Well, I am still on Easter Island! There was a problem with the travel agent and she didn’t purchase the tickets when she was scheduled to so now I will be leaving for Santiago on Wednesday! Just two more days in paradise then back to the city!
This week was great. I did a lot of showing Elder Caicedo around and training him regarding everything on the island. I said good-bye to a lot of the people here that I know. I realized this week that I probably know about 75% of the people on the island. Instead of locating things by streets or businesses, I give directions by where certain families live. I realize that is pretty funny.
We had one really unusual experience this week. In South America, the Mexican Soap opera TV shows are super famous and EVERYONE watches them, even people here on Easter Island! They are just shows that are super dramatic. They are also very funny. The reason I bring this up is because we had a real life soap opera experience with a woman we met. So a couple of weeks ago, Elder Nicoll and I found a lady named Juana. We were knocking on doors and met her. She was really nice and allowed us to teach her. She said that many years ago she had contact with missionaries and had gone to our church once or twice. Since we met her we have visited her a few more times. We asked her if she ever was baptized and she said “no” and it was apparent she wasn’t a member because when we taught her the lessons she didn’t know anything. So this week, my new companion and I were planning and I was looking at our big map that we have. It has all four of the members marked on it. As I was examining the map, I noticed that Juana’s house was marked. Her marker said “Juana Martinez: less active member”. I couldn’t believe it! The Juana we knew says that she isn’t a member and she doesn’t seem to know very much about the church either. So that day we went to visit her. She was sick so we didn’t go in to teach her. But we talked in her doorway. I finally asked her again if she had ever been baptized just to make sure. She said no again. (This is when the soap opera begin!) She paused for a second and was thinking hard. Then she said that a while ago, she had an accident and hit her head. She said that she lost some of her memory and forgot a lot of things that happened to her in the past. I thought “no way! She is a member but she forgot that she got baptized!” So then I said to her: “Juana you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. We have your name in the church records and you were baptized.” So just like a soap opera she acted confused and responded semi- dramatically. It was so funny. But it ended well and now we know she is a member and she knows too! She has the ordinances of salvation and she didn’t even know it!
We are also teaching a guy named “Lettuce.” Yes his real name is lettuce! We had a great day in church yesterday. Berta gave a talk. She is our recent convert. She did an amazing job. She first got up and started to bear her testimony. She said that she knew the church was true and that the priesthood has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. It was so awesome to see how her testimony has grown since the first day we taught her. She already is a strong member! I also talked about being followers of Christ and taking up our cross (Mat. 16:24). I applied it to recent converts and how at baptism a person is picking up their cross and putting it on their back and starting to walk down a path. I said that carrying a cross is not an easy thing. It is heavy and for recent converts it can be discouraging at times. So it is important that members who have a lot of time in the church help new converts carry their cross. They need to teach them and love them and show them how to keep walking on the path to eternal life.
I am just trying to work as hard as I can and enjoy these last days on Easter Island!