This week was so fun! I have a new companion that is from Colombia. He is a great missionary! His name is Elder Lozada.
So late Tuesday we had the opportunity to go listen to Elder Holland! It was so cool. We had to wake up at 5:00 am. And then we had to go across Santiago, changing from taxis to buses to the subway. Everyone was really excited! We got to the big Stake Center and there were tons of missionaries. They told us that almost 1,000 missionaries would be attending. It was fun because I got to see all of the friends that I have made during my time as a missionary. Most of these missionaries I haven’t seen for a long time because I was on Easter Island for so long. I also saw my friend Taylor Lythgoe! It was super awesome to see him again. We took a bunch of pictures and caught up on things. He is in the Santiago West Mission. He is doing great it seems.
The conference was very inspiring. First of all, an Area Seventy and his wife spoke. Then Elder Holland’s wife spoke and she did a really good job and then Elder Holland topped it off with a super powerful talk. Elder Holland started his talk by saying a few things in Spanish but then changed quickly back to English and there was a translator right next to him. But the first thing that Elder Holland said was: “I’m pumped!” It set the tone for his whole talk. He focused a lot on the fact that we need to stay active and engaged in the church after our full-time missionary experience is over. He got really fired up a few times and hit the pulpit! Everyone was paying very close attention. One thing that I loved from his talk was that he cautioned missionaries not to get tired and run out of juice before the end of missionary service. He then said we need to be tough and keep working until the end. He issued this challenge: “everyone is fresh for the first ten yards, but down the way it gets a littler tougher. How committed are you?”
Also he taught that reading the Book of Mormon is the key to teaching with power and authority. The other thing that I loved was he answered questions that most if not all missionaries ask themselves. For example, “Why is a mission so hard? The church is true right? So why don’t people just flock to the baptismal font?” He then answered by saying: “A mission is hard because “salvation” was never meant to be obtained cheaply. The road to salvation always requires that we pass through our personal Gethsemane.” His words were really powerful. We can apply that to being a long-time member or a recent convert or even an investigator. But the beautiful thing is that these blessings are infinite for those that pick up their cross and carry on.
My companion and I have been finding some new people and we are working hard. It is starting to heat up here. One day it got to 35 degrees Celsius = 95 degrees Fahrenheit. All I know is that it is hot. But people are great here and always give us water so it’s not too bad. Today we had a “Zone Activity” in the Stake Center and played soccer and ping pong and ate Completos ( hot dog served with lots of mayonnaise, chopped tomatoes and sauerkraut). It was really fun. My companion gave me one of his jerseys from Colombia and in our zone there was another Colombian with his jersey so we played together as a team with our yellow jerseys!
We also have an investigator named Nadia that will be getting baptized soon. She is progressing really well and really wants to get baptized. She is awesome! I am doing great. Christmas is so close!