Ok it was a really good but busy week! We traveled so much I am way sick of busses at this point. Like every day except Sunday we took a bus ugh. At least the views are pretty.
The week started out pretty normal Tuesday but Wednesday we had the worldwide church broadcast for missionaries! It was super spiritual and really good and helpful. It was all about teaching by the spirit and focusing on the simple truths of the gospel, and how investigators won't really see a change or feel the spirit themselves until they repent, i.e., change themselves. That process starts as they begin doing their homework etc etc. Really cool. The even more fun part maybe was that we met in Temuco as 4 zones so I got to hang out a little bit with a few really good friends like Elders M and C from the mtc and Elder P. It was super fun to hear from those guys! It really set a spiritual tone for the rest of the week though!
Friday we did an intercambio again with the missionaries from Nueva Imperial but this time I stayed in Cunco with Elder O from Brazil, who's a really good friend from the very begining of my mission. He's huge and has a really deep voice and is kind of intimidating when you first see him, but he's really silly when you actually start talking to him hahaha. Hes awesome and teaches really well. We had a great time talking about memories, the mission, Brazil etc etc. The only bummer is that we left both of our cellphones with our companions so we were totally in the dark communication-wise that day which was kind of a fun challenge hahaha. We found a cool old investigator who's a friend of a young woman member here and she pretty much knows all the info and just lacks a testimony, so we will see what happens with that.
We had some cool stuff happen Saturday too! Remember M and J from like a month ago? Jorge came back from work! They are really special because they all pretty much have testimonies already from a variety of crazy miracles and spiritual experiences they've had, including the classic Chilean dream of two angels dressed in white and ties helping them etc etc. The frustrating part is that they were so hyped for everything Saturday but then 8 HOURS LATER didn't show up to church! So frustrating! They are so close and already have their answer, and dont have Sundays to waste with J's schedule! It's OK. I still love them. They'll get there eventually.
Not sure if I've mentioned J before but he contacted us on a bus! It was crazy! He's kind of a grandpa who already goes to a kind of pentecostal church but weve been teaching him very slowly for a few weeks and he finally came to church! He keeps repeating and repeating that "he will never leave centro biblico" but I don't believe it because he is very diligent with his BoM reading and church attendance relative to other people. He was the only person we had in church, which was kind of discouraging again, but hey, progress. (also we taught all 3 hours of church without notice hahaha small branch life)
Something funny is that our sector geographically is the biggest in the mission, there are just very few people that live here. For that reason we have some cool plans to go explore a bunch of smaller pueblos that are kind of scattered around Cunco. That'll be a fun adventure.
I really am falling in love with this place and these people, as hard as they are sometimes to help.
This week I've been thinking a lot about The Gospel of Jesus Christ (lesson 3 haha) and the promises God makes us when we follow the steps of faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the holy ghost, and persevere till the end. As missionaries we would love to promise people who live the Gospel perfect lives, but we just can't do it. We are all promised, however, peace and happiness. I've been really pondering what that means and how I've seen those blessings in my life. We were walking home from lunch Sunday after a kind of discouraging day and it was a pretty long walk, but it was really pretty with mountain views on either side, stormclouds in the distance and a nice breeze. I was just kind of meditating as we walked and I realized that despite how hard the mission is sometimes, how dissapointed we are when we work so hard, and how far away we are from home, I feel at peace. I guess you could call it joy. It was just a nice little, very quiet spiritual moment, but i thinked it really changed me and helped me understand in what ways we are blessed by the gospel. I think part of why it was so special is that out here in Cunco everyone moves very slow and is very relaxed. At first it bothered me but now I embrace it and it's part of me now. With that I think that at home our lives are so busy and so full of worries, work, and constant stimulation with media and friends etc that we do not take the time to really meditate on our relationship with Christ and how we feel because of that relationship. Im really glad I've had the opportunity to unplug, slow down, and kind of meditate on that stuff. It was really cool.
I don't have a ton to report on is the truth. It was just a pretty average week hahaha. Things with Elder G were better, but I've also just kind of learned to love him how he is and keep being happy myself. It's crazy that now weve had 6 weeks together it's going so fast it's scaring me! Two weeks and we'll know whats going on with transfers. Just know that I'm doing great and loving it here, even though I miss all of you guys. Keep writing. I love your letters. I'll try and take more pictures sorry!
Love you all so much!
So truth is this week was just kind of more of the same but I'll try and think of things to say! It was a good week though just a little boring maybe. We had some good lessons and success and all that good stuff too. I love your letters a ton and can't wait to read them this week!
Ok so we started out the week with a Gran Intercambio and I went to Nueva Iimperial again and worked with Elder Acevedo again hahaha. It was still awesome. He's totally a friend now. We had a good time there and had some success finding some news (new investigators) there which is hard to do in that sector. He's super cool and from Santiago and we had a really good time talking about the mission and a lot of different stuff while we were out in the street. His grandfather fought for Allende in the revolution in the 70's too which was cool to hear about. I really like Chileans! We finished the day by buying an entire giant watermellon and splitting it between us hahahah
After that it was pretty much just life as usual. 3 more weeks of this transfer because it was extra long to make up for the last pre-Christmas short one. We found a ton of people again but had a harder time bringing members to our lessons. I think we kind of wore out the members here the week before. I do really love the members here tho they are so awesome! We did spend part of one day helping a new family move in from Temuco! They are so awesome and are 7 in total so our branch grew by like 35 percent hahahaha. They are super nice and love the missionaries a ton and are super excited to help us so when theyre all done moving in it will be easy to take them to our lessons. After loading up the truck we drove up really slow all the way to Cunco but it was really fun to make the trip a little slower than usual and be able to see how pretty it is.
Still kind of working on finding the people who are really going to progress here. We had a ton of lessons again but finished the week again with 0 investigators in the church booooo. People come and go really fast but a couple notable people are P and J who I think I've mentioned before. Theyre awesome and if we do get to baptize this transfer, it will definitely be them. We will see what happens, she's just a little comfortable and we don't want to push her too much to just get it done. Main problem is her husband who doesn't even want to meet us booo.
It was a good week but at the same time it felt a little different. Partly I think I've gotten kind of seperated from my good attitude policy and goals of really finding joy in the work. I think part of the problem is that I just need to teach Elder G how to enjoy his mission. I dunno. I want to focus more on loving the people this week and seeing them how Christ sees them, and less on just getting things done. Going to try and work this week with more excitement and fire like I usually do, and really focus on the relationships I'm making with people. It's just kind of hard because sometimes I feel some opposition with that but it's kind of hard to explain. I'm good though -- just need to try and love my mission more! I'm going to try and focus harder too.
What I've really been loving this week strangely enough is the Old Testament hahahaha. I was so bored stuck in the house my last transfer that I started reading from genesis ch 1 because I didnt have anything else to do, but to my surprise I really started to love it! Things do slow down kind of around exodus leviticus numbers area but when you hit judges the story really takes fire! As someone who loves stories, iI'll be the first one to tell you that the Old Testament is just full of good stories! They're all so heroic and full of action and drama, and so often end in really poignent tragedy. What's really cool is that I've noticed that throughout every dispensation the Lord really works through the weakest, youngest, most humble people. Every single person who ends up being someone important in the Old Testament starts out from zero! Moses, samuel, saul, david, joseph EVERYONE. It's so cool! I just am really loving reading the stories and learning what I can from them. Also the book of mormon is really cool too
I'm still seeing how the Lord really does fill in for our inabilities. Sometimes I think a lesson is going horribly and then the person randomly has a crazy change of heart. I'm learning how to trust that even though we are not perfect missionaries, the Spirit works perfectly in everyone if they let it, so it's not really about us at all. I'm looking forward to having more spiritual experiences and lessons this week, and I'm going to try harder to be grateful for the miracles I see in my journey.
Also I finished 6 months! Went way fast! Crazy right?
Hmm not sure that's kind of it. We went to the Cunco museum today! Pretty funny because it was a lot like our small town museums -- it acted all official but you could kind of tell it was just kind of a lot of stuff everyones grandmas had laying around that may or may not actually be Mapuche (native tribe thats really strong here). A lot of old typwriters that probably weren't really that old. Pretty funny in a classic Chilean way, where the spirit and pride of the patriotism kind of outweighes what's actually being presented and making more of less. .
Ok this is totally not spiritual or relevant at all but I have time and I want to mention a totaly crazy hilarious yet also unexplainable phenomenon I've noticed here in Chile: everyone wears custom printed t shirts from random places in the united states, and all of them are written in english. For example "Johnson family reunion 2006" or "Waterferd country club" or "jacksonville wranglers" etc etc. One time in LA me and E Parkin even saw a totally ghetto looking guy in a utes t shirt! It just boggles my mind and makes me laugh for so many reasons! 1st, how do the shirts get down here. 2nd, why do so many people buy them and where.? 3rd, why do so many people use them while having no idea what they say or mean?!?! I mention it today because right this very moment im looking at this guy wearing a shirt that says on on side "2008 kent stake young women camp" and on the other "SOS Shine Out Saints" WHAT. HOW. Definitely a winner and I almost died laughing!!!
Ok that's it I think! Sorry if its a boring email! I hope youre all doing great! I love you all tons and am doing great and have a goal to laugh more this week! Love you all!!!
Wow it was a crazy week! Seriously I think if i had to use a word to describe it it would be "dynamic" hahaha.
Me and elder gomey had just a ton of fire! The beginning of the week the zone leaders gave everyone kind of a crazy unatainable goal of 10 news and 10 lessons with member in one week, but me and gomey decided that the Lord would provide a way and we committed the district to work for that goal. The results were crazy! I swear this week we would knock like 3 doors and get in a house no problem! Im not sure if just more people are around for summer or what but we found new investigators like crazy and this week is just full of lessons with them know! Its such a huge change from what my life was in LA hahaha. We are teaching like a million lessons now! I did the math and we found 4 times as many news in one week here as we did in a whole transfer in via ohiggins!!!
That being said the problem here is way different. Many people are willing to talk to us and listen for a while, but as far as following committments and giving us a firm return lesson, not so much. It is kind of a big game of sorting and prioritizing the people who want to progress and the people who just kind of didnt have anything to do that day so they let the mormons in hahahaha. We also were able to have a lot of success in bringing members to lessons this week, but the hard part is that i think we kind of worked them too hard this week and it might be kind of tough to get them to come with us this week considering theres like 20 of them hahaha. It was really cool to see the difference in the lessons we had while working with members. The Spirit is just there much more strong and the testimonies of teh members help so much! Seriously we found so many people we had to make a big list of all of them in order to remember!
The last 2 or 3 days of the week were pretty discouraging but not too bad. It just seemed like that even though me and elder gomey had so much fire and were working so effectively, the opposition rose a ton as well. IT seemed like every person we had so much hope for earlier in the week something bad happened like a sick baby or an antimormon in law and we ended up with zero investigators in the church with us which was a big bummer. Its ok though! When challenges come its usually when we are really close to something good! Also ive been thinking that noone in the scriptures is famous for being faithful, choosing the right, and working when everything was peaceful and easy hahahaha. For that we are going to hit it even harder this week and keep up the fire and excitement we had this week and work on helping all those new investigators get to church!
As far as stand out people this week we found this lady named Irene who's house had burned down 3 months ago when it was struck by ligthning! She told us she believed in God but never really had a church or faith or anything before. She didnt say it but i think she maybe took that lightning strike as a sign hahahaha. Cool part was that she prayed with us and it was the first time she had prayed in her entire life!
As far as other cool stuff that happened we went to lake Colico! It was really pretty! Ill put in a pic of it and also a river that we passed by on the way. All the water here is either crystal clear or like sky bright blue! Its absolutely gorgeous! Its getting really hot here but we got a new fan for the house which saved us. Me and Gomey went to Nueva Imperial which is on the other side of teh country! not saying much for chile hahaha. That was fun and i got to work with elder Oliveira from brazil again and hes a friend. We also kind of heard a rumor from the senior couple that works in temuco that they are bringing us a fridge because its possible that next transfer theyre going to open up another sector in cunco! Totally a rumor dont believe it. We are suppossed to be getting 34 new missionaries next transfer, but our house and sector is so small i just dont believe it.
We had interviews with the president which was awesome and got me really excited. He said some really nice things to me and told me its possible that i could train next transfer (wow another rumor). He just gave me a ton of encouragement and thanked me for the work ive been doing. it was way nice! Hna Bluth brought us all giant chocolate chip cookies too!
So as a mission we are trying to read the entire BoM in 90 days so this week i finished 1 nephi. Luckily, i also had to give a sunday school class on the first part of 1 nephi (also a surprise talk hahaha that happens a lot here). I got to study and think a ton about the example that nephi is of someone who obeys, works, and is so concerned for his fellow man. I love how he goes into jerusalem the 3rd time to get the plates and how he says he pretty much had no idea how he was going to do it, he just straight up walked into the city. Pretty cool example of faithful obedience. I think me and gomey kind of saw that this week when in the begining we had no idea how we were going to have 10 news and 10 lessons with members, but we saw immediately that the Lord provided a way. Pretty cool. Nephi rocks.
OH ya mom you asked why i said the BoM is the sword of missionaries! Short answer is that it is the keystone to testimony and conversion. Its actual tangible evidence of the Restoration. You can find imediately that people with an honest heart and real intent will read it and feel something different, while everyone who wont do that is just wanting to contend with or waste time with the missionaries. Also noone can prove it wrong which is cool.
All in all it was a really good week! Im loving working and everything that comes with the adventure that is my mission, even though there are a ton of ups and downs. The cool thing is that every day is a new day! Im loving my time here but i think this week we are going to keep up the fire but at the same time im going to try to make it more fun. Gomey can be a little serious sometimes and i want to try to teach him the joy i learned to have w elder Parkin in my training.
Love you guys tons and i love to hear from you all!
Hey everyone this week was kind of different but good! Went by really fast.
So for the first 3 days of this week i was in temuco in a trio with Elder C and Elder R while our comps were in a leadership meeting in Concepcion. Elder R is brand new and Elder C is about my age in the mission but is still coming along with his Spanish, so I was pretty much in charge which was new. I really liked it though! It was cool to see that I'm pretty much at a point in my mission where I could survive and have success as senior companion, and I could see how much I've grown in my skills as a missionary since the beginning of my mission. Way fun. We worked really hard and found some miracles there in Temuco, including one lady who was really really looking for something when we knocked on her door. It was fun to work in a trio too because we could get a ton done like that. It was fun to lead the lessons a little more than usual and as much as I love Elder G. It made me excited to be senior comp eventually and maybe even train one day. I think I'd like that. It was fun to see a new place too. Temuco is really cool! Kind of a bummer though because we ended up losing 3 days of work in our sector which put us way behind for this month.
So Thursday was new years and we started out with a Zone Conference in Temuco, but the problem was that we got on the bus back to Cunco and it was the most crowded bus I've ever seen because everyone was going back to Cunco from Temuco after buying everything for their parties. There was like 50 people in this tiny little bus and I was crushed into this corner buy the door hahaha. It would of been fine because usually the ride is only like an hour and a half but there was crazy traffic so the whole trip took like 3 hours! It was also like 100 degrees in there. Wow that was crazy. I think that plus a germ I got at the zone conference made me sick, so when we finally did get back to Cunco I was super sick. Therefore, we pretty much didn't do anything for new years and I went to sleep at like 8. My comp was really nice about it, and we couldnt really leave the house anyway because of it being new years etc.
So even though I was sick I got some good rest and we did get some work done in our sector! A long time ago Elder G and his old comp found this family who came to church one week, but we could never find them again. Finally, Wednesday we found them again and their dad was there too! We were worried he wouldn't be as receptive, but as we taught lesson one he straight up interupted us and told us he was feeling something super different, and of course we told him it was the Spirit. He was so excited and is definitely the best one out of the whole family, which is really something special and rare here when the dad is the most excited! Only problem is a big one, that he works 20 days in the north and is only in Melipeuco 10 days at a time, so it will be pretty hard to teach them all. We need to kind of talk with them all to figure out a plan for that. He is in the north again now, but we gave him a BoM to read and everything. Kind of a long term family but we will see what happens.
Other than that one cool thing is that we found this older catholic lady that started out pretty darn tough with us, but let us in to talk. We talked for her a while, and she wanted to know what was different about our church so we started up with the restoration and BofM. At the end she stopped us and said that she had always been so sure of her faith, but now was starting to doubt it and really wanted to know where she needed to be to be saved. We told her that our job was to help her find out from God. It was so cool and one of the most spiritual lessons I've been in. It's just amazing to see the Spirit work on the hearts of people who really want to know the truth and are willing to look to find out. Those are the people who I like to look for. We will see what happens with her! We found a couple other cool people to work on too.
This week we are really going to focus on the branch here and using members, because they are totally awesome here which is crazy for a tiny branch like ours! Actually something cool is that one member's son and daughter in law are moving in to Cunco, and the son is less active and the wife and 3 kids aren't members, so that's pretty much a perfect recipe for someone who will progress a ton. Only problem is they live kind of far away but we are going to start planning with the mom to meet with them all. The son is nice enough and his wife has a ton of questions about stuff so we are really hopeful for them!
I'm doing really great and am super grateful I'm over that flu I had. It's hard to work with energy and excitement and atitude when you're super weak. I'm growing a ton and this week should be really good for us! I'm still kind of obsessing over the Book of Mormon. One super good talk about it that I gave a lesson on during sunday school is "The Book of Mormon: the keystone of our religion" by President Ezra Taft Benson. Pretty killer. I'm also still being amazed by the power of prayer. I think I'm getting a lot better at following the Spirit while finding and teaching as well which is really cool to see. I'm just really excited for what the future holds!
Wow your guys's Christmas sounded absolutely crazy and fun! So many visitors and all people who I love so much! I miss you all! Also I'm way jealous of Disneyland and Star Wars -- not going to lie. Don't tell me anything about it please. I'm glad you guys had so much fun. I loved to read about it! Know that I love you and think about you (an apropriate amount) and that I'm working hard and loving it! Keep writing. I love your letters! and Pics!
Ps I tried to take a "the hills are alive" sound of music pic but it turned out meh.
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.