August 18, 2014

Week Thirty-Five: Drunk men don't lie, and they tell me I'm beautiful

Soledad, Texia, Nico, Ramiro Garrido. The whole family came to church last week -- which is something that I thought would NEVER EVER EVER EVER HAPPEN. It was such a miracle!
Area: Fruitillares
Companion: Hermana Bucarei

Dear familia,

This week was pretty relaxed. I am loving my life as a missionary. I don't know what has happened to me, but somehow my mission is catching on fire and I love it. It took a little bit of time, but I think that I am starting to feel more and more consecrated to this work. I love it so much. Just in time for my cumplemes of 8 months. Holy cow, how the time flies.

The title of my email really doesn't have anything to do with my email ... We've just talked to a LOT of drunk men this week. I guess in the beginning of my mission, I would have been totally freaked out by that. In fact, I remember that Hermana Harris and I had a little checklist that we would go through in our head when facing men to decide if we would contact them or not. Now I just contact them ... even if they are wasted. It is pretty enjoyable.

Okay, this week, we found the most incredible man on this planet. His name is Carlos. He kind of reminds me of Grandpa Landis -- loves to garden and is super funny. I have known Carlos for a long, long time ... but haven't been able to enter his house and teach him because his pareja is never there. This week, we found him on accident (we were trying to teach his neighbor) and they invited us to come in and teach them.

When we entered, Carlos offered us wine to drink. Uhhhhhh, we declined and explained that we can't drink wine and he was okay with it. We began to teach him with his pareja and it was an INCREDIBLE LESSON. We talked about baptism and why it is necessary. He started to cry half way through the lesson and said, "Hermanas, what if I have done things that I can't be forgiven of?" We were able to testify to him that through Jesus Christ, all of his sins could be forgiven. His pareja was a little bit quieter, a little bit less enthused, but she was listening as well. I started to think in my head ... Man, what is the date going to be for his baptismal service (because we always invite to baptism and with fecha in the first lesson). I couldn't remember, so I just said, "Will you guys follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized August 29th?" (The 29th is next Thursday and is pretty far off of the actual fecha ... but it was powerful, just the same). Carlos accepted right away. "Now you just have to get my pareja." (Pareja, P.S. means that they aren't married but are living together.

Anyways, we forgot to invite Carlos and Hilda to the church ... DOH. Hilda had to go out of town for the weekend and it totally skipped my mind ... I think that I was just really excited that Carlos accepted fecha. We decided to pass by his house randomly one day just to invite him. When we approached his house, he was just standing outside waiting for something. We chatted for a little bit and then I invited him to come with us to church. "But, of course!" he said. "It starts at 10, right? I'll be ready at eight" Wow, this guy is SOLID!

I still wasn't really sure if Carlos was sincere in his desire to come to church and everything. I don't know ... after not finding many prepared people for a LONG time, I think that I have been losing a little bit of hope that there are people that Heavenly Father is preparing to accept his gospel ("Hombre de poca fe ... porqué dudaste?") [Oh ye of little faith ... why do you doubt?]. Hermana Bucarei and I got ready on Sunday morning and I was PRAYING HARD that Carlos would come and would have a good experience. We went by his house to pick him up and walk with him ... and he was outside waiting for us again. "I thought you weren't going to come! I was just about to head towards the chapel." Oh my goodness ... I have never, ever experienced this in my life. What a miracle!

WE MET THIS GUY THIS WEEK ... so we didn't have a lot of time to prepare him for the church. We hadn't explained the set up or anything, but to Carlos it didn't matter. We walked into the church and dropped him off in Priesthood without a stir. He came out super happy! "They're going to have an activity with fried fish. I am totally going!" In Principios del Evangelio, he asked me how he could get a copy of the Book of Mormon because he wanted to read it. After Sacrament meeting, he asked if the church accepted tithing because he wanted to pay it. I was basically amazed. He was close to tears at the end of the meeting. "I wan't to come back next week. You have to work with my pareja. She is going to be the hard part." So, Hermana Bucarei and I are going to work with the pareja. I want them to get married and baptized soooo badly. That would be the sweetest thing in the whole world!

I get the feeling though that I am going to be a seed planter here in Frutillares. We are just starting to get things really pumping, but I have this sick feeling that I am going to be leaving pretty soon. Who knows? Maybe I'll be here to see the great harvest, but I feel soooo content with my efforts. I have reflected a lot on that this week. We haven't had a single baptism since I have been here ... but I feel really, really good. I feel like I have made a difference in Frutillares and that I have been an instrument in Heavenly Father's hands. I am really, truly grateful!!

I cannot believe that a year ago I got my calling to serve a mission. So much has happened in this time! I have learned soooo much in these past eight months. My teaching skills are improving a lot! My Spanish is also improving a lot! I am learning to love people and to serve them as well. Also, my testimony is deepening and strengthening. I don't know how to explain this change in me because it is so subtle that I barely have even noticed it. But the change in me has been one of the greatest miracles of my mission so far.

Lissette Morales and I. I love her SOOO much!
Favricio and I. He is such a punk -- but is awesome at the same time!
The youth of the church in Chile are STELLAR! They really are the power behind the church here, especially because all of the people that got baptized in the 80s are inactive.

Solange Bouldres and I.
Haha, Hermana Bucarei is soooo funny. This week, we have been stuggling a little bit with getting ready on time, because every morning, Hermana Bucarei has a battle with her inner desire to shower. Luckily, Hermana Bucarei also has a talent to shower incredibly fast ... like, faster than Dad fast. She hops in the shower when we have ten minutes left to get out the door and is out and ready exactly on time. I don't know how she does it, but it makes me laugh every time. I really love her! She is teaching me sooo much!!

Did you know that I love you (familia)? I really, really do. I think about you guys a lot and about school starting. It kind of makes me nostalgic and junk ... especially because here in Chile spring has started and the kids are prepping to get out of school. I think about mom and dad and I just SMILE. How did I ever get so lucky?? I hope that you guys are praying and reading scriptures as a family and that you are HAPPY! Because really, that is the thing that matters most. I am super happy and content. I love my life. Have a great week!!

Hermana Blau

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