Sunday, 1 July 2012

BRANCH BUILDERS - 11TH JUNE 2012


Family!! Thanks so much for writing me! I love hearing from you every week.

Dad! That's pretty sweet about the Queen! How old is she now? I bet the olympics are gonna be a blast. That sucks about the stove!! How the heck do they rig it that one replacement part costs $800 parts when the whole thing costs $1150? That's theft!! That's funny about that cop that pulled you over. Luckily he didn't scan you a couple minutes before! Sounds like the kitchen's turned into one big job after another! How many injuries have there been already? How much repairs have had to be done? That's too bad that Aries and Don left work... Was it ugly when they resigned? Is Ariel still going to church? Hopefully the government fixes that problem. I'm really excited to get that talk!! Love ya Dad.

Mum! I just got your email. To answer your question, I did get that package. Thank you so much! It was awesome. I love the tie. The same day, I also got a package from the Erasmus family. Give them my thanks. Also, thanks for sending me Ross's email! I really liked it. I'm glad to hear he's doing well. Hopefully everything goes well with that James guy! I hope he reads the Book of Mormon with an open heart, cause it'll change his life. That's interesting about that church he belongs to. I've met a few Seventh Day Adventists here in Chile, and they're usually really firm in their religion, considering they're such a minority. They are all about the Law of Moses from what I've heard. It's pretty interesting. I think their prophetess founder, Elena White, was actually at one point Joseph Smith's secretary. The two biggest churches here are the Catholic and the Evangelical (Some, if not all, are either the Methodist church or break-offs from it, and focus a lot of the teachings of the reformer, John Wesley). In Talca, the majority were Catholics, and the biggest challenge was uprooting apostate tradition and combating laziness, but here the majority are Evangelical and the big challenge is teaching the need of Priesthood authority and the importance of a specifically authorized church organization instead of just random spirituality. A lot of people have told us some pretty weird stuff like how the Spirit takes control of them, how they have weird visions, healings, and other weird stuff too. It's hard to teach Priesthood Authority when everyone is talking about their experiences when some random put his or her hands on their head and healed them from their near-fatal sickness. I think a lot of people are confused, and I think Satan has a play in tricking people into believing false things, but I also believe that people with genuine faith can still see miracles in their lives, without respect to what church they belong to. I bet your so excited to see the kitchen done. Love you Mum!

Michael! Nice work with sem grad. I hope you did a better job at conducting it than me haha. I kept forgetting to ask all the grads to come sit at the front. I bet you did a great job. Also, don't even worry about your written final. You're going to destroy it obviously, and anyway, you're already accepted to BYU! Dude you rock. Love you.

Charly! Your science teacher didn't teach you an entire unit? That's pretty stressful. It's always brutal trying to do last minute review or trying to completely teach yourself something new in such short time. I hope you get your license! I'll be scared and praying for the either people on the streets if you do, but I'll be really excited for you!  YA RIGHT you didn't like any of the boys at the dance. Hhahaha love ya Char.

Jake! Nice work with all those athletic awards! You're awesome. What's Wrath of the Titans about? What's Journey 2 about? Was that fun shooting clay pigeons? I love doing that. It seems really hard but it's really not to tough! I think the hardest thing when you're really  young is just lifting the shotgun. That'll be fun to go to the father and son's camp. I always loved those. They're sooo fun. Behave yourself though!! Haha. Love you bro.


Alrighty! Good news! David Parra, the dad in the family we've been teaching, is getting baptized on Sunday. Last Monday after fasting, we went by with a member to help us with the lesson, and he expressed that he had been thinking a lot about what we have been sharing, and wants to get baptized. It was a huge miracle. Every lesson since that day has been even better, as he keeps sharing his testimony and his desire to start over in life and be completely faithful to the end. What a conversion! He says he's constantly repenting of his sins and leaving his old life behind. He is incredible. His wife is really excited too, and told us that all those years ago when she got baptized she was unsure, but now she's 100% sure of what she's doing. It's amazing. Such a huge blessing. I payed close attention since we first starting meeting with the family, because I wanted to learn more about the conversion process in an investigator. It was incredible as we always invited them to keep commitments, but always were careful not to force them into doing something that they didn't want to do. We've tried to always be bold but loving in inviting them to change, being sad when they don't keep their commitments in order that they understand the importance of doing the things we invite them to do. It is incredible to see that small changes such as praying and reading the scriptures daily, with weekly church attendance, have wrought a complete change of character in him. He has increased immensely in his desires to follow Christ and commit himself with the Lord. He is an incredible convert. Unfortunately, however, Nicolás, the son, has almost completely lost interest. He keeps reading and praying but doesn't want to commit himself too much. He says he's fine where he's at. Keep praying for him though please!

This Wednesday, we got up bright and early to head to a training meeting in Chillan, which is about 2 hours from Coelemu. It was for all the missionaries in small branches. The mission is doing a new program called Branch Builders which focuses on strengthening the members, dedicating more time to less active members, and doing   3 or 4 activities a week in the chapel. It's gonna be awesome!! They've given us a bunch of ideas of activities, how to strengthen the members more, and have given us movies and extra money to do the activities. We're gonna do perhaps every week, a ping pong tournament, English classes, and  a Bible study with videos of the life of Christ. Every other week we're going to have a movie night to watch church movies, and every other week to have a big family home evening thing. It's gonna be great! Today we're gonna print out tons of invitations, and hand them out to everyone. We want the church to become the hub of Coelemu. We're also gonna try visiting schools and the radio to publicize the free English classes. We had an family home evening type of activity on Friday, and taught a lesson about our plans with the branch, and basically the members got super excited. We even managed to get the Branch President, who's normally a little negative, to get excited. We're so pumped. We're going to increase church attendance by 15 people from it's average in six weeks. We're already increasing a lot thanks to the Parra family which has been coming.

The Mission President also asked us to focus on working in Coelemu and not going to outside places like Ranguelmo, so we stopped working there. We were concerned because we didn't just want to drop Graciela and Miguel, but also understood that with this new program, it's important that we focus in Coelemu. It's also difficult for the members and future missionaries to support recent converts that live so far away. Anyway, we went for the last time on Thursday, to break them the news. They had come to the decision already that they didn't want to get baptized unfortunately, and didn't have desires to commit themselves to anything. It made it easier for us to say that we weren't coming back, but it was still sad.

On Friday we had a mini conference in Concepción, and learned a lot about how to do effective contacting, and the importance of loving the Lord completely in the work. We've set goals on how to more effectively use our time and how to find more investigators to teach. There are people that have been prepared to receive us specifically, and we need to be ready to find all of them.

Due to so much traveling this week, we were really short on time, but we've set goals this week and plans to effectively reach the goals the mission has for us. We want to dedicate more time with less active members and use all of our free time finding people to teach in whatever instance. We know the Lord will bless us.

This Saturday we contacted a reference from a member. Her name is Margarita, and her nine-year-old son is called Rodrigo. They both accepted a baptismal date that night, and went to church the next day! She's had a difficult life as she's divorced, and has a lot of other family problems. The gospel of Jesus Christ is exactly what she needs in this moment to relieve her suffering and find a new strength. Pray for them please!

I love how the Lord always blesses us. He's always there to help us and always hears our prayers. We're seeing the blessings of the Lord, and now our problem is not about filling the time we have, it's about trying to have as much time as possible to find more people to teach! This message is incredible, and I know it's true!! It breaks my heart when people reject the message or make rash and foolish comments attacking church in general or Joseph Smith, but although they say such sad things, I can't ever deny that I know this is the true. I love the Lord so much and I want to be like the apostle Peter, jumping off the boat in the Sea of Galilee when he recognizes the Resurrected Lord on the seashore. I want to give everything to him, and "feed His sheep".

I know this message is true. The Lord loves us and is with us when we need Him. He wants us to succeed and will always watch over us. If we have true faith, we will see the miracles. He really lives and I know it. This is His church and His gospel. Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Lord, and the Book of Mormon is true. I love being a missionary.

I love you family! Can't wait to hear from you next week, and until then, keep praying for us here in Coelemu!

¡Chao!

Elder Blomfield