Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Sara and Karina are having their baptisimal interview this week. They will be baptized this sunday! We are really excited for them. They have come a long way.
Sergio also accepted a baptisimal date for the 13th of May.
We are working hard, seeing miracles, and ENJOYING the last sweet moments of the mission. But there is still alot of time, so OFF TO WORK!!
Love you all!
P.s. Sorry for the short letter, I will send a better one next week
Oh, by the way, I was looking at the calendar the other day, and I realized that I have a little over 9 weeks left in the mission!! I have no words to say. i´m speechless
All the investigators are doing great! Carina and her grandma Sara are determined to get baptized on the 22nd of this month. So we will be teaching them alot this week in order to make sure they are ready. Carina attended a baptism this week and loved it. She is actually a huge miracle. She changed from someone who did not know if she believed in God, or Jesus, to a person who all she wants to do is follow the example of Him and change her life so it is in harmony with His teachings. The Spirit really has changed their lives and filled them with light and joy.
Elder Yorgason and I have come to the conclusion that the only way that we will be able to accomplish the goals that we have set is working absolutely with the members. Not only invite them to accompany us with appointments, but also visit their houses, share a spiritual experience with them, then help them with their own family mission plan. All the members are surrounded by friends, workmates, neighbors... that do not have the knowlege of the gospel that we have. So we will visit them to inspire them and animate them to start working with all these people that they know. This is something that I have tried to do more in my mission, but most times the results are more long term. I feel like this will be so much more effective than knocking doors, visiting investigators that will not progress... The joy of helping a member bring one of their friends to the gospel i feel will be even greater than the joy of us finding them and baptizing them. While working like this, the whole ward gets excited as well about missionary work! We are going to put the members to work haha. We are also going to start doing a plan thats called 15 families. The ward is going to give us names and adresses of 15 families that are innactive, and we are going to go teach them all the missionary lessons with the end of re-activating them and baptizing all their relatives, friends... Our new focus is using the Members!
Love you all!!
Maybe some of you heard that there was yet another earthquake here in Chile! Ever since the last huge earthquake back in February 2010, there was this crazy man who predicted the next huge earthquake that was to occur. His prediction was the following date: 24 of march 2012. That was this last Saturday. So for the last few weeks, this man has been on the news and everything warning people to store water and get ready, because the earthquake was going to come. There were quite a few people that were afraid of what was supposedly going to happen. Well, it was a friday night, and we were in a deep slumber. 4:30 in the morning rolles around and suddenly, I feel my bed start to move a little bit. Right away, I sit up in my bed. It was in that moment when everything started to shake like crazy!! It started shaking harder and harder by the second. I was SO SCARED!!! haha I did not know what to do. I was sitting in my bed absolutely hopless. Luckily, the earthquake only lasted about 10 seconds, and after it was done, It was more of a COOL experience than anything. Elder Perez and I both said, "WOW, that was AWESOME!!" haha. But all is well, nothing was damaged, and all that was left was a cool memory of my second earthquake in the mission.
The elders that live with us like to eat our food. Elder Perez and I came up with the perfect solution. There is a chocolate here in Chile that works as a laxitive. haha So Elder Perez and I went and bought some on Pday. Back in the pension, we played a game with them, (them not knowing anything...) where my comp throws some chocolate and the missionary has to catch it in their mouth. We did a little competition to see who could catch the most in their mouth when the other throws. haha. My comp had regular milk chocolate and the special chocolate in hand. I´m sure you can guess who got the portion of our little surprise. haha. Our beloved pension mates woke up the next morning with zeal, and I have never seen anyone run so fast to the bathroom. hahaha
We are working with a family of 6 that are great! The only problem is that the parents are not married. This is becoming super normal for me now, considering that the majority of the couples here are just living together. How satan works right? Anyways, the point is, ever since we have been working with them, they have changed so much! When we first started to share with them, the only one that was interested was the dad, Ivan. The wife, Barbara, always told us that she was not interested because she likes the Jehova´s witenesses more. We were sharing with them the other day, when Barbara told us something that I have heard COUNTLESS times in my mission that I will never forget. The following phrase has streangthened my testimony invaluably throghout my mission. She said, "Elders, ever since you have arrived at our home, our whole lives have changed. There are not any fights in the home, our health is better, work is going great, we feel peacefull, and we are all happy!" This is the common response of anyone who accepts the gospel of Jesus Christ and applies what it teaches. The spirit is in this work and I testify of that. I have had the pleasure of seeing so many lives change throughout my time here in chile. I am going to savor every last moment of my mission.
We had 7 investigators at church this weekend. 6 of them are progressing. We are finally starting to see more success here. The Lord is so good to us.
Love you all!!
This week was a great one!! On Wednesday, I had the privilege of traveling to Quilpué to witness the marriage of Antonio and Erica. I am officially the best man of Antonio!! Here they say Padrino. So I am Antonio´s Padrino, and he is my Ahijado. haha. This is the first time in my life I have been a best man, and its to a man 3 times my age. hah Here in Chile, they have the terrible custom of arriving late for everything. We were told that the wedding started at 1:00. So we were there 30 min early to be sure. One a clock rolls around, and they still are not there. 1:15, still nothing. 1:30, they finally come. haha you would think that one would arrive on time for their wedding. Anyways, when they got there, Antonio was SO nervous. He arrived and was smoking, and ttrembling, trying to calm down. Antonio is a character. He never takes anything seriously. Throughout the wedding ceremony, he was busting so many jokes, and beeing a goofe ball. I was positioned at his side, and Elder Lloyed would have been on the other side, but his Chilean Identity expired so he could not participate. But he was present. When they got married, when all was said and done, the first words that Erica said impacted me. She said, with a huge smile on her face, "Now I can be baptized!" This family has made so many changes, they have come so far!! I love them so much. This weekend, Erica and Felipe are going to get baptized. Antonio still has to drop a few things concerning the Word of Wisdom. After he sees his family get baptized, that will incentivate him even more. All will be well.
This friday, we had an activity as a ward that we have been planning for quite a while. It was more like a fireside, where we taught our message of the Restoration of the Gospel, but through brief explinations and musical numbers having to do with each of the points of the lesson. The whole ward participated in various musical numbers, and I was glued to the piano. The activity turned out so well!! we had over 100 attending, including over 10 investigators, and about half of them were crying throughout the program. All the preparation and the practice was all worth it.
This ward has the custom of showing their love for the missionaries through FOOD. We have not gone ONE night without having something huge and fattening to eat. In every single house that we enter, they always have something delicious prepared for us to eat. The Chileans are such a loving people. If one thinks that they can do a diet here in Huanhualí, they are WRONG.
I am now going to share an experience that is an evidence of how rigorous missionary work is at times. On thursday night, after the day was over, we arrived at home, walked upstairs and planned for the following day. After the planning session, it was about 10:15, I had in my mind that I would just lay on my bed for a couple of seconds then finish with the nightly routine at 11:00. At this moment, I still had my white shirt, tie, pants, belt, shoes... on. From the moment where my 6´5 body touched that bed, I do not remember anything until the next morning when the oh so early alarm clock sounded at 6:55. When I woke up, I looked like I was all ready to work! I had all my gear on haha. I could not believe what just happened. haha
Well thats all for now. The work is going better, we are seeing more success every day, and I´m grateful for this time where I can smile and "bask in the sunshine of personal sacrifice, service and growth."
Pic. Antonio, the nervous man arriving to his wedding, listening to music and smoking. All of his work companions were telling him that he should not do it, BUT HE DID IT!!!
Elder Perez and I are getting along great. We have truly gained the confidence of the zone and we are seeing miracles! Last week, there were only 3 people with baptisimal date attending church in the whole zone, and this week, we got over double digits.
I met a man named Pastor Moses the other day. He is a blind mad that is quite the character. He misunderstood me when I presented myself. Ever since, he has called me Helder Miyagr. haha Elder Perez and I got a kick out of that.
Love you all! sorry, I was kinda short on time this week.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Hola Hola! So my first day in Villa Alemana, I recieved a great surprise! Elder Lloyd called me from Viña, and in that moment was in a lesson with Antonio and Erica. He passed the phone over to them. They told me that they had a surprise for me. They went to Quilpué to get another marriage date, but this time for the 27th! So I will be able to go and accompany them and be one of their witnesses with Elder Lloyd. I´m so excited for them, that was a really nice surprise.
When I left Viña, our investigator pool was just rocking! Elder Lloyd and I did some work. As I arrived in Villa Alemana this week, I quickly came to the realization that the pool was pretty much empty! Thats alright though because the lord has some trust in Elder Perez and I to work hard and have success here. I´m putting in practice what i have learned in my entire mission so we will be able to find some investigators, help them progress, and baptize here in Villa Alemana.
It is very hot here! Definitely not the same as the Viña ocean breeze. Its also pretty dry and not very much wind. But i´m not on the mission to see the sights right? I´m here to work, and that is exactly what i´m going to do.
We live in a pension of 4 missionaries. Our house is 3 stories high, but each level is about the size our our kitchen at home. Haha. It will be a fun, memorable place to stay for my last months in the mission.
Elder Perez is great. He is from Cadiz España, the furthest south one can go. He definitely speaks like a spanish, where every C, Z, and S sound like a TH. We already teach really well together and there is some great comp unity. This will be a great change.
Our zone has 6 companionships, 2 of which are sister missionaries. That will take some getting used to haha. We started the change with 3 baptisimal dates in the entire zone, and in these last 3 days, we have all put 16! So in the zone, there are now 19 baptisimal dates. I´m excited to see all the miracles that come to pass here in Villa Alemana Oeste!
Love you all!
Hola Hola!! So this week was changes. The news is actually quite shocking for me! On Friday night, President Gillespie called me and the words he said were the following: "Elder Millard, I am calling to give you your final assignment of your mission. I´m sending you to Villa Alemana Oeste with Elder Pérez. You will be serving in the ward, Huanualí as zone leader." Wow, I am officially going to the last area of my mission. I can´t believe it. I still feel like i´m new in the mission, this can´t be happening. I´m really excited to go there and go to work, finish my mission with a bang. I have heard really good things about the ward though. Apparently it is the best organized ward in the entire mission with great members. My companion is awesome as well. He is from Spain. I´m excited to meet him and i´ll let you all know how things go this week in my new/last area.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Hola Hola!! It was a great week this week for all of us! Elder Lloyd and I are going to work here in Viña. We are seeing so many miracles, also so many heartaches each day. But all these great ups and downs of the mission are what make it fun. I absolutely love how much I learn each week. The mission is the greatest preparation for life. Elder Lloyd and I are still waking up a little early to do some rigorous exercises, along with applying a very nutritional diet. We are seeing so many fruits. All the missionaries are asking us what we are doing to look like this. Now there are many more missionaries that are doing their morning exercises like they should. haha.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Hola Hola!! Every week keeps flying by faster and faster. Its amazing how that works. I love hearing of all the blessings that you are seeing at home. It always re-assures me that the Lord looks after missionarie's families, protects them and blesses them. Elder Lloyd and I are enjoying the many blessings that the Lord is giving us. I love where I am at, Viña is so beautiful, I love the people here so much. I have never taught so many families in my life! The motto of our mission is Misión Viña del Mar, Convertir Familias. (convert families.) Families are the central purpose of Gods eternal plan, and I am so grateful to have a family as wonderful as you!! I love you guys so much. Since this week flew by so fast, I'm having a hard time remembering all the miracles that happened. But I will do the best I can.
We had a family night with President Gillespie this last Thursday. That is one of the benefits of being an Elder that works in Viña, you have the privilege of having family nights in the mission president's house with investigators. We brought Antonio, Erica and Felipe to this monumental event along with a couple of the office elders and one of their investigators. Elder Lloyd and I had the lesson so we planned something super interactive and fun. We set up a course of twine outside which led to a fig tree. This course was a representation of Lehi's dream in the Book of Mormon. We asked President Gillespie to stand under the fig tree and act as Lehi, inciting the people to come to him. We took all the investigators to the beginning of the course, blindfolded everyone, then read them 2Nefi 31:17-18 which explains that repentance and baptism gets them on the path, and this path leads to Eternal Life. Their instructions were to never let go of the rod, and they would make it to Eternal life. While all were on their journey to the Tree of Life, where President Gillespie was shouting for all to come to him, Elder Lloyd and I were right with the investigators, walking side by side with them, trying to tempt them to let go of the Rod. We were successful with one investigator. After letting go, he "repented and went back." They all throughly enjoyed the activity and learned a lot. President and Sister Gillespie had some American style refreshments waiting for us inside so we all went in and had a great night together.
We found something out this week that was devastating. The whole time we were teaching Antonio and Erica, we thought they were married. But during one of the lessons, their son Felipe clarified that they are only living together, not married. They claim that it is the same, but by teaching them the doctrine of Christ, they now understand that they have to get married before they get baptized. They expressed to us that they want to get baptized SO bad, but they are having problems with each other right now so they are not sure if they want to get married. That is one of the biggest culture problems here in Chile. It is more convenient to just live together... But we are working with them and hope they will work things out, and receive an answer from the Lord that they need to get married. They are still coming to church every week, Antonio is still leaving behind his addictions, and little by little, their lives are becoming more in harmony with what the lord wants for them.
I'm sure you are all wondering whats going on with that new family that we found last week. Well we have only been able to visit them once because the father is a navy instructor and the mom works as well, so they are almost never home. On Thursday when we went to pass by them, they told us that they would not be able to share with us until next Tuesday!! (5 days later). Its a bummer that we can't pass by them as much as we would like, but we will still do everything we can to help them progress. We have asked the participation of a few families that are more than happy to help fellowship them. Now its just a matter of getting a fixed appointment and finding a few minutes to share with them.
The zone is seeing miracles. We have once again over 35 baptismal dates and everyone is really enthusiastic about the work. We are seeing so many miracles!
I love you all!
Monday, January 23, 2012
Monday, January 16, 2012
Hola Hola!! Im so sad right now because I wrote you all a huge great letter, then right when I was about to send it, the computer froze, they had to restart the whole thing and I lost everything!! But ill do the best I can to get you guys a good letter this week. Happy Birthday KM!! We are getting so old.
I had the doctor checkup for my toe today. He said that I have an extra bone in my toe so it is more prone to break. But it is doing better than two weeks ago. Im not limping as much and im babying it by icing it 3 times a day.
Our pension is right in front of the Viña sporting, a big huge place where there are fields of grass, a track where they do the horse races, and tons of sporting facilities. Well Elder Lloyd and I had a surprise waiting for us on Friday night as we went home. There was a David Guetta concert that night! They had speakers set up, that made the cars parked next to them look small. There were tons of people there and we could see everything!! At Midnight, the concert started. It was at that moment when our whole pension started to shake due to the extreemely loud music. We did not get any sleep for a while. Our beds were even shaking because of the music.
We fasted as a companionship to find a family to baptize, yup, an entire family. Well, we found them last week. They're names are Antonio, Erika, and Felipe. They also have a daughter thatś 18 years old and she doesnt want anything to do with us. She will though once she sees her family get baptized. Antonio has a lot of problems with smoking and drinking. When we found them, there was a huge arguement going on in the house. We were persistent at the door and after 3 or 4 tries they finally let us in. The spirit was so powerful. The next day, they came down to the church and LOVED IT! We taught them every single day this week. We ended up reviewing the Restoration of the Gospel and watching the movie 17 Miracles. (a brand new movie about the martin handcart company). They were so touched at the sacrifices that the pioneers had to make and also at the miracles that occured by their faith along the trail. They decided to overcome their trials and use faith even more in their lives and wow... let me tell you what. These people were prepared by the Lord for us and there couldnt have been a better time for them to receive the gospel.
Now there is no arguing. Now there is unity, peace, love, and joy in their home. Now they have more appreciation for eachother. Now they are reading the book of mormon, praying, and going to church. They are going to be baptized and be forgiven of all of their sins and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide and comfort them throughout their entire lives. They will have an eternal family. They will overcome all of the trials that are in their path. Antonio told us that he has been looking for something that fills him up for the longest time. He was saying that he went to the Catholic church, Evangelist, Presbetarian, protestant... None of them got to him. He told us that he now feels peace and that he has found what he has been looking for.
I love my mission, I love helping people and I love the gospel.