Monday, September 15, 2014

Santiago - September 15, 2014

Hello Family!
So yet again, no one told me how we're going on the family prayer, scripture study, home evening, etc. I mean, don't get me wrong, I LOVE hearing about all the fun stuff you guys are doing, but I'm a missionary! I love the way everyone always sends something spiritual in their letters and their insights and what not, but I LOVE verifying how you're doing with the prayers and stuff as well! While Craig's in Cali you can take advantage of the use of phones. It's what we do here in the mission - every night we're having a district prayer and we all kneel down and pray together with the phones on speaker phone. I like it. We've seen miracles. And we need to keep seeing them, and I shall tell you why.
Cristian - the really, really rich investigator we baptized a few weeks ago - has a mother, Monica, who's been listening a lot. She's so prepared! She already had a dream that answered her prayer if Joseph Smith was a prophet. She just has to stop smoking. Her baptism is planned on Saturday, so this week is critical. She was down to three yesterday and hasn't smoked since then. We're praying a lot for her!
On that note, they invited us to their country mansion today. It was completely and entirely awesome. They cooked us an asado, showed us the pool and where they host dances and tennis matches and such. They also showed us the shoe factory where they made the fortune. Who'd have thought? The house was beautiful! Oh! And Monica convinced her athiest husband to go to church for a bit! He was only there for about a minute in the middle of a prayer before he left, but he surprised all the family by stepping foot in a church! The gospel really does work miracles and change people.
Speaking of people named Monica, our other investigator named Monica got baptized this week. We almost weren't able to see her during the week, due to a trip to Tucuman to see a seventy and a brief fight with sickness, but she persevered through the rebellious behavior of her kids and got baptized! And even convinced a couple of them to come see the baptism. On Sunday when we went by after church, every one of her kids that was home listened and committed to go to church and pray to ask if Joseph Smith was a prophet. Little by little, but with a member in the family, it's going to be even easier for the spirit to be there!
Elder Vera's is very cool! Not really sure what else to say... He doesn't eat much peanut butter? And he cooks! Not that we have much need. But yep!
We had an awesome lesson with an investigator named Juan Carlos. He's been a social drinker all his life, and he's very receptive. We realized, though, that in order to better understand the message, and to have more willpower to go to church, he's going to have to start living the word of wisdom quick. When we tackled that, he was a little reluctant in the beginning. He started talking about how he'd always been a drinker,  but that he'd never drunk very much, and very rarely was drunk. As he talked, you could feel the spirit in that room. I think he started to realize that maybe the alcohol had done more damage in his life than he'd realized, and he said in the end, without any further prompting from us, "You know what? I think it would be better to just leave it behind." YES! I love the spirit. It truly is the real teacher that converts the people. Prayers are more powerful than anything else, because they invoke the divine power that we need so dearly.
Mario came to church! He's the older guy with all the health problems. It was his third time. We went by to pick him up on Sunday and he was in bed, but when he woke up and saw us there, he was out the door in less than 5 minutes. We'd only been able to visit him one time during the week due to our crazy schedule, but he is just so prepared! During church, it was all so perfect for his needs. In both classes we talked about eternal marriage. He left very edified.
The conference with Elder Zeballos was great! He talked a lot about love, and how humility, hope, faith, everything relates back to charity, which is the pure love that Christ feels for us, which we should try to emulate. He also talked about the benefits of being bilungual after the mission. A little trunky, but it was a great conference!
One more thing! Gisela and Alejandro gave talks on Sunday! They were so wonderful! Gisela gave a talk about really receiving the Holy Ghost through study, prayer, and obedience. I loved the beginning of her talk when she talked about the importance of coming to church to have the spirit, and she read the story of Martha. I love where Christ says "Only one thing matters." It's so easy to get our priorities out of wack, but when we put them in order, everything turns out well! You never would have guessed that she's been a member for a month.
Alejandro talked about the importance of helping the less actives. He was recently reactivated and said that even though they often don't realize it, those who are inactive feel very ugly inside, and often just need a hand to get them back to church. He is so excited to go and do his home teaching!
I realized the other day that I have great parents - I know, something I do commonly here, but still. In the class of Gospel Principles, we were talking about families. Almost everyone there came from a broken family. I realized that my parents are awesome. I can't remember a single time having heard them fight. We always were trying to do our family prayer and scripture study and such. And we always did our visits! I just have a great example at home.
Anyway, I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Willey

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