Sunday, 3 June 2012

AWESOME MISSION CONFERENCE WITH ELDER DUNCAN - 1ST MAY 2012


Family!! Thanks for all the letters!! Sorry I didn't write yesterday, they changed our P-Day to today because we had a mission conference yesterday. P.S. I dunno exactly when Mother's Day is here, but I know it's coming up pretty soon. Another phone call home soon enough! The time goes by so fast it's terrible!!

Dad! Was there a lot of snow this winter? Did it slow things down a lot at work? That's too bad you had to work a longer week. I bet you're knackered. What have the Bullock's got done down in Idaho with there property so far? What ever happened with the flooding and that huge sinkhole that opened up? Thanks for encouraging me to write in my journal more. I'm gonna be more dilligent in that from here on out. It's really important. Wish Jane happy birthday for me!! Love ya Dad!

Mum! Haha Mum it seems like this week it's my turn to send a letter late!! Sorry for not telling you last week! I figure you're probably freaking out right now about why I didn't write yesterday, but don't worry there hasn't been an earthquake or anything and I'm fine over here. How come you took all the backsplash tiles off in the kitchen? What's happening with the big burn mark? That's too bad that your hands hurt... hopefully they get better soon. That's pretty crazy about Izaac. My companion on his first day broke out with a pretty bad rash too. He thinks it's because of the cold. It's pretty funny cause he's from Nicaragua where it's really hot, and while I was wearing short sleaves, he was wearing sweaters haha. Hopefully for Izaac it wasn't anything serious! He's playing soccer? That'll be a blast. Love you Mum.

Michael! Sometimes it is tough to share the gospel because people don't seem interested, but the most important thing is to open our mouths. If people feel the Spirit, that can change their desires completely and they can completely open up to the gospel, and they feel the Spirit when we bear testimony. The majority people here are already really religious. Here there are tons of Evangelicals, with a bunch of Catholics too. I've taught a few, but there are very few complete atheists. Nice work in your soccer games! That's too bad about the bad call by the ref, but at least he recognized that he messed up and apologized. That's a pain about all that grad drama. Sounds pretty frustrating. I'm sure you'll have a blast anyway. That's pretty sweet about the Trent and Keaton's coining out. I feel like an old fart now. That's cool that Ben's going to grad with Monica. Why didn't he ask out Vanessa or whatever her name is? I'm glad you liked the Priesthood meeting. Sometimes it is really difficult to recognize the Spirit, and difficult to obey it also, because afterwards the prompting loses importance in our minds. I'm working on obeying every tiny prompting I get so the Lord will trust me with more. Hopefully you'll be able to talk to Sean and help him come back to church, cause it'll help him so much!! Love you dude.

Charly! That's cool about that school play!! I bet you did a great job. You didn't have to go back to classes after??? Lucky!! How did you do in the badminton tournament? Are you playing singles or doubles? That's cool you went to your first dance!! I'm glad you had a good time. How was dancing with the guys? Were you nervous? Do you like any of them? What kind of milkshake did you get? Love you!

Jake! Nice work with track and field. What did you try out for besides long jump? I like track, but I'm terrible at it. I bet you kick trash though. That's good that you liked Priesthood meeting. Are you reading Catching Fire right now? Is it as good as Hunger Games? You're putting away 10% for your mission? What do you do with all your other money?

Dad asked a bunch of questions, so I'll answer them all. In Chile the seasons change on the same days as far as I know anyway, they're just the opposite of how they are in the North. I will never see snow here in this mission, but it supposedly rains a ton, especially here in the south of the mission. The hours of sunlight are pretty normal like they are in Canada. We just recently changed the clock, so now it's lighter in the morning when we wake up, but gets darker earlier, at around 6:30ish. The only missionaries that have cars are the assistants, and everyone else walks and uses public transporation. Some sectors have bikes, but they are a luxury more than a necessity. In Talca we had bikes, but they were in terrible shape. The public transportation in cities consists of buses and colectivos, which are basically cars that follow routes like a bus. It costs between 60 cents and $1.00 cents to take a bus or colectivo depending where you are. There aren't colectivos here in Coelemu though, because it's so small. Depending on where you are, the buses can be pretty good or pretty terrible. We travel in buses about an hour and a half every week to go to district meetings in Tomé or conferences in Concepción. Sometimes the buses to Concepción are fancy executive buses, but sometimes going to Tomé it feels like the bus is going to fall apart hahaha. I don't have a district leader right now, because my district consists of my companion and I, and the zone leaders and their companions. In my zone, the zone leaders aren't companions, but live in the same house and work in the same sector. They are really cool. Elder Daines and Elder Wixam are the zone leaders that double as the district leader and are really nice guys and great missionaries. We see the mission president like once a month more or less when we have conferences or interviews. He's really nice and really funny, and has a pretty thick gringo accent when he speaks Spanish haha. His wife is really nice and always asking us how we're doing when we see her and really goes a long way to be caring. She's really nice. She still struggles quite a bit with Spanish, but has progressed a lot with the language. Every week we have lunch 6 of the 7 days of the week. On P-day we don't. Each day of the week has a member who feeds us once every week here in Coelemu. Sometimes the lunches are kinda small, but we're always fine. On P-days we don't normally do anything too special, seeing as we live so far away from the other Elders. Normally we just study, clean, shop, and write home. In Talca there were a couple of zone activities like going to play soccer and stuff which was really fun. There are a few slackers missionaries, but the majority of the missionaries I've met are really great and dedicated, and I've seen that the majority are always trying their best to be obedient.

This week was another tough week, but we learned a lot. We sometimes were struggling to find direction in the lessons when the people weren't showing a lot of interest. After a difficult lesson, my companion and I sat down and talked a little bit about the challenges we had been facing, and how to solve them. We decided to be more firm with our teaching and to be more decisive with what we're going to teach. Right afterwards, an older lady let us into her house, telling us that she was Catholic and would never change. At the beginning of the first lesson we almost always like to mention baptism so the people understand where we're seeing our teaching visits going. She said she was already baptized and would never do it again. She was kind but seemed determined in her decision never to change. We taught her a simple but powerful lesson of the Restoration of the Gospel, and after sharing the First Vision, she alone told us, "I need to pray about which church is true. I haven't conversed about religion with anyone for a long time, and I need to pray to know which church is true." It was incredible! We then invited her to baptism and she accepted the invitation if she received an answer. It was incredible!!! We invite people to baptism all the time and there are quite a few people who accept a baptismal date on the first lesson, but it was incredible to see her change her opinion completely when she felt the Spirit. What a miracle! Unfortunately, she's leaving to up north by Santiago in about 2 weeks, and is going to be gone for about a month. It was a great experience that strengthened my faith and gave me some encouragement.

Recently I had been a bit discouraged for some time. I was thinking and praying about how to see miralces in this sector, seeing as we hadn't had a lot of success. Based on everything I read and studied, and had been taught, my success depended on my ability as a missionary to help others feel the Spirit. I needed to be faithful and able to be able to have the companionship of the Spirit and the help of the Lord. I was trying and trying and trying, but wasn't seeing a lot of results. I lost a bit of confidence in my own ability to teach, and wondered if I had the faith sufficient to see miracles. I know that everyone passes through trials and that people have their agency, but I figured it was about time for me to be seeing some results and having success. Nothing seemed to be working out as I hoped, as often the people weren't there for the second lesson. I knew the sector wasn't to blame, because even though it's difficult there have been baptisms and I know that there are always people prepared to receive us. I knew my companion wasn't to blame either. I also knew the Lord wasn't to blame.

Yesterday we had a misison conference with Elder Duncan from the Seventy. He served his mission in Chile and taught us a lot of things. He talked about feeling real sincere love for everyone, even the difficult or hard-to-love people, and how that will help them. He talked about trusting the Spirit. He talked about seeking more personal conversion. He also talked about having the faith to see miracles. He also talked about how years ago, Elder Bruce R. Mckonkie came here to Chile to organize the seventh stake in Chile, and prophesied that there would be 70 times 7 stakes one day, and that the church would be the most influential organization in Chile. Right now, there are 75 stakes. Elder Duncan basically showed us that the Lord's plan for Chile, is that pretty much every ward or branch in Chile grows to become a stake, to be able to fulfill that prophecy. He asked us if we really believed that, and helped us strengthen our faith in the Lord and to have His vision. He gave us some good ideas of things to do in our sectors, but most importantly taught us to trust in the Lord. He asked us what we hoped from the conference and asked us to think about something that we were looking for from the Lord. He promised us that during the conference, the Holy Ghost would answer our question and reveal to us what we needed to do. I felt a lot of strong impressions and learned about how I need to feel sincere love for every single person, and see them how the Lord sees them. I also learned about the importance of giving a sincere testimony and therefore needing to strengthen my personal testimony about every principle of the gospel. I also learned about trusting and following whatever idea or feeling that comes to mind.    The conference was an incredible spiritual experience. I felt that this is really the Lord's work, and that if I put my trust in Him, He will bless me and work miracles through me as a missionary. I know the Lord has great plans for Coelemu, and that as I do His work, He will soften the hearts of the people here for the branch to grow. I know that God lives and love me, and wants me to trust Him. I felt a renewed excitement and a renewed faith. I know that the Lord loves me.

President Humphrey also told me that an ex district president will be coming to the Coelemu branch to go to church. I think someone with so much experience will be a great help to sharing the gospel with non-members, with activating less actives, and helping strengthen the members. I'm really excited.

I know that the Lord will bless us. This is going to be a great week. I know He's there. We're going to see miracles.

I love you all and hope everyone is doing great! Thanks for all your prayers and support.

¡Chao!

Elder Blomfield