Hey fambam! How stinkin fun that you went to Disneyland! I haven´t been there since I was in 8th grade...ha. Because even when you went as a family, I was playing in the baseball tournaments. Lame. But looks like you had a lot of fun! That´s so crazy that Jed already got home. I thought we left roughly around the same time. I guess not! I should actually have a lot of friends coming home by Christmas! How weird!!! When does Joseph Pearce get home??
Wahoo, my parents are now officially ward missionaries! How great! I´m so excited for you. I have no idea what that really means because we don´t have those down here, but I´m interested to know what your assignments will really be like! Keep me in on the loop.
So far this first week with Elder Murphy has gone great! We´ve had tons of incredible miracles and spiritual experiences already. The thing is, I´m very short on time because I wrote a longer-than-normal letter to President Martinez. I´m thinking about just copying and pasting what I wrote to him, but I´ll need Mum to translate it for everyone else.
''Querido Presidente Martinez,
Que maravillosa ha sido esta semana! Vimos cualquier milagro en nuestro distrito. Empezamos la semana con solamente 5 fechas bautismales para Noviembre, y terminamos la semana con 12 fechas para Noviembre y un bautismo milagroso que ocurrió en La Torre con Hna Fonseca y Hna Bazán. Cuan grandes han sido las bendiciones. Estuve tan feliz al ver el éxito y ánimo de Elder Miller y Elder Ramos al fijar 3 fechas bautismales en una sola tarde--mas encima, en YUMBEL! Aquí en Yumbel llevamos 9 fechas bautismales para Noviembre, y tenemos varias días más para subir este numero aun más antes de que empiece el mes de noviembre.
Pude tener una experiencia maravillosa de aprender más sobre como funciona el Espíritu Santo. Estuve buscando inspiración sobre una decisión importante que yo tenía que hacer (un intercambio en Los Ángeles), pero no sentí que recibí una respuesta. Seguí orando y estudiando mucho, pero no recibí la respuesta. Después de conversar con Elder Murphy, llegamos a la conclusión que Dios simplemente quería que yo hiciera una decisión y Él me ayudaría o me diría de que no. Decidí hacer el intercambio en Los Ángeles, e inmediatamente no fue posible. Dios me dijo que no. Luego el mismo día, mientras trabajaba con Elder Murphy en Yumbel, todo había caído. Todo. A pesar de nuestros mejores esfuerzos, la gente ni abrió la puerta para que pudiéramos contactarlas. Decidimos que los dos estuvimos dignos del Espíritu y de la ayuda de Dios, así que decidimos que era una prueba. Hicimos una oración para pedir ayuda sobre donde debemos de ir para tener más éxito y poder enseñar a las personas el evangelio. No sentí nada fuerte--tampoco vino una respuesta obvia a pesar de esperar y intentar escuchar al Espíritu. Después de un tiempo, decidí simplemente empezar a caminar hacia una otra parte. Mientras caminamos, vino la idea de pasar por Felipe (el consejero de hombres jóvenes) para ayudarle asegurar que todo estaba listo por una actividad de la estaca el próximo día. Solo cinco minutos después de llegar, nuestro presidente de rama nos llamó pidiendo que fuéramos a visitar a Felipe. Ya estuvimos. Primer milagro. Pudimos ayudarle visitar a los jóvenes para comprometerles a ir a la actividad. Después, Felipe nos acompañó a una lección que no íbamos a hacer hasta el próximo día, pero quería aprovechar que ya teníamos Felipe con nosotros. Al llegar supimos que el investigador no hubiese estado el próximo día por que tenía que ir a Santiago. Tuvimos una lección buenísima con la ayuda del testimonio de Felipe. Otro milagro. Después, fuimos a visitar a una vecina menos activa de Felipe. Ella nos dijo que se sentía sola y necesitaba una visita este día. Pudimos contestar algunas dudas de ella sobre el plan de salvación y sacarle de una depresión que estaba empezando. Un milagro más. Gracias a la guía del Espíritu Santo después de haber sido probado, Dios nos bendijo con tres grandes milagros. Estoy tan agradecido por la misericordia de Dios y la bendición de tener el don del Espíritu Santo.
Esta mañana leí una escritura que pensé que a usted le gustaría. Alma 57:26 dice, ''Y su [diligencia] fue asombrosa para todo nuestro ejército/misión, sí, que ellos hubiesen sido [guiados] mientras que hubo un millar de nuestros hermanos que fueron [bautizados]. Y lo atribuimos con justicia al milagroso poder de Dios, por motivo de su extraordinaria fe en lo que se les había enseñado a creer: que había un Dios justo, y que todo aquel que no dudara, sería [guiado] por su maravilloso poder.''
Que tenga una semana excelente presidente. Le quiero mucho! Elder Long :) ''
I know that the Lord lives and loves us. He wants to guide us. He won´t always give us the solution to our problems, but rather we have to truly take that step of faith. If it´s a wrong step, He´ll let us know and redirect us. Otherwise, He´ll simply confirm the decision and walk by our side. How grateful I am for repentance so that we can live worthy of the constant companionship of the gift of the Holy Ghost. I testify that the blessings come after the trial.
Hey fam bam! First I want to send a big thanks to Grandma Lenna for sending me a package! We´ve been enjoying the snackage! Other big news, we´re having cambios (transfers) tomorrow. I´m staying here in Yumbel and will receive Elder Murphy who has about 6 months in the mission. Elder Ballesteros will go further south to Maquehue. Elder McOmie (my roommate) is being transfered to another sector in my same zone, and Elder Miller´s new companion is Elder Ramos (Argentina) who is also staying within the zone (coming from Laja). I´m excited, because I have good hopes for Elder Murphy. This will be his second sector. Also, just a fun FYI, my son Elder París will be training! He´s so capo (awesome).
That´s fun to hear that you guys finally got one of those ATV truck things. I´ve only ALWAYS wanted one....haha. Be sure that it´s still there by the time I get home!
Trina asked me about Halloween in Chile. They definitely don´t celebrate it how we do in the States, nor is it anything similar to Día de Muerte in Mexico. They put up a few decorations and call it good. Same for Christmas. Haha lame!
How random that Deanne and Lorinda went to China! How cool! Send me some pics when you can.
I have a ton of pictures to send, but I left my adapter at home and now can´t send any. Ha. Gwenk. Sorry! But next week I´ll send a bunch.
I just want to remind you about the invitation from one of the Lord´s chosen apostles to TALK TO AT LEAST ONE PERSON ABOUT THE GOSPEL BY CHRISTMAS. You have about a month. Sounds like Dad has been doing great with several coworkers. Good luck to Lacey who lives in Happy Valley...ha. But I want to state that I have experienced the joy that comes from helping others learn more about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it´s all true. Simple as that. The Lord lives and loves us. What a marvelous truth. He has given us so much. What will you give Him for Christmas? Have a wonderful week!
Hey fambam! First I´ll answer a few questions. I too have realized that I don´t really talk about any of my investigators lately. We´re certainly struggling in that aspect. We spend too much time searching and not really finding. Every once in a while we find a bunch of seemingly great people, but they never let us in a second time. So that´s been difficult. We live in a very small, extremely Catholic town, so people let us in once to be a good Christian, but generally don´t want to actually learn from us. But I´ve surprised myself that I´ve been able to maintain a positive attitude about it. The real challenge lately has been between me and my companion, and I´m sure that´s the real reason behind our lack of success. But he´s made a lot of spiritual progress while we´ve been together. He´s hated me for it, but I hope that he´ll at least look back 20 years from now and thank me for pushing him to be more obedient.
We have a small branch of about 20 members, and all of them are single mothers. There´s two young men, and lately an inactive man has started coming back to church. So usually Elders quorum is only us four missionaries. Our branch president got released a while ago and immediately moved away, but two weeks ago we were assigned a new branch president that will travel down from another city each weekend to preside. He seems like a fantastic man and has great plans to help our branch grow. So we expect good things. This sector would be perfect for sister missionaries because it´s so tranquil, but this branch needs priesthood holders. So we´re looking for some men who have a desire to repent and be baptized.
This week I did a lot of exchanges in other sectors to help some struggling missionaries. I really enjoyed getting to know them and help them. If I haven´t had any grand impact on any nonmembers here in Yumbel, I hope that I´ve at least helped some of the missionaries come unto Christ. It sure humbles me to learn of their difficult family situations and personal struggles. I´ve been so incredibly blessed my whole life.
One thing I´ve certainly learned and improved on while in the mission is developing a Christ-like love for others. Growing up I certainly cared deeply for others, but I became rather introverted towards the end of high school when I got tired of being used and felt underappreciated by so many people that I cared about. But here in the mission I´ve been able to open up a bit more and once again develop profound love for others. The best part is when I can feel that love reflected back to me. Christ is powerful in that way. I´ve learned to better understand what Christ meant when He often said that His bowels were filled with mercy towards others (Matt 9:36; Mark 1:41). I´ve felt that deep love towards others in a way that´s difficult to understand. It´s obviously much easier to do so with other missionaries that also help me feel loved, but I´ve certainly been filled with mercy towards others that are struggling. I am grateful that the Lord allows me to act as an instrument in His hands to help others come unto Him and seek rest. I know that Christ lives and loves us, and I sure love Him. Thanks so much for all of your letters! I love hearing from you. Have a wonderful week!
Hey fam bam. What a wonderful conference we just had! Ah, I absolutely love those truly God-inspired talks. Elder Holland is certainly heaven-sent. I hope you all enjoyed being spiritually nourished, and I invite you to look up the talks and study them together as a family! I had to watch the whole thing in Spanish, and eventhough it was marvelous, I still firmly believe that the talks are 10x better in the original language. Even so, watching General Conference always makes me a bit trunky. Especially the priesthood session. I just wanted to be with Dad, Papa, and Tyler enjoying the inspired words of God´s living prophet and apostles. However, I did enjoy the conference with us four missionaries and a few members that came.
Speaking as a third party outsider with absolutely no personal interest in the matter, I´ve been thinking that if anyone HAPPENS to be sending a Christmas package to a missionary in Chile anytime soon, there´s a few things said missionary would like to receive. Maybe: cheeze-its, poptarts, american chocolate, Mike & Ikes, Nutter Butters, Burt´s Bee´s chapstick, and Crest Whitening Strips. It would be absolutely wonderful!!! :D
Another strange request I have is a picture of Rachel Scroggins. Let me explain....hahaha. While in Chile I have seen dopplegangers of so many of my friends and family members, and I often try to take pictures with them. To make it more fun for the other person, I try to show them a picture of my friend or family member as well so they understand and can laugh as well. But of course I have no pictures of Rachel. Could you email me one please? Gracias!
I want to end with a reminder of the invitation of Elder M Russell Ballard: Talk with at least one friend about the gospel by Christmas.
I can testify to the joy you will feel of knowing that you are helping the Lord in His marvelous work of gathering His flocks. What better time of the year than NOW to invite others to come unto Christ. I know that our Saviour lives and loves us. I know it. I know for myself that this is His true church, and there are so many other people in the world that need to know for themselves as well. Have a wonderful week!
Hey fambam! Thanks so much for the letters and words of encouragement and wisdom. It´s certainly been an eventful month full of ups and downs, but I´m so incredibly grateful for the gospel and the ringing truth to the world that Christ lives and loves us. I´m so grateful for the opportunity to proclaim to the world (or at least as much as Chile as I can) that the Lord still directs His true church through living prophets in these modern days. I absolutely testify that Thomas Monson is the true prophet of God. I know it. What a blessing it will be to get to listen to him and the 12 Apostles this coming weekend in General Conference. I hope you´re preparing yourselves spiritually by studying the scriptures, thinking of questions for the Lord, and asking Him the questions in diligent prayer.
In addition to self-preparing, I want to extend a challenge to each one of you to invite a friend to come watch a session of the Conference with you. For those that might be embarrassed to do so or might not know how to invite someone, simply explain that it is a worldwide broadcast so that God can instruct us through His chosen prophet and apostles. Testify that each person can find out for himself if these men are truly called of God by listening to them for themselves. It´s a wonderful promise, and a fantastic opportunity to invite others to come unto Christ.
Quick sidenote: I figure it´s better to be early than late, so happy birthday Brittany! I hope you have a great first birthday back in the States!
I was reading in the Book of Mormon and found a great passage in Alma 12:9-11. After reading it, think about what God teaches us in these verses. I know that we really do receive according to our effort. We can´t have a testimony of God nor of modern-day prophets if we never put in our part to know for ourselves. You get out what you put in, yet in tenfold. I know that the Lord lives and loves us, and I´m so grateful for his chosen leaders of this true church. Have a great week! Love you!