Monday, July 25, 2011
Hola Hola! I never thought the day would come where I would be sending a letter from somewhere else than La Ligua. On Tuesday morning, Elder Zitting and I woke up at 5 to get ready and head down to Viña for change day. It was a nice 2 1/2 hour ride down there. Beautiful ocean side views!! Once in Viña, a bunch of elders took a huge 2 story bus up north to Ovalle. The trip took about 6 hours. I am so excited for all these new adventures, new people and new area!
So to explain a little bit about my new area. Ovalle is located about 1 hour south of Coquimbo, (my first area). It is considered the north part of the mission. It feels so great being back up in the north again. There is just a distinct spirit up here. The people are more humble, and there is a different attitude in all of the elders. My branch is called Canihuante. It is the north part of the city of Ovalle. Ovalle is quite a bit different than La Ligua. There are a bunch of very very humble houses. It has a gorgeous view of green mountain sides with vineyards and orange orchards. My area has a few hills but for the most part its pretty flat. Other elders have called my area Caniflaite, (flaite meaning gangster in chilean), because there are quite a few here. There is a lot of grafiti everywhere and a pretty big population. My area is pretty big, not quite as big as La Ligua, but definitely enough to find plenty of people to baptize. My first impression of Canihuante is a good one. The people are generally nice and loving. I am very pleased with my new area. This is an area where you have to talk to everyone in the street to have success. In order to have success in this area, you have to work extra hard. Whatever you put into it is what you get out of it. Im super ready to work! Our church is really big! There are 1200 members here, and about 60 go each week. So there is plenty of work with the less actives!! The climate up here is Super hot in the day time, and super cold at night. Ovalle is pretty much a desert. Ovalle is just ready to explode!!
In our pension, there are 4 elders. We have elder Anaya, Oburge, Petersen and I. Its not really a coincedence that we are all from Utah. All the people that know something about the church and the elders call Utah the missionary factory. Utah just keeps sending em out, like a factory! Anyways, our pension is a house, in a very calm neighborhood.
We have quite a few investigators that have a baptisimal date. We have Manuel, Angelo, and a family of 3, (Maria, Pablo, and Felipe). All of them have baptisimal dates for the 20th of August. But they all have a long way to go. Elder Petersen will do everything we can to get them in that water! hah.
My assignment this change is to be the district leader for my area, Monte Patria, and the senior couple. There are some great elders in this district. I´m super excited to work with all of them. One of the Elders actually went to High School with me, Elder Cherry. He was a year older than me but I remember seeing him around, So wierd! haha Its a small world. We have some great zone leaders that will be a big help to us! There is a lot of work to do, but I will do my best to be an example of faith and diligence. We will for sure see some miracles here in Ovalle!!
So my companion is Elder Petersen. He is from Spanish Fork Utah. He did rodeo before the mission so he is pretty much a cowboy. He also likes to play basketball. We get along great and we are going to have a great change together. We both have about the same time in the mission. I never thought I would be saying this to people when they ask me how much time I have in the mission: I have a little more than a year. This is the classic response of the Elders that are in the time period of 12 months to 24 months in the mission. Elder Petersen will complete a year in the beginning of September. Great comp! I have been so blessed with my comps my whole mission. I have gotten along great with all of them!
I do have a funny little story to tell. So on Saturday night, after having had a long day of teaching and walking, we get to the pension absolutely wasted! I love days like this because you just feel so accomplished, and you know that the lord accepts your work. After we get to the pension, we start planning for the next day. When our planning session was over, we followed tradition by ending with the classic hand shake hug technique. Just to play a joke, and also to show the fatigue in my body, during the hug, I relaxed my body completely so Elder Petersen would have to support my weight. I guess he was not ready for that. He started moving backwards slowly. This did not look good so I also tried to get ahold of something to not fall back. Next thing you know, Elder Petersen trips over his bag and we both go directly through the front window of our house! It shattered all over us!! It was seriously the funniest thing I have ever seen! What a rookie mistake! Thankfully there was a curtain in between the glass and us! The only injuries were little cuts down my arm, yes, the arm that accidently punched right through that window! About 10 seconds after the window broke, the other elders came in with some knives because they thought that someone through a rock or tried to break in haha. Classic moment! Well, at least I know what Elder Petersen and I are going to be doing this pday. Fixing the window. It was all worth it though!
So thats all for this week! I love you all!
Que les vaya super bien!! Chao!
P.S. Sorry, not very many pix this week. But i´ll send some good ones of my new area next week.
This is the classic Windo breaking sesssion.
Monday, July 18, 2011
HOLA!!! As you all may know, this was the last week of the change. I truly do not know how this change is over already. It seriously seems like yesterday that it started. Definitely the record of missionary change speed. So this last Saturday night, I received a little call telling me whether I leave or not. Our zone leaders said, "Elder Millard, Se Va!!" I am leaving. I thought that President Gillespie had forgotten about me all this time, he finally remembered me haha. I am so sad that i'm leaving. This literally feels like my second home. I have been here for so long that I have a close relationship with just about every member here. I will miss them dearly. It was definitely time for a change though. I am super excited about this new change. It will be a fun adventure. I will forever treasure the memories of La Ligua in my heart.
On Sunday, I had the opportunity to give a little farewell talk. It seriously felt like a farewell talk from my actual home haha. It is a weird feeling, I will probably never see these people again. I spend 8 months of my life with them, get to know them, and learn to love them. Then just like that, I am sent to another place in the mission. I will never forget them. It was super hard to say goodbye. In my talk, I started sharing some of the wonderful experiences I have had here, and I became super emotional. Everyone in the congregation was crying. I talked about how they had all changed my life. Its a good thing I drank plenty of water the night before, or perhaps I would have been dehydrated after my talk. Its hard, but this is how it is. I am thankful to my heavenly father for giving me this opportunity to serve in this part of his vineyard, La Ligua.
I'm sure you would all agree with me on this one: It is a little difficult to sing after one has been crying. I am here to testify that that is very true. I gave my last musical number, playing the piano and singing. I did a little improv arrangement of a song that is only found in spanish thats called "Placentero nos es trabajar." It has a very sublime message about it is a pleasing to be able to work in the Lord's vineyard. It has a line that I absolutely love. It goes somewhat like this. I'll bust out a little Millard translation haha: "Oh brothers goodbye goodbye, the time to leave has come. If we keep the faith in our grand God, we will see each other on the other side. We will live with God in love." I love that song. Yet again, another emotional spiritual moment.
This Saturday, Ailin and Marcelo entered the waters of baptism. It was a wonderful baptismal service. A lot of their family came to witness it. Elder Alvarez baptized Marcelo and I had the opportunity to baptize Ailin. They are going to be great members of the church. They are surprisingly mature for their age. As Ailin was descending into the font, she totally slipped on her way down haha. But she regained her composure and came into the water plenty nervous. She was submerged, then when she came up out of the water, she got super emotional. She was so happy and started crying. Elder Alvarez and Marcelo were next. Elder Alvarez made a classic mistake! He put his left arm to the square instead of his right. They finished the baptism, and left the font, but then had to come back to redo it because they did not realize until after. A classic moment. After the baptisms were all done, we all went upstairs to the sacrament meeting room. Marcelo wanted to give his testimony. He got up there and said. "I feel different. I can feel the Holy Ghost very strongly... I don't know if I still can but..." Then he did not know what to say. His mom came up to give him a hug then they went to go sit down. He is such a stud! I can totally see him as a future missionary.
To announce the changes, I am going to Ovalle Canihuante, something like that... haha. I will still be district leader and my companion will be Elder Petersen. I was in the same pension as him in Coquimbo. He is a great elder and we will have a great time. I'll let you know how it is next week! I can't express how excited I am! I have a nice long trip ahead of me tomorrow.
I love you all!