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!
Elder Long :)