Sunday, 18 March 2012

COELEMU - 12TH MARCH 2012

Family! So great to hear from you all. Thanks for all the pictures and everything too!! Thanks also to everyone else who sent me some letters!! I got something from the Lloyds and from the Biggs, and also an email from Grandma and Grandad Steward. Thanks so much to everyone!

Dad! That's awesome about that stake conference! Too bad you didn't get to see Elder Cook in person like I did hahaha. That's so cool that JoJo's going to the temple! I'm so excited for him. I remember when he talked about his experience doing baptisms in the temple and he said it was like heaven. Going through the temple completely is even greater. That's awesome that Grandma and Grandad are going to Mexico! They'll have a blast. I'd like to revisit after my mission to be able to talk to everyone in Spanish! Those pictures are awesome. Looks like you had so much fun, especially the elephant ride!! Mum! It is really cool that you've been able to visit so many places in the world. I think the Lord has really blessed us as a family. I have the best family in the world. I really am grateful for all that you and Dad have done for me, physically and spiritually. I've seen a lot of people and families who really struggle to stay active in the church here, and it makes me so grateful that you and Dad have been so strong. I think the sadest thing I can imagine would be if our family was broken up or if someone fell away from the church. That's interesting about those promises from Elder Cook. Let me know if you find anything out about that! I know what you mean when you talked about feeling the Spirit in our churches and temples. There's just a warmth that's felt, which is the Spirit. That's what I love about our church. It isn't based simply on tradition or on emotions, it's really the Church of Jesus Christ. By the way, still nothing on the package.

Michael!  I'm really proud that you've decided to set standards for yourself. There are so many people nowadays who don't do that, and it's really a shame. It's important to understand that obedience to the commandments brings happiness, and aren't simply restrictions. No matter what anyone says, obeying the Lord is always better. That's nuts about Jarin!! I bet that was a pretty intense experience. It's good they managed to help two of the people, but it's sad one of them didn't make it. That's so awesome about Shane!!!! Congratulate him for me. Sharing the gospel is great. Get the missionaries over to Josh's house.
P.S. - My tooth is still dead, but I forgive you.

Charly! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! WHAT THE HECK YOU'RE ALMOST 14!!! That's not ok. You're so old!! Going to the dances now and driving... That just sounds like problems waiting to happen. Hahaha I'm so excited for you. Have you been studying to take your learners test?? Good luck!!! That's too bad about your braces, but you'll be happy later on for having had them.

Jake! That's too bad about your eyes. Having to wear glasses is kind of annoying, but it isn't too bad. I remember when I was 14 the same thing started happening to me. You got a black tie? Awesome. I'm excited to get mine too!! How goes young mens? Are you working on your Duty to God? How goes Junior High?

So I'm in Coelemu! It's WAY different than Talca. It's tiny, and super quiet. It's a lot prettier though. The branch I serve in is tiny. This week, 24 people went to church, including us. It's crazy. My companion is Elder Arancibia. This is his third cambio in the mission, and he's awesome. He's from La Cerena which is up north. Yesterday we had a confirmation, and we have someone else lined up for baptism this upcoming week. Pretty good way to start of a cambio!! The only problem is that we don't really have anyone else who's progressed. This past week wasn't too hot as we lost a lot of time with the cambios and doing a companionship exchange (the zone leaders live an hour and a half away). In our zone we have two districts. In my district, the zone leaders are acting as district leaders. I already know one zone leader, Elder Daines, cause he lived with my old zone leaders before in Talca, and the other zone leader, Elder Braken, was Elder Nogales's previous companion. They are awesome.

We had a minicambio last week (comp exchange) to do an interview for Ana Muñoz who was gonna get baptized last week, but she doesn't feel quite ready. She's gonna get baptized this upcoming Sunday if everything goes well. It turns out the missionaries hadn't finished teaching her everything, so we're gonna get on that this week. For the minicambio I went to Tomé which is close to Concepción. It's gigantic with tons of hills and it's on the coast. The zone leaders aren't companions, so I partnered up with Elder Braken's companion who's in his second cambio, Elder Diaz (from Colombia) for the day. It's weird thinking that I'm not one of the newbies anymore. It's really sad actually. The upside is that I look at my progress in organization, teaching, language, and dedication, and I feel like I've improved immensely.

In Coelemu, there are tons of Evangelicals, with your fair share of Catholics too. Apparently some people won't even read a pamphlet we leave them without asking permission from their pastors (In Spanish, pastor means shepherd, I had no idea). We can tell where the pastors live because their houses are gigantic and they have tons of money. It's interesting in lessons when we pray and the people are talking saying things like "amen Lord" throughout the prayer.

In church, we bless the sacrament, and I'm playing the piano, or rather the keyboard. There are only 3 members with the Melchizedek Priesthood - the Branch President and his two counselors. There are tons of less actives here (like in all of Chile), and we're trying to help them out. The branch needs a lot of help because there is no leadership, and because there are so few faithful members. I'm so excited though because we're gonna have a ton of success here, I can feel it. We're going to help this branch grow, and the Lord is going to bless us. It's gonna be a completely different experience, seeing as we have to be the blood of the branch.

Basically, this is going to be a GREAT sector. We are going to work hard, pray hard, and love the people. I love being a missionary so much. My testimony has grown so much, along with my love for the Lord and my dedication to serve Him. I'm going to do everything I can to help Him here. This is His work, and He wants us to have success, so we're going to have it. I know that this is God's church. Everything just makes so much sense when we have the Spirit!! I love life, especially as a missionary. The Lord blesses us so much.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support everyone. I hope you're all having the chance to share the gospel too. I love you all so much!!

¡Chao!

Elder Blomfield

BAUTISMO Y CAMBIO - 5 MARCH 2012

Family!! As usual, so great to hear from you all. Sounds like everyone's enjoying themselves, especially Mum and Dad.

Dad! Thailand sounds so cool!! Such an awesome experience!! That's pretty crazy about all those tigers. Did you get your picture taken with them? That would be the coolest thing ever. That reincarnation stuff is pretty weird. Sometimes we find people who believe in that weird alternative stuff here. One "Christian" who was "baptized" with water from the Jordan River that her aunt brought from Israel (I don't know but apparently it must be a better baptism with Jordan River water, maybe you get a 10 year "get-out-of-jail-free" card for your sins or something) told us once that she was reincarnated and that she had what's called a "third eye", and so does her aunt. When she opens it, weird things happen apparently like seeing spirits. It was pretty messed up, and didn't make sense seeing as she was Catholic. There are tons of people that are Catholic by tradition, but it seems like a lot of people are losing confidence in the Catholic church for what they keep seing and hearing on the news. Some people are turning to alternative ideas like aliens and reincarnation and weird stuff like that, but others are turning to the truth.

Mum! Still no package. Who knows though, it could be in the mission office now. It sounds like you're having a blast in Thailand!! Tell me more about the hotel, what's it like? Sounds pretty awesome. I bet the culture is completely different in Thailand,  without a predominant Christian population and with a completely different way of life. I want to visit a big city like Bangkok one day. That would be so fun to ride an elephant!! How big was it?? That's so cool!! That's crazy how small the church is there. How long has it been in Thailand do you know?

Michael! . Sounds like you had fun with Brad and Mary-Clare! Son buena onda ellos. How the heck do you just fall asleep on a bed in Ikea without anyone yelling at you?? Sounds like something fun to do. Didn't you and Josh do that once or something and some woman got super mad?? That sounds like a pretty sweet book too that you're reading. I wanna read it too. By the way, you are my idol.

Charly! How the heck can you almost be 14?? That's a lie!! You're not allowed to drive yet!! Hahaha don't worry about braces. I had (have) some crazy teeth problems. I had two extra teeth in between my baby and adult teeth. One tooth (the tooth that is now dead) came it 90 degrees off, and I had a retainer with elastics. Terrible. After, they gave me braces for my upper teeth, and after, for only my front 2 teeth. That was ridiculous. Look at my Grade 3 picture upstairs and you'll see, if I'm smiling with my teeth showing that is. Then they gave me some thing for behind my bottom teeth for like 3 years that did absolutely nothing because they're crowded now, and now I have a dead tooth. Basically, it seems like us Blomfields are destined to have naturally terrible teeth. Maybe it's cause we're from England.

Jake! I loved woodworking. It was called I.A. (Industrial Arts) when I was there and I loved it. I loved working with the scroll saw and drill press and stuff. It was a blast. Then we got to use the wood lathe and carving tools another year. Also we got to do welding. It was flipping awesome. I loved it. It was my favourite class. In grade 9 I had it everyday one semester. It was so much fun. You'll have to send me a picture of your hiking stick when you finish with it!

This week was great! First off, we had an awesome baptism with a perfectly planned baptismal service thanks to our awesome new ward mission leader. He baptized Carola and it was awesome. He was really happy and really nervous because it had been years since he'd baptized anyone, and he starting coming back to church only about 6 months ago just after I arrived. Carola was really happy and we're really happy for her. She was a really prepared person the the Lord put in our path, who has progressed so well and has a strong testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her formerly less active boy friend is doing well too, and they were asking questions about temple marriage. It's awesome! Basically, it was an awesome way to finish a cambio. We had 3 people at church yesterday. We had hoped for more, but one person got sick and didn't come with her son, and another family had been out of town for a few days because the daughter had an allergic reaction in her eye and had to go to Santiago. Luckily, the Lord blessed us and one person who we hadn't seen for like two weeks because she was too busy, but ended up going to church anyway which was a miracle. 

So it's confirmed, I'm out of here. i'm going to a place called Coelemu closer to Concepción. It's a little town supposedly smaller than my sector La Florida, with a little branch of about 30 members. It's gonna be nuts! I don't remember my companion's name, only that he is Chileno. But I'm going to be senior companion. I feel really unprepared but I know the Lord will bless me. I'm sad to leave La Florida but I'm really excited for a new experience and to be able to serve the Lord in another place. It's going to be completely different. I'm gonna be in Elder Nogales's old zone, Tomé, which is neighbours with Elder Navarrete's zone, Penco. Elder Nogales, along with Elder Abrego (a fellow Canadian from my MTC zone who's in my zone in Talca Centro) are going to train! They're really excited.

It's really sad that I have to go, but I feel like I've worked hard here and learned a lot. I've improved a ton I think, and I'm excited to improve more. I have so many more things to learn. This cambio has been really tough, but something key that I've learned is the importance of diligence, and of bearing testimony. I read a talk from years ago by one of David O. McKay's counselors I think it was. He talks about the importance of bearing testmony and challenging the people to make commitments. Teaching ability is important, but the salvation of God's children isn't going to depend on how logically we can present an idea, or on how fluently we teach the lesson, it's going to depend on how the people react to the Spirit that they feel. I need to be able to teach well so the Spirit can testify more easily, but more importantly, I have to always bear my testimony so that the people feel the Spirit and can choose to reject or accept it. This next cambio is going to be really different, but I'm just gonna go and work hard and strive to have the Spirit in every moment.

I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ along with His church was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. He was called of God to be the prophet of this last dispensation. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and nothing less. There is no other book like it, and I know it's true. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God in our day, along with the apostles. God answers our prayers and blesses us so much. Although life can be difficult at times, we are really so blessed. Behind every trial are blessings greater than we can imagine if we are faithful. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. He suffered and died for us to save us from our fallen state. Thanks to Him, we can progress eternally with the blessing of a mortal experience and a physical body.

I love you all so much!! You're always in my prayers. Keep on being awesome, and share the gospel with everyone you meet!! This message is too incredible to not share it. If we open our mouths, the Lord will fill them and we will be instruments in His hands.

¡Chao!

Elder Blomfield

CAMBIOS COMING UP SOON - 27TH FEBRUARY 2012


Family!! So great to hear from you all. I'm glad everyone's doing so great. I'm afraid my letter's gonna be a little one today seeing as I'm really short on time.

Dad! Sounds like you're having a blast in Manila. It's crazy to hear about how some people live and the poverty that's there. There are a few people here that live in pretty terrible conditions, but nothing like what you explained at least here in Talca. That's awesome you got to see JoJo's family. I'm really excited for their baptism too!! That's cool about the MTC. I wonder if it'll be to send foreigners to learn Tagalog in the Philippines or if it'll be mainly for Philipinos serving there. That's a pain about those stupid immigration rules. I think it should be that if the person has proven that he can work and support himself, they should let him in.

Mum! I hope your loving your trip. Sounds like a lot of fun. About my early converts, Camila hadn't gone to church because she was with her grandma for two weeks, but went this Sunday. Natalia has been going too.

Michael! NICE WORK GETTING INTO BYU BUD! Nice work with you're awesome marks too!! Wow you're a genius!! Do you have a scholarship?? Are you stoked or what?? What friends are going to BYU that you know? I knew almost no one my age that went the same year as me. Keep preparing yourself Mike, I know you're going to be a great missionary. A lot better than me anyway.

Charly! Nice work on winning that game!! Do you like basketball a lot? I hope you enjoy your time with Mary-Clare and Brad, sounds like their spoiling you like crazy!

Alrighty family! This week was pretty awesome. We had interviews with the President on Thursday and it was awesome. I learned about how to have the Spirit more, particularly in the first lesson with new investigators. There's a new program that the mission is doing to help us know the doctrine more. In Preach My Gospel there are sample lesson plans, and we have to try and do some memorizing. Preach My Gospel says to memorize the order of principles in the lessons, and to memorize scriptures, but to teach in your own words. If we memorize the headings and commitments for each lesson, we reach Bronze level in this new program. I passed Bronze already. If we memorize the principles on top of that with the scripture references and more or less what it says, we reach Silver. If we memorize the scriptures of 3 verses or less on top of that, we reach Gold. It's cool cause it helps us understand the doctrine more. The scriptures say if we treasure up the word, we'll be blessed to be able to teach it. I'm gonna try and get Silver before the cambio change.

The cambio is next week. It's weird cause I haven't thought about it much. There's a pretty good chance that I'm gonna go. It's sad!! Hopefully next week Carola gets baptized. I'm excited. This week we also found some awesome investigators. Today we're gonna see how it goes with them!!

Anyway I gotta run. I know God lives and loves us. This is His work. The Book of Mormon is true, and Joseph Smith was a prophet. Jesus Christ is our Saviour and through the Restored Gospel we can be truly happy.

Sorry it was so short, love you all!!

¡Chao!

Elder Blomfield