This is my blog about all the activities and details about my mission. My folks are going to be updating it weekly, based on the information that I send them through my letters. My current address:
Elder Brigham James Merrell
MTC Mailbox # 138
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793
Monday: Today was a great Pday. I slept in and enjoyed being able to rest. Then we headed off to Laja Waterfall. This is my second time going there and it was just so pretty. I went closer to the base, this time, because there was less mist and got some really cool photos. We came back to Los Angeles and went straight to lunch with Hna. Marita. She made some yummy pork and rice. They showed me a picture of their son, Mario, with my family...in MY HOUSE! It was bizarre. Then, Hna. Marita brought out this awesome wafer cake. It was so good! When we wrote the family, I had 16 emails! I was from more people wishing me happy birthday. Lindsay`s in Nebraska now, and even though she wasn`t unpacked all the way, she was able to have decorated for Halloween. We visited Alejandro, a new investigator. He`s pretty receptive. He wants to know our purpose for being here. We did contacts for a while, finding a few people, before going to FHE with the Garcia family. Hna. Garcia made completos! Mouricio Garcia, their son, is awesome. He showed me iphone stuff, and I showed him a cool tie knot.
Tuesday: Today was a good day. We got up and went to our Distrizona meeting. I gave a short lesson about how to find people more efficiently. Then, I asked everyone to share what they`d learned from their companions. Elder Gomez and Elder Barton were just chill, but Hna. Clavero and Hna. Velasquez were crying as they wxpressed their love for each other. They had passed through a hard time together, and it bonded them. elder Zuñiga said I taught him what it means to be a good teacher, and that he`d remember it for his whole life. When I spoke of my hijo, remembering all that we`d beeen through and all I`ve learned from him, I started to cry, too. That love just filled me right up. In the afternoon it was hot. I fear for the sun. The air isn`t too hot, but the sun is so strong it hurts. We were supposed to meet up with a member at the church, but we waited in the shade across from it, `cause there is none on THAT side. He didn`t show up so we got ready to go. As we were leaving, we found him on the other side of the truck we`d been sigging by. Hed been there the whole time, avoiding the sun, like us! He`s so great. He has 5 kinds of cancer but was the first to volunteer. He was very enthusiastic. Today was mostly contacts and finding back-up plans. But I had a good time talking with people. When we dropped off the laundry, we had a pillow fight with Paula, Loreto, and Tuka--Hna. Pinar`s little girls.
Wednesday: Today was excellent. we got up and headed out kind of early so that we could get to the other Stake`s Stake Center on time ofr our Conference with Pres. Martinez. I got to talk with Elder Montalban for a bit. He told me crazy Doctrine principles that blew my mind. The Assisstants had an object lesson on the Church`s Soccer field. They asked who didn`t like Soccer. I raised my hand and was promptly chosen to play. The haters played the pros and lost, but it was a good lesson. It had to do with training, and the importance of learning from those who knew what they were doing. We learned about the Holy Ghost from Pres. A lot of MIssionaries said farewell, because they finish in a week. What will that be like? I had an interview with the Pres. that I`d asked for. I wanted him to transfer me to a place with less sun...but then I realized that was dumb and asked for a recommendation of sunscreen because APF 50 ain`t cutting it. He actually told me my transfer!He wants me to open a new Sector! Visit people that haven`t heard the Gosoopel. it`s like "The Other Side of Heaven." I`ll be with a challenging Missionary, one who doesn`t like Spanish. Pres. thinks I can help him out. I`m kind of nervous because they don`t have a house for us yet"they`ll get one, I hope). I don`t know the streets, and we won`t have a phone for a while. But I`m really excited, too! WOOT! Jorge cancelled his appt. and we did contacts with Hno. Amstein. We visited an inactive that gave up 20 years ago. But he is having hard times and needs help. He said he`ll try and come to church.
thursday: We got up this morning and got ready for the day. I`m studying Alma the Younger`s letters to his son, Helaman. They`re so wonderful. He explains a little bit about the Liahona and it`s symbolism. the "director" represents the words of Christ that, if we follow their guidance, will tell us what we should do. I have enjoyed coming closer to christ through the application of what I learn in my personal study. But I can always work on being more teachable. We had our Weekly Planning before going to lunch. I LOVE the tomato/onion/cilatro salads Hna. Ordenes makes. We studied Spanish for a while, before going out to teach David, someone we`d found right before General Conference. He asked us, first thing, about Tithing. We resolved his doubts and, with the help of the Spirit, invited him to be baptized. He siad he wanted to be prepared and we said we`d help. we ran to the Centro to make photocopies and then went to pick up a member to hlep us. We only did 1 contact because, it turned out he and the Member had worked together, and they talked for a while. We met with Hno. Garcia for comité. Then Hna. Roa gave me a 2nd b-day gift! It`s a black t-shirt with "Chile" on it. The "i" in "chile" is shaped like the country. It`s awesome. we talked for a while before we went to our appt. She (Viviana) wasn`t there. Oh well. At least I didn`t roast today. Cloud cover ROCKS!!!
Friday: Where did the day go? We got up and got ready. It`s been cloudy for 3 days now, without reain or sun. It`s been awesome! It turns out that, out of all South America, Chile receives the greatest amount of Solar radiation, and Pres. said that, out of all of Chile, our Mission is right under the biggest hole in the Ozone. Holy smokes! In Alma 38:3 I found out how to have joy: Faithfulness to covenants, diligence in Church callings/work, patience in trials, and long-suffering with our neighbors. We passed by Marcela, a contact from a while back, and found that she just works in our sector, and actually lives in Villa Las Americas. So we wrote down her address and passed it to the Elderws there. we had lunch with the Garcia family. Their veggie lasagna was awesome. Right afterward, we had to go to Santa Barbara for an Interview. It was different. Patricio, the candidate, seemed to be having a hard time with the questions. He said he sometimes thinks about other things. I eventually got him to tell me his mom was diagnosed with stomach cancer and was acting strange. Yesterday, she`d forbidden him from calling his big sister who`s studying in another city. He was sad, so I read him some Scriptures. We finished the Interview and we got back in time to visit Hno. Ruiz, who my hijo has been telling for 3 weeks, we`d visit. I didn`t know until today, so we went. Then the day ran out. I`m pooped.
Saturday: Today was great! We had a great companionship study, learning about the Missionary purpose and how we are to help others really come unto Christ. The more time I talk with people, or just see things really, the I realize that the world is just in really bad shape. for example, some drunk person was walking toward us, and then he suddenly jsut threw his 1 1/2 liter glass bottle at us. But being drunk didn`t help his aim. And in the night, we joined a search party, looking for a rapist that had just finished the dirty deed. But I know that, for all of that, that as a Missionary of God, I can really help and serve p eople when they need it most. We had lunch with Hna. roa. I love her. On the way back, Hno. Ordenes aske dus to help clean the Church. So we did that. We did contacts on our own, and then with Hno. Pinar as well. When we dropped him off, we noticed his family was watching "The Lion King." That`s Alan`s favorite Disney movie! He`s so awesome. We received our transfers! I`m NOT going to open a sector, it seems. I`m going to Curanilahue1 with Elder Brady. It`s in the same Zone as Tirua was. That`s great! Elder Zuñiga`s gonna stay here...and TRAIN! WOOT! I`m gonna be a grandpa in the Mission! Elder Gomez is going to be a Zone Leader, which is great! Elder Burch is still Junior comp and is ticked `cause Pres. won`t make him a leader. I don`t know how to help him.
Sunday: Today was a good day. I mean REALLY good. No day, in the Mission, will you ever feel as loved as the day you say goodbye to everyone. I was really surprised by how close I`d gotten to several people. Hno. Mansicca, especially. He had threatened me on my first day, to me sure I behaved. But today he said that I had done good work, and helped the Ward, and thanked me for all my efforts. Same with Mauricio Rodriguez. We had lunch with the Solar family in the countryside, as wella s their relatives. I met someone named Lexly. That`s a cool name. They put on Robin Hood (disney cartoon version) while we waited. They took a really long time. Haha. We stopped by the Hospital ato give a blessing to the wife of one of Santa Barbara`s contacts. He`d said she was dying because of her pregnancy. It turns out he was drunk. We got there saying, "Hey, we heard you were dying. We`re here to save your life." (Okay, not EXACTLY like that) But she was fine. Just chillin` with her meds. AWKWARD!!! We went by Hno. Felix, the Muffin Man (he actually says it in English). He gave me 6 muffins as a gift. Finally, we said farewell to Scarlet. I gave her the drawing I asked Alan to do for her. She loved it. I love her. She`s going to do a lot of good in the Church. The Sisters in Nacimiento (in my district) said I was their favorite district Leader, and the Zone Leaders said I could "leave Avenida Alemania with my head held high" for the work I`ve done. yup. It was a good day.
Monday: Today was a great day. We got up bright (dark?) and early so that we could make the ttrip to Temuco so that we could visit the Millahual family. hey are my Chilean Family from my first sector, Lican Ray, that pretty much adopted me. We wrote our family first, through. Everyone wished me Happy Birthday for Tomorrow. I loved the visit to the Millahual`s. They had made me a ake and they gave me a great cream-colored tie. Starting tomorrow, we can`t return to previous sectors. I was greateful I got this last chance to see them. We planned the only lesson we had scheduled for the night, with Ernesto. We wanted to hlep them go to church. But the first thing they told us was, "Thanks for your help, but we feel like we`ve been doing too much, too soon." They haven`t completed ONE commitment. We helped them see that, to show their faith, they need to act, and the blessings that come from obedience. they committed to praying, reading, adn going to church. That lesson was 11% by the Spirit. no--200% by the Spirit. (A 65 year-old man showed me his thigh and said, "I`m whiter han a mormon!" I shoed him my arm and he said I got him beat. It was so funny and random!)
Tuesday: The Zone Leaders gave me Skittles and the Sisters in my District gave me a keychain, with yellow, metal socks,a nd a pen. we had lunch with Hna. Pinar. We had home-made pizza. Made with love! Mmmm. She gave me a pretty pink tie, so I won`t wear my "amoeba" (paisely) tie. She thinks it`s ugly. Haha :) It rained, and I now have holes in both shoes. But I just thought, "Who says wet feet is a bad thing?" And I imagined I was walking in a pool. then I wanted them to be MORE we! Haha. We did contacts most of the day. We ac tually met a few nice people. We had a "lesson" with two law graduate students. They jsut asked questions and it was out of control. But it`s okay. We`ll do better. Hna. Roa came by, and dropped off some brazo de Reina, a really yummy cake with manjar inside. She gave me a pretty ble tie with white stribes. I love my mamitas!
Wednesday: today was a good day. I had a good time studying about Alma and the Zoramites. It`s so impressive, to me, to see his attitude of humility even when he knows that others are wrong. He just wants to serve and help make everything beter for everyone. Wha a great example! We ran into Hna. Gloria in the mornign. She`s still offended because the Bishop asked if she`d ever participated in an abortion. Absurd! We had an interesting contact right before lunch. He was sitting on a riverside beach and waved us over. He told us he`d always seen us preach, but never knew our message. But 5 min. into the conversaaion he took control. turns out he`s studied the Bible for 30 years and knows greek, Hebrew, English (he`s from England) and he`d already heard all the discussions. He didn`belong o any church, but was convinced that the Sabbath day was Saturday because of Isaiah66:something. At the beginning of my Mission, I might have been shaken. But I just kept thinking about how I`ve received an answer about Thomas S. Mosnon being a prophet. If he`s going to church on Sunday, so am I. It was like Sheram in Jacob 7. We taught Jorge. We watched "The Restoration" with him. He`ll pray about Joseph Smith. He put his own baptismal date for next Saturday. That`ll be so great! We did contacts and found some really great people that want to hear us. we have some missionaries from Angol sleeping over here.
thursday: We had to get up at 4:00 AM so everyone could shower and then make it to the Stak Center in time to leave. But as we left at 4:45 Gustavo was coming home from a nigh shift and cararied us. We took a bus to Concepción. There, we heard from President Keith McMullen, 2nd counselor in the Presiding Bishopric. He had a really deep, resonant voice. He spoke of how we need to know our message, down to our bones. He spoke of one of his sons who wasn`t sure if he wanted to serve, because he was unsure of hings. Elder McMullen thought, and said, "Do you know that it ISN`T true?" His point is that we don`t need to worry about what we DON`T know. Through service, sudy, and teaching, our testimony arrives. He asked, "Wheredo you think you`re going to find it? BYU-I?" I thought of Joe, and how badly I want him to have the peace that comes with a testimony. Jorge read and prayed by hasn`t received hsi answer. It`ll come. We taught Hector tonight. I was worried for what he`d said on Sunday, about not bothering him. But his concern is that he wants Sunday to do all the things he didn`t have time to do, during the week. Ah-hah! a clue. we know that he doesn`t understand, still, that we should rest and dedicate Sunday to the Lord. We`ll help him, too! We stopped by the church to use the bahroom, but the Youth were there and hey asked for English help and were offering brownies as payment. ugh.
Friday: Today was a great day. We got up and studied as usual. But then he Zone Leaders came over during our session of weekly planning. Elder Tanner and Elder Pliler are great Elders. they didn`t say too much, but they said enough to let us know they care, and they had a few good ideas about how to help our investigators progress. Elder Pliler stayed with Elder Zuñiga in our secor, and I went to San Martín with elder ÇTanner. We had a delicious veggie-lasagna for lunch. We studied the language before heading out. Our first appt. fell through so we went to teach the mom of a recent convert. She was a little hard-hearted, saying she didn`t feel the need of knowing if the BOM was rue. I asked her some quesions to help her out. We visited an investigator, Pamela, who is super nice. She`s getting married soon, so she can get baptized. She`s already glowing with the Light of christ, I think. We found a young woman crying on the sidewalk. We stopped and she said we should keep going. I almost did, bu the Spirit told us not to. We sat down until we got a conversation going. She`d had a hard time with tests in med. school. We had her laughing as we got a return appt. We visited another investigator who`d received the answer that she should get baptized Dec. 3rd. Golden. We found a family of less-actives and are gonig to help them out. Zuñiga called and said Jorge`s for sure going to church on Sunday. WOOT! It`s 11:11 PM on 11/11/11
Saturday: today was a good day: I had a good time talking with Elders Tanner and Tavernier. I like being in apartments with four missionaries. The first thing I did was call Elder Kemp and wish him Happy birthday. He`s doing excellent! We had a great personal study, followed by comp. study. Elder Tanner helped me focus on how to work with members. Elder Zuñiga and Elder Pliler came by shortly after. I found that Elder Pliler has "The Missionary`s Little Book of Inspirational Stories." I read some really cool ones. We had lunch with Natalia and Javiera Roa. Their mom was in Santiago. We got back intime for our appt. with Natalia (a different one), a contact we did last week. She`s really nice and very receptive. She knows how to think and ask good questions. Unfortunately, she works every other weekend. But she`s going to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. All of our other appts. fell through. So we had the blessing of being able to talk to people all day. I really do enjoy being able to testify to people I don`t know. It`s a lot easier than giving a talk in Sacrament Meeting, like I have to do tomorrow. Near the end of the night, we were let into the house of one Raphael. He old us taht he is 100% Catholic, and he wasn`t going to change. I just though, "I want to hear you saying that form the pulpit in a few months." We called Jorge and encouraged him to go to church, tomorrow, just to be sure.
sunday: So we spent this week on Jorge. We called him or visited hime very day, sharing scriptures, experiences, and encouraging him ot go to church so he could get baptized this Saturday like he wanted. AND HE DIDN`T GO!!! We were waiting all morning for him to show up, our hopes rising and crashign with every open and close of the door. So I`m frustrated. Hopefully, the next missionary to come will be able to help these children of God more than I was able o. I was assigned a talk about my favorite subject in the whole world: the Book of Mormon! I testified why it`s important for us to study it. Hna. Marita came up afterward, and said I made her cry with the experience I had when I got my testimony. I apologized. I don`t want to make people cry! It was odd. I testify all day in the street to strangers, but I was nervous in front of members and friends. But it went well. Our lunch bailed on us, but Hna. Pinar was just awesome and took us to her house and gave us completos, bless her soul. We shared "17 miracles" with her. It`s about the Pioneers and their trials. Abolutely amazing, what they went through. We did contacts without much success until the end. the last ones were a mom and her son. Her boy-friend had invited her to mutual, y ears ago. Now she wants her son to go, this Thursday. What a blessing!
Monday: Today was crazy-awesome. We woke up and headed off to Renaico, where we had the Mission-wide activity. Right when I got there, I got to say hi to my friends. Among them was Elder Lisonbee. He missed me almost as much as I missed him. Haha. We spent a lot of time together, actually. Al of the Zones got in a circle and shared the war chants and flags they`d created. Then we played some interesting games. The first one was where we had to throw our shoes into a pile, then try and find them afte rit was "shuffled." that got violent. I tried to stay on the outside, but an Elder Steele picked me up' by the thighs and threw me on people. He`s nuts. Then we played a caterpillar game where the Zone made a tunnel with their bodies and then someone had to crawl. the last one was "trees." Which is like Sharks and MInnows, but the tagged people can`t mave their feet. It was good. I played volleyball and frisbee. For lunch, we had cheeseburgers and there was home-made root beer! It wasn`t made with dry ice, but oh well. I was desperate. I got a letter from my convert, Mirta. She was such a miracle. She says she misses me and prays for me. She also said she has permission to go to mutual and even the Temple in December! what a blessing! We wrote the family. Daddy`s healing. Mom is a Temple Worker now. That`s so cool! Elders Burch and Tobias are sleeping over again.
Tuesday: So it turns out that my neck got REALLY sunburned yesterday. The part that`s usually covered by my church-shirt collar is particularly sensitive. OUCH! The Zone Leaders said that they wanted tme to give a class on setting and completing goals as well as planning efficiently. I`ve found that talking with EVERYONE gives you a feeling that you`re doing the right thing. We had lunch with Hna. Pinar. She enjoyed her candy. :) We came home and planned like crazy, making a sweet gameplan. We couldn`t visit any of our MAIN Investigators, so we did contacts and tried to visit some future investigators. We didn`t find any, but it never felt like I was just wandering, doing whatever. We helped people, and we taught, and spoke. It was sweet. The Sisters from Villa Esmeralda called with a favor. They had some non-members from near Antuco that had an aunt with cancer. They were desperate and one of the visiting relatives knew a member in Santiago who had spoken about blessings for health. So we went 30 km (20 miles) out of Los Angeles to give a blessing. My hijo gave it. She said she felt calmer. I hope she stays that way. She has esophagus cancer, along with a case of bronchitis. She could barely breathe.
Wednesday: Today was a great day. I`m finally learning how to focus, take the lead (moreso), and show results for my work. We planned our appts. for the day, thinking of ways to help Hector and Lilian keep the Word of Wisdom better. We tried to find Jorge before lunch, but he wasn`t home. We dropped off our clothes at Hna. Pinar`s. We did contacts until we had lunch with Hna. Marita. She made me cheeseburgers in honor of my birthday next week. YES! Lilian wasn`t home when she`d told us sshe would be. DANG IT! She`s ending up just like Jorge. It`s frustrating, knowing that they`re receptive, but are never home. But I wasn`t that depressed. We did cantacts at doors and in the street. We met some old people that said god will forgive him even if he doesn`t repent, as his pastor had told. I almost asked him, "And who is your Pastor, to act in God`s name?" But I refrained. We visited Jaime, a young 16 year-old man who wants to get to know the Church. we taught the Restoration. He said he`s bad at reading and praying. We said he`d be fine. We met Aldo, a man that has a doubt about Tithing. He would rather give his money to the poor, himself, than the Church. A General Authority had a similar experience. He told the member, "I`m sure the Lord appreciates your charitable desires...but I don`t think he likes you spending hi smoney." Haha. the Church is true. How else could the leaders speak so familiarly about God?
Thursday: Today was pretty special. We got up early, to take a bus to Concepción. elder Zuñiga couldn`t go, because it was a Conference that was only for Leaders. So he and Elder Tavernier were comps. While I was with Elder Ayala. We heard from Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy. He`s also a counselr in our Area Presidency. He helped us understand that, as Leaders, we have a responsibility to bring to pass this marvelous work, and help the other Missionaries strengthen their faith in the Lord and his work. He taught that as we teach and edify each other, we will know how to conduct our lives, work, and families. He taught that one of our main purposes is to seek the Holy Ghost, so that we can taach , as well as receive the blessings it offers. Something that really blew my mind was when he said ,"True words, spoken without the Spirit, are not truth." :O After our meeting, I went a few blocks away, to see Hna. Marìa and her family. they had a greanddaughter kill her baby and then killed herself! :O It was good to see them despite the sad news. Hna. Soledad is so great! We came back, and I worked in Villa Las Amercas until we ended the exchange. Elder Zuñiga found a great new investigator and they`d ddone some contacts. I called the Millahual family. I love them so much. I love loving!
Friday: Today was such a beautiful day! Spring is coming around in full, now, and it`s gorgeous. We did contacts in a really nice part of town and being able to see all of the flowers, and the green grass, and the cloudless blue sky was such a wonderful blessing. We found some really receptive people while we were there. This sector really is great! We had lunch with Hna. Quiroga. She`s so happy, and I love it! We tried going by Lilian`s house 3 times today, but she was never home. Argh! Same with Jorge! And Ernesto and his family! It`s a little frustrating because it`s not a lack of faith or a particular doubt--we just can`t find them when they`re home. We DID teach Ingrid. She`s a new. We asked her some questions to get to know her. She talked about faith a lot. Wewere able to discover that she wants help gatting it. We promised her that if she read and prayed about the Book of Mormon she would get an answer, which goes beyond faith and becomes a testimony. In the evening, we taught Hector the Plan of Salvation. He has trouble with the purpose of life--coming to gain experience and keep the commandments. We tried our best to explain it, then invited him to pray about it. I`m so grateful for the fact that Heavenly Father hears--and answers--prayers.
Saturday: So today I completed 18 months in the Mission. A year-and-a-half since I saw my family. I only have 6 months left to serve the Lord an dhelp as many people as possible. That was pretty much all we did today. All of our appts. fell through. We did nothing but contacts all day long, talking to all of the people we could. But it was a hard day. We set out with the determination to find lots of people to help. but we would find that the street we were contacting was suddenly empty. So we went to others and found similar results. When we knocked doors, nobody answered. 9 hours of looking for ANYONE in the entire sector, and we spoke with 25 people. It was so hard for me. We won`t be able to complete with our goal. We stopped by Lilian`s house. She was there! But she said someone had told her dad that she was seeing us. She`s using his house and he said he`d kick her and her kids out if we kept visiting. She was going to get baptized at the end of the month. Now, I don`t know when she`ll get those blessings. I`m jsut so sad because of the ...wickedness of the people. And their suffering. And their indifference. I`m being weighed down by the fact that our Zone was counting on the baptisms we were planning to have. Our investigators are avoiding us, and i`m somehow responsible for the actions someone else decides to take. I`m going to be praying very fervently tomorrow.
Sunday: Today was an okay day. But I`m super happy right now, anyway. Hector promised us three times, this week, that he would ocme to Church, including this morning. We called him right before the Meetings, and he said he was still in bed, but would come. When he didn`t show up to Sacrament Meeting, we called again. He told us he changed his mind and that we should stop pressuring him. He wa sour last hope for baptizing this month. But the good news came in the afternoon. We found Jorge!!! he`s been working lately. He finally got a job, which is great. He mentioned that in the time that he`s spent away from the church, he`s felt unprotected and vulnerable. He said he wants the "good feeling" again. I bore him my testimony of the Gift of the Holy Ghost and of baptism. We reviewed the word of wisdom and he committed to not drinking Alcohol. He made the comment, "Your watch looks a little small, there. Here, have mine." And he gave me a very handsome-looking watch. It even has his name engraved on the back! He said that there are lots of folks in the world that don`t pay attention to others when they express their love. He said that the way we`ve shown our care for him has been going around in his head and that he appreciates it. I really do care for him. I just know he`ll make the right decision. He could get baptized before I leave, if he wanted to.
Okay, so I`ve got an important announcement. One of the ex-missionaries of this mission has a son that has cancer. He`s dying and has months (inside of 3) to live. he had to come home from his mission, because it was so bad. They said that they can do a bone-marrow transplant that is very expensive, and can extend his life by 10 years. they`re asking for help. they say that a dollar or even a penny would help immensely. For those who are willing to help save stephen, go to this link! www.Supportstephen.wordpress.com Thanks for reading!
Mon: Today was a good Pday. Hna. Roa invited us over, to spend the day at her house. We helped prepare breakfast and clean up a little bit. We had an appt. with Jorge, but he cancelled 10 min. before. I don`t know how to help him if he doesn`t let us. We visited a new investigator, Irma, and her friend, Claudia. Claudia had had a fight with some of those close to her. We tried to cheer them up with the Gospel, then i told them to get some ice cream together. It makes everything better.
Tuesday: Today was a good day. the Zone Leaders called me and said what my clas was supposed to be. nothing really exciting happened at the Distrizona meeting. We had lunch with Hna. Briones. She gives us so much food! It was like a war between my will and the confines of my stomach.For our language study, we had to doa grammar test online. I got 100%! I know Spanish! Lilian couldn`t meet with us today. Her cousin was killed on Saturday. That`s why she didn`t come on Sunday. She hadn`t slept at all, last night and was almost too drowsy to think straight. She`s still smoking, and we`re trying ot help her quit. On our way to do contacts, we heard someone knocking their window. They invited us in. It was the house of Sara, a little old lady that had a picture of Elder Mcconnell in her house. She`s dead now. Her granddaughter(member) had let us in, to give a blessing to her mom (non-member). We did, and they both commented that they had been just the words they`d needed. Later, I was showing a video to my comp. A man came out and said he didn`t like us standing in front of houses. I asked if he would prefer that I stood in the middle of the road, `cause you can`t NOT stand in front of houses. He shut up and went inside. I was ticked! But then I felt bad afterward and repented. We visited Ernesto and Lily. We taught them about the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the end. They were very receptive. We`ll see how it goes when we teach them the word of wisdom.
Wednesday: This morning, I was looking through my journal, to see when we had visited Sara, the recently-deceased lady. It was on july 28th. She died on Aug1st, 3 days later! that`s so nuts! I hope we were able to help her be prepared for the Spirit World. We didn`t have companionship study, because our investigator, David, was only available at 10:30. But after ourl ong walk over there, we found that he wasn`t even home. But, fortunately, Hna. Pinar lived close by, and needed some help. My Hijo knows, or at least, is studying, Electronic Engineering. Hna. Pinar mentioned that she loves listening to the radio, but only one speaker works. My hijo took the speaker apart, and fiddled with the wires, and then it worked! he`s a stud. We had lunch with Hno. Bravo. He doesn`t believe that completos count as lunch, but we usually order them at the restaurant he takes us to anyway. Today he said, "You`re not going to order completos today." So we complied. I had pork! We went to Santa Barbara to interview a potential convert, Margaret. She passed! Interviews are so special for me. i love hearing the process of the candidates` personal Spiritual growth. In the evening, we had scheduled to teach English to Hna. Quiroga`s daughter. We called to confirm. She didn`t answer. we went to Hna. Pinar`s house to ask if she had other numbers for Hna. Quiroga...and we found Hna. Quiroga there! The Lord guided us! We had an unproductive time with contacts. I finally found a way to listen to Grandpa`s funeral service. I can hear mama talk and sing, and Daddy said the closing prayer. It was a really long prayer :)
Thursday: This week has gotten really stressful as of late the Mission President wants to baptize a lot this weekend, so we`ve had to change things up. I`ve been working closely with my District, and we`ve been making the most progress in the whole Mission! elder Gomez is a really hard worker, and so are the Sisters in Nacimiento. We had our Weekly Planning Session. Now that ALL of our Investigators have dates planned out, we were able to plan more accurately. We hadl unch with the Bello family. When we went by Lilian`s house, we found out she was at the Cemetary. Dang it! We tried going by Jorge, trying so hard to help him get baptized this weekend! He wasn`t there either. We tried to visit a lot of inactive Members, but no one answered. We ran into Hna. Roa and she talked to us for a LONG time. We wrote up our Progress Report and went to Comité. Hno. Garcia´s so funny. He sounds like the white, cartoon dog with the orange upff of hair. We helped make Completos with the Young Men and Women.
Friday: Today was an exciting day. Yu, that`s a good word for it. We got up early to walk to the Bus Terminal. On all of the other occasions when we`ve had to travel, I`ve always bought my tickets a day in advance. But this time, I forgot. Elder Gomez arrived first, and said they were almost gone. So we ran there in our suits ( Elder Gomez didn`t have money to buy tickets for us). The trip itself was uneventful. I thought it would be more of a presentational meeting. Nope. Pres. Martinez got up and told the new missionaries it was their time to compliment and complain about their trainers. It was a report! I was sweating bullets. Thankfully, my hijo didn`t have anything to complain about. We`re doing all the things we shoudl be. Whew! I was really happy to see Elder Arjona and Hna. Alanis. they`re some of my really good friends. Oh, and Hnas. Bair and Miller, who both went to Timpview. I picked up mail! I got a package from the family and letters form Estee, Chanel (who`s been called to serve in Portland, Oregon!), Bitsy, Muzna, and 2 from Cassie! One`s for my Bday! All of those letters made me so happy! We had to ride home in the Assisstant`s truck and van...all 18 of us. All the buses were sold out. Most fit, but my hijo and I had to ride in the metal bed of the truck for 3 hours. Ow. I opened my package and found a whole lot of wonderful things.
Saturday: Today was a really good day. We got to go to Nacimiento (which means Birth) first thing in the Morning. There, I had to do two Interviews with some 11 year-old boys. The first one was really distracted. I kid ou not, the kid was craning his neck all the way back and looking all around the room except at me. But he answered the questions correctly, I guess. The other kid, Jerson, was less-familiar with the Gospel (less time), but he was focused and had a wonderful testimony. We got back in time to have lunch with the weird family with 9 cats. They had a nephew visiting them. I swear that kid`s sick. During the prayer he was calling everyone morons and that we were stupid. He`s like 6. His mom asked us to give him a blessing, and we did. But he was constantly moving. We even had to start over once. Nuts. We were the only ones that showed up, out of the Elder`s quorum, to clean the Chapel. So we lost 2 1/2 hours of work. Lame. Paola is busy the whole weekend, because a visit arrived. Ernesto and his family are going to temuco, so they won`t come to church, either. We passed by Lilian`s house, and found her in the street, locked out of her hosue. We talked for a while, and I gave her a few of my American sweets. :) We found an old couple that really wants to go to Church next weekend. We taught Hector the Sabbath Day. He knew we had to rest but didn`t know to Sanctify it and dedicate it to the Lord. He`ll come to church--next week. He already has an appt. with relatives tomorrow.
Sunday: today was something of a discouraging day. Lilian promised us that she`d go to church today. We passed by her house in the morning, but she didn`t answer, and her neighbor said she had left to some river. and Hector didn`t come. Neither did Ernesto and his family. I was depressed. There was a young man, that was invited by a member, and who was interested in the Church. Buyt we found out he belongs to another sector. Then we found out that Paola, our really great investigator, is also form another sector. *sigh*We visited Lilian after lunch and found her outside...smoking with her friend. Because she didn`t go to Church, her baptismal date changed to a time after transfers. If I go, I won`t be able to see her get baptized. We did contacts for the rest of the Afternoon. It was SO dang hot today. after 10 min. my legs were dripping with sweat, my skin was burning, and I was fidgety. Not a lot happened during contacts. We got back to the house as elder Burch called us.We let him drop off his stuff. Then I got some sweets out, and delivered them to Hna. Pinar because I love her so very, very much. I wrote a start to my response to Cassie. I was feeling down, but she made me happier through her words and Testimony.
Monday: Today was a good Pday. We didn`t get to sleep in as long as we would have liked because the Zone Leaders wanted to play Soccer. But even that was fun today. We went to their hosue, afterward, so they could shower off. then we went all around town, looking at places where they sell custom shirts. For the Mission-wide activity at the end of the month, each Zone will need it`s own shirt, flag, batlle cry, and song. Everybody wants me to write the song. It`s in spanish. I`ll have to try really hard. We went to write the family. Mom said she`s sent off my Birthday package. Other than that, I don`t know how they`re doing. Supposedly, Daddy had surgery. But in this case, no news is good news, right? Mom did mention that devin seems a little bit lost. She noted that Cassie has Lindsay, and Devin needs me. Yeah, life is going to be sweet when I get back. When I cried during the Saturday devotional, Hna. Cecilia rubbed and squeezed my arm in that way moms have. It`d been a long time and was so nice. I can`t wait to see mama again. We gave yet another blessing in the Hospital today. It was 8 year-old Juan. He`s not baptized because he`s waiting for the right Elder. But when he was in the Hospital, he told his mom that he`d realized WHO baptizes him isn`t as important as getting baptized. We met with Scarlet and Gustavo and reviewed the "Book of Mormon" Liahona. They`re so awesome!
Tuesday: Today was a really great day. We had our Distrizona in the morning. In our class, Elder Gomez mentioned an email he`d gotten from his friend who got to his Mission, in Africa, a week ago. He said he has already baptized 3 people, and they have 20 more people lined up for the 22nd! they don`t have a Christian background/false ideas, so they`re receptive. We talked about "The Vision of Baptism." It was a letter from the Area Presidency, describing how we shouldn`t focus on Prophets, or the BOM, or Eternal families, because none of that matters if they don`t have a remission of their sins. THAT should be our focus. We had to make up a song and a battle cry, butr nobody wanted to. I managed to get somethign for a battle cry, but I fear the swong is beyond me. We taught Jorge in the Afternoon. We were finally able to teach him about fasting. we taught him, and he got emotional, and before we could even commit him to try a mini-fast, he said, "I`d like to fast this weekend." Wow. He hasn`t talked to us in a month becuase he was scared of fasting. I`m so grateful Heavenly Father can soften hearts. We checked out a referral from Hno. Amstein. She has been listening to the Zone Leaders from the other Zone (she has two houses). So we taught her about baptism and everything. She`s so prepared! She`d only received one lesson, but she already had a date and hour planned for her baptism. The work of the Lord is so real. I remember saying something to her and she said, "I was just thinking about that. Thank you."gift of Discernment =real!
Wednesday: Today was so wonderful. I just feel like I`m going to explode from happiness. We woke up and went jogging,making a commitment to do it for the rest of the transfer. I discovered something--jogging can be a near-traumatic experience if you`re a year and a half out of practice. My lungs ached all morning. We determinedly planned a lesson for Lily and Ernesto. they`ve been wanting to take things slow. But we want them to have a remission of their sins! Study, this morning, was a really inspired exerience. We had lunch, then had afternoon study time. We passed by Daniel, a guy who wants to speak English. But the first thing he said was, "I`m Catholic, you won`t convince me." The Mission requires mental toughness to face things like that on a daily basis. we met with Angelica. She`s so proud. She asked if I think the Catholic Church was false. I said yes and explained why. She was astonished and will come to Church on Sunday. We took Hno. Pinar with us, to visit Lily and Ernesto. They`ve come so far! They understood the examples we gave. They recognize the Spirit, too. They say it feels different when we visit, and when we watched "The First Vision" with them. We spoke of repentance and the forgiveness that the remission of sins brings. They`ll prepare to be baptized on Nov. 19th with their son, Vicente. They`ll read chapters in the BOM to find answers to their "Questions of the soul," and pray to know if it`s true. Hno. Pinar testified and invited them to church. They said they`d let us pick them up. WOOT! I`m Happy!
Thursday: Today was SO hot. I think it was only in the 80´s, but I was sweating a ton. We`re only a month into Sprin! Dang it. Jogging was easier today, if only because we did the "Grandpa Shuffle" style of jogging. We had our weekly planning session today. It took longer than normal, because we have a LOT more investigators that are progressing. We paired each investigator with a Member, and planned out future lessons. It was sweet! We HAD an appt. with Jorge, but he called us right before lunch, to cancel. Argh! After lunch, we met up with the Zone Leaders so that we could do divisions. I went with Elder Tanner. We picked up Barbara, a member, so she could accompany us to our appt. with Lilian. She`s so great! Almost all of my converts are results of the Lord preparing people, rather than hard people I`ve had to persuade. We taught Lilian the Word of Wisdom and the Law of chastity. She`s good with the Law of Chastity, but she drinks tea, coffee, and smokes. But right before we found her, she randomly wanted to start stopping. But today she said she was sdone. And she said that nobody else will drink coffee in her family anymore. She rules(literally)! We met some new people during contacts. Lots of snaky girls. :O We had our Comité with Hno. Garcia before playing soccer with the Young Men and a few non-members. Savannah, the gringa, came to Mutual! I got her to commit to go to church on Sunday! Hna. Roa gave us ice cream. I love her so much. She and Hna. Pinar are "fighting" over who`s my mamita. Both are!
Friday: I still can`t believe what has happened today and this past week. We have been so blessed by tghe Lord! I have such a testimony that the Lord is with us, and that by his power, the people can relaly feel that we are his servants. We spent the morning planning out our lessons. Our first appt. in the Afternoon was with Lilian. She used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day. But in the 24 hours that she`s known about the Word of Wisdom, she`s only smoked one, and has thrown out her coffee. We taught her the Sabbath Day. She said, "I always go to the Super Market on Sunday to buy lunches. But I understand I won`t be able to do that anymore." What?! She said she is always happier after we visit. He r husband`s even noticed. I gave her a blessing to help her resist temptation. She told us she`d felt something warm on her head that spread through her whole body. She`s so sensitive to the Spirit! Wevisited with Hector. He`s always so hard-hearted and doubting. He questions the Book of Mormon. But he told us today that he`d been able to read a few verses. He`s nearly blind, so that`s great. We taught him about repentance and Baptism. We invited him to prepare to be baptized on Nov. 19th. He waited about 3 seconds before saying, "Yes." At first, I thought he hadn`t understood the question. But then he said that he`d been pondering a lot about Joseph Smith. He said it makes sense. He also said he had less doubts since he`d started reading. I know that that Book of Mormon is a Miracle of God, given to us to be able to get closer to him. I`ve seen that promise been completed over and over again. He also said that he feels somethign differently when we come over. After that, we went to visit Paola. She`s a referral that the Office gave us. We found out that she is getting divorced. She`s 27. She looked so vulnerable. She said she needs Spi8ritual Strength and hasn`t found it in the other Churches. She has a co-worker that`s amember. She`s so smart. We taught her the Restoration, and she underwstood everything. She wants to read the Book of Mormon and receive an answer. She`ll come to church and even accepted the invitation to prepare to be baptized on Nov. 19th. I mean HOLY SMOKES!!! Wepve been blessed so much, to beable to help these people. Paola said she, too, felt the Spirit. I`m really learning to become a better and better instrument in the hands of the lord. I`m so grateful for his mercy and his patience with me. Being worthy of his love is one of my biggest dreams. I love this work. I love loving people. I love helping them find Heavenly Father`s love. I`m so happy, right now!
Saturday: It`s amazing how disappointing a normal day can seem after a miraculous one. We had a special activity with Pres. martinez in the morning. He spoke to the Youth of the stake about the iimportance of Missionary Work. It was nice. there were refreshment afterward. I got to know a new Sister Missionary, Hna. barbosa. She`s from Washington. I pretty much just listened as she told me how her first two weeks have gone for her. those were good times for me. Well, interesting times at any reate. We had lunch, and then prepared for a lesson with 4 new investigators. They weren`t home when they said they would be. They`re not even in the city. We did contacts in the hot sun, for a while, until our next appt. who also wasn`t hom. We visited Hna. Pinar. Anyway, all of our appts. fell through. We did contacts, and helped clean the Chapel.
Sunday: Today was kind of a let-down. We worked all week, trying to get people to commit to being baptized and progressing. And they were! But not one of them showed up at Church. I felt so helpless. I had felt like I had finally been doing things right. But nobody came to church--not even Lilian. Mouricio Rodriguez taught about the Book of Mormon, and how it`s meant to be a source of light, truth, and revelation in times where sacred things are befuddled (okay, he didn`t use that word EXACTLY) by the understanding and interpretation of man. The Gringa, SAvannah, came to Church. we helped reactivate her, at least. We had lunch with Hna. Roa. She`s so sweet. She loves to have us over for lunch, and to spend time with ehr. She asked us for acvice on how to help a daughter understand that she has to date within the Church--or at least marry in the Temple. I found that as I pondered the dilemma, my mind immediately started thinking of Scriptures and questions to make them think and find the answer for themselves--just like an investigator! I`m not sure how I feel about htat. We taught Paola again. We`d planned to to explain baptism a little more, but she asked why Christ had to die, or what happens to the Spirit between death and the Resurrection, so we taught her the Plan of Salvation instead. She was reather shocked that we actually had real answers. It was great!
Monday: Today was a great Pday. We woke up, and I got to sleep in. I had a crazy dream last night. We cleaned a little and then went to write the family. We did contacts today, and had a lot more success than yesterday. I liked one comment, from Conference, that I keep going back to: a lot of people pray for patience, but they want it RIGHT NOW. The Lord`s not going to make that change, instantly, for us. It makes me pay more attention to HOW the Lord will be preparing ways for me to endure well and be rewarded with that potential prize. We visited Hna. Pinar and she said she loved the talk by Elder Holland that I`d left her.
Tuesday: Today was a good day. We got up and went jogging. we actually did a lot of jogging today, for various reasons. sHaha. For our comp. study, we studied "Common doubts." If I ever have the time, I`d like to share it with Alan and Kevin. I learned some more stuff today, for sure. We did some contacts in the morning. We had lunch with Hna. rodriguez. She made some heavenly lasagna. but the whole conversation was about how much better her sons are than me. She said that all the Utah missionaries are obligated/forced to go on a Mission. There was so much I didn`t know before the Mission. I`m not sure why I came, except out of love I felt for other people. I didn`t know the doctrine, but I kenw how happy the Gospel made me. Hna. Rodriguez said it was all a joke, AFTER she saw I`d been bothered. the Mission`s frickin` hard! I don`t care if I haven`t been a Zone Leader since I had 2 months in the Mission, like her son. I`m proud just for not going home that first, rainy, confusing week. Okay, done venting. We found Lilian. She`s way receptive. We taught her faith, repentance, and prayer. She even said the closing prayer! There was an...aroused dog gang, trying to get the girl dog. They started fighting with each other, and we tried to get away from them. But their center of attention, the girl dog, followed us. So we ran for 3 blocks, trying to ditch the vicious, pursuing, horny dogs. If I had it on camera, and sugsequently youtube, I`d be a star. It was so hilarious!
Wednesday: Today was a hard day. We had our Distrizona in the MOrning. I was asked, by the Zone Leaders, to give a class on how to study and prepare effectively. Then, for our practice, I had everybody prepare a lesson for one of the investigators right there. It was a pretty good class. We had lunch with Hna. Pinar. We had completos! It was so good. Hno. Pinar wasn`t feeling so good. He was all bundled up, eating warm soup, next to the fire. It was raining outside. It almost made ME want to be sick. And be with my mom to take care of me. Almost. we did contacts in the Afternoon. After 3 hours of knocking doors, we only had 11 contacts. Everybody recognizes my red hair through their window curtains and tells us to go away. there`s only one really good neighborhood to find people/knock houses. The rest of the Sector`s just businesses. But thanks to the "Month of Sanctification" we blew through the neighborhood about 3 times each transfer. This is my 7th time talking to the same people that told me not to come back. One particularly rude lady had remembered my name, even, without looking at my nametag, and used it to tell me to stop wasting her time. I`ve just hit another rough spot, I guess. But I read my Patriarchal Blessing a little while ago, and I felt a peace. that was the Spirit telling me, "This is true. This is right." I wrote back to Alan`s letter. That made me feel better, too. I`m gonna keep going.
Thursday: today was way better than yesterday. I think the rain had been dampening my mood, is all. but today was sunny and warm and awesome. We woke up and did some studying before we had to go to the bus terminal to head off to santa barbara to start off our divisions. I went with Elder Gomez, and both of our hijos went together. We had lunch and then wen straight to an appt. Margaret wants to get baptized, but her Grandpa won`t let her leave him alone on Sundays. We challenged her to do everything possible to get to church. In our Afternoon study time, I showed Elder Gomez a little bit about the Sabbath day. we visited a less-active member before going to do the Interview. Daniela was super cool! she had lots of doubts at first, but through prayer she received her answer. At conference, too! She told me she was pregnant, but it`d happened before she met the Missionaries. I read 2 Nephi 9:25-26 telling her the marvelous blessings of the Atonement. She passsed the Interview wonderfully. we did a contact, and she said, "I don`t believe in happiness." But as we talked more, she said she was looking for a Church for her daughter. We talked more, and she said, "What if I wanted to get baptized in your church?" haha. A miracle indeed. We taught Teresa about the Book of Mormon. She likes what she`s seen, but is still doubtful. I bore her the strongest testimony I`ve ever given and invited her to be baptized when she received her answer. You could see/feel the Spirit working in her before she said, "yes." It was very cool.
Friday: Today was a really great day. I accidentally slept in, and Elder Gomez didn`t wake me up. Ugh! But I got up and studied for a little bit before we had to run to catch the bus to Los Angeles. we met up with our comps. and ended the division. I found that Hna. Roa had stopped by, this morning, to give us rasberry pie. She loves me. We were asked to go to the Hospital and give a blessing. It was an inactive member form another city. He was a big tough guy. He told us he had cancer, and it broke my heart when he started crying. But he was smiling when we left. We also had to give a blessing to the grandson of a lady (non-member) we ran into. Her daughter`s a member. It`s a really cool feeling to give blessings in Hospitals. People look to you for hope. We taught Lilian today (while I was in Santa Barbara, my hijo put a baptisimal date with her). She said she couldn`t sleep last night. She felt like she was being watched. So she read the Book of Mormon, and felt at peace. She said she thought it was Satan, trying to stop her. We taught the Restoration. She said she believes Joseph Smith was a prophet. She`s so prepared. We visited Hector. He started by telling us he didn`t believe in the Book of Mormon. We "argued" for about 5 minutes before I suggested we read it. Afterward, he quieted down a bit. He said he`d read daily from then on, even if it`s one verse. His wife is going to help him. Our Ward left for the Temple at 10:30 tonight. They`re all so excited.
Saturday: Some really cool things happened today. We spent our companionship study discussing ways we can teach the Book of Mormon better. Then we went to try and find Jorge. We always visited him in the Afternoon. But his wife told us, on Thursday,k we can find him at noon. and for the first time in a month, we found him! He`s had some spinal problems. when we told him that he doesn`t have to be able to fast right away, in order to get baptized. He smiled and said, "Thgat`s good news." He`s gonna get baptized, I`m pretty sure. Our other appts. fell through, but Hno. Ordenes called and said he needed help cleaning the Chapel, because everyone else was gone. We finished with just enought time to head to the "Missionary Work" Cultural activity transmission from santiago. There were about 5,000 youth participating. They did a really cool part with 2,000 stripling warriors doing a battle dance to the Primary song "W`ll bring the World his truth." An opera lady sng a solo, high up in the Stadium, of "come, come, ye saints" while the "pioneers" marched below. But the the whole stadium joined in. It was so moving. All of the ex-missionaries that have ever served in Chile, that were able to come, stood on a podium. It was cool. Then, the first two Missionaries gav e a message. There was a play where a family sent their son on a Mission. That made me cry. That first day was a hard one. Watching the Mom saying goodbye to her son was hard.
Sunday: Today was a good day. we fasted this week, for Jorge and for Daddy, so that his surgery went well. During sacrament Meeting, the Bishop called a lot of people out. He said there are 68 Ward Members with Temple Recommends and only 11 went. He said that Money, Work, and "being busy" in general are all excuses of man, and that going to the Temple should be our top priority. It was a pretty strong call to action. We didn`t have any investigators in Church today. but we should have several next week. Yeah! Our lunch was with Hna. Marta. She is extremely strange. Our last lunch with her was squash soup in their country house that is right next to a Satanic cult. So I waws worried this morning. But when we got there, we found a barbeque...with no cartilage! We had pork, chicken, and a really flavorful sausage called langaniza. She told us all the other Missionaries spent the whole afternoon at their house, and told us to do the same--and RELAX. When she told us to relax, I felt like a vulnerable Zoolander to her evil Will Farrell. So wse told her we still had work to do, which was true. We went to give ANOTHER blessing at the Hospital. We did contacts for the rest of the night. Nobody opened up until the end. My hijo said, "hello ma´am." The contact, in a rumbling bass, with a smile that we could see from 10 ft. away, said, "hello." My hijo was like, "i`m so sorry." The guy was coo with it, and said we could come back. He`ll cut his hair, too.
Monday: Today was a good day. Except when I woke up at 6-ish and was immediately completely awake and couldn`t go back to sleep. Haha. It`s ironic because it`s my only day to sleep in. We studied for a little while before Hna. Roa came to pick us up to take us to her country house. Her daughter, Javiera, bought a new Triple so she could use my "Scripture Shortcut" system, and she needed some questions answered and help in heneral. They gave us some breakfast, and then Hna. Roa`s dad, who lives next door, came by with their doead dog in a wheelbarrow. Everyone cried and I felt awkward. We wrote the family. It looks like mama and Daddy are in pretty bad shape. I`m so worried for them. We watched "Up" while we were with Hna. roa. It`s a really good movie. We got home, and went to do some contacts. We found a few people who are interested, and one woman even speaks English. Sweet! We visited Gustavo and Scarlet. They`re so awesome! Scarlet said Conference was exactly how she`d exècted it to be. She also thanked me for the blessing I gave to her last week, for her back. She said she was going to go to the Hospital the next day. But during the blessing, she felt something she`d never felt before--a fire on her back, right where it hurt, and then the pain was gone instantly. She hadn`t said goodbye, that night, because she was speechless. Priesthood power is real. Especially when used with love.
Tuesday: Today was a singularly unproductive day. Actually, from the way this week`s starting to shape up, with all of our meetings and various duties, it looks like the whole week`s gonna be the same way. We had our Distrizona in the morning, and I gave a class about how to recognize and follow the Sìrit. It turned out well, and then I had everyone share what they learned from their companions. That was reallly awesome. Elder Zunñiga said he`s learned how to be happier and how to have a positive attitude when things get hard. That made me ffeel so humbled. I`m still working to get it right. I still have so many short-comings. Jus ta quick note on learning how to recognize the Spirit: That was one of my biggest fears in the MTC. But most of my class was from personal experience. It`s such a wonderful blessing to have in my life. We had lunchy with Hna. Roa before going to teach Sabrina. Then we went to drop off our clothes and buy bus tickets for tomorrow. We have a conference, but it`ll be in Hualpen, where I was! We had a Ward Council. All of chile is doing Permaneced, trying to help inactive members come back, for the Celebration of 50 years since MIssionary Warted here. Santa Barbara is sleeping over here for the night
Wednesday: I completed 17 months in my Mission, Today! Woot! It doesn`t feel any different from last month. haha. Today was a happy day. we got up at 5:00 so we could walk to the Bus terminal and leave to our conference in Hualpen. Oh, how I`d missed it. I remember the stinky gas factory that used to bug me. But today I loved it, as treasured memories were brought back. then, I got to see all of my friends. I was especially happy to see Elder Calaway, Elder Montalbán, and Elder Mcconnell. Elder Calaway is so funny, and we spent almost the whole day together. I got to talk to Elder Mcconnell for the second time since we left the MTC. He`s wearing glasses now. Haha. but he`s doing well. I also got to see Elder Burch. He said he got me a Bday present, but forgot it at home. But I was still happy to see him. Pres. Martinez motivated everyone to be more obedient, using a lot of Scriptures to explain how th eDevil works. It was kind of frightening when you think in the detail he gave us. Satan constantly invites us to do bad. But Heavenly Father constantly invites us to do good. Nephi explains that it`s up to us to choose eternal life of eternal death. Salvation depends on what we want. We took our long ride home, and then immediately went to help Hna. Quiroga by helping her daughter with her English. She`s really quite talented. We agreed to do it, because her non-member husband was going to be there. He wasn`t. We got home and I`m tired. Whew!
Thursday: Today felt pressured. when we added up our numbers thjat we have so far, it was quite a shock to find out how busy we`ve been with all of our meetings, traveling, and stuff. But during our weekly planning we got to plan for all of the families we`re teaching, and how to help them resolve their doubts. It was really exciting to feel the Spirit of the Lord opening our minds to receive the answers we needed. We had lunch and then came back to study. I startedreading a bit of "The MIracle of Forgiveness" That my hijo has. It had some pretty strong stuff, and I decided to wait `til I can read it in English so it can be even stronger! Bwahaha!Cristian, one of the only young men that works with us, came out to do contacts for the first time in a while. While we were working, I got a call from the Mission office. They had a referral for us1 She was up in Concepción, but she lives here. She wants to get to know the Church. She has a testimony of the Restoration and wants to get baptized! I haven`t even met her yet. She`s done all that on her own! We set an appt. for when she returns, next Friday. We went ot the appts. we`d planned with our progressing investigators, but they all fell through. If they don`t start going to church, they won`t be able to receive their answers! Hna. Pinar called, and said she had a great referral, too. the Lord is blessing us for all of our hard work!
Friday: Today was a pretty good day. Ever since they changed the way to measure contacts, we`ve been finding it hard to complete with our goal. But, we`ve been able to visit some of the awesome investigators that we have. We had a great companionship study, learning together about prayer. We practiced a few times, pretending to be one of our investigators. It went really well. Practicing may feel uncomfortable at times, or even unnecessary, but just by doing it, you`re showing your diligence. And for that, Heavenly Father softens the hearts of his children for you. That`s from personal experience. We had lunch with Hna. Quiroga and then went out to work. We met with Angelica. She`s pretty tough. We read the chapter we`d left her, together. But she kept saying it`s true because it spoke of God. then she said it was just as true as her church `cause they talk about God there, too. She`s a real fan of the loud talkers. We invited her to pray, but she said no. We were persistent for about 5 min. and I realized she`d closed up. Our next appt. fell through, so we felt we should visit Claudia, the wife of a guy who let us in last week. They`re always busy, so this was a miracle. She`d read the intro. of the BoM we`d left her husband! When we asked her to pray, and she said she wanted to learn how to pray like us. the contrast between Claudia`s humility and Angelica`s Stubborness was apparent. Right as we left, we found Ernesto going home. We accomanied him and invited him to say a prayer. Last time, he didn`t want to, but he said a wonderful prayer today. He was the one we practiced for.
Saturday: We walked a lot today. But we also did a lot of good. We got up and I ate some peaches that I had been craving. Yum! I`ve been reading about Alma and the change that Abinadi had caused in him. I thought to myself. "We are having an Abinadi week." Because of our meetings and new system of counting things. I`ve been confused a little bit, trying to organize and plan for what we`ve set goals for. But we`re not having the success we want. But I guess it`s not about what WE want, is it? That`s one of the things I`ve learned in my Mission: be humble so the Lord can teach you, and through the hard times he`ll bless you. It`s been true every time. We had the best spagghetti of my life with Hna. Cecilia. So good! We did contacts for a while, before coming across two women trying to stuff a sofa through their door. THAT`s a good finding opportunity. They refused us at first, but we persisted (Elder Holland, in the MTC, said Sister Holland`s AVON lady was more persisitent than us), and they let us help. We ended up taking out their window, metal support-beam and all, to get it in. They asked lots of questions. I gave them a Book of Mormon to answer. the rest of our appts. fell through, and so we ran to every possible place, trying to find someone. Nothin`. Haha. We found out our transfers...We`re both staying together! Woot! It`s gonna be awesome!
Sunday: We got up, and my hijo reminded me that we had to go the Ward Executive meeting two hours before church. So we hustled over there to talk with everyone. we went over the Investigators we`ve been teaching, and asked for their help in some areas. it went really well. Today was fast and testimony meeting. I was nervous. We didn`t have any of the new investigatorscome again, though. Ugh. we learned about the Millenium in Gospel Principles and about the signs of the Second Coming in PriesthoodThere was one investigator, Hugo, who was there. He`s Catholic (hard-core) but has been coming to our church with his wife for 20 years! The Missionaries have talked to him lots of times, but nothing has come of it. Today, he asked if we could give him the lessons :O SAY WHAT?!?!?! tHAT`S TOTALLY A MIRACLE. I called Elder Burch, and he was more surprised than I was. We had lunch with the Bishop. This whole week I`ve wanted a completo, but i`m saving my money. Today, we had completos with the Bishop. I had 4! they were so AWESOME! We did contacts for a while. We went through a whole street without any doors opening. It was so lame. W evisited the Pinar family and watched, "The District 2" with them. We were all crying. I can`t wait to show it to my family. Hna. Roa dropped off calzones rotos (broken underpants)--A chilean dessert. They`re scones with powdered sugar. yum!
Monday: Today was alright. we got up and cleaned and relaxed after having enjoyed sleeping in. Then, our Zone Leaders called and said they wanted to play soccer at our chapel, because of it`s field. We ran over to Hna. Pinar`s house to get her copy of the key. As we were playing, I realized the sad truth that I just can`t play this game gracefully. So I played to my strengths and played goofily, and that worked out pretty well. We went to write the family after we got cleaned up. Mama and Daddy wrote me wonderful things of home. Apparently, they bought a giant flag pole. My house, and car, and room, and everything is going to be so different when I get home. I was thinking about it, and my first day home, I`d like to just walk around Provo. That sounds like a good plan. Up until this point, my day was awesome. But then I got a migraine. I ended up taking three aspirins, and it still didn`t lessen the pain. we went out ot drop our clothes off and return Hna. Pinar`s keys. At that point, the pain was so bad that Elder Zuñiga had to give me a blessing. I felt a mementary relief, but it went away and the pain came back. Hna. Pinar made lemonade with real lemons, saying itwould help. It didn`t, but it was delicious. I couldn`t think straight through the pain, so we just came home. Now I am going to just go to bed.
Tuesday: Today was great. We went to the Distrizona and I taught my class about helping Investigatators keep commitments. The Spirit was there, and it went better than usual. I sent off my reply to Cassie (friend). We did an online language study checklist today, and then went to lunch. Hna. Soto told us Gloria had passed by, and is so happy because of the help we`ve been giving her. that made me feel good. Today, something changed in me. I don`t know what it was, but I`m sure it has to do with the dedicated study I`ve recently been giving to the Book of Mormon. This change was something that I felt. Afterwards, we got into 4 houses.
Wednesday: Today was a pretty important day. We had our interviews with the President, and got to meet as a Zone with the Assisstants. They told us that we`d lower the quantity of required contacts to improve the quality of contacts expected. That`s something that I`ve had clear since Sister Tan taught me how to do good contacts before the Mission. We taught the Restoration to Angelica in the afternoon. She was receptive. We walked around with the Book of Mormon in hand all day. We watched "the Testaments" with Gloria. she loved it1 she said she doesn`t like FHE. but she shared snacks during the movie, and she shared scripture. When we told her THAT was an FHE, she said, "That wasn`t so hard." I feel so great, right now! WOOT!
Thursday: Today was so unbelievably awesome. Everything`s just coming together and working perfectly. We`re teaching about 4 families with about 3 people in each. They`re just starting out, but things look promising. We learned about Weekly Planning from our "The District" DVD`s. We had lunch with the bello family. Hno. Bello had questions about his iPad 2 (hyperventilate) that I helped him out with. We tried to teach Sabrina, but they`d gone to visit her sick grandma. We sent chocolate with them. :) Some of our other appts. fell through, but because of our more thorough contacts, we were able to have some really motivating conversations. As we were standing outside a door, I thought it`d be funny to send Elder Zuñiga a "toxic love note" if you know what I mean. But it wasn`t as silent as I`d hoped it would be. It was downright explosive! So we just ran away, red-faced and laughing. We taught hector about Joseph Smith and the REstoration. He has some doubts about Prophets and the Bible, but the thought of another testament positively intrigued him. He said he`s not sure of lots of things, but he wants to know. We invited him to read and pray, as well as go to General Conference. We met with Scarlet and Gustavo for the first time in 2 1/2 weeks. They`re doing so well. They hadn`t read the BOM for a while, but Scarlet said she`d chewed him out yesterday because of it (keep in mind that SHE`S the investigator. not him.). She asked me to give her a blessing. I gave it from my heart as best I could becuase I love her and gustavo and the progress they`re making. As we ended, she was crying. She`s so special.
Friday: Today was so amazing! We`re seeing so many blessings of the Lord here, in Avenida Alemania. Oh my goodness. Today was the last day before General Conference, and we had all these new investigators that hadn`t heard the Restoration yet. When this transfer started, I was depressed because we didn`t have people to plan for, or visit. Well you know that Scripture that says, "God will open the windows of heaven and puor out blessings so we won`t have room enough to recei8ve them?" I totally know what that feels like, now. We`ve got 6 families we`re teaching and more than 10 investigators that are progressing. So we were prtty much running all over the place. They`re all such special children of God, and they WANT to progress. It was really special to me, to be able to testify almost all day long to these people who could understand the importance of what we were saying. All of them got Books of Mormon, and want ot come to General Conference. Lily and Ernesto were our last visit. We watched "The REstoration" video with them. Ernesto had read the pamphlet and had some questions ready. They believe God COULD call a prophet. they were shocked at ournews and want to read the Book of Mormon and go to Conference, Sunday. What a wonderful miracle. I`m so grateful for the Spirit and it`s role in teaching.
Saturday: It was General Conference today! It was so full of inspired messages that just said what I needed to hear. I`m so grateful for repentance and the chance that we have, each day, to improve ourselves and come closer to God. Elder Uchtdorf gave a wonderful talk on how big the Universe is, and how man is nothing, but everything to God. It was so powerful to when he said, "You. matter, to. him." Satan wants us to feel invisible and unappreciated, but we "are the reason God created the Universe." We need to remember 5 things 1) the Humble and Meek are jof Heaven. 2) the Gospel will be preached by the weak. 3) No matter your circumstance--you are not invisible to God. 4) What you see and experience now is not necessarily what will be. You will not be forsaken by him. 5) The most powerful being in the Universe is the Father of your spirit. He wants you to know you matter to him. Elder christofferson also gave 5 important things of repentance. 1) The invitation to repent is an action of love. 2) Repentance means striving to change. It is a holy process. 3) Not just abandoning sin, but committing to obey God. You need baptism. 4) Repentance is a seriousness of purpose and a determination to remain. Deep distress leads us to cry to Christ. Suffering in repentance will be little compared to eternal damnation. 5) Whatever the cost of repentance, it is swallowed up in the joy of forgiveness. fIt was a very special talk for me. Elder Holland gave a very frank talk, calling many to serve a worthy Mission, and to stop sinning but saying you`re "on christ`s team when temple attendance comes around." It was very straight -forward. Elder Carl B. Cook related a story where the Prophet said, "It`s better to look up." That`s just what I`ve been trying to do! :)
Sunday: Today was a bittersweet day. It was sweet because the messages given that we needed our investigators to hear were all given in the session that they said they would ocme to. It was bitter because not one of them did what they said they were going to do. It`s so frustrating and sad to see them missing the blessings they COULD be having. I guess I`m getting a little taste of how Heavenly Father feels when I don`t do what I know i should. There`s always something to work on. We heard some really wonderful talks about the Divinity of the Book of fMormon. It was explained so clearly and powerfully that it just made SENSE! And during the whole while,I just had a feeling of peace and rejuvination that made me feel more sure of the world and my place in it. The powerful testimonies of how God knows what we`re going through was especially emphasized. Through the Atonement, we can have a hope for that which is to come, and how it will be a glorious triumph. Elder Cook said it was like walking in on the middle of a 3-act play. You don`t know what`s happened or what will come. I imagined a super hero who was found, by the audience, being beaten up in an alley. In that BRIEF moment of weakness, you don`t know who he is, or what miraculous powers he`s been endowed with, much less that in a few moments he`s gonna beat the pants off of whatever`s gettin` him down. (think about that analogy. it`s deep.) fIf we stay anchored to the lord, he will see us through.
Monday: We spent some of the morning cleaning. While we were going through a box of trash that has accumulated over the past months, we found a starfish corpse. So, of couse, we posed and took pics. :) We went to write the family early. The whole city was shut down. But we had asked the people, ahead of time, if they`d be open. they`d said, "yes." Hno. and Hna. Solar passed us and took us there. It was closed, which was lame. We went to Mauricio`s office above the cyber, and waited. Hna. Solar invited us to her country house to have a pre-lunchy, before we went to Hna. Rodriguez`s. They were fighting over us! Our lunch with Hna. Rodriguez and her family was delicious. We had all of the yummy Chilean food. Empanadas. Kabobs, pastel de choclo, and everything. It was so good. We wrote the family while we were there. Alan sent me another email full of good memories. Mom and Dad are well. Jon is back with Lindsay after his training. The family watched "The Best Two Years" last night. They said they thought of me. We did contacts in the evening. We got into one house, and found another lady that wants us to come back tomorrow. All in all, it was a very successful holiday weekend.
Tuesday: Today was an absoluetely wonderful day. It started out by going to the Distrizona Meeting, where I got to see Elder Lisonbee for the first time in 2 weeks. In my District Meeting, I did a Practice where on person had to do contacts to everyone, but the "elect" would have to be spoken to 2 times before accepting the Missionaries. But while elder Gomez was pretending to be a wheezing man, causing all of us to laugh, Hna. Velasquez "the Sister I`d chosen to do the ocntacts) thought we were laughing at HER. She started crying and left. But she was okay, afterward. Then, the Assisstants came with mail! My leather Scripture cases, LIndsay`s package, a nd Cassie`s (friend) letter all came. My spiffed up scrips. had trouble fitting in my little bag, and I knew I`d have to buy a backpack. But then I found on ein Lindsay`s pachage, alkong with Velveeta shells! AH! My favorite! Cassie`s letter was awesome. My Scrip. cases are SO legit. We found a family in our contacts, where both parents listened, and we got a return appt. We did lots of walking. Ever since we found that new Villa, my gluteus "beautimus" has been getting it`s butt kicked. That was an ironic statement. Haha. We taught English to Sabrina and all of our other appts. fell through. I talked to Elder Burch. He`s tired of his sector, of his comp, and of the Mission. He doesn`t know why he`s there, in San Pedro. I gave him some scriptures, and som epages from Preach My Gospel, to read.
Wednesday: Today was an excellent day. I`ve been having lots of those lately, ever since my friends and parents helped me learn to see the good in every situation. We got up, and I loved studying with my new cases. They keep the pages open. :) We studied How to work with Members, something I`ve never been able to master. So we`re going to try and gain the members` trust and get them excited to be part of this great work. We`ll teach the lessons to the members and practice with them, to help them learn how to present the invitation to ppeople. I called elder Calaway before lunch. He`s still awesome. Our first appt. fell through, but we found some others that went pretty well . We tried to visit one guy, but his nanny shut the door in our faces, before we could ask if he was home. That ticked me off. I mean, I was frustrated. We did a contact, and the guy said he didn`t have time but was genuinely interested. We visited a less-active member. She said she wants to go to the Temple. We set up an appt. with the Bishop for her interview. and we told her about General Conference. We set things up with her visiting Teachers to help her for that. Hna. Pinar was depressed when we visited her. She needs to "charge her batteries" at the Temple, she said. I spoke with her for a while, sharing scriptures, and had her laughing as we left. I love helping people!
Thursday: I`m getting worried about Jorge. We haven`t seen him since last Tuesday. We had an appt. with him today, but he called two hours beforehand to cancel with us. Dang it! He`s so close! I don`t know what to do, to help him. We NEED to teach him, but he seems to be running away from us. Anyway, we did our studies and learned some really cool things about the çAtonement. We did our weekly planning and then watched "The District" for more study. We had luncyh with Hna. Roa. She loved my leather scripture cases. While I wasn`t lo9oking, her daughter, Javiera, sewed my sleeves closed. haha. Then we did divisions with Santa Barbara and Eler Barton came here, to work with me. He`s really cool. He`s form Provo and went to Provo High School. He knows all the places I know, back home. We taught Sabrina the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity. We had our appts. fall through, so we did contacts before heading to Comitè. Hno. Garcia got kidnapped by his Home teaching companion and we were left with free time. Which is just as well, because Hna. Quiroga came and asked me for group0 game ideas for the Youth. There, I was really blessed because I had been through this experience in Hualpencillo.l I was able to give them plenty of ideas. That`s what Church callings do. We ende dwith a visit to Hna. Gloria. She`s fine. But she has some doubts we have to answer another day.
Friday: Today was a good day. I really liked being comp. with Elder Barton because of how new he is. No offense to Elder Zuñiga, but it`s just that he already knows everything. Haha. For our study, Elder Barton and I listened to some talks that I have: The trilogy of Schousen, and Elder Holland`s "mission" talk. then I helped him learn how to teach the Plan of Salvation. He needed a LITTLE help with his Spanish, but he`s got a lot of it down. We had lunch with Hna. Quitoga and her non-member Husband. No Missionary has ever been able to get his trust, or be his friend. But I think I know what I can do. She invited us over on Wendesday to teach ehr daughter english. She mentioned, for some reason that her husband had an ipad, but didn`t know how to use it. Do I see this as God`s hand in the work, putting my nerdiness to use? Yes. yesd, I do. we switched our comps. back and we went to teach a new investigator, Hector. He has a lot of questions about God. First question:Why did Jesus havew to die in such a horrible way, on the cross, for us? Wow. Jump right to the heart of it, why don`t you? But we shared a little of the importance of prophets and how god works through them to bless us. We ran out of toilet paper, and had to dash to the Super Market before going to Hna. Pinar`s to pick up the clothes. We found som eother good new investigators, too.
Saturday: Today was a great day. We spent the whole morning lending service to the local Cemetary. It was a stake project, but only 15 members showed up. But all of the Missionaries were there! We got to clean up weeds from graves--chilean graves are just concrete boxes, about a foot above the ground, with dirt in it. Those that were poor are just piles of dirt. Yuck! But we had a good time working together. We got to wear those spiffy yellow "helping Hands" vests. They said they might get our photos into the Liahona. While there, we saw a man, who was obviously not a member, sitting at a recently-deceased woman`s grave, while some candles burned. My hijo and I went over to him and taught him the Plan of Salvation and how our families can be together forever. He was mourning the loss of his mother, but he told us he wasn`t interested in what we`d said. I guess it depends on everyone to accept it ofr not. But what bugs me is that the Catholic church recently started teaching about Eternal fAmilies and how they`re a given--not an ordinance. So lots of opeople assume that everything`s gonna be peachy after death, no matter what we do here. Ugh! We found Lily and her family again. We got to know her husband, Ernesto, and taught them part of the Restoration. They want to come closer to Christ but want to take it slow. I spent the whole day trying to learn how to say things like a Chilean gangster. It`s hard. Haha.
Sunday: Today went really well,. I think the MIssionaries are finally getting the Ward`s trust again. Actually, while we were doing contacts in the afternoon, we heard a honk, and turned to see the Rodriguez family across the street. They had been watchin gus for about 5 min. in secret! They`re our friends, but still. The thought of people monitoring us for the slightest misstep is nerveracking. Anyway, Church was great. Jorge didn`t come, but Gloria did. she`s had doubts about Sunday School, because she doesn`t understand much. But she loved it today. She would ask a question and everyone would help her learn. And she did! the Bishop gave a really bold talk. There were parts where I thought he crossed the line. Like when he condemned a Sister because she had a big house but her husband wasn`t baptized. Ugh! Our lunch forgot about us, so we ate with Hna. Pinar. W had fish sticks. In our sector, there aren`t a lot of houses. So we`re knocking the same ones every 2 weeks. They don`t know my co9mp. but they see my red hair and tell me, "I told you no last time." I`m like, "Lady, I`m offering eternal life with your family!" They don`t understand, so I won`t give up on them. It`s not as hard as it used to be.