Sunday, 15 January 2012

FELIZ ANO NUEVO - 2ND JANUARY 2012

¡Feliz año nuevo familia! I hope everyone had an awesome new year. Sounds like it was quite the party with the wedding and with the whole family. That´s pretty awesome.

Congratulations to Brad and Mary-Clare!!! It sounds like the wedding was awesome. I´m so happy for you both!! I still can´t believe that Mary-Clare got married. A year ago I never would of guessed her getting married at 20 years old.

Dad! To answer your question about training, I have no idea!! I don´t personally feel ready, but I don´t think anyone is ever completely ready for assignments they´re given. I´m guessing the next cambio Elder Navarrete will leave and they´ll send a new district leader to be my companion. There is a possibility though that they´ll send 2 new missionaries to our sector and we would each have a new companion and stay here. It´s all up in the air right now, but we´ve got our ears to the ground cause we´re really curious haha. I like that talk from President Benson you talked about. I already have it so don´t worry about sending it. I bought a camera last week and a case. In total it cost 72ish thousand pesos. I imagine that´s around 150 bucks. Please take it out of my bank account. Love ya Dad!

Mum! Sounds like things have been pretty crazy with all the parties and everything!! when do all the kids go back to school? That´s a funny story about Andy and Elodie and Rachel. I wanna see that video of her chasing him hahaha. The wedding sounds like it was a realy big deal and well planned and stuff. Haha I bet Mary-Clare was making sure the whole time that it was done just right. Those little glass coke and sprite bottles that you mentioned are all over the place in Chile. I don´t think I´ve seen a can of pop, but there are always little glass bottles, and you have to return the bottle to the place where you bought it so they can recycle it. That´s pretty hilarious about Izaac with the ring. I can just imagine you stressing yourself out watching him like that!! Hahaha.  I really like the idea of that Caribbean cruise! I am definitely in support of that. Also, yes, I did buy my camera. I love you so much!

Michael! Sounds like you´ve been having a pretty good time. That´s cool about Tanner going to Houston. Texas is pretty awesome considering I almost went there. That´s pretty funny about Mackenzie. 2 hours to get ready to meet the family? Girls... I haven´t heard of 17 miracles, is it new? What exams do you have to take? You´re gonna kick butt and it´s all gonna be good getting accepted to BYU. You´re good to go with the grades you´ve been getting. To answer your question about girls in Chile, I´m not gonna answer your question! I´m a missionary! There are tons of snakes though. Something about being a missionary draws the attention of homeless people, drunk people, and 15 year old girls, especially when you have blonde hair in a latin country. It can be pretty funny sometimes.

Charly! Thanks for making everyone feel bad for not coming to talk to me haha. Punks. that´s pretty sweet that you got to be a bridesmaid!! I bet you had a lot of fun with Gabrielle too. Do you have exams soon?

Jake! How was your new years? From what the family´s said it sounds like you had a riot! Did you enjoy having everyone over from England?

Kenna! You got to be a flower girl! How was that?? You looked really cute in the pictures I saw. Did you have fun with all the family and did you have a fun New Years?

Izaac! I heard you got to be the ring bearer!! How was that? Mum said you almost dropped the rings but good job for holding on strong. Did you have a fun New Years?

Ok! A couple funny experiences. We´ve been woken up in the night by what sounds like crying babies. We´ve looked outside and seen two cats who stare each other down while moaning and then start fighting. It´s pretty funny. Once in a lesson we heard two cats moaning far away, and then heard them screaming and fighting in the front yard. After the lesson we saw a bunch of cat fur scattered all over the front lawn. It was pretty hilarious. Also, our neighbours have a rabbit that sometimes comes into our yard through the fence to eat our grass. The other day he was out front of the house and fighting with a cat. It was funny.

The last couple days we´ve found a bunch of corner spiders which are the deadly poisonous ones. A huge one was in Elder Navarrete´s clothes. We also found a bunch of smaller ones in our study room. We have a collection of dead corner spiders by our window. This morning we woke up and in the kitchen we saw a ton of ants. Hundreds had gotten inside somehow and were going into the garbage and up on the counter in the kitchen. It was nasty. The ants here are way smaller and always walk in long lines with other ants. We killed them all with good old insecticide and went on a cleaning spree. I hate bugs.

New Years in Chile was realy interesting. First of all, the people her normally go to bed at around midnight, which isn´t too different to North America, but the big difference is that everyone goes to bed at that time, not just the parents. The kids stay up til midnight regularly, and are usually outside playing until like 11. With New Years, the people eat dinner (they eat dinner on Christmas too) which they don´t do everyday cause normally they eat a big lunch and a little meal right before bed. so they eat a bunch at new years then the families go outside and watch the fireworks at midnight. We were allowed to be out until 11 and then heard the fireworks when we were planning in the house afterwards. it´s pretty sweet. Chilenos are good party-ers it seems like cause Natalia, our recent convert, went to bed at 6:30 in the morning, and when we were arriving at church we saw to girls who were just returning home from the parties. We were super happy cause Natalia went to church despite going to bed so late, something that a lot of the long-time members didn´t do, and she payed her tithing! Ximena went to church too. Camila couldn´t because she was out of town with her family, but she was so good that she called the Bishop to let him know and everything.

It was kind of a bummer for us at church, because only 57 people in the ward showed up at church. We had 3 investigators that were completely sure to go to church that all slept in and didn´t go. Elder Navarrete and I were a little bummed with that but it´s ok. The Bishop spoke in sacrament about how his kids had asked him the night before if they were going to go to church because they were so tired and he said "absolutely yes. We made a commitment with God to go to church and if we´re super tired, and if no one else goes, we go anyway because our commitment is with God." I really liked it because it made me think about my life and about people in general. Our first commitment is with God, and we must always keep that commitment no matter how inconvenient it is.

This week we taught an old investigator of other missionaries about a year ago and she committed to get baptized and was really excited. Unfortunately she didn´t show up to church, but she really wants to get baptized. It was quite the miracle. We also found another family that´s really good and another woman that seems pretty good that all want to go to church. This month we have 3 that have committed to get baptized for sure for sure, that really want to do it, and we have 3 other possibilities. s.



We met with the Bishop this week and I feel for him. The ward is really small and a lot of the people aren´t that strong. He´s starting to do changes in the callings of the whole ward. A few weeks ago we were a little worried about the relationship we had with the Bishop but after meeting with him the last couple times we feel a lot better. He tells us a lot of details about the ward and we´re really happy about that cause it means he trusts us enough to tell us. I´ve learned a lot from him. I love working to strengthen the ward and not only bring in new people. I feel more like a missionary and a representative of Jesus Christ.

We´ve visited quite a few less active people lately and it´s so sad how people just die spiritually. the people forget commandments and basic beliefs of the church, and lose their testimonies. It´s good when we see people like Antonia´s family that really wanna change and come back, but when we see people who have hardened their hearts it´s heart-breaking for us. There was a family sealed in the temple that stopped attending church and complained about the ward and how it doesn´t complete it´s function. We ended up "dropping the cane" on them pretty hard in the lesson as we felt the need to share really strong scriptures and talk really strongly and bluntly. I felt like Nephi who was constrained by the Spirit to call his brothers to repentance. It´s pretty ridiculous when people complain about the ward that they themselves are part of, but don´t do anything to contribute or fix the problem either. That´s always been a pet peve of mine when people complain without doing anything.

A few things I learned this week from discussions with my companion and with experiences we´ve had with people, is that when we embrace the things of God, we accept the truth and light, and are therefore more intelligent. We´re able to think more clearly, and spiritual things become obvious to us. I´ve noticed a huge change in myself since being a missionary as my commitment to serve God has increased and spiritual understanding has expanded. I´ve also seen the other side of it that when people distance themselves from the light they become spiritually stupid. They become incapable of basic spiritual reasoning and understanding of the scriptures. Spiritual things appear foolish to those who distance themselves from God in action or belief. When we strive to draw nearer to God, the things of the world lose their worth and we begin to reason more clearly.

I also learned the necessity to look for excellence. There are a lot of really good people in the world and in the church, but God´s best servants aren´t just good, they´re excellent. That doesn´t mean excellent in the eyes of other people, rather in the eyes of God. In order to be excellent, we need to drop anything to be more obedient to the commandments and to draw nearer to God, and we need to stop holding onto our "favourite sins." The attitude of "it´s not that bad" inhibits our progress and keeps us in the realm of mediocrity. In order to really progress and please God, we need to dedicate ourselves completely to Him. Clearly He knows better than us, and when He tells His prophets that we shouldn´t watch certain movies or participate in certain entertainment, we must obey with exactness without excuses. When He promises us greater happiness by obeying Him, it´s because we really can be happier and enjoy a higher plane of living. Obedience is how we can embrace the light and truth and become more intelligent.

I love being a missionary. I´ve seen so many miracles, and I´ve seen huge changes in people´s lives. I´ve also seen a huge change in my life. I know the church is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I love reading the Book of Mormon and I know it´s true. I feel a huge peace and joy everytime I read it. I know Thomas S. Monson is a prophet, and that Jesus Christ is our Saviour. I know that true happiness comes from God, and the only way we can obtain that is doing His will. I have so much more to learn and a ton of changes to make in my own personality to become closer to God. I always want to be a missionary. It´s like we automatically become people´s best friends just for doing our work. I can testify of the reality of the calling of a missionary and the mantle that comes with it as people see us as true servants of the Lord.

Family, I love you all so much!! I hope you´re all doing well and drawing nearer to God every day.

2 Nephi 9:39
O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.
Helaman 5:12
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

¡Chao!