Wow so some really big news is that I'm being transfered! Huge surprise! 95% of the time a trainer will stay with the trainee for 2 transfers so I was like totally sure I wasnt leaving Cunco and even preparing to be here another two transfers but guess not! Part of me is really really really bummed out. I love it here so much and I'm not ready to leave! Even worse will be leaving Elder M. who is easily the best friend I've had on the mission yet! Super big bummer but I guess im needed in Purèn which is where I'm going. There could be a lot of reasons for this like for example if my new comp Elder G. needs a change or something happened with branch leadership or something. Really could be a variety of causes and for that I have to leave which is really sad. I'll be finishing Elder G's training though which will be good. Who knows why I'm leaving but you know.
I know very little about Purèn and Elder G. but I know that Puren is probably one of the like 2 or 3 sectors smaller than Cunco hahahaha it's a little pueblo waaaaay out in the middle of nowhere southwest of Angol, so like smack dab in the middle of the mission. it will probably be jsut as hard as Cunco uff we will see what happens!
Ok some quick cool experiences! One totally rediculous thing was that we had a Seventy from the area come down and talk to our zone and 4 others in the same conference Wednesday. The day before was a district meeting and the zone leaders told us all that the APs asked our zone to put to gether a musical number and that they had no idea how they were going to do it hahaha. We had one day. BY ABSOLUTELY INSANE DIVINE INTERVENTION I just so happened to have brought the music for "Our Savior's Love" from the house for NO REASON that also JUST SO HAPPENED to have Spanish words as well. wut. Not to mention that but one sister in the zone JUST HAPPENED to be a killer pianist and pretty much could play the killer hard arrangement after one run through. Of course after that it was no surprise that we could fine a set of 5 singers, practice in time, and that the next day another Elder from a TOTAL DIFFERENT ZONE happened to be a bass singer in barbershop courtet. WHAT. After some craziness it all came together and we sang it for the area Seventy, mission president, their wives, and 5 zones of missionaries. It was pretty cool experience. He even asked us to sing it a second time during a bathroom break in the middle of his talk hahahaha I guess he liked it.
We found some cool people this week and had some cool miracles too. I got to have a final hurah intercambio w Elder C so that was fun. He went home today. I love him a ton! Also we had these crazy wind storms called puelchas which sounded like they were going to knock our house down it was crazy! Part of me is glad I won't be here in winter hahahaha. They only happen way out here in the east.
I feel like I've finally got in a groove with teaching, which is a relief. I think it's just the fact that the Lord qualifies who he calls ( also ty taylor for the mtc tippppsss). That's good news. It's amazing how when the spirit is there pretty much no matter what the people will tell you there concerns and needs without even being asked. It's really cool. I'll never get tired of the amazing feeling of testifying or of seeing people change there hearts right before there eyes. I also started reading d and c in spanish and it's got some killer stuff right in the beginning so thats been awesome.
The work was a little slow because it being the semana santa (holy week? what's it called? Easter!) so everyone was either out of town, had visitors from out of town, or totally drunk hahaha. Little hard to find people. Also the whole religious agitation thing kind of heats up. That is another thing I won't miss too much about Cunco hahaha.
Other than that the biggest news is that I'm leaving! I remember hearing Pres Boud tell me that if I served my mission right it would harder for me to leave the mission field than it was to leave my house for the mission. I remember saying uh huh wow but in my head going "pffffffffff". Now I feel like I'm starting to see how that will be. I love these people here so much. They are so close to me. We had a birthday thing for Elder M. for an hour an a half at the tail end of a relief society activity hahahaha so that was really fun. Tears will be shed tonight that is for sure. And tomorrow probably. I'm sure it will be just as awesome in Puren right? right? I'm starting to think I have been condemned to tiny little sectors but who knows.
Shoot this letter is all over the place oops. I guess I mostly just really love Easter. It helped me live a more Christ centered week. When we do that we can conquer any challenges. He will give us peace through our hardships. I feel like recently and with this transfer I've been taking a lot of punches in a row (not to say my lot is any harder than others`. In fact it's probably easier). I have been able to stay strong and happy because I share a message of hope. Christ died but now lives, and it helps me a lot to think of him as a real person with a voice and a laugh, one who we could embrace and speak with if he were present. Death was allowed to triumph briefly, but in the end it was conquered once in for all, for all of us. I love how Elder Bednar teaches that darkness cannot phisically overcome light. One solitary match can be seen in a dark room, and the darkness around it cannot overwhelm its light. I am not writing very coherently forgive me hahahah. Point is hope is so important. The promises of the Gospel are real. I feel like that is the testimony the Lord wants me to have and develope through my mission. It definitely shows sometimes hahaha. I love the Lord. I love following His example and preaching his word. I love the constant company he gives to my heart, especially throughout and during difficult things. Accepting his will is hard, but it reconciles us with Him, and thus also to our Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost.
This letter is totally just ok but I'll have a ton to write about next week with my new comp and sector and zone etc etc etc wow! Also dad can you email me next week with news about what happened to Elder Parkins' transfer etc. I love you all a ton and am excited for the adventure that I'll have tomorrow and this week. Keep emailing me pls too and all that good stuff. Mom and dad any luck w those Bible dvds? let me know
It was a good week! I'm doing great and loving my time here in Cunco! This is my 15th week here and transfers are this Monday, but because I'm training it's like a 98% chance that I'll stay. I don't want to leave yet anyway!
So I worked in my sector on Monday and we found a pretty nice couple who were pretty interested so the two week finding curse broke wooo! Then Tuesday we had a district meeting and ate pancakes and I stayed there on an intercambio. The crazy thing is that we had to leave to go back to Concepcion to go to return and report finally, and we left Wednesday, so I packed stuff for like 3 days outside of the house. Tuesday was good and I always tend to have weirdly crazy good luck in Temuco and we followed suit and me and Elder C. found a really good family for them to teach hahaha. Then Wednesday we went and met up with Elder C.,my friend from the mtc, and his trainee in the very centro of Temuco. We ate lunch with them and worked a little and then rode up to Concepcion to stay the night. I stayed the night with Elder B there and it was really nice to catch up`with him.
Thursday we actually had the return and report meeting and it was really good! It helped me make a few changes to how I'm teaching Elder M. and how I'm setting an example and really inspired me to do more. I've said before it's easy to get chilled out in Cunco and on top of being sick I had to kick myself back in action again a little. It was still really great meeting though and the new president Wilhelm is really awesome. It was fun to catch up with a ton of friends there and see how everyone is doing. I feel like all the trainers take themselves a little too seriously though hahaha I think my strength as a trainer is just the fact that im Elder M's friend. I could kind of tell a lot of companionships lacked that. I think my main strength as a missionary is that I am consistently the happiest missionary I know hahaha. I hope I have taught that to Elder M. It's crazy that his training is half way over it went so fast! I feel like he got here 2 weeks ago! That being said we kind of have to kick it into overdrive so he's ready when I go. I think it's been kind of hard because I look back at my training and I really didn't have many problems with Spanish, but I need to think about individualizing my service to Elder M. We are going to kick into Spanish overdrive.
We traveled home and I caught up with Elder C. a little better, but we didn't get home in time to take the bus to Cunco, so we slept there and ate pancakes there in the morning. We FINALLY got back to Cunco at lunch friday and got back to work as usual. We actually had a ton of luck finding people! One cool experience is that we went to this little pueblo called Los Laureles for the first time! It was kind of an adventure because missionaries had never been there and it's part of our sector so we went! It's small but really pretty with a lot of changing leaves. We got our barings and got to work and knocked this lady N's door. We talked a little and she had never even seen a mormon missionary before hahaha that does NOT happen in chile hahahaha! She said "wait your church is called The Church of Jesus Christ. I heard you didn't believe in God? Well obviously that's stupid. Come on in and tell me some more!" hahahahaha! Gotta love smart people who don't believe everything people tell them! We tought a good lesson and now we have a really good reason to go back there and teach her and hopefully find more people unstained from the lies of people working against us. hahaha. I'm really excited to work there more. Bus schedule is a little complex but we can figure it out.
Rest of the week ended up pretty normal without too much to tell. Dad, I was remembering how you said fights would break out in Relief Society sometimes during the early days of the church in Lebu and that's totally real here. As soon as the meeting ended this time a bunch of sisters ran up to me to ask me doctrinal questions about denying the holy ghost etc etc it was pretty funny. Also I guess they were all mutually complaining about how we missionaries don't spend as much time with them, but I swear we have really dedicated ourselves to member work here. Just not hanging out as much. hahahaha! They're funny. I feel like the mom here sometimes who doesn't want all her kids to squabble. hahaha. I might start officiating Relief Society to avoid more problems.hahaha It would be a nice change from teaching Priesthood meeting every week hahahaha. We will see what happens.
I'll let you guys know next week how it goes with all of our new people but I think it will go well with some of them for sure. Going to invite a few to the relief society reunion aniversery deal this Saturday that our branch is doing.
That's kind of it! As far as spiritually speaking it's just awesome to be a missionary. I feel like I'm at a point now where although there are challenges and fears that I have, I also feel the peace that God will always support me. I never feel alone in my trials anymore. Even the small mistakes we make can be forgotten quickly if we think of what the Savior did for us this special week. He loves us and wants us to be happy, and part of that means to me to not beat myself up so much about my imperfections. In the end, the Gospel is intended to fill in our gaps and make us whole, and also free from the pains that have plagued us in our pasts.
Love you all! Sorry if this letter is super boring and average! We went hiking and got a great view of Cunco and volcan Villarica in the other mission! pic attached.
Ok Hi everyone!
This week was just a very chill week in Cunco. Nothing really happened that was TOO exciting, especially in terms of missionary work. We really struggled to find "news" this week and our investigator pool has kind of dried up. Also after talking with T. and his parents it's looking like we might have to wait a good long time until he gets baptized which is sad but we will see what happens. We are mostly looking really hard. Trying really hard to look for less active families too, but the truth is that relative to most wards here a very large percent of Cucnos total members attend so we don't have a ton of reactivation to do, which kind of makes things harder actually. But it's ok! All in all. I really enjoyed my week despite it all. Elder M. has just been a total blessing and a great friend through it all too. Not one complaint or negative comment at all!
I really don't have much to say about investigators as we dont have very many.... like 1....
I've been sick too! That's been really rough and has killed a little bit of the usual rapid pace at which we work. Just a really dumb cold. The really sweet thing is that as soon as the members here hear one sniffell they swarm with all kinds of advice, cooing, and unmarked remedies. hahahaha. Hna E E gave me this herbal tea plant thing that was supposed to help, but I didn't hear the instructions she gave me very well because we were going out the door. I figured I would give it a try that night and I had the craziest dreams of my life hahahaha. I thought it was just a coincidence, so I drank some again the next night and the same thing hahaha. Turns out I was supposed to put like one leaf in the hot water and then wait until it was cool again and drink it, but i was putting in a TON and drinking it hot hahaha and some members later theorized that that was giving me a crazy bad fever every night, so everyone was working against each other. hahahahahaha. I decided never to touch it again nor any other type of remedy they give me hahaha (it's called "tilo" if youre interested. dont do drugs) After I stopped drinking that stuff I started getting better faster and I'm like 95% better now.
One crazy thing that happened was that it was a randomly really hot day and the whole town went crazy over a fire that happened in a neighborhood kind of far away from the middle of Cunco. We got a call telling us that two houses next to the house of these really elderly members totally burned to the ground! The ancionito members got kind of scared and the hermana opened up a window to look out, and the wind blew it back and gave her a giant goose egg on her forehead and knocked her to the ground! She hurt her back and her husband was kind of panicking too so the ambulances took them to the hospital. The crazy thing was that the night before we had planned to go to a neighborhood really far away from the hospital, but as I was praying that night I got a super strong impression to not go there! I didn't know why but we changed all our plans which was a hassle, but we ended up being very close to the hospital when they got there, so as soon as we heard we rushed over and helped them calm down and kept them company etc. They had no phone so we stayed with them so that they could coordinate w the branch and their son etc to watch the house. Miracle is that they're fine now and their house had 0 damage!!! Crazy! Also the Cunco hospital is pretty tough hahahahaa there was like no staff and it was dirty and scary. Hopefully I dont get appendicitis hahaha I could make it to Temuco I think hahaha. Way too many emergency rooms recently.
We have really been focusing our efforts on helping the branch. There are some members who have been around too long and are kind of hopeless or inactive, but on the other side weve been super gifted and blessed with newer members and move ins who have tons of excitement and want to fix the branch. Only problem is that all the callings are kind of mixed up right now, explaining the reazon why we teach like 2 hours at least of church every week. We are really trying to fix things here and help the ward serve itself. Planning an easter activity too. I'll be really really sad to leave here!
Spiritually I've been really trying to focus on having faith and hope and charity. Even though we have had very little success here I can say it was one of the best weeks of my mission. Not sure why, it was just one of the happiest. When we trust in the Lord and in His Gospel, we can find joy and peace even though life throws punches sometimes. Elder Uctdorf gave two awesome talks about that last conference that have really helped me focus on the important things out here on the mission.
Also Elder Meiling is just awesome. Great Spanish great attitude and a great friend. Seriously I feel like hes passing me up! I'm getting some Saul vs David feelings hahaha jk I'm really honored to have been his first comp because I'm sure he'll go really far in the mission! This week we have return and report for sure so we are going to go up to Conce and meet the new pres etc. It'll be a bummer to lose a lot of time that way but it will be great to recieve some training myself and see a ton of friends on the way.
It was a pretty average week but also really great. Keep hopeful and positive always. When we think of the spiritual security our convenants give us and how we are promised that the Lords Atonement will fill in our gaps and lift us up every week, not to mention the amazing promise of resurrection and eternal life, we really have a lot to be happy about. Have faith in that things will always get better. That is, in short words, the promise of the Gospel. Search for the peace in that. You`ll find it.
Love you all and I love your letters. Can't wait to read them right now! Pray that we will find people this week ugh hahahah.
shoot im terrible with pics. ill take some this week!
Ok so i have little time and a lot to say forgive the quality of this letter!
Ok so this week started out normally enough. We are falling into a pretty good groove and are figuring out how to work harder and in a more effective way. Finding people is kind of hard and stressful still especially with the pressure they put on trainers to set the example but I'm just trying to ignore it and do my best. We actually have stumbled into some cool families and are just trying to connect so that we can have a legit lesson with some of them. It's been crazy with school starting over here. The members here are awesome as always and are always willing to accompany us to lessons when we have them which is awesome.
The coolest thing that's going on right now is definitely T. He kind of timidly committed to a baptismal date and came to church again yesterday which was awesome. If all goes according to plan and we can build up his confidence he should get baptized the last weekend of the transfer on the 26! Pray for him! We really need to connect with his parents but they are very missionary shy but also at the same time very supportive with him coming to church and all that weirdly enough. We are going to talk to all of them tonight with our mamita about seminary this Friday which would be awesome for him. He's just a really good sweet kid and is so willing to learn and complete with what we invite him to do. I really hope we will be able to see him get baptized! His little sister F. is 7 but is awesome too.
Ok so one crazy thing is kind of dominating my memory of this week which was absolutely rediculous. I was on an intercambio in Temuco with Elder who's an awesome friend right now but as we finished lunch he started to feel way sick. He was like way pale and was in the bathroom a ton and just hurt all over and we couldn't figure out what was wrong. We thought it was lunch or something so we stayed in all day becasue he was too weak. He went to bed with a sore stomach and tried to sleep until around 12. Funny thing was that I went to bed at 11 but couldn't sleep for some reason which was weird because missionaries pretty much NEVER have any problem sleeping if they're doing their job right hahahaha. He got up at 12 and said "shoot give me a blessing I'm in so much pain" he was like almost yelling and stuff he was in such excrutiating pain! We thought it was just gas or something and I gave him the blessing and was about to try to go to sleep with him when I felt like something was super wrong (helped that he was almost like yelling hahah). It was weird because the pain was constant and not coming in waves. Also it was coming from just one side oh no. I touched his right side and he like totally yelled. Woke up another missionary in the house for a second opinion and then called the office for help and a few other questions and tests later and we thought it was appendicitis. We had to do some logistics and almost had to go to Concepcion but instead we were able to call a missionary couple in Temuco to take us to a hospital there. We got going and got to the hospital and it was PACKED! We talked to reception and tried to get everything good to go but while communicating through to the office we realized that the email with our insurance proof wasn't getting there which was weird. Then we felt all wrong and we realized we were in THE WRONG HOSPITAL. We were in the public hospital and it wouldn't accept our insurance and they had already taken the Elder in and were going to start checking him out! The office nurse started saying some pretty tough words which was scary but funny looking back hahahaha and we yanked him out of the back in time. Through a miscommunication we had gone to the public hospital and not the nice rich people insurance one hahahah.
We got to the right clinic which was absolutely EMPTY and got everything figured out much easilier and without so many bad vibes. It was a relief when we finally started doing tests etc. I had to stay with him the whole time through everything, including a blood test where he totally fainted hahaha and then a ultrasound and the works. About two hours later with a ton of paperwork etc they hospitalized him for apendicitis and were going to operate on him at 7 in the morning. He actually face timed his parents and then got to his room at 4am. Thing was it wasn't a private room so I had to stay in the waiting area outside. The M. couple left me there to go get a couple hours sleep in their apartment and were set to come back to meet me at 7. I slept on the couches in the waiting area totally alone from 430 to 630. It was a pretty funny sight with me in a full suit and proselyting gear, laying down on a leather couch hahaha trying to sleep. Also btw I was translating EVERYTHING for EVERYONE. It was crazy.
The coolest part of the story, other than the operation going well and everything checking out etc was that when I woke up, I had a blanked on me. It was weird because I didn't go to sleep with one. It was really nice too because it was cold in there! I realized someone must have passed by in the night, seen my kind of pitiful plight and put a blanket on me sneakily. As I came to, I was just kind of overwhelmed by the sweetness of the random act of kindness, in one of the literally only moments I had been totally alone and out of place in my mission. It was just so sweet! I still dont know who did it but I will never forget it! I look back and realize that person had known that I was a missionary and a foreigner to boot, and I'm sure 98% of the missionaries she'd met had bothered her before but she put that blanket on me anyway! I wept I was so tired but so touched at the same time. It was so small and I dont think I'll ever be able to describe how big and meaningful it was for me in that moment. I'm an optimist about people. I believe that they are good at their core. That's a hard ideal to maintain as a missionary, considering we talk primarily with people who are less than happy to see us, but it was such a blessing to see a manifistation of the light of Christ so strong in the people of Chile. I am so grateful for that moment.
Ok that dominated my time but things are great! I have a cold which sucks but it's ok. Elder M. is a huge blessing and is progressing swimmingly. He's awesome. I'll upload pics next week I promise! I love you all tons! Thanks for writing I know you're busy! Love you all!
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.