Family! I can't believe how trunky you're all getting. Hahaha I think the families must always get trunkier than the missionaries themselves.
Dad! Sorry you had to go back home to work and stuff. That must be a real drag. How's work going right now? How many Jamaicans did you hire and when?? That would be pretty sweet with that online language training thing. I would love to teach people Spanish. The cool thing is that I signed up for a BYU Spanish class, and afterwards I can take a test. If I pass the test, apparently I get an A for 16 credits which would be a big boost for my GPA. That's more than a semester of straight A's. Big win there. With the language, it was a little different for me than I imagine it will be for Michael, cause here I'm kind of surrounded by Spanish whereas I bet there'll be a bunch of English where he's at. It took about two weeks before I felt like I could at least mostly understand the people and get by a little bit, but it took probably about 3 months-ish before I started to feel really comfortable. The baptismal date and ordination stuff is basically so I can help out in updating the records on MLS down here, although, there's not much point with me setting all that up now. My comp could just do it instead. Love you Dad! How did you know about the 4th missionary thing??
Mum! Thanks for dealing with all that work stuff. It was pretty funny. Sister Kimball from the mission office called me and told me you had called. I thought, oh my gosh Mum's losing her patience. She's getting WAY too trunky. hahaha. Anyway sounds like everything will go well anyway. Hopefully there aren't any problems with the payment stuff. It was kind of an eye opener to the real world having to deal with all that stuff, but I still try to just focus on what I'm doing right now. It is pretty hilarious to think that I'm gonna be teaching American Heritage to a bunch of American citizens. That will be a blast. I'm worried about my ability to grade their papers considering my English is terrible right now. Who knows, I might even teach one of my missionary comps or something. It's easy to lose focus if I let myself but if I keep my mind in the work everything's fine. I feel like a normal missionary and I've still got a lot of work to do so everything's good there. That's hilarious about Charly and Jake talking about EFY haha they seem too young for that kind of stuff, at least the Charly and Jake I remember. I feel old just hearing that. That surfing sounds awesome. I'm stoked to try it. I heard about it before but never had the chance to do it. That's too bad about the bees and stuff. We'll have to see what to do to fix it. That's a cool experience with that repair guy. Nice job being a missionary! A lot of people have the same kind of thoughts he does about losing trust in church organizations cause of all the stuff that's happened recently.
Elder Blomfield dos! Te escribo aparte.
Charly! I bet your stoked for EFY, but if I hear about anything with any boy or anything, I'll be home soon to kill him, and to chain your door shut, so watch yourself. I'm sure you'll have a blast though, but if I find out about any COW business there will be problems. Anyway, have fun! Get the most out of it you can. Love you Char!
Jake! EFY is gonna rock. I hope you have a blast. You'll have to tell me all about it and about all the girls you meet and stuff. I agree with what Mike said. For Char, COWs are off limits, but you can go for it if you want. Just make sure you behave yourself or I'll destroy you. Why the heck don't you try surfing??? That sounds like SO much fun! We're gonna go surfing when I'm there whether you like it or not anyway. Love you Jake!
Kenna! Thank you so much for writing me. Sounds like you love the cabin. You're so trunky! Love you Kenna!
This week was pretty awesome, especially in church. Stephanie is progressing really well. She's unsure about her date for this weekend to get baptized, cause she's still got some more changes to make with some of the commandments and stuff, but she's set on doing it at some point. I just hope it's while I'm here! She's progressing tons though. She said she now feels the Book of Mormon is true and everything. That's awesome cause she was kind of iffy about that last week. She said she's just felt little by little that it's true. It's awesome. Anyway, she met a bunch more members this week. On Saturday we had a big fried fish lunch to raise money for a member who's got some serious and expensive health problems (so much that he has to pay like 2000 dollars a week for the treatment supposedly - that's more than 5 times as much a regular Chilean here makes every month). Stephanie came to that and met a bunch of members. On Sunday, everyone basically attacked her and made her feel really welcome. This ward rocks!
We also found this old investigator named Piero that the missionaries taught a ways back. He took a baptismal date right away and came to church on Sunday. It was awesome. He also loved church, cause everyone made him feel so welcome. When he left he told us how cool he thought everyone was and how the single adults invited him to an activity next week and everything. It was so cool, cause we had our PEC meeting with the leadership on Sunday Morning, and right away they went to work and fellowshipping the investigators we brought. I've never been in such a pro-active ward. It makes our job so much easier, cause now Piero's always gonna look forward to coming to church, and it isn't just gonna be a spiritual thing for him, but also a social thing.
We had leadership counsel this week and it was incredible. I learned TONS. In the mission before, the whole focus was just on baptizing, but based on what we learned in that huge broadcast, for the Lord there isn't any line dividing convert baptisms and less active reactivation and stuff. Now our mission's going to be applying that WAY more. President Arrington has the vision of establishing the church and seeing real growth. I just hope the expectations of working with investigators don't drop. What I basically learned is that missionary work is pointless if there's no retention, and the retention efforts of the mission are pretty low. It's something we've always known, but it's never been really made a focus in the mission. Now that it's gonna be more of an expectation from President, our work in that is gonna be way better. We've now got some pretty awesome standards of re-teaching all the lessons after baptism within a month, and teaching the lessons to returning less-actives as well. Ife we keep up with this kind of work, Chile is gonna get so strengthened. I can't wait. I felt the Spirit a lot, and I gotta say I'm jealous of the new missionaries in the mission. The mission has progressed so much in the last two years I've been here. I look back at the things we did two years ago and as a mission we have progressed a TON. Everything is so much more effective and the leadership in the mission has improved a lot too.
Anyway, I read this awesome talk called the 4th missionary. That's why I asked how you knew about that Dad. It's awesome. I've read it before, but it basically talks about how the highest class of missionary is he that is consecrated to the Lord. Some missionaries are right out disobedient, while as some are obedient but almost against their own will. They serve a mission and have the Spirit and see the blessings in the lives of others, but don't benefit completely personally from their missions because they don't give their hearts and minds to the Lord. The put their own desires on hold and sacrifice their wants to do the Lord's, but inside have a constant battle about it and have a "bite-the-bullet" approach to their service. The best missionaries don't fight against the Lord, and even though they have weaknesses and trials and discouragement like the rest, they don't fight against the Lord. Their deepest desire is to do the will of the Lord and they don't see serving Him as having to count the cost or give something up. Rather they see it as the only intelligent thing to do since obviously He knows better than we do. I'll have to show you the talk when I get back, cause it really gave me a whole new perspective on life.
Anyway, I'm just trying to stay focused and work hard these last couple weeks. It's weird knowing that my time as a full-time missionary is coming to an end, but I've still got time left here, and a lifetime left of service wherever I go later in life. I love you all a ton! Keep praying for me. I'll keep praying for you. Keep sharing the gospel!
¡Les amo mucho!