Family!! Thanks for writing!
Dad! How was your birthday?? You're getting old!! It really is great participating in the work of the Lord. It's cool to read the scriptures about the restoration and how the gospel will be preached to all the world. I've been studying in first and second Nephi and it's so exciting to read it and to realize that we're participating in that. That's awesome that the Nelsons all went to church. Sounds like you had quite the party for your birthday! I wanna read that book you got. Who's Bob Seger? That would be fun to go to Moroni's Quest. What are you gonna do there? Have they given you any assignments or anything? Who are your counselors? You went running? Nicely done!! Haha sounds like it was pretty cold though. Did you get an asthma attack? That would be sweet if Charly worked as a hostess. Send my congrats to Jason! I'm gonna take time to look at classes today and see what I can do.
Mum! I do know Elder Ellsworth! He's awesome. I haven't been in the same zone as him or anything but I always see him in leadership counsels and in conferences in stuff. He's really cool. The world is so small. The minicambio was pretty sweet. I get along well with the assistants. Patricia isn't doing so great... we still haven't taught her. Sounds like you had a blast skiing this week. How can they afford to run it so cheap??? That's cool what you said about doing service. I'm starting to value that more now. I wish I would have used more of my free time to do service before the mission. It's more productive and still fun. I'm glad you're enjoying your calling. I bet it's a great experience. I like that subject too, the enabling power of the Atonement. I've learned a lot about that during my mission. Thanks for your opinion about me not extending my mission. I'll take it into account and pray about it, but I'm still kind of wanting to stay. It's still not confirmed or anything though so don't worry yet. Love ya Mum!
Michael! Sounds like you were really busy! Do you have a lot of tests and homework and stuff? How are things doing at BYU? How goes your Preach My Gospel study going? How about your Spanish classes? Are you practicing? Love you Mike!
Charly! You got a camera?? How was it? You're doing stake youth choir? How's that? What's Oz? Why are you so excited to date?? Who do you have in mind Charly? Love ya!
Jake! Nice job for making the badminton team!! Sounds like you're pretty good at that. How fast does your longboard get going near Wilma Hansen? I've never gone long boarding but it looks pretty fun. That's sweet. Good job for reading your scriptures. Are you excited for Moroni's Quest?? Sounds like it's gonna be really fun. Of course I'm reading my scriptures. Love ya Jake!
This week was sweet. Paola and Cristian got baptized!! It was such a cool experience. They got married on Wednesday.It was so great to see as the whole family are now all members of the church. I'm so happy for them. They were so happy in their baptism. We had Branch Conference on Sunday so the branch didn't want to use time confirming them during sacrament meeting, so we had to confirm them during the baptismal service. Fortunately, they got presented during the sacrament meeting, and they, along with Stanka and Rodrigo, stayed and participated in all the classes. It was great, cause normally they have to leave after the second hour.
Branch Conference was great. We went with some young men to go bring investigators to church to start off, and then we got there and it was great to see how many converts were there in sacrament meeting. Retention is great here. I felt so happy to see how the branch was growing. The branch had a goal of 201 people in church for the branch conference. Last week we had 128, and this week there were 202. It was so great. I felt the Spirit really strongly and felt like Linares was growing. There are so many great convert families in the branch, and I've been able to see as these new converts have become integrated into the church and have become more converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is so awesome. Also, in the classes afterwards, Cristian made some great comments. He said in the combined Priesthood-Relief Society class that he was grateful for the decision that his children took to get baptized, cause thanks to them he was now a member of the church. I see him and Rodrigo as great future leaders in the church.
On Friday night we had a branch activity which went really well. We had a karaoke and dance night. Some singer from Longaví, a town closeby with a little branch, sang at the activity, and there was Karaoke. The members pressured my comp into singing a song sang by a Bolivian. It was hilarious. Everyone always bugs him too, cause Bolivia and Chile have kind of a bad relationship. He's from the other side of Bolivia that doesn't have problems with Chile, but Bolivia supposedly is always mad at Chile. Years ago Peru and Bolivia attacked Chile, but Chile won, and took some land from both of them. Bolivia then got left without any access to the ocean, and they've had conflicts ever since about it. Everyone always bugs Elder Arana. It's hilarious. The good thing is that he doesn't mind.
That family we found last Saturday was doing great. The mother, Judith, was doing especially great. On Thursday she accepted really easily the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity and was really happy! Then we went by on Saurday, and she didn't want to come out of her house cause she was busy. Then she didn't come to church tomorrow. It's so frustrating when that happens. Someone can be doing great, but suddenly they die off. I'm trying to figure out why that is. I think a lot of time people say negative things to them and stick stuff in their heads
This Saturday afternoon, we found another family that went to church. They are receptive and went to church on Sunday! It's a single mother with 3 kids, 2 of which (Manuel-16, and Bárbara-14) accepted baptismal dates and went to church. They had a good experience it seems like, but I don't think Manuel was a huge fan. We'll have to help him progress. Also, a member named Alfredo is being a beast of a missionary. He's a branch missionary and is talking to tons of people on the streets and giving us tons of references. Most of them are people with pretty big problems like schizofrenia or other serious health problems. He has pretty bad epilepsy so can't work. Instead he just does missionary work. His friend Ulises, who has schizofrenia, went to church this weekend and loved it. Now we're helping him quit smoking. Alfredo was talking to him about how God loves everyone and doesn't make exceptions of anyone. It was awesome.
By the way, I think I forgot to tell you about the Mercedes's and María's baptism. It was done right after a branch activity. We left the font filling during the activity, and it overflowed a little bit. It was funny, but in the end everything worked out. They're doing great by the way.
I love being here!! I love you all. I know this is true. Keep on being the best family ever!