November 3, 2014

Week Forty-Six: The Worth of Souls

With Hermana Baturité. Hna. Baturité is from Fortaleza, Brazil where Dad Blau served his mission 22 years ago.
Area: Frutillares
Companion: Hermana Caseres


Dear familia,

I just finished blowing up the Chilean market buying recuerdos de Tomé. Who knows what is going to happen in this next cambio (still two weeks away) ... but I just wanted to be sure and get some pretty little things. Basically, the only thing that makes these recuerdos cool is that they say Recuerdo de Tomé ... butchaknow.

This week was pretty sweet. We had a mini cambio on Tuesday and I went to Dieciocho with HERMANA DE LEÓN! :) I love that woman sooo much! It is really interesting, because our time together was way hard. We had to "open" the sector because we were really working with nothing. I cried sooo much that cambio because I wasn't used to the responsibility and I felt like I was dying. It was nice to be with her in a situation that felt way less life-or.deathy. Little moments like that help me to realize how small my big trials are and how much I have grown in such a short period of time. We taught a few lessons and knocked on a LOOOOOOOT of doors. I guess that hard times aren't only reserved for me.
With Hermana De León at the Nov. 1 service project
Our room to study. I have so many quotes on the wall. :)
With Hermana Caceres and a great view
Actually, I realized that, right now, we aren't having huge problems with the work. We have got a sweet little focus group and are working hard to find more and more people. This week was the first time in EIGHT MONTHS that I have been able to say during our rendimiento de cuentas that we have a sure baptism this week! YEEEEEEHAW! Constanza, the little nine year old daughter of a menos activa, is going to get baptized and I am so excited. It has been such a struggle to teach her because she hasn't always been here in Tomé for the weekends, but this week, she is going to make it! I really feel like her showing up randomly in church two months ago was a blessing from Heavenly Father. What a blessing.

We also are still working with Josué. We had such a great lesson with him this past week about why it is important to pay tithing ... I was soooo fired up to keep working with him. We passed by randomly on Halloween and he had been drinking. It is one baby step forward and three giant steps back with Josué. The good news is that he really knows that the church is true. We just have to help him to be committed to keeping the commandments. Ayayaya. I have faith, faith, faith.
Diego in Tomé. Diego has always been way close to me.
I study with him so much. I just haven't been good about taking pictures with him.
Dichato
I can't remember if I have told you guys about Manuel. He is AMAZING. We found him the other week, and I was soooo impressed by him. He lives alone, doesn't have a job, and loooooves to read. He is also super activo in the Iglesia Evangelica. It is interesting to have lessons with him because he really likes to interpret everything. Dreams, scriptures, you name it. We have passed by with members to visit him EVERY TIME and he LOVES IT! He loves the gospel and already has a testimony that it is true. He hasn't come to church yet because he wants to explain to his leaders why he is leaving their fold. Yesterday we called him in for an interview with Presidente Soto (which I have never ever done with an investigator before) and he left more and more sure of the authority of the priesthood.

The great news is -- I AM SURE that he is going to get baptized and be a great leader in the church. The bad news is -- I am almost 100% positive that I am not going to be here for his baptism. And so I keep planting seeds. (I am okay with that ... I really am. I know that numbers are important and everything, but I am realizing more and more the worth of SOULS ... for that, I am okay).
Carlos, Magdelena, y Karen Garrido :)))))) I LOVE THEM!
Did you know that the 31st is a federal holiday in Chile? Well ... more than for just Halloween. It turns out that the 31 is also Día de los Evangelicos ... because they don't support the satanic side of Halloween. So, since we didn't really come up with any good missionary appropriate costumes, so we put on floral skirts and said that we were Evangelicas. At least we participated in one of the holidays. Eh, más o menos, nomá. But it was cute to see all of the babies dressed up as witches asking for candy ("Dulce o chuko!").

On Saturday we had that service project in Penco. It was super fun! The CUTEST THING was that they are starting Scouts in the stake, so all of the little boys came dressed in their scout uniforms. Oh, I couldn't help but think of Philmont and my little brothers. Soooo adorable. We spent some time picking up trash on the beach and painting the grafitti filled walls. I loved it because I love giving service and meeting new people. It makes my heart feel soooo happy.
Service Project in Penco
Hermana Marroquin from El Salvador
With Hermana Caceres
With Hermana De Léon
With Hermana Baturité


Uhmmmmmmm ... qué más? I guess this week I learned a lot about patience and love. I prayed and prayed and prayed for patience this week ... and I realized that every single time that I felt annoyed or upset or ... I don't know ... and chose to hug Hermana Caceres or think about the things I was going to say, I felt so much better and so much stronger. That is a part of the Atonement that I haven't really utilized much in my life ... the power that helps us to be stronger and better than we usually are. It is wonderful to know that I have that kind of self-control right now. It has helped with our companionship sooo much. We are talking even more openly and as I demonstrate love and Hermana Caceres demonstrates love, life is sooo much more pleasant.

We had a lesson with a kid that I have never talked to yesterday. He is the menos activo brother of Noelia Sepulveda (one of my favorite people here), Matias. We have never been able to catch him in his house because he is either sleeping, working, or in Concepcion studying. The other day, I heard the sound of guitar strumming coming from the house of Noelia and asked her if her brother was there. We awkwardly made our way to break the jam session that he was having with his friend and set up an appointment to go back to see him. Since that moment, I had been thinking about him and the lesson that we were going to have. This is something really odd, because I usually do not worry about what we are going to teach. I made sure that we were at the appointment on time and that we brought members that were his friends.

I put on a video that I thought would be powerful (it is called Because of Him in English and I LOVEE IT!). 
video

The bad news is that it doesn't have any spoken words, it is all visual. And Mattias can't see ... because he has vision problems. Oh, I felt sooo stupid. We ended up talking about the atonement and I really felt the love of our Heavenly Father for this kid and for Noelia. I am not sure why it hit me so strong or why I was so worried about the lesson, but I hope that we can continue working with him and help him to return to the church.
Hermana Andrea Morgan in the panadería that she works in.

Food this week. HAHAHAHAHAHA, here is a good one. So, we had lunch yesterday with the Familia Cartes. They tease me so much, but they are an awesome family. Anyways, the elders went to lunch before us because we can't eat at the same time and Solange wanted me to stay after for ward choir practice (we are practicing for Christmas!! AHHH!). Anyways, I knew that lunch was going to be a struggle because of the look on Elder Castro's face. He totally had to excuse himself to throw up. The thing is, they cook sooo well. I love the food of the familia Cartes. It's just ... they give a whole lot of food. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to finish my huge plate of spaghetti, but my stomach is so warped now that I managed to fit it all in. It was a good feeling.

Another funny story. The elders had a baptism this week ... it was awesome to see because I haven't even seen a baptism in SOOO LONG. Everything was going according to plan when we got to the church. Noelia was going to look at the dog bite of Hermana Caceres just before the baptism. The water was sooooo hot (which is usually not a problem ... it is usually way cold) ... so the elders turned on the cold water to balance things out. They left the tap on and it kept flowing for about an hour ... when we entered the room of the baptismal font, the font had overflowed and flooded the church. Hilarious! Something always has to happen in opposition. We had a good time cleaning up afterwards.
Four packages from home!
This letter is sooo random. I am sorry! I hope that you have a wonderful week this week and remember the atonement of Jesus Christ this week. I know that Christ lives and is sooo willing to help us! When I have asked Heavenly Father for guidance or comfort or ... anything ... he always has given it to me. I still don't know everything. I still don't know where I am going to college or what I am going to do with my life. I don't know where I am going to go in the mission or the people I will meet. But for now, I have a bag full of Recuerdos de Tomé and a whole lot of experiences with getting to know Heavenly Father. PRICELESS.

I love you all soooo much! Thank you for everything that you do and for your support and prayers. They mean the world to me!!

Con amor,
Hermana Blau
My four compies de Frutillares ... in Frutillares. How awesome is that??

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