So to answer your questions: first of all, I did not feel the earthquake! It was centered far north of us. I am excited experience one though! That would be so cool! I guess living in So Cal has not freaked me out about earthquakes! Well, this week flew by, but I have many stories!
Most importantly, Patricia was confirmed a member of the church yesterday and received the Holy Ghost. It was awesome! My companion and I got to be part of the prayer in front of the ward. It was a good feeling. She is doing great and loves reading her scriptures.
Some quick little cool things that happened…. We went to see one of our investigators and they came out with their dog and talked to us outside their house. While we were talking, their dog came up to me and sniffed my pants and while I wasn’t looking it started to relieve itself on my leg! It was like I was some kind of light post or something!
Also my companion and I went to go teach an investigator and she told us she was inviting her neighbor. She said that her neighbor wanted to hear our message and that he was going to bring his Bible. That is usually a bad sign when they say that they are going to bring their Bible. This is not because we don’t like the Bible. We believe the Bible to be the word of God. The bad thing is that it usually means a minister from another religion will be there to argue and “Bible bash” with us. So we went anyways and started to teach about the restoration. Then the man who was invited brought out his Bible and started preaching against us. We sat and listened and then tried to keep teaching. He wouldn’t stop so in the end, my companion and I just bore testimony of the truth and what we believe. I really felt that I should be bold, so I was. The guy didn’t really say anything after that and then we left him with a Book of Mormon. It was really intense.
My companion has been a little sick. He has to go to the bathroom a lot. (He is having intestinal problems!) We think he got it from the weird squid we ate a week ago. So he might have something wrong with his stomach. Even though he has had some stomach problems we still have gone out and worked everyday. He is super tough!
We had a really cool experience this week with the spirit of discernment. It is a gift promised to missionaries to be able to receive revelation about people and know their thoughts and desires. You have to be following the spirit very closely and be in tune or else you won’t receive these revelations. So we have been teaching a lady for a while now and she has a son with cerebral palsy. The son has had it his whole life and he is 43. He has to lie in a bed all day and can’t really use any of his limbs. It was very, very shocking to see him the first time we went into the house. He has other brain problems we think because he bites off his lips. So his mouth is pulled really far back and he can’t close it. He is missing lots of teeth and the rest are black. He hits himself and has tons of scars on his face and hair ripped out. So the mom has to tie him down to the bed by his wrists and ankles. He also screams. He looks like a zombie from a horror movie. It is insane. So we have been teaching this family for a while and the mom is amazing. She has been taking care of this kid for 43 years. She has an amazing love for her child. Everyone tells her to get rid of him but she says she could never do that to her son. So a couple of weeks ago, we walked into teach her and the son had blood all over his face. She said that he was hitting his face on the railing of the bed. It was so scary looking. We taught them and left and my companion told me afterwards that he had a thought come to him that maybe she hits him. This thought came to him when we entered the house. He said that he immediately dismissed it and thought that it was a horrible thought. We talked about it more afterwards and both thought that maybe she was really hitting him. So a couple weeks passed by and we didn’t see them because they weren’t home and we just didn’t have time to go. But this week we went to see them. We went in and sat down and things were like they were before. We prayed and talked a little then my companion got his scriptures out to share something. She then stopped him and said I have something to confess that I have never told anyone. Immediately the thought came into our minds: “She is going to say that she hits him.” We hadn’t seen them in weeks and we only talked about that once. We also had no idea really what was going on because we only visit them for thirty minutes at a time. My companion asked her what it was and she said: “sometimes I lose my patience and I hit my son.” She broke down crying. She said that she never has hit him hard but that she has pushed him down on the bed or hit his head to make him stop screaming. She said that she never sleeps and it is so much work taking care of him. It was a crazy experience. We told her that there is a way to repent of this and that she can be forgiven. She is an amazing person. She has so much patience and love and many attributes of Christ. She is an example and hero to me in the way she has endured taking care of her son and being willing to share with us her mistakes and frustrations. I really learned about the spirit of discernment through this experience. It is real. The fact that we knew what she was doing only could have come from God. Why? Here are some of my thoughts. We only have seen her five times and each time for only about 30 minutes. She hasn’t told us really anything about her life or what is going on. We understand her but still there is a language barrier. We are two 20-year-old gringos from the other side of the world and we have never seen anything like this before. I really believe this inspiration came from God.
I had a cool realization that goes along with this point, too. I realized that about 99% of the time as missionaries we have no idea what we are doing. We just have to go and do things by faith and a lot of prayer. I realized the truth of this more when I had to get my Chilean ID this week. My companion and I went to the Mission Office on Thursday morning and they gave us these papers and a bunch of documents and then one paper with directions. They told us to go to a building in the middle of downtown Santiago and that there were directions in the paperwork. So we read some of the directions and went. I should also mention that all of this paper work was in Spanish. So basically what we did was go to this big building in the middle of Santiago that was like a DMV on steroids. There were thousands of people trying to get these IDs, and all of the workers were really angry, just like the DMV! So we followed the directions in the paperwork and I talked with all of the angry Chilean DMV people about identifications and technical things in Spanish. Then I got my picture taken three times and they took my fingerprints as well. I took care of some other details and then we left. I have no idea how we did it but we did. It helped me realize more dramatically how much I don’t know and that it is by faith that I will be successful as a missionary and in the handling of all the details relative to being here. It was a really cool experience. This week has flown by. My companion and I are having a blast and we are also still really hot because the temperature is still high but we will survive! That’s all for this week!