Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Hola Hola!! So this was my first week in Viña and I absolutely LOVE it. It is better than I thought it would be. From the exciting city feeling, to the breathtaking views of the tall buildings and the ocean, to the beautiful sunsets, to the nicest pension I have ever seen in the middle of downtown Viña, to the great ward that i´m in... I think I can get used to it here. There are over 200 members in the ward, (my first ward in my whole mission, I have only had branches,) so this will be something different. The members are great. We have some powerful leaders here! My area is the center of the mission, so I am always at the office, and I always see president Gillespie. I am seriously so Blessed to be here right now! I have been nothing but grateful these last week. I am so excited to tell you all about how the week went!
On Saturday, it was the celebration of 50 years of missionary work here in Chile! Only the privileged in the mission had the opportunity to go down to Santiago and participate in the marvelous event. My zone was one of the privileged! We all got to go down to Santiago, to a big soccer stadium, where they held this monumental event. There were so many missionaries there from viña, Santiago, concepción, and Rancagua. We all got to sit together because we were planned to be part of the program. We waited in the hot sun all day until 7 o clock rolled around and it started. The area presidency of Chile was there to speak to us. They gave some great talks! Then the real show started. There were over 3000 young men and women participating with dancing, acting and singing. It was such a memorable event. It is incredible to think that only 50 years back, there were no members of the church in the whole nation of Chile. Two missionaries and a few others were sent to start from the nothing. They converted one heart at a time, one family at a time, until now, the lord´s restored gospel has been taken to all the land. Now, 50 years later, look at how far we have come. I looked at all the members in the stadium and thought of all the hundreds of thousands of members that were not present, and I was amazed. It made me remember of what Joseph smith said about the progress of this work in these days. He said:
“The Standard of Truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame. But the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and dependent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, until the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah will say, ‘The work is done.'”
This work is true, and I am privileged to be a part of it.
We had our first zone class this last Tuesday. Elder Stevens and I were quite creative with some of the things that we did in the class. Everyone left so excited (Animado) (Animo) to work. I have been thinking a lot on what I could do to help the zone with their enthusiasm and excitement for the work. The idea came into my head that I could compose a zone song. So on Monday night, I took a few minutes to compose a zone song. I was surprised how it turned out! At the end of the zone meeting, I taught the zone our new song, and it pumped everyone up! We will singing it at the end of each zone meeting to keep the Animo up! This is going to be a great change!!! The zone consists of 14 elders, including us and the office elders. One of my old comps, Elder Saldivar, from Mexico, is in the zone.
We have few investigators right now. But that is about to change. Elder Stevens and I have a goal to find a family of 5, and baptize them. We have been praying for it in every prayer, and we are being so obedient, that the lord will be obligated to bless us. We are talking to everyone and doing everything we know how to do in order to have success here in Viña. It’s a different game here. Instead of knocking doors, we have to ring the doorbell, where there is a speaker and they talk to you through their phone inside. We are full of huge apartment buildings and it is quite the adventure!
I love my comp Elder Stevens. He is a STUD. He is from Holliday Utah, and he really likes to have a good time and laugh. He finishes the mission at the end of this year, so I might be the one that kills him on the mission! These will be some very exciting 2 months ahead.
I love you all so much!
Que les vaya bien!!
Monday, October 10, 2011
Hola Hola!! Wow, this week was a great one!! So many exciting things happened. First of all, I have to announce the results of the changes this week. On Saturday morning, right after I finished my morning prayers, the phone rang. I run over there to see who it is, and the screen says, President Gillespie. Elder Young picked it up, and right away, he hands me the phone and says, he wants to talk to you. President said, “Hello Elder Millard, how are you doing. Elder, I want you to serve as a Zone Leader for Viña Centro. Your companion will be Elder Stevens.” Then he gave me some great advice. I am so excited for my new assignment as Zone Leader. It will definitely stretch me but I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve and learn a lot. Viña Centro is the headquarters of the mission. I will be right next to Pres Gillespie, so he will have to keep an eye on me. Ha. This is one of the best zones in the whole mission, so I cannot wait to go there and baptize. My time has come to an end at Canihuante, but I cannot wait for my new change. Elder Young is going to be training. His kid is going to be born in a diamond mine. He will be born into a place with lots of miracles and prepared children of God.
So our investigators are doing great. Erica just amazes me. She has had to stop: smoking, drinking tea, drinking coffee and a few other commandments… and she has been resisting temptation. This last week, it was her son’s birthday, so they had the whole family there. When their whole family gets together, the whole house is full of beer, cigarettes, tea, and coffee. She told us that everyone in her family was offering her a smoke, everyone was trying to make her drink, and everyone was doing it. Can you imagine, living a whole life participating with your family in all these things, and liking it, and then as of two weeks, you cannot consume these things any more. On top of that, everyone inviting you to+ how tough. But she pulled through, and did not participate in any of that. She has an incredible will power, and really wants to be baptized. We found out this week that Erica is actually famous in Ovalle. She is very well known as a singer. So after she gets baptized on the 29th of October, she will be a fountain of references. When she found out that I was leaving, she came up to me with tears in her eyes, and took my hand to shake it, and said with all the sincerity in the world, “Elder, thank you so much. Thank you for all your patience with me, and thank you for helping me come to Jesus Christ. I will never forget you. Thank you so much for giving me the gospel.” Moments like these are what make the mission worth it. All those days knocking doors in the hot sun, the tired legs, the long days, are all worth it for moments like this. Seeing the sincere gratitude of someone that has found Jesus Christ in their lives. This is why I love my mission. I have the power and the privilege to give this hope to everyone, all my brothers and sisters here in Chile.
We are also working a lot with Luis and Juani. We have not been able to share with them very much this week because Juani was rushed to the hospital with symptoms of meningitis. We have been trying to share with their dad for the longest time but every time we refer to anything about the gospel to him, he shouts out, “No No No, you guys are teaching my kids, I have my own beliefs, I wish you would respect that.” But he is such a great guy, one of the funniest men I have ever met. As of right now, we do have a great relationship and he loves when we come over. Yesterday night, we went to go visit the family, but only the dad was there. We sat down and talked to him. We very smoothly led the conversation into a gospel subject. We let it into Christ and his earthly ministry then had a great conversation about the great apostasy. We were in, we finally were having a lesson with him, and he was surprisingly interested. We shared many passages from the Bible, and helped him realize the importance of the restored Gospel. This lesson was a miracle. His heart was finally opened, and the spirit touched him. We gave him the DVD the Restoration, and he promised us he would watch it. MIRACLES.
I love you all so much. Thank you so much for all the prayers and support.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Hola Hola!! This was a great week here in Canihuante. I absolutely loved conference. Here we are still seeing miracles every day. Happy Birthday Steve! Sounds like you had some fun surprises. Hope you had a great day!! Dad, I could not stop laughing after seeing the outfit that you wore to Priesthood conference!! Classic, I approve! The pink shirt with the BYU tie just go together flawlessly. All my companions laughed too. Sorry mom for encouraging him haha. Well let´s get started with the miracles in this part of Zion, Canihuante Chile.
Even though I could not be home for this “candy” general Conference, we definitely had our fair share of treats for all of us missionaries. The whole zone, all 14 of us gringos, got to see the conference together in English. We were all crammed into the primary room. Conference was absolutely incredible! This one was special for me because there were various talks that really got to me. It´s distinct watching conference for me as a missionary because I have a deeper understanding of the importance of these things than I did before the mission. Before, I did not take conference very seriously. It was something nice to watch; Some of the talks were really good and uplifting, but I never understood the importance of conference. I now know that what we hear in conference is ultimately important to us for these days. What we hear in conference are commandments that the Lord requires us to live now. It is the doctrine of our day. Through all this confusion in the world, we all have the privilege of listening to a living Prophet of God that is in direct communication with our eternal God. How great of a blessing that is for all of us. May we apply what we learn. I love watching conference then going out to be a missionary again. I just experienced one of the sweet fruits of the gospel, and now I can go and share it with others.
Erica´s mom surprisingly could not come down on the expected date to Ovalle, so Erica decided to postpone her baptismal date until her mom can be there. Her mom is expected to arrive the end of October. She is going through a lot of changes in her life. She needs to stop doing some things that she is accustomed to doing her whole life in order to live the commandments of God. She really needs your prayers. She has all the desires in the world to change her life, but she needs some extra help, prayer. Erica´s daughter was baptized about 5 years ago with her husband. Now they are separated and her daughter is inactive. But I have faith that through seeing her mom take these steps, it will help her remember and come back.
This is the last week of the change, so the next letter will have the results of what the Lord wants for me these next 6 weeks!
Love you all!