I can´t even begin to write the number of miracles that happened this week. It has FLOWNNNNN by. I feel like very single week time is passing faster and faster.
We had the neat chance to be in a capilla abierta the past week. This is an activity and Elder Wattles and I had the job of talking to people in the neighborhood and inviting them to come tour the church building. The activity was from 4 to 8pm, and we had gone all out inviting people to come, but we hadn't had much luck. In the last 20 minutes, we felt impressed to walk to a park and try and talk to the people playing. We tried with a few families, but they didn´t want to come with us. With maybe 10minutes left in the activity, we saw a man sitting on a bench and decided to go talk to him. We sat next to him and started to talk about his life and how he was doing and he started to tell us about his situation. He told us he was homeless and had been living on the street for a few months. He said that he didn´t feel like there was anything left in life for him and that he had tried to commit suicide that very same morning. We shared with him the importance of our lives, and our divine potential and he agreed to come with us to the activity. The missionaries taught him more about God and Jesus and the healing power of the atonement. During the activity, I felt like we didn´t have any success because we hadn´t gotten many people to come with us. I was able to see the blessings of working until the very end. Imagine if we would have given up and ignored the impression and not went into the park. Our testimonies can help other people and it is important to keep working until the very end even though we might feel like the fruits will never come.
Another little miracle that happened yesterday. About a week ago, we contacted a mom in the doorstep of her house during a division with Elder Burrnet. Yesterday night, we were close to her house after finishing with an appointment, and we felt like we needed to stop by to see how she was doing. We got to the house, yelled halo and she came out in tears. She told us that after 22 years of living in her house, she and her family where being evicted because the previous owner had died her children had somehow claimed the house. They had to move the next day. We shared about how obedience brings blessings and how God takes care of us when we are faithful. We asked her if we could offer a prayer to bless her and her house and she invited us in. Once we were inside, we offered a prayer with her and her whole entire family of 10 people then shared about our purpose
as missionaries. It strengthened my testimony of the spirit to know that we had been guided to her house right when she needed comfort.
Being a missionary is marvelous. I am loving every single second of life. I hope you guys are great too! Thank you for the continued support and love. Keep writing and sending pictures!
I have been really enjoying the week here. We recently had changes and I am now with Elder Wattles in Los Raulies! Elder Wattles is a new missionary and I am training him. We get along crazy well and he has been teaching me a bunch of funny Californian words and helping me be more patient. I am super blessed to train him. We are in a whitewash, or a brand new area, which has made the daily routine and bit interesting. We have to find people to teach, so we spend the majority of the time looking for references, contacting people in the street and scanning the list of members. We have lots of plans to strengthen the ward so we have been throwing lots of little activities too like a ping pong competition, pizza night, you name it. It has been super fun and super tiring. I come home every single night exhausted. I am trying to teach Elder Wattles as many things as possible, and now I know that it is a hard job to be a dad. Not just with the lessons and our daily duties, but with the Spanish too. It is hard to speak Spanish the majority of the day when it isn´t your first language. The good thing is Elder Wattles is a super, super good guy that not just speaks Spanish well, but that also understands the gospel and loves it. I am blessed. Sorry for the short email.
Be safe! Love you guys!
I don`t want to take a lot of time this week, but I want to have you all do something for me. During the last interview day, the wife of our mission president had us do this activity and I absolutely loved it.
Wait till you are alone or in a calm environment. If you are busy or distracted now, do it later.
Read this paragraph out loud.
God is my Heavenly Father. I am His child. He has a body of flesh and bone that is glorified and perfected. He loves me. He weeps with me when I suffer and rejoices when I do what is right. He wants to communicate with me, and I can communicate with Him through sincere prayer.
That`s it. It is super powerful right? Do you really feel like he loves you? Do you think he really weeps when you suffer and rejoices when you do what is right? I know we don`t always feel like he does, but as a representative of him, I want to tell every single person that reads this that HE LOVES YOU. You are here for a reason and a purpose! Don`t get discouraged when you feel like things aren`t going well because you are part of a divine plan and play an important role here on the Earth. Keep your head up and strive every single day to be a better person and follow the example of Jesus Christ his son. I promise the blessings will come.
I love you all very very much.
To the beloved fam and whoever else still reads these,
I ate a big hot dog today, tried to climb a hill and I am super tired. That is a summary of my day.
The week was a whole lot cooler than today. We were able to do a lot of things. I´m not sure if you guys remember, but my companion Elder Rei and I made a list of all the people that the missionaries visited in the area book that we have and we named it Oveja Perdidia. We also have a list of all the members in the limits, and we have been going all out to find people. Let me tell you I feel so so great with how the week went. we were able to talk to so many different people in the street and in their doorsteps and a few inside the house!
I feel like this week was an answer to a prayer. I struggle with feeling good enough. A lot of the times I feel sad or discouraged because I think that God isn´t happy with me because I´m not the best missionary ever. I was able to do divisiones for the day with Elder Castillo, my second comp in the mission field. He is serving as assistant now. I love that guy. He is so very loving and he expressed real concern for my doubts and worries. He helped me get my head up and work harder this week.
I think, to answer your question mom, my favorite lesson this week happened in divisiones. Elder Cale, a missionary from Kentucky that lives with me, and I were contacting a street looking for a few people after all of our citas had fallen through. We knocked on a door, a man came out, and before we could even introduce ourselves, he invited us into his house. We sat down at his table and stared to talk and we shared a short message about the Book of Mormon. He didn´t talk much but I know our message really helped him. I also really loved another lesson that we had with a man named Bennie. Once again, we were out contacting and we decided to contact the very last door in the street. a man named Bennie came out, and we started to talk about his life. He told us that his children were in the hospital and we were able to explain to him the healing power of the gospel and how it could comfort him. we are going to go visit him again later this week!
We are finding a ton of people to teach, we are organizing lots of things with Bishop. It feels so stinking good to be part of a good cause and feel productive. I am loving life.
After I finished writing you all last week, we went to President Gwilliam´s house to celebrate our one year mark with the other missionaries in our group and it was great. Hermana Gwilliam had the elders pick avocados from the avocado tree in their yard, and afterwards we had a huge lunch with the hermanas. They served us sloppy joes with salad and an oatmeal cake. Hermana Gwilliam is a great cook. Afterwards, all the sisters went to go watch Beauty and the Beast with Hermana Gwilliam, and we somehow convinced President to take us to the mountain range. He took us to a park in the lower part of the mountains and we did a short hike to a lookout point. It was interesting to hang out with President in such an unprofessional setting. Also, after so much time of not seeing more than a park, being in real nature made me real happy. What a beautiful world we live in!
During the week we were able to have a really neat experience while we were contacting. We went to the house of a few people we had talked to in the street a while ago, and when we got there, one of them wasn't there, and the other didn't want to receive us, so we left a bit discouraged to try and find another person. On the way, a teenage boy stopped us in the street and asked us "How can I become a member of your church?". We took him to the chapel right away and shared about the restored gospel and the blessings of it. We have started teaching him now, (Jean is his name). It is interesting how God lead us to that point. sometimes things don´t go how we want so they can go the way God wants. I testify of it.
Also, this week I almost burned our house down. I miss my mom´s banana bread, but it is hard and expensive to send banana bread from to South America so I had to cook it myself. I made the dough, and the recipe said that it needed to be in the oven for 70 minutes. We put it in and left the house to look for lunch knowing that we had lots of time. When we got back, there were 30 people out in the street and when they saw us the screamed for us to hurry up. We got to the house, and the neighbor had jumped the gate and was throwing buckets of water through the window. We opened our house and all the windows and we found out that I had put too much dough and it had spilled after raising and started to burn. We saved the banana bread and the house .
I also got to do my sixth baptizmal interview with a 14 year old girl named Alanis, it snowed here for the first time in 20 years, a random man from Iraq gave me a scarf. Lots of happy little blessings.
The week has been great. Love you all and I hope that you have good weeks too!
I had my first Sunday here in Las Acacias and it was interesting to see all of the members and what we have to work with. There about 30 members that go, and a lot of less actives that we are going to need to help. Elder Rei and I have the goal to raise the amount to 50 in the next 4 weeks which is going to be an interesting challenge.
Here in this sector, we have a lot of blocks with small apartment complexes. It is one of the more dangerous parts of the mission, so we can't have our cameras or take money with us anywhere. Everywhere we go there are groups of men drinking and listening to Spanish rap music and they yell things to us in English. Last night, someone tried to break into our house through the roof, but Elder Tilgham and I banged on the roof with planks of wood and ran out to the patio with kitchen knifes and they had gotten away. It adds a big of excitement to the routine, so we are all good. The Lord will protect us if we are obedient.
We have planned a mega update of the area books. We made a huge list of all the people and we called it "Operación Oveja Perdida" or, Operation Lost Sheep. We have been doing lots of services and contacts and I have been getting to know all of the investigators and members, and I know that I am blessed to have so many things to do to keep me busy! We are going to get a lot of things done this next week.
My invite for this week is to avoid being wordly. Do not absorb yourself and your life in things that don't have value. Dedicate all the time that you can to worthy causes, putting the gospel first. God promises us blesses following our dedication to him. Be someone that the Lord can trust and that knows will listen and obey.
Love you all very very much. Keep happy and smiling!
1. My comp and I chillin
2. My favorite past time
3. A fish tank I cleaned
Well, after almost 5 months in Las Avenidas, we had changes. Now, I am in La Pintana, one of the more dangerous parts of Santiago with Elder Rei, a Brazilian from Sao Paulo, that has 11 months in the mission.
It was hard to leave, but I am happy. I got to end my time in Las Avenidas with the baptism of Gustavo and Ximena, a Colombian couple that I taught a few times with the sisters during lunch appointments. Four months before their baptism, I shared 2 Nephi 25:17 with them, a scripture that talks about the restoration. I love seeing how the fruits of efforts develop. It is something that the Lord is helping me appreciate more.
The baptism was crazy. The hot water wasn't working, and in Chile it is Winter right now, so it was a problem that needed to be fixed. We worked on the heat for a good 45 minutes but nothing was working, so we started heating kettle pots of water on the stove in the chapel and pouring them into the font so that the water would be a little bit warm. We decided to offer a prayer, and afterwards we started to mess with the heating again, and discovered a panel underneath of batteries. We ran to a hardware store, bought batteries, plugged them in, and it worked. HOT WATER. Interesting how the Lord tested our patience. Everything has a reason.
During the service, Elder Gonzlez, the sisters and I, sang a special musical number. We sang the song, When I am Baptized and during the middle of the song, the sister´s phone rings, and on the screen it said President Gwilliam (our mission president). The Saturday before the changes, President calls to give assignments and when Hermana Maldonado saw his call, she almost fainted and Hermana Cribbs stopped singing and so did Elder Gonzalez. I was the only one that kept singing and those that know me know I am not the best singer. Anyways....
This week I was studying a lot about the story of Moses and the bronze serpent. All that the people had to do to be cured was look. Just look. That simple action healed them from the venom of the snakes. God has given us a simple solution that fixes all of our difficulties. Are we willing to just look? I feel like as humans we don´t trust God enough and we try and solve everything by ourselves. The thing is, those who have "looked" can tell you that trusting in God and following his plan is not just an easier plan, but also more effective. God will not try and force you to follow him. Don´t expect that the solution will come from doing nothing. Be active with your faith and "look" this week whenever you feel down or overwhelmed.
Love you guys a bunch
This week I was thinking a lot about confidence because it is a struggle I have sometimes. It is a struggle that a lot of people have often. We look at the accomplishments and achievements of other people and we begin to judge ourselves and lose confidence. This week was fast Sunday, and I prayed for an answer about how to feel more confident. My prayer was answered with a big feeling of peacefulness. The power of fasting is real.
During this week we had a great day planned with lots of different appointments and people to visit, but as the day went on every single one of the things we had to do fell through, and we arrived to the house a bit discouraged for how the day had gone. Not sure why, but I was thinking about the phrase, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you really think about it, there is beauty in everything! It is hard to see sometimes but it´s always there, we just need to learn to have grateful hearts.
This week we were able to have a special experience doing some contacts. We decided to talk to a man in the street named Jose and after about 20 seconds, he invited us to come into his house (something that rarely happens). We sat down, and poor Jose breaks out in tears saying that his girlfriend doesn´t want to be with him and he feels forgotten and alone and wanted answers. We talked to him about the sincere and real love that God has for him. It really moved me to see how humble he was and how he honestly wanted answers. It reminded me of the scripture in Alma 32 when Alma was teaching the Zoramites. "He beheld with great joy; for he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them, and that they were in a preperation to hear the word. If you feel like God is humbling you right now, he probably is trying to teach you something.
Life is good and Chile has a good soccer team. Things are great.
Love you all a whole bunch,
To explain the subject line, I complete a year in the mission today. A year ago today I started. I don´t like it, but hey it happened. I would like to think that the mission is going to last forever because I have been changed so much for the better, but all good things have got to come to an end right?
The last week we had some problems with running into the Sisters during visits with the members and over the limits of the sector, so we decided to try something crazy and take out the limit. For those of you that don´t understand, we have a ward, or area that is divided into two spaces. One of these spaces is the Sister missionaries´ sector. The other ours. Right now we have the whole entire 15 by 10 blocks shared between the 4. We did it with the intent to find more people to teach and my word did it work. We had a week full of miracles.
We decided to get ready by making a list of all the people that the missionaries had taught before that we didn´t know. We established a system of strikes. If we can´t find the person after going to their house 3 times, we take them off the list. We did the same thing with the contacts that the missionaires had written down. We went passing for these houses, contacting people in the street and trying to find less active members too and that is basically how we occupied the week.
The past thursday it rained here and we were out using this list in the street and got completely wet from head to toe. I have a wicked flu right now. I lost my voice, my nose was running super bad and I had a really bad cough, but the members that we visited gave me medicine and I am back to normal now.
We were able to find a lot of really good people which makes me psyched out. It is so nice when people have honest desires to improve their lives and they make sacrifices to do it. Here is a list of the people we found.
SERGIO: A 51 year old blond haired construction worker that lives with his wife Erika in the 19 floor of their department building. Sergio loves to play tennis and cook and he and his wife have been married for 16 years. Erika was bautized when she was young, and introduced the church to Sergio. Sergio has been going to church for almost eight months now, but never has taken the steps to be baptized. One day after sacrament meeting, we talked to him, and he invited us over to lunch. After the lunch, we taught him about how the true church of Jesus Christ, once lost is now restored and all the blessings we can have because of it. It was an incredible lesson. That guy is so ready and willing to take steps of faith and keep learning. We are going to his house every single saturday now
Nicholas and Livia: A young couple that just moved in to San Miguel four years ago. We found them through the list of people that we made. It was 9 oclock at night and we decided to try calling them to see if we could visit. We had never met them before. The answered right away, and told us they were home and that they would love us to come. Livia also was baptized when she was young, but stopped going because she didn´t want to make new friends when they moved. She and Nicholas are super great people and are really religious. We taught them about the love of God and the desires he has for us to be happy. We have a cita with them tomorrow.
Those are just two. There are some others, but I am running a bit short for time.
Yesterday we had a super spiritual experience that I want to summarize for you guys.
We were in the street going to a lesson with Benjamin, a youth that was baptized last november, and we felt impressioned to visited the family of the Relief Society President. We get to the house and the woman we were looking for was not even home, but her sister Carolina was. We asked her if we could share something short, she let us in, and we shared with her Romans 8:38 and 39 (a great verse. Go read it now). We testified about the love that God and Jesus have for her, and she started crying. She told us that she had been super sad lately because her health has not been the best and that she was going through some other family problems. She told us that we arrived just at the right moment and she needed to hear the the reasuring message that God and Jesus really did love her and were there for her. I can say without a doubt that the Spirit led us to that house. We need to do all within our reach to be worthy of the Spirit in every moment so we can be an instrument in God´s hands to bless others.
Life couldn´t be better. My cheeks hurt from smiling. Love you guys a bunch