Elder Dallin Dean Gomez

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Week


December 27, 2010
Hola everyone,
This week was really good! A lot of firsts happened this week. First transfers, first Christmas out here in the field, and my first baptism. Whoooh! I´ll attach pictures.
I received Elder Reeves. He is from Arizona. He speaks English...lame, I know. Ha ha. He is nice...definitely different than Elder Chavez. I´m going to miss Elder Chavez! We had really good success here and we found a lot of people to teach.
Lately, we´ve talked to a lot of drunk men. For some reason, drunk men like to talk about Jesus Christ, they are pretty good at quoting scriptures too.
So far I haven´t seen Elder McConnell down here, or Elder Boman, since the MTC, but I know I will eventually. Maybe next cambio, which will be in a little over a month. I´ve heard a lot about them and I know they´re doing really good.
So, yesterday was my first baptism! Jose Daniel was so ready to be baptized. He had an interview yesterday and it went really good. From the very start, Jose Daniel knew that there was something right about our church. The day after we met him he came to church, and he said that he had a "distinct impression" that our church was true while he was there. Only the day after we met him! I love that! Ha ha. His family is really awesome too. They came to watch the baptism. His mom is so nice and always wants to feed us when we go over there. We are hoping that his brothers are baptized sometime soon also.
The biggest challenge here is being able to unfold this gospel simply in a way that they can understand it. That´s why the spirit is so important and why you have to be so in tune with the spirit.
I know this church is true, and I´m sorry I don´t have more time to write more about it!
I love you all! Enjoy the pictures.

Elder Gomez
ps- Tender Mercy of the week: When your investigators pray for us sincerely, and our families and friends. All of you friends and family of mine, my investigators pray for you! Cool, isn´t it? :)
pps- Pictures are of:
-The baptism, Jose Daniel with his family.
-Beto, and his wife and family. He is one of our investigators also and his family are all members.
-All of the presents that my family sent me! :)
-The lamb that we ate for Christmas
-Me and Hermana. Bowden, a sister that is from my aunt´s ward (Chris!) She sang at the Christmas devotional and it was really really good!













Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Phone call

OUR BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT OF ALL WAS A SKYPE CALL FROM DALLIN IN CHILE!!!!!  IT WAS SO AWESOME TO TALK TO HIM AND SEE HIM!!! 












 My personal three favorite moments of the conversation:  #1 he started getting fidgety and I laughed and told him he was doing the bathroom dance and needed to go pee! (I teased him before he left that I was worried that he would never know when to go pee without me around.)  and #2 after all the hoopla and laughing Carlos got on and very seriously told him that he was so proud of him, wants to be just like him and can't wait to go on a mission too - Dallin got a bit choked up.   #3 Dallin said the prayer for us over Skype for our Christmas dinner in Spanish.  I loved that.  Let me say that again.  I loved that.    I also loved seeing him watch Wes run around and play ball over the camera. I also loved watching him talk to his best friend Dallin Hardy, ask Hardy to flex his biceps for him, and then Gomez show Hardy that he is keeping his own belly down.   
We all loved talking to him and watching him play with his eyebrows and face like he always did. We laughed and laughed.   It was a great Christmas present for all of us!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas from Dallin - without a mention of Christmas! :)

December 20, 2010 
Hola querido familia y amigos, 
 
Recibimos en Sabado la informacion para los cambios...mi compañero se va a
salir!!!!! My companion is getting transferred...Elder Chavez is leaving! I am
staying here in Labranza. It has been a great 6 weeks together. We have many many
investigators right now, and many more people that we haven´t even found. There are
25,000 people in Labranza. The field is white here, already to harvest. (D&C 4:4) 
Elder Chavez was pretty sure that we were going to stay here for another transfer
the same...in his interview with the mission president, President Swenson asked him
if there was anything that he could do for him, and Elder Chavez said, yeah, keep
things how they are in Labranza....but, we learned a lesson. Ask for the thing
opposite to what you want and you´ll probably get it :P 
 
I´m going to be with Elder Reeves. From what I´ve heard, he´s really awesome. He´s
been here a little more than a year. I´ll write more about him next week because
Elder Chavez is still my companion until tomorrow morning so I haven´t seen Elder
Reeves yet.
 
Chile is really good! We´ve had some really funny things happen this week, and good
things also. This week was the week of matchmaking. Ha ha. We have a few
investigators who went to activities for the church this week and they are all
finding people who they like...which is really good! It just so happens that we have
investigators who are in the age range for young single adults, and we have some
awesome young single adults in our ward and stake, so Jose Daniel, who is twenty,
found a few girls who he really likes, and also Luis, who is 36, has found a girl
who he likes. And the best part is that most of them are recent converts with really
strong testimonies. 
 
Another interesting thing that happened this week is our visit with a man named
Guiermo. We arrived at his house and he started talking about how he didn´t believe
the Book of Mormon and Christ never came to America and whatnot. He found on a
website for his church an article about the Mormons with a list of just about
everything in our church and how they were all wrong...he said a lot of bad things
about the Book of Mormon, even though he´s never read it...all according to this
paper that a man from his religion wrote. He went off on this list for about ten or
fifteen minutes, it was pretty long! And kept going....then he gave us cake and
juice...at least we had cake and juice while he railed on the church of Jesus Christ
:D...when he finally finished me and my companion were ready to leave because his
heart was completely closed right now to accept the gospel. It was the strongest
testimony that this is the true church. We are being persecuted for the truth by
another religion who supposedly believes that you should love one another! Later, I
read Alma 26:29-30. The Spirit touched my heart and I knew that I was doing the
right thing. Then I read Matthew 10:12-15...
 
This morning while we were playing soccer with some young members and investigators,
Jose Daniel asked what he has to do to be a missionary! :) :) He´s getting baptized
this weekend, the day after Christmas, so things are going well for him. It´s going
to be an interesting week though because of transfers, new companion, Christmas, and
baptisms to plan. I´m really excited. Also, Alvaro and Barbara are getting baptized
this weekend as well. 
 
It´s so amazing to see the gospel change people´s lives. We went to Luis´ house last
night to watch the Joseph Smith movie with him, and he was completely decked out in
missionary attire. He bought suit pants, a white shirt, new shoes, a
tie...everything, to come to the Church of Jesus Christ. We were really excited. It
means that he has the intention to keep coming :) When we watched the Joseph Smith
movie the Spirit was so strong. The Holy Ghost is awesome. He has accompanied us in
many lessons. It´s amazing how we´ll be in a lesson and we´ll explain things
perfectly about the gospel, and Jesus Christ, and the plan that God has for us. It´s
the gift of tongues...the promise that we have that "we will be given what we
need in the very moment that which shall be meted unto every man." That scripture is
literally true. 
 
Me and Elder Chavez had the opportunity to give two blessings this week. One to
Carlos, a man who is the "husband" to a member (I say husband in quotations because
they aren´t married) and one to their baby. It was really neat. Carlos is one of our
investigators...he has a lot of problems, physical as well as spiritual. He is an
alcoholic, but has come to church for the last three weeks with his family, and
since then he has been a LOT better. The blessings of coming to church are real. God
keeps his promises. We gave him a blessing and he looked so happy and better already
right after the blessing. It definitely gave him a spiritual boost.  James 5:14
 
I´ve heard before that tracting isn´t very effective, but I can attest that that is
not true! It´s all about your attitude. We have three investigators getting baptized
on Sunday that we found by knocking on their doors. And many more progressing
investigators who we found the same way! I thought about this with life...when
things are difficult, it´s all about our attitude on the outcome. If you have a
positive attitude, you will come out of every trial stonger than before. But if you
sulk and let other opinions rule over yours...what good will that do for you? None.
Always be happy and follow what you know to be true. Remember the promises that the
Lord has made to us...if we follow His commandments and have faith in Him. 
 
I guess that would be my parting message, be happy. Have a good attitude, and
remember how wonderful it is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
 
Elder Gomez
Photos are of (I think): 
Volcano, me with the zone leaders, me with a giant truck of one of the members, a
sheeps head, Marco Jose Daniel and Javier 
 






 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snippets from Dallin's letter written November 29th

November 29, 2010
Mi Querido Familia -
 Como estan?
We've been doing intercambios (splits) quite abit lately. I am with Elder Jennings right now.  He's from Colorado, and has been out 2 months.  Our companions are in a meeting a few hours north with the district leaders. 
It's hard sometimes to take care of everything you need to do to have a house, cook, clean, buy food, pay bills, and be teaching and talking to people all the time also.  It's a lot to do, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. It's hard to know where I'm going direction wise. 
I believe whole-heartedly in 1 Ne 3:7, D&C 82:10, 1 Ne 17:50-51.  I am doing okay at the language - but we hardly ever have language study (because my companion Elder Chavez is native and doesn't need it) and we aren't very good at keeping our schedule.   He is really lax about it all and that's really not the problem.    He's a good missionary but I think if we followed our schedule and outline for how to do everything, we could be much more effective.  I really do believe in obedience!  We're not bad missionaries, BUT WE COULD BE SO MUCH BETTER!  I always just look at our potential.  And I always see the things we need to do better. Maybe I should look more on things we do good.  

I finally got letters on Friday.  First off, thankyou.  Thanks to Mom for your thoughts and quotes. They are so comforting and helpful and inspiring.  This gospel is so awesome and you always have thoughts that make it even more so!
 
Luis  - I've talked about him before.  He wants to get married and it's hard for him to be patient.  We found him on my first day here. He is really cool.  And he came to church!  Whoot!  The ironic thing was that the lesson in Sunday School was on eternal marriage.  Ha!  I was nervous of how he would take it all.  BUT never doubt the power of the spirit at church or any truth.   "Don't be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ!"   It went good.  He liked church a lot.   I felt like Peter walking across the water to Jesus.  When he doubted even a tiny bit, he started to sink.  (Matt. 14:29-31).  I was nervous for Luis because he's tried for 15 years to get married and hasn't, and during the lesson the teacher read lots of scriptures that talked about how we are commanded to get married and multiply and replenish the earth.  I was nervous, but I'm telling you - NEVER doubt the truth or the scriptures!  He was on fire.   The spirit was there like always.
  We have also watched The Testaments with him and he liked that.  We need to finish teaching him the lessons and get a baptism date! 

Beto -- He is the husband of Daniela, an active member, and the father of Brandon and Kevin, also members.  But Beto has never gone to church.  This family is so nice!  They are the nicest people ever.  Very genuine.  Anyway we have been trying to get Beto to come to church and to read the Book of Mormon.  On Saturday night we had a lesson with him and we watched the Restoration video.    Afterwards we bore our testimonies and asked about his feelings and such.  He said he's still a little doubtful about Joseph Smith and the gold plates.  We REALLY STRESSED that the ONLY way he can know of these things is by reading, pondering, praying and coming to church.  So he committed to reading the Book of Mormon --but won't commit to praying because he doesn't want to promise something he couldn't keep.  It's unfortunate because prayer is the most important thing!  So we left knowing he would read for sure, maybe pray, maybe come to church....   no FOR SURE come to church!  We got up early and walked to his house before church.  When he opened the door and saw us, his eyes got so big!  But because we came to get him, he said he would come for sacrament meeting.   QUE BUENO!  So we left for church and he actually showed up earlier than he said!   Yeah, yeah!  So he also got that lesson on eternal marriage, sitting there in the class with his wife!!!  :)


   There are four missionaries assigned to our ward -  and we are starting a special class for Sunday School for investigators and recent converts.  It will be good!

By the way, there is an elder here in our ward named Elder Kamalu.  He is the piano player for the ward. He is AMAZING at the piano.  He can play any hymn with no music! During the sacrament meeting, he plays the hymns and adds improvised notes and at the same time he's just looking at the congregation the whole time. he doesn't even look down! Alright, enough of my jealousy!

  Well, that's all for now. We have some more investigators and hopefully at the end of December we'll have a few baptisms or dates set!   Maybe by the time you actually get this!  (which he did).
I love and miss you all -  Elder Gomez

Monday, December 13, 2010

Photos and update from Dallin


Email December 13, 2010
 Hola queridos amigos y familia,

How are you all doing? Probably super bien. Espero que si. This week was
really good for me...I´m in the mission field! On Friday we visited with The
familia Aceiton...Iris, the mom, is a recent convert and we have been
teaching her two kids, Barbara and Alvaro, and just recently her husband.
Well...on Friday we went to their house to teach them and they were all home
and their Christmas tree was up. They all came into the front room and we
taught them the gospel of Jesus Christ, faith, repentance, baptism, gift of
the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We went over Alma 7:14-17 with
them. The spirit was so strong, and they both accepted to be baptized. It´s
really neat, because they have accepted to be baptized before, but they
always lacked the permission of their faither. He didn´t want them to be
baptized, but in the last couple weeks we have talked to him and now he is
completely soft hearted and receptive. When we asked them if they would be
baptized on the 26th, they kind of nodded, but they were looking at their
dad kind of hesitantly...he finally asked them "¿Qué quieren?"  (what do you
want?)  And we knew then the we obviously had his permission. After that
they both accepted full heartedly. They are so ready. They don´t just think
that baptism is important...they UNDERSTAND it, they realize that this
church is the true and they understand why repentance, baptism, and the
other parts of this gospel are important. It´s pretty special. And the more
special part of it is that they are all doing this as a family. They spirit
was there and it was great! Their Christmas tree was shining bright and the
true meaning of Christmas made sense. They are going to have the most
special Christmas yet this year as the gospel has come into their lives.

I gave a talk in church on Sunday. It was on the birth of Jesus Christ. It´s
pretty humbling to get up in front of a Spanish ward and give a talk! When I
got up there I forgot Spanish for a second. Ha ha.

The people here are awesome. Sometimes you get in the habit of judging how
people will be before you even know them. I´ll be honest, I thought people
were going to be *different *here. Not in a bad way, just different. But in
the last month of so I´ve learned that everyone is similar. We are all
Children of God. They have the same problems, troubles, hopes, etc. The only
difference between people in the world is where they live, that´s it. That´s
why I always feel like I have tons of friends here.
I´m lucky being a missionary. Everywhere I go I have friends, it doesn´t
matter where. I already know ahead of time that everyone is my friend. It´s
pretty special...if I´m walking on the sidewalk and I feel like talking to a
friend, I stop and talk to the first person I see! And that´s what we´re
here for as missionaries. To be people´s friends and INVITE them to come
unto Christ. I emphasize that because honestly we´re not the ones doing
anything. We only invite and we hope that they accept the gospel. I hope we
all come to understand what it means to accept the gospel truly, and live by
it, and not be ashamed of it! (Romans 1:16) Go read the
scriptures. They´re better than any other book. I promise.



The photos are of:
-Me and Jose Daniel and Antonio. Two investigators that we found a couple
weeks ago. They are both 20 and really awesome. They are getting baptized on
the 26th. This was at a talent show that we had on Saturday. They have only
been playing the guitar for a couple weeks now but they are quick learners
and performed a song with my companion.
-Luis (in the Mickey Mouse shirt). He´s 36 and one of our investigators. We
found him on my first day in Chile and have been teaching him since. He´s
awesome.
-My Jedi companion
-Ward choir singing at the ward Christmas party. It was a blast.
-Iris, who was recently baptized, with Barbara (who just accepted to be
baptized), and Leo, who is 5.
-Us four gringos at the ward Christmas party. I was with Elder Phillips on
an (splits) interchange for one day so Elder Chavez missed the ward party. Elder
Phillips is the big guy with glasses. Elder Kamalu is in the bottom left.
And Elder Jennings is the bottom right.
-The smallest missionary in Chile. She´s the daughter of one of the ward
members here.

I hope everyone is having a lovely Christmas season and remembering why we
celebrate it. Because of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I would recommend to
everyone reading "The Living Christ" the statement that the apostles and
first presidency put out in the year 2000 about Jesus Christ and how today
He lives!


Love you all,
Hope to hear from you soon,
Elder Gomez








Saturday, December 11, 2010

Passages from Dallin's November 22, 2010 snail mail letter


It's hard to get people to come to church here because there's not a church here (in Labranza). It's in Temuco. About 20 minutes by bus. It costs 430 pesos. A little less than a dollar one way. So almost two dollars for a round trip, per person. It's a bit of a scarifice for people, but it's so good when they do come. The only problem is that they hardly ever do. We're praying and have big hope for the people we are teaching to come to church.

The gospel really does solve problems caused by this world. It's amazing how many people trust us. Missionaries truly are representatives of the Lord. Adults have talked to us about their serious marital problems; domestic violence, etc. And I know that when we come into houses, it's right at the perfect time. We came into one house of a new-ishly baptized family, and violence had JUST happened. We read some scriptures with them and talked to them.  It's been over a week later now and things are much better now. If they didn't have the gospel, I KNOW they would not be together still today.
Here's some information:
-Bugs are called “bichos” or “bichitos”. It's so funny whenever someone says it. It reminds me of Dad a bit. Ha ha.
-A lot of people are named “Camila” here - -so shout out to Camilla!
-Yesterday I met a “Naomi”, shout out to Naomi!
-The bus drivers are literally INSANE! I don't know how there are not massive numbers of deaths talked about every day on the news from people dying in bus accidents. They swerve in between people, they go crazy!
I still think that it's weird that you'll get this in 2 weeks. By then something new will have already happened here. And I won't get news that is important from you for a month! Like Camilla could be pregnant right now, we could have a Ferrari, Mom could be bald, and I wouldn't even know!!! Heck, I could already have a new baby nephew and not know about it! 
(YOU CAN TELL WHAT DALLIN EXPECTS OF US!) 

Well, I love you and adios for now, Your brother, your son, uncle, grandson, nephew, cousin -
Elder Gomez

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Misc. info


None of the packages have made it
but that´s alright, they will eventually. Don´t worry. On the 23rd we will
get mail for the 2nd time. The 23rd is cambios. (transfers) I´m guessing I´ll get 
all of the packages then with the Christmas
stuff. :D I´ll have a good two days of putting a little tree up. Ha ha. I
think I´ll keep it up after Christmas too.  I think we will also have a Christmas program 
with the whole mission on the 23rd...so
I´ll most likely see Elder McConnell there and receive letters....and yeah, it will be
fun.
Fruit here is really cheap
There is a cake here called pan de pasqua. It is gross. It is really dry
fruitcake. But a lot of people like it.
They like the same music as the United States. They really like rigatone.
It´s like pop/ rap.
They like leaving the tv on during every single meal.
Peanut butter is super expensive here.
They have good food, but their desserts....eh....they just need to try
different things. Those cookies from grandma are going to be a huge hit with
Elder Chavez!
To answer Carlos´s question about how many book of mormons I´ve given away.
Probably 15 to 20. We mainly give away pass a long cards.
 

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6th, email

December 6, 2010

Hello friends.

This week was great. The work of the Lord continues to move foward! Who to
talk about first?

Beto...ya...Beto is the husband of three active members. Daniela is his
wife, active, and his sons Kevin and Brandon who are active. We have been
teaching him for the last few weeks, and the last two weeks we walked all
the way to his house early in the morning before to church to pick him up.
We told him the night before we would, but he didn´t actually think we
would. His face was funny when we showed up at his door step all ready for
church. But it paid off because he went. And the next week (yesterday) we
did the same thing, and he came again! And in the last lesson we had with
him, it was neat. He has been reading the book of mormon wherever we ask,
and he really likes it. We had him read Alma 22 last, and he did. But the
thing he doesn´t want to do is pray. We really stressed praying and how we
can teach and teach and teach, but he won´t receive answers to his doubts
and questions until he prays! But....he would only commit to reading. He
didn´t want to commit to praying if he wasn´t going to do it. So our last
lesson, we went over Alma 22. He really really really liked it. And we
talked about the Holy Ghost. Hermano Catalan, the new ward mission leader,
came with us. He is a returned missionary from Quito Ecuador, and his wife
is also. She went to Antofagasta, Chile. He shared his conversion story
with
Beto and it was neat. Beto is ready...he´s ready to be baptized! We just
need to help him through it and help him see that it´s the completely
right
thing to do.

Jose Daniel is getting baptized on Dec. 26th! Whooh! And so is his friend
Tonio.....maybe. If he can stop smoking. When we challenged them to get
baptized, we taught them about faith, repentance, baptism, and the Gift of
the Holy Ghost, and then I asked them if they will follow the example of
Christ and be baptized on Dec. 26th. They said yes. And I was so happy!
Then
I told them that they would have to do something before they get
baptized...and Tonio immediately said, "No! I´m not going to stop smoking! I
won´t! Drinking yes, smoking no!" Hahaha. I was actually going to say "Go to
church"...but now that he mentioned it....ha ha. Oh man. Good times. The
coolest part was the end though...the prayer. Jose Daniel said it, and he
prayed that Tonio would be able to stop smoking. Que bueno! :) It was way
cool. And then Tonio told him thank you after. We gave him the church´s
program to stop smoking.

It´s weird to me sometimes while I´m in houses...I´ll mentally stop and sit
back and think...wait...these people don´t speak English, yet I still know
them so well and they are my friends! I think that´s part of the gift of
tongues. Understanding people and their feelings without necesarily
speaking
their language.
Pardon my spelling by the way, because words in Espanol are so easy to
spell...everything is just how it sounds. But in English, everything is
spelled differently than it sounds! Like necesarily...how do you spell
that???

One thing that is really special about this work of the Lord is how we
really are his representatives. Iris is a recent convert as of 2 months
ago.
Also her daugther Barbara 12, and son Alvaro 15, have been taught also, but
they haven´t had the permission from their dad to get baptized. Alvaro is a
little more hesitant about joining the church than Barbara, who really wants
to get baptized, but hadn´t had her dad´s permission. We went to visit them
yesterday and it was neat! Until yesterday, I had not actually met their
dad, Richard. But I had heard about how he is stubborn and somewhat
strict.
When I met him yesterday he was not at all how I imagined. He has been out
of a job for almost three months now, and they´ve had a rough time. Iris
hasn´t gone to church for two weeks, and we were worried about her and
tried
to visit her several times but never were able to find them home. We found
out that the reason Iris hasn´t come to church is because they haven´t had
money. She is doing just fine. We talked to Richard and he was so nice and
honest with us. Afterward my companion said he is a completely
different person than the last time. They basically just poured out their
hearts to us, two young boys. Every time I´ve visisted Iris she has cried
and bore her testimony to her family, and she did the same thing yesterday
too. She told her husband that she wants Barbara to get baptized because
Barbara has a testimony and she feels it´s true. When she said that I knew
right then that we had his permission to baptize his kids. He is a
different
person because of his wife, and the gospel in their home. We are hoping to
start teaching him also. Towards the end of the visit he said we are
welcome
in his home anytime. What a turn-around in his life.

Christ can heal any heart. He wants to, we just have to turn to him. I know
this church is true. Something that Richard G. Scott talked to us about
before I left the MTC is that pondering is not a waste of time. I have
started trying to "ponder" when we´re walking or whenever I have time
where
I can think. Like getting ready in the morning, or getting ready for bed, or
as I´m falling asleep. Pondering is powerful! Lately I´ve pondered about the
restoration. The first vision...different parts of Joseph Smith´s life. My
testimony of the restoration constantly grows!

What am I doing here in Chile? Are you going to serve a mission? Is the
church really true? Think about these things! I´ve thought about the first
one a lot...because it directly applies to me :) And I know that I am in
Chile for the truth that I need to share with these people. I know that
because of the experiences that I wrote earlier in this letter, and many
more countless experiences that I have experienced in my life and for the
last three months!

Hmm....any more parting words.... Just read the scriptures! They contain
amazing things in them! Solutions for every problem in life you can
imagine!
And I love you all!

Elder Gómez

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Doodads

Dallin has been trained his whole life to save stuff for scrapbooking - -
so here is what he sent home with his snail mail letter! :) Good boy!

PEOPLE in Chile, Dallin is getting to know and love !


November 15, 2010 handwritten letter sent  snail mail.
    Family! It's strange to think that you won't get this for at least a week (actually it was over two weeks). It's also strange to think about the last week. I'm on my mission! What's going on? It's good. We had some cool experiences this week where I could feel the spirit very strong, but then there's opposition. Dang opposition. Satan tries to wear on you any way he can. He doesn't want you out here so he'll do really ANYTHING to you out of here. The key - -work!
Alright, firstly, my companion, Elder Chavez.. He's a nice guy.  Though I don't completely understand him sometimes (in language and in personality – but more so in personality).
For awhile here, when we would tract and contact, if the person said they had a religion, my companion would just say, Oh alright... nice meeting you, chao. But every time I would think, “We have to do something more than that!” We know they have a religion, of course they do. But they don't have all of the truth. During the apostasy, many churches came about that have little pieces of truth here and there, but they are missing some vital truths, proper authority, correct baptism, prophets and apostles, etc. We have to find SOME WAY to get them to at least hear our message, the truth. So I read in Preach My Gospel about teaching skills and read over my notes from the messages the apostles gave us while in the MTC and I realized it is all about communication. Tell them quickly and correctly why you're here,  that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored on the earth in all it's correctness and fullness! 
So just yesterday, I decided I am not going to just take “I already have my religion, sorry.” I wanted to give the truth a chance! So just last night we were on this street and just about every door we knocked on, when they said they weren't interested, I kept asking questions until they were! But it was in a nice way of course. I really do love all of these people and I think people are surprised with our happiness and friendliness. 

We had some good lessons this week. First off my first lesson!  Her name is Angelica.  We had already talked to her once and she agreed to a return visit. We went to her house and her son was there with his daughter. (Angelica is 55 or 60). Oscar, and Alison. We taught them the first lesson and it was awesome. They all felt the spirit and I did too! Way strong. I didn't say a whole lot, but I did relate the first vision and said a few things here and there. They committed to reading 3rd Nephi 11 and pray about it. Hopefully they follow through on those!
    
Another man, Luis. He is 36 years old, loves to cycle, is not married, has a dog, lives alone. He's really cool and we contacted him while tracting. We taught him a lesson and showed him the restoration video and the spirit was there. He's really honest about his feelings about his life so far. He's lonely, wants to get married. He's great, successful, way nice, good looking, talented. I know he'll get married. And hopefully the gospel can help him find comfort. But he's a happy guy and we've only taught him the first lesson. Hopefully everything works out! 

We have visited a lot of inactive members also. At least one a day. President Swenson wants us to visit at least 5 per week. It's a thing they call “permanecer”. Ask dad what that means. (He said it means “Abiding”) It's good. 

We also get references from members - their friends and family who aren't members. My favorite member so far is Hermana Patricia. She's probably 50 or so. Her husband died a few years ago. He is Japanese. Anyway she is SO strong in the gospel. I love when people are. She's awesome. She's come with us to visit a neighbor of hers 3 times. But the neighbor hasn't been home or available so far. We'll keep trying.
I'm surprised at how strong some people are. There are several youth here who are either the only active member or member at all in their family.
There's a lady names Iris Acerton. She was baptized a few weeks ago. Her two kids – she has three, but one is only 5 years old – Alvaro and Barbara accepted to be baptized this week. Barbara is 12 and has a strong testimony, but one thing she lacks is permission from her dad! Grrrr... ha ha. And Alvaro is 15 and he has been a little harder to reach. Anyway, I'll tell you a little bit about how they accepted to be baptized. We went to their house a few days ago. We were hoping their dad was there also so we could teach/talk to him to allow his kids to be baptized. Mainly just Barbara needed permission. Anyway, he wasn't there. We watched the Testaments with them. It was awesome! Best movie EVER! Even in Spanish. The spirit was way strong. After the movie everyone just sat there silently for quite awhile. Like for AWHILE. The movie was just playing the song This is the Christ. 

Usually waiting like that makes me uncomfortable, but this waiting with Hermana Iris, Alvaro and Barbara was good. The spirit was there. I looked over at the family and my companion and everyone was crying. Alvaro and I weren't, but I was crying inside because I was so happy. Hermana Iris bore a strong testimony to her kids and it was SO neat! And then my companion bore a weepy testimony. Then I bore my testimony. Then we asked them if they would follow the example of Christ and be baptized on November 20th. Barbara said yes. I think she had already accepted but it was just her dad's permission she lacked. Her tears were just awesome! That's weird to say, but really. They were proof of how strong of a testimony a 12 year old can have. Next we asked Alvaro and he was thinking about it. His mom bore her testimony again and it was cool. She's so strong after only a few weeks of being baptized. Then Alvaro accepted! And he had a big smile on his face !
That all happened on Thursday or Friday and they committed to come to church.

Well, they weren't at church - -we don't know why. We called them, went to their house, they weren't there. Actually when we went, their 5 year old brother peaked out the window but no one answered. I'm scared that their dad has something to do with it. It's a strange situation. I can only just keep praying. 

Also – we have Adriana. She's 21, has a cute little daughter and has a testimony that the church is true, attends every week, has accepted every lesson, is reading the Book of Mormon. But she is not married to the guy she lives with. He works a lot, he's a bus driver. He wants to get married on February 11th... that's all she needs! She's so strong... just needs casarse!

We've tracted or contacted in the street probably 5 members that are inactive. There are a lot of those! The people here are so nice! Not everyone is interested in the gospel, but ANYONE who we start talking to is awesome. 

Let's see –what else? It gets pretty cold here. I still don't have any sweaters and I need them. I use my coat from Aida and Steve every day, so gracias!
It's crazy - -I've gone from living with 8 Elders in the MTC for two months to now I'm only with Elder Chavez in little Labranza alone. Elder Lusk and Sister Noxon from the MTC are in my zone, so I've seen them a couple times. Elder Laird is also in Temuco, and Elder Arnett too.  It's weird. They are my WAY good friends, and I wonder where they are and what they are doing all the time because I haven't seen them at all!
In case you want to look up where I am on a google map or something, I'm in Labranza, Chile. I'll go by size - - 30 minutes south of Temuco. That would be considered the main city you want to use to look it up. Concepcion is 5 hours north. I live on Los Caiquenes street in the last house on the left.
I have to leave soon, we are going to play soccer I think and then go to the mall. I need to buy sweaters. At least one.
To sum it up, I'm doing good. The more I do what I was called to do – the happier I am and the more success I have.  The more success you have, the happier you are again, and the more you understand your purpose!
By the way, feel free to email me too. Just try not to email too long.. (not much time on the computer) - -but emailing would be good because we only get mail when someone goes 5 hours up to Concepcion and gets all the mail for the southern areas. It takes a month sometimes down south because of that. So if you'd like, you can email. And again I am going to try to send pictures today. Cross your fingers!
I love you Mom and Dad and you Tali, Siera, Carlos, Naomi, Levi, Aida, Steve, Wes, Jacob and Camilla! Oh and the almost born little guy. :) Love, Elder Gomez