Shout out to TALI....Ms. Homecoming Queen you! and......HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEEEEEEEEVVVVIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!
It's been a while since I have been able to write you all. Here are some of the things that have been happening:
First off, I have been really focusing on my personal study lately and how I can study better. I remembered something that the old mission president's wife, Sister Swenson, told us. She said that a its not studying unless you have a pen/pencil and paper. Its true. A lot of the time I would just read the scriptures or Preach My Gospel, but I have started writing down thoughts, impressions, etc. more so that in the future I can receive those same feelings again...maybe when I need them even more. I am glad, however, that I have not missed my journal writing. I know that keeping a journal is so important. Think about it, what if the prophets in the scriptures wouldnt have kept journals? We wouldn't have the scriptures! I have been very blessed to be able to read back in my journal and see things in a different perspective and with different challenges at the time.
Another thing that I have pondered about is my mission...what my mission is. Even though I talk to people every day, it can still be a little nerve wracking. The other week I was praying about it and talking to my companion about it. And I had the spirit teach me that I gave my life to God for two years. That means that I need to open my mouth all the time and preach the gospel, and never close it. NEVER! I am here to tell as many people as I can about the restoration of the gospel. It doesn't matter if its uncomfortable to me, or if I am scared, I just have to do it. I will never regret it. Whether the person lets me in their house or slams the door in my face it doesn't change the fact that I was in the place the Lord wanted me to be, and that's all I needed to do. It was such a comforting feeling to realize that I gave myself to my Heavenly Father completely....and then I thought about and felt the blessings from giving him myself. He will take care of me for the rest of my life if I am faithful. He took my investment, and if I let Him, He will duplicate that by a hundred! Its so amazing what the gospel does for us! I am so so so so blessed.
We had a baptism this weekend. Carol (16) got baptised. She had a strong desire to follow Jesus Christ and get baptised. Her decision has helped her family a lot. Her mom is the only member in her immediate family and she has been inactive for 10 years or so, but her baptism has helped her start the way back to church. Also, her brother Juan (18) has decided to take the step of baptism as well :) In his exact words...(he came up to Carol and said) "Carol, I had hope that if you never got baptised we would be in hell together. But now that you are baptised you are leaving me alone with dad! I want to be with you and mom!" Ha ha. I dont think that's exactly how it works :D but it was good that he has made the decision to learn about the gospel to prepare for baptism. We are going to start teaching him so that he can drop his bad habits and get baptised.
At the end of last week, on Sunday, we were very tired from the weeklong work that we had done. We had knocked on a lot of doors and talked to a lot of people but without much luck at all. We kept going and at the VERY end of the week, the night of Sunday, September 11th to be exact, Rodrigo (15) let us in and we shared with him about the Book of Mormon. His mom, Maritza walked in the house after a few minutes and she looked so...sad. They were both very quiet and it looked like Maritza had some problems with a few commandments. We introduced the Book or Mormon and answered many of their questions and it turns out that Maritza has a brother who is a bishop in Talcahuano. By the end of the visit they were feeling a lot better and they were excited to read the Book of Mormon. I asked them if they ever feel like they are imprisoned in their life (emotionally or spiritually) it's kind of a weird question, but I know that it was the Holy Ghost that helped me ask it. Maritza right away said "yes, I do" and we explained how the gospel will help them escape these feelings. Again, I know that good things happen to those who wait and are diligent to the end. We wouldn't have found these two if we weren't diligent. Ether 12:6. AFTER the trial of our faith. Patience truly is a virtue.
We have been working a lot with Daniela (19), girlfriend of the branch president's son. She is progressing a lot, and she is to the point that she is praying to see if the Book of Mormon is true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet and if she should get baptised on the 1st of October. We asked her if she would be willing to be baptised on the 1st if she received an answer from the Holy Spirit that these things were true and she accepted. I know that she will receive an answer because she has shown her "real intention" to God. Its so rare to find someone here who is willing to follow the Lord whichever way he directs them. Daniela is awesome! Pray for her that she can get an answer!
Margaret (24) is going to get baptised on October 7th now. He baptismal date keeps moving forward because she isn't able to come to church. She managed to come church and I think that if she prays and thinks about it she can find a way to make it. She knows the church is true and is willing to keep all of the commandments and laws of the gospel, and she wants to come to church so bad but she has to take care of her old old grandpa. She feeds him and gives him medicine, etc. She also has two little boys who make it harder also. She does everything alone because she is a single mom. But we challenged her to maybe prepare all of the things on Saturday night to get ready for Sunday so she can come. She will come this week I know it! She committed to it!!
HEY!! I just realized that there is a song about this....."♫♪ Saturday is a special day. It's the day we get ready for Sunday ♪♫" We are so going to sing this for her this week.
The next major thing to talk about is the 18th of September!!!!! It's only the biggest holiday of the year here! It is the equivalent to our 4th of July...but they take it to another level! It's a four day thing, from the 16th to the 19th, and they pass it partying and making empanadas, barbequing....etc. We had a ward activity and it was really good. The branch president came and for the first time in a long time he was really impressed with the excitement of the branch. The branch is growing! People are humbling themselves again and coming back to church which makes us so happy! The Lord is helping us have the wisdom to know what to do and where to go. One crazy thing that happened was that as we were getting ready for some games behind the court, all of the sudden this glass beer bottle fell onto the ground right next to my companion. He had just BARELY taken one step away for some reason...because the bottle would have nailed his head. It broke all over the soccer court....then all of the sudden three or four more came flying over and almost hit people. It was intense! But we were all ok. What party crashers!
Crazy story- We were almost asleep one night when all of the sudden the whole pitch black bed room lit up like day time. It was a strike of lightning. A couple seconds later thunder came and shook everything. This wasnt like any thunder I had ever heard before! It was so powerful. This thunder lasted about ten seconds and it shook everything! We were so confused what had just happened and then we finally just decided that it was just a lightning strike. A few minutes later it happened again and the same thing happened! I guess that is just the normal thunder here! Heh.
Something happened this week that I have been waiting for for a year now! We found a man that randomly lives in Australia. He is 65 years old and moved to Australia 35 years ago. His English was good but he still has a heavy Spanish accent. He was impressed by our Spanish and what we do. He has known a lot of Mormons in his life and he told us how good of people they are. He asked how long we have spoken spanish and we told him and he was just so shocked. He asked how we have learned it and so we told him that we pray every single day for the gift of tongues and God helps us a lot. He asked us about our religion and how it started and He said "you have so much faith! People in your church are so much better off that those in my church! In my church, we just go to church, leave, and forget God completely until the next week...and that's an ACTIVE member of our church! But in your church you guys are actually good people and remember God all the time!" Our examples go a long way.
And the thing that I have hoped for...the man told me as I was explaining the restoration "your Spanish is completely perfect! After one year in Australia I was still mute!" I was like yeeeeesss! :D Thank you Heavenly Father for helping me. (by the way I am far from perfect in Spanish, but I am glad that whatever I said sounded good! ha ha)
Yesterday for p-day we went into the country to find dihueñes. They are a type of fungus that grows on a certain type of trees. They are little whiteish balls, and you make salad with them. They are really good. We wandered all over the hills of Chile. It was a blast. Pictures of the experience are attached.
President Martinez and Sister Martinez have been raising the bar a lot here in the mission. It is really neat to see the change in all of us missionaries. We had the internet fast last week to help purify and santify us to have the spirit. We have been focusing on that a lot. We are striving to become real men (and women) of God.
Love you all,
There have been many experiences recently when I have been in a lesson and I think about a certain scripture...but the only problem is that I have no idea where it is. So I open the scriptures hoping and praying that I can find it and sure enough within a few seconds there it is. The guidance of the Holy Ghost is important. I know that it can guide us in EVERYTHING if we let it.
The other thing I have thought of this week (because I have to have two tender mercies this week because I missed one) is just how Heavenly Father helps me every day to become a good teacher. I also teach the Sunday school classes in the ward and I am a horrible teacher! The first class was a little risky but the last two classes have gone smoothly. I have hope that my weaknesses will one day because strengths, like it says in Ether 12:27. We just have to be humble and come unto him. I know its true.
-me with "chancho", a dog of some members here who always sleeps on top of their car :D
-me with a chancho....(chancho means pig :D) A member family killed this pig and we had a barbeque after Carol's baptism.
-Baptism of Carol! Her mom's families are all members. She is awesome. She had such a big desire to get baptized it was neat! Now, her example is rubbing off to her brother. He is going to be baptized on October 8th.
-Carol with her mom, Elder Cottrell, her brother Juanito (who is going to get baptized) and Xander, her cousin.
-Happy baptism cake!
-Our investigator, Daniela, at the ward activity. She helped cook the meat!
-Us after one of the games we played for the ward activity.
-They have a lot of patriotism which I like a lot!
-Searching for dihueñes....Patricio and his crazy tree climbing skills.
-Me and my greenie in the greenie Chilean country side! (get it ha ha)
-Making a long pole to knock down the dihuenes (the fungus' that grow on the trees. They are tastey)
-So beautiful it hurts!
-DIHUEÑES!!!! Those are the little things we are trying to get!
-Me and my stick
-My attempt at climbing a tree :D