I am so happy for you Mike!!!! Congratulations you're gonna love it. It's gonna be such a blast. Spanish speaking!!!! I'm so stoked.
Dad! Thanks for praying for our investigators. I'm so excited for Michael!! It looks like I might not see him before I get back then, but I guess we'll see how things turn out. How much do you think it could get delayed? Still no request on whether or not I can extend. I heard about all those new missions!! I'm stoked. Here in Chile they're opening a new mission. Santiago South. Because of that, a bunch of the mission boundaries are changing. We're losing Curicó and Talca to the Rancagua mission, but we'll be getting two more stakes from the south. It's nuts. Plus, the number of sister missionaries here has shot way up. Today, 10 new sisters came while only 4 Elders did. It's crazy. I'm really grateful for the guidance and love you always gave to me and to the rest of us. Without you, none of us kids would be where we are today. Thank you so much. I hope I manage to go to Moroni's quest!! Love you Dad.
Mum! I'm so excited for Michael to speak Spanish. It's awesome! How does having been pregnant affect your teeth??? I hope you start to feel better soon and can get everything figured out! What's the 4 Yorkshiremen skit? That's so cool you're playing piano. Do you like it?? I love playing the piano now that it's not a chore. Beforehand I didn't enjoy it but now I love it. Thanks for getting the Eagle scipture markers! I need em. Also, I dunno what treats to get. Just whatever you feel necessary. Another Canadian flag would be great considering I gave my last one away to Elder Cardinal. Thanks for everything Mum, you're the best. Love you.
MICHAEL!!!! CONGRATS DUDE!!!! I know how you feel having to wait. It's terrible. YOU'RE SPEAKING SPANISH!!!! I'm sooo stoked. Get learning your Spanish my friend!! Don't worry too much though, cause most of that will just come with practice on the mission. So you report one day before your birthday just like I did. That's so crazy. I hope I manage to see you before I leave, but I guess we'll just have to see. That's so crazy. I'm so happy for you. I've been telling everyone that you'll be getting your mission call. I'm so happy!! I watched the video and the other missionaries who were here at the internet place with me watched it too. You're gonna be a way better missionary than me. You still reading Preach My Gospel? Congrats Mike! Love you!!!
Congratulations to Michael on his mission call!!!! That's so awesome. I was so excited when I heard you were going Spanish speaking!! I'll have to start writing to you in Spanish here soon, but I'm just worried that you won't understand my Spanish seeing as Chilean Spanish is crazy haha. I remember that crazy feeling of waiting to get the call and having it in my hands. I made sure everyone knew I had it, and if I remember rightly I think I was throwing stuff around my apartment I was so excited. That's cool that so many people from Calgary got to be there too. There was hardly anyone I knew from back home when I was at BYU. You lucked out. CONGRATS!
This week was pretty crazy. It was Elder Cardinal's last week so it was pretty full of FHEs and stuff of him saying goodbye to all his converts. It was pretty busy. It was a lot of fun though.
Mercedes is doing great, but Isabela not so much. Isabela backed out a little bit at the beginning of the week, saying she was unsure about her baptism, but that she wanted to keep going to church and sharing with us. Anyway, the next time we went by she had to leave, and the next time, she was sick. She also apparently didn't feel like coming to church on Sunday. Mercedes came to church though and loved it. She came with her grandma María that she lives with too, who's really old. Mercedes is really seeing a huge change in her life and loves the gospel. We've been going by with members and it's been really cool. She's so excited to get baptized.
On Friday we had a mini MTC in our branch which was really cool. 5 of the youth of the branch showed up, and we 4 went on divisions with them and they got to be missionaries for a day. We taught classes (mine was about the Book of Mormon), planned, studied, and worked with them. It was really cool. I had a blast. Something I noticed that is a common trend among investigators and members alike, is that often they read the Book of Mormon, pray, and go to church, and feel like it's the right thing to do and get a testimony, but don't actually kneel down and ask God specifically if the Book of Mormon is true. I asked the youth if they had, and most hadn't. Also, reflecting on my pre-mission experience, for a lot of my youth-years (saying that makes me feel so old), I hadn't actually specifically asked either. I still had a testimony from the spiritual experiences I'd lived, but here I've discovered that simply asking God if it's true is powerful. He's answered my prayers and I've seen it happen many times with investigators too. It's so cool. I think that's something the youth need more - an invitation to read and ask God about the Book of Mormon, and someone to verify with them how their experience was and to make sure they follow through with their commitment.
The zone underwent some changes today. Elder Cardinal obviously left to go back home. It was weird working with a dying missionary. It made me reflect a lot about my own mission. Elder Arana, a Bolivian who was my old Zone Leader when I was back in Coelemu, is coming to be my companion. Elder Nielson is leaving, and someone named Elder White is coming to be Elder Silva's comp and is gonna live in the same house as me. Elder Conti from Longaví is leaving, and someone named Elder Broadhead is coming to replace him.
I'm excited for the cambios, but I'm a little worried for next month. A lot of the missionaries have struggled to see progress in their sectors. I need to do a better job of guiding them and helping them. I'm feeling a little stressed with everything that's been going on. This week we have leadership council in Chillán, and the crazy thing is that the whole Area Presidency is gonna be their on camera participating during the whole thing. I'm nervous but really excited.
Anyway, I've come to learn how truly important the gospel is. Sometimes when everything's good we feel invincible or untouchable, but there are times when those "shafts in the whirlwind" seem to hit us right where it does the most damage. Sometimes our experiences or the experiences of others can really affect us. In those moments the gospel is critical. I think of the tough, stressful moments I've had in my mission (I know it's nothing compared to others) and during my life, and I am so grateful for the gospel that gives a firm, steady foundation. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be able to stay strong. It's in those moments that the deepest gospel knowledge I have comes into play. Being dilligent and faithful in spite of everything and staying true to the Lord is the only answer. We can't afford to let anything knock us off the rock. I'm so grateful for the gospel. The things I learned and knew earlier in my life are becoming part of who I am. I wish I was more like Christ, but as long as we put in a full effort and we repent of our mistakes, the atonement can change our nature and forgive our sins.
I know this is true. I know that Jesus Christ lives and is our Saviour. I know that this is His chruch. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet and that The Book of Mormon is true. This is the truth.
Thanks for all your prayers and support, and once again, CONGRATS MICHAEL!
I love you all,