This was another great week. The biggest event was the Stake Conference we had! First we had a session for the adults on Saturday evening and then the regular conference on Sunday morning. It was crazy because we weren’t going to go to the Saturday night session but an hour before the meeting was supposed to start, the Assistants to the President called us and were freaking out and said that all of the missionaries from the stake had to go because an “Area Seventy” was going to be there along with the Mission President and they wanted all of the missionaries in attendance. So we had to run to the house and change into our suits and then run to the Stake Center. When we arrived, there weren’t many members but the Mission President looked relieved to see us. Apparently, he had a meeting with the General Authority right before who asked “all of the missionaries from the stake are going to attend the session tonight right?” President Essig said “of course . . .” and then ran out and called the AP’s and told them to tell us to get to the Stake Center right away. The conference was so great! I actually bore my testimony and related a story about a successful member missionary experience.
The GA’s name is Elder Ressek. He is from Argentina and is huge. His talk was so powerful. He spoke about missionary work with members and also strongly criticized some Chilean-Mormon traditions. It was pretty funny. He got serious and said: “listen Brothers and Sisters. On Sunday morning you go and wake up your kids and you take them to church. They are not capable enough at a young age to decide whether or not church is a good thing to do. When you wake them up and they complain and say they have their free agency, you tell them that their free agency has been taken away temporarily and after three hours of church it will be given back to them.” Everyone got a good laugh out of this. He talked about something that I love. A main theme of his talk was that Heavenly Father loves us one by one. He then talked about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and said: “the Atonement was performed for all but the blessings are given out personally one by one.”
It was also shocking for me to see the difference in spiritual power and depth between the speakers. Elder Ressek was much more powerful than the other speakers but that is because he has been called and been given special blessings to preach the gospel as a “Seventy”. He also gave us tips on how to be better missionaries. That was the coolest experience of the week. WE ALSO JUST GOT NEWS THAT ON NOVEMBER 13TH ELDER JEFFREY R. HOLLAND IS GOING TO COME SPEAK TO OUR MISSION. It is hard to believe but Elder Bednar was here just a year ago on my first day in Santiago, Chile. He also visited and spoke to the missionaries. Everyone is super excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s it until next week!
This was another fast week . . . it flew by! We had a lot of fun experiences! In particular, last Monday we had an interesting experience after we went grocery shopping. All four of the missionaries in my apartment were shopping together. We were walking with all of our food and there was a man outside the store selling band aides. So this man (as is common here in Santiago) picked out one of the gringos, elder Boelter, and started talking to him in English and asking for help. The man wanted Elder Boelter to buy some of his band aides. Elder Boelter said no and kept walking. The man insisted a little more then gave up and went after me. I said no but more directly and kept walking down the street. Our companions are both Latinos so they didn’t really understand what the man was saying. Then after I got away he started to yell at us. He started cussing in English and saying negative things about Joseph Smith and the church. He told us that white people should go back to Utah and a bunch of other things. Unfortunately, we had to stand and wait for a taxi and the man kept yelling at us. We were like twenty yards away from him. I looked at Elder Boelter and said “what a jerk.” Then something really cool happened. Elder Boelter dropped his groceries and pulled out his wallet. He then turned and walked towards the man. The man got louder and thought that Elder Boelter wanted to fight him. It was intense and everyone was watching. We were right out in front of a big supermarket. Then Elder Boelter got right up in front of the man and pulled out 1000 pesos, which is about two dollars. Then without saying anything, he handed the man the money and took the band aides from him. Then Elder Boelter walked back to us. The man was quiet and didn’t say anything. Then we got in the taxi and left. Elder Boelter showed us an amazing example of being Christ-like and patient with someone that was harassing and belittling him. I felt badly for what I had said and thought.
We have continued teaching Rodolfo and he is excited to get baptized on the 3rd of November. We also had some funny contacts this week. One day, we knocked on the door of an elderly woman. She was at least 100 years old. She was so skinny and her eyes were pushed back into her skull so that you could see the bones in her skull. It was crazy but it was so funny also because she had fake teeth so when she talked her fake teeth jumped up and down in her mouth and rattled. It was hilarious. She was actually really smart and had no problem defending her beliefs. It was crazy.
Also, there is a member of the ward that always likes to come with us when we teach lessons. Also his dog loves following us. His dog is a big Golden Retriever named Terry. Even when we aren’t with the member, his dog finds us and follows us. It is so funny but it also is a problem because all of the other dogs get mad and bark at Terry. And they get really mad because he is a new dog that is coming onto their turf. So we have had some intense dog battles where we have had to pick up rocks and throw them and run. It is always an adrenaline rush when that dog follows us! I am doing great and having a blast here as a missionary in Santiago!
Hola! I had some cool experiences this week!
The first experience is a funny one. We were walking down the street and we passed a parked car. I looked inside as we were passing by. On the steering wheel was a super weird looking steering wheel lock. So I looked closer and saw that not only was it a steering wheel lock but it was a baseball bat too. It was so funny. A steering wheel lock and baseball bat combined in one. So you can keep people from stealing your car and beat them up as well. Only in Santiago . . .
Another funny experience but also spiritual happened last Tuesday. We were looking for an investigator’s house. So we decided to call him and he said that he was in his shop. He told us to come to his shop for a visit. We said okay and headed over. We didn’t know what he did for work because this was going to be the first lesson. We got to the shop and the guy came out with a huge dog. He let us in and we started talking and I asked him what he did for work. He said that he fixes motorcycles. So we went into his shop and he was there with five of his biker friends and they had like 20 motorcycles. So we started talking about motorcycles and they started asking us questions about who we were. In the end, we had an intense conversation about religion and how the church was restored. The amazing thing was that the bikers knew a lot about the Bible and could argue religion well. It was crazy! But we left them with a Book of Mormon because one of them in the end was really interested. It was a funny experience. But now I want to get a motorcycle! Ha! My mom isn’t going to like that too much.
Rodolfo is progressing really well. He is so excited for his baptism and he went to church yesterday. We are excited for him! He will be getting baptized in 2 weeks we hope. We still have to teach him a lot.
I played the piano again in church yesterday. It was so fun! Everyone wants me to give piano lessons to their kids in the ward so that they can be the next ward pianist. It is getting hotter but I like it. I got a haircut today. A member cuts our hair for free, which is awesome! That’s it
Hola como estan?!?!
This week was great and it flew by. I loved General Conference! I learned so much. I loved the quote from Elder Uchtdorf: “doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.” Also I loved Elder Nielsen’s talk and his comparisons to football and sports. He talked with a lot of energy and talked really rapidly. It was kind of funny listening to the translator in Spanish because he was dying trying to keep up with Elder Nielsen and on top of that he had to find words to describe the football terms that Elder Nielsen used. It was funny. It is interesting watching Conference in Spanish. The whole thing is in monotone, which doesn’t help, and it doesn’t have the same feeling as when you are watching it in English. It is also interesting because some of the members of the seventy and Elder Richard G. Scott did their own translations of their talks. They pre-recorded themselves giving the talk in Spanish and played the recorded voice when they talked. A lot of the General Authorities speak Spanish! All of the sessions flew by so fast because that’s how it is as a missionary. I am a lot more focused and interested and I pay attention the whole time J.
We found a less active family yesterday. They are awesome. They haven’t been to church in 5 years but are anxious to come back. We were talking with the mom in the family and she told us a story about how not to long ago she left to go buy bread and a drink and on her way back to her house she was talking with her friend. Then all of a sudden the bottle of coke that she had exploded in her hand. She was shocked and confused and asked her friend what had happened. Then her friend pointed at her shirt and said that there was blood on it. It turns out that she was shot and the bullet went through her back and out the front of her body and through the bottle. She said that she didn’t feel it! The doctor said that the bullet missed her heart by less that a centimeter. She then bore her testimony about how she felt prompted to pray that day to be protected. She prayed without knowing why but later realized the reason for the prompting. She felt the love of her Heavenly Father and that she was being protected by him. It was a crazy story.
We are still working with Rodolfo. He went to the Priesthood Session of conference and loved it. He is excited to get baptized. We just have to teach him all of the lessons and then he will be ready to go. My Spanish is improving every day. I read a cool scripture this week in my studies that relates to Elder Nielsen’s talk and the sports theme of some of the talks in conference. It is in 1 Corinthians 9:24. This scripture can apply to any effort that requires hard work and diligence in order to win.
24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
I really like this scripture because it says that in a race, every one runs but only one person will win. So run as fast as you can so that you are that winner.
In the race of life, we should give all that we can to win the prize of eternal life. In this race only a few will win also. But winning or losing does not depend on our abilities or talents or opportunities. It depends on if we endure the trials of this life well. Did we give all we could? Did we leave it all on the field. Everyone can win. There is enough room in the celestial kingdom for everyone. But it depends on our desire and effort. I heard a talk once about this desire and what it takes to receive eternal life. In the talk, the story is told of a teacher who picked a student to help him make a point. The teacher had a big bucket of water and asked the student to dunk his head in it. The student did and the teacher then held the students head under the water. The student fought and fought for air. He tried everything he could to get his head above the water. Finally, the teacher let the kid breathe. The teacher then taught that we should have the same desire that this student had to breathe air as we do to reach eternal life. We should fight and do all we can to obtain it. I know what the feeling is like to fight for air under water. A breath of air is the only thing that you think about and it is the only thing that matters when you have been held under water. We should have that same desire to receive eternal glory with our families.
I am doing great and loving the mission!
This week was a great week. I am still getting adapted to Santiago. I am lucky that my companion is Chilean! I am learning a ton from him about Chile and he is helping me a lot with my Spanish. I finally learned this week how to properly roll my R’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so excited. Everyday during our hour of language study, we have focused on helping me to roll my R’s and finally one day it clicked and now I can do it. It helps with the Spanish because now I sound less like a “Gringo”.
Yesterday in church I was the pianist! They haven’t had a pianist here in the ward for a while so everyone was excited when I got up and played. I used the simplified version of the hymns but it still works! I was really nervous to play, though. That was my first time as the pianist in a big ward. The bishop picked a song that I didn’t know well so I just kept trying to practice it over and over in my seat during the talks. In the end, it worked out and I only messed up a couple of times but the good thing is that no one noticed. It is fun being in a big ward again but it is also weird because you don’t get to know everyone like you do in a small ward or branch. We have lunch everyday with members though which is awesome.
I am back to eating the typical Chilean food which is noodles and tomato sauce with hot dogs and rice with chicken. Also we eat a lot of beans. My stomach is really happy with me, not! It hasn’t really been that bad though. My stomach is pretty strong. Fortunately, I haven’t been sick. While on a mission, I have transitioned from normal food to MTC food (yuck!) to Chilean food to Rapa Nui food then back to Chilean food again. Oh fun!!
We found this awesome investigator named Rodolfo. He has been going to church with his friend in another ward for the past two years and for some reason no one has baptized him. But now he is excited to get baptized! We were pretty stoked when we found him. He is “golden” and it was a miracle that we found him. So now we have to help him make friends in our ward and we have to teach him a few things and he will be ready to go.
We have been trying to find more people to teach this week. It is a blast living with my friend from the MTC. My companion is super fun and the other missionary that lives with us is awesome! So all the missionaries in our house have a lot of fun together. Elder Boelter and I are the “gringos” and my companion is named “po” and Elder Boelter’s companion is named “pe” (pay). In Chilean Spanish, they say “po” a lot after words. This is similar to Canadians saying “ey” after words. And Peruvians say “pe” after words. So we love calling them “Pe-Po”. It is pretty funny. I am doing great and can’t believe how fast time is going by in the mission!