Family! So great to hear from all of you! Things are doing great here with my new companion Elder Nogales. I love learning and seeing the strengths that every missionary has, and I'm working on developing my own strengths using them as examples.
Dad! Your going to the Philippines! That's awesome. How many workers are you looking for? Are any going home? What are you gonna do in Thailand afterwards?? That's pretty cool about all the changes in the ward. We've had a bunch here in La Florida recently and it's been awesome. Sometimes a good change-up seems to give people motivation to work harder and keeps things interesting.
Mum! Sounds like life's pretty busy with the extra bodies in the house, but it's good that it's going well. Nice work with spreading the gospel! I love it! I think it's so important that we always share the gospel. It makes me super sad to think that full-time missionary service will one day end, and I'm dreading that day, but I'm happy because I'll always have the opportunity to be a full-time servant of the Lord, just serving in a different way. Could you send me a picture of the plaque? Thanks Mum, there is not a better mother that exists on the planet.
Michael! That's awesome that your exams are done now. I'm sure you rocked them. That's pretty sweet about your gym membership too. How much did it cost? That's sweet about your dates too. Ice skating is super fun! Do you have any idea what you're gonna do in BYU to prepare you to go to med school? What did Brother Low tell you? Good job working too. It's always awesome after doing a whole bunch of work, cause you walk home with a bunch of cash. Sometimes it's tiring but it's worth it! Also, nice work with your home teaching. Sometimes it seems so trivial, especially when the ward seems to be functioning fine, but you'll see more and more the importance of home teaching when you work with more responsibility in the church. Sometimes a ward seems to be functioning fine, but behind it all are people working like crazy to make sure everything flows smoothly. I've seen as a missionary that unfortunately sometimes when someone doesn't get visited by the members of the ward or the leaders, they feel unwanted and stop going to church. Home teaching how we maintain contact with every member and report back to the ward if there is a problem with something. Could you please give me Keaton and Trent's addresses? Dude. you rock.
Charly! Nice work with that dance award and everything! I hope everything's going great! How do you feel about having braces? I had stuff like that in my mouth for so long in elementary that it was just who I was! Haha. I hope you're enjoying basketball even though it sounds like it's been tough. You're awesome Charly!
Jake! That's too bad about Sammy. How long has he been sick for? Have you taken him to the vet? Hopefully he's ok! There's a robotics class now?? What do you do in that class and why is the teacher so bad? That's awesome about that camp you're going on too. I always loved those. They were so much fun. Nice work with the sock by the way, lighting stuff on fire is fun. Love ya bud, you're awesome.
Alrighty! So I have my new companion! Elder Nogales is from Bolivia. Bolivia and Chile historically have a lot of conflict because Bolivia and Peru attacked Chile, but Chile won and took their land. Now Bolivia doesn't have access to the ocean, and the people here always tease Elder Nogales for it. He's super calm and cool though so it doesn't bother him. He's super nice. He has 6 months in the mission, which means he has one cambio more than me in Chile because he was in the MTC in Santiago for less time. We're a super young companionship, but it's awesome. He was junior companion last cambio and went straight to district leader now. Right off the bat I learned a lot about how to use time effectively and be diligent in being exactly obedient. I've learned from his example and improved a lot. We've started planning every half hour instead of every hour and we're trying to fill our time with set appointments and everything. We're also focusing on doing short lessons by teaching a principle, testifying, inviting the investigator to commit to do something, and leaving. It's more effective and we are able to do a lot more each day. Our numbers have shot up a lot, and I feel more excited. Also, he's a great example of loving the investigator and not being a robot.
This week Edith didn't get baptized. She doesn't feel completely ready, and also was out of town this weekend. We're gonna work and fast to try and help her receive her answer that she needs. She's a really special person and needs special treatment as an investigator, but she's really great. We think this week or the next she will get baptized.
This week we had the expectation of having 6 investigators at church, but only 3 showed up. We were happy anyway because all three are progressing towards a baptismal date so we were really excited. We're especially excited with a referral that we received from a less active member. His girlfriend had been reading the Book of Mormon, and already knows basically everything she needs to before baptism. She was in 2 Nefi 9 when we first saw her, and accepted a baptismal date right away without any kind of condition or anything!! It was a true miracle similar to what happened with Camila, my first convert (she's doing well by the way). She went to church and loved it. She says she feels a special peace when she reads the Book of Mormon too. Basically, she's one of those prepared people that the Lord guides us to. She went to church.
We have faith that the Lord is going to continue to bless us this week in finding more people and helping those that we have to progress.
Lately I've been studying, in Preach My Gospel and the scriptures, the blessings I can promise to the investigators if they keep their commitments. Something I loved, was that, as it says in Alma 32, if we leave place for a portion of the word in our hearts and experiment upon it, our faith will grow. Basically, reading the scriptures and living it's precepts increases our faith. I'm starting to understand the importance of the scripture study and prayer for the investigators in their conversion process. We're focusing more on those commitments with everyone, because they're the basics.
We've ran into a few hard people who don't believe in God recently which is quite unusual in Chile, and it's quite disheartening and sad to see how people shut their eyes and harden their hearts to spiritual things, especially when it's so clear from our perspective with the Spirit. It makes me happy and grateful for the knowledge that we have that God exists and loves us. Through His gospel He can bless us, and that gospel is only found with His authority in His church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When we obey the commandments, our understanding is enlightened, and we have more spiritual clarity, and when we hear the truth it will sound familiar and correct to us as the Spirit testifies.
Family, I love you all. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! It's such a blast, and more than that, it's what Heavenly Father wants me to be doing. My testimony is stronger than ever. I know this is the truth, and nothing can take that knowledge away.
¡Que estén bien!