Elder Millard with his mission president

Elder Millard with his mission president

Monday, November 29, 2010

More baptisms!

Hola Amigos y Familia!! This week has been Such a great week! I know i say that every week but this week was extraordinarilly great! Time just flies by when you are having fun preaching the gospel. It seems like yesterday that i was writing you the last email! Anyways, lets get to the good stuff!!
So yesterday we had 2 baptisms! One of the best experiences of my mission up to this point! All i can say is wow, the spirit was so strong! Elder Saldivar and i got there a little early to fill up the font with water and for me to choose a musical number to play and sing. Mauro and Marisol arrived about a half hour before the baptism to try on their tunics and get the perfect size. We then waited for them to change so we could take some pictures. The baptism then started. We had 2 talks, one about baptism and the other about the Holy Ghost. After the talks, i had the opportunity to use music yet another time. I chose to play I need thee Every Hour. (Señor te Necesito). During this song, i felt So strongly the presence of the spirit. I felt like i was floating! I really have a strong testimony of the power of music and the power that it has! After the song, Marisol was crying along with a few others in the congregation and you could just feel a peace in the chapel. After the song, Mauro and Marisol walked to the font to recieve the saving ordinance of Baptism. I was a witness for the baptism, and when Marisol looked up at me when she was in the water, she smiled at me and the expressions on her face just showed the pure happiness that she has recieved through the restored gospel. Thats what makes this time all worth it. Moments like this when you see the fruits of your labors in a form of changing someones life. I would not trade experiences like these for anything. After they came up out of the water, i got goosebumps, or should i say people bumps. ha. Ah the spirit was So strong! After they were baptized, we all went back into the chapel. They asked me to give another musical number so i played and sang Where can i Tun For Peace. Afterwards, we asked a few of the incredible members that were present to give their testimonies. This baptism has given me so much more excitement to just find teach and Baptize!
After the baptism, we witnessed a miracle. The sister of Marisol is very catholic. We have tried to teach her many times and every time she is so shut and does not want to listen to us at all. But as i have heard from Elder Salerno, we baptize to baptize. That does have some truth to it. Obviously it is not the sole purpose of the baptism, but from witnessing a baptism, its like a sample from Costco. once you try a little bit, you just want more and more! This was the case with Maria. She told us after the baptism that she wants to be baptized!
This week was thanksgiving! But as i sadly found out from the natives here in Chile, they do not celebrate it. But that did not stop me. Thanksgiving morning, i cooked up some pancakes and some eggs and ate so much food haha. A little bit later, we had a Gynormous lunch. So with the chileans not knowing that it was thanksgiving, i still ate a lot and i am still thankful for everything i have! I´m thankful for all of you back home for you undying support and friendship, for this wonderful opportunity i have right now to serve the lord, and for everything! I wish you all a happy thanksgiving, even though it was a few days ago. Its the thought that counts.
Elder Saldivar and i working super hard/ Owning/´´Sacar el Mugre´´ in Tierras Blancas. We have never had so many lessons with member, and we broke the record that i had for investigators assisting church. We had 6! We are really excited about that. The best part is that they are now starting to have great friends in the church! thats the key. The members are So important!! All of you.
Congrats Mike Tramell on your mission call to Chile! You will love it here! I send my remarks and grievences to you all for the loss of BYU football to the U. Sad story, Oh and Enjoy the Snow!
Well i Love you all so much and hope all is well back at home! Chao
Elder Millard

Monday, November 22, 2010

Falling off the top bunk...

Hola Familia y Amigos!! This last week was So great! Full of fun and excitement... well i guess that is to be expected since i´m on a mission and all! The weather is just getting hotter and hotter. I officiall have my hair tan line back and best of all, i have a missionary tan line on my neck!! I never thought the day would come! Coquimbo is so awesome and i am Loving my time here!
Our investigators are doing Spectacular. Marisol and Mauro both passed their baptismal interviews so its basically a done deal next sunday at 6:00 pm. (chile time of course.) BAPTISMS!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!! Thats what makes it all worth it! Leading someone on the path to eternal life!! They are both So excited and can´t wait for this great step that they are taking.
Joana is doing great as well! We just found out that Joselin and her are good friends from school and Judo. Funny story... so a little while back, Joselin broke Joana´s arm in judo so there was always a little tension there. But in school, they forgave eachother and now are good friends. It works out perfectly because they are both supporting eachother in going to church! Joana is progressing and so far so good for her fecha on the 10th of Dec.
So 2 funny experiences this week that i just have to share! So... i was on interchanges in a place called San Juan. I was with Elder Billanes (our district leader) from Peru. We were walking up this hill on the sidewalk. I was on the outside next to the road and he was on the inside next to the fence. Right next to him was a big wall that went up to his shoulder and above the wall was a fence. On the other side of the fence was a crazy dog that wanted to bite us. He was barking at us and following us along the fence. There are so many dogs in Chile that we basically just ignored him. and since he was behind a fence, we thought that it would not be able to do anything. Bad idea. Right as we were about to walk past the fence, the dog stuck his head through the fence and tried to bite elder Billanes. He got about 2 inches away from his ear!!! But thats not the worst part,.. as the dog lanced foreward, he kicked a big piece of dog poo onto my comps shirt! haha. There were 3 big spots where there was a buch on his shirt and there was also a bunch on his face! He was covered in it! haha. He humbly and quietly said... Elder, we need to go back to the pension. I was dying with laughter. He later stated that plan A for tomorow was to kill that dog haha.
Story no. 2.... Here i was, on that same interchange sleeping over at their place. I got to sleep on the top bunk in the room.. I was sleeping on my side so i was facing the curtain. I had a bad dream so i opened my eyes and to my horror, i saw a Huge spider about a foot from my face!!! I pulled off the covers and i fell right off the bunk bed! I hit my head on the other bunk bed that was in the room and i woke up the other elders haha. My bad! what can i say... i have Arachnaphobia. I was scarred for the rest of the night and i could not sleep haha.
We stopped by the house of Sandra Diaz to give a blessing. She has terminal cancer and has 3 kids to take care of. She has no money, barely any food and is really in a tough situation. We have been trying to help her out but as missionaries we cannot do much with temporal needs. But what we can do is help her with her spiritual needs. That is exactly what we did. She asked for a blessing and she asked me to give the blessing. I have never given a blessing in spanish before!! I was so nervous but i knew that i had the lord on my side and i have the Priesthood. The blessing was great and the lord blessed her with strength and faith throughout these trials, and through her faith, she will be blessed.
Well i am loving it here in Chile, the Lords Vinyard. Elder Saldivar and i are working hard. This is the lords work and i am so blessed to be appart of it. All of you back at home can be appart of this work as well! I cannot stress enough how important the members are to this work. We can all do our part! Love you all and i pray for you often!
Love Elder Millard

Monday, November 15, 2010

A crowded pension

Hola!!! Como Estái Po.... Thats basically how they say hi here haha. Anyways... This week was Great!! The first week of changes so there are tons of new fun things to look forward to. Elder Saldivar and i are working harder than ever here in Tierras Blancas. Loving my time here! Its great, now that i´ve been here for about 3 months, i fortunately know my way around so its a blessing not to get lost anymore haha. We had tons of success this week! I have never, in my mission up to this point, had more lessons with a member present. Its so key to have a member in the lessons because they gain friendships and it makes the biggest difference! Us missionaries leave areas but the members stay so its So important to have these lessons with members.
This change, since Coquimbo is so awesome, President Gillespie has sent 2 new missionaries up here so now we have 14 missionaries in this zone. As of right now, they did not have a place for these 2 new missionaries to stay so since our pension is the biggest in the zone, they are staying here with us! haha. Now it is Super packed in our pension! Its so much fun to have more missionaries here though. the cool part is that 2 of them are fresh out of the MTC. I suddenly feel extraordinarilly experienced ha! Its fun to see, through them, how i felt my first week in Chile. They are all great elders and we are having a blast! One is Elder Petersen from Spanish Fork Utah. Its great, everyone calls Utah ´´la fabrica´´. In spanish its the factory, or in other words, where they pump out missionaries! The other is Elder Wittle from Utah as well.
So Marisol, the mom of Joselin is doing So great!!! Wow but really, if you all could only have seen her before, and if you could see her now, you would not believe the difference! She is So excited to get baptized and so excited that she is finally happy. A lot of lame things have happened to her in her life but she is finding peace through the gospel and it is a joy to see! She has her interview this saturday and gets baptized the 28th of Nov.
Mauro as well is really excited for his baptism. He has the same date as Marisol, the 28th of Nov. and is progressing toward that date. The problem with Mauro is that it is So hard to find that kid haha, Its unreal how many times we try and find him and he is not there! But he is still coming to church and is still progressing and still has desires to follow Christ´s example and be baptized.
We had a great experience this week with putting another baptisimal date with a girl named Yoana. So there is a member named Mario that loves to help us. The family that he home teaches is not all members. So Mario invited us to come over to their house and teach them a little bit about the Book of Mormon because they had a few questions about it. The members that are there have not gone to church for about 2 years. But after the first lesson that we had with them, the members and this little girl Yoana were really interested in going to church this last sunday. So sunday rolled around and here they were. This old lady that has not come for 2 years and this little girls that this was her first time ever in a church. This sunday was special because it was the Primary Program. (Mom i thought you might appreciate this. It was so cute... yeah i just said the c word.) haha anyways, the program was great, the songs were great and Yoana loved it. We stopped by their house the same day at 7:30 and we talked a little bit about baptism. We asked her if she would like to be baptized and she gladly said Yes! We congratulated her and put a date for the 10th of Dec.
Ah I´m loving my mission so much! Chile is sweet and the people are great! Love you all! Cuidate mucho!
Elder Millard

Monday, November 8, 2010

Prayer is great

Hola!!!! So today is officially the last day of the change. We found out on Sat if we are staying or going and who our comps are going to be. So on Sat night, at precisely 10:26, we get a call from the zone leaders telling us the news! and here it is!! I´m.... Staying here another change with Elder Saldivar!!! I´m super excited to stay here another 6 weeks and to Rock Tierras Blancas with Elder Saldivar. This change in the pension, i was living with Elder Mackay from California and Elder Salerno from Argentina! They were so much fun and Elder Salerno is staying here for another change (my running companion), so that will be nice!
So as you know, my comp is from Mexico. This week i have learned first hand about some of the food the Mexicans eat. One gem is called Ahi! This stuff is incredible, in small portions of course. But, if you put too much, i am here to testify that your mouth will be on fire and you will have tears running down your face! haha He also showed me what a real tortilla is supposed to taste like! I feel sorry for the tortillas back in the U.S. because they are dwarfed in comparison to these amazing tortillas!
I am loving coquimbo so much!! This place is amazing and i am seriously enjoying every minute of it! I´m learning so much from my comp and we work well together. This week was a little bit different. For some reason, quite a few of the appointments that we had fell through so here we were, Saturday night, not knowing exactly what to do. It was a little late, we have been walking all day, we have been getting rejected all day... We decided to go to a quiet place and offer a prayer to guide us to a house that would let us in and that would accept the gospel. So we offered the prayer and we waited for a little bit. We both felt that we should go to this certain street. The first house on the street, we knocked the door. What do you know, we found a mom named Yisela and her little baby. We talked for a little bit at her door and she was So receptive! At first she asked if we could come back another time when her whole family was here. We said of course but we asked if we could sing a short hymn, leave a blessing on the house and leave... She accepted so we entered the house and started talking a little bit. After the hymn that we sang (Families can be together forever), she had tons of questions for us. We kept talking and gave her a Book of Mormon. She accepted to read it and pray about it. We then left a blessing on the house in the form of a prayer and were out of there. After the lesson, Elder Saldivar and i were So Excited!! A true answer to our prayers!
Funny story...so right after the lesson with Yisela, my comp was thinking and he said that he swears that he had seen her before. He thought for a little bit and then remembered that he had knocked her door before in one of his last areas in his mission, Valparaiso!!! So crazy, she just barely moved here from there and here we are, talking to the same lady that he talked to in his last area!!!
Marisol, the mom of Joselin is doing so well! The only problem is that she has to work so much. Its hard to find time for us to go teach her. But when we do teach her, she shows us every time that she is so excited and preparing for her baptism. This really is such an amazing story! You all should have seen Marisol about 2 months ago. She did not want to listen to us, and she did not seem happy. After we finally had the chance to talk to her, it was truly incredible how the spirit changed her and how she now has desires to change and be baptized. One of the lessons this week, she explained to us the story of how she was before and how she is now. She started crying expressing the change that she has felt! The Gospel is incredible!!
We found a few news this week so we are going to start working with them! One is called Jaime. He is a reference of one of the members in the ward. We visited him and he had so many questions about the church. A few of the members in his family are members and he has visited many churches searching for the truth. We gave him a Book of Mormon (the most powerful tool in the conversion) and he commited to read it and pray about it. We are also still working with a boy named mauro. He is going to be baptized for sure, its just a matter of finding him in his house haha. The problem with Mauro is that he is super shy and does not have very many friends. Pres Gillespie once said that in the first months while someone is investigating the church, in many cases, a friend in the church is more important than the doctrine. So that is the responsibility falls on of all of us members, to be friends with others in the church and uphold eachother.
Oh and a special shoutout to my Lil Sister Sheri!!!!!! Happy Birthday!!!!!!!! She is now 18 and i can´t believe it!
Love you all!
Elder Millard

Monday, November 1, 2010

talking in my sleep in Spanish

Hola!!! This week has been a great one! Second to last week in this change! Where has time gone? It seems like yesterday that i went to go pick up Elder Saldivar in the ´´Terminal de Bus´´ or bus station. I am really loving my time here in Coquimbo! About 1 hour ago, i was in ´´El Centro´´ in Coquimbo and we saw a Huge cruise line and a ton of tourists! We decided to go talk to a few of them and it was so wierd doing contacts in English haha! After this, it hit me even more that i am actually 5000 miles away from home in Chile!! I still find it hard to believe.
This last P-day, we went to the Cruz in Coquimbo! it was So awesome and had an amazing view! Inside the cruz itself is super Catholic and it was kinda wierd to be in a place with statues of Cardinals and Popes everywhere, but, obviously it was a great experience. I just can´t get enough of this place.
My comp was telling me the other day as we were leaving the pension for the day... he said ´´ Elder Millard, did you know that you talk in your sleep?´´ haha i said ¨´yeah i´ve heard that i´ve done it a couple of times.´´ Elder saldivar said ´´ Well, guess what, you were talking in your sleep in spanish!´´ haha Yeah!!! Thats pretty cool haha.
We had an amazing experience with an investigator named Marisol (the mom of Joselin). She has always been a little timid about this whole baptism experience and was not sure if she really wanted to go through with it. So Elder Saldivar and i decided to do a tour of the church and teach her a little bit of what we do, about baptism, and the restoration. So on Sat, she showed up right on time and we started the tour. We showed her some of the rooms where we do classes, we showed her some of the paintings that are in the church and explain a little bit about them. The paintings are great teaching tools. We then showed her the baptisimal font and she felt really good! We were sure to do everything we can to have the spirit testify to her of the validity of our message. We then went into the chapel and i played a little hymn arrangement to bring the spirit. After the tour, we talked and asked some inspired questions. After it was over we asked her to give the closing prayer. She stated that she is So grateful for this step in her life that she is going to take and asked for our Heavenly Fathers help with the preperation for her baptism. Miracles!! At first she was not sure, now she is excited and feels comfortable about coming to church. The next day, on sunday, of course she was there and she is now progressing and well on her way to her baptism on the 14th.
From being here in Tierras Blancas, i have really seen some hard situations. I have learned a lot of how things really are in the real world. All i can say to everyone is to Count your Blessings!!! The Lord really has blessed us all so much and we Really do have so much to be thankful for!
Oh and for halloween, we were Missionaries. Chile addopted the tradition of halloween about 10 years ago so on sunday, there were tons of little chileans running around everywhere in their costumes. Here they say ´´dulce o travesura´´. a little different from trick or treat but the same idea right? ha
We need a special Shoutout to my two big sisters Steph and Tiff!!!! Happy Birthday!!!!
Love you all! Chao
Elder Millard