Family and Friends,
At 10 o´clock Tuesday morning, June 5th, my flight will land at the Springfield Airport and I will be back home. My missionary service has come to an end. I am reporting on my mission on Sunday, June 10th at 1pm at my church on Cox Road. I would love to see you all there.
I don´t have sufficient words for how I feel right now. It is a bit difficult to explain how one feels in the last few days of their mission. I LOVE the Chilean people with all my heart and it will be very hard to leave this second family. I have learned so many things and met so many good, kind people. However, as my last few days pass by, I am optimistic and excited for my future. I have learned so many things here that will help me....managing a budget, doing laundry, cooking for myself, sacrifice, endurance, hard work, service, charity, dealing with disappointment, the importance of constant scripture study, personal prayer, church attendance and how to recieve personal revelation. I am so grateful for these lessons and the experiences of my mission that fostered them.
I don´t regret having served a mission the slightest bit. I have seen many people change their lives and in the process have changed mine. I love my Savior Jesus Christ, and I am indebted to Him. I have felt and seen the power of His atonment. I know that as I follow and apply His teachings, I am truly happy and will be found worthy of eternal life at the final judgement.
He lives! He suffered every pain imaginable that way we don´t have to.
Elder Batista and I had an amazing week. God has blessed us so much in our efforts. The weather in Santiago has been cold and rainy, but this last week we worked hard and dedicated a good time to looking for references and finding people.
Carolina, Abel and Anais are progressing very well. The came to the ward activity and English class. This past Monday, we taught them about the gospel of Jesus Christ. They had questions about authority and baptism. We were able to review the restoration of the priesthood through John the Baptist to Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith. After understanding, they commited to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ and are preparing themselves to be baptized on June 23rd. Testifiying of the gospel fills me with peace. I know that God's plan for us is clear. I am thankful for the Book of Mormon that clears up the confusion and serves as another testament of His divinity and existence. Anybody that really loves the Savior and studies Him will accept The Book of Mormon, another testament of Him, gratefully and with open arms.
I love you all very much. I can´t wait to see you this upcoming week.
QUE PASA CHIQUILLOS!!!!!
ESPERO QUE SIGAN LEYENDO MIS CORREOS
I didn`t get to put everything I wanted to in my email last week. I wanted to talk a bit about William.
William is the boyfriend of Nicole Solis Zumba. Nicole is a member of our ward in Los Nogales. She always brings her boyfriend, William, to the church meetings. William is such a great guy! He has longer hair, is quieter, really respectful, and very intelligent. He is almost always with his girlfriend, and one day that we had lunch with all of them, we decided to share about the restoration of the gospel with William. William said he wanted to be baptized, so we sent a referral to his house which is in the community of Renca. The missionaries went by his house, started sharing with him there, he started going to church close to his house, and after two weeks, HE WAS BAPTIZED!!!!! We didn`t get to go to his baptism, but seeing the picture was amazing. He has expressed desires to serve a mission too!!! Great guy
This week, we hit it hard with the planning. We wrote down a list of about 15 people that we are going to visit. We found a few, a few others no. I am really happy about a family of four that we found! It is a young couple that has 2 children. We are going to help them come back to church, and baptize their kids. I hope we can get them sealed eventually.
Sofia had a few family problems, but she is holding in there strong, as happy as ever. She came to church last sunday with Felipe which was really cool because we thought she wouldn`t be able to anymore with her family problems.
Love you guys very very much!
Well everyone, here I am again.
On Thursday, we had a special leader meeting with President Gwilliam in the office of the mission. We have two of them every change and we talk about how the mission is doing, and how we can improve. This time dedicated the majority of the time to planning how as a mission we can involve the members of the church better in our work. When we work with the members, we have more success. more people are baptized, the lessons are more powerful, the investigator makes friends in the ward. The problem in our mission isn´t the lack of members, cause we have a pretty good amount in every ward, it is just putting our schedules together. Lots of people work and are only available late at night, like after 8 o´clock. We have improved in our sector. We are doing family nights with the members and investigators, and it has been going well! We want every member to have a friend in the ward, and to feel the spirit in the testimonies of the members.
After we left the mission office, I went with Elder Concecao to La Blanca for our divisions. We had a great day together. We taught an investigator named Johnny that has since been baptized, and did some contacts. The next morning I stayed in the sector, because Pierre was be baptized. We made all of the preparations for the baptism, filled up the font, cleaned the capilla. The bautismo was an amazing experience. It was so spiritual to see Pierre be baptized after so much work. He was happy and laughing as always. I know that he is going to be a great addition to the ward and that he is going to help many people.
The next day, we had a capilla abierta and I teamed up with Elder Longhurst and Elder Gates and we contacted as hard as possible for 3 hours. At the very end, we found an amazing family of Peruvians that now the elders are teaching!
I also killed a mouse that night in our house.
We had the first zone meeting of the change the next day and in the presentation questions we asked, “When were you baptized”. Almost half of the missionaries in our zone are converts! A ton of them got baptized in 2014 which was really neat to see. The church is growing.
I am out of time for today, but I love you guys a ton! Stay safe!
Here I am again writing a group email. Time is moving at a disrespectfully fast rate. The weeks are going by in blurs and the days seem like minutes. I wake up, and before I know it I am laying down again.
This week started out with divisiones. We had a plan to do a big division between all the zone leaders in the north sector of the mission to be able to know how the other zones are working and discuss how to fix problems together. The original plan was that I would be with Elder Lazarte (Argentinan) in our sector Los Nogales, but everything went down the tubes because one missionary decided to go with another and not follow the plan. I ended up going on divisiones with Elder Hendrix. He was my last companion, and we went to La Cisterna, which was my last ward. It was pretty much like going back home after a trip. I slept in the same bed, I walked the same streets. We had some pretty interesting lessons together. We talked to a woman that had been seriously abused by family members. So much so, that she said she felt incapable of forgiving them. We talked about forgiveness, and repentance, and invited her to church so she could receive support. She said she would come! We also taught a Haitian immigrant named "Mr Cool" about baptism and taking upon oneself the name of Christ. He expressed interest in being baptized which was really special to see! He also showed us his mixtape. He is a rapper, that is why he is named Mr Cool.
After the division, we had to hurry back to our house to get my suit so we could head over to Concilio. In Concilio, all of the leaders of the mission get together to talk about the different zones and how we are doing and also new policies and announcments. It is funny that a bunch of teenagers get together with an older man, to talk about things so important. I humbles me though that the Lord has entrusted a work so important in the hands of someone so young. I know it is done that way for a smart reason. We discussed the goals and achievements we have had, and how to improve, how to work with the members of the church more effectively. After, my mind was mush from thinking so hard and I ate 6 pieces of pizza.
I went home wanting to change a few things in the ward and I thought about making a draft calendar to schedule visits with the members in our ward, but changed my mind. I realized that making a calendar didn´t make that much sense because we hadn´t been doing our part to just ask the priesthood holders if they would be willing to do divisiones. This week we put in more effort to call ward members and do divisions with them. We got to work with a really cool member from another ward named Hermano Leonel. Hermano Leonel is a Spanish professor and was formerly a Jehovah´s Witness but after reading the Book of Mormon (in three days) he was convinced of it´s truthfulness and was baptized in the church. He is extremely intelligent. I admire than man very much. We taught a investigator named Alison with him. She is getting ready for baptism.
I ran out of time to type more, but the rest of the week was a blast. I hope you guys have a great week! I love you all very much!
We had a pretty complicated week.
Every 28th of March, the younger generation of Chile protests and riots to "commemorate" the deaths of two people´s rights protestors. That day is a pretty dangerous day for foreigners, so we had to stay in our house after lunch. I made myself a nice mate and studied the scriptures for a good long time. Man, taking a good long time to really analyze the scriptures and think over doctrines is so nice. I am trying to improve my understanding of the bible and strengthen my testimony of the Book of Mormon. That night, after the scripture study marathon, we cooked a chilean food named "choripanes". A choripan is pretty much a hot dog, but instead of hot dog….we ate 4 each, a whole entire family size package of cookies, then crashed.
The next day, we had a service in a neighboring ward (Captian Avalos). We had to tear down the roof of a house because it was rotting and beginning to cave in. In Chile the roofs are made out of lots of 2 by 4s and sheets of tin metal. We had to first removed the nails from the tin metal, then smack the 2 by 4s with crow bars and either break them, or loosen them enough to pull them out. It was pretty dangerous being on top of a roof,8 feet in the air while at the same time taking the roof apart, but I enjoyed it. It made me feel manly to smack things with a crowbar. Doing service and working hard at getting a task done makes me feel productive and happy. It gets on my nerves when we put a service project together and half of the missionaries are sweating and working hard and the others standing around and talking to each other. If you offer help, you give what you offered! Don´t make the job harder!
Conference was my favorite one yet. I feel that as I become more spiritually mature, I can get from the sessions. I love the energy of Russell M Nelson and the feeling of energy that I feel listening to him. I know that all these changes made are going to shoot the work forward and help us become better children of God. As we learn to use our agency in a responsible way and become more converted, it will be easier it will be to recognize spiritual impressions. Hannah Montana says, life is what you make it. I think that quote was divinely inspired. Being a child of God is what you make it. Having a calling in the church is what you make it. If you try hard, follow the spirit, it will be amazing and you will bless lots of people with your service, on the other side, if you don´t try, or shirk in the face of difficulty, you will never receive any blessings or be a blessing to others. I invite all of you to put your shoulder to the wheel and push with everything you´ve got wherever you are and however be your situation.
One of the people we are teaching is a sister of a recent convert, named Alison. She is an angel of a girl with really righteous desires and disposition. The biggest challenge with her is that she doesn´t know too much about God or Jesus. We are trying to help her understand them and that way she can pray, and comprehend her potential before making any bigger decisions. We recently shared about the restoration of the gospel with her during a family night with the sister missionaries, Hermana Lilet, and Hermano Leonardo. Being a younger girl, we have to make the lessons a bit more stimulating so she doesn´t lose focus. We used tons of analogies and personal stories. I pretty much acted out all the points. It went super well, and I´m fairly confident she understood it all.
Life is great guys. I don´t have a single complaint. Keep on keeping on! Love you all!
Family and friends,
After a month of being taught, Alfonso was baptized last Sunday and I had the privilege of baptizing him which was a very special experience for me. That man has repented and has honest desires to keep learning more and progress. I plan on staying in contact with him. He is working as a school bus driver right now.
I HAD CHANGES!!!!! Put more simply, I moved. I changed houses and companions. The part of Santiago I am living in now actually isn´t that far away from where I was living before. It is in the same county, or section (La Cisterna). The ward is called Los Nogales and is part of the Gran Avenida stake. The Gran Avenida stake is complied of 5 wards, each with about 70 in attendance. There are 14missionaries currently serving in the stake, 12 elders, and 2 sister missionaries. Our ward, Los Nogales, has 4 missionaries, my companion and I, and Hermana Fuentes (una mexicana) and Hermana Barbosa (una brasileña).
My new companion is named Elder Batista. He comes from the state of Sao Paulo in Brazil, which is 6 hours from the actual city of Sao Paulo. He is a big guy. He probably has about 50 pounds on me, but is a little shorter. He speaks with a very loud voice and is very charismatic. He loves to speak to me inPortuguese even though I have no idea what he says, (I´m learning more and more each day). He comes from a family of 4, that are all members of the church. His dad teaches institute in English through Pathways. We get along very well and he has really helped me personally because we keep each other happy and focused. We are probably going to be with each other for the next two changes, the end of my mission.
This area has a little bit of everything…houses, blocks, apartment complexes, calmer parts and more dangerous parts. It is everything I could ask for. There are a good amount of stores, and good people traffic in the streets which makes it easier to contact. If you want to see what my chapel looks like, look it up on google maps! (Los Nogales 9778, El Bosque). It is a pretty church building.
We are in a whitewash and zone leaders. For those of you that don´t know mission vocabulary, we are both new in the sector. Usually, one missionary stays in a sector to teach the other where everything is, and how to work the sector, but in our case, we are learning everything together. We have been lost many times, and we have to use a little printed out map to navigate our way around. We have tried to contact all the people the missionaries before us were teaching. That has been our focus the past week; to find those people. We already met the majority of them, but we have a few left. We have a teaching pool of around 5 solid people, with a few more not so solids, and finding others every single day.
While walking in the sector on divisiones with Elder Smith, we felt that we needed to offer service to an older woman, 55 or so, that was shoveling dry cement into a wheel barrow. We approached her, she denied our help, we started talking, and after a few minutes, she told us she was baptized but had stopped going to church for a few reasons. Thanks to following an impression to offer help, we now are teaching a family!
Love you guys very, very much!!!!
Have a great week!
I`m doing amazing.
Our zone breakfast was a success, we are finding people to teach, and Alfonso is going to be baptized.
Twice every transfer cycle, Elder Hendrix and I plan a P-day for the zone. We decided to make a mock restaurant and cook breakfast for the whole zone. We bought everything in the super market, set up the tables in the gym, had background music, 2 waiters and two cooks. The missionaries arrived at 9, the waiters seated them, and collected their orders, and Elder Hendrix and I cooked. We went through 4 boxes of cereal, almost 80 eggs, 2 gallons of milk and 3 loafs of bread. Cereal was the first course, a breakfast sandwich the second, an omelet the third, and french toast to finish. I love it when things we organize turn out well and people have a good time.
We have been finding lots of people to teach. I am trying to be better at discerning who to teach and leave people that don`t want to progress behind. We have been looking for antiguos and futuros and talking to lots of people. Lately, a ton of people have been trying to Bible bash which has made for some interesting appointments. I have noticed that a lot of people read a scripture out of context and try to apply it to their opinion. People, when you share scriptures don`t take them out of context. We also had a gigantic conference about the Book of Mormon, and I am so grateful for it. It really helps us to clarify a lot of things from the Bible and it is one of the strongest points of my testimony.
Alfonso is going to be baptized!!! Well, he has his interview with President Gwilliam this Saturday, and if it goes well, we have the green light. I am so so very excited because he wants me to baptize him too.
Life is great!!! Love you all!
I`ve decided that my life was kinda boring. I was talking to Elder Silva, a Brazilian elder, and at the age of 16, he worked and lived alone in a fast food restaurant. Crazy stuff no?
I am blessed that I had a great family and was raised without any serious problems. I love my family very, very much.
This week was a typical week. We are trying to streamline and make the work in our sector more efficient. This week we organized a massive pile of paper in our house with people that the missionaries have contacted in our sector. We organized it by street and by address so now we can head over to a street, and walk up it talking to all the people the missionaries have already talked to and see if they would accept more visits. It has been going very well! We found a couple that is super great. Their names are Leonel and Elizabeth. We have already had 2 appointments with them, and they have accepted a baptismal date, but they aren`t married so we need to help them with that so they can be baptized.
We also have been working hard with another couple named Enrique and Fernanda. Enrique was baptized when he was young, then for a few reasons, stopped going to church. Fernanda is his girlfriend. They have 3 children. They showed up at church one day, and we spoke with them and have been teaching them and arranging family nights with other members for the past 2 weeks. They are going to move soon to the ward next to ours and it is also a great ward, so I`m excited to see how it goes.
Alfonso, one of our investigators that is super close to baptism, has been doing amazing. Super busy with his work, but as maquina as ever. Before I got to the sector, all the other missionaries before me told me that they had gotten permission for him to be baptized in our ward, but I talked to president the other day and he told me he had to be baptized in the ward were he lives, which is Las Americas, my first ward. We set up a cita with Alfonso, and the elders from Las Americas. I was nervous because we had to explain to Alfonso that he had to change wards and he already had friends in our ward. I had thoughts about him not taking it well, and not wanting to receive the missionaries anymore, but he took it really well, and the elders from Las Americas are going to start teaching him and having family nights that way he gets friends. His baptism is scheduled for the 4th of March.
Personally I am doing great. I miss you all a lot, but I am happy. I have hard days, but I am doing well.
This past Sunday was pretty tough for me. I am trying so hard to get my investigators to progress and I feel like I am the best teacher I ever been, but the last Sunday, after a ton of people said they would come to church, nobody showed up. I was down in the dumps. I felt very, very humbled. It is good for me though because it teaches me to be a problem solver and to be more humble.
LOVE YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH!!!
FAM AND FRIENDS THAT STILL READ THESE EMAILS
I`m gonna try and keep this thing short…
1. I got to sit in a Lamborghini
2. We achieved our goal of 7 baptismal dates!
3. Alfonso made it to church!
My favorite experience of the week was participating in a conference with Elder D Todd Christofferson. When Jesus was on the earth, he called 12 men to be his apostles and gave them power to preach the gospel and to act in his name. God is the same today, yesterday and forever, and we believe that he still works this way TODAY in the administration of his church. We have a prophet and 12 apostles today that lead the church with revelation from God. This man, Elder D Todd Christofferson, is one of the apostles. I had the chance to shake his hand, to chat with him, and to hear him speak.
The special conference, we had about 300 missionaries in attendance. To show respect and honor, when he entered the room, we all stood up until he had taken a seat. The difference when he entered the room was very notable. A calmness overcame the whole entire meeting house, and we could feel his power and authority. The spirit that we could feel was almost tangible. When he began to speak, in Spanish, he expressed his love for all of us and testified for almost 20 minutes about our Savior Jesus Christ and his divinity. He proceeded by explaining the process in which missionary is assigned (what mission a missionary serves in) and how it was done with revelation, fasting and prayer. He then talked about how we, as missionaries need to use the Book of Mormon mixed with the Holy Ghost to testify to the people because it is our strongest tool. Afterward, he took questions from the missionaries.
I have never really doubted in the truthfulness of the organization of the church, and I have been blessed to meet a few apostles and even the last prophet Thomas S. Monson, but on this occasion, my testimony of those men was strengthened. I know that they are men of God. I know that they are ordained of God. I know that just like Paul explains in the book of Ephesians chapter 2 and 4 of the New Testament, both prophets and apostles are FUNDAMENTAL and NECESSARY to organize the body of Christ and so that the church remains firm and strong and is not carried by every wind of doctrine.
I invite all of you to listen to them and see for yourselves. I know that you all will feel peace and calmness, the spirit confirming the truthfulness. I`ll attach a link below that will lead to a list of talks by them.
I love you all so very much!! Keep going strong!
Send me pictures!
A lot of people I was totally not expecting to write me wrote me. This p-day has been good. We got together with Elder Neddo, my last companion, and his new companion Elder Concecao from Brazil and with Elder Minor, from Springville Utah, and Ebert and cooked a nice chilean BBQ and talked about the mission and life. It was great to be outside and enjoy some good quality meat with the bros.
About 3 or 4 weeks ago, while walking to an appointment in our sector, we found ourselves with a member of the church named Hermano Piña. Hermano Piña had served in the bishopric and in lots of different callings in the La Cisterna ward, but he had gone inactive, or in other words, had stopped coming to the church meetings and nobody knows why. We tried to set an appointment with him, but we couldn´t keep it because an emergency that popped up and we lost contact with him. This past week, we were in the far end of the sector, knocking on doors by his house. I had the impression to call him and ask if we could pass by to visit him. He picked up, and told us to come by his house. We walked over, met him at his door, and he let us into his house. His wife died long ago, so the poor guy lives alone in a decent sized house. He is a painter, so he has all of his wall space COVERED in beautiful works of art of landscapes, portraits, people, some paintings of Jesus, his house is very nice to be in. We sat down and began to know him better, asking him questions about his life and so, and we asked him about his health because we hadn´t seen him at church. He said we was getting weaker as the years went by, and that he couldn´t do a lot of the things he did before, We asked him how we could help, and he asked if we could paint his kitchen. We came over the next Saturday and painted his kitchen for about 2 hours and left it looking really nice. Before we left, we shared a spiritual thought with him. During the spiritual thought, we talked about faith, I asked him to read a verse of scripture. He told us he couldn´t that he was going blind and couldn´t see well enough to read. He also had lost the ability to paint. He began to tell us that he had basically lost the ability to do everything and believed that he was useless.
It kinda broke my heart. It also strengthened my testimony a lot. I had been praying to be able to serve someone who really needed it and I knew that God had answered my prayer. It feels good to be able to lift someone up. I love how God uses us, his children, to help his other children on their way. When we serve others, we serve God. God blesses us for blessing other people. I know that we can be a positive influence in other lives.
I invite you all to look for chances to serve during this next week. I know God will answer your prayers too.
Love you all very very much! Thank you for your support!