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!