Family!! Thanks for writing me. It was a pretty good week for us in our sector this week, but with some problems in the zone unfortunately.
Dad! At New Years here, there aren't any really cool celebrations, just everyone gets completely smashed. There were tons of drunk people all over the streets everywhere. Some yell at us, and some suddenly awaken to a sense of their eternal state and try and talk to us. The problem is that they forget everything before the next day hahaha. I can't believe Michael's leaving for the mission so far. That's so funny about Izaac. I remember having some pretty embarrassing moments in sacrament meeting as a kid haha. One when a bird came in and I said something loud, and I think one when you gave a talk and mentioned how I had called a woman fat or something. Pretty funny. Love you Dad!
Mum! I'm glad you enjoyed having Michael home. I bet it was hard seeing him leave. That's cool you drop in at the new temple. I'm excited to see what it's like one day. I'm glad you're liking your calling. Teaching the gospel really is the coolest experience ever. I love seeing the lights come on in people's eyes. Something that we're focusing on here in that teaching pattern is the inviting to act and verifying the invitation. As the investigators live the gospel we teach, then they receive spiritual confirmations and become converted. It's the same with everyone. Love you Mum!
Michael! How did it feel going back to school? It's kind of a weird feeling leaving the family. I know how you feel haha. We get some say in what goes on, but just in specific areas that are unclear or that we think need to be improved. There are all types of missionaries out there. Some are great, some are crazy. Did you get any pictures at the bike show? Send some to me. Still not sure about extending. What martial arts class are you gonna take? That sounds fun. I felt the same going back to BYU after Christmas. A bunch of my friends had left, and a bunch of new people came. It took some adjusting, but turned out ok. Love you!
Charly! Tell me about the new years dance!! I always loved those. It was formal right? Did they do the big baloon drop thing? Is there a lot of snow at home right now? Do I know the family you babysat for? Did they pay you well? I'm glad you had a good new years. Love you Char!
Jake! You're gonna have so much fun on that cruise ship my friend. It'll be a blast.I'm jealous, but I'd rather be here in Chile. Excited to go back to school soon? Here they're in their summer vacations cause the seasons are backwards. Love you Jake!
Kenna! My Christmas was awesome thanks. Do you like your ipod?? That's awesome. I got some candy, some Canadian stuff, some shower stuff, and some clothes. It was awesome! Are you gonna miss Michael? Love you Kenna!
Ok! This week had some ups and downs. We had some challenges, but had tons of blessings.
Starting out, a lot of the possibilities that the zone has for baptism this month started dying out. We're worried because we committed with the Lord to reach a certain goal and things are looking quite tough, and we feel the responsibility seeing as we need to be leading the zone. A new missionary, Elder Cortés, got sent home on Thursday morning because he had some severe problems with his knees. He couldn't ride his bike at ll or walk very well, and got sent back up north where he lives in Chile. It was pretty sad. I knew it was coming cause President told us, but we couldn't tell him anything. I was on a minicambio with him when President called him to break him the news. He was pretty torn up and didn't know what to do. He felt like a failure and he felt useless in the hands of the Lord. I was able to console him a little bit but it was still sad. His comp, who's been having a lot of problems recently, also took it pretty hard and has been struggling to have a good attitude.
Basically, we've been seeing some struggles with some of the missionaries and we're praying and studying to know how to help them. We've made some plans this week to help them out. Some need to understand their purpose more, and some need help learning how to take control of their situations instead of being controlled by them. It's difficult, but the Lord will help us. Please pray for us!!
We did see some great blessings in our own sectors. Sebastián is a 16-year old who went last week, who is a nephew of Stanka and Rodrigo, some of our converts. His little brothers are already members. He recently took interest last Thursday out of no where, seeing as beforehand had no interest whatsoever in the church. He has read everything we've left really well, and has such a great understanding. In our second lesson, after having read all the first pamphlet, he gave us the best explanation of the Restoration that I've heard from any investigator ever. He understood the need of Priesthood authority and everything, wanted to read the Book of Mormon, and wanted to get baptized. In the next lesson, he had read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it, and felt it was true. He's incredible. He's had a rebelious past, but I don't blame him seeing as the upbringing from his parents has not been good. He comes from a broken home with a lot of problems, but is willing to make changes. Some of the commandments will be difficult for him to keep, so please pray for him. He's getting baptized on the 26th. Also, his nick-name between us is Elder Araya. He'll be a great missionary some day.
Guillermo, Eulalia's husband, is back on board. We taught him the other day and he's doing quite a bit better health-wise. He's still struggling to remember some things, but took a baptismal date for the 26th as well, and came to church. We went by on Sunday afternoon with some members and it was great. I think he'll do great. Eulalia cried a little bit as she testified to him about the church. It was incredible. They are incredible. Pray for him!
Victor is someone we've been teaching for a while. We stopped teaching him for a bit because he had some really weird ideas and it seems like he struggles a bit mentally. He had talked about some previous weird spiritual experiences, and it seemed like he was lying to us and just going to church cause his wife who's a member wanted him to. He proved otherwise, as he brought his family to church by himself, and has since then been progressing greatly. He's a little different, but we've seen a sincere change in his understanding and his desires. He has a baptismal date for the 19th. Pray for him!
Rodrigo, my convert, got the Priesthood on Sunday!! He'll probably be the one baptizing Sebastián which will be incredible.
We brought a family of four to church yesterday which was great. We had been teaching the wife and kids for almost two weeks, but the husband was always too busy to share with us. They were gonna come last week but the daughter had an accident on her bike on Saturday night and had to go to the hospital. On Saturday night we taught the husband for the first time, and they all came to church. He's got some Evangelical roots and he seems to have some left over beliefs of theirs like how the Spirit takes control of people and makes them dance and scream and all that weird stuff, but he can change that. That's a common belief here. At church, we found out that Rodrigo knew him from beforehand!! The only problem, is that the parents aren't married. Pray for them!!
Being a missionary is a really great experience. I wish I could stay here longer. I love how the Lord teaches us. The difficulties we have help us improve and learn more about the gospel. I wish I could always be a full-time missionary. I know this is the truth.
I love you all. Thank you so much for everything. You're really the best family ever.