Hello there kinsfolk, how's life? I'm doing just fine and dandy. Life is good, the work is good, and the mission is good. This week we got our changes a little bit early, but don't worry, there's absolutly no change. Elder Cook and I are staying here in Aldebarán. Fun fun. Another 6 weeks of awesome.
So this week we had our conference with Elder Oaks. It was a blast. The initial plan was to take individual pictures with him, but due to lack of time, we just took one with the whole mission together. It was spectacular. He talked a lot about his personal studies, and a little about tithing. Something he said we could ilustrate is the following formula:
90% income + blessings > 100% income
Neat, huh? Sorry ma, I didn't have the chance to tell him that I'm Blanchard Dixon's grandson. In fact, we didn't get to shake his hand. Due to the whole Human Influenza thing going down, all we got was a friendly elbow bump. Also fun. He was getting really into it. It's so amazing to see how happy the gospel makes people. He's so humble too... We all stood up when he entered the room, and he said, "Now, when you all stood up for me when I came in, you stood up out of respect for my mantle, and not for me. I understand that." Wow! What humility! It was a pretty powerful presence. His wife is adorable.
As far as the work is concerned, we found ourselves a less active family with unbaptized childrens! woo! And they're so excited to come back to church. They all came to church yesterday (except 1 son who had his last game of soccer). Turns out the dad used to be part of a bishopric, which I think makes him a High Priest, but I'm not sure. Back in the day I used to think that the missionaries were wrong in baptizing everything that moved. Some 15-20 years ago, Viña Del Mar was the highest baptizing mission in the world, and like 70% of all those are inactive. However, most of our work now is reactivation / completing families. It's funny to see how the Lord knows things end from beginning. Most of these people would not be receptive to the gospel if they weren't baptized before. Well, let's do it!
Keep up the good work people. Love ya lots. Peace.
Hi everyone! How are you all? I'm good, don't worry about me. Sorry that the letter is coming out later, we had a conference this morning with about 80% of the mission. It was good stuff. I'm sure that some of you are aware that we'll be receiving a new mission president next week. He's from Washington State. His name is President Gelespy, or something like that. Word has it that he's a dentist and served his own mission in Argentina. Apparently his wife doesn't speak a lick of spanish. That'll be fun. So President Wilhelm said some goodbyes, and Sister Wilhelm as well. They were without a doubt the best thing that has happened to this mission ever, as they duplicated the number of baptisms over the course of their three years.
Last Tuesday we received notice of another conference. Elder Dallin H. Oaks is coming to Chile! We're having a whole-mission-conference Wednesday (in 2 days). Woohoo! We have to get there at 8:30 in the morning and we're going to be taking pictures with him. As far as I know, the program goes as follows: Elder Oaks and his wife, Elder Corbridge (of the 1st Quorum of the 70) and his wife, and President Wilhelm and his wife. I'm stoked.
Well, as far as missionary work goes, we had a baptism this last week. Jeison Arce is his name. He's 18, and was introduced to the gospel by his girlfriend. He has plans to get sealed in the temple to her, but we'll see if we can't send him on a mission first. I'd send pictures, but I forgot the cable to connect my camera to the computer. I'm a doofus =(. Well, next week.
Hi everyone! Top of the mornin' to ya! I hope you all had a successful week. Elder Cook and I are doing just fine. He sends his love to each of you.
So this week I learned a lot of the power and influence that people have over one another. The Zone I'm in right now is full of really young missionaries. They all seem like little kids! There's only 3 of us over a year in the mission, Elder Horspool, Elder Cook, and Elder Hale (who goes home to Kinston, North Carolina this next week. He plays the Mountain Dulcimer.) But anywho, I'm kind of realizing more and more that all the lil' folks, look up to us a lot. If I'm being serious, they're serious. If I'm in a playful mood, so are they. Bah! It's kind of annoying. But I guess that's part of life. We have to be a good influence in the lives of others. Also, as a missionary in general, the entire world sees us as examples of how the church is. Official representatives of the Church. I think I'm finally realizing exactly what that means. Little by little. Seems to me that our lives change around us without us realizing it. Well, may all the changes be good. I'm gonna end this rant with a scripture:
1 Tim. 4: 12
12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Hi everyone! How ya doin'! I'm absolutely great. It's warming up again, which is awesome. Everyone is still freaking out because there has been no rain yet, and we have a couple of weeks 'till Winter. The missionaries aren't really complaining. I forget if I mentioned it before, but the teacher's strike continues here in Chile. All the hooligans are running around all uneducated like, but they enjoy it. The strike is over a bonus that the teachers haven'treceived (equivalent to about 6000 dollars), and they refuse to teach until they receive it. My old Bishop told me that they weren't going to receive it, because it was a BONUS that they were going to receive IF they met certain standards, which they haven't. Well, I guess that's how life goes some times.
So this week we got a new investigator. He's súper. His name is Cristian. Cristian came to the baptism of Kati the week before, and enjoyed it so much, that he asked us to visit him in his house. One minor detail. He's openly homosexual (and Argentine! [from Mendoza]). It was actually the first thing that he told us after sitting down in his apartment. It wasn't that awkward though, so I guess I'm maturing. He told us that he's willing to give up homosexuality, smoking, and drinking because he was so impressed with the changes in Kati's life. He wants to be part of "a" church. Now we just have to show him that it's not just "a" church but THE Church. Well, that's what we do. Sometimes the Lord prepares the most unlikely of people. But there we go. We'll see if his words are sincere.
Hi everyone! How is everything going??? I'm doing awesomely here in El Belloto. My comp is cool, the weather is finally starting to catch up to where it should be (it was hot! now it's cold), and there's lots of work to do.
So this week a really sweet gal named Kati got baptized. She was found by the other Elders before I came in, Elder Cook and Elder Meyers, as they were knocking on apartment doors. Her son is the first counselor in the Stake Presidency of Viña Del Mar, and all her family members are members of the church. They hadn't placed any pressure on her to be baptized, as she had tried before but couldn't ever stop smoking. When the Elders found her, she was "angry at God" because he had "taken" her youngest granddaughter. The granddaughter died of cancer at the age of 3. Anywho, when the Elders got in to her house, she was angry. They invited her to pray. At the second visit, she was no longer angry, but was rather happy. At the fourth visit, by her own will, she had stopped smoking a pack a day. She went from 20 a day to 0. By the time I showed up, she was practically a member. Her son, Ronald, baptized her and confirmed her. Immediately after her baptism, he hugged her and showered her with a bunch of kisses, right there in the water. It was quite adorable. She's 67 years old, and her son is about 40ish. She brought a friend to her baptism, a 32 year old man, who also wants to receive missionary lessons. Wow, now that's a convert, eh? Well, the Book of Mormon has a certain Power to it. It brings the Spirit, which converts the hearts of man to God, and makes them new creatures. Kati truly knows what it means to study the scriptures. She takes around 2 hours each day studying the Book of Mormon. First she reads a chapter, then she rereads it, and writes a summary of the things she's learned. She has better study habits than I do!
Well, thought I'd share that with ya. Hope you all enjoyed it! Keep workin hard, share your testimonies with those around you, and always let the Spirit be your guide!
Hey everyone! How's it going? I'm just fine, dandy, rippin' roarin' and ready to roll. So the day of judgment came, and I got booted out of where I was at. I'm now in the next town over, in:
Ward: Aldebarán Stake: El Belloto City: Quilpué
And my new comp is: Elder Cook, from Lake Point, UT. It's some lil' Suburb near Salt Lake. Fun, huh! Elder Cook has 20 months in the mission, so he's just about to ship out! Don't worry though, he's not trunky.
Well, thing's are going good in the new place. We happened to find some great people in the first week! God has a way of putting people who are prepared in the path of of the missionaries. We were walking down the street when a gal stopped us and told us to come by her house to teach her. We did, and it turns out that she had gone to church in a different ward the week before, and they told her to find the missionaries nearest to her. And we happened by her apartment in the exact moment she was leaving. She came to church again yesterday, and she's doing great! Carol is her name.
That about does it for now. I'm doing good, I'm leaking a little bit from the nose, but that's OK I feel like Liver and Onions. I know that God directs the missionary force, and that his Angels prepare the people to receive us. Read your scriptures, Say your prayers, and magnify callings!
Hi everyone! Happy Mother's Day to all whom I didn't have the opportunity to talk to, and an extra one to those who I did. I hope it was a fun day for all.
This week was pretty fun. And hard at the same time. There were a bunch of investigators that came to church. 3 families! Let's see how this could have happened:
So on Friday, the Villa Norte ward decided to toss a Mother's Day activity together. It included skits, karaoke (spelling!) and electric guitar (there's a lot of talent in this ward!). Naturally, we decided to take advantage of this opportunity and invite all we could. And a bunch of people came! There were some odd 15 non-members at the activity, 9 of which came to church on Sunday. Plus others. It was amazing. This has been an extremely hard Transfer (6 weeks) for getting people to church, and all of a sudden, we are blessed with more success then we've had in months. Just have to press forward with faith.
Another lesson I've learned this week, is the importance of not being controlling. We have an investigator, named Elizabeth, who has an extremely controlling (and Catholic) husband. He won't let her get baptized, and won't talk to us at all. The only redeeming factor on the man is that he's letting us teach her (but only when he's not home). It makes me sad to see someone deprive eternal blessings and even salvation from another, but that's why there's fasting and prayer. If the sons of Mosiah could work a mighty change in the hearts of the lamanites, why shouldn't we be able to do it? I've always been pretty good about not being a very controlling companion over my Junior Companion. I recall President Hinkley mentioning something about his marriage before, about how he always supported and encouraged the righteous decisions of his wife. Hmm... That's a good quality. Allowing the other person to be themselves, and encourage them to better themselves through Christ. But I ramble.
Hi howdy hey family! How is everybody. Good? Great! Wonderful!? awesome. Anywho, I'm doing just fine and dandy here in Chile. I keep hearing of some death disease o'er yonder in California, Mexico, and well, the rest of the world. I'm not sure what you'd call it in English, but everyone calls it the Porcina flu (La Gripe Porcina). Pork flu? Pig flu? Nothing big right? Only a few hundred people dead in the world. No biggie. I'm hoping it's just another nonsense scare that you'll be hearing nothing about in a few months, like the Bird flu.
So anywho, I was reading in Preach my Gospel the other day, in chapter 10, when it gives the suggestion of trying to stop an addictive habit for a day, to see if you can do it, then a week, and so on. Well, I decided to stop cracking my bones. I made it 4 days straight, and now all my bones hurt. I figured the pain would go away after popping then again, but no. Well, I figure I might as well drop the habit all together now that I'm past the point of no return. So my companion and I have been trying to unravel the mysteries of the earth. We've come across several different little things, which tickle my fancy like crazy. Stuff like, details in the spirit world, both before the atonement and after, the atonement, and why blood had to be spilled, the whole earth being united, divided, then having to be restored, yadda yadda. As for now, I have a few books that I'm wanting to buy/devour (for after the mission. They're forbidden during...): Everlasting life, i don't remember the author (I think its called Everlasting Life? La Vida Sempiterna); Answers to Gospel Questions Volumes I-IV, by Joseph F. Smith; The Great Apostasy, by James E. Talmage; and Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce R. McConkie. So, I dunno if we have any of those books already, but they look awesome. So much to learn...
So if anyone has any other random or awesome questions/facts about the gospel, if you would be so kind as to share them with me. Questions help us learn!
Hey! What's going on! Everything is just fine and dandy over here in Chile. It's just now starting to get cold, and I'm very much so looking forward to Fall / Winter weather. Well now, let's take a gander at this last week...
So we got a new investigator the week before, who is the uncle of a recent convert. He's a Seventh Day Adventist. We swung a deal with him that we'd go to his church in exchange for going to ours. Naturally, Saturday comes before Sunday, so we went first.
It was weird. When we walked in, we got a lot of weird looks. There was a door-man who greeted us, then asked us why we were there. "We were invited," I say to him. So he lets us in, we find our investigator who seemed half-disbelieving that we actually came. The Pastors gave us a pretty warm welcome, which was nice. They announced that we were visiting over the pulpit, and everyone in the congregation turned around and waved at us (we were in the back corner). The sermon included about 10 hymns, and several prayers, and a nice hour long talk on how God loves everyone. What caught my attention was that they collected Tithing publicly, and then the 3 pastors knelt around it and prayed to consecrate it (I think?). As we left, they asked us what we thought of the Preaching. We were lavish in our praise, don't worry. Well, Rodrigo (the investigator) did in fact come to Church the following day. He showed up late, but he was there in time for a talk about the Sabbath Day. He enjoyed it thoroughly and said at the end, "I guess it doesn't matter what day you do it on, as long as you do it correctly!" It's a start.
Well that's my story for the week. Oh! the mission and the joy it brings.
Hi everybody! Here I am, once again writing you from Chile. Let's see what went down this week...
- I met a fun group of crazies! It's a newish religion that dresses up like their from a Dr. Seuss / Harry Potter book. In other words, a cloak with a funny red and white striped tall hat. And they wear it all the time. They claim to have the Melchizedek Priesthood. Interesting...
- I finally got to ask a Jehovah's Witness about their beliefs. He didn't have any answers for me... Though he did call us "Chosen..."
- We had the chance to give talks in church this week. When I got up to give a talk, I noticed a woman in the corner of the church who was someone we taught one time some 3 months ago. She decided to investigate the church! Huzzah! She tells us that she's tired of how her church is all "...near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me..." kind of thing. She was glad to see Priesthood Leaders not drunk. (Funny side note, the word for Catholic Priest in Spanish is Cura, and the word for drunk [and it might be in just Chile?] is Curado. It's like saying Priest, and Priested.)
- We killed an infestation of wasps and spiders in our study room. They were already in the midst of an epic battle, there were wasps killing spiders and spiders killing wasps. Then Horspool and Pasterfield came in and killed both with raid and feet. (It was OK though, we weren't planning on sleeping that night...)
Well, that's about it. I'm doing just fine and dandy. My comp is a goof, and we're having a grand ol' time working in the Lords Vineyard (Viña del Señor!). Hope everything is going good on the home front, hope you're all healthy and happy. Well, that'll do it for this week, have a good one gang!
Imagen 1 - The Trio - This is the trio that we had for a few days. The Super blonde one is my comp now, Elder Pasterfield. The shorter one is Elder Purnell, who got shipped out.
Imagens 2 - 4 : This was the greatest concoction ever. A few months back Elder Ipson told me you can substitute in an Avocado for any recepie that calls for an egg, so I decided to try it out with Pancakes. It turned out really good. You have to put on lemon instead of Syrup or Manjar (Dulce de Leche). Seriously guys, try it... It's like Guacamole stuffed Pancakes (the inside doesn't really get cooked, but it gets real hot!).
Elder Sebreros y Yo: This was my trainee, Elder Sebreros. He's from Murrieta. He's Huge!!! Look out! He'll eat you for his protein!!!
Hey! It's that special time of week again when the family gets together and reads another letter from dear Elder Horspool. Isn't that exciting?? Well, here's the latest updates.
- We found a sweet investigator! Her name is Claudia and she's a good woman, a single mother, fighting the good fight. We set her up with a Fellowshipper right off the bat. Very promising.
- Leonel Luttra, an investigator for 20 years, is still progressing slowly, because he has Alhzheimers!
- I decided to take some pictures! I'll ring em up for yalls. Actually, I'll mail them to Heather, and she can forward em all. She's a good sport like that.
Easter was rockin, we talked to a ton of catholics about their fun little dances and parties they throw. It was pretty cool. There were a ton of drunks, and some people fasting. We got the extremes on both ends! All in all, Catholics are some good people. A lot of em are looking for the Restored Gospel, but just don't know they are. Hah, Irony?
Allright, I get to stay again over here in Villa Norte, Villa AlemanaOeste. Well, the trainee didn't get to stay. He got shipped out of town, however, I got a huge shock when they announced my change... I was going to be in a Trio! Ah, the madness! 2 companions! Well, after 2 days of working in a Trio, the Zone Leaders called us up and said that Elder Purnell (of Boise Idaho) was leaving to a different city. So my new comp is:
Elder Pasterfield, of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Whoah, another Canadian companion. What's more, word on the Mormon streets says that our new mission president is a Canadian, but what do I know. Everyone is pretty amused that there's a Horspool and a Pasterfield together.
So this week was pretty interesting. We found some people, taught some people, and had the grand opportunity to attend all 5 sessions of general conference. It was the best. It's pretty interesting to see how people are prepared to receive a certain missionary. Example: We were doing contacts the other day, and a woman allowed us to teach her because Elder Pasterfield looks a lot like her son (a lot like her son!). I'd be willing to bet I'd talked to the exact woman three times before. It's incredible. That's why we always need to constantly be talking to everyone, even if we've already talked to them before, because you never know who is prepared to meet YOU. Well, conference gave me a lil' Ánimo boost, and I'm rippin', roarin', and ready to roll.
Wow, it's change day once again. This whole mission thing is going by way too fast. It's kinda silly. However, I can honestly say that I'm putting forth my best effort, according to my ability. I get a little more effective each day. Each day, a little more like the Savior.
Anywho, this week has been a week of patience. Lot's of patience. About 90% of our working time is spent in the streets knocking/yelling at doors. And this week, was a week without any immediate results (I say immediate, because who knows what effect our work will have in the future! Not a single effort is "wasted.") But I'd for sure say that we're working harder then ever. You know you're doing what you need to be doing when you feel the Spirit testifying that what you're saying is true to other people. Not much more you can ask for. However, I have been meditating much upon the topic of "How and what to pray to have miracles occur. The first conclusion, need to ask with faith. OK, so one goal is to develop the Spiritual Gift of Faith. But here's one problem that I've been thinking about lately. What can I ask in a prayer to have the strongest impact upon the investigators/general people to have the spirit work upon them, without destroying agency. I've been reading the scriptures like crazy, trying to figure out what Alma, Amulek, Ammon, Aaron, and all the rest prayed for to work such a great change upon the lamanites, because that's who we're teaching... Lamanites. Hrm. Need to Study more, I suppose, Says I.
Thanks for all the great suggestions and tips, yall. We're going to put in most, if not all of them. Mostly Mike's. He suggested that, while knocking doors, to bear testimony more often. It seems to me that I had got comfortable falling into a rhythm of trying to small-talk people into their house, which works sometimes, but doesn't really get the message across. We had mission conference this last week, and they talked about the exact predicament that we're in... Running out of Investigators. Kind of odd, they didn't really talk much about bearing testimony too much, but they did talk about not falling into a routine. We did have some meaningful conversations with people after the conference, but we didn't get into any houses nor new investigators (after conference, before we did =D). But I have a really good feeling about the whole bearing testimony. Seems like missionaries don't really bear testimony enough in the mission. We do it when we're "supposed to," for example, when teaching the Restoration. It seems like we bear our testimony, but not in a direct manner... Hard to explain. But I'm going to be more direct with the people, tell them what God has told me is true, and invite them to learn the same.
Here's something else that we're starting to do. We're praying more often, and more sincere. Never before in my mission have we started a round of knocking doors with a prayer, but we decided to do that this week, and we had amazing results. President Wilhelm told me it was because we invited God to work with us, so of course he's going to give us success. This gave us a boost of confidence which we thought would give us success every time we did it. Not long after, we stopped having success, which left me slightly confused. In conference, Presidente Wilhelm touched on that subject as well. He read to us D&C 121, the following:
36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. 37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
So the jist of it is, we stopped having success because our sincerity went away in our prayers, we stopped working with the principles of righteousness, and started to work to satisfy a vain ambition, and gratify pride. Hmm.... Rather humbling. I must go pray.
So I seem to be finding myself in this situation a lot. Almost immediately after a streak of success, the investigators run out. Blah. I suppose there's a principle to learn in all of this, but not one that you can necessarily apply in the mission. In times of plenty, prepare for the famine. Well, in the mission you can't really prepare for a lack of investigators, as you are constantly looking for new investigators. Well, we're taking desperate measures once more. We're starting up English Class, and planning ward activities once more. Desperate measures indeed. Well, Preach my Gospel says that they're good means of finding new investigators so we'll leave it up to the Lord. Methinks we should have longer lasting converts this time. They're all signed up for Seminary and are Súper excited to go to church. Maybe recent converts would be a good source of references... So my homework for you all (especially those who served missions) is: What are some good ways to find new investigators?
Hmp. This has been an interesting week. So this week we didn't pass at all for the Pérez family to see how they'd react and all that ya? Well, I asked for the young men's president to go drop by their house and see if Jaime was planning on going to church Sunday Morning. Well he did, and he told me that the family was doing bad. Real bad. That they had no interest in coming back to church and that they hadn't received any sort of answer to their prayers and all that jazz. Well, having been a witness of every one of their spiritual experiences, I decided to go over there and help bring them back to a remembrance of their liberation. Well, the YM president wasn't lying. Never before had I seen someone completely forget the days of their captivity and freedom, forget all the miracles that they had seen, forget the spiritual experiences that had been given to them from God. It affected me rather deeply. We shared our testimonies with them, I shared a whole bunch of scriptures, but they didn't listen. Chao, I says to thems, I says. When you're ready to listen, we'll be ready to teach. Ignorance, they say to me. Ignorance that we could possibly be the one true church, that this is the church by which men may return to live with God. Well, I suppose it would be ignorance, if it weren't true. I recall Brooke a few years back saying that people had complained to him about how Mormons Brainwash their children to the Gospel. Well, I suppose that would be the case, if what we taught them weren't true. Hmph. Well, when they want salvation, when they want answers, they know where to find it. And what was the cause of this spiritual decay, you ask? We can find the answer in the scriptures. It was the exact same thing that happened to the Nephites.
Let's open up to 4 Nephi 1:24 24 And now, in this two hundred and first year there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world. That's right, clothes. It all had to do with clothes. At least, superficially. They rebelled against the church because they didn't want to have to wear church clothes, which caused them to harden their hearts with pride and vain things, which caused them to go Inactive. GG. I talked with the Bishop about this matter. He explained to me very clearly that everyone has Agency, and even if you teach everything in a clear and understandable matter, they're going to still have their agency. "Don't you think that God taught his son Satan everything well, nay, Perfectly? If we try to compel people to do what is right, we are becoming as Satan." I love this Bishop. He's awesome.
However, this week was also a time of rejoicing. For the first time in years, Villa Norte is going to have 3 baptisms at the same time. The Bishop is pretty stoked, and he's throwing a party for the converts (they're 3 girls... the daughter of a less active - Daniela, the Sister of a recent convert - Franchesca, and a friend of the same recent convert - Nátalie). The mom of the latter, Nátalie, invited us over for lunch today, so we're pretty stoked. Turns out the Mom is a less active. It was pretty sweet. Last week, we went over to ask permission to have her get baptized, and she bore her testimony to us in front of her Super Catholic friend, who slightly objected. I thought it was funny, especially since she hadn't been to church in over 30 years, but still has a pretty strong testimony.
That should do it for this week. I'm doin fine folks. I lament the decision of some folks, groan and grow weary in spirit, but did not the Lord Himself say, Blessed are the Poor in Spirit? Yea verily.
Matt. 5: 3 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 3 Ne. 12: 3 3 Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. D&C 56: 18 18 But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite, for they shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their deliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs.
Hi all! How is everyone doing!? Good!? Great. I'm doing just fine and dandy o'er yonder. Tons of work, tons of learning and spiritual experiences, and all that song and dance. Elder Aaron Adams, The Zone Leader from Villa Alemana (I'm in the Zone of Villa Alemana Oeste), just informed me that our two companionships had the lowest sums of Houses Entered on Contacts, a Key Indicator in our mission. Houses Entered (or CE, for Casas Entradas) is where you knock on a door, and get into the house to teach a lesson when you meet someone for the first time. Right off the Bat. Well, Him and I tied for last with 6 Houses Entered into for the month of February. He informs me that I was THE worst in all the mission with 5 Houses Entered for January. But whatever, because we both baptize people and get references from the members, so it's all good. But enough about numbers, they don't mean anything except whether I get yelled at or not.
So this week I learned a lesson. From a certain blessing which I received a few years ago, it told me that God would always give me answers to my sincere prayers. I find it interesting that it specifically mentions receiving answers from other people. For weeks now I've been praying and fasting to know what to do with the Pérez Family, who have been the center of my letters home, prayers, and thoughts for a few months now. Well, we had long talk with them for a while, mostly the Mom, who's not a member yet, and about her doubts. We taught a very slow, clear, unmistakable lesson about the Restoration, wherein the Spirit was felt very strongly, and she expressed her concerns about the Word of Wisdom. Actually, she said that there was no way in heck that she was going to give up Tea. We asked her to try it for 14 days, and said that we were asking her to do the impossible. I found the entire thing very hypocritical because all she ever talks about is how much faith she has, but refused to test God in this Trail of Faith. After about an hour and a half with them, we were feeling pretty discouraged about it all. I was baffled as to what we should do to help her. After talking with my companion for a little bit, he said, "It might be best if we just drop them, we're wasting way too much time over there." The thought had yet to cross my mind, and appeared very absurd to drop an investigator who was willing to have us in her house whenever, but I knew it was the right thing to do. We were spending about 5 hours each week over in there house, a considerable amount of time, and she wasn't progressing. She doesn't view us as missionaries, but rather calls us, "My little ones," calls us by our first names, and doesn't like to shake our hands in a conventional manner. All in all, the situation had become way too casual. We weren't the teachers to her. We were kids practicing Spanish and sharing good principles. So what we're going to do, we're going to drop them. Not for good, but for a few weeks, with the challenge to continue to read the Book of Mormon, and to Pray always. We'll see how the Spirit works within them in our absence, and see their reaction in a few weeks. In other words, we're leaving it all up to the Spirit and the Ward for a little while. Just have to Trust in God.
Hah, he's from right around the corner. How fun. This is his first time in Chile, so everyone be nice to him. He doesn't speak a whole lot of Spanish, almost nothing, but that will change real quick here. I'm still in the same Area, in Villa Norte of Villa Alemana Oeste. Qué fun.
This week went by all right. We got new investigators from a recent convert who wants her friend and little sister to get to know the gospel as well. The Pérez family, the people who I've written to all yalls about before, are kind of at a brick wall. They just have to come to church! Those bums. Satan builds up habits in good people outside the church of breaking the commandments, such as drinking Tea or Coffee, and sleeping in on Sunday. People who wake up at 6 O'Clock every day find it insanely hard to get outside of the house at 9:30 Sunday Morning. But I suppose that's why we're there, to break the chains of false liberty and set people free by helping them keep the commandments. Other than that, life is good, calm, and exhausting. Elder Sebreros was like a professional body builder or something before the mission, and he's got me on a protein diet and a workout program. We'll see where this goes. e'horspool
So, today marks the end of my Eighth change, and the start of the 9th. I've always been told that the second half of the mission goes by quickly, and avast, I feel like I'm still fresh from the MTC. Nevertheless, I feel like a new person, new mode of thinking, new stories/experiences, new hair style (or lack of hair!). All for the better though, of course. This week was a week of ups and downs. Mostly downs, in the sense of that we taught very few lessons this week. Bummer. But whatever. We got a lot of service done, and we're hoping for results on a King Limhi level. Dream big. That's something that I've developed on the mission. The ability to dream. Not to say that I Daydream a lot, but I do dream up random goals and plans on how to do them. Without dreams, or as the scriptures call it, Hope, we don't have anything to shoot for. I've been studying a lot about Christlike Attributes, especially Charity and Patiente (two things that have been running short around here). Hope gives us the motivation to improve ourselves... our efforts; having the hope of a better world. I have hope that if we keep working, fighting, struggling despite all the challenges, trials, and jerk people who were tragically born without common decency or manners, God will bless us. Seems to be the theme of my mission right now, at any rate. Doubt and Faith can not be part of the same person! But I ramble. I'm doin' fine folks. My comp is good, he's a stud. There's a reason we're sent out in Twos, because if I had to do this whole thing alone (not including the spirit), I would've packed my bags long ago. I can only imagine the support and help that Husbands and Wives have for each other. Blah, I'm rambling again. Well, have a good one family, I'll be writin' yalls same time next week. ¡Ciao Pescao!
So the family we're teaching right now just had this little run in with the devil. It started off with a few weeks ago when they ran into a couple of "Ex-Missionaries" who had some "list of 6,000 errors" in the Book of Mormon. I heard her explain her doubt, then showed her the Scripture in Mormon 9 where Mormon talks about not condemning him because of his imperfection, and we invite her to pray to know if it's true. Satisfies her for the moment. Then, last week (on the 31st of January) there was a mother(investigator) and a daughter(recent convert) who had a dream... A nightmare really. There was a whole bunch of chaos and madness going on, and in the midst of all this, they heard a word, "Anatema" which being translated is to say, "Anathema," or "Curse." Both of them had the same dream, yeah¿? So they wake up, tell each other about their dream, and start freaking out because they don't know what Anatema ment. So they look it up in a dictionary, and start getting even more scared. For some reason, the mother thought it response to her prayers about the church, especially to know if Joseph Smith is a prophet and if the Book of Mormon is true. So in response to that, they start to do some research. On the Internet. As we all know, the Internet isn't the most reliable source of information in the world. She was unaware of this, and comes across a Spanish Anti-Mormon website. When we got to their house on Sunday Night (the 1st of Feb), Barbara, the daughter and recent convert, was at the point of tears and saying that she was just so confused because she felt good about the church when she was there, but when she read all those terrible things, she couldn't believe it was true. Edith, the mom, just kept listing off all these doubts with absolutely no back-up. Mostly about atrocities that Jo-Smith supposedly did. She was pretty firm that that was her answer to her prayer. So that's when we got to work. We explained to her that there was absolutely no way that the Spirit of God, of the God of Love, of Peace, of Happiness, of Order, of Truth could possibly give her an answer like that. God is not a God of confusion, nor hatred, nor doubt. We read to her the fruits of the spirit, how God loves us, and won't punish us for doing what's right nor asking questions to him. We shared testimonies. However, after all that, she wasn't convinced. She was telling us to go look up this website and make sure that we were in the correct before we continued being missionaries, or even worse, passed on the restored gospel to others or our posterity. Barbara was pretty silent throughout the whole thing. Just when we were about to leave and pretty much say goodbye, for I felt that we were out of options, the Spirit gave me a suggestion. "Barbara, would you like a blessing of comfort?" I ask her. She looks at me, and says she would. "Do you believe that we can do it?" She says that she does. And Elder Wallentine and I gave her a simple, yet powerful blessing of comfort. We said our goodbyes, and started a fast. Probably one of the more intense periods of prayer I've had in a while. I spend the greater part of the next monday (last week) studying about the Spirit and how it communicates to us, and we prepare an awesome lesson. When we got to their house, after district class, we realized that there was absolutely no need for a thorough lesson. The Spirit had already taught them all that we were going to say. When we got there, they were happy, they were cheerful, and they were ready to hear the gospel. I was confused as all get-out; so was my comp. They even invited their relatives over to come listen to us. Later on, Edith told us that when she saw us put our hands on her daughters head, she felt a sort of power, like she was witnessing something marvelous. And there we are. It had a happy ending after all. This last Saturday, Jaime, the son, got baptized, and all the family came as well. Hopefully the parents will be following suit very quickly!
So Elder Wallentine and I are in the middle of some battle with Satan right now, and it's getting pretty intense. I'd love to give ya'll more details, but it's not all developed just yet. But its keeping me on my toes, that's for sure. There's not physical danger, so don't you worry, but let's just say the Adversary is working very intently on some of the investigators we have, and we're doing all we can to counter-act it. I'm pretty confident that all is going to turn out well. It is God we're talking about, after all. My impression is that he's giving us all opportunities to grow: To the missionaries, to learn how to react to this kind of situation, and to the investigatores, to give them a greater contrast of darkness and light. Not very unlike the Joseph Smith story. Let's just hope the investigators are as diligent in their prayers as Joseph Smith.
But other then that, I'm doin' pretty good! We had interviews with President Wilhelm last week, which are always fun. I learned a whole bunch from him, about how to be a priesthood leader 'n' stuff. A very inspired man, that President.
Anywho, I'll keep ya'll posted on the news, when stuff happens, and dish out pictures when the opportunity presents itself to take one. I've kind of forgotten about the camera as of late.
Hellew! How's everyone doing! Good? Great! I'm doing just fine and dandy down here on the other side of the world. Doing lots of work and teaching lots of people.
Elder Wallentine and I were doing some thinking the other day, about the Mission and Mission Experiences. We've always imagined ourselves as being these all-knowledgeable beings throughout the mission. Every passage of Scripture Memorized, Spiritual Experiences coming out of our nostrils, and Converting everything that moved. But we've rediscovered a truth that we've known all along... Conversion is a life-long process. We learn to love the Lord and to do His will, to rely more on Him, to depend on His mercy, kindness, and love. It's like, the Mission is two years of the Basics, and nothing advanced, deep, profound, or mysterious. It's all the basics, all the beginning steps, all the wonderful things that people (investigator and missionary alike) need to experience in order to return to live with God once more. It's like 2 years of Primary, with less pretty pictures nor songs. It's pretty intense as well. At least, I'm enjoying it.
Right now we're focusing on a family that Elder Wallentine found some three-odd months ago. They're really good people, and progressing amazingly. Recently, Jaimy, the 14 year old boy of the family, went on a young mens trip out to Casa Blanca, Chile, where the church has a couple hundred acres of land for campouts and stuff. He came back really spiritual, and it's been a lot easier teaching him. His 16 year old sister is a recent convert of about a month, and the parents are starting to come around as well. While it's kind of lame to not baptize the entire family at the same time, we have to baptize people when they're ready, as not to put off the day of their repentance.
Anywho, that's pretty much what's going on down here. I hope everyone is enjoying the cold whilst you can, because I sure miss it. It's been like 35 degrees Celsius here. I don't know what that converts to, but I feel like I'm burning up. I got some mean farmer tans going on.
P.S. - I talked to Gonzalo Sepúlveda, who was the companion with the Holt kid. He remembered his name. It was Garret Holt. It's a small, small world
So this week was a blast. We had lots of work going on, lots of people to meet, and lots of stuff to learn. I learned that being "Pesado" has it's benefits, as people do what you say more! For the first time in the mission, I was able to get people up and out of bed and going to church, after all the whole "I'm tired!" and "I don't wanna go!" and all that other stuff that I used to toss at Mom when I didn't want to go to school. Yeah! I got a lot of questions asking if it's harder in a richer area. More or less. It's like, knocking doors has little/no effect. Everyone lives like 100 feet away from their fence, so if they don't have a doorbell, no go. There's a heavy focus on the mission on trying to get into houses on contacts as well. Not terribly easy to get into someone's house through an intercom, but do-able I suppose. Anywho, things are looking up, there's almost too many things to do, and I'm loving life. I got to see a bunch of my old companions at a conference the mission had this last week, but I forgot batteries to my camera =(. Anywho, be good, be safe, read your scriptures and say your prayers! e'horspool
Villa Norte Ward, Villa Alemana Oeste Stake Villa Alemana, Valparaíso V Región
I'm back in the south! What fun! I've made a complete circle/tour of the mission. It's pretty neat. I've gotten to know most parts of the mission, something that most missionaries don't get to do. This new sector is quite a shock from the last three. It's got huge, huge houses. And everyone has pools, I'm kind of freaking out. We live in a 3 story apartment building, just the two of us. My companion is Elder Wallentine, from Logan, Utah. Hey! Here's some random small world story. I'm in the same room as Aaron Adams right now. We just happened to be in the same Cyber. Fun stuff. He's in a different Zone though, Just plain ol' Villa Alemana. There's a lot of people who speak English here. A lot of Germans too (go figure...). There's a recently released 70 as well, Sepúlveda is his last name. I'm not sure what quorum he was from. Anywho, there's a ton of work to be done, I'm going to be even busier, but that's good. I'm looking forward to all the work, finding lots of people, and going swimming. Be safe, study hard, and write me.
PS: I just ran into an Elder Wells, from Payson Utah. He says he knows Dixon Meat and all that, and has a buddy who works there. It's a small world after all!
Hi everybody! Happy New Year! Weee. My new year was a blast. We got to stay out at a members house till 11 and eat some Asado. Mmm.... CarneAsado.... Plus, they launched Fireworks directly over the house. It was sweet.
Anywho, this week was mildly interesting. Let me start with the previous week:
So the 28th of December a random guy sat next to me during the Priesthood meeting. He looked sort of familiar, but I took him for a member from another branch and didn't think anything of it. At the end of the meeting, President Barraza went up to talk to him and introduced me to him as an investigator. It turns out he was this weird man that Elder Page and I met from the middle of November. When we met him, Page and I both felt that we needed to leave his house and just invite him to church, which we promptly did. He kind of has a slight mental problem. Well, I suppose that it just wasn't his time to talk to us. After he came to church the first time, we set up an appointment with him and went to his house the following Saturday (two days ago). He, his sister, and his mother were there, and we shared the message of the Restoration. The sister (Francia, her name) ate it up. Tomás (the man) somehow already knew everything, and accepted all the commitments right away. The mom is súper evangelical and mildly disrupted the lesson every now and then. Unfortunately, Francia lives in Andacollo and the church ain't terrible strong over there (Something interesting about Andacollo, it's where the Chilean Virgin showed up. It's a small town about an hour northeast of Ovalle). But Tomás came to church again yesterday. He's pretty awesome. He gave his testimony in front of the church, but because he's a little special not too many people understood him. A good man, Tomás. Well that's where we're at right now. We got changes today, so we'll see if I stay in Ovalle, or if they ship me off to some other part. I gots butterflies in my stummy.