Friday, September 23, 2011
Happy Tuesday! You are all probably wondering why I am writing you today instead of yesterday. Well, I thought about making up some grand adventurous story about facing a pack of drunk laminates with their ravenous hounds at their sides and that kept me from writing to you. Although that reason is slightly true (for that happens every day and especially this last weekend—no worries mom) I did not write yesterday because yesterday was a holiday and everything was closed so our preparation day was changed to today.
As Benson told mom, this last Sunday, the 18th, was Chilean Independence day. During the last couple weeks, the beautiful Chilean flag has appeared and now garnishes almost every house, car, and any other place possible. The people have been dancing the Queca (the traditional Chilean dance involving waving handkerchiefs in the air—see youtube), singing folksongs, eating traditional foods (and barbeques) and playing traditional games. One of those "games" is kite flying. The Chilean kite is very different from the kites that we know. They are a simple square sheet of paper supported by a straight stick crossed with an arch stick glued to the back. These kites require technique and practice in launching, catching flight and staying air bound. However once they are in the air, the fun begins. The game is to try and cut somebody else out of the air. To do so, you have to cross lines with someone and skilful cut their string using your own. Once the line is cut, people will run for twenty minutes to catch the kite, because the fame of catching a fallen kite is grand! This last weekend as I looked out from the top of our hill I saw hundreds of kites combating to rule the skies.
On Sunday, the eighteenth itself, we ate lunch at the Bishop´s house. He fed us a huge plate of steak, pork, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes and onions, and much more. I was stuffed! That was the physical feast.
However this last week has been a spiritual feast and my soul feels fatter than ever. On Wednesday, we held a special conference with a spiritual giant—Elder Corbridge, member of the Seventy and President of the Area of Chile. Even before that conference, Elder Corbridge has had a great impact on my mission because of a talk that he wrote called "The Fourth Missionary" (you should read it!)
During the meeting he talked about the Most Important Thing (MIT). He talked about the greatest gifts that God has/will ever give us. They are the Holy Ghost (in this life) and Eternal Life (after this life—obviously). Everything that we do focuses on those two things. (Time is short so I will talk more about it next week). However, I left that conference uplifted and excited!
The special conference that we had with Elder Corbridge impacted me greatly and has already helped me to be a better missionary. Elder Corbridge talked about "the most important thing" (eternal life/gift of the Holy Ghost). As I have studied this last week I have noticed how the scriptures always come back to those points. As I have taught and prepared myself to teach I have focused my efforts. My teaching has already improved as I think about the roadmap of where I want the investigators to arrive and to feel and to know. I have been able to promise better and more specific blessings relating to the MIT.
After the conference with Elder Corbridge we had a very special lesson in which we extended a baptismal date. We had set up an appointment to pass by a future investigator named Eduardo. In that lesson we put into practice what we had learned about in the conference and training and we boldly and powerfully promised him blessings pertaining to the Holy Ghost and eternal life. He became very interested in the lesson and as we taught, he asked all the right questions and had many correct answers. We told him that he had to be baptized, as Jesus was, by the proper authority and only by so doing he could receive all the blessings related to the Gift of the Holy Ghost and eternal life. The Spirit bore witness of our words and Eduardo accepted a baptismal date for the 15th of October.
Cesar, Claudio and Valesca came to church this week!!! Now we have to help Eduardo and Paulina to do the same.
The Lord is truly guiding me and supporting in the assignation that He has given me to be a district leader. This Sunday I had the blessing of interviewing four different baptismal candidates. As I prepared to fulfil this great responsibility I pondered on the importance of the interview and my role in their eternal progression. During each of the different interviews I was able to see the different conversions of the four people. As we discussed the baptismal questions and their testimony, the Spirit of the Lord bore witness of their readiness. The Lord is guiding me and helping me to be better everyday. I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have to learn and grow.
I am also very greatful to be working with and training (even though it often feels like he is training me) Elder Sliffe. He truly is an incredible missionary and just wants to work, work, work. We are working hard together and I love him so very much.
*** I love my mission!
My companion and are doing so very well. Elder Sliffe has all of the excitement and power of a new missionary and a recent convert. We tell and show each other how much we care for each other. We both have our eye set on the glory of God. I truly am so grateful to be with Elder Sliffe and I hope to be with him for a long while.
This has been an excellent week. One of the highlights was a training meeting that we had with President Gillespie. We talked about the importance of commitments. In PMG it says, "When you ask for commitments as part of your teaching, you are inviting the investigator to repent." Commitments are key to our purpose as missionaries. We practiced extending bold, clear commitments and promising blessings using the power and authority of our calling. I learned a lot and was able to see that I have a lot to improve on. We are representatives of the Lord and as such we are to call people unto repentance and we have the authority and the responsibility to promise them blessings for so doing.
After a lot of hard work and urgent prayer, we have been able to find quite a few people who are ready to accept and listen to the Gospel. It is time for you to get to know a few of our investigators:
Firstly, we have Valesca. Valesca is 29 years old (even though she looks 15) and was first contacted by the missionaries way back in April she was taught for a little over a month back then and then was not taught (because they combined the areas). Her big impediment was that she never went to church. We decided to pass by during our first week here. She accepted a baptismal date and said that she would be going to church with us on Sunday. However, that Sunday (last Sunday) she did not show up. This last week we have focused on helping her to keep her commitments of reading, praying and especially going to church. We changed her baptismal date and she is now preparing to be baptized on the 9th of October. On Saturday she came to an activity that the stake held to celebrate Chilean history using its different types of music and dances. She promised to go to church. See below to see what happened. We are praying hard for her.
Next we have Claudio. On Friday, Elder Sliffe had an interview with President Gillespie, so we had to go down to the mission office. On the bus over, I started talking to Claudio. I asked him if we could visit him and he told us to come by the next day. On Saturday, we didn't have very much time, so we taught him about the Book of Mormon and invited him to church. He told us that he would come. See below to see what happened.
Finally, we have Cesar and Paulina. They were references from other missionaries. They are a fairly young couple with three children (all under the age of 8). They have had a lot of hardships in their lives, but they have also had a lot of contact with the church in their lives. On our first visit they told us that they really wanted to go to church and participate as much as they can. We focused on having powerful spiritual lessons with them and extending powerful commitments. In one of our lessons this week, they accepted a baptismal date for the 9th of October!!! I pray that they can continue on this path. They too committed to go to church…
This week we had many opportunities in which the Lord´s hands were seen. However, I will just name one of those experiences. Throughout this week we have been focusing on finding people and helping our investigators (especially those who have a baptismal date) to come to church. The entire week, we have begged our Heavenly Father to help us know how to help our investigators to come to church. We followed His promptings. Yesterday, as we walked to church, we walked with a prayer in our hearts. The Lord´s hand was seen first as we walked up to the church—we saw our investigator with baptismal date, Valesca, walking to church with her non-member boyfriend and her recent-convert. As I said before, Valesca was an old investigator and we were about to drop her (because she had not been to church once in the months of previous teaching that she had). However, the Lord brought her to church and she even invited her boyfriend who was in town visiting. Then we went and passed by Claudio who we had found in the bus on the way to our interview in Viña on Friday. He came to church and there in the chapel accepted a baptismal date for the 9th of October!!! After that, Cesar and Paulina arrived to church along with their three children. I know that it was the Lord´s hand that guided His children to his house yesterday.
I love this work so very much. This is my life. I have not felt such a strong feeling of love in my life. I truly love this people. I truly love my mission.
I love you all so very much. I am so thankful for all the people who are helping (and over the years have helped) me to be here.
What a crazy week this has been and I´m sure it was for you as well. Were you affected by the earthquake(s)?
On Monday night I had my final lesson with Lucia. She is amazing. Her faith is so strong and the Gospel has already changed her life. Even though I will not be there to see her baptism, I am so happy to have been able to see her faith grow and feel my own be strengthened with her.
On Tuesday, Elder Rowett and I headed down to the mission office early in the morning. We had a nice long meeting about training missionaries and abou the great responsability that it is.
The new missionaries got caught in traffic on the way from Santiago, so we were left with about five hours with "nothing" to do. Elder Stringham (lives in the same apartment and works in Rodelillo A) took me over to our apartment so we wouldnt have to deal with my luggage and the luggage of our "children" (Elder Stringham is also training).
Then later that day we met our companions. My companion´s name is Elder Paul Sliffe from San Diego, California!!! He could have been from anywhere in the world and he is from nearby San Diego. Elder Sliffe is an incredible person and missionary. Elder Sliffe was baptized two years ago. Before being converted, he, along with his family, were members of an evangelical church. However, through his girlfriend he got to know the church. He was baptized when he was 18 and was kicked out of his house. Since then he has been working and renting and just trying to get by, but everstrong in the Gospel.
As we are opening a new area, there was practically nothing here for us when we got here. It is a huge area, all on the side of a very long steep hill. However, this is an excellent ward, with awesome members.
Throughout the last week, I have truly felt the Lord´s hands and angels supporting me. It is a great privilege and responsibility to be training Elder Sliffe, to be a district leader, and to be opening this part of the Rodelillo ward. I know that the Lord is helping me and I have learned so much already. One thing that I have felt strongly this last week is love. I can feel the love and prayers of the elders in my district. My love for them and in general has been stronger than ever.
I love you all so much and can feel your love and support and prayers.
As you have passed heat waves in California and the east coast has been beaten and bruised by a hurricane and an earthquake, I have been blissfully oblivious—lost in the Lord´s work!
This week we did have quite a bit of rain. I always enjoy working in the rain. It gives us a chance to show ourselves, those around us, and the Lord, what type of men and missionaries we are. As we talked to people huddled under bus stops, they all made comments about how dedicated we were to be walking and working in the rain.
Among all of the wonderful experiences from this week, was the opportunity of having interchanges with the Assistants. On Wednesday, they came up to work with us. I spent the day with Elder Jaquier (the brother of missionary from Robyn´s mission). As I spent the day with him I was able to learn a lot. He is such an incredible man (he is almost 27 years old!) and a loving missionary.
Good news!!! Lucia has a baptismal date! She is so awesome. She talked with Guillermo (her ex) and he will not be living in the house anymore! Also, even though she enjoys smoking, she knows it is wrong and has almost completely dropped smoking. Lucia has changed and progressed quite a bit. About a month ago (when we began teaching her) she held parties in her house every weekend (parties with alcohol and the works). However, Lucia has not drank anything in weeks and has also left those old "friends" behind for new and better things. She will be baptized on the 17th.
Jacquelyn is doing great too. She is so very excited for her baptism and is determine to do all that is required.
Marcelo is worrying me. He is an interesting person. We haven't been able to teach him at all this week. I just pray that he is okay and will continue progressing.
This weekend is the end of this transfer. Elder Rowett and I really had no idea which one of us would be leaving (all we knew was that one of us would be leaving. On Saturday night, Elder Brady (my zone leader) called me and told me to pack my bags. I was so sad. I love this branch. I love the members. I love the people that we are teaching. I do not want to go.
Then last night, we were waiting for another call. Since, Elder Rowett was staying in the area, we were expecting him to get a call from the assistants to tell him that he would be training. Well, last night, as we waited, they called. Elder Rowett answered the phone. A voice was heard asking for me! Elder Brillones (the new assistant) told me that president trusts me a lot and has an assignment for me—I will be a district leader this next change. He then asked me how I felt. After that he told me that the Lord really trusts me and that I will be training this next transfer!! I will have a "son"!! That means that I will be a district leader, opening a new area (in Rodelio, Valparaiso) with a new missionary. I am so very excited for this new transfer. I feel very grateful and humbled by the opportunities that I will have of being a district leader and of training. I know that you and the Lord trust me and I will not let anyone down… However, it will require true faith. I say true faith for the following: If I have true faith, then I the Lord will be able to work miracles through me and around me. If I have true faith, I will be (and will want to be) exactly obedient and diligent. With that true faith I will be like the brother of Jared and will cry out to the Lord in repentance of my sins and will have the faith to see his fingers and hands in this work. I know that it will take a lot of work and a lot of prayers, but I will be the Lord´s pen (as Pres. Uchtdorf stated) and will not complain when, for what, or how the Lord wants to use me. By doing so, I know that the Lord will give me the promised success, "for behold, the field is white already to harvest."
I love you all so much! I love life! I love my Heavenly Father! I love my mission!
Thank you so much for all of your birthday wishes and notes. I truly am the luckiest and the most blessed missionary in all of Chile! Thank you for making this the best birthday on the mission in Chile that I have ever or will ever have! :)
Speaking of being my birthday, last night we were going to a family night that we had scheduled with an awesome member family (the daughter just so happens to be turning 20 today as well). They surprised me by having a little birthday celebration waiting for me with completos, cakes, and even brownies (a rare commodity around here)! As you can see by my huge smile in the pictures, it was a very happy surprise.
First things first. Last week, I left you hanging, waiting, and anticipating to hear about Lucia. Lucia is awesome. She is also a miracle. More than a month ago, we were walking down a street in our ward. As we walked, a cute little five-year-old girl poked her head out of the window and started talking to us. We talked with the little girl for a few minutes and she told us to come by another time when her mom, Lucia, would be there.
Elder Rowett and I passed by multiple times but she was never there. When we finally found her in the house, we didn´t have another man with us to be able to enter the house, but we left her a copy of the Book of Mormon with 3 Nephi 11 to read. When we came back the next day, we asked her if she had read. She told us that she had. We then asked, what did you read about. She then responded, "Well, there was a group of people gathered in the city of Nephi. They heard a voice, but didn´t understand it until the third time. Then Jesus came and let them all touch his hands and his sides…." We were completely shocked. Nobody ever answers like that.
Since that visit, she has continued to show her faith and desires to learn. She has come to church the last two weeks. She also came to the English class that we began on Friday night and she came to the ward activity on Saturday. The only thing that impeded Lucia from having a baptismal date was the fact that her ex-boyfriend had a bedroom in Lucia's house. They did not share it. He had no other place to go so Lucia, being kind let him have a room. However, he has not slept there in a while and he has a new girlfriend. Also, Lucia was planning on kicking him out anyway, so we plan on giving her a baptismal date this week.
Marcelo is doing really well. He also came to church yesterday. He is very sincere in his desires to learn more and be baptized.
This week, we had a miracle. We were in lunch with a member and we asked them who they knew that we could visit. The member told us that her neighbor, Jackelyn had recently told her that she wanted to go the church. We called over to Jackeyln's house and she came over to the member's house. We then had an awesome lesson in which Jackelyn accepted a baptismal date. She has been wanting to be baptized for the last five years and over the course of time listened to the missionaries many time. However, she was living with her boyfriend and he did not want to marry her and also did not want her to be baptized. He was very abusive to her and finally after many years of dealing with him, she called the police and he was sentenced to prison for family violence. That being said, there is nothing that will stop Jacky this time. In fact, in the closing prayer of our lesson, she began to cry and said, "Lord, I know that you have placed the Elders here again---and nothing and nobody will stop me from finally being baptized!"
The Lord is preparing the hearts of His children—"behold the field is white, already to harvest." I am so grateful to be a servant of the Lord, working with him in His vineyard. I know that this is His work. I glory in Him. I glory in His Gospel. I love you all so very much. I love my mission!—Especially on my birthday! :)
It has been another wonderful week here in the mission. Sit back, relax, and listen as I tell you about it.
On Tuesday we had a mission conference. A couple weeks ago I was playing the piano while waiting for my interview with President. Sister Gillespie heard and loved my song "Rock of my Soul" and asked me to put an arrangement of it together to sing at the conference. However, she called back a few days later and said that President only wanted hymns. They asked me to find a hymn and put an arrangement together for the conference.
There wasn't much time to practice so I thought and prayed hard to know what to do. Then it came to my mind to look at the "meters" page in the back of the English hymnal (that page doesn't exist in the Spanish version. Since the hymn "If You Could Hie to Kolob" doesn't exit in Spanish either, and because it is such a beautiful hymn, I decided to make a version of that song. We sang (I played the piano) "All Ye Who Are Called to Labor" (I believe that is how it´s called) to the tune of "If you coul Hie…" It turned out really well in the end. My zone did a fantastic job.
The conference was wonderful and as usual, I left the meeting feeling energized and excited. President always seems to know exactly what I need to hear and how to help me be a better disciple and representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. Also, in the conference, we learned about some changes that have been placed in the missionary program around the world. Now, every companionship of missionaries has a portable DVD player and a set of the Preach My Gospel DVD´s in their apartment. Of course, they came with strict rules and guidelines for their usage. However, these tools are to be used during companion study. I have already seen the difference in my teaching style by having watched and used these DVDs in my studies.
Sadly, Cecilia and Tamara are not progressing. They are still smoking and don´t seem to be putting in the necessary effort to progress. They promised that they would come to church, but did not come. In fact, I called them yesterday to wake them up and they blocked my call. Then when I called back, they had turned their phone off. Elder Rowett and I then went over to their house to get them, but when we knocked, nobody came out. When then headed to church, praying and hoping for a miracle.
To get to the church, we had to walk through the feria that they have every Sunday, right outside of the church. While walking through the feria, we ran into a young man named Marcelo. About a week ago, Elder Rowett and I were walking down the street and Marcelo came up, shook our hand and told us that he was going to come to church that (last) Sunday. He then walked away before we could talk to him. Blessedly, we ran into him yesterday in the feria. After talking with him for a minute he asked us "well, are you going to invite me to church with you?" We quickly invited him with us. He asked us if it was okay to go, even though he was dressed in old, dirty, worn-out clothes. We reassured him that is was okay and he came to church with us. Not only did he come with us, but he loved it. He practically asked us if he could get baptized yesterday. We told him that he would need a little time to prepare and we agreed on a baptismal date in mid-September. What a blessing the Lord gave us!
Not only did Marcelo come to church, but also three---yes THREE--- other investigators. One of them is the ten-year-old daughter of a member that we have been teaching. The others are slightly more interesting---Mario and Lucia. Mario is a very interesting man—or rather is very interesting men. You see, he is schizophrenic. Okay, it isn't that bad—he does not have to personalities, he just has some problems. We have been teaching him for a couple weeks. Yesterday he came to church to "look for a wife" as he told us. Towards the end of sacrament meeting, he slipped out and came back a half an hour later with hair gel and cologne, trying to look all nice to find a wife. We kept our eyes on him and this week we will be talking to him a little more about that.
Lucia. Lucia is incredible. Pure gold. I want to tell you about her, but my time is up and I have to be obedient. I will tell you about her next week.
I love my mission so much! Every day I realized something more. Every day my faith and love grow.
I am doing very well and am loving the work. This is a very short time that I have to serve the Lord with "all my heart, might, mind and strength." Every day I realize more and more how short the time is that I have. I do not want any time to merely "pass by." This is the Lord´s work and I am but a tool in his hands. I know that I have a lot to improve on and I am working hard to be able to do it.
One evening this last week, we were visiting a member and she started to talk about qualities that she respected in people in general and in members. She talked about honesty and love among other things. However, what hit me was what she said about "doing things thoroughly." She said that when people are given an assignment they should do it thoroughly and even better than expected. I started thinking about that a lot this week. I asked myself "I am doing my job thoroughly?" As I have thought about all these things, I have felt a stronger desire to work hard and do a thorough job.
In Preach My Gospel it says that The Book of Mormon truly is the most powerful tool that we have for conversion. Every chance that I get, I testify of the truth of the book and its history. In the street and in houses I always challenge people to read and pray, because I know that by doing so (with a true heart and real intent) they will receive a testimony of these things. However, my story from this week is a rather personal one. There is an Evangelical man (pastor, we believe) named Juan in our branch limits. Every time he sees us, he comes to us to try and contend. He has brought up arguments and points. He has quoted the bible to us for over ten minutes, telling us how we are wrong (he truly has a great knowledge of the bible, but his understanding is small). Well, our "confrontations" with Juan this week have been very interesting. Every chance he gets, he tries to destroy our faith and beliefs. Despite all those things, none of them have been able to affect my testimony. Why? –Because I know that The Book of Mormon is true. The Lord has answered my prayers many times and confirmed the truthfulness of that book.
In the letter, dad talked about not having very much missionary success. As I quoted above, The Book of Mormon truly is the most powerful tool that we have for conversion. Along with that, the members are so very important and need to be involved. As a mission we have a little piece of paper that we call "la lista" or the list. We missionaries, or the ward missionaries, visit each member and present them with the list. We tell them that is a family mission plan. They fill the list with names of friends, loved-ones and neighbors --- all those aren´t members (or are inactive). We then tell them to put it in a place where it can be seen (like the fridge). It is now their responsibility to pray for the revelation of how to help those people to receive the Gospel. In my mission, I have combined the list with The Book of Mormon. In a visit with members, we watch a few videos including one called "By small and simple things" which is about a young woman giving a BOM to a friend. We then invite the members to give a BOM to a friend. This has worked very well for us. I hope it helps you.
Yesterday was a very sad day. None of our investigators came to church. It makes me so sad. We work and pray so hard all week and they even promise to come to church. However, when Sunday comes, they don´t. Hopefully this next week will be better.
Cecilia and Tamara are still struggling with the cigarettes, but I have hope and faith that they can give them up.
Got to go. Love you all. I love my mission!
Hola hermosa familia mía,
To answer mother´s questions and calm her worries, I am doing very well--extremely well actually. Even though I have been getting up earlier, I feel better and more awake than I did before. Also, this last transfer I have been watching what I eat and making better use of my exercise time!
After spending nine weeks in the MTC and eating their food, I weighed in at 215 lbs when I left. Six weeks ago I weighed myself and I weighed 198 lbs. I just weighed myself today and I weighed 188 lbs! Don´t worry mom, I am getting and eating plenty of food I am just eating smarter and of course taking all of my vitamins.
This week, we were not able to teach Miguel and his family. Miguel got home after nine PM every day this week. Also, they did not come to church. However, they are doing well and we will teach them this week
Yesterday, Cecilia came to church. Tamara was going to come as well, but got hit by a ball at school and did want to show up at church for the first time with a black eye. They are doing very well. However, they are still smoking. We had a long talk about the Word of Wisdom and how they could quit smoking. At the end of the lesson I made a deal with them. I told them that we would "be in it together." I committed to stop eating candy and they committed to stop smoking. I just pray that they will have the force and the desires to continue progressing and make the necessary changes in their lives.
This last week, I focused on developing my patience. As I have prayed to develop a deeper patience, it seems that the Lord has helped me by giving me many experiences that tried my patience (people in the street saying things, investigators saying other things, etc). In one lesson with an investigator, he did not understand the importance of The Book of Mormon and said that he did not need to read it. We explained over and over again trying to help him understand where the book came from and why he needed to study it. Stubbornly, he refused. After much internal praying for the patience and the right words, we were able to help him understand and feel the importance of reading. I know that if I had gotten more frustrated or had given up, we would not have been able to help this man. However, because I was striving to have patience, we were able to be blessing for this man and his eternal progression.
Again, I had all the plans to write you a super long letter, but it seems that these computers from the 90´s had different plans for me.
I love all of you so much. * * * Thank you for all that you do. I love my mission!
Thank you for the nice pictures. I cannot believe that it has already been a year. I only have one more year to dedicate myself full-time to being an official representative of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no time to lose. I am savoring and treasuring every moment.
This last week, we started a new transfer (my eighth). As with all new transfers, I set new personal goals for these next six weeks. In PMG it says that our goals reflect the desires of our heart. As I set my goals I prayerfully thought about what my desires are and what the Lord´s desires are for me. One of my many goals has to do with more effective use of my time. As part of that, I have started to get up earlier to study. There is not very much time to study. I know enough to know that I don´t know enough and therefore I am trying to get in more studies.
One highlight of this week was an interchange with an elder named Elder González. Elder Gonzalez is from Fontana! His parents are both from El Salvador. He is an excellent missionary and we had a great time together on Saturday. Saturday we had a meeting with or ward mission leader (the following is an excerpt from my letter to President Gillespie).
This week I was able to see the Lord´s hand in His work during our branch mission correlation. This last week we have been trying to find a good member to fellowship our family of investigators with baptismal date. We had been praying and searching to find the member that would be just right for him. In our meeting with the ward mission leader, we told him about the situation. He suggested a few names and then moved on. None of the names really felt like the right one. Then a few minutes later, Raul (ward mission leader) told us another name as an afterthought. The name hit home to me. I felt like he would be the perfect person. We had an appointment with the family that night and blessedly the brother could go with us. During the lesson, the brother and our investigator became good friends and the brother said exactly what our investigator needed to hear. The Lord truly inspired our ward mission leader to help us find the right "fellowshipper."
In that lesson with Miguel and his family on Saturday, we talked about baptism and keeping the Sabbath day holy. During the lesson, Hno Vicencio (who came with us) told Miguel about his conversion and experience with keeping the Sabbath day holy. Miguel told us that he knew that what we said was true because he had felt something different ever since we started sharing. He said that he knew that he needed to go to church and would be going to church with us on Sunday. At the end of that lesson, we all knelt down and Miguel offered a beautiful prayer. After the prayer he told us that he had felt something powerful.
Yesterday, Miguel and his wife and daughter came to church!!! I was so happy to see all of them there. My heart and soul filled with love and joy as I saw them come in. We have been working really hard and praying even harder and finally yesterday we were able to see some fruits of our work.
I love my mission so much. I love the Chilean people. I love the language. Speaking of the language, here in Chile they use a lot of English words. Some common words:
Ayer fui a su casa para el pajama party.
Mi mamá tuvo su baby shower la semana posada.
Siéntense aquí en el living (room)
Yo trabajo full-time. Él trabaja part-time.
Quiero una bebida lite.
Another change has ended and a new one shall begin. The Lord has surprised me by keeping both Elder Rowett and I here together as co-companions in Las Torres. It is definitely alright with me because I love this branch, I love Elder Rowett and we are getting a lot done together.
This week we had a very strong, spiritual lesson. After a few weeks of trying to contact a reference from other missionaries, we were finally able contact Miguel and his family. In our first lesson, we had about five minutes and shared the story of the Restoration of the Gospel, leaving Miguel and his family with a Book of Mormon. The following day (yesterday) we taught them a more in depth about the Restoration. As we taught the family, the Spirit bore witness of the truth. Miguel told us that he had felt something different. He said that while we were there, he had felt the truth of our message and of his need to be baptized. In that strong moment, we invited him, his wife and his daughter to be baptized and they accepted! I love the power of the Holy Ghost and its pivotal role in this work.
Another night this week, we were able to visit a family that we have been trying to visit fore couple weeks. We visited Maria Teresa and her daughter Jeraldyn. In that lesson, we also bore witness of the Restoration. After hearing the message and feeling the Spirit, they too accepted the invitation to be baptized.
Right now, we have seven investigators with baptismal dates. It truly has been incredible to see the Lord´s hand in His work. However, now we just hope to see the progress of these souls.
Yesterday, we had plans for everyone to come to church. We had members passing by to pick-up the investigators, we called them all, and they were all very excited to come. However, only one investigator showed up to church. Some of our investigators were called out to fight fires, others slept in, and others with other excuses. This week we are focusing with all our might on helping these people attend church.
These last few weeks I have been studying in PMG about Christ like attributes. I have been thinking a lot about which Christ like attribute I want and need to develop. Although I am constantly working on developing a deeper love and charity, I have come to the realization that I need to develop my humility. Christ was such humble servant to all. I have been thinking to myself, "Why do I want to have success? What gives me my drive and passion? Do I work so that I will become a district leader, a trainer, or a zone leader? Asia have asked myself these questions I have sadly had to answer that yes, part of the reason is because of pride and the desire to have "outer success." It is the urge of the natural man to be known for his successes. As I thought about this in my personal studies, I read my patriarchal blessing in which it tells me to remember that no matter where I am called to serve or what I am called to-do it is never insignificant. My desires to lose my pride and my plans are as follows. Firstly, I will pour out my spirit in prayer to forgive me for my pride and to ask Him to be more humble. Also, I will do as Christ did and serve others. In my studies I am taking note of how Christ shows His humility. I will not look for my ways of doing things; rather, I shall look for ways to learn from others and always ask, "Father, what would you have me do." I know that I have a lot to improve but I know that the Lord will help me.
Right now, La Fútbol Copa America (the American Soccer Cup) is taking place here in South America. When the soccer game is on, all the streets are deserted. However, when Chile plays (like yesterday) the streets are deserted, but the whole country is unified. In about95% of the houses, people are watching the game. We don´t need to watch to know what goes on. Last night we paused on a lookout point and listened. We heard the reactions of the wide audience reverberating across the hillsides. When the other team scores, the entire hill, the entire country screams in horror. However, when Chile scores the country erupts with cheers of pleasure. It was so cool to hear as simultaneously every house on the hillside cheered for their team.
I love my mission. I have so much to do, so much to learn, so much to love.