We had a very busy week here in Rancagua. There is much to do as we start to serve in terms of meeting all of the missionaries, getting to know the local leaders of the church and filling other assignments that come with the roles we have here.
Last week we had three zone conferences where we met with about 40 missionaries each time. They are working very hard and doing much to strengthen the existing members of the church and find others who want to know more about the gospel.
On Tuesday we were invited to attend a reception at the US Embassy to celebrate the 4th of July with important political and business leaders in Chile. It was a very important event in terms of US and Chilean relations. Many American companies would like to do business and have good relations in Chile so there were vendors of all kinds providing US foods (McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, Papa John´s, etc.) who provided the food. The reason we were invited to the event was so that we could accompany Elder Archuleta (most of you will recognize him as a very popular entertainer) who was asked to sing the national anthem and then some other songs for the guests. He did a marvelous job and those present came away with a greater respect and appreciation for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and for the example that he is as a young and humble missionary who left his successful career for two years to serve the Lord.
Besides meeting the missionaries in formal settings we also spend time each week going out and working with them. This week Sister Warne went and taught a lesson with two wonderful sister missionaries. The Spirit was powerful and present and the investigator is feeling changes come into her life. There is no question about the changes that occur when someone accepts Christ, makes the changes that such a decision requires and then lives in accordance with them. They are happier, more at peace with themselves and more inclined to serve others and be happy. This we see time and time again. I too had a great experience with the Elders and love the time with them teaching them how to server and feeling their spirit and enthusiasm.
Yesterday we attended church in the Nancagua branch which is about an hour and a half from our home in Rancagua. It is a small pueblo so the branch is small. That said, the Spirit was strong and the members so warm and friendly. I had the opportunity to do the final interview for a young woman who is putting in her papers to be called to serve a mission. She is excited to serve and sees the impact that missionaries can have on people´s lives and wants the chance to do the same.
In terms of our work we are trying to go out proselyting with the missionaries at least once a week and attend a baptism each week as well. This picture is a of a baptism which we attended last week. I am responsible for many of the small branches of the church throughout our mission area so we attend a different branch each Sunday to meet and strengthen them.
Sister Warne is progressing well with her Spanish. She understands more than she speaks which is to be expected at this point. I mentioned this to the missionaries in a zone conference last week and that they should be careful what they say in Spanish in front of her! They all thought that was funny. The sisters love her to death and call her ¨hermanita.¨
We are incredibly busy and happy in our missionary service. We hope all of our friends and family are well.