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
Hola Hola!!! This week has been unforgettable!! Elder Lloyd and I are getting along extreemely well. We are becoming great friends. He is such a stud, and we are having alot of great times and success together. We are still doing our morning and nightly exercises together, and we are starting to see some fruits!! We even have the perfect diet down, complete with Eggs in the mornings and frozen yogurt and fruit at night. He is well on his way to getting back into shape for Stanford Football. I love exercising because I have so much more energy now to work all day and be more focused and awake.
My toe is doing great!! I can almost walk normally now. These last few weeks, I have been putting my whole foot in an ice bath at least once a day, and it seems like it is progressing alot. I rarely feel pain, which is a miracle!! I have another appointment to get an
X-ray on the 31st, then a follow up with the doctor on Feb 1st.
Antonio and his family are progressing so well!! As you all know, Antonio has some serious problems with smoking, drinking, drinking tea and coffe. We have done everything to help him out. We taped a Jesus Christ passalong card on his cigarrette boxes, we have brought many members of the church over that have experience leaving those things behind, and we gave him a powerful priesthood blessing. After the blessing, he has had so much more self control to resist temptation. He has not smoked for over 6 days now. He still has a way to go, but i know he will do it. God led us to them right on time. They were in a familial crisis, and did not have a way out. Now that they are applying Christ´s teachings, they are now seeing the light of hope shine into their lives. They have descovered the seeds of happiness. The whole family is now determined to do nothing more but to follow our savior Jesus Christ. They are a miracle, and i love them so much.
When Elder Lloyd arrived here in Viña, something very strange happened. It seemed as if every single appointment that we had fell through. We knew that the lord was only testing us and if we kept giving it our all and kept pushing through, we would see the blessings. These last couple of weeks have been so successful for Elder Lloyd and I. All of our appointments are there and are excited to share with us! The lord is leading us to so many prepared people.
We were talking to everyone and found a family whos dad served a mission, and the parents were sealed in the temple. Sadly, they are inactive right now as of 8 years, but the great part is that we found them and when we passed by, the spirit touched their hearts so much. They said that back in the day, when they lived in Villa Alemana, they had hundreds of missionaries pass by their house to reactivate them, but nothing happened. But now, since we found them and visited them, the spirit touched their hearts and they want to come back to church. They have 2 daughters. One thats 14 and the other is 8. The daughter asked us how they can be an eternal family. We helped them understand, and now they have desires to come back to church, the girls want to get baptized, and they want faith again in their family. We are super excited to see their change!! ETERNAL FAMILIES!!!!
What I am going to share with you now is a miracle of miracles!! As I told you last week, Elder Lloyd and I fasted to find a family. Well have you ever heard of the saying, "when it rains, it pours"? On Friday of this week, the family that we had lunch with called us and asked us if we could come to lunch a little later, at 2:30. So instead of stopping to work at 1:30, we passed by a few future investigators. A few days back, we talked to a lady that lives in a place called Población Naval, where all the men in the Navy live. We decided to pass by her since we had all this surprise time at our desposal. We came up to the main gate of the gated community, and pushed the corresponding numbers into the intercom. She did not answer but as we were there, someone was coming out of the door so we decided just to sneek in and knock her door. We knocked her door and she was alone with her kids so we could not enter in the house to share. We are going to come back another day when her husband comes back from his 3 month voyage to France. So here we were, in this gated community, on the second floor of the department building. The thought occured to us that we should hike up to the top of the appartment building and talk to the people up there. We obeyed the voice of the spirit, and walked up to the fifth floor. The first door that we knocked, there was an 11 year old boy that answered. We asked him if his parents were there, and he said no. We then asked him if anyone else was there, and he said that his older brothere was there, so he ran and got him. They took a long time, so we decided to knock the next door. As we were talking to the neighbor, I saw in the corner of my eye that the older brother had finally come to the door so I jumped to the door right away before he closed it and went inside. I talked to this 18 year old kid while my comp was talking to the neighbor. This kid, Nick, is such a cool kid. He lived in the U.S. for a couple of years so he could speak english. After my comp was done contacting the neighbor, nick let both of us in to the house to share with them. At this moment, there were just Nick (18), Diego(11) and Cristobal(11). We shared with them for a little while, when suddenly, their parents showed up at the door (Cristian, y Teresa). Next thing you know, we were sharing with the whole family of 6!! We gave them a Book of Mormon and set another appointment to pass by, since we were already super late for lunch. Then next day we passed by, and shared with them about the restoration of the gospel. The lesson was ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!! They were so interested, asking great questions, all participating and they all understood, which is the important thing. They are such a great family!! They are super happy, really respectful, super receptive, and we now have a huge confidence with them. They told us that the next time we come over, we need to call the momy and daddy. They told us that as of a couple of months, the mom´s dad died and also the dad´s dad died. So they asked us where their parents are and if they would be able to see them again. We got them excited to hear about the plan of Salvation, which we are going to share with them next time. At the end of the appointment, they all accepted a baptisimal invitation!! The lord has blessed us so much and Elder Lloyd and I are on fire with excitement and ANIMO!!!
All I have to say is that I am so grateful! Grateful for the mission, the neverending blessings of the Lord, my family whom I love so much, the Gospel, my life... I´mm really happy right now and thoroughly enjoying my experience here in the mission.
I love you all!
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.