Hey fam bam! It's still so weird to think that Brittany is now home! She's in my prayers each night to help her adjust to regular life, but I actually imagine she's adjusting just fine. She always was able to calmly transition between new schools or new schedules.
I have some fun news! I made it nearly 14 months in the mission without a single problem with the bajillions of wild dogs that rule the Chilean streets. All the companions I've had are afraid of the dogs, but I always just whistled at them in a friendly way and they wagged their tails. Hooooowwweevvverrrr..... A few nights ago a dog snuck up behind me in stealth mode and took a nice nibble at my leg. I'm still not sure why it bit me--I saw it on the other side of the street, turned around to keep walking, and NOM NOM NOM! Oh well. He must have been a hungry little feller.
We also have fun adventures handwashing our clothes since we don't have a mamita to help us out. The mission can't afford to buy us a washer nor dryer (they are still new luxeries here in Chile), so we hand wash our clothes. I couldn't take pictures because of our garments, but I'm sure you can google image what it looks like to hand wash clothes...haha.
I've always felt like Heavenly Father has a good sense of humor considering how big of a goofball President Monson is, and what a blessing it is that we can laugh while still being spiritually edified. But sometimes I feel like it's a rather dry sense of humor. Let me explain: My entire life one of my biggest petpeeves has been tardiness. Punctuality for me is exceedingy important. I thought it was ridiculous that mormons are always 15 minutes late for everything, but Chileans are usually 80 minutes late for everything. Haha so the Lord either wants me to learn patience or wants to teach me that I shouldn't worry so much about time, but either way it still makes me marvel. Sometimes I thought it was difficult to wake up Lacey for seminary; psh, try waking up a Chilean for church! All jokes aside, I do love the people. We just have very different cultural norms.
Our branch president said something interesting in his talk this week that got me thinking. He described that the bone taken from Adam to create Eve wasn't taken from his head so that he would be over his wife, nor was the bone taken from his foot as if she ruled over him. It was taken from his side, as to show us that we are to be a team, side by side, and always work with equality.
Heavenly Father lives and loves us, even when we don't return the favor. Christ suffered and died for us even though we don't repent. And the judgement will come even if we aren't prepared. Why not take advantage of our short time in mortality and simply be obedient to our Creator? Have a wonderful week! Love you!
Hey fam bam! And Brittany! Wow!!! So crazy that she's home. I also felt the great impact of having one less missionary from our family in the field. Our work here has slowed down a ton. But many congrats and many thanks to Britt for serving a full-time honorable mission. Wow.
To answer a few questions: How cold is it in Chile? Well, when we wake up in the morning we can see our breath. Chilean houses don't have heaters. As far as an update with my surgery recovery: A few days ago I was laying down and tried to get up but felt a rather uncomfortable pull in the muscles. I've been sore for a few days, but I'm sure all is well.
While you guys had Britt visit you from Japan, I also had a fun visitor from Japan! Akio, a Japanese friend of a family here in Yumbel came to visit. He made us Japanese soup for lunch and we had a fun time trying to communicate. It was so interesting to think that I speak English, he speaks Japanese, but we communicated through Spanish! He didn't speak Spanish very well so I didn't understand him much, but he seems like such a fun little guy. I so lament that I didn't get a picture with him!!!
As I said, our work here lately has been rather difficult this week. It's an odd paradigm that I seem to live: the harder I work, the less success I have. Including my companion even fixed a few obedience problems this week, and as soon as he did, our success completely halted. It's been a rough few days, but we're plugging along. My zone leader shared the scripture Galations 6:9 that says, ''And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.'' That's the Lord's promise that has kept us going the past couple days.
The Lord lives and loves us. He's poured out many blessings upon us because of Brittany's faithfull service to Him over these past 18 months. Give Britt a big hand hug for me!
So I'm here in Yumbel, Chile, now. My companion is Elder Ballesteros from Colombia. We both got transfered in here without knowing anyone since we're opening the new sector, so all we could do was hit the streets. And boy did we. In Curanilahue for the past 5 months, we worked our butts off to find maybe 2-3 new people to teach each week. In the first two days here, we found 13. Hoorah! Now the test will be if they progress. It's been a fantastic week here. On Sunday we attended our little house/church and met with our branch of 21 people. The Church only came to Yumbel 4 years ago, and the first branch was organized two years ago. So we're still tiny here. In addition to being district leader and senior companion, I've been called as Elder's Quorum President. No pressure...ha. I've been trying to just not stress out with ALL the tasks I need to get done each day. And I thought I didn't have enough time as a regular missionary! Wheew!
Elder Ballesteros and I are living with Elder McOmie from Oregon and his new son fresh from the MTC Elder Miller from Missouri. Hilarious random fact about Elder McOmie: While chatting a few nights ago about our lives before the mission, we discovered that he went to a Taylor Swift concert with my girlfriend--while she was my girlfriend! Hahaha it's not actually as bad as it sounds, but we sure had a good laugh about how small the world can be--even when we're now both on the OTHER side of the world!
Elder Miller is a convert of only one year. Interestingly enough, he was born and raised in the R-LDS church (a sect that branched off shortly after the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and does not associate with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). He found a copy of the Book of Mormon, read it, prayed to ask God if it was true, and received the affirmative answer. He asked God in prayer if the R-LDS church was true, and his answer was a no. Thus, he met with the Mormon missionaries and was shortly thereafter baptized by the true Priesthood authority of God--the only in the world in these modern times.
His parents still don't think much of him serving a mission--in fact they think he's wasting his life. He already graduated from college and turns 23 this week. He barely speaks a lick of Spanish and understands even less. His story is such a great example of the simple truth that we as missionaries teach: The Book of Mormon is sacred scripture from God, and it is the proof of this restored gospel's veracity. If a person wants to know for oneself if this Church is the only true church or not, you must read the Book of Mormon and ask God in sincere prayer. He wants us to know the truth. He doesn't want us to be confused. He doesn't want us to struggle. His gospel is how He can help us. It's just up to us to put forth a decent effort to read the Book of Mormon.
I know Christ lives and directs His true church in these modern times. I know that the only true prophet of God on the earth today is President Thomas S Monson. I know it. Simple as that. Send me pics of Britt as an RM! How exciting! Have a great week!
Family! You're all off having such fun adventures in Belize and playing with the aunts in Utah. Jealous!!! Thanks for the fun descriptions and photos. I would LOOOOVVEEEE to do a trip like that next year and accompany you!!! Great idea Dad :D Mum, you look so tan! And Dad, you look good in those scrubs!
I don't have a lot to update this week except for cambios. After five months in beloved Curanilahue, I'm being transfered to Yumbel (a bit further north). I'll be serving with Elder Ballesteros from Cartagena, Colombia. He speaks with suuuuccchhh a thick accent! Haha it's so fun. I'll have pictures next week (trasfers are tomorrow). It's sad to be leaving Chue, but it will be good for someone new to come in to the sector with fresh new ideas--us four missionaries have been together for four months. We've had an absolute blast and we're sad to be parting, but we certainly plan on staying in contact. Elder Kohler is being transfered to Renaico for his last two transfers and then he heads home to Utah! My son Elder París is going to be the new district leader here in Chue and I'll remain district leader but in Yumbel. I don't know anything about Yumbel except that it's small and full of Catholics with an obsession for San Sabastian, but I'm planning on having a blast there with lots of success and fun times with my companion.
This past week was a long-lasting trial until finally Friday night we caught a break. Our investigator Ana accepted the invitation to be baptized in August. I'm bummed I won't be here, but I'm so glad I got to see the miracle of her changing her life. She was a chain smoker until we gave her a blessing a month ago, and through God's holy priesthood power she quit smoking that same day. Never again. Woo! Then finally Saturday night we had an excellent lesson with a new young married couple we found. I felt such an intense love for these two people whom I had never before met. It was strange, but I knew it's because the Lord guided us to their house. The wife is 8 months pregnant and the husband's father and brother died a few years ago, and they need the gospel. I'm so glad I was able to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to find them and bring His children back to Him.
I testify that the Lord will place us where He knows we need to be. We don't always understand why, but He does. If we can trust in Him and humbly be obedient, He will guide us just as He has done since the formation of the earth. Have a wonderful week! Love you!
Thanks for all the fun emails. How random to hear that you are in Belize! I honestly even had to look it up on google haha. Small little country it seems like, but that's so cool you're finally living that dream of a medical trip to Central America! I definitely want to go with you some day after my mission. Central America is apparently very, very different from Chile, so we're still not quite living the same experience, but I'm glad you can get a little taste.
To answer your questions: I'm doing much better and my scar is healing nicely. I still have to walk a bit slower than the powerful missionary pace and I work two less hours than normal, but I'm still trying to work hard. It's such a drastic and difficult circumstance to want to give my body proper rest but feel like I need to be out teaching to not waste the Lord's time. I'm just putting my faith in that if I do His work and focus on helping others, He'll take care of whatever needs I might have. So far it's working well :)
I witnessed several miracles this week. One was finding a recent convert that had suddenly and mysteriously disappeared for two months. We knew she was studying in Conce, but we could never contact her. We worried for a long time. But Saturday afternoon I felt like we should go visit her inactive mother in her fruit shop, and when we walked in, there was Claudia! She was so glad to see us and so needed to feel the Spirit again. She's suffered quite a bit with sickness and school work and finally escaped to come home for a weekend. She was happy in church the next morning :)
The other one was Saturday morning. We helped an elderly woman with severe arthritis move a ton (literally) of firewood to her storage shed behind her house. After a few minutes, it began raining really hard. We finished and it was still raining, but we didn't have any umbrellas or clothing to keep us dry to at least get home. I said a prayer that the rain would stop in the next 2-3 minutes at least long enough to get home. After five minutes, it was still pouring. We had to leave, so we took a leap of faith. We set out despite the pouring rain. We hadn't walked half a block when we looked up to see a bright blue sky.
There's a somewhat similar story in Joshua in the Bible. When he and his people (those freed by Moses) approached the sea to cross to the promised land, what would have happened if they sat at the shore complaining that they hadn't yet seen some great wonder of the Lord? What if they lost faith or gave up because the water was still in their way? But acting in faith, Joshua kept moving forward. He arrived to the cold water's edge but didn't stop. That's how powerful his faith was. He might have gotten his heel a little wet, but as soon as he took that step forward, the water parted. He had to put forth ALL of his effort, not just what he thought would be his part. The Lord knows best, and He often tries us to see how willing we really are to act on our faith and obey Him.
I know the Saviour lives and that He loves us. If we put our trust and faith in Him, He won't let us fail. All things are possible with Him, including receiving the forgiveness we need, breaking a habit, overcoming emotional scars or weaknesses, and living righteously without sin. Have a wonderful week!