Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Monday, December 13, 2010--Don't Forget to Bring Your Watermelons

Would you like to hear some good news? We had a beautiful baptism this weekend. Jorge Tapia and his daughter were baptized on Saturday. This baptism was a miracle for various reasons. Firstly, Jorge has been a difficult investigator. Elder Brady and his companion found Jorge´s family about six months ago. Andrea, Jorge´s wife, was a less-active member, so they started teaching her and her family. At first, Jorge was very hard of heart and full of pride. He was not willing to go to church every Sunday or keep the commandments. However, during this last month, the Spirit has taught him a lot. He has come to church steadily and has committed to keep God´s commandments. The other reason that his baptism was a miracle is because Jorge´s work is sending him to go work up north for a couple weeks. He was going to have to leave on last Tuesday, but it ended up that he did not leave until this morning, making it possible for him to get baptized this weekend. He asked me to baptize him and Elder Brady to baptize Pia, his daughter. After Jorge was baptized, this man who had been so full of pride just months before, he was crying. His wife was crying as well as she saw her family take the step of baptism.

Then on Sunday, we had a four hour choir practice for the stake Christmas concert next Sunday. On Tuesday at zone meeting, the zone leaders told us that we would be singing in the choir because they needed more male voices. I was very excited to be able to sing in a choir again. However, a couple days ago, I got a call from the director, telling me that I would be the pianist. After she called me, I was very nervous, because.. well.. let´s just say that my piano skills aren´t that great. I was worried that she would have some crazy piano pieces that I would have to learn. However, it turns out that will will pretty much just be performing songs from the hymn book with some variations and also sing "Rudolf," "Santa Clause is Coming to Town," and "Little Drummer Boy." They did not provide me with any music, so I am very thankful that I was taught theory and how to play songs by ear. However, there is still open time in the program, so I might play Jon Schmidt´s "Christmas Meldey" in the concert!

Okay, so you are probably wondering about the watermelons. Well, lately I have been mixing my Spanish and English and making some pretty funny mistakes. We were in one lesson preparing a eight-yea-old boy for his baptism and I was telling him what to bring to his baptism. I was trying to tell him "traer sus sandalias"--to bring his sandals for afterwards, but I ended up saying "traer sus sandias"--"bring your watermelons." Then, we were in a lesson with a member, trying to get references. I was giving the tone for "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" which begins "Que hermosa la mañana," ("how beautiful the morning") but I ended up saying "que hermosa la hermana" ("how beautiful the sister"). Oops. We had a good laugh about that one.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, December 6, 2010 -- The Feria

Another wonderful week in La Serena and I cannot believe that Christmas is just around the corner. I love Christmas time. I love the focus on Jesus Christ and His birth—or the light that was given to the world (cuando Maria dió la luz) [when Mary "gave the light," a Spanish idiomatic expression meaning "gave birth"--Eds.].

Christmas Devotional was last night from 22:00 – 24:00. Elder Brady and I did not go. In order to go, we had to bring an investigator or a recent convert and had to have a member [of the Church] to bring us back home and we didn't have either.

This week has been pretty slow for the whole the
zone. For some reason, we are not finding very many people right now. We have to work to improve our faith and our work. I know there are people prepared for us and I know that God wants us to find them; therefore, we have to work harder to find them and help them.

One way of finding that we have been doing is working in the "feria." Every day except Sunday, there are ferias in the streets of the town. Each day it is in a different area and has slightly different focus. For example there is a clothes feria, a food feria, etc. For blocks and blocks, vendors set up their stands and easy-ups on both sides of the street and the shoppers walk down the middle looking at the goods.

I love walking through the food feria. It is quite a sight and an olfactory experience. You walk and smell fresh fruits and vegetables and then you smell a mixture of thirty different spices, then you smell the scent of fish as the freshly caught fish is skinned, gutted, and sold. I love working in the feria. We always put up a table with pamphlets, books, cards and magazines and invite people to take something and write down their information.

I've imagined what it would be like to be a Chilean going through the feria and then all of a sudden seeing me, a gringo in white shirt and tie, yelling "todo gratis, folletos, libros, tarjetas de Jesucristo. ¡Todo Gratis! Vayan a la mesa, todo es gratis allí.´´ [Translation: "Everything free--brochures, books, cards about Jesus Christ. Everything Free! Come to the table, everything is free here!"--Eds.] In
Primary last week, the leaders asked, "What do the missionaries do?" To which the children responded, "Go to the feria!"

I love Chile! I love Spanish! I love the people here. I am thankful for this opportunity to grow. I love my

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday, November 29, 2010--Rollercoaster

¿Cómo estan ustedes? ¡Yo estoy muy bien, gracias por preguntar!

[TRANSLATION: How are you? I'm fine, thanks for asking! -- Eds.]

This week was good . . . if you like roller coasters. I have grown to like roller coasters, so it was okay.

On Wednesday we taught Jorge and Pia the law of
tithing. They accepted what we taught them, but Jorge wold not give us a firm commitment that he would live the law of tithing. We have had to keep pushing back his baptismal date because of things like this. . For example, he also wasn´t willing to give up

drinking green tea. However, we had a lesson with them on Friday. In this lesson Jorge got kind of mad at us and said something to the effect of, ``I want to get baptized! I am willing to pay my tithing and I have stopped drinking tea.´´ We had to tell him that it was our job to make sure that he is ready for baptism and that the time before he wasn´t willing to live the commandments. The Spirit has definitely been working hard on humbling and changing him. Both Jorge and Pia will now be baptized on the 11th of December.

Later that same night, we went to talk to Raquel. This week we found out from Raquel that her
inactive-member ``husband´´ wants to be married in the Catholic church after they get married civilly for her baptism. This would mean that she would be making covenants in the Catholic church after making covenants in Christ´s church, essentially denying the
authority thereof. We had to tell her this and help her understand. In our lesson with her, she voiced a lot of doubts about the Book of Mormon and other things that she has had a testimony of for over two months. Her husband has been planting doubts in her heart. For now, she is praying and reading to rediscover her testimony, but she does not have a baptismal date. That lesson was horrible. I felt so sad afterward that her husband had made her forget her testimony

Then on Saturday, we had a baptism! I love baptisms. Saturday evening, Dangela Rojas was baptized. (Her mom´s uncle was named a member of the Seventy in the last conference.) The baptism was beautiful.

Yesterday was wonderful, as is every Sunday. After lunch
Elderzone so that he could do a baptismal interview. After the interview, we had a zone activity in that area. Every missionary in our zone (we have twenty missionaries in our zone) went to their area and for two and a half hours we contacted, knocked doors, and did other aspects of missionary work in their area.

So, as for the roller coaster. This week we had one of the high points of a
mission--seeing someone take the step towards salvation and be baptized. We also saw a low point--seeing somebody who had a testimony lose it, or let someone influence them to leave the truth.

I love my mission!!!