What a week this week! We had a lot of fun contacting and doing baptismal interviews and handling other missionary responsibilities!! We had changes today and I got a new companion but I am staying in the same sector. I am training again. My new companion is named Elder Fasshauer. And “no”, he is not a “gringo” nor German. He is from Peru! I was surprised because of his name. He is super awesome. I am excited to be with him. The crazy thing is that his sister went to BYU after she ended high school in Peru and now is married and lives in Provo. So in the fall of 2011, my companion went to Provo to live with her for a short time and took English classes at BYU. So we both studied at BYU at the same time! How crazy! I never met him while at BYU but he lived in the Glenwood apartments with his sister, which is really close to Helaman Halls. He doesn’t speak much English because he was only in the U.S. for one semester. But it is awesome because he knows all about BYU and played on an intermural soccer team and he loves “In-N-Out”. So funny! He is from Lima, Peru. He also seems very humble and it looks like we will get a long well. Today Sister Essig gave me a bag of cookies from President and Sister Heyman. They were together in a Mission President Conference this past week and Sister Heyman gave the cookies to Sister Essig to give to me! They were so good. It was awesome. That’s the news!
This week was very exciting! We had a baptism. Well kind of… So we had been teaching a guy named Mauricio for most of my time here. He is 25 and super awesome. About 2 weeks ago something happened in his house and he had to move. And he moved within the boundaries of another ward and he was scheduled to get baptized that week!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So we had to cancel our plans to baptize him and then he had to go to the other ward and the sister missionaries visited him. So since the sister missionaries are in my district, I had to do the baptismal interview. He passed and afterwards asked if I could baptize him!! So we weren’t sure I could do it because I am assigned to another ward. Luckily this past Sunday we had a stake conference and my chapel is where the conference was held. Mauricio had his baptism in our chapel and I was able to baptize him. The baptism was awesome! Many people attended because everyone was there from the stake and there were two other baptisms as well. The Stake Conference was a satellite broadcast for the northern part of Chile. Two members of the “Seventy” and Elder Quentin L. Cook spoke. It was really good!
We had one really awesome experience this week. We have an investigator named Roman that is progressing really well and is awesome. He lives about 30 minutes away by car so it takes a while to get to his house and we have to plan well. So on Thursday we had interviews with the Mission President and we got out at 8pm. The assistants were there and one named Elder Hart was going to do splits with a companionship but they were sick so he came with us. We lived together at the beginning of my mission. He is super cool. So we had to take a bus to get to Roman’s house. The buses here are crazy. So when we were half way there the front door just randomly falls off the bus. It was so crazy! hahah. So the bus driver had to stop and everyone had to get off and we had to hitchhike the rest of the way or wait for another bus. We tried calling members but no one could help us. It seemed like there was a lot of opposition in getting to see Roman. Finally, a bus passed by and we got to his house late. He was doing great. We talked and then we began the lesson. It was so good. We talked about how to recognize the Holy Ghost. He shared an experience about how the missionaries had given a priesthood blessing to his daughter and she was healed immediately and he said after that he felt a peace and love that was unexplainable. He said that was the first time that he had ever felt the presence of God in his life. He said that he wanted to just jump up and down and share his happiness with everyone. It was awesome. We told him that he could have that happiness his whole life with baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. He said that is what he wants and he therefore wants to get baptized! After we left, Elder Hart, who is ending his mission this week, said that was one of the best lessons of his whole mission. It was so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The spirit was so strong and after confronting so much opposition on the way to the appointment, we experienced a miracle. Those were the highlights of the week.
We had a zone activity today and went to the house of the Stake President. He is the most financially well-off Chilean that I have met. He had a huge house and a huge yard. I will send pictures. We played soccer and ate and hung out. He had a fridge that had a water dispenser. Another gringo and I had a moment of silence as we got water from it. It was so good! It has been a year and a half since I have seen one of those. Well that was my week!
This week was another wild one! Last Tuesday, we were walking in the street and a guy came up to us and told us this big story about how he needed a ticket to go to Viña del Mar and that he needed money. He said that he was a member of the church and knew we were not allowed to lend money but that he lost his job and needed money desperately. He also asked where the Bishop was located. I was already suspicious of him because no member would ever ask for money from the missionaries. So we told him that at 8pm the Bishop would be at the church. He complained and said he needed the ticket right away because he was hungry and wanted to go home. That’s when it was obvious that he just wanted money from us. So then I spoke very firmly with him. I told him that if he wanted to go to Viña del Mar that the bishop could meet with him at the church and then I said that we had to go. Then we left. People often try to get money from us to buy drugs. This was a little shocking to my companion because this was the first time he had heard a conversation like this. He was traumatized that I would talk to a beggar like that. I explained to him that people try to get money from us and that members know that the Bishop is the one that helps with money problems.
Then one day this week we went to a fast food place that sells “completos” and while we were waiting, a big buff guy with tattoos came up to me and started to talk to me in English. I was startled. He told me that he was from Brooklyn and that his parents are Chileans and live here. When he was 12, he went to Brooklyn and stayed. Now he lives there and has a wife and kids. It was fun talking to him because he asked me if we saw the “Super Bowl” and if I missed hamburgers. He had a thick New York accent. And he talked with all of the normal United States slang. I didn’t understand some of the things that he said – hahahaha! My mind thinks in Spanish now! I had another funny experience with a contact that had two big tattoos on his chest. One said “thug life” and the other one said “LA”. His biggest dream is to live in the ghetto of LA and be a gangster rapper. I was totally laughing when I saw this. Another guy we contacted this week lived in Miami for 6 years and washed dishes in a restaurant then came back and bought a house and a store out-right with the money he made washing dishes. Crazy!
On a spiritual note, yesterday the less active family that we found the other week went to church again! We are still working with the investigators to get them progressing towards baptism! That’s it!
This week was a wild one. It started last Monday when we were riding our bikes to a lesson and a guy going in the opposite direction in his car stops and flags me down to come talk to him. So I get off my bike and go over to him and he gets out and starts to talk. Evidently, last Monday there was a conflict between Chile and Peru about ocean territory so it had people a little riled up. So he started by saying that in the Mormon church we believe in obeying our government leaders because it says in the 12th article of faith (and then he starts quoting the text perfectly). He recited the 12th article of faith by memory! I can’t even do that! So that was pretty crazy and then he started to make up situations to indicate that if our government leaders are evil and do bad things then we have to follow them and that is not what Christ would do. He ended by saying that our church was false and then he told us that he wanted us to come to his house to talk about the Book of Mormon with him Thursday at 7. Then I said okay and he got in his car and left. I was laughing and confused. He just bashed the church but then told me to come to his house to talk about the Book of Mormon and he knew the 12th article of faith perfectly. It’s crazy but we are going to see him tonight.
We had a sad experience because one of our best investigators that plans to be baptized soon had to move 😦 He moved to another ward and will get baptized over there we hope. He is Mauricio. But we are moving ahead and finding more people. Another funny experience we had was on Wednesday when we had a companion exchange. My companion went to another sector and another elder came with me for the day. We didn’t have anything to do early in the day and so I asked him if he had any ideas. He had been here before so he said that there is a part of the sector that looks like there are a lot of houses that nobody goes into. He said he had seen it on the map. So I said let’s go. When we got to the area it turned out that it was a huge camp of squatters, gypsies and homeless people. They had built make shift houses and lived there. I knew immediately that this was going to be the most interesting contact of the week. We entered in and everyone stared at us like we were aliens. In the end we taught a lesson but had to leave because most of them were drunk and didn’t understand. It was very interesting though!
The coolest spiritual experience of the week was on Saturday night. We weren’t finding anybody the whole day and then we decided to go visit an inactive member that we found on the ward list. We got there and they let us in. They told us that they had just been talking about going to church in the morning and that they really needed to go. They hadn’t been to church in 4 years. So I shared 3 Nephi 18:6-7 with them. Part of the scripture says that when we take the sacrament we are demonstrating that we remember God. And I asked them what happens when we don’t take it. They said that it shows God that we don’t remember him. Then I asked them how they think that God feels when we don’t remember him. The wife started crying and the husband was silent. I said that he feels sad because he is our loving father. I started to cry and said that he wasn’t mad at them. But that he was sad. Everyone felt the spirit super strongly. Then they showed up at church yesterday and took the sacrament and it was so awesome! That was the coolest part about my week!