Sunday, March 27, 2016

¡Feliz Pascua!

            Holidays are very different from those spent with our families at home.  We try to make Christmas a special experience for missionaries, but Easter is more about being grateful for the resurrection and all its promises; the Easter bunny is easy to give up.  Still it can be hard to be away from family and family traditions, so I decided to make a list of things for which I’m grateful.  I shared part of the list with our missionaries in my weekly message and challenged them to write a list of their own. 
            I am not going to repeat that list here, but I can testify that I am extremely blessed and right now a big part of my blessings are to be here in the mission field with our wonderful missionaries.  Hopefully as you write them this week you can include some of the blessings for which you are grateful, which I know includes your missionary and his service.  I know that will uplift them, reassure them they are an important part of your life and show support for the great work they are doing here in the mission.
            I am very grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission here in Chile, with the blessing of knowing and serving with amazing young people who have strong testimonies, the desire to share them with others, and the ability to be worthy representatives of Jesus Christ.  Together we are working to hasten the work of the Lord by inviting people to come unto Him.  ¡Feliz Pascua!  Happy Easter!

            This week’s pictures are from the zone conference we held this week for the Tupahue zones.  We have the final two conferences this week so you can be sure of the subject of next week’s pictures also;) 


Sunday, March 20, 2016

A great experience

            This week I would like to share a great experience we had.  First, though, this week was zone conferences; we held four from Tuesday to Friday.  Since we usually combine zones for these conferences, we have three more to finish by the end of March.  We have enjoyed them and hopefully the missionaries have also enjoyed them and received information to help them be better missionaries.
            One afternoon we went to an appointment with two elders from Santa Cruz.  The young man they are teaching had decided he needed to change his life before he even heard of the missionaries and had stopped smoking and drinking.  The purpose of the lesson we participated in was to help him learn about the importance of baptism.  He had said he wanted to be baptized in June to make sure his family understood and supported his decision, but during the lesson, after we read and discussed scriptures from Alma, the elders asked him to be baptized on March 26 and he agreed.  It was a privilege for us to share in that special moment. 
That is the nucleus of what we do—invite people to share our belief in the Savior and join with us through baptism.  Through all the discouraging moments of slammed doors or uninterested contacts, an experience like this renews enthusiasm, and helps us realize that the Lord has prepared people to receive the gospel and through the Spirit we can find and teach them.  This young man will not only be able to move further along the straight and narrow path, but also will be a strength in the branch.  Also, hopefully his family will follow his example and also join the church.  I testify of the importance of missionary work as part of the work of salvation and I love being a missionary!

This week’s pictures are from leadership council, and zone conferences.  The three senior sisters are doing a great service by repairing the elders’ and sisters’ clothing.  The last picture is from a RS birthday celebration we attended in Peralillo.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Mission meetings

            Today we drove to Santa Cruz to watch a broadcast from Salt Lake presided over by President Nelson.  Elder Soares conducted and spoke, Bishop Davies of the Presiding Bishopric and Sister Durham from the General Primary Presidency also spoke.  President Nelson spoke last and spoke in Spanish which was very cool.  When he visited for the Rancagua stake conference, he also gave that talk in Spanish.  It is amazing that at 90 with all of his responsibilities he is still able to work on learning a new language.
            I am also amazed by the technology involved in broadcasting from Salt Lake City to 77 stakes and 18 districts here in Chile.  The signal was so clear we could have been in the same room.  When Elder Bednar was here he said that some day we will look back at this type of broadcast as being very elementary and amazing things will happen that will allow contact between far-flung areas of the Church. 
            The subjects of the talks were very simple and direct, including President Nelson who focused on obeying the commandments.  It is what the missionaries teach their investigators as presented in Preach My Gospel but it is always good to have a reminder that we have our own personal obligations. 

            Here’s a brief summary of mission events last week:  Monday was the final lunch and testimony for 14 go homers; Tuesday we welcomed, trained and sent off to their areas 18 new missionaries, including one who returned after being ill; Wednesday was district meeting; Thursday we had mission leadership council and Friday was a training meeting for new leaders.  This week we start zone conferences for March so be sure to tune in for that report next week:)

Pictures this week include one from the temple trip last week, the picture we always take with those going home, new trainers, new missionaries and two of group of new arrivals and trainers as the news are getting off the bus:

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Baptisms X 3

            This weekend we had the opportunity to attend three baptisms, which we love to do.  The first was in Buin, 45 minutes north of us on Saturday morning; the second was here in Rancagua on Saturday evening at a chapel 5 minutes from our house and the third was in Curic√≥ right after church about 1 hour and 10 minutes to the south.  In the first, three of our hermanas sang beautifully “I am a Child of God”, in the second, two elders and a member did a musical number and today in Curic√≥ the primary children sang.  All three were great and really added to the spirit of the baptism.  President gave a talk on baptism today since the assigned person couldn’t be there.
            The reason we are here in Chile is to invite people to come to Christ.  It is always amazing to see the happiness in their eyes as they come up out of the water.  We love to feel that spirit of joy each time we attend.  Many missionaries who are called to South American expect that they will easily baptize every weekend, but that isn’t the case, at least not in our mission.  Because it doesn’t happen that way, sometimes they are discouraged about hard it is to find, teach and baptize.   We remind them that if they are obedient and diligent, they will be blessed even if they don’t see the effects of their efforts while they are in that area or even during their mission.

            Serving a mission is challenging and definitely requires hard work and often leaving their comfort zone.  However, the knowledge that they have, through the Spirit, helped an investigator through the conversion process and to the waters of baptism plus the happiness they feel “vale la pena” as we often say, which means it's totally worth the effort.  We all feel joy when a new member has joined the fellowship of Christ, and we are grateful each time we are able to attend a baptism. 
                  Here are this week's pictures:  a baptism from last week, two of our great couples at the temple this week, and the rest are from the last day of interviews.  I promise, no more apartment pictures!