July 11, 2011
HEY everyone! How is it going!?
The week started off by us welcoming in our new mission president, President Martinez! We had a conference to meet him and his family. He is a man from here in Chile, in Los Angeles, actually only about an hour away from where I am right now in Santa Barbara. He is pretty young for a mission president....only about 35-40 yearss old. His wife is amazingly nice and tender and he has three kids who are 9, 7, and 4. They are really cute and funny. I'm really excited to learn a lot from them.
In the same conference we were able to receive training from the assistants and we talked about bringing the spirit to the most important parts of the lesson, especially the first vision. One of the assistants is Elder Rubilar. He is a great example to me and has become one of my good friends..I'll attach a picture of him. He is one of the most hard working missionaries I know...if not THE hardest working! He called me this week to ask if I would share something at the conference about obedience...one thing that I have been obedient to in the mission and that has blessed me. It was a cool experience.
As part of almost every conference, we hear the testimonies of the missionaries that are leaving. Elder Rubilar is leaving but he didnt get up...I didnt know why, so at the VERY end of the conference I said, "Hey, what about you Elder Rubilar?! How about your farewell speech?!" And everyone said, "yeah!" So he got up stubbornly and shared probably one of the strongest and firmest testimonies that I have ever heard in my life! It was very short and very strong! He is so sad to be leaving. He thanked me afterward for getting him to do it. He said he knew he had to do it but he didnt want to. I think he's like in denial that he's leaving the mission so soon! Ha ha. But his example will always stick with me as someone who has given EVERYTHING to the mission and is working until the very end. He loves this work so much and he loves the Savior.
This week was action packed. It was one of the best weeks of my mission. I dont know how to explain it really. Nothing really SUPER interesting happened...its just that me and my companion got so lost in the work it was great. Santa Barbara needs a lot of work so there is plenty to do. We did a bunch of service projects this week from painting cars, chopping wood, to tilling gardens. It was really neat to have that opportunity to grow to love people more through service! We also taught a lot of lessons! One of the men who we helped is named Ernest who we found yesterday. He is an old man who I saw working in the yard who looked way too old to be doing what he was doing, so I stopped and yelled to him and asked if we could help him. He said "no, no, thats alright." I said..."no, I'm serious! We are here to help you. We would love you help you with your yard right now." "no, no" "but really! We are representatives of Jesus Christ and we are here to serve you. Please let us come in there and help out!" "no, no, you can keep doing whatever it is you guys do." "PERFECT! This is what we do! We serve!"......it went on like that for a couple minutes....he was so stubborn. I have found that the key to reaching most stubborn people is to...be MORE stubborn! So he finally let us in and he put us right to work with a shovel and a hoe. We tilled a giant piece of land and during it I was able to get to know him and I found out that he has heart problems and he is in pain all over his body. His doctor told him not to work anymore. We actually came in a moment very precise to help him because he didnt know how he was going to be able to finish all of the tilling. His wife had made us a small supper by the time we were finished and we went in and we had a great visit with them. We gave them a picture of Jesus Christ and taught a little lesson and prayed with them and gave them our phone number and we made sure that he understood that whenEVER he needs help he has to call us and not try to do it on his own.
It just makes me so sad that there are people like him that have no choice but to work....even when they shouldnt be.
So like I was saying, this week was great. We found many new investigators and they are all great! One of our goals this week for me and my companion was to follow the schedule exactly. It paid off and we were happy. We had SEVEN inactive members come back to church which was just great :) We hope to keep that up. There have been so many miracles that have happened. Many times when we were guided by the spirit literally-
As soon as we left the house one morning, we headed straight over to one inactive member's house (Rafael) because not everyone in his family are members of the church. We got to what we thought was his house, and we knocked, and another guy came out, Patricio. Patricio is actually Rafael's brother. So we knocked on the wrong house. Rafael lives on the same street but a few more houses down. Anyway, It was definitely a mistake guided by the spirit, because right off the bad Patricio started talking about how him and his wife Alejandra were thinking about coming back to church this Sunday (for the first time in years) and they wanted to talk to us. And they also want to start preparing to go to the temple to be sealed AND they had a golden reference for us, Ismael. Ismael is Patricio's best friend whose brother just commited suicide this week, and he wants to come to church and prepare to be baptized. We set up an appointment to meet with him and Ismael later that day and we did, and we had a lesson with them both and yesterday (Sunday) they all came to church! (Patricio 27, Alejandra 25, their little boy Xander 6, and Ismael 21!...and also Rafael 40, and his sons, Camilo 18 and Alan 11) Alan is not a member but he is going to get baptized now on the 30th of this month! It was a huge blessing to see them all in church.
Right after we found Patricio, we felt like we should knock the doors on a certain street, and the first house we knocked on, Yislen opened the door. She was cleaning the house, but she told us that we could come back in about 20 minutes and she would talk to us. So we came back 20 minutes later and taught her all about the restoration and the first vision and the Book of Mormon. We answered a lot of her questions because her dad is an Adventist, her mom is Evangelical, and her boyfriend is Catholic. She is just kind of in the middle. We asked her to close her eyes and picture everything that we were going to describe with the first vision. She did it and it was incredible. The spirit was there and she was touched. When we gave her the Book of Mormon and invited her to read 3 Nephi 11. She is excited for us to come back so she we can talk about how the chapter was.
AND, the coolest part about all of this is that on Saturday night we found out that Yislen is our investigator, Mitsi's SISTER! Mitsi is our investigator who wants to get baptized already, and now we randomly found her sister! We were so shocked but excited when we found out. Yislen doesnt know that her sister is going to get baptized or even that we have ever talked to her sister, so we are excited to tell her! I know that we were led by the spirit to knock on that certain street.
We were also helped this week on about three different nights, when we were walking back to our apartment in the dark and we felt very strongly not to go certain ways...ways that we normally use. I know we were protected.
Cool random fact: We called Mitsi and her almost-husband, Patricio on Saturday and it turns out that they were going to be out of town for Sunday because they were visiting Patricio's old town and ward, O'Higgins. So they would go to church over there. It just turns out that that is Elder Ryley Boman's ward, so I called him and told him that they would be coming, and to watch out for them and welcome Mitsi really warmly. He called me back and told me that they came and it was great. Awesome!
One day this week was pretty crappy.... I stepped in dog poop three times!
Funny story- We tracked into an older lady who thought us mormon missionaries do black magic because one time years ago she talked to missionaries and a blonde American missionary did a coin trick for her....(like made it disappear out of his hand or pulled it out of her ear or something) and she believed that it was real magic! Then later that night she said that a blonde dog came into her room and ripped out her soul and took off with it. Supposedly it was because of the missionary's trick earlier on that day. Anyway.....it is kind of a funny story but at the same time it strengthen my testimony of all of these little tiny mission rules that sometimes we don't think people will notice, but in reality they are important!
What happened with the lady is we actually ended up getting into her house because we told her that we are representatives of Christ and we wanted to say a prayer with her and give her a nice picture of Jesus Christ. We got in and we shared for a few minutes with her and her family and I think she feels better now about mormons. Hopefully :)
Tender Mercy- The blessings of service. It can change lives. You can be a tender mercy for people who you may not even imagine. If you ever have a thought or feeling to help someone in any way, do it! Because its the Holy Ghost telling you to because that person needs you. For real.
I love you all! Have a great week.
Elder Dallin Gomez :)
-Elder Cottrell with Yislen, our new investigator. He saw that she had a sega dreamcast and he was way excited so he had to get a picture. Ha ha.
-Me...with a giant hotdog.
-A dog taking a sun bath.
-Me learning the art of car painting...obviously facing the sun.
-Me and Elder Rubilar, an incredible missionary!
-Statue of Bernardo O'Higgins, a very very important man in Chile's history. He was an important man for Chile to gain their independence.