Monday, July 14, 2014

Santiago - July 7, 2014

My fourth of July was very normal. Very rainy. Nothing like the weather must be up there.
So we had our leader council this week. That means lots of time on a bus and trying to avoid the movies that they put on there. President Chaparro is pretty cool. So far, it's hard to tell if it'll be very different. We'll get to know him better tomorrow in zone conference. In the council, he transmitted some points and changes that Elder Nelson taught them in the MTC - basically working more with converts, but it wasn't any more different than the changes President Levrino taught us every conference. They really aren't "changes," since everything can be found in Preach my Gospel if you read it well enough. I loved the focus on saving souls and not just baptizing people. It's always important to remember that there are various ordinances that we need to be saved, including for members of the church. It seems like things might change a little more when it comes time for transfers. He asked us how often zone leaders were moved to be trainers or senior comps. Really, it hasn't happened a lot. I've only seen or heard of it twice. He said that depending on how things go, that might change. Also, there was a rule with President Levrino that you could only use one computer at a time to write the family. He decided to change that. It was really funny when it came up in the council. I think every missionary in the room was thinking about that, wondering if he would change the rule, but no one wanted to bring it up. I don't even really remember how it came up... But thank goodness! We now have an extra hour on P-Day! Other than that, it's still the work of God and he doesn't really change all that much.
On the way back to Santiago, we just happened to sit next to a couple from the UK, living in Vietnam, traveling south america. Man, English is hard. Luckily the sister training leader - the only other one that spoke English, was there to take over. I'm a little worried for my English now... Something cool that happened during the conversation about forty minutes in was that the lady asked, "So what exactly in the name of your church? The Mormons?" Her husband responded, "No, it's the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." We just kinda looked at him with our mouths hanging open. He explained that he liked family history, and had used family before, so he knew at least the name of the church. How great the church is!
Speaking of family search, President Chaparro gave us the assignment to fill out a booklet of My Family. I still haven't gotten a hold of one, so I can't tell you exactly what I need, but I'm gonna need help with that. So be ready!
We went to go contact a reference really far away that we've had since May. I'd put plans to pass by a long time ago, but we never got around to it. (If you're expecting one of those classic miracle stories, well, you're right!) We got out there and saw a little store and thought, "Hey, they must know where this person lives." When we got in, the old guy greeted us with a nice, "Hello Elders!" Turns out he's a member that got baptized in the ward next door in the 80s, but that hadn't gone to church since he'd moved more than 15 years ago. When we met his wife, she explained that she'd always wanted to go to church with her husband, because he always refused to go to church with her, saying, "No, my church is prettier and better." She thought that she couldn't go until she'd prepared in some kind of way. She soaked in everything we could tell her about the restoration, and by the second visit, she'd already read 1 Nephi 1 and prayed, and knew that it was true! The coolest part? They'd lived together for 20 something years, but never got married. Then, two years ago, they decided that it would be a good idea. The Lord is preparing people! We just have to find them! In the end, we never did find the reference, but now I know why we had to go over there.
Having a friend in church is really important for converts. Oscar, that got baptized around a month ago, is more converted than I thought. We didn't get to teach him a whole lot before his baptism - he was hard to find, so we only covered the basics and the necessary. We went to go teach his brother, and he remembered the plan of salvation so well! He was there with his brother, saying, "You think that church is boring, but it's not! It's so great! It makes you feel really good and you learn a ton!" We only went over the plan of salvation once, but family nights with his friends and continual church attendance have done him well!
I did an interview with an ex-navy, really smart dentist - Brother Paiva. I think I've mentioned him before. He drinks up information as fast as he can. He was so happy when he got his hands on a tripple. Before the interview he showed me his garden (those are SUPER rare here). He had a fruit tree of just about every kind you could think of - grapefruit, grapes, apples, and a bunch of other weird ones I don't remember. Something we talked about a lot was repentance. He said that he still didn't feel like he'd fully repented. We read 2 Nephi 25:23 - after all we can do, and he said, "But I think that there's still more I could do." That got me thinking. It's true that it's through the grace of Christ that we can repent and change, but it could be that too often, we forget that the scripture doesn't say, "after a really big effort on your part," rather "after ALL you can do." I think sometimes I take repentance too casually, especially for the little things - like not talking to someone about the gospel, not putting into practice the things that I've learned and been commanded to to. The purpose of the church is to perfect us - that's why God organized the church. But in order for that to happen, we really have to do ALL we can do!
Speaking about that, I had an awesome study in Ephesians 4:11-15. It explains so clearly the church and why it's there! Sure, the Book of Mormon is very clear, but there are some parts of the Bible where I have to ask myself if the other churches really read there.
Yenny got baptized! Back in Tucuman! I taught her so much! Like all my six months there! This is the second time in a month that one of my eternigators that I taught has gotten baptized. It's so great how the work keeps going after leaving!
Anyway, I hope you all have a great week!

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