Tuesday: We pretty much just went out contacting some people, and visiting families that we have already found, so that they can continue to grow in the gospel. We visited one family that stood out to me. They´re the only ones with a baptisimal date, they´ve committed to be baptized, and they´ve been coming to church every sunday, and they´re just great. They´re living together, but they´re not married. They´re wedding date is the same day as their baptisimal date: Aug. 7th. But even after all this, we found out on tuesday, that Robin (the boyfriend) still had doubts about whether God exists, or not. As he began explaining his problems and his thoughts, I had the impression to ask him if he had been praying every day. The language got in the way, and I took time to think about how to phrase it, but by the time I had figured it out, my companion said, "Robin, have you prayed to your Heavenly Father about this question?" The Spirit was totally working through us! We all started tearing up, and bearing our testimonies. it was awesome.
Wednesday: We visited an investigator for the first time in three months, or something like that. He´s a really nice guy (And a 4th degree black belt in taekwondoe), and he wants to be baptized, but he can´t. He´s living with a girl and he´s married to another. He´s tried to get divorced, but his wife won´t sign unless he gives her the equivelant of $750,000! Crazy, huh? So he really can´t be baptized. But Elder Barajas gave him an answer he hasn´t heard in 15 years of visiting missionaries. He said that after he dies, his son (who is a member, along with his girlfriend) can do temple work for him. Isn´t that so cool? I think that our gospel is one of hope and joy. I love it! Elder Barajas played a joke on me. At 12, there´s an alarm that goes off that is the great big wailing kind. it goes off every day, but I didn´t hear it until today. it went off, and he said, "Do you hear that?" I said, "Yeah, what is it?" He said, "It´s the bomb alarm. It goes off when an attack is about to come. But we should be alright. You´ve been watching the news, right? You know that we´re in a war with argentina?" I hastily shook my head with some pretty big eyes. Just then an air plane flew in front of us. He pointed up and said, "Don´t worry, the Chilean air force usually shoots them down before they can do anything. Where are they?" The plane turned around, and flew right over us. I stopped dead in my tracks, and started questioning my recent sins, to see if I was ready to die. I was too scared to really reach any conclusion. Elder Barajas started cracking up when he saw that I had stopped walking, staring straight up at the plane. He explained it was a normal plane, and that the alarm goes off every day, so that the fireman can know that it´s lunch time. We also had a 6.6 earthquake at 4:30 this morning. I didn´t wake up, and I´m pretty sure that everyone else did. haha.
Thursday: Today I had a spiritual attack. It was a doozy. I also discovered that bananas, covered in honey is my favorite dessert. Anyway, back to the story. We visited a less-active family, and their was only one member of the family home. He was about our age. We talked for about 20 minutes, before his dad and brother came home. We all greeted each other warmly, and talked for a while. The older brother whipped out his phone to show us some cool videos. We agreed, and sat down to watch. The first one was about a knife-wound victim. He was stabbed twice, and then it showed his throat, that was slit. I felt sick. the other one was of divers jumping off some docks into the ocean. One guy made it. But the second one fell 20 feet, and landed on a cement slab on his face. the water turned red, and it changed scenes to the E.R. His friggin´ head was exactly in half, and he was still alive. A feeling overcame me, that I still can´t describe. I imagined myself in his position, out of habit, and felt so...hopeless. So much pain. No chance of love. I felt despair. That there was no chance of hope. My heart wanted to give up, I wanted to die right then. I wondered what kind of people would carry that stuff on their phones, and then I realized that I couldn´t understand their spanish anymore! Then I felt just how far away from home I am. All these feelings came from a small, horrific video, and a bit of empathy. I wanted to either die or go home to my Daddy, and people I knew. I was scared. So I cried for a bit, as we walked away, and then sang "I know my redeemer lives." I did it on purpose, because I knew hymns are a way to pray, and express love. This hymn is my comfort song. I sing it when I get scared or lonely. the third verse gave me what I needed, and I cried some more, but these were tears of love and happiness. I felt the Spirit witness to me of Heavenly Father´s love for me, and give me the help I needed. this was a Sprititual attack that was sudden and unexpected, but I was able to heal with the help of my Father.
Friday: Today was my first mission conference, and it went four hours longer than what I expected. it was 8 hours! We talked about goals and had lunch, so it was pretty fun. But my Spiritual experience was during a talk that Sister Swenson gave us. She spoke about pride. How pride was not only looking down on people, but looking the other direction too. Wanting to be like other people. When we´re compating ourselves to others, we are being actyed upon by Satan. These were some things that I have discovered by myself in my short time here, on the mission. I have sinned, and made mistakes. But Sister Swenson said something that stood as a shining beacon of hope in the shadows of my doubt. She said that, in order to improve our pride (or lack thereof), we should pray for discernment. My ears perked up at this, because discernment is one fo the 3 Spiritual gifts mentioned in my Patriarchal Blessing. She said discernment is being aware of something. I´ve been aware of not knowing who I am, problems I have, and solutions to fix them. these things have strengthened me, and made me more comfortable with myself. I always thought that my gift of discernment would manifest itself in some leadership position, and knowing why my interviewee was thinking, or something like that. But I think tonight was a great witness to myself that I received another key to my Patriarchal Blessing, indicating that I am living my life according to how I should. I was so relieved to know that I´ve been living righteously, and it hasn´t just been my imagination. I find it interesting that everything is adding up in steps. I first had a spiritual experience with "Spiritual gifts" and after that, I start having experiences WITH those spiritual gifts. Step by step. precept by precept. I must say that I enjoy the thrill of finding a new "clue" to my patriarchal blessing. It´s way fun :)
Saturday: Today was a day of discovery. There were many opportunities for me to further my knowledge in many areas, including who I am. I live how I think I should live, and how I think is unique only to me. And how I live is visible and observable to others. I read through my journal of farewells from the MTC. Elder Pratt said that I search for the truth in everything. That´s very true, because in my Patriarchal blessing, it says that my spirit is one of truth. In manty situations in my life, I don´t do anything until I understand it. Having another part of my patriarchal blessing revealed was fun. Elder pratt also said people listen to what I have to say, because I care for them. It´s exactly what I want people to know! I´m here for them! I WANT people to take advantage of the service I can offere them! I love loving friends! I also realized today, that I love english. People here like listening to english and spanish music. America only has english. And I love the variety that the language gives me. I miss being able to think, too. Just think about what I want to. Maybe a plot-line to a book I´m writing. That would be nice. We taught some 17-year old punks today. We were walking, and they asked us questions (provocative) about the church. But elder barajas was able to answer their questions with authority. one of them was especially attentive and curious. At one point, Elder Barajas taught the law of chastity. He said that it was playing with your souls. With our friggin´ spirits! Maybe that´s why celebrities and other physically-addicted people like doing "the nasty" so much. they´re literally playing with the powers of god, which, fundamentally, are the powers of happiness. He also said that murder is also playing with souls. these two are tied for the 2nd-worst sins, and I think there might be a connection. We have the powers of creation and destruction given to us by god. That´s a sobering thought, huh?
Sunday:While we were walking today, it hit me that we´re in another country, I´m separated from my family, and speaking a language other than my own for two years. Two years! I don´t think I can properly explain in words How I waws feeling when I realized this. I´m alone (more or less) and this time isn´t mine. I can´t do what I used to, until 2012. It´s an odd feeling, realizing that you willingly dedicated two years, a relatively long time compared to my life so far, to someone you can´t even remember knowing, and to cinvince people what they have been taught so far is wrong, hoping that you´re worthy enought for the Holy Gghost to teach through you. It´s a wee bit stressful sometimes. I´m able to speak well enough. Every person I meet tells me I speak very well, but I cannot understand what they´re say8ing at their normal pace. I hate it. I feel like such a stranger. I wanted to go home tonight. That´s what started this whole train of thought. This is my home. My dirt, alien-like, chaotic home for the next few years. I´m always left out of conversations, and I wouldn´t be able to say anything interesting, anyway. It just feels hopeless sometimes. I want to be a big, strong, loving missionary like the ones around me, and like you and everyone thinks I can be. but I miss being in my bountry. I miss being able to understand people around me. And I keep thinking of when I go home. It´s a depressing amount of a lot of time. But I keep trying to improve and progress. Jesus wants all of his brothers and sisters to return to Heaven. And if I´m one of his tools, then how can I not? But it sure is hard. If I was closer to home, it would be a sore temptation to go home. But not here. Not ever. Nothing would/could compensate for what´s done here. It´ll be worth it. Heavenly Father will help me now, and reward me later. I KNOW it. Besides, it´s an adventure. I can do things here I can´t do at home. it sure is exciting.
I´m glad that I´m example to Dev. I really miss him. I tell all my investigators about my family, and especially how pround I am of my little brother. I can´t wait to see him again. I hope that everything´s well at the home. my address is on my facebook page, under my profile picture, I had a friend change it for me. Keep writing me. My p-day is monday. A jacket would be nice. A subtle one. i just have the bright red lifeguard one that says Gringo to the natives. I love you all!