Ok it was a good week I'll try and fit it all in in the time I have!
First up is the transfer news! I'm going back to Los Angeles but this time the Southern Stake and I'll be in barrio San Martin. I've heard a lot of good things about it so I think I'll like it. My comp is Elder Aravena and he will be my first Chilean comp actually! I know him enough and he is really cool and a great missionary. It's going to be really really hot there though. Can't believe it's been 6 months since I left Lebu now. This could be my last sector too! It's been great here in Saint Peter but a change will be good. 3 cambios w Elder Oxborrow too wow it's gone fast.
This week was really cool. Tuesday was pretty normal but then we had a multizone conference with Elder Packer from the area presidency. Yes, he is the son of Elder Packer from the 12. It was really really cool. He talked about a lot of different things but I'll write some stuff that stuck out to me
First thing was that he talked a lot about the different between "fruits" and the "means" by which we obtain them. He explained that fruits are souls, or the conversion of souls, and how that always need to be our first objective and is what the Lord commands us to do. He talked about how fruits are hard to measure and that why in the church we often need to measure our means, and how sometimes we get to busy focusing on means and not enough on the ends, or fruits so to speak. I think that was especially meant for our zone and for our companionship as well. Even a baptism technically is not even a fruit but a means to obtain a fruit. Pretty cool way to change how we think about helping people and being a successfull missionary. Me and Elder O kind of analyzed our 3 tranfers together in that light and we could feel really successful about the fruits we got together even though they were few baptisms. I hope I can help other missionaries to see the work in that way too.
He also talked a lot about what he called understanding the language of the spirit. Really cool stuff. He talked about how it's pretty easy to detect what things we do and say that drive the spirit away if we are trying really hard to maintain the spirit with us, and in that way make the necessary changes to be able to have the spirit more. Pretty cool stuff and I think it inspired everyone to be better.
At the end he told us that he felt inspired to tell us that our mission can have baptisms in every week in every sector which was pretty crazy! He invited us to find a way to do it too. I think it will obviously be a really long term goal and I probably won't be here to see it achieved but it was really inspiring. He mentioned and I also felt impressed that the changes we have to make wont be weird or surprising but will be the simple things like obedience and getting our teaching better and having a closer union with ward leaders etc, opr pretty much just everything said in PMG. Pretty cool. We will have a lot of work to do here though! It will be really fun.
Honestly the week was kind of uneventful but we taught a good amount of lessons which was fun. I'm excited for new terrain I feel like ive been here a long time and I think new challenges will help me grow and have the spirit more.
We had found this older gentleman who is religious but pretty new to religion and he has a ton of real intent and that makes him really fun to teach. He's reading the BoM and even surprised us and came to church this week so I hope to hear about him getting baptized from Elder Oxborrow in the coming weeks.
The majority of our time and concern was dedicated to N! His baptism was origionally planned for the 4th of March so we had to teach him like 5 times this week to get him ready but then we had to change his date to later anyway so his family can be there. He is so receptive and so converted that teaching him is like a more sacred experience. His faith is so amazing. He's pretty much accepted all the commandments now and the changes he will have to make to live them etc. He has learned so much and so fast that we know that most of it hasnt even been from us but from the spirit and prayer. It's been such a cool experience and honestly I don't feel too bad about not being there for his baptism. He can go so far in this gospel and it will be so cool to see in the years that come. I know that finding and teaching him has all been a result of me and Elder O's obedience and hard work, especially when we saw people working and obeying less than us and having more success. God keeps his promises!
Other than that we had a cool soccer tournament as a ward and we put together some missionary and investigator teams. Pretty fun stuff.
Ok sorry I'm low on time but I love you all! I'm trying really hard to keep growing and keep feeling the spirit every day! I really want to give it all these last transfers so any advice is welcome on how to do that. Also dad send me any converts or people I should look out for in LA. I really want to work well with the ward there!
I love you all so much!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok a long week we worked really hard!
Started out with some good district meetings as usual. I was asked to teach a little in one of them about asking questions which was fun. That day I went to La Harina and los huertos to be with Elder Sheidel from Vancouver and elder Pinto and Elder Batista worked w Elder Oxbox in lagunillas. One problem we encountered is that poor Elder Sheidel had been absolutely devoured by a pulga (flea) outbreak the night before and hadn't gotten any sleep so we spent a good chunk of time doing and emergency purging of their house that ended up working well and no new bites. I think they stopped liking me a while ago because I don''t get bit anymore. It was a good day and they are some killer missionaries who cracked me up all day. They had two baptisms this last week and one of them was a total miracle so that was really cool to see. It's really fun to get to know the whole zone.
The next few days were pretty normal with quite a few lessons and English class etc. A. is progressing but slowly. It's just hard after so much time with someone when we see how much potential they have and they dont see it. I'm sure thats how God feels with us. He really needs to get more motivated quick because he knows all we teach is true and that he needs to get baptized etc but is just kind of slow to act. We walked all the way across our sector to wake him up for church so he went this last Sunday. I think in part it's hard right now because he has to quit smoking. I think we need to help him grow his faith that the Lord really can forgive him for his past self. He will be such a good convert when he does get baptized.
N. (that reference) is doing really good but was pretty busy last week so we didn't get to teach him much but he came to church and loved it again. He is very chosen. The Elders quorom pres is doing a great job of fellowshipping him and it makes a huge difference. He and a few others are going to play on the Mission work team in the ward soccer tourney this Saturday. He loves Elders quorum. We had originally planned for the 5th of March but it looks like he might need one more week or two because we haven't gotten to teach him much.
We really rededicated ourselves this week to find new investigators but it proved kind of hard for us. We re-analyzed a lot our first lesson teaching and our door approaches and improved both a lot thinking that in that way we would find more people but no such luck. I think in part its from summer break etc. Im learning how charity really comes into play in finding because like Moroni says without charity we are nothing. I think we have been trying to be less shy about being open and direct about the blessings they can recieve and the change their lives can have and that has helped. In the worldwide training from a few weeks ago they mentioned that we need to "sanctify every door we knock" and I liked that a lot and want to do it better.
We went to the temple yesterday with a part member family we are working with to really get them to get the vision to make the changes necessary to get there when it's done in summer of 2018 or to Santiago before that. It was really cool and looks like twice as big as the Newport Beach temple. I forgot my camara (sorry) but they took a lot of pics andI'll have them send them to you. It's really advanced in its structure and looks like 5 stories high. Really cool location too. It's got a ton of cool anti earthquake tech that will make it the last thing standing in Conce if theres ever a catastrophy big enough. Definitely want to come back when its done. It's really close to the river Bio Bio.
This week is the last of the transfer - wow it went fast. We did really good a zone even though we had quite a few baptisms fall through last minute. The most likely thing will be that I get transfered and that Elder Oxburt stays and finishes here which, as much as I love this sector, will be a good change. It's really strange for me to be in the same sector so long too. This is officially the longest I've been in one place and the longest with one comp by far. I'm really excited to see what my next assignment will be and to have a good change of pace. hopefully I don't eat my words on that and stay here. We will see and ill let you know what's up next week.
I studied a lot this week about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about the plan of salvation. I think a conclusion I came to is that one of Satan's biggest and most frecuently used tools is lying to us about who we are. How we see ourselves has a really large effect on how we act. One testimony God will always give us is about our divine potential, heritage, and even history. The cool thing I learned too about covenants is what it means to be "worthy". It is very different from being perfect, and that's the point. If we have the constant companionship of the holy ghost with us we can be sure that we are keeping our covenants, which in the words of PmG means not only that we have recieved the remission of our sins, but that we are retaining the remission of our sins as well. How cool is that? Therefore we know that if we have the spirit with us we are being found "worthy" and pure enough to have the spirit through the grace of Christ despite our fallen and sinful state. That''s the cool thing about covenants; we are found spotless as we keep them even though we are not. I think too often in the church we talk about the remission of sins as if it is something that happens to us someday far in the future eternities or only right after baptism when its really not that way at all, it's a weekly and even a daily occurrence as we keep our covenants. It's retaining the remission of our sins, from what I understand, which allows us to have the spirit and therefore progress in the transforming process that Christ can do to us if that makes sense. From what I understand its the remission of sins that allows our progress, but maybe I'm wrong hahaha check me on that. I love how Joshua tells the Israelites to "sanctify themselves" so that God could do miracles for them the following day. I think the miracles we recieve as we "sanctify ourselves" occur in us rather than making walls topple or seas part. I hope I'm not preaching false doctrine here let me know if I am.
Ok I''m doing great and learning and growing a lot. We want to push ourselves to the limit this week working hard and focusing in a ton to finish the transfer well. I love you all so much and miss you but im happy here! Keep writing me and letting me know what's up at home etc!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok it was a quick week I'm having a hard time remembering but I'll try my best!
We started out the week with a good set of district meetings. We have
a new goal as a companionship to train the district leaders more and
in a better way. Really the leadership section of the missionary
manual is super good so we have been trying to teach them principles
from that to apply to their own ministering and service rather than
just telling them what to do. Our zone is awesome though. It looks
like we will meet our goal for the month which will be awesome.
We had a gran intercambio that day and I went back to Boca Sur with
Elder Huerta which is always really fun. I got to see some old faces
as always and we taught some good lessons. Elder Huerta is kind of
like the Chilean comp I never had. hahaah We are great friends now
after so long in the same zone. I got to go visit that family me and
Elder Gomez reactivated and they are doing great and we got it all
figured out so that the daughter can get a new baptismal record so
that she is a member. It was kind of sad but really funny too with a
lot of jokes about lost records and not being a member technically
etc. She had even gone to the temple to do baptisms and she never was
technically a member! Boca Sur is so fun and I'm still kind of envious
Wednesday was Elder Oxberries birthday which was pretty much just a
normal day but really good. We ordered sushi to the house and ate
that which was fun (yes sushi exists here but its different than in
the states. Not quite as good).
The coolest thing ever is that about two weeks ago we realized as a
companionship that we had enver prayed to recieve any references from
the ward so we started to pray just asking God to help us receive a
reference from the members and in a week we got a really good one from
the Elders quorum president. We taught him Wednesday and he is so
prepared to hear the gospel! His name is N. and he is 27 years
old and about to graduate from college and had tons of interest in the
restoration and plan of salvation and everything. We pretty much just
read the lesson pamphlets with him and I had never seen the heavens
open up so much onto an investigator like that. It was like as if
everything we said was something he had wanted to hear for so long.
The spirit was very strong in both lessons we had with him, but in a
different way than normal. I feel like often the spirit kind of has
to work really hard to get into people's hearts to change them etc. but
with N. he has been so open to the Spirit that the lessons have a
more sacred feeling than just spiritual. Really cool. He has a
baptismal date for March 5th and came to church and loved it so I
think he is in the water. Only bummer is that transfers are in two
weeks and it's pretty likely that I'll go but you never know.
Thursday was interviews w/ President May which was good! We went to
lunch with him, his wife, and the hermanas caps which was fun but kind of
weird hahah. When we got back to our sector we had a lesson at 7 and
he wanted to come so we taught C. and D. together. It was
pretty cool. We showed the old Book of Mormon video of Elder Packer's
talk "the Mediator" and it was good. President honestly let us to
pretty much all the teaching. I think earlier in my mission I would
have been pretty nervous but now I wasn't really at all. It turned out
great and we figured out how we can help them better than we have been
doing and they even came to church on Sunday so that was really cool.
We were considering closing out the lessons with them, but now it looks like they are
getting a second wind so that's good.
Friday and Saturday were pretty normal days but we had a great time.
It's kind of hot again right when we thought summer was ending but
Sunday was cool because we had a "zone attack" in La Marina and Los
Huertos in San Pedro and we helped those Elders out a lot. It's always
really cool to see the zone all working together. We got a lot done
together and it was a great way to finish out the week. I worked with
Elder Sheidel again who I think I mentioned is from Vancouver
Washington andi told him Christian served there.
I think this week we have really centered our studies and teaching on
the need for a Redeemer in our lives. I think most investigators (and
members and missionaries) need to in some way see shackles and chains
on their wrists and ankles first to really appreciate and understand
what Christ did and can do for us (break those shackles and chains
obviously). From what I understand that is what the Light of Christ
does too. Its like the spiritual nervous system, and through
spiritual pain (guilt or sadness) we realize that we need to change.
I think true repentance really needs to be preceeded by us choosing to
allow ourselves to feel guilt, and that we realize how bad off we are
without Christ as our Mediator. Then its way easier to choose to
follow and accept Him. Bondage and freedom are symbols all over the
scriptures too. It makes investigators realize that the conditions
that Christ gives us (faith, repentance, and baptism) for our own
salvation are so much better than how we would end up with just cold
hard justice for our faults and sins etc.
One really cool story me and my comp were talking about is about
Elisha from the old testament. It's when he is with his friend and
they are standing in front of the entire Assyrian army and his friend
kind of panics and says in effect "what in the world are us two going
to do against the biggest army of the world" and then Elisha responds
to him by saying "dont worry we are more than them". He prays for his
friends eyes to be opened and then he sees hosts of fiery chariots and
angels. Pretty cool. I cant remember the exact reference but I'm sure
you'll be able to find it.
Ok love you all thanks for your letters etc. Hope you're all doing great!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok I have super poco time right now sorry!
Ok this week started out with a leadership council and me and Elder Oxbutter did our presentation like I mentioned and sure enough our "idea" or revelation or whatever got applied to the whole mission so that's cool. Mostly we just talked about not having vain traditions in the mission and especially not in leadership issues. we also talked a lot about making missionaries turn to Christ and their comps for the help they need and not us as leaders. It was cool to be able to show off the crazy numerical results we have gotten as far as how many baptisms we are going to have so that was cool. We were honestly kind of the central part of the training there so we didn't hear much else just a little bit about the new schedule etc.
The day after we met with the Hnas Capacitadoras of our zone and made some good plans with them for the next month in our zone. They're awesome and honestly pull a huge chunk of the weight of the zone without even being required to do it, so that's nice. We have some cool stuff planned for the month and were able to 'plan out our zone conference really well for Saturday. They thought it was really funny that Sasha our street dog has followed the missionaries around in Lagonillas for like 6 years.
After that it was mostly a lot of teaching and working. The new schedule stuff is awesome but we've had to learn how to use our time here even more effectively and that's been a challenge but we are getting better. We had some awesome lessons. Me and E Oxbrandy are in such a groove now that we are like a married couple or something after so long together. We felt like we taught and worked so well here but it still kind of resulted mediocre as far as upcoming progress in our investigators. Oh well. We were still really happy and felt the spirit a lot this week.
Coolest thing has been teaching this new family we found a few weeks ago. The dad and son are named J and the mom is named C and the daughter A. They are so golden. C has got serious health problems that give her a lot of constant pain so with that and some family unity problems they were just so prepared for us to knock their door. They've been doing family prayers every night! No one does that! J said that he wants his family to be baptized together and that is just the best thing he could have said hahaha. Main problems there are work schedules and health problems so they didn't come to church but I think this week they will. Only bummer is that they will be baptized next transfer and the most likely thing is that I will leave befoer that so E Oxbugle can finish here.
Our zone conference was awesome and like 70% done by the Hnas Caps and we were happy about that. hahaha They really like to take the reins and that's ok with us. We gave a similar presentation to the zone like the one we did to the mission leaders, but used 2 Nephi 2's description of the plan of salvation as an example for how we enter the mission and grow as we let the Saviour intervene for our weakness. It was really cool. Our zone is so awesome and we are going to have a lot of success this month. I'll be sad to leave maybe in 3 weeks!
As far as my studies real quick I studied a lot about what it means that Christ is our "Mediator". I read a lot about the conversion process and I think that we grow and act way better when we are motivated for our love for our mediator Christ rather than if we are motivated only by fear of justice or obedience. I guess thats what charity is too; being motivated by love rather than some other thing. DC talks a lot about that with the priesthood as well which is cool. Christ can mediate for us in all problems we have.
Ok I'm doing great here and working hard. It's been a good week with less fires etc. I love you all and your emails etc! I'll try and write more next week!
Elder Trevor Smith
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.