Monday, June 9, 2014

Santiago, June 2, 2014

Hello Family!
I met Hermana Paiva this week from Brazil. It's kinda nuts. They didn't teach her much Spanish in the MTC. Portuguese and Spanish aren't all that similar. It's really funny to hear her talk. It reminds me a lot about Craig. Kinda makes me want to learn Portuguese when I get home.
The other day I was on exchanges with Elder Ramirez from Mexico. We went for a follow up visit with a lady I'd found last week on exchanges. There was no male. I'm still kinda new to the area, but I'm getting to know it better. After finding the house of the lady, we found out that there wasn't a male in the house. We set another appointment and left kinda sad. Later in the day, we had a member acompanying us and the appointment fell through. I was about ready to go to the next plan, when Elder Ramirez told me, "Elder Willey, we have to go back to that lady!" I never would have thought of that. In my mental map, it was really far away. Turns out it was only a couple blocks. When we followed up on her reading, she said she'd read what the other missionary had left her. It was Moroni 8. In the first visit she'd said that she was very Catholic and didnt' want to be baptized again. I never did see the part of the Book of Mormon that my comp that day had left her. She took it really well though! It's incredible the power that the Book of Mormon has!
Elder Ramirez is a red belt in Taekwon-Do. That made for some fun exercises! His conversion story was really cool. He said his dad was looking for a church, and they tried a bit in every one. He said when they went to the Mormon church, they really liked it, but that no one even said hi to them. There were six of them there in church, and no one even recognized that they were investigators. Fellowshipping and saying hi is so important! Luckily his mom turned out being a secret less active and they all got to church a few years later!
We had a member present lesson the other day and talked about fasting. When we asked for a testimony, the member admitted that she'd never fasted. It's interesting how many members don't know very well the doctrine - that you have to pay a fast offering, that it's generally 24 hours, or even that it's a commandment. And that's just for fasting. I love that invitation from Elder Ballard to study Preach My Gospel daily, even if it's just a little bit. The basics are SO important!
On that note, we talked to a lady that said that she only got baptized because her mom got baptized. It surprises me how many people here get baptized without ever having asked God in prayer if the church or the Book of Mormon is true. Again, going to PMG, I love the part in chapter 5 where it urges everyone to ask every once in a while, even if they've already received a testimony. I know that every time I've asked, God's answered me.
The bus ride to Frias (almost Catamarca) is really long. And the bus really stinks. Luckily, since I couldn't sleep, I had lots of time to read! I chugged through around 15 chapters of the Bible. There's a ton of great stuff in there! Especially in Spanish were the words are more common without losing the sense of antiquity - unlike English where there's quite a few words that I never realized that I don't understand. It's interesting that the rest of the world doesn't get that the Church of Jesus Christ is the same now as it was before...
We had a baptism! It was the fastest I've ever seen anyone get to baptism. His name is Oscar. Came to church with a friend, liked it, came again, we passed by, taught him a few times, and he got baptized. Kinda awesome!
The dumb part was the font. I'll have to send pictures later. They'd recently replaced some parts in the water tank for the chapel and the water came out black. We ended up changing to another chapel to do it. Even so, it all turned out very well, and the members all miraculously found a way to get there!
There was a stark contrast in church between the class of Priesthood and Gospel Principles. In priesthood, the teacher had not prepared. At all. We started talking about whatever. A couple of the things I learned is that in final judgment, the only thing God will ask us is if we loved our wives, and that Joseph Smith got baptized when he was 14 years old. It reminded me a lot of Cait's "What I learned in Sacrament Meeting." Then in Gospel Principles, it was great! They opened the class up to commentary, but had the topic very focused on the Holy Ghost. Something that a convert of a month said was this, "Something I never realized until today is what a privilege it is to have the posibility to seek the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. If it's a privilege just to SEEK it, how valuable it must be, and how blessed we are to be members of the church." How true it is! It's such a blessing to be a member of the church, and have all the blessings God gives us.
Well, until next week!

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