Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Santiago - August 18, 2014

Hello Family!
So Zion's Youth in these latter-days is pretty awesome. Oscar, a recent convert, is getting right along on his Duty to God. We also had lunch on Saturday with a young woman, Fernanda, who's about to turn 18 (it's crazy to think that she's the same age as Libby! Blew my mind). She took advantage and asked us as the missionaries something about faith that it talks about in personal progress. She's also doing a lot of her family history, even though her dad left the family on bad terms. During the scripture afterward, her non-member step-dad said, "Yeah, it all sounds sweet and happy, the little mormon family in their garden, but you go out into the real world and it's not like that. Everyone gets robbed or shot or has problems in the family." I was going to say something about how we all experience trials, but we can still be happy, but Fernanda answered first, saying, "The members of the church don't have as many problems. If they keep the commandments, they have the guidance of the Spirit, which will help them avoid all those problems. I can't count the number of times that I've come home alone from seminary and felt prompted to take a different street only to find out afterward that something bad happened where I was thinking about going. It really is sweet and happy when we live the gospel!" She shut her step-dad right up. Then she gave us a referral. Then she brought her miracle investigator to church on Sunday (unfortunately he's on the sisters' side). Wow... Joaquin. He found a Book of Mormon in a pile of old books in his grandma's attic and started to read it. And he liked it. So he read it more. Then he saw the BAs temple and wanted to go in, but felt like he had to be more prepared to do it. Fernanda invited him to seminary, and he went all week, walking more than 30 blocks to get there. He showed up to church in a shirt and tie. Miracles happen!
Talking about miracles, I was with Elder Connolly from Arizona this week. We went to a house where they'd passed by a lot and the lady just wasn't progressing. There were members of the family very anti-mormon. As we got to the door, he said that he just didn't feel good about going there, so we didn't. We went around the corner and asked for a referral from another investigator. He gave us one. We went to contact it and Elder Connolly said to the lady, "We're representatives of Christ. We're here because He sent us here to bless your family." She said, "I'm really needing that right now." I love those classic miracle moments! You always hear about them, but living them is so great!
Wednesday was an interesting day. In the morning I was with Elder Arendarczuk, from BAs. In the evening we had interviews with President. I did exchanges with the assistants and stuck around with Elder Trinidad from Uruguay, "directing" interviews. We basically just sat there telling people when the other was done. Something that impressed me from the interview was the revelation that someone receives in their callings. President Chaparro has only been here a couple months... if that. Yet he already knows so well the missionaries, their problems, and what they need. He shared Hebrews 6:10-12 with me about diligence. I'm not slacking off, or at least, I like to think that, but it was nice wake-up call that there's always things that we need to be improving, and that we can't stop with the little things.
We have so many great investigators right now! Cristian is getting baptized this week. He's so awesome! His mom told us the other day that his brother and sister are heckling him a ton about how he's not clubbing or drinking anymore, but how he keeps firm anyway. The gospel can sure do a lot with your life when you're willing to change.
Monica is another. She came to church for the second time this Sunday. Her children are all drug addicts, and she has a lot of problems in the house. The other day we gave a blessing to her son. She's also receiving a lot of flack from coworkers and friends, but I just love seeing the determination of these people to keep moving forward with what they feel is right!
We also have Mario and Martina, an older couple. Mario went walking 20 blocks to church this past Sunday even with severe diabetes problems (he has to go in for dialysis three times a week). I love that about being on a mission - seeing all the things people do to follow Christ.
The Celiz family (Marcela, Oscar, and Hector - all recent converts during my time here) - they're just awesome. Every time we go they're inviting someone new to church, but up until now, they haven't had much success. On Friday, Hector invited one of his buddies to come to the lesson. At the end, they said, "You're going to church with us, right? We're going to be there bright and early at 8 in the morning, so be ready!" And Mauro, his friend, went! In church, Hector was saying, "So now you're going to get baptized, right? You need to go talk to your parents about it! We can do it next Saturday!" They're truly fulfilling Elder Ballard's prophetic challenge to get someone to church every three months!
I gave a talk on prophets on Sunday. I love talking about prophets. I was reading in PMG this week and I rediscovered this quote that I love! "As you study the doctrines in the missionary lessons, you will come to see that we have one message: Through modern prophet, God has restored knowledgeabout the plan of salvation, which is centered on Christ’s Atonement and fulfilled by living the first principles and ordinances of the gospel." There are so many oportunities to receive and put into practice revelation from God that the prophets receive, but all to often, we don't remember to do it. I'm glad being on a mission has helped me understand that.
Anyway, those were most of the highlights of this week. It was just a great week. I hope you all have a great one!
Elder Willey

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