Monday, May 25, 2009

Bien, bien, bien...

Bien, bien, bien…

This week in church Daniel was confirmed. It was really a neat experience, and he is really happy. His sister, Ester, has made a world of changes in the past month. She has struggled to stop smoking, but this week we had a fast with her and Daniel to help her stop smoking….and she hasn´t smoked since! She tells us that she´s had enough of her old life and is ready to make this change. She and Daniel moved here as of a few months ago from Antofagasta (it´s really north in Chile). We don´t know the half of what she´s been though, but it seems like she´s been through a lot, and I mean a lot of really crappy stuff before. She recognizes that all of these changes that she´s made in such a short time (about 4 weeks) has only been possible through the power of Jesus Christ. She knows it and is so happy for it. She is such an incredible example of faith humility to me. I love Ester so much and it makes me so happy to see her happy in Christ! I know our Savior lives and only through him can we change and become happy and better people. I know it because I have experienced it in my life and have had this marvelous opportunity to see the power of his love manifest in the lives of others.

Though you can never be certain with the coming changes in the mission, we´re about 99% sure that I will be leaving Machalí in a week. I had to give a talk in church yesterday (it was terrifying! But now it´s over…phew!) but while I was up there in the stand I could look out and see the faces of everyone of the members in the ward. I am really going to miss them and I am going to miss Machalí. They say that this sector is one of the most beautiful in the sectors where the sisters serve, so I will most likely be looking at not as pretty scenery for the rest of my mission. It´s been quite the crazy first 5 ½ months in Chile. Plenty of ups and downs and all arounds. For example… Recently Juan Carlos (the deaf mute that we have been working with since January) hasn´t been going to church, nor has he been in his lessons…it was almost like he has been avoiding us. We found his wife the other day and she told us that the most probable reason that he hasn´t been around for us is because he´s got a deaf mute friend who´s a Jehovah´s Witness and he´s been learning from them…as his friend can actually speak sign language better. Yeah. It was painful to find out. I left the conversation with his wife dumbfounded and heart broken and even cried a little bit. But what do you do, you pick up and move on, right? And you keep spreading this message of hope and happiness with others. Though I am going to miss Machalí and the people and the experiences, I´m happily awaiting this change of area. 6 months is a long time to be in one place…I´m running out of places to knock doors 

I´ve had a really good time with my companion too. I´ve learned more from her in 5 weeks than I thought I would.

Rory sent me an email the other week with an idea of something to do to make contacts more fun. He gave me the idea of picking some random word that doesn´t relate to anything (like hummingbird) and try to work it into the contact. We thought why not, and as I flipped through the dictionary I found the word ¨compota de manzana¨ That means ¨applesauce.¨ It´s been really funny trying to figure out how to use the word ¨applesauce¨ in a contact.

The other day just at the end of the night we were about to head back to our apartment. We were walking in the street and there didn´t seem to be anybody around to see us, so for no good reason we decided to run the remaining block. Just to run…maybe because we hadn´t run in a long time or something… I´m not sure why we decided to… any way we started running. I thought ¨hey, this feels good!¨ so I tried to pick up speed and took about 5 steps and PLOWED it on the ground. Pretty hard. I took a big slide on the ground, but luckily hands first. It tore a giant hole in my gloves. I felt a little embarrassed but we laughed it off. I didn´t realize how bad it was until we got back to the house and realized that my nylons were pretty much shredded and my legs were all scrapped up and bleeding. How´s that for graceful?

Monday, May 18, 2009

My First Baptism!

This is the moment you were all waiting for… Okay, at least I was waiting for it… We had a baptism!!!! WooHoo!! Remember Daniel and Ester? They are the brother and sister that we met a few weeks ago. They both had plans to baptize, but Ester wants to wait a little more time. I don´t know if I mentioned before but when we met Ester 3 weeks ago she was smoking 20 to 30 cigarettes a day. That´s a lot. And she´s only 22! Now she´s down to one a day and can´t quite kick that last cigarette, but will do it because she´s pretty determined and really wants to change and take this step to be baptized. Daniel was going to wait to be baptized with her, but told us that he couldn´t wait anymore so he was baptized yesterday. It was incredible. Every part of it. Though yesterday they arrived at church about a half hour late. That really scared us…thinking that they weren´t going to make it for his baptism. Turns out Daniel had to work the graveyard shift and almost didn´t get off on time to make it to church… but he made it and everything worked out so well! It was such a good experience and after his baptism Daniel kept saying he felt ¨super tranquilo.¨ He is really excited for everything and kind of seems like a little kid in his enthusiasm for the gospel (he´s 26). He can´t wait for the next week when he gets confirmed. It was really rainy yesterday and the inside of the chapel was a bit cold. When they opened the baptismal font, the mirror to see Daniel was all fogged up so they leaned one of the youth out over the water to wipe down the mirror and he almost fell in. It was funny… But the whole baptism was pretty darn awesome. This is definitely cooler than anything else I could be doing. It was all one more confirmation to me that this is the true church and that we really do have the plenitude of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We had a lesson with Daniel and Ester later that night and I just felt so happy to be with them and to know them. I love these people more than I imagined I would. I want for them the best. This is just the beginning for them and I hope that they can always continue growing in their faith and relationship with Jesus Christ.

Like I mentioned, it´s gotten a lot cooler. The people here are hilarious because they put clothes on all the dogs to keep them warm. I´m not sure why, but it really strikes me as funny to see the dogs behind the fences barking their heads off trying to be all ferocious but are wearing some frilly outfit. I´ve even seen some of the street dogs with clothes. Poor things.

I hope things are well on your vacation Mom and Dad. You deserve a break. That´s pretty awesome that you ran into elders that knew Becca! Are you going to the BYU Polynesian center? I heard that is pretty sa-weet. Bring me home a souvenir (hehe). I love you so much and I hope your week is good!


Monday, May 4, 2009

Starting to get colder here. Glad I brought the fuzzy slippers!!!

Okay, I´m going to start with the good news… Hna. Muñoz and I are going to have 2 baptisms on the 17th!!! Whooohooo! Daniel and Ester. They are a brother and sister. Daniel is 26 years and Ester is 22 and they are so excited for their baptism!! Daniel says that he´s actually been looking for the truth, but never felt good about all the other religions that he´s tried out. But he said that when he read from the Book of Mormon, things just made sense. It´s interesting to hear what people have to say about the BoM when they had never been introduced to it before. He said that he has never found anything that explained so clearly the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ and outlined so simply what we need to do to be cleansed from sin so we can have eternal life. We´ve only been teaching them for a little over a week but he says that nobody could take away from him what he´s learned about the plan Heavenly Father has for us. Ester is pretty awesome too. She´s had a pretty rough past and is ready to start new. She´s had to quit smoking and she says it´s been relatively easy to stop because every time she has desires to smoke she picks up the BoM or says a prayer. Awesome, huh?

We´ve had a pretty great couple weeks. Some neat experiences with fasting too. We´ve had kind of a drought in Machalí, so we decided to do a fast together to find someone that could get baptized. It was the very next day of our fast that we Daniel and Ester told us they wanted to be baptized. And then the beginning of this week it was going a bit slow. We fasted for the fast Sunday (yesterday) and we did it with the purpose to find new people…since we hadn´t found many during the week. And yesterday we found 9 new people in different homes and taught them. Cool huh? I know the numbers don´t matter, but it was a testimony builder to me that when we fast Heavenly Father really does bless us.

We´re still working with Juan Carlos. He struggles with the whole smoking thing. Does well for a couple days, but then gets nervous at work and smokes… He may need a lot more time, but we´re not going to stop teaching him, he is a very special person.

So it has come. The dreaded cold weather. Dad… Remember that Christmas like 5 years ago and you bought everyone fuzzy lounge robes to wear around the house? Well, I didn´t ever wear it, but I brought it here on the mission and when we´re inside the house I live in that thing. And also those fuzzy boot slippers you bought me. That was a really smart move. So thanks! And yesterday it rained for the first time. It was a terrible rain, and still it isn´t super cold, but it will get there…

Comment and question answering time:

My companion and I get along great. I´ve been really blessed up until now. She´s super patient and a good teacher and helps me out a lot with my Spanish and teaching skills.

No, we don´t drive cars here, just walk. Walk walk walk walkwalksalkdfsdaklfjksaf. Lots of walking. I´m surprised people gain weight here, but they do. Lots of it. Hna. Alvaregna has gained 30 pounds and has only been in the mission 8 months. I don´t think I´ve gained anything because my undies still fit me. But, who knows.

THANKS FOR THE PACKAGE!!! I got it today. It made me super happy. That other video seems pretty great to use, so thanks for thinking of that.

I know the Savior loves us and has overcome the world for us. Thank you foryour testimony of him and his love. It really strengthens me.

I love you family so much. I love you with all my heart, and always pray that you´re happy and healthy.

But I have a question real quick… did Jessica Waite ever come home from her mission? Also, how are those oranges in California, Chris?

Okay, that´s all for now. I think.