Monday, September 8, 2014

Santiago - September 1, 2014

Hello Family!
Wow... I really love how all of you guys are writing me like, every week. It's so cool! My family just rocks.
I had an awesome priesthood experience this week! During exchanges in Frias (a tiny branch that lies about 2 and a half hours away from the capital where I am), I got kinda sick out of the blue. I felt totally great, then my stomach started feeling a little nautious, then a half hour later we were in the branch president's house and I threw up. Yuk. Luckily, that place was the only place in Frias where there were two worthy melchizedek priesthood holders. I had a blessing of health, passed the night in the bathroom, and the next day everything was just fine, like nothing had happened! Priesthood power works. I'm very grateful for it!
Gisela is really awesome! I think I say that every week, but every week she does something new. This week in a lesson she said, "A couple nights ago we were up until one with our family scripture study with my husband. So we decided that we'd start waking up twenty minutes earlier to have more scripture study! And even with that we keep staying up late reading." Wow! She's really discovered the joy of reading scriptures. Then on Sunday in church we invited her to plan a family night for that same night. So she did! She invited the whole neighborhood and her family. Like always, not everyone showed up, but we had a full house. She gave a great family night on repentance and everyone enjoyed it. If you throw yourself into the gospel, it'll just make you happy!
We've seen a lot of miralces with the example of family members this week. Monica, the lady that is this close to getting baptized whose kids have drug problems, finally succeeded in getting her kids to sit down during a lesson. And brought another to church! On Sunday, her oldest son (who looks like he could lift up a train without a problem) stormed in looking super angry and obviously fairly drugged up. When he saw us, the tension seemed to leave him. He sat down and started crying, saying that God couldn't help him. What a great moment to be able to help him! We promised her in the beginning that if she showed the example first, her kids would be better. And... well, I love when people actually act upon the promises we make them, and they always get fulfilled.
Cristian is also seeing some success. His mom came to church again, and both he and his grandma have committed themselves to help her to stop smoking. Plus he convinced his sister to sit in for a lesson. Families have so much power in God's plan!
I really like hymns. During exchanges this week I sang a bunch with Elder Rogers in the lessons. There's just an added spirit when there's hymns involved.
I tried again to remember the atonement more often this week. I loved a talk from Elder Bednar about the enabling power that was in the April 2012 Ensign. He said that too often we don't remember that side of the Atonement, asking to be strengthened instead of having our circumstances changed. Apostles are such a blessing.
A young woman came with us to visit some of her friends this week. We told her to share the scripture and with a little urging, she agreed. She surprised me. She pulled out Alma 34 about not procrastinating repentance. Very direct. Effective. They came to the family night activity Saturday! Plus she literally pulled her friend out of bed. Members just have a special power with the people they know that missionaries could never have. Also, missionaries have a special power that members don't have. The both together make an incredible combination, almost like God arranged it like that or something!
I used the Holy Ghost game where you put a bunch of chairs scattered around the room and everyone yells where to go for the family night activity. I'm grateful for primary for teaching me that game. Primary rocks. And you're never too old to do primary stuff.
Our branch president gave an awesome talk on Sunday about having a positive attitude. He used a scripture from 3 Nephi 19:25 - "And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them." If we take the time to smile in our trials, we can help others a lot and show them the example. I'm trying to smile more now :)
Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful week and help dad to celebrate his birthday!

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