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