Family! Thank you so much for writing to me and letting me know how things are. I love hearing from you all every week. It's the best!
Dad! That's a shame about Ulyses and Anthony. How come Anthony's leaving?? That is a crazy story about Brad James!!! That's crazy!! It's good to hear that they survived and everything. I'm sure West was traumatized! Wow!! Hahaha and the boat's called the Liahona to top it all off too. Hopefully everything's good with them now! That's good that you all enjoyed the wedding and the temple. I'm jealous that you can go to the temple. I wanna go really bad, but there's still no progress on the Concepción temple. Hopefully all goes well with Mitt Romney. I liked that email you forwarded to me too. I think the fact that he's having such success will be great with spreading the gospel. I heard about Whitney Houston, cause our Bishop mentioned in Sacrament meeting that she died from a drug overdose. That's good that you're in the choir! You've always been a great example. Hopefully all goes well with your busy week!! That's especially awesome about Aries and his baptism. Congratulate him for me! Do you have any stories from your mission that you could share with me? By the way, sorry I forgot to tell you that I bought something. I was short on cash so I bought a couple things from the grocery store. How much was it by the way?
Mum! I'm glad you enjoyed the temple. I loved going to the temple before I came to Chile, and that's something I miss. It's so peaceful and you can rest from all your worries when you're inside. That's good about the wedding too. Congratulate Jason and Mackenzie for me! That's really funny about Grandma and Grandad too. I'll try and get you some more photos next week too, but make sure to remind me next week too! Sounds like you have some fun trips planned too!
Michael! That's pretty sweet about the hockey game!! How are the Flames doing by the way? I'm completely isolated from that and I have no idea! Are we doing good? Any news from BYU yet?
Dad asked a little bit about my companion. First off, Elder Jesus Guillermo Nogales is from Bolivia. Bolivians stereotypically have a lot of problems with Chile. Because I think back in the day, Peru and Bolivia went to war with Chile, but Chile ended up winning and taking territory from both of them. Bolivia now has no ocean access, and the Chileans like to make fun of Bolivia for that. I think Chile is better off economically. Everyone always teases Elder Nogales and asks him how he liked being by the ocean in his last sector. He takes it really well and likes Chile. He's really nice and we get along well. We're both working hard and sacrificing to try and improve. It sounds like Bolivia is one of the cheapest countries to live in. He told me that all the kids in the high school age ride around on motorbikes which sounds pretty cool. Something else I learned about this week is that the average monthly salary in Chile is around 1.5 thousand dollars. The pay is a lot lower here than I thought, but everything is a lot cheaper.
So this week was quite a struggle for us. We feel like we're improving a lot with our teaching, our studies, and our obedience, but we've been running into quite a few problems. This week we had no one in church. Carola, who was our sure baptism this month, didn't show up, and our only hope of baptizing anyone in February is if we see some pretty huge miracles. Susana basically left town and isn't gonna be around this month, and Cony's grandma who is her legal tutor, doesn't give her permission to get baptized. The grandma is a member who's been inactive for years and doesn't have a testimony. She says Cony needs to be 18 before she can get baptized. We saw Edith, and she thanked us for all we've done, and has a testimony, but can't make the decision to get baptized. It was frustrating because during a lesson, her sister was spewing out anti-mormon stuff too. It was very difficult with all that, and we desperately need some miracles. Also, we've managed to find a lot of new investigators, but almost always they aren't there for the second lesson. We can teach a short, powerful lesson to the needs of the person, but when we have an appointment for even as soon as the next day, they bail out on us. It's been really frustrating because all the new people we've found haven't progressed. We're studying, praying, and fasting to know what we can fix, and so that the Lord can do the rest. I am happy however, because Jacqueline is improving gradually.
I love being a missionary. It really tests everything you have. I feel like I have to give everything I have, and then some more, but the great thing is that that is how you grow. I feel like I'm growing a lot as a person and as a missionary. There isn't any down time because we have to do all we can to help these people, and our thoughts are always about how we can help them. The people can say really nice things about us and about how we're such great people, but that isn't what we want. We want the people to come unto Christ through His restored gospel. It makes me really sad to think that I've already been out for almost 7 months, but all I can do is just work as hard as I can to serve the Lord.
The ward is progressing a lot. The members are really supportive and a really reaching out to the less active members that there are. That makes me really happy when I see the people here helping to build up the Lord's kingdom and to lift up the hands that hang down.
Anyway, it was great to hear from all of you! Being a missionary is the greatest thing ever. I know if I have faith and draw nearer to the Lord, He will bless me. I know that if He will be happy if I work hard. This is the Lord's work, and this is what He wants me to be doing. I know the church is true, and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Jesus Christ is my Saviour and He atoned for my sins. Through Him, I can have true peace and happiness.
I love you all so much and hope you're all doing great! You're in my prayers!