Wow a crazy week here. I'm getting tired hahaha. No, we are doing great (but I am tired). A large part of the week was preparing for Caroline's baptism that ended up perfect. Way cool. Baptism weeks are the most busy for sure. First, we made invitations and programs and handed them out. We had to do the interview. Then we had to plan out the program with her and delegate some assignments like food and talks. We spent almost and entire afternoon fighting with the broken water heater for the font that finally worked when all was lost and we offerred a prayer witht the hermano who is the church mechanic hahahah. Then of course the entire city's lights were cut a half hour before the baptism oops hahaha. There is always something that goes wrong without fail. Luckily we had already filled the font and whe had scheduled the baptism for 4:30 so it was still pretty light. So it all worked out. Interestingly, enough the light kicked back in right after the ordenance so we could show some Mormon messages while she and I changed into dry clothes which was cool. Sunday Caroline was confirmed and it was all done whew. It was all so cool though!
We had refreshments after (Hna Beti Alarcon was in charge of that. I hope I don't misweild my special "status" here too much) and there were a ton of people there. She was so nice to do that! It was so cool to see all these people I've come to know, many, if not like 60% of whom, are there as a result of Dad's work here. I was thinking that he probably felt the same as I did with Caroline., i.e., that I really didn't have much of a part in her conversion, and that I just got here under the right circumstances. I was also thinking that if I have any good reason to have faith in the difference a missionary can make, it was the large crowd standing in front of me. It made me really determined to take advantage of the time I have here. The whole experience has been like too much to wrap my head around. For example, Caroline is named after her grandma, who was taught by dad and baptized by her husband 37 years ago. It's just all so special and so unreal I can't sort it all out in my head. At the very least it has helped me really grow my testimony that there are people in the world that we are eternally tied to through the service we give as missionaries.
Other stuff that is happening. This saturday A. should be getting baptized! Pretty much everything is locked in but he is a little bit sick and he's older so we obviously don't want to baptize him if there is a chance of pnemonia or something like that. He is way smart and super special as I've mentioned before. He pretty much teaches the class of gospel principals. A. is one of those examples of people who don't change very much to live the gospel and are really just kind of made for it from the get go when the missionaries find them. He had no problem with doctrine or the commandments or church attendance or anything, just needed to take his time to hear from God that he should get baptized. He will be a huge asset to the branch! Everyone is really excited about it. Back to back baptism weeks too! And all for Elder Runyan to go home after! Way cool. We need to plan it all out soon but it's going to be really cool.
As far as other people we are teaching, we have been having bad luck as far as finding new people who will come to church. I want to really grill the members on less active people they know with family that isn't member because in our zone that has proved to be really key. I think if we have the time we will make a "meet the missionaries" stand or something like that hahaha. We just need to try new things again. We have a ton to do this week to find people who can be baptized in August so we are going to work really hard this week to do it.
We had a total miracle in the zone and one of the companionships of hermanas are going to baptize a family of 4 this weekend. We have seen a ton of miracles in this zone and are totally going to kill the goal we put in the beginning of the month. The next challenge will be helping everyone make this success sustainable which might be tough concerning that we pretty much baptized or stopped teaching all the people we had this month. We need to really start focusing on finding. Next week is transfers and I will be sad to say goodbye to Elder Runyan and a large part of our zone I think. It's been way fun to work with them all. I hear a big group of new missionaries is coming too so we will definitely have some people here training which will be fun.
Ok real quick because I'm out of time. I've been thinking a lot still about the Saviour being the prince of peace and had kind of a realization. I was thinking about how the Jews all expected the Messiah to deliver them from their physical bondage, and then rejected Christ because He did not give them that. I was thinking that a lot of time as the Lords' modern chosen people, we expect the same thing, but in a different way. We often ask the Lord to free us from our problems (just like bondage from Rome) which aren't necessarily evil desires, but when that physical liberation doesn't come, often we reject Christ just as the crowds of people in Jerusalem did as he explained to them that he was sent to bring them living bread of life, not literal bread or freedom from bondage. I personally, never want to make Christ go through the same rejection on my behalf. I think it also has to do with our baptismal covenants in that He asks us to promise that we will bear each other's burdens and cry with those that cry, as if to mitigate the sufferring that sometimes he cannot liberate us from for our own benefit. Food for thought.
Ok I'm short on time but I love you all and am so happy here in Lebu and am totally loving the work here!
Elder Trevor Smith
Note from Vinka, Caroline's mother: "Hi. How are you? I'm sending you the invitation to Caroline's baptism. She had her last discussion today to be ready. They asked her which missionary should baptize her and she decided that it should be Elder Smith. It's like everything from those years ago is repeating itself. She's very excited and happy. It will be a very special moment. I now know that God knows why your son is here."
Trevor and the entire Oporto family, except Marco, Lorena, and Job (who were out of town) and Leoncio (who passed away unexpectedly the week Trevor arrived).
Scott and Vinka (the birthday girl), Caroline's mom.
Caroline, her sisters, mom and dad, Trevor, and Elder Runyan..
Scott's journal entry from the day Caroline's grandfather baptized her grandmother (Carolina) with her aunts and uncles.
Elder Trevor Smith
Elder Trevor Smith is a Mormon missionary in the Chile Concepcion Sur mission, the same mission where his dad served. Although this is Trevor's own mission, he grew up hearing about the beautiful land of Chile and the loving people that inhabit it. These are the letters from his experience there.