Elder Millard with his mission president

Elder Millard with his mission president

Monday, April 25, 2011

A new trainer and an awesome family baptism

Hola Hola!!!! I never thought the day would come so fast! The change has officially come to an end. The news is..... I´m.... Staying!! in La Ligua for at least another change! haha. That means that I will be spending at least 1/4th of my mission here. And what a blessing is has been and will continue to be. Happy Birthday to the best Dad in the world!!! Congrats Tiffy and Aaron on Reiman James!!!! He is a beautiful little baby! I also have some news that has to do with babies. I am officially giving birth to a child in the mission!!! The Assistants called me sunday night and I am going to be training this next change!! I am super excited for this new challenging opportunity. The wierd thing is, I still feel Super young in the mission. It seems like yesterday I was in Tierras Blancas being trained by Elder Mace, now here I am on the other side of things. I will do my best and the lord will do the rest.
So this week was quite eventful, I must say. Lets start off with the results of this imfamous meeting with Pastor Vergara and Presidente Gillespie. To review, the purpose of this meeting was to converse over the issue of Pastor Vergara getting bapized to recieve the authority of God and to recieve the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by someone in authority to administer in this ordinance. Lets just say, the spirit did most of the work. In this meeting, the spirit was so strong. We came to the conclusion that this really is a huge decision. He has a congregation, lots of responsibilities and duties. This is not an easy decision. He is doing so much good and helping alot of people. But, President related it to a keyboard. In your church, you have lots of great doctrine and a lot of truth, but not all the truth. Its like having a keyboard with not all the keys. What we have today, thanks to Joseph Smith, is the full gospel, the whole keyboard. He now understands a little bit more the whole picture and has new desires to read the Book of Mormon. Nothing is too sure yet, but with time, he will gain a testimony of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the meantime, we will be planning activites with our branch and his congregation. My new comp and I will be putting together a musical talent show or something in that ballpark. Help show them not just the fullness of the doctrine that the gospel brings, but the culture as well. The temporal and social effects that it has on families.
So this weekend was spectacular. On friday, Sebastián was baptized by his cousin Emilio Gallardo. This baptisimal service was one that I will never forget. The whole family of Sebastián came to see and support him. There were over 100 people there. After the baptism was realized, there came a nice little surprise for Elder Huamán and I. For some background, earlier on this week, we had a fun little activity in the plaza where we had one of the sisters in the branch who is an artist, paint the plan of salvation on a big piece of paper. Because of this, we had a nice big drawing. Since there were so many investigators here, President Palominos exhorted us that we could use this big drawing, take advantage of the situation, and teach the plan of salvation to all the people present. It was intense, but it was super successful! We had everyone interested. Following this improv presentation of the plan of salvation, there was an incredible musical number given by the Gallardo family. I could hear throughout the whole congregation, sniffles, due to the spirituality of the moment. After the service was over, we had a few relatives of Sebastián come up to us and ask us, "what do we have to do to be baptized?" They want us to go visit them. "The field is white all ready to harvest."
The next day, on Saturday, was the next unforgettable experience. After many stumbling blocks, emotional lessons, spiritual experinces, and work, the familia Collao Fres finally entered the waters of baptism. As you all know, members of the branch supported them by dressing up in white. It was a marvelous scene. Everything was perfect. I was trying so hard the whole night to be a man and not cry haha. I try to think of other times in my life where I was as happy as i was this night. They did it. They reached their goal. They recieved their testimonies that they are in the truth. They have hope and faith that through living the gospel, they will be an eternal family. They have their visions set on the temple. They have planned that in 1 year exactly, they will be going to the temple in Santiago, to be sealed for time and all eternity as a family. It is their desire that Elder Huamán and I are there with them. It will be right before I leave! I will thank God forever more for putting this incredible family in our path. I really don´t know if happiness like this exists outside of the gospel.
Well that will be all for this week! I love you all and pray for you often.
Que estén bien! Chao
Elder Millard

Monday, April 18, 2011

Back to Back Baptisms

Hola Hola!!! I cannot believe it, I am officially in the last week of my 6th change as a missionary!! I can´t really believe it but here I am. hah. Time is just flying right by isn´t it. Mom, I love what you said in one of my letters. It made me laugh: "you have been out long enough to have a baby." haha. Yeah, I find it hard to believe myself! Oh, I have to congratulate you Mom and Dad for your Aniversary!!!!!!! Thats so awesome. Thanks for being the best parents ever. I love you so much! The weather is starting to get super cold in the night. Goodbye to short sleeve and hello to long. A lot has happened this week so lets get started.

This week was the make it or break it week for the family of Yessica and Fransisco. We finished up all of the required teaching and they were officially prepared for their baptisimal interview. It made me a little nervous when we taught them the commandment of Tithing. I had been praying so much that they would be able to understand and accept it. My prayer came true. Their faith is so strong that they accepted tithing in a heartbeat. They are truly desirous to have their lives in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ. They now understand all of the commandments, and are willing to obey all of them. Elder Baker, our district leader, came down from Cabildo to interview them. They all passed their interviews with flying colors!! The baptism will be this week on Sat at 7:30. That would be 4:30 your time. We had the idea of consulting the whole branch to dress up in all white to support the family. It will be an unforgettable scene. Everyone in white, a whole family getting baptized, and the unity of the branch fortified.

I heard something right after the baptisimal interview that made me unexpressibly happy. Cristofer, the 12 year old boy of the family, commented that he now has great desires to serve a mission. He was asking, how can one become a missionary. Can I become a missionary? What do I have to do to prepare to serve a mission?. These questions made me seriously so happy! One of my goals on my mission is to have one of my converts serve a mission. I guess to keep the chain going... We will keep animating him to prepare for this indespensable sacred service.

Sebastián also passed his interview this week. We are super excited for him! The thing is, his whole family is going on a trip on Sat. so he will be getting baptized this friday. Baptisms back to back! haha. Sebastián is such a stud. He is the only member in his direct family. His aunt and uncle and cousins are strong members in the church. Sebastian travels every saturday to spend the night with them so he can assist church. He knows it is true and wants more in life than just drugs, alchohol and crime. We are also trying to animate him to serve a mission.

Pastor Vergara will recieve his interview with Pres Gillespie this wednesday. We will see how it goes!! Some prayers would be helpful.

Well family and friends, I love you all so much and pray for you every day!

Sorry no pix, i´ll have some for next week!

Que estén bien! Chao

Elder Millard

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Pastor accepted baptism

Hola!! Wow, time is just flying by here in La Ligua. Elder Huaman and I only have 2 weeks left! This week was super eventful! So many great things have happened and I have seen SO many changes in our investigators through the power of the Holy Ghost. Oh and thanks so much for all the support and letters! They seriously make my day every time. Tiffy, hang in there, i´m sure he will come this week! Congrats aunt Jenn with the baby blessing. Haha Cristofer, you got me... that was a good one!! Happy birthday Mark this week.

The Pastor accepted baptism: I do not even know where to start with this unbelievable story. Do you all remember the Vergara family. They are evangelicos, the dad is a pastor of a congregation of 100 people, they are super nice, have given us lunch a few times when we did not have any, we found them doing door contacts with a guitar... yes them. Anyways, Elder Huaman and I have been visiting and talking to Pastor Vergara every once in a while. We normally talk about doctrine from the bible. But this was all a plan that Elder Human and I had because we knew we could prove that the church was true with using his own Bible. haha. So this one particular time that we were in his house, the topic of authority and baptism came up. We made him see the importance of having a line of authority that reaches back to Jesus Christ. We also talked about the manner in which you give authority to others which is through the laying on of hands. He realized that he does not have his authority reaching back to Jesus Christ, and that he has not recieved the priesthood or the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by someone holding the proper authority. Pastor Vergara is incredible. He has so much knowlege about the Bible. And with using his own Bible, we helped him see what is truly required to recieve Eternal Life. He told us that he wants to recieve a baptism by someone holding the authority of God!!!! What!! I could not believe what I was hearing. Another testimony of the power of the spirit in this work. This is a true testimony of the promise in Doctrine and Covenants that if we treasure up continually the words of life, they will be given to us in the precise moment when we need them. He is going to have an interview with President Gillespie to see how things will work out.This is not just some simple baptism. It is a complicated situation. He has a congregation to look after. If he leaves, what next for them. Well, i´ll tell you whats next... We will see if we can start working with everyone in his congregation to bring them to the True and Eternal gospel of Jesus Christ.

Water emergency: We have been through alot with the Fres family this week. It first started off with the word of wisdom. They have problems with Coffee and Tea and Fransisco has problems with Alchohol. I will tell you later on in the letter what happened with them concerning this matter. Anyways, after we were done teaching, they said they had something to tell us. They sat us down and said: We will not be able to assist chuch this week. (This was not good because if they did not assist church this week, we would have to push their baptisimal date back.) They continued explaining how they could not pay the water bill these last three months because Scarlet (5 year old) ran out of her medications and they had to spend Tons of money to get here new ones. It was either the water or the health of Scarlet. As good parents, they obviously chose Scarlet. Due to this correct decision, their water was cut. Now they have 0 pesos until next monday. This caused that transport was a problem as well. They did not have any access to water and they said that they could not assist because there was no way that they could get ready, have clean clothes... How terrible is it to not have any water. Well, we assured them to not worry about it, we would do everything possible to help them assist church and have the necesities of water. We left to go find help from the Branch. This really was a great opportunity to show the family that the branch supports them. We ended up collecting over 150 liters of Water in less than an hour. President Palominos and our branch mission leader took the water over to their house. After recieving this service, they were able to have the resources necessary to assist church with us. And they did.

Unforgettable experience: I never thought that I could see anyone change so much. The Fres family had an incredible experience in church. They felt the spririt so strong, that their emotions took control. They felt so much love and support from the Branch. The branch as well has changed so much. It has changed from a branch that is just going to comlete their duty, to a branch that is animated to go and help in the Lords work. Everyone in the branch greeted them, showed them love and made them feel super comfortable. After church, they were expressing to us some of their thoughts. First off, they could not stop telling us how much they loved church. They felt so good. The kids had tons of fun too! they did not want to leave. haha. As they were expressing their thoughts concerning church, they told us that they have a surprise for us. They gave us all their coffee, tea and Alchohol. They gave it up just like that. They said that they want to change completely. Its kinda funny, they said that they are going to even stop buying dark colored drinks like CocaCola and stop eating Mariscos (clams). (The misionaries in this mission are not allowed to Drink Coca Cola or eat Mariscos.) We told them that it was not necessary to stop drinking Coca Cola or eating Mariscos, but they stopped us and said,"no no no, we want to change completely, and be on the path to Eternal Life." They even said that once they get enough money, they are going to save up and buy some skirts, white shirts, and ties to show more respect in church with the way they dress. Everyone in the family is so excited for their baptism. We are planning a White Night the night of their baptism. Meaning, everyone in the branch that assists to their baptism is going to be dressed up in white. It will be an unforgettable scene.

Heart Breaker: Scarlet has not been feeling so good. She has had some unquenchable pain in her legs. Due to the circumstances, we asked if she would like a priesthood blessing, she and her parents said yes. It was explained that through your faith, you can be healed. Scarlet recieved the blessing. That night, she wanted to go to her parent´s room to sleep with them because her legs hurt so bad. She could not withstand the pain. On the way over to her parent´s room, she fell down. Her legs could not hold her little body up anymore. She cried out, why didn´t the priesthood blessing work?? She moved onto her knees and prayed to our Heavenly Father for help. "Father in heaven, Help me." When I heard this, my heart hurt for her. my emotions took over. Scarlet is such an example to me. She told us that after church, she didn´t hurt anymore.

Sebastian will be baptised: So sebastian has officially recieved all the missionary lessons and is ready to be baptised. He will be baptised with the Fres family on the 22nd of April. He has assisted church his whole life. His parents aren´t member but he has been assisting with his aunt and unkle. We are excited for him.

So thats all for this week! I love you all and pray for you every day!


Elder Millard

Monday, April 4, 2011

Conference and empenadas

Hola Hola!! This week was spectacular! As usual. Our investigators are progressing, time is flying, and Conference was the best!!! I´m writing this right now in a super slow internet café so lets hope this email works haha. Sounds like everything is great back at home! I cannot believe how big my nieces are getting!! And Tiff, hang in there! By the looks of it, I will be getting news of my first nephew in my next weekly letter!! How exciting! Congrats! Oh and congrats to Cristopher as well on his engagement! That is so awesome! Good luck maddi on your election, I know you will do great! You always do! Sherb, Wow, you now have someone to take your place with student body pres next year!! Wow, where has that time gone? Anyways, Thanks so much for all the support, the letters, and pictures! It means the world to have the great support from my family and friends that I am getting. Love you all!
So our investigators are doing great!! I´m going to start off with Antonio. He is progressing slowly but surely. He is super spiritual and is willing to read and come to church... Tho only thing that is holding him back is the Word of Wisdom. That tea gets us every time. It seems like something so small and simple that really would not do very much damage to the human body, but that´s not the point. It is a commandment from a prophet of God, and therefore a commandment directly from God. We will keep working with him. We had to push his baptisimal date back to the 23rd of April and we are praying hard that he will be able to reach this date.
Now for the Fres family (Yessica, Fransisco, Cristofer, Dafne and Scarlet.) I don´t even know where to start. They are just so incredible and we have had some lifechanging experiences with them this week. Fransisco, right when we showed up at their house for the first time did not want anything to do with us. Yet, this same fransicso has been officially touched and changed by the spirit. Now he is the most excited and animated in the whole family. Fransisco has a friend that works for the PDI and is a detective. The detective was over at his house when we came over to visit them. After the visit, the detective started to urge Fransisco not to accept our visits, and started telling him all the "crazy and evil things that the mormon church practices." Fransisco calmly said to him "everything you just told me is exactly opposite of what the elders have been teaching us. I feel something special when they teach us. You should accept their visits sometime, it will change your life." When we heard this we were super happy.
They assisted conference with us and absolutely loved it. We got there a little early so we tok advantage of the situation and gave them a little tour of the church in which we showed them the baptisimal faunt. They are all exited to enter the waters of baptism on the 23rd. They were fairly suprised with how wonderful the conference was. After assisting the suday morning session with us, their testimonies burned with a brighter flame. They left with the knowlege that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. They expressed that they were almost put to tears when he spoke. It was almost as if God himself was speaking to us. They´re eyes are now set on the temple. I don´t know if it was a coincedence or if it was meant to be, but in this session that this family assisted, the subject of cancer was brought up multiple times as a from of problem or difficulty. Yet, in all of those talks, they showed ways of how these dire situations can be comforted by the gospel of Jesus Christ and his Atonement. They expressed to us that they felt identified in that conference.
We had a fun little activity with Fres family. They brought the supplies, we brought the message, and all made empenadas de pino. Oh they were so good! I´ll keep the recipie saved somewhere to be able to make them in 1 year 3 months.
Well thats all folks! Love you all and I pray for you always!
Elder Millard