July 21, 2014

Week Thirty-One: A Week of Miracles

Area: Fruitillares
Companion: Hermana Bucarei

Dear Familia,

I don't really know how to adquately describe HOW MIRACULOUS this week was. I feel soooo much animo for the work ... more than I have really felt on my mission! I was praying this week in the night and I felt pure contentment. Really, this week we tried to be super obedient and to follow the spirit ... and with that, we saw miracles. Our numbers were decent, but I felt really, really good about this week because I knew that Heavenly Father was pleased with our efforts. Wow ... wow.

So, I went to pick up Hermana Bucarei (Nataly Bucarei Lopez de Chile) on Tuesday in Concepcion. She is SOOOO funny and sooo kind. It is like ... a perfect Chilean mixture. She has some facial expressions that remind me of all of the cousins and she acts almost exactly like everyone in our family. She is the sweetest! We are getting along really well. A surprise that happened when we were going to pick up Hermana Bucarei's stuff, we saw HERMANA HARRIS!! Oh, my sweet mommy [trainer]. She is serving as a Sister Training Leader for her last cambio. I don't know how I got so lucky! I'll get to see her before her death [when she leaves the mission]. Waaaaahoooo!

Anyways, for my first time as compañera mayor, I decided to put everything in the ball court of Heavenly Father. Every day this week, I promised Heavenly Father that I would do my very best to follow His spirit ... and as I did that, we really did see miracles and I didn't feel the least bit of stress. It is amazing to think that Heavenly Father really does have every thing under control. That is something that I think I have learned in my seven months on the mission.

(PS. Seven months?? When did that happen??)

I think that the members are starting to love the missionaries here in Frutillares. Elder Castro (who was with me in the CCM) and Elder Hampton are working with us and we are all working really well with the leaders of the Rama with a lot of animo. That has never, ever, ever happened in my mission. It is helping us to keep up the animo in the branch because everyone can tell that we are EXCITED to be there. I absolutely adore the people here. They would give everything if they had it to make sure that we are comfortable. I actually had one of the menos activos that we were working with offer me his son ... talk about your Ammon and the Lamanites experience haha. It talks about gaining the member's trust in Preach My Gospel and I have seen that this is SOOO true. We really cannot do anything until the members trust us. We are about to see a big explosion in the work.

Our investigators right now:

We have a lot of investigators, but we only have a few that are progressing.

K y M are a mom and son that I adore. K has her own completo business right in front of the other church building up here in the hills of Tomé. She is sooooo nice. We didn't have lunch one day this week, and we went to do service in her house randomly ... she learned that we didn't have lunch and whipped something up for us. Love her! M is thirteen. He is a little rebellious (he smokes and all that junk), but he is really sweet and really receptive to the gospel. Super sweet family. I think that they are going to progress.

We met a lady the other week that was a reference from a lady in the other ward named M. She is GOLDEN. She already has had all of the missionary discussions. She loves the Gospel and has found a lot of comfort in it. She knows that she wants to be baptised, but she is living with a pareja and is in the middle of a super long divorce process ... DARN IT. We have got to help her to get integrated into the ward so that she can stay forever.

There is this family that we are going to start working with. S, P, y F. S and P are a little bit older (65 or something), but they gave us their need immediately ... they have had a lot of deaths in their family and they want to be with them forever. Perfect! We've got the solution. I am excited to work with them.

We went and visited D yesterday. He is twenty-three and Hermana Peterson was working with him a lot. He knows that he needs to get baptized, but he likes to party a lot and feels like he needs more time. I think that now is the time for him to get into the church. His mom is menos-activa, so it would be really awesome to reactivate and complete the family! That's what we are in the business of doing here ... helping the family.

Hey, you know that Devil Dog from a couple weeks back? [Check out the crazy dog story and picture HERE.] I think that he saw my mean spirited comments and decided to get back at me by attacking my companion. We were just walking by casually when he came up and bit her on the leg. What the heck? We had to go to the consultorio and wait a couple of hours so that the Hermana could get the rabies shot. But, we made good use of the time and talked with the people that were waiting about the gospel ... so all was well.

One night, we were walking to an appointment that we had when I felt like we should stop by to visit a menos activa. She has been having a lot of problems with her children and with work ... and needs a lot of visits just like every other person in this sector. Anyways, we passed by to visit her and I mentioned in passing to Hermana Bucarei, "Hey, wouldn't it be funny if the elders were here?" We laughed and knocked on the door ... the Hermana answered and said, "Oh, wow ... the Elders are here, too! Come on in!!" What the awkward.

She had completos listo and she made us sit down and eat them (even though I was stuffed full from lunch that day and told her that I was going to vomit). We sat and conversed for a little bit ... and I was just praying that we could share something and then get out of there, While we were getting ready to share something, there was a knock at the door. Whooooo, more people for the party. It was the non-member brother of the Hermana! Now we were talking. Four missionaries ready to teach and bring in the spirit ... he was bound to feel the spirit. This brother is supppppppper evangelico, so we had a hard time finding a gap in his sermon to US to teach a principle of the gospel. We shared a scripture and got ready to go ... when the Hermana asked if the Elders could give her brother a blessing for his heart problem that he had. Ayayaya, we were never going to get out of there.

Of course, they agreed to give the blessing. Mom and dad, the spirit that was in the room was incredible. The Spanish wasn't perfect, but the Spirit was SOOOOOOOO STRONG. The Priesthood is REAL! It is a real power and I know that the Elders have it. Sometimes it is a little bit hard to believe the real power and authority that 19 year old kids have ... but I was sooo struck by the truth in that instant. I need to marry someone that has the same power!! Wow. It was an incredible experience.

I don't know how, but my teaching has gotten way better. Like, a million times better. I started to really, really listen for the spirit, and this changed EVERYTHING. I found that I knew what to say when I needed to say it. I gave words of counsel and promises. I asked inspired questions ... I say I ... but really, it was ALL the spirit. The Spirit is KEY in missionary work, and I don't know why it took me seven months to really put it into practice. We saw so many miracles ... I don't even know. I know that this church is true!! I know that the Lord has his hand in all things, and I am working hard to become better and more capable to do his work.

We saw a lot of tears this week. When we followed the spirit, we were able to visit some menos activos that I haven't visited for an entire cambio. Somehow they forgave us and shared all of their sorrows and pains with us and we helped them to see that there was hope. I have been praying to know how to fit everyone in that is ready to accept the gospel and keep their committments, and we have been able to go in and meet the need.

I thought that being the comp. mayor would be super stressful, but I have come to learn that stress comes when we are not relying on the Lord. Sometimes I feel like I have so much time and that I haven't really learned anything on my mission so far, but I know that I have been learning and changing. I am not the same person anymore. Heavenly Father is gradually changing me into the person that I want to become and is helping me to find joy in the journey. I love being on a mission. I love my compie. I love Frutillares!! How it happened, I don't really know ... but I am so pleased with this cambio so far. Here is to a great semana ahead.

I love you so much! Have a great, great week!! Say hello to Canada for me, eh? Keep up the good work in building the kingdom! Heavenly Father is really pleased when we do what we can!! Pray for me this week! I am giving the lesson in Relief Society, singing a musical number, AND giving a talk in sacrament next week. Phew.

Love from Chile,

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