Monday, December 29, 2008
Hello family members! I hope ya'll had a holly jolly christmas. My week was just fine. I had the gran oportun to talk to some of you kiddies, and some of your kiddies. It was a pretty fun little boost, thanks a bundle. I giggled for hours about Mike's Terribly Awesome Gringo Accent.
Life's good here, doing fine, and I'm working hard. I failed to receive a letter this week, but luckily I had one left over from the previous of which I got to read. Oh well, who am I to complain, we had a phone call! Well, be good peoples, study hard, read your scriptures, guard each other against apostasy, and we'll see each other when I feel like it o.O
Monday, December 22, 2008
Hey family! So, 'bout that letter last week... I was kinda in a hissy fitty mood for no particular reason and didn't feel like writing too much. Had a lot of stuff going on that week. Been real busy with stuffs this whole month.
This week we had some really spiffy things go down. First, we had Zone Conference Thursday, up in La Serena, again. Pres. Wilhelm gave us all a shirt of the mission. It's pretty awesome. Second, we had our Christmas activities on Friday, which included: Singing/Caroling for Orphans and abandoned children. It was pretty awesome. We had a very eccentric Peruvian named Elder Landa give a child-friendly presentation. He's pretty much the spitting image of an elf. Then we had the District President dress up like Santa, or el Viajito Pascuero, as they call him here. All the children have to sing a song to get a present, that goes like this, "Viajito Pascuero, acuérdate de mí. Me porto bien en casa, también en el jardin. Wii!" And that's it. Over and over again. Fun fun. Second holiday flavored activity, we all went down to Ovalle Centro, and had some fun public preaching. We all put on santa hats and sang our carols, and in between each carol a Spiritual Thought. We had six elders running in and around the crowds passing out cards, pamphlets, and invitations to church. The district helped out too. We had microphones, piano, and saxophone. All in all, it was a huge success, and I even learned how to sing harmony. After all that, we had District Conference, and President Wilhelm, La Hermana, and a 70 came. I think his name was Elder Rubio, or something to that effect. He's from Santiago, Chile. Goodness gracious. Well, that's a brief outline of what the week was like, in minor detail.
So, about this Christmas. I'll be calling the mother in about 20 minutes, or whenever I can find a place to do an international call, to coordinate the call and everything. But just so y'all know, I can only talk for 5 minutes to the Mother the first time, and 30 minutes on christmas day. They gave us the instructions to talk for only 20 minutes, but we can talk for 30 if we keep our talkings about the Mission Work. Well, that should be it. Be good kids, stay safe, and have your pets spayed, or neutered.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
It's pretty awesome how the Lord keeps you on your toes. This week was another one of those slow weeks, with hardly any doors opening, and no one letting us in their house. Contacts (When we knock doors) really seems to not be my style, or at least, not effective when I seem to do them. But the Lord blesses us for our obedience and diligence. This week we recently got in contact with a man who was in the "Antiguo Investigador" sector of the Area Book. Alex has had every lesson taught to him, several times. He knows the doctrine inside and out. However, because of several events that occurred throughout his life, he has not been able to become baptized. Let me point out some of the impressive sequence of events:
Alex got married 15 years ago to a woman name Gloria.
They got divorced after 12 years of marriage because he quit his Job.
Alex quit his job as a Lawyer because he saw that the system was terribly corrupt. He decided to sacrifice a job that payed very, very well for his morals.
Alex finds a job working for a mining company, but he decided to quit because his employers were asking him to exploit the other workers.
Alex gets back together with Gloria (3 years ago).
Alex comes in contact with the missionaries (1 year ago) and accepts the Church, but couldn't get baptized because he's not legally married with his ex-wife.
Alex finds a job that sends him away from his house for 14 days at a time and gives him 2 days of rest at his house. (6 months ago)
Very interesting story. It would appear to me that because of his morals and good decisions in life, he was prepared to receive the Restored Gospel, however, Satan decided to throw a monkey wrench in the middle of everything and make his wife into a girlfriend. But Alex is an extremely faithful man. After talking with him a little bit, we decided to put the goal of being married before April of 2009. He accepted the date, and decided to make whatever change in his life to be baptized in April. I was highly impressed. Seems to me that most people I know and meet once they meet an obstacle they immediately give up, abandoning all. It's nice to meet a fighter.
All in all, I'm feeling pretty good about working these days. Thanks for the prayers and all that, I'm feeling light hearted and carefree. Except that last part. There's souls to save out there!
Monday, December 1, 2008
Hello friends and family! Elder Horspool reporting in, once again in Ovalle (Norte). Changes have come in, and the verdict is: Elder Horspool se queda. Elder Page, se va al Belloto 2. And there we have it. The new comp is another Gringo (¿sort of?). He's from Canada! Yeah, alright! He goes by the name of Elder Gulbranson, from Vanderhoof, British Columbia, Canada. He's a pretty down to earth kid. Pretty innocent and pure. It's gonna be fun working with him.
So this week, I was scared. Real scared. I've never felt so terrorfied in my life. I felt as if I could just curl up in a little ball and die. I wasn't sleeping, I was eating, don't worry, but my mind was a wreck. For about 2 or 3 days, I felt that I wasn't prepared to be a missionary, wasn't ready for what lies ahead in life, and that I should just give up. It was weird, came out of nowhere, and was pretty stinking powerful. I still worked, found new people, and taught and did all that missionary jazz, but I felt that there was something on my shoulder, breathing death down my neck. (/shudders). Just in this moment of great despair and alarm, I remembered some things that had been read to the ward by Elder Page some days before. They are all found in Doctrine and Covenants:
27 Thou shalt be diligent in preserving what thou hast, that thou mayest be a wise steward; for it is the free gift of the Lord thy God, and thou art his steward.
28 If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
29 If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful.
30 Fear not thine enemies, for they are in mine hands and I will do my pleasure with them.
31 My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom.
32 Let him that is ignorant learn wisdom by humbling himself and calling upon the Lord his God, that his eyes may be opened that he may see, and his ears opened that he may hear;
And DyC 6:32-37
32 Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as a touching bone thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them—even so am I in the midst of you.
33 Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.
34 Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
35 Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.
36 took unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.
37 behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen.
Bah, there's nothing to fear! Just being tested. All I gotta do is be faithful, know that God is in control, and stay the course. I'll be just fine folks. Actually we were pretty blessed this week, a story that will have to wait for another day, another time, as it's ridiculously long and detailed, and with Victory for righteousness in it's name!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
So it's change time again. It comes so fast. It's been a pretty nutty six weeks. Let's recap some of the fun stuff.
- Remy and I called to serve together again
- Remy and I have emergency changes.
- Page and I duke it out with the Elders Quorum.
- Page and I have a cancún getaway.
Oh wait...shoot, Nevermind.
This week was a little uncanny. We did a lot of work that will launch the next change into a fun blast for the next Elders. A lot of programs, future baptisms, and a ton of support from the Branch. Our short term goal in a sector is to leave it in better condition then when we left it. I feel we accomplished that goal. It's pretty amazing to see the Lord work. I'm very thankful that I can be a medium through which the Spirit works. We found someone amazing this week! Rather, someone found us... She's what missionaries call, "Golden." There's just one minor detail. She's 10. She sang in a primary activity last week, and she felt "something incredible" inside the church. She came up to us and said, "Hi, I'm Camila. I used to be (Name of Church Omitted) but now I want to be Mormon. Can I join your church?" Wow, why can't call investigators be like her. She reads all the homework we give her (Twice, just to make sure she remembers it). She's already having spiritual experiences (She said that for as long as she's remembered, she's been Reciting to try and find her dad, whom she hasn't seen in years. She said that when she started to Pray, using the steps that were set forth by Jesus, she said that her prayer was fulfilled immediatly, and her dad called her.). She's being an example and influencing all the other investigators. She showed up to church 10 minutes early, to make sure she got a good spot. Elder Page and I were highly amazed.
Well that should just about do it for me. Thanks for all the prayers, support, and letters. Keep up the good work family. I'll keep doing what I do, and y'all keep bringing up a family in righteousness.
With lots of loves,
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The last couple of weeks we haven't had any success finding new people. On top of that, we're about to drop some of the few investigators we have because they're not progressing, not going to church, and not completing with their promises. Hugo, the atheist investigator, is becoming more and more distant, and doesn't want to do anything anymore unless his ear is pulled. Not the kind of leader the church needs right now in Ovalle Norte.
We were starting to get kind of down. Elder Page was kind of freaking out to find himself in a, "Dead Sector." This last Thursday, during our weekly planning session, we were brainstorming on how we can find new investigators. Suddenly Page opened up his scriptures and read out of Ether 3, and the Brother of Jared. He remembered how the Brother of Jared had prepared a plan, and all his tools for the Lord to use and make his miracles happen. It then clicked that, yes, we have all the tools to make things happen, all we had to do was present them to the Lord and work to have a miracle come to pass. So that's what we did. Now, I'm sure I've mentioned the Suplica to you all before, but here's a brief rundown on what goes down everyday before we leave the pention. We kneel down and pray, and report our plan to the Lord before heading out (it's about a 15 minute prayer). So, during the Suplica (it was Elder Page's turn to Suplicate), he told the Lord exactly what we were doing, and expressed out desires (for the Lord works according to our desires). We were going to knock the street Las Terecianas, with Gonzalo, a member, and we wanted to enter into a house and teach someone.
It's exactly what happened. The first house we knocked on, a woman let us in. Let me explain a little more:
We can't go into a house if there's no man inside, unless we bring a member with us. Normally we do not do contacts with members, for it's kind of boring. This day, Gonzalo (who put in his mission papers recently) came to accompany us all day. We taught a very powerful First Lesson, and came back four hours later to teach some more. She had already read and prayed. A miracle, if ever I've seen one.
Next day, it was my turn to pray. I did the same thing (except we didn't have Gonzalo with us). The first street we knocked on, the last house, out came a 15 year old kid. He received a very powerful answer, after the lesson, that everything was true. Quite an interesting story, sometime that, I'll be sure to tell ya'll sometime.
Next day pretty much followed the suit of the first Thursday. We prayed, entered into the first house we knocked on, and taught a quick, awesome lesson.
Pretty awesome, eh? My lesson learned, when we really pour out our desires to the Lord, he answers. We have to prepare the plan, the tools, and express our desires to Him. And if we ask, believing that we will receive, it will happen. I know that God lives, I know that he hears our prayers, I know that if we do all that we can in this world, God will take care of the rest and all will end up well.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Well now, this has been a series of strange events, for good, I hope. First off, I send my condolences to Jason and his recently passed away Mother. I hope she passed away in peace. Que descanse. However, Many a congratulations on your newborn child, though I'm sad you couldn't hold it for 3 more hours (Hah, I kid). Your child is very beautiful, and I can't wait to meet the lil' stinker. Good job on the whole Prop. 8 thing, my comp recieved notice from his family that they're feeling the effects of it all the way in Utah, already. I find it highly hipocritical by every sense of the word that they're doing harm to the Church. How can a bunch of people who where principally promoting more "Peace" and "Understanding" be so hateful and ignorant? But that's for ya'll to worry about.
Last Monday, after district class, Elder Remy and I were talking, getting ready to leave, passing off references for some other Elders to teach when the Zone Leaders approached us and told us that they wanted to talk to us four (Elder Remy, Elder Horspool, Elder Page, and Elder Halverson) real quick. The aterior week we had had interviews with President Wilhelm, and after said interviews, he sat alone in the Bishops office for a few hours. When he came out, he told the Zone Leaders that Elder Remy was needed elsewhere, in fact, one Branch over, in the Branch of Canihuantes, and that Elder Page needed to be with me here in Ovalle Norte. Emergency Changes. It was real sudden; it hit us very hard. For two months I had been with Elder Remy, and I was starting to warm up to the guy. It's very strange how you never realize how much you rely on and become attached to something until how it's gone. For two months I had been worrying about how I could help out Elder Remy, how I could lift him up to be the kind of Leader the Lord needs. Now, he's gone. It felt like I had been punched in the stomach very hard. Normally they don't do Emergency Changes unless there's something bad going on, but in our case there was no problem, no contention. In fact, most people complemented us on how well they felt the Spirit of Unity between us two. But the Lord has something up his sleeve, I can feel it. This last week with Elder Page has been a blast as well. We get along like peas and carrots, and I'm learning a ton about everything. But, it just feels kind of strange, odd. What an awesome and strange experience the mission is. I've never been so close to a group of men, a band of brothers, before in my life. All working for one the greatest causes that we can do in this world, Bringing to pass the salvation of souls. I know this is the Lords Work, and that His hand is in everything. I love you all, Be safe, Be Healthy, and Be Firm in the Faith.
PS - I believe there's a picture of Elder Page on an earlier post, when we had mission conference a while back. It would be with Elder Kohler. You'll notice that he's a gringo with Tongan background (From the town of Roosevelt, in the Uintah Basin). Everyone thinks he's Barak Obama. Quite hilariously stupid.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Wow, after just three weeks we have another mission conference, but there was a special reason for it... Elder Amado of the Quorum of the 70 decided to pay a visit to the Mission Chile, Viña Del Mar. It was amazing! I feel so enlightened about the mission now. We pretty much learned about how to be successful on the mission and how to help everyone.
Elder Remy and I decided to put some of that revelation to work. I forget if I've mentioned him before, but we have an investigator who calls himself, "Atheist." It's kind of ridiculous really. He prays a ton and reads without a problem (when the bum remembers to.). In short, he exercises faith. Elder Amado said, if someone does not accept a baptismal date, help them to understand repentance. If they don't understand repentance, help them to understand faith. If they don't have faith, help them to have desires to know. Hugo, the self proclaimed Atheist, is exercising faith, and is praying to a being that he doesn't believe in. My comp and I are stomped in this logic, but whatever. He prays to know, and has come to church a few times, and reads. I'm assuming he faults some sort of "Trail of Faith" as is described in Ether 12:6. I don't know how many of you read it, but there was an article about a protestant student at BYU who had to take a leap of faith in his investigating efforts, and for him it was the determination to accept a baptismal date. As of now, that's pretty much all Hugo lacks. But here's the thing: Do any of y'all have any experience with talking with atheists? What were their experiences in their conversion? How did they come to have a belief in God?
Well, that should just about do it for this week. Thanks for all your support. Love ya lots, be safe, fight the good fight, keep the faith, congrats on your new kid Hea-doo.
Con mucho amor,
Bafroom - This is our current project in the house. Right now, the paint in the bathroom is falling off wherever it is slightly touched. I like to draw while I'm taking a shower.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Cultural Note - Chileans are very well known for their bread. They are the worlds second largest consumers of bread, next to France. I try to eat it as sparangly(spelling?) as possible, which usually consists of two-three full pieces a day. Most missionaries go home about 20 pounds heavier because they eat the delicious substance all day every day (it's real cheap and filling). On that note, we had the fun priveledge of helping out our Ward Mission Leader in moving and piecing together an industrial sized Oven, as he is a Baker. We had some good times. We got to tear apart a building, to fit a forklift through a small entrance. But that's not what I'm here to do, scallywags.
Working has had its ups and downs this week. To start with a good one, we're starting to see fruits from the "Lunch Activity" that we do every day at lunch. I'm not sure if I've explained it before, but shoot, let's do it again. The Lunch activity consists of us teaching a gospel principle during lunch, to keep the tone of the conversation doctrinal. From there, we invite the member to leave with us to go and invite one of their nieghbors to a "Family Activity" (Not a "Family Home Evening") there in their home. Anywho, this activity, whereas was not completing with it's promises of new investigatores and references, is now beginning to produce that which is most desireable to a missionary, which is investigatores who are genuinly(spelling?) interested and have fellowship withen the church. ****INVITATION!**** You should have the missionaries over at your house with the intent of helping them find new investigators. Nay, the purpose of having the missionaries over for a meal is not to impart food, for they can cook and buy food for themselves, but rather to establish trust between the members and the missionary work, and to give them people to teach. I'm sure the style of missionary work is different in the States, so ya'll should talk to your local Elders and ask 'em how you can have them talk to your neighbors and friends.
As for something sad, Génesis is kind of out of the picture... Poor guy. Some day he'll have the desires to help himself, but until that day, there's not much we can do for him. Well family, that should just about do it. Take care of yourselves, especially ya'll who are about to have babies. I got a feeling I might be sharing a birthday with a small asian boy. Take care!
Viva Mexico - Our branch got to represent Mexico in the activity. They didn't do too bad a job with the costumes!
La Rama - On the left we have Hmo. Gonzales, the Elders Quroum President, then Alejandra and President Barraza, the branch president, then Hma. Sandra from the Primary and her lil' helper whose name escapes me.
These two pictures are how the chileans interpreted the mexican Tortilla. More like funny tasting bread... They then tried to do Burritos and Tacos using Pancakes in place of the Taco shell. Also very hilarious, and tasty!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
So Changes are here, and I'm not sure what's going to be going down. I'm sure I'll get a new companion, as he's been in this sector for about 6 months. But who knows... I know some Elders who've been in one place for 9.
But enough about that! This week was sweet! We had interviews and Zone Conference (with 3 zones), and I got to see tons of old friends and learn lots of new things. We did a pretty slick practice of teaching people about the Book of Mormon in under 3 minutes, and at the end, President Wilhelm (The Mission President) called on three companionships to teach the APs and Him (2 on 1 - the companionship and 1 of those three) and he called on Elder Remy and me. We had the pleasure of teaching an AP in front of the zones, and what was pretty neat, I didn't feel too nervous. The AP was playing the part of an Investigator who had the attention span of a chipmunk, and believed everything we said right away. We had to dig out a hidden doubt or something like that, and teach the Book of Mormon (in 3 minutes, as previously stated... we were timed). We had to kind of verbally slap the kid to pay attention, and tell him to pray to know specifically if the book is true.
As for working, there's a lot of madness going on, which I won't get in to 100% until more details unfold, but I'll give you the start of it. Last week, between the morning and afternoon sessions of conference, a kid came to the gates of the church barely able to walk due to alcohol consumption. He introduced himself as Genesis (and showed us his ID card to prove it was his name. He's 21 years old), and told us that he wanted to stop drinking. We told him that we'd come over Tuesday, which we did. He was a completely different person Sober, completely aware of his addiction, told us that he wants to stop drinking. We taught a little bit about the restoration, and all about the Word of Wisdom. He promised to stop drinking. We then passed by every day for about 5 minutes to talk to him to see how he's doing. However, come the weekend, we could not come into contact with him, so we left some notes of encouragement. He had a bit of a relapse on Sunday, it turned out, with details that I won't go into for they are rather personal on his part, but we promised him that we would do everything to help him get over his weakness. We had a sincere prayer with him and his uncle, and we're going to develop a stronger plan to help him overcome.
Well, that should just about do it. If anyone has any sort of experience on helping others overcome alcoholism, I'd love to hear it, for I'm just kind of running on what Preach my Gospel tells me (which is not that bad, by the way). So far we've identified some of the sources of his inspiration to drink, but as to how to approach the matter or what routes to take I'm not 100%.
Any and all help will be greatly appreciated, thank you.
Aiight here we go:
Homies form the MTC - Pretty self explanatory. That's all of us that came to the mission from the MTC (Elder Ehlder is MIA somewhere down south). From left to right that's Elder Daniels, Elder Horspool, Elder Christiansen, and Elder Campbell.
Kohler and I - Kohler goes home this Wednesday. Go get em Tiger!
Us 3 - That's Elder Kohler, Elder Page, and Me. Page is in my zone, and a pretty awesome Elder.
Hard at Work - Personal Study at the pension! A Kodak moment if ever there was one. We love you, Elder Remy!
Friday, October 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Juan Carlos, Luisa, Ana, and Yarky are a part member inactive family. Juan is the only member, and the rest have never been to church. We met the wife, Luisa first. She let us into her patio right away, and we started talking about the Restoration. All of a sudden, a man came out of nowhere and started listening, with a stern look on his face. His skepticism turned into joy when we found out that we were "Mormons" and we set up an appointment for the next day. He told us that he was baptized when he was 14 in a river in Los Andes (A city in the Santiago North Mission), and hadn't been to church in over 30 years, but never lost his testimony. He got into a car accident recently (he used to drive trucks for a living) and is out of work. His humbled situation put him in Ovalle, and prepared him and his family to receive us. We found them on a Friday, taught them Saturday, and they went to church the following day. Rather amazing really.
Two more people have joined the party. Actually, two more investigatores, it's a family that's trying to reactivate themselves. Giselle is a 15 year old girl who has a 7 month old daughter who bears the same name. She said that she's ready to make any changes in her life to join the church. Pretty stinkin Listo. Her little sister Angie decided to listen too, and after teaching them both, they loved it! Their brother, a less active member, is helping them get acquainted (spelling?) with the church. The mother (also inactive) is neither here nor there with us at the moment, but is allowing us to teach them. I'm pretty stoked to have some people who are ready and prepared to join the church. October is going to be a blast, folks!
So, I kind of attempted to cut my own hair using a beard trimmer I received from the mother. It didn't work out nearly as well as hoped. I had to have my comp come help me and make it so I could walk outside far enough to get to a barber shop. I'm afraid it might be too short now. But it was dang hilarious.
A sweet picture of Ovalle from a different angle.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Chat the Chirimoya? - This is a Chirimoya. I don't know if any of the brothers ever had any of these on their mission, but they're pretty delicious. They're white on the inside with big brown seeds.
Alien Egg - A close up of the texture of the chirimoya. I'll get ya'll one of me eating it later, as I cut this one open right away and it wasn't ripe yet. I bought another one today, so we'll see how it turns out. I've had em before though, they're real real real real sugary. I dig the Chirimoya flavored Milk and Yogurt though.
Asada - This was my lunch on the 18th. ¡Cualquier Carne!
Go Diego! - This is Diego. He's a funny little kid. As they say around here, él pinta monos. As is to say, he paints monkeys. Duh. Hah, nah, it just means he likes attention.
Sat down to meat - This is what I REALLY ate. As you can see, I'm pretty sad. My comp was pretty happy though. Pap soda = delicious. They need more Papaya flavored Soda in the states.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
So this week in Ovalle slipped by rather silently. It's weird. At about 9:00 everything shuts down and dies. One night we were walking and suddenly I stopped, something seemed out of place... There was no noise. It was probably the first time I've heard absolute silence in Chile. It was odd. Regardless, life has been more or less the same. Not too much went down this week. Everyone's getting ready for this next week, which just so happens to be the biggest celebration in Chile, the 18th of September. It's the Chilean Independence Day. I'm expecting much Asado this week, or Chile fails me. I'll get some sweet pictures for y'all next week, and possibly a video of the National Dance, La Cueca. It's the funny little dance with cowboys and handkerchiefs. Well, take it easy, Congrats on the new young'n Tami. Shoot, He's gonna be 16 months old when I get back! Bah. But let's not worry about that.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
So changes are in, and I got moved! After only 6 weeks in Sindempart, Coquimbo, I'm now about an hour south in the city of:
My second day here, we decided to go visit someone who was just about ready for baptism. There's just one problem: He's 92 years old and has severe short term memory loss. His wife got baptized recently, and is a pretty solid convert. (before we go any further, on our way to their house, we had to pass by a pack of dogs, one of which managed to get my left leg =[. Luckily it did not break the skin, but my pants got ripped.) So after 3 days of teaching him, (Mañuel, he calls himself), it became evident that he was not having any sort of progression. This last Sunday was a fast Sunday. We decided to do a fast for his memory, which went pretty well, and here's why: Yesterday, when we went back to go teach him, we decided to do a test to see how long he could remember that he needed to be baptized. We waited 15 minutes, all the while talking about other random things from his childhood, which he remembers just fine. After the 15 minutes were up, we asked him if he was ready for his baptism. He got kind of angry that we hadn't talked to him about it before. My comp got kind of frustrated, as He had been hearing stuff like that from Mañuel for about 3 months now. He then asked me what he thought we should do. I said a silent prayer asking for guidance, and recieved a very distinct answer that told me that he did not need to be baptized at this time, for he did not meet the requirements for baptism as given in D&C 20:37. Well, we left, down one investigator, but it felt so good that we had listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Well, that about does it for the week. There's tons of work to be done out there and I need to go get a jump start on it. Chao pescao*
Here's some pics of the week (in Sindempart):
1 - The zone! We all got together for a last hurrah!
3 - La Familia Olea Diaz - A complete family of investigators! They have everything taught to em, just need to get their hiney(s) to church.
So this was a regular on the dinner table. It's called the Hazz (yeah, i know, in Spanish it sounds like a bad word, but it's not, OK!). Here's what you do:
1) Chop up some steak real thin, we use this kind of meat called Churrasco meat, it comes in a packet already chopped up, but it needs to be real thin, and about the size of a quarter.
2) Fry said steak in a frying pan (without oil). Feel free to add such seasonings as: salt, pepper, or lemon juice.
3) Chop up an Avocado (palta) like you'd make guacamole (also called palta), but only add salt to the smashed mixture.
4) Dice a tomato. If you're chilean, add olive oil to the diced up tomatos. Also skin them (if you're chilean). Personally I like em just diced.
5) Toast a Hotdog bun.
Aiight, here's the order of the stack: 1-Toasted Hotdogbun, 2 - tomatos, 3 - palta, 4 - Mayonayse, mustard, ketchup, and Hotsauce (Ají).
When eating, you shouldnt be able to bite through it all in one swoop. Normally Take a bite from the top, then a bite from the bottom.
*****Completos are the exact same thing, except you use Hotdogs instead of Steak.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Avast ye swabs, the sun sets on another change. It just goes by so fast doesn't it? Seems like yesterday I just waltzed in through the MTC doors... Well, nostalgia gets us nowhere!
This week was a little on the slow side, but that doesn't mean that it won't pick up speed! Just needs a little elbow grease I suppose... We learned a lesson in Diligence this week! As previously stated in the last letter, we're being a little more "Franke" in our lessons. Not to the extent of REPENT OR PERISH but, firm in the cause of inviting other to come unto Christ by helping them to receive the message of the restored Gospel through, faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. In other words, the entire purpose of missionary work (see Page 1 of Preach my Gospel). Well, back to the diligence story. A few weeks back we met a man who was raking his lawn, with three small childrens watching him in the window. Naturally we talked to him, and he made it known that he did not believe in any sort of organized religion, and did not really have interest. We talked to him a little about the apostasy, and why there's millions of churches in the world today. This piqued his interest, and we set an appointment for later that week (he's a mechanic that works 4 days in a different city up north, and 4 days of rest in his house). Well, he wasn't there. We passed by day after day after day after day, we talked to his wife, his neighbors, people walking by, trying to find this man. Well, we finally had a lesson with him this last week, and it was pretty awesome. He's highly focused in the family, and his kids seem to have a strong attachment to him (his 1 year old son refused to let him be put down, screamin' for Papá 'n' all). We taught the message of the Restoration, and his wife listened to the part about the First Vision. Turns out that his wife had gone to church many moons ago when she was but a lass, and had good impressions of the Church. We'll be teachin them, later! He goes by the name of Elias. But the moral of the story is: Don't give up! Even when things look like they might not go anywhere, don't give up on somebody! I suppose the trick is learning when to persevere, and when to leave behind those who refuse to repent. Well, Keep safe, be good, and Happy Labor day (it's my comps birthday! Happy 20th Birthday Elder Cole!)
Me and the kiddies at the Cross - There were some kids playing soccer nearby. Of course, the presence of 2 Gringos was called to their attention and they halted their game to look at us. I used this to my advantage, and in their dazed state had them come over and take some pictures with me. The cross is about 50 yards back, and about 20 feet higher up.
Monday, August 25, 2008
So this week, because of a lack of people showing up to church and not progressing, my companion and I decided that we were going to stop trying to be the "Nice Missionaries" and get some stuff done. No asking nicely, no tolerance for noncompliance to promises made, no indirect questions, no fear! We went direct, and cut right into the heart of matters with some of our investigators. Here's 3 reasons why:
1) Separate the Wheat from the Tares.
2) Speaking openly and directly is what Jesus and the Prophets did.
3) When in the MTC, Richard G. Hinkley gave a fireside, and did a little Q and A session. One of the questions was, "How I can I be an effective missionary?" to which he replied, "Be Bold!"
Well, it worked! We spent some time on our companionship study identifying some of the needs of the investigators, and challenges that they're going through in their lives. We then made a course of attack! Results were:
1) People came to church
2) Commitments and promises were kept (by those who are really interested).
3) Found out who isn't really interested.
4) Found out who needs extra help and attention.
Granted not everybody did everything they promised. Such is to be expected through the course of human life where random problems arise and unexpected situations manifest. But generally speaking, we had our desired goal accomplished of having investigators progress. As for the people who still aren't sure if they're 100% committed, we're going to work with them to help them meet their specific weakness, but we're also not going to spend as much time with them, for we're here to reap the harvest and plant seeds. People need to cultivate their own soil, though (see the parable of the sower). Let's see, it's like we plant seeds of faith, and if the soil is good, after 3 weeks we reap some grain. If the soil is not good, hard, rocky, or smothered in weeds, well, that all depends on the individual, and not our work. As President Wilhelm (the mission president) once said, "We're here to find people who are ready, not to waste our time with people who aren't." Well, that should just about do it. Ya'll be sure to be good, be nice, and be bold!
So these pics were taken by my comp! yay! We went to the dock for P-day and checked out all the awesomeness it had to offer. Mmm..... Shrimp and Cheese empanadas. There was also a bunch of pelicans everywhere, and a sweet flea market, or Feria.
Looking out to sea
Goin' to the dock
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Kinda a normal week of ups and downs. A lot of walking, a lot of talking, and a lil' bit of teaching. Well, we teach while we walk and all that good stuff, but we didn't have the luck of getting in many houses through the week. We had no investigators in church, which was a huge downer, but then again, not too many people in the branch showed up. It rained. Hard. The most rain Coquimbo has received in over 12 years, all in two days. When it rains, the chileans kinda have the mentality of, "What are you guys doing outside?! There's water, Falling from the sky! And hitting things on the way down! Go home, Gringo!" But the good news, it'll be real green here in a few days. Well, here's my spiritual highlight for the week:
After the rain had subsided a little bit on Saturday night, we found this sweet little old lady doing contacts. She has been a member for about 15 years, and her daughter too, I believe. Faithful and ever true, she has been unable to leave her house in recent years due to a burden she has gladly born. Her daughter, around 60 years of age (The older lady is about 85) was born without the ability to walk. She (the daughter) has degenerated to a state of being bed-ridden, unable to communicate except for various facial expressions and blinking. After we had exchanged salutations with the Mother, she introduced us to the daughter, who was in her bed listening to the radio. When we entered the room, her eyes got wide with excitement and she smiled very broadly. Immediately the Spirit entered the room, and I felt extreme love for these two Sisters of the Faith. They reminded me so much of when Mom was taking care of Grandma, except the roles were switched a little bit. The Mother brought out an old Book of Mormon/DyC/PgP Triple, dating back to 1980, signed by the missionaries at the time. When I got a hold of the book, a scripture came to mind that we shared with them. Mosiah 2:41. We shared a short prayer, and when we left, the Daughter was crying a little bit, still with a smile from ear to ear.
Well, I guess that'll do it. Stay safe, Be good. Read the scriptures, and remember your prayers.
Here's some pictuers for ya
Me and Hermana Jaquelyn - Hermana Jaquelyn is a very nice woman who always greeted us with warm toasty bread and butter, and a hot cup of Ecco (the wierd cereal coffee that I just can't get enough of, but don't worry, its not real coffee). Her daughter in the picture is the one who has the knees backwards, but I think one is OK now.
Sin Pie - Finally we found out why there's so much iniquity in Chile. Too much Sin Pie. Next stop for proselyting, the Bakery. We'll stop the Sin Pie menace once and for all.
These two are of when me and Ben the Elder Adams got shipped out from Viña. He didn't take the bus with us, but he left the Office. The first one, he took a cellphone call in the middle of the picture, which made me a Sad Horspool. The second, I'm happy.
This is a digitally zoomed in foto of this huge cross that's in downtown Coquimbo. It's pretty stinking Ginormous. Very visible from any part of our sector, that doesn't have houses in front of it.
So these last 4 were pretty much me screwing around with the functions of the camera that was sent me. It has this sweet panoramic view function that makes it very easy to take very long shots. Well, while doing contacts we stopped to take a breather and enjoy a little bit of this awesome sunset that was falling upon us. Naturally, I had my camera on me at the time and I took this shot. Here you can get a flavor of how Coquimbo is set up. As you can see, theres mountains on both sides, forming a bay where huge freight ships and tourist cruise ships come rolling in from time to time. You can also see the cross, off in the distance. I'm not sure how well it'll show up, but there's a grafiti on the wall that has the name of our sector on it, "Sindempart" and i think it says Auri after that. Everything around here is painted black and yellow with random pirate images, for the mascot of the Coquimbo Soccer team are the Pirates, and their colors are black and yellow.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Let's start with last Monday. A week from today, on the last P-day during our zone and district classes, one of the Zone Leaders made an interesting statement. He had known that we had all had a very difficult week, and had talked to the mission president about it. President Wilhelm said that he was aware of our situation. He told the Zone Leaders of three things that are necessary to have success in the mission: Desire, The will of the Lord, and Work. Pres. Wilhelm said that he knew that the missionaries in our zone have the desire to work; for that is why he put us here. And of course it's in the will of the Lord for us to have success in the mission. The only thing left is Work. Now, we have been workin our lil' fannies off this last month, and haven't been having a ton of success. Pres. Wilhelm told the Zone leader that we had met the requirements for success, and the following week (last week) we would have success... we would begin to see the fruits of our labor, and everyone in the zone would have a family to teach. With that being said, we separated into districts, and we gave each other a blessing of strength/comfort.
This week we certainly were blessed... We found one family that truly were sufficiently humbled to receive the Gospel. We had an awesome lesson with him. His name is Luis. He lives with his partner Ingrid (not married, but has plans to!), child Javiera, and various other family members. He had participated in church activities in the past, such as weekly soccer games, but had never attended church. He has a very strong faith in God, and prays every day. He is going through some difficulties in his life (we didn't ask what) and was praying for the strength and support to carry on. That's when we knocked the door. He let us in right away, and we taught a very spiritual lesson on the Plan of Salvation. When we finished, we knelt down, and had him offer the closing prayer. When he ended his prayer, he began to weep a little bit. That is not to say that the spirit induced such a reaction, as President Kimball taught, but it was definitely felt in their house. Only he and his wife participated, but the mother of Ingrid and various other family members quietly listened in the background. We will teach them again later on in the week.
Lesson Learned: Kneeling to pray truly invites the spirit to work unrestrained. I recall a lesson we had when we invited someone to pray on their knees (arrodillarse? Oracion de Rodillas) and they turned us down saying that they don't need to take a position to humble themselves. A very contradictory statement, in my opinion. Failing to show humility, but claiming to have it in your heart. Needless to say, that person did not receive their answer, and we did not bother to pass by their house again.
Monday, August 4, 2008
This week was pretty sweet. I don't know how to explain it, but it was just good. There wasn't any more success then normal, in fact, I'd say there was an above average number of doors slammed in face (or from afar? Everyone has fences so it's not actually in our face). But thing's have been going good. I've been learning tons and tons. I've come to a sort of, realization of the religious world. Nobody has any idea in what they believe in, why, how, or any of sort of history in their own beliefs except that they believe it. I say this not to demean anyone or to cut anyones beliefs, but rather, that I'm grateful that we have a reason for believing in what we believe; in short, our testimonies. As far as I know, we're the only church that professes the power of prayer. It's the only way to know the truth. I hear time and time again that the Bible is the only source of truth about God in this world, but rather, as Elder Holland put it, “Scripture itself points . . . away from itself and to the fact that final and true authority belongs to God himself. So the scriptures are not the ultimate source of knowledge for Latter-day Saints. They are manifestations of the ultimate source." I love hearing that talk. It's so incredibly true. I propose this question often in contacts, a challenge really... Is the Bible the source of knowledge about God, or is God the source of knowledge about God?The two are used interexchangably so much as to create a blur of knowledge, divine truths that testify of a Sublime Creator, a Heavenly Father that loves us, at least from what I've seen. But I ramble. Usually after that question comes an invitation to listen to us, read, ponder, then pray. Hurray for revelation.
Well, here's a very awesome experience that happend last night:
So we were doing contacts, yelling at houses and all that, when all of a sudden this young man of about 19 years old comes up to us and introduces himself. He asked us this question, "Is there any way I can serve a mission?" "Of course," we replied. He seemed a little unsure of our response. It was evident that there was something paining him. He told us that he hadn't gone to church in quite some time, and that he had experienced some things that had caused him a bit of embarrasment. I related with him the story of the Prodigal Son, and he seemed to recall the story a little bit. We assured him that God still loved him, and that there was nothing that he could have possibly done that could have caused him to lose that love. He seemed a little more hopeful. We talked about repentance, the atonement, and going back to church. All in all, it was an awesome experience that gave me a small taste of the deep love that a Branch President, Bishop, or Parent must have for those who once were lost, who desired to come back. If I weren't so Macho, I probably would have cried (I kid). We took down his name and his address and we're going to pass it on to the other elders (He lives in a different Sector). Well, there we have it. As for my piece of advice for the week, talk with your nieghbors a little bit about the Gospel. Many people we talk to are, how you say, a little more prepared to listen to us if theyve talked to members before. And the ONLY success we have in the mission is when members get involved in the work.
Here are the pictures that he has sent so far:
So this is a picture of me, my comp Elder Ipson, and Escarlot on the day of her baptism. She's the little sister of our ward mission leader. Coolest family ever. After her baptism, we had a party to celebrate her 8th birthday.
So I thought Id try out my Paint skills. Whipped this together in about 5 minutes. This was right after the priesthood session of General Conference. Enjoy.
*Si ustedes me piden, Mi frente es mas y mas como Miguel cada día. ¡Que Linda!
This is me, my comp, and Elder Adams