it's frustrating, to accept how slow they progress but it gives you... well, like a perspective on our lives. It took me a good 16 years to finally understand what I'm doing and if I thought this church was true. Imagine how Heavenly Father feels, I think sometimes. It is a miracle every day to be able to teach this stuff, and I treasure it a little more every day.

Regarding that, I like to think about a mormon message David A. Bednar was on awhile ago. Sometimes we recieve revelation, or answers to our prayers, like how a sunrises. Slow, but surely. Or sometimes it is like a lightswitch. It all depends on the Lord, and if we are truly ready.

I've also come across the opportunity to be able to visit one of my areas a bunch here. The area I was in for 7 months, called Intendencia. I'm close to that area here in Trujillo. The people there feel like some of my family. I had the chance to go to a family home evening deal there to help out a missionary who was without a companion. I saw the people I had taught, struggled with, prayed for, and it was kind of like a dream. I imagine how that'll feel in the next life when we see those who we love but haven't seen for awhile. It's amazing. It shows me, how worth it was the struggle. It was so worth it all those hours thinking, praying, trying, working. To see them again and strong in the church. Those tender mercies.

I also have a crazy amount to study. This is my third time reading the Book of Mormon here in Peru. The first time was all in Spanish, and I had marked that thing so much it looks like a coloring book. I had thought, well, that's good enough for my two years. Studied enough. Marked enough. But then I kept reading. I bought other books. It's crazy how much you can learn from just one book. How different it is for us each read. It shows me and adds to the testimony that it really is scripture from God.

I pray the week is good to you all. I want to share a favorite scripture I found today, in Spanish: "Orad a él continuamente durante el dia y dad gracias a su santo nombre en la noche. Alégrese vuestro corazón." 2 nefi 9:52.

I also shaved my head again.

Les amo.

Elder Caldwell.


I have made a goal to take a selfie with every taxi man. the first of many. 

ceviche de pota. this is squid with a lot of onions. peruvians love it. 

the whole office crew kickin it eating food poisoning. I mean seafood

Sunday, October 18, 2015


my dear family! 

I want to share a great quote with you all that I heard in Conference.  “I have learned that where there is a prayerful heart, a hungering after righteousness, a forsaking of sins, and obedience to the commandments of God, the Lord pours out more and more light until there is finally power to pierce the heavenly veil. ... A person of such righteousness has the priceless promise that one day he shall see the Lord’s face and know that he is.”

it gives me hope that as long as we are always striving to do out best, to do whats right, we will be rewarded, in that in fact we are indeed righteous. we dont have to be perfect. 

I needed that quote this week, and it was interesting how the Lord gave me the boost I needed in especial. This week as we did our responsibilities here trying to keep the mission running, I tried to do my duties as quickly as I could so that I could get out into the field faster. It is amazing that the Lord truly guides our paths sometimes.

 A great experience happened as we entered into a pretty ghetto, unpaved road neighborhood and walked around. Every where we had planned had failed as sometimes it does, and so with not much else I just kinda paused on a corner and waited and prayed until I recieved even just a small prompting to go so somewhere. it soon came as I looked at a small, neat, blue house that stood out from the rest. the number on the house said 258 faded out. I didnt expect much, but I knew someone was there because the light was on. A man with curly hair immediately answered, confused and gazing at us with a saxophone in hand. "Ah sweet! are you part of a band?" I asked him. he said yeah, actually. Then the usual, what are you doing here? I would be pretty weirded out too if someone tried to cut my music jamming sesh. We said something not too impresionante it seemed at the time, but he seemed impressed so he let us in. He inquired us of our weird church name, about saints and the last days. We started a prayer and got into what was an extremely natural, inspired lesson. My companion and I, elder Talbot bore out testimony, something that we cherish now as our time gets cut some days. He smiled at us. That clicked inside of me. It had felt like that was the first time in my entire year when I had seen someone smile at us here in a lesson. It was a great genuine smile, and I knew he had felt the spirit that night. Unfortunately for our friend Francisco and us, he told us that he plays in a travelling band and was going to go play in a grand fiesta in the mountains. We are still are going to try to stay in touch with him, and we hope we prays about the Restoration. 

sometimes we have a little more than free time in the office and I try to get done as quickly with what I have to do, and start studying or take someone out with me to go into the field. This week I got a little permission to look at my family history, and I read a story that impacted me. It was also an experience with the spirit. It is about one of my ancestors, Lars Wilhelm Hendrikson (sweet name.) this is what he said in his journal: I was born at Wingaker, Sweden Duly 19, 1861 to Hendrik Person and Dohanna Larson. My father died when I was 6. My mother auctioned off most of her belongings to get some money but the auctioneer failed in his business and she lost it all. She milked cows and cared for chickens and sheep end I helped her at these and other Jobs. At 13 I hired out to the druggist from whom we rented the farm. My mother was ill and bedfast and he turned her and my brother over to the poor farm when they couldn't pay the rent - however my uncle took them home to live with him. It entered my mind that I should emigrate to America, it must have been the Spirit of the Lord because I couldn't shake off the desire. My mother felt badly but said "Where can you get the money to go?" My uncle borrowed it and in April of 1881 I went by ship and then overland to Missouri, on to Iowa where I worked on a gravel train to pay back the money I had borrowed to come.

Because he had felt that desire, that impression to go to America, he later met some Mormon pals and joined with the church, and served 3 missions. The smallest naggings sometimes, the smallest whatevers, or impressions, can mean a whole lot to someone else, or to us. In the case of Lars, it was both. That story really hit home with me and Im sorry if I bored any of you with my letter today.

We also travelled to a place called Chimbote this week about 2 hours away from Trujillo to give a small training. Along the way we found a great sunset.

love you all very much. do good stuff.

elder caldwell.

Saturday, October 10, 2015



This week was one of reflection for me. My new responsibilites are mainly just to help other missionaries, and we had a crazy week moving other missionaries around and tending to their needs as they changed areas and such. So, some of my time proselyting normally was cut short as we were so busy. I realized I needed to be a missionary in every moment.

I began to open my mouth more, especially to those who drive taxis. Even if I can't successfully sit down with them and have a prayer, I explained and "proclaimed" as much of the Restoration I could. It was a joy, and I met many friends in the process. I especially remember a taxi man named Carlos. He was bald and had a sweet goatee. He was a quiet man but I got him to open up a little to me. He explained to me some of his beliefs, and I shared my ever deepening testimony of the everlasting love our Savior, and our Heavenly Father has for us. He agreed and I explained to him a little about how even loves us so much, that he gave us another book of scripture. He told me he knew of the Book of Mormon. I was so excited. After a year in the mission, you learn to be direct and bold if you want results. I asked him straight up, "so now that you know so much about this book, will you promise me to really read about it and pray about it?" He said yes. I pray he does. I know it will change Carlos' life. I love this gospel, and the ability to share it so simply. I don't want my time to end.

"O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him." - Mormon 9.27

If you all watched conference real well, you might remember the talk about Ponderizing. I love it, this scripture is the one I'm pondering over. I love the fact that we are in charge of our own salvation at the end of it all, no one else. Not satan, not any bad people who have done us wrong, just us. We decide to repent and change our ways. We have that power. I'm learning to come unto Him ever more in my prayers as I try to ponder before I pray and really do it with all of my power. It is hard work. But boy its cool.

I wish I had more experiences to share with you all. This week sums up to be busy but at the same time peaceful. With this gospel that is possible. In times of just complete disaster or comodity, we can still find the peace we ever so need with a simple prayer. Keep going on you guys. Just be a good person. 

Elder Caldwell.

Monday, October 5, 2015


hello family. merry christmas

the boys and us from the office couldn{t sleep last night we were so giddy about conference. its honestly like christmas for us. I look back on 2 years back and think of myself asleep on the couch while conference was going. what was I doing!

new apostles! I love this church.

This has been the weirdest week of my mission. We are constantly busy here in the office, always trying to figure out how to run the mission and do everything as fast as possible so that we can leave and go proselyting. I love time out in the field, it is so refreshing and I feel newly reinvigorated every time I go out. I try to do everything as simply as I can and I love it so much, simple is the best. DIeter F. Uchtdorf emphasized that in his talk as well which I loved.

time is a gift. we went out one night and we visited a man named Joel. We had no plans for the night so we honestly had no idea what we were going to do as we entered the field after leaving the office. We got out there and walked the street not 3 minutes when an active member from out ward approached us. He gave us a reference right then and there and we went and the man was there. We taught him and his son and it was one of the most spiritual lessons of my life. It was super ordinary, but everything felt so right. It was just pure gospel. We shared a scripture from first nephi 2 verses 2 though 4 about having faith and doing the un ordinary like reading, praying everyday and going to church every sunday. the man used to be a less active before and he responded so positivley. the Lord provides. 

We're just doing our best out here. Before we started watching Christmas today we had district meeting and I got our district together, which is comprised of also the assistants to the president (super powerful guys) and we got into a circle, and no one in specific was teaching, we just shot out our spiritual thoughts and impressions based about one theme, about the Holy Ghost. I love teaching like that and in the Lords way. it is so beautiful. 

Im so thankful for every minute, and thankful for the chamba. I hope you are all doing great. keep paying your tithing. I see the benefits of it how here in the office now. we are so blessed and so organized. so great. 

paz a todos ustedes. 

Elder Caldwell