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 the two-year anniversary of the big earthquake that hit Chile. It hit just a week-and-a-half after I got my calling to here. They were running a bunch of cool celebration/memorial programs all day. they actually made a movie that airs next week. Elder Burch and I left LA at 8:15 in the morning. We stopped by the office, for mail, and I found I had my "trunky nametag" waiting for me. It´s like a regular one, but under my name, it says "Misión Chile Concepción Sur." You can order it during your last 6 months, but you can only wear it during your last transfer. We switched back with our comps at villa acero. My comp. said he´d missed me. That was surprising, but awesome. We had lunch delivered to us. That was awesome, too. Last week, the Mall burned down--along with all the gringo food: McDonald´s, Pizza Hut, and I was looking forward to trying Burger King. Not anymore :( We then wrote the family. Mama wrote me a poem, ´cause she knows I like them. I love her so much. Cassie /(sister) sent me a photo of my plaque that´s hanging in the church, and said I look old. That photo´s 4 years old! Daddy´s still healing. In the evening, we were going to go with a Sister to pick up some Sister Missionaries who were going to be travelling. But my comp. and the gringa, who doesn´t have much experience with Spanish, had a miscommunication. when I spoke with her, she said they+´d be travelling on Thursday. The Sister, that was going to help, was Hna. Barrigas. We had completos and she gave me advice on how to know if I´m choosing the right wife: if she thinks the same as me.
Tuesday: Today was a great day. My comp. and I are getting along a lot better, knowing what to expect of each other and dealing with it. Elder Aparicio is laughing and joking more. It feels good, having overcome such a big obstacle. I had a Spiritual experience today, in my Personal study. I was reading my Patriarchal blessing for the first time in about a year. There were two big things that hit me, but I´m only gonna be vague in this writing. The most important thing that hit me was a promise from the Lord, concerning my children, and when I read that promise, and what it was giving me, a huge amount of peace and comfort hit me and I KNEW that Heavenly Father knows me. He does, and it just made my spirit sing as he spoke with me. It was very special to me. It´s the same feeling as always, but I think it´s interesting that those thoughts were placed in my heart--irremovable, undoubtable. We had lunch in the house. We worked in the Afternoon, but weren´t able to find our investigators. In the evening, we had a meeting with the Ward Missionaries. We taught them how to teach the Book of Mormon. I was surprised at the amount of info. we had to give, regarding teaching methods. But they all di well. I called elder Calaway, to wish him a happy "monthday." When I told him that was why I was calling, he said, "I´m so jealous of your big heart." We both laughed. He said he´s learned a lot in these few weeks as a Zone Leader. I´ve been learning, too!
Wednesday(Leap Year!): Today was a good day. My comp. wasn´t feeling so good, though. He´s been grinding his teeth lately, and one of his fillings popped off, and now it´s hurting him. So, I got up and prepared a class to give to the Zone. I decided to teach "How to find the Lord´s Elect" based on the book Sister Tan wrote and gave to me. When we got to our Distrizona Meeting, we felt we should change it, and focus on teaching more lessons with a member present. It went really well, and I got to share my experience of helping my convert from Hualpencillo, María. I really like being a Zone Leader. I´ve just felt like I´ve had a lot of good ideas, and now I can share them with people, and they LISTEN to me. but, saying it like that, I realize I have a lot to learn still, because I should be focused 100% on helping THEM, not me. After lunch, we asked the Sister if we could visit one of her neighbors. She was VERY reluctant, but we got a referral. Some Sister Missionaries travelled here, from Victoria, tonight. they didn´t know how to get to their Sector, so we arranged for Hna. Barrigas to pick them up. when that was all set up, we went to visit Aurora. She´s doing well, but not really progressing. We got a referral from the Office--someone who wants to be baptized. WOOT!!! But when we went by, his Mom answered and said he´s going to Santiago tomorrow, for several months. Dang it! During lunch, my comp. told the Sister that I was his favorite comp. I didn´t believe him until he reaffirmed it in the evening. Thenm, I felt a whole lot better. It´s definitely been an intense companionship, but it just goes to show that when you talk things out, everything gets resolved just fine.
Thursday: Today was a good day. We went out to buy breakfast in the mornign. I offered to buy for my comp. ´cause he doesn´t have any. At the register, he said, "I´d help, but I lost my money last week." I thought he was saying it out of spite for our incident last week. I tried to defend myself, and he got offended again because he HADN´T been sarcastic. He had a hole in his pants and had actually lost his money! So we talked when we got home, and he got mad and walked out. I swept the downstairs, and he said he wasn´t gonna eat the big amount of food I´d bought (Most was what he had asked for), because if I´d ahd the intent to share with him, I´d have prepared it for him. He said I was a prideful gringo with lots of money. That made me cry because I´ve been trying so hard to be humble. I read talks about charity and optimism. I found comfort there. After lunch, we did a contact and Elder Aparicio bashed with him. He was a Pastor. I made the comment, afterward, that he was aggressive. When we got to the house, he said we needed to talk...again. He asked what bothered me most about him. I said that the fact that assumed the worst in me, making him easy to offend. He nodded and surprised me by saying, "I feel the same way about you." And he was right,. so I decided right there to try better and put forth conscious effort to think good of him. I told him 5 good things I found in him. Things got slightly better after that. We planned out our plan to help our Zone in the afternoon. In the evening, some missionaries arrived for oour council tomorrow. Elder Tavernier, Elder Lisonbee´s hijo, is one of them. He´s so great. I´m really tired now.
Friday: So, for the ipast two weeks we´ve been having daily tremors of about 4pts. on the richter scale. It´s like your house is driving down the freeway, hitting bumps in the road--but the whole city feels it. We got up at 5:30 so we could p lay soccer as Zone Leaders of the Mission. We had lots of fun. Then, we showered and changed before going to the Mission Pres´s. home, for my first Zone Leader Council. It was great! We spent a lot of time taking turns, explaining what were some challenges in February, as wella s our plans for march. Our focus, as a Mission, will be working with the Members, and I´m so excited. right when we got back, we went to re-interview Hector from Las Salinas. he´d smoked right before his baptism, last week. But this eek he seemed a lot better. After that, we went to an FHE with Hno. Maldonado, our WArd Mission Leader. There, he shared a VERY inspired class. It was about saying nice things and not getting angry. He shared 2 Nephi 2:27, which says we´re free to choose to DO good or DO evil. Hno. Maldonado focused his lesson on choosing to SAY good or SAY evil. But the Spirit confirmed to me that we can also choose to SEE good or SEE evil in others. Hno. Maldonado shared 2 Nephi 4:27 which says we shouldn´t get angry. Matt. 12: 34-36 says that as a man speaks, so is he. And, lately, I´ve been wondering if I should be more bold, so I´m not picked on so much. But Hna. Maldonado mentioned that Pres. Hinckley´s wife fell in love with him because he was gentle, softspoken, and noble. I think I can work on the "noble" part, but it brought peace to me, knowing that I don´t have to be a macho. At night, Elder Aparicio shared 2 Nephi 4:26-32 and explained it was his conversion Scripture. He cried from emotion, and I was grateful the Spirit had touched him so.
Saturday: We got up this mornign and went to get some groceries. And we did it without fighting. I had a good personal study. In the last general conference, Elder Cook gave a talk called, "The Songs they couldn´t sing." At the end, he quoted a hymn that said, "And Jesus list´ning can hear the songs I cannot sing."That just struck a chord in me. There was many times when I can´t express myself, or when I do things secretly because I know jit´s the right thing to do, and I just feel alone sometimes. But to know that someone KNOWS me absolutely, even if I don´t, and loves me despite my shortcomings, is a huge comfort. I also realized something about myself, today: I act and think according to how the people surrounding me treat me. It´s not really a good trait, but true nonetheless. Every time iI was around Kayla, after she dumped me, I immediately became sad. I couldn´t avoid it. When I was with Elder Zuñiga, I was the ibest I´d ever been: happy, confident, funny, and outgoing. When I´m with Elder Aparicio, even though we get along better now, I´m stiill kind of reserved and don´t talk much. Sio I´m going to choose to surround myself with people who make me happy when I get back. We had lunch with Hna. Valdevenito. She said I spoke Spanish better than my comp. We visited Tomás, and then dropped off our clothes. We spent a good chunk of the night getting the numbers, instead of right after church tomorrow. the Sisters in our Zone, Hna´s Oliver and Baker, are so great. They tried to set up their Investigator´s interfiew today, but his wife, who´s a member, stopped them. they were a little disappointed, so I gave them a Scripture to read and they said they really appreciated it.
Sunday: Not a lot happened today. We got up and went to Ward Council. There, Hno. Maldonado reviewed the MIssion Plan for the Ward, and the parts that each of the organizations will play. It´s really great because of the new focus the Mission is putting on working with members. Hno. Maldonado has a lot of fire going for him, just pumped up and ready to work with us. I haven´t been in many sectors with a Ward Mission Leader this good. Eduardo maldonado (a different guy) is absolutely hilarious. He makes me laugh every time we talk. Today, he said if I ever come back to Chile, I HAVE to stay in his house. He´s awesome. The class in Sunday School was on Prayer. It´s such a big part of this work and real conversion. During lunch, I traded ties with the 2nd counselor in the Bishopric for a sweet green tie. The afternoon was kind of hectic, because we had to get a lot of info. for the new form the Misison is using to report weekly. It´s online, so I didn´t know what to expect beforehand. It took a while to work through. We spent the Afternoon with Aurora. she´s not a member, and she won´t let us commit her to things...yet. Right now, we´re trying to get her trust and teach her correct principles. It´s working. She comes to Church most weeks. She just needs to read and pray. That´s all. She´ll get there.
Monday: Today was a good Pday. My comp. was so excited to sleep in, that he did it twice. He jokingly asked if I´d get him breakfast in bed. I did anyway. Haha. Then he went back to bed. I got the house cleaned up,and read some chapters on how to be more creative. Word play with synonyms and puns are a great creative exercise. I woke my comp. up at 11, and we went to the office at 12. We hitch-hiked. We turned it into a "mobile Contact." I didn´t have any mail. While I was there, I got to talk with Elder Tanner. He said that after a month-and-a-half he´s just barely having time to leave the office and work in his sector, which is my old one, Hualpencillo. He said he met with Hna. Soledad and that she just loves me so much. She asked if they, the Assisstants, could arrange for me to have lunch with her sometime.We´ll probably do exchanges on March 4th. That´ll be so much fun! We went to write the family. Daddy´s almost completely better. he´ll be off his blood thinners soon, which worries all of us, ´cause we don´t want the bloodclots to return. Daddy said Cassie (sister) misses me and loves me so much. I miss her, too. we got lunch at Doggi´s before coming home.We visited Hna. Aurora and then Hno. Marcos.Marcos had a court session today,and he saw that his wife just hates him. He was a brokenman. I testified to him of the healing power of the Atonement, and thepeace it brings. He called thebishop right there, and set up an appt.for tomorrow night.
Tuesday: I think I´m starting to get the hang of handling my comp. There are just lots of little things that he will or won´t do. For example, he WILL ask me to do lots of things his way (don´t bother him during personal study, teach by ear (the spirit) so we don´t have to plan,etc).He WON´T do something for nothing. If I ask him to stop doing somethign that bothers me, he´ll askwhy, prove that it´s okay to do, and then accuse me of doing something worse. But it´s helping me to be better. In the morning, we planned out our distrizona. We dicided to challenge every companionship to put 3 morebaptismal dates.Then, we taught them the process of working a Miracle. It was a really cool study. The Zone was really excited. We´re trying to serve the other Missionaries by repairingtheir homes. We went to the home of the Missionaries in Talcahuano Centro. They live at the top of a staircase that´s 2,582 (or around there) steps long. Ugh! We took stock of what they needed and reported it to the Mission office. We had lunch early, with time after, to rest.My comp. said he had a bad headache.When we finally left, he got after me for not telling him to go work. What would that have been like ? "Oh! My head hurts! I need to rest." "Nope. Let´s work." yeah, that´s just asking for trouble. So it was my fault we left late. We taught our 2ndlesson to Roxana. She´s a bit of a slow learner. But once she gets it, it´s there. She understands she needs the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and a new baptism. She knows Christ´s church was lost. Today we taught about faith. She feels she has weak faith. We promised it would grow through daily prayer, Scripture study...and going to church. She was fine with the first two. But "Church" was her buzz word, and she holed up.But she´ll get there, I think. Then, we taught Thomas the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity. I´d never taught the Law of Chastity to a kid, and found myself at a loss for words. My comp. took over, ask,ing, "Do you know what the word "sexual" refers to?" I just slapped my forehead with my palm. SUPER SMOOTH. We then dropped off our dirty laundry.
Wednesday: Today was really great, and ended really well. We got up and both took our showers. My comp. ate some oatmeal before his shower.It was funny because he didn´t want cold showers anymore. He boiled some water and mixed it with some cold.Next thing I know, I hear a shout fromthe bathroom.Not enough cold water, I guess. When he finished, he said his stomach hurt from his oatmeal and he went to lie down. I studied until lunchtime. I love personal study. I wonder if I´ll like studying for College as much. I better! We had lunch with some converts who just completed a year in the Church. they´re going to get sealed this Friday! they´re so happy. they also just got their Patriarchal Blessings last week. their name´s are pedro and Roxana. We rested for a bit, before going to meet with the Ward Missionaries. We then split up to go visit inactive recent converts. We visited a Sister from Ecuador. She lives in one of the many sheds that the Gov´t built for victims ofthe Earthquake. She´s inactive because someone gave her a box of food to help her, along with an offensive message. At least,she found it offensive. I´d imagine it had said something supportive. She just came off rather prideful. Our Ward Mission Leader was withme.he told my comp. to meet us at the Church at a certain hour, and he wasn´t there. theBrother kind of chewed him out, and Elder aparicio tried to chew HIM out. Eventually, we found out there had beena miscommunication and all was forgiven. But as soon as we were alone, my comp. got after me for not supporting him. So then we talked THAT out. Imentioned all this successful arguing was really preparing us to be good husbands.I told him every one of his comps. has an attribute of his future wife,but that HE had to choose which one to see.Of me, he said, "You´re really good at memorizing things." *forehead-slap* I toldhim that didn´t count so he said,"Youreally know theScriptures." Same vein, but I guess it´s okay. I said I like his desire to keep improving, regardless of being imperfect.
Thursday: Today was kind of tough in the afternoon. This companionship is really hard.I got up and was studying when my comp. got up. He feels really bad for having slept in,so tomorrow we´re for sure going to get up on time. I called the Missionaries in Los Angeles to see what was thestatus on scarlet´s baptism. They said she´d just barely passed her interview, and that she´d had to move it from Saturday to Sunday, because she´d be travelling in Santiago.Well that´s great. So I planned out all the things we´ll need. I´m going to have to pay for my comp. ´cause he doesn´t want to pay for something he has nothing to do with. We had lunch with an awesome family: The Varrigas family. the brother is really funny, and the Sister´s food was SO good! while we ate, their son alternated between his xbox 360 kinect and his PS3. yes, the food wasn´t the only reason I was drooling. After lunch,wepiocked up baptismal clothes for Thomas. elderKuhn, our district Leader, did the Interview. it was his first one,and he did great! :) After that,I got permission from Pres.to travel on Sunday. My comp. and I had our biggest argument yet, and we resolved that, too. So things are good. Keep us in your prayers.
Friday: today was a good day. Things with my comp. got marginally better. I found out thatwhen he says things that are kind of rude, he wants me to laughbecause he´s just kidding, even though he´s not. We had lunch with an RM who is SUPER awesome. He got back from his Mission to Bolivia a year ago.He got sealed int heTemple 6 months ago. his name´s eduardo. he´s a real jokester. He was making fun ofme being trunky, and of Eelder aparicio for not having half my tiem. I teasedhim a little bit, too. Afterward, he said he wanted to see the same smile I was wearing when I was messing with him, when he messes with me. So I got a better idea of how to act. He got sick in the afternoon, in the tunny, so we stayed in. I got bored. Later, we went to Las Salinas to Interview their Investigator for baptism. It was my first one as a Zone Leader. My comp. said it was tradition that i pay for the bus farethere. Lame. I Interviewed an elderly man, named Hector. He has some memory problems, buthe was eager to obey all his commandments. Plus, his family´s member, so he´ll be alright. We had our baptism at 8:00. Thomas had been waiting for this ever since he turned 8. He´s such a good boy. His mom was so happy for him. Everything got awkward when Hno. marcos, for whom his wife has a restraining order, showed up. He was so desperate to see hisfamily. the baptism went really well. thomas´s aunt gave an emotional message afterward. then I bore my testimony. It started to rain, and Hna. Raquel, Thomas´s mom, invited us to have some cake at their place. Oh! I forgot to say that when I shared a Scripture with Hno. Eduardo after lunch, he said it was just what he needed. Inspiration!!!
Saturday: today was a beautiful day. It was still raining in the morning, and it set the temperature for the rest of theday. After our usual study,w e bought more gas. Do you know what that MEANS?! I had my first warm shower in almost 4 months!!! Oh my goodness, it was so good. Here, we play with the Youth on Saturdays, so we can get some Investigators. Because of therain, we endedup playing Ping Pong inside. My comop. is really good.When we got back, we added more minutes on our phone. Elder Aparicio asked how much I wanted to load. I said $2. but when we got there, he asked the lasdy for $7 worth, and asked me for another dollar (so to speak). When we got back, I wrote it along with all teh other money he owes me. He saw I was keeping track and got offended. then, I remembered I had cancelled lunch ´cause we were SUPPOSED to be travelling today. He said since I was the one to cancel, I had to pay for lunch. I woouldn´t do that to himm,and I asked him to pay for himself.when he refused, I suggested he just pay from his debt and subtract from his tab. he got offended again and paid me backabout $10 in the equivalent of pennies, and I bought us lunch. then, a Sister called, telling us to come over, andthat she hadlunch waiting. Itwas Hna. Varrigas. She´s so good. by the time I finished THAT lunch, Iwas so full that I was sick. She could tell and told me to lie down. Twice in a week. How embarassing. Thenw e visited Aurora, our Eternal Investigator. We spoke with her and her family. Then, we played a mini game of soccer in her street out front. She´s a Grandma, and her grandkids were swarming, and it was just fun. Then, we shared a Scripture and prayer.
sunday: today was amazing! I woke up and asked Hna. Raquel if she could bring my memory card,which I´d left in her house, to church. When we´d gotten to church, we were called up to confirm Thomas. I got to do it. I was also called to bless the water. After Church, a Sister told me that when I said the blessing, it was as if she was caught up to Heaven. A little extreme, but very flattering. Daniel Guiñazú said he´d felt a spirit that was higher than the usual. Eduardo Maldonado is really awesome. He said he´d make a photocopy of his study journal for me. We met up with Elder Burch and switched comps. I just love Elder Burhc. He´s one of my favorite comps. It was a nice refresher from how things have been. We had a nice 2-hour drive in the bus, just talking. On our way to the Chapel, we stopped by Hna. Pinar´s, to make sure she´d be there, at the baptismm. She was so happy to see us both. I said hi to lots of beloved members at the church and I was sure it couldn´t get better, but then Scarlet and Gustavo came in, married, andI kenw Heaven was there with us. When Scarlet saw me, shestarted crying, and I started crying ´cause we were sohappy. I baptized her and it got even better. We tried to hustle out, but it was hard. Hna. Pinar was like, "That´s my son! I´m his mamita!" She loves me so much. Hna. Marita has always been jealous and (apart from throwing Hna. Pinar the stink-eye) offered to drop us off at the Terminal. There weren´t any more buses available until tomorrow, so the family offered us dinner:french fries and beef. yum. I finally met Mario, who was in my HOUSE, and met my FAMILY He´s awesome, and we talked about gringo stuff. he said I look like my dad. TRUNKY. We´re spending the night with my grandson, Elder Tholl, and Elder Williams. Elder tholl looks like Elder Kemp.
Monday: We woke up early this morning and I kept Eldr Smith company as he finished packing. I hugged him goodbye and wished him good luck. I spent the morning cleaning the house up so I could make my video tour of the house. We went to write the family. Daddy doing so much better. He had his filter removed and he`s recovering well. He`s not coughing as much, now. Mom and Daddy spent the weekend alone and had a good time. Mom said Devin paid his tithing and fasted without being asked. Cassie`s a bit sick, but still has stellar grades. I spent the afternoon packing. I got it all done by 6. LIfe`s good. I got to say goodbye to the Diaz family. I didn`t expect their strong reaction to my leaving. Hno. John and his wife were both very impressed with my happiness. They said it`s totally contagious and that I should always be how I am. Hna. Paulina asked how I can always be so smiley. I`ve really learned on the Mission. I taught her what I`d learned. I think she`ll be fine. They`re such a good family.
Tuesday: So, today we had our transfers. I got up 40 min. too early, and got to wait in suspense. I couldn`t believe I was leaving Curanilahue! I had been totally prepared to finish my Mission there. We got all my stuff together and made the bus on time. WE got to the Terminal safely. WE didn`t have to wait long before Elder Brady`s new comp., Elder Mendenhall, arrived. Elder Brady`s and my goodbye wasn`t that emotional. As Zone Leader, my first responsibility was to wait until all of the Zone had arrived. I met my new comp. Elder Aparicio. He`s a total crackup. He has the straight-face kind of humor. As I`ve come to know him, I`ve found him to be a little relaxed, but he wants to get things done well. His last comp. wasn`t much of a team-player, and he really likes me. I had a good time talking with Elder Mcconnell, too. But I spent most of my time with elder Burch. We had lunch with the Bishop`s wife. When we dropped my things off at the house, I found it to be totally messy. OMG! So I asked my comp. if we could take some time to clean up. Now it looks amazing. We have a few investigators preparing to be baptized. One, Thomas has a date for next week. we talked with his mom, who`s going through a divorce. She is having a really hard time. I just wanted to help her so much. I felt that she somehow felt responsible and guilty about what happened. I told her it wasn`t her fault. She started crying, and we all felt the Spirit. She`s going to read her Scriptures more, so she can be closer to God. Her name`s Reaquel. Elder LIsonbee called me up, and swung by with his parents. Yeah. I was fereaking out on the inside. We dropped off the dirty clothes before coming back home. I`d heard Elder Calaway had had surgery last week for appendicitis. I called and he said he`s feeling much better. He`s gonna be a Zone Leader in San Pedro, 30 min. to the South. I felt like a Junior comp. today. It was nice.
Wednesday: So...I feel kind of overwhelmed. Haha. After having cleaned up the house, I was kind of excited to get up. We did our exercises, and had personal study. I found a book called, "How to become more creative" which is something I deperately need. And it explained my lack of creativity as a result of my "judiciary imagination." That`s the use of imagination to weigh consequences and make decisions. It weakens creativity. We started out the day doing contacts, before going to visit the soon-to-be-ex-husband of the Sister we visited yesterday. He kicked his wife and children out of his home. But the man we spoke with was penetant and broken. He explained how he was feeling, and we explained how things can get better. I thought my comp. was going to go into explaining how to love his wife, or something. But he did well and set the goal of helping them both come closer to Christ. That is our purpose after all. We shared with him the story of King Lamoni`s father, and how he asked to know God, so he could receive the Eternal life. We had lunch with our WArd MIssion Leader, who is awesome and actually does stuff with us. We got ot call the two new Missionaries in our Zone,a nd welcome them to Chile. For a contact, my comp. called out to a kid with a basketball, asking to see it. The kid gives it to him, he dribbles it ONCE, it bouncesinto the HIghway, and a bus pops it. It all happened in 5 sec. and I was laughing SO hard. And then, he teaches the kid a lesson and asks if he wants us to come over. The kid shook his head no, and asked for payment. My comp. didn`t have money, so I had to pay. lame. We went to see a past contact, Samuel, who runs an upholstery shop. My comp`s done that his whole life. So we helped upholster a couch. We taught Thomas, our 9 yr.-old investigator about faith, using water balloons and a blindfold to make a cool activity. Then we had our commitee and gave a class. And finally, we picked up the clothes. I`m so lost. :) But it`s nice to be with someone who knows what they`re doing.
Thursday: Things are getting better. I still felt a little stressed when we spoke with each other to plan the Distrizona. I have been so wire-tight, trying to anticipate everything because my comp. is relaly laid-back and likes to do things in the moment, without planning. Next to him, the Mamita we live with things I`m a no-nonsense, super-organized, clean Missionary. But I`m getting better. Our Meeting went off without a hitch (We DID end up planning it). We`ve got a really good Zone. There`s an Elder Gonzalez from Provo. He went to the other High School. He spent 11 months in Iraq, and told me some stories. When he finished, he said, "I like you, which is weird because, since the war, I`ve had trouble with that." I really wanted to gain the Zone`s trust, and everyone else had equally positive reactions. :) As we were leaving, a bird pooped on me, but only on my backpack strap. Yay! We had lunch with an Hna. Aurora, who isn`t a member. She`s been investigating since October, but isn`t fure. She loves the Missionaries, but her relationship with Elder Aparicio is too casual, just like everyone here. He says he wants to "enjoy the Mission", but I think there may be a better way. But I`m trying to be more humble. We visited Samuel, the Upholstery guy, but he was busy. He`s gonna read a chapter of the Book of Mormon before we visit again. As we were walking from him, we started talking with two kids-- one 15, and one 18, both fireman in the 3rd company of firemen. The 18 year-old, Collin, said we could talk with him right there. We sat beneath a tree and taught baptism. Collin said he wasn`t baptized yet. He was excited to learn more. WE`ll talk on Sunday. wE taught Thomas the Baptismal interview questions. He`ll review it with his mom. I gave her the talk "Forget Me Not" by Elder Uchtdorf from the NOvember Liahona. We ended the night with the Guiñazú family. We live with them, and they are SO Nice. They made us a butt-load of completos. They like it when we visit.
Friday: Today was a good day. It rained for the first time in a while. Walking through the windy rain reminded me of my dear times with Elders Calaway, Burch, and Zuñiga. I wonder what it will be like, to look back on the Mission as a whole? My companion`s beginning to remind me of Elder Argueta, who I got along with so "stellarly." I`ve begun to notice he`s a bit of a manipulator, saying rude thigns while apologizing. It`s really disorienting. But I`m trying to see the best in others, and my efforts have been rewarded. The Assisstants called and chewed him out for something he forgot to do. He acknowledged that he wasn`t perfect, but he tries to be better. And he really doesn`t get down on himself when he messes up. I`ve gotten hard on myself, really hard, for failing. But I`ve learned that it`s okay not to be perfect. It`s the effort of TRYING that the Lord expects. And I`ve never stopped doing that. In the morning, we went to buy our bus tickets for our trip tomorrow. We had lunch with a cool Sister that made us a veggie pie. It was great. We went through the rain all day. wE found osme new investigators: Roxana, and Alex. Roxana didn`t want to talk at first. She`s Catholic. But as we explained about Christ`s Church and the Apostasy, she became very interested. It was all academic, until we mentioned the GIft of the Holy Ghost. She wanted it, and will continue receiving us. Then we taught Thomas about Prophets and the Restoration. His mom really likes it when we come over. She really needs the visits now. We came home early, because some members from San Vicente lost a house and were coming to pick up our spare mattresses. While we waited, we shared the "17 MIracles" movie with the Guiñazú family. They loved it! P.S. My comp. says I sleep talk in Spanish and english. He heard me say, "Oh my goodness!"
Saturday: Today was sooo long! We travelled to Tirúa, because the Olivares family asked me to baptize their youngest daughter, Belén. I wanted to be out, waiting for the "micro" bus at 6:20, so it could take us to the bus terminal for OUR bus at 7:30. Yesterday, it took us an hour. My comp. got us out the door at 6:35. I freaked out a little, on the inside. WE caught a micro at 6:45, and I asked Heavenly FAther for help. We made it in 30 min! We got on the bus and made the 3-hour trip to Cañete, then another hour-and-a-half to Tirúa. It was so cool to walk up the hill to their house, just like old times. Their house looked the same, and it brought back all my feelings of love for them. Lehi`s voice has dropped a lot, and Jayson is still a little, round sweetheart. Hna. Olivares swas so happy to see me. And Hno. Renato, from my previous sector, Curanilahue, was there. I saw him last week! Haha. The Olivares` had all teir relatives over (minus Diego, Meybelline, and Gonzalo). I had met them all over the course of 3 months last year, but it was great to see them al again. The baptism was performed in their backyard pool. I had to repeat it because Belén`s toe popped up. So we did the second time kneeling. Hna. Olivares made us Choripanes with a good sauce. She`s like, "I made you the sauce that you like." I was like, "What sauce?" But when I tried it, I was like, "Oh THAT sauce!" It was amazing. So it was a good day. We took a 5-hour bus back home. When we arrived, I was so dead. But Hno. Guiñazú invited us to have some warm soup he had waiting for us. He`s so good.
Sunday: Today was a good day. We went to our meeting with the Ward Council. The WArd here is really excited to help the MIssionaries. They have a few Young Men who are preparing to leave in a little while, on their missions. My Comp. has a great relationship with the members, too. He has a great sense of humor, and knows how to use it. We had a class on the Fall of adam and Eve, the one I taught a few weeks ago. When we got to lunch, I was SO Hungry. My stomach was killing me. But as I ate, it got worse, and I asked the Sister if I could bag up my lunch. She asked if I was well, and I said no. She invited me to lie down in one of her rooms. As soon as she closed the door, I cried from the pain. Then the whole family came in and saw. Oh geez. After a rest, I didn`t feel better, so we went home. I was worried because we`d miss our 6 o`clock appt. with Collin. But we randomly ran into him on the way home. Crazy! Tonight, was the first time I asked my Zoine for their numbers. Elder Alvez`s District, as well as hi sown sector, had low results for a week of work. I wanted to love him, but I wanted to do better, too. I was a bit too rough with him. My comp. asked, "Do you feel you`ve served Elder Alvez enough to be able to ask things like that of him?" I told him no, and he taught me how to be a better, loving leader. I have more respect for him now.I called Elder Alvez back, and apologized. I felt so bad. I just don`t want to mess up.