Ok Hi all!
Kind of short on time I'll have to write quick!
It was a pretty normal week but we definitely made some progress here and I'm excited about it! The coolest things that happened were finding a good group of new investigators! Most of them just came out of nowhere but now if we can keep contact with them we could end up teaching a lot this week! The most notable thing was a family we found that the parents told us that they had been waiting for Mormon misionaries to knock their door for like 2 years to be able to teach their kids about the church. Both the parents had had contact with the church as youth and had good memories about those experiences and wanted their kids to learn more. We taught a good lesson but I think they ended up thinking they bit off more then they could chew because our objective is misionaries is to seal them as a family not to just teach them a little and we were clear about that hahahaha. I think the spirit touched them though. Only problem is that they are really busy and the kids are taking classes by the Catholic church to prepare for the first communion so we need to act fast hahaha. It was such an amazing miracle though.
Tuesday I worked with Elder Gray. He is one of the best friends I've made on the mision by now. He is a DL and just gave a killer class an then we worked in Mulchen the rest of the day with little luck but it was good. Fall is coming so it's starting to look really beautiful around here with falling leaves and big clouds and cool sunsets. I especially love the campo though. I kind of miss it sometimes. It's so quite there it's crazy. It's still pretty hot but on occasion now we have really threatening cold cloudy days that are just a warning of how cold winter will be this year and I'll get a taste of that before I leave.
Wednesday we found that family. We also had our first English class that went pretty well. It looks like it will be a little harder to work with here than in lagunillas where it was a huge success but I think with time it will be good. I like teaching English a lot it's fun.
Thursday we had a pretty busy day with coorelation and a baptismal interview of a 87 year old single guy who the hnas from Avenida Alemania were teaching. One of our gringo DLs interviewed him first, or tried to, and couldn't because he didn't understand or hear him. We figured a little home field advantage with Elder Aravena would help and sure enough his Chilean charm did the trick and he was baptized with another one of their investigators Friday. Pretty funny guy but a soul is a soul. Props to the hnas for showing some serious Christlike patience.
An investigator I interveiwed of Elder Gimenez got baptized Saturday and that was cool.
There is a rockstar member here named Hno C who is just a ton of fun and comes to English class and speaks perfectly. He does a lot of buisness trips to California and loves to talk to me about San Francisco even though he knows I'm not from there. Really nice guy who helps us a lot. The ward is just full of members like him who are so willing to help.
Sunday we had a meeting with the stake presidency who asked us as a zone to help reactivate and recruit youth and young adults to go to seminary and institute. It will be a really cool way to work together with the wards and stake and we will find a ton of new people and part member families like that as a zone so it should work great. We just need to be sure we can get the zone excited about that type of work (even though in our mission it's actually like the most efective way to do it) and it should be great. The stake leadership here is really loving and supportive and really take us seriously which is nice.
Sunday in the afternoon we had a zone attack in Ave Alemania and it went well. It's always a treat to see the zone working together and in action. I just hope it turned out well.
I think this cambia I'm learning a lot about patience and faith like I've said. So often I want things here and now or exactly how I want them, and I often get frustraded with myself and with others when we don't act up to par with Who we represent, but I need to try and remember better that (in the words of PmG) repentance is a process of our entire lives. I think the key is to not let healthy introspection and correction turn into obsession and being hypercritical. I really got hit over the head by a scripture this week that i had read before but had a new meaning for me this week.
20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another--
21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.
23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?
I especially like how it says that all He asks of us is to keep His commandments. really simplifies everything and gives me a lot of hope when I see the other stuff that isn't commandments kind of floundering.
It was a good week. I'm trying really hard to take advantage of the time I have left. I really love my mission, the best one in the world. I love the Gospel more though. I love you all a lot! I hope youre doing great and I really appreciate your letters and pictures and all that stuff!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok I'm struggling to remember main events of this week but I'll do my best!
Started off good with a district meeting and a game of Preach My Gospel Jeopordy me and Elder A came up with to stump the zone and motivate them to study PmG. The idea was for it to be really hard and to stump everyone but they actually killed it and surprised us. They competed as districts and it was really close and got competitive and that was fun. It was also to show them how much golden information PmG has that is so important to our work and I think they could all see that. We are going to have another round at the end of the transfer and try and show them their progress that way.
That day we did an intercambio w the elders from Nacimiento and I worked with Elder B from Florida. He has like 9 months in the mission and is a great missionary. He actually started his mission with four cambios in San Martin so he knows my sector way better than I do so we took advantage of the situation and tried to visit all of his former investigators and promising future investigators and ran around the whole sector a bunch to do it in time, but we didn't come out very lucky. It did give us the chance to talk about his progress as a missionary a lot and his challenges and I felt like I was able to be a good example especially of the importance of obedience and he was really receptive to what we talked about that. Really good guy and very talented musition so we sang a little at night together and that was fun.
We are still kind of in the same drought of investigators which is discouraging at this point in my mission considering that most investigators here take about 3 months on average to be baptized but that's ok. most of my converts went through the conversion process faster than that anyway. We are pulling out all the stops on all of the finding ideas we can from English class to ward activities to family history (yes family history) and really crossing our fingers right now. I still feel like we need to push ourselves to be even more diligent even though its way hot right now.
Thursday we had a multi zone conference with Pres May and Hna may and the APs. It was really cool and was mostly follow up on what Elder Packer shared with the whole mission. Really inspiring and spiritual. I think the main revelation I took out of it was to refocus not only my mission and my teaching on Christ, but also to refocus my faith on Christ. That afternoon the APs did divisions with us and the Elders from LA north so we got to work with Elder Q and he was really inspiring. I think it was just how his faith was manifest in his rock solid confidence but I guess that's why they called him an AP hahaha. It was a good day and we actually taught a good amount of lessons that day and I got to get some good advice on some of the challenges we are having.
Friday was a total treat because I got to work with Elder G my trainee! What a privilege. He still is so awesome and has grown so so much. We taught a lot of really good lessons because he is killing it in his sector. It was crazy to think that he has twice as much time as I did when I trained him and to see how much better we both are now and how we meshed so much better Friday because of that. he has had a really successful mission since we were comps and that's really cool. The coolest thing was to see how stick straight obedient he is. At like 845 at night the Hnas from the sector over called us and needed us to go buy some eardrops for them downtown because the district leaders have the insurence cards to buy meds so we had to go way into centro to find a pharmacy and it was quite an adventure. It ended up only costing like 5$ anyway which was funny in a kind of frustrating way hahahha.
Saturday was fun because somehow the ward missionary force got assigned the church cleaning of the week so that was a fun change of pace. Us and the Hna missionaries from the ward with some recent converts got it done in an hour and a half. That night we did get lucky and by some totally crazy divine guidance we found some pretty cool new investigators that show some serious hopes of progress. One of them actually really wanted to come to church the next day so we got our hopes really high for the miracle but no cigar at the end of it. Still it was a really relieving breakthrough.
Sunday was good. I had to give a talk on missionary work but I think I did a good job (not like I haven't done it before by now hahaha). Our ward is so special. That day the elders quorum pres got called by a single old lady sister who had somehow ordered like an entire truck of chopped stove-wood but had accidently ordered it to be delivered Sunday so the quorum and the young men and us got together to help unload it all and it was a really cool act of charity to see in action. I had never seen so many members mobilize so quickly and so willingly to help. That really brought the spirit into our day.
One thing I've been learning about this week has been about the importance of helping others after our own conversion to Christ. I think in various ways in the last 6 months that's been a lesson God wants me to learn and it really got concreted in a ward council where we watched a training video by the area presidency that talked a lot about first converting ourselves and then helping the people in our domain be converted as well. I feel like it's really easy to get stuck after that first step because its a hard change of focus to make but i know that that's the way we can continue to grow. There are a ton of scriptural supports about that too like how Lehi tastes the fruit of the tree of life and then beckons his family to come eat too. I need to work on this. I feel like sometimes week to week I hit a roadblock in my spirituality and growth and learning and used to have no idea why but now I think it has to do more with this principle. Send me your thoughts on this idea.
Wow it sounds like you're all doing great! i miss you a lot but its going by quick! it sounds like Macy is killing it at dance and I wish I could see her do all that coreography especially Victor's dance! I love you all so much and am doing great!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok hello hello 123 all!
It was a long week but a good one! Mostly looking back I wish we had made more progress in the sector but we are getting there hopefully! It's been kind of rough finding people to teach but it will get better because I know the sister missionaries found like 10 new investigators last week in the same sector.
The week was pretty normal honestly. Started out with a good zone training meeting under our direction. We did our part at the end and it kind of got cut because of the time but the whole thing turned out well I think. We have some good district leaders here and I know each one of them really well and love them a lot so its been so cool to be able to help all of them in their duties. With the changes in our mission that our going on it seems like that is our principal duty now as ZLs is to just help them. The hermana trainers did a great job too. Honestly I think what made the whole thing great was the reverence that all the missionaries had before and during the conference and that was way cool. The spirit was there really strongly and i could tell everyone genuinly wanted to learn a lot and were desperate for help so there was a good spirit there maybe even if we lacked a little in the messages and practices etc. Elder G. gave a great lesson on faith. When everyone finds out I was his trainer they kind of look at me wide eyed and I tell them I had nothing to do with it hahaha I think I mentioned that way back in Puren.
That day we wanted to do exchanges but couldn't because the dls had already planned them with their missionaries. I think the charecteristic that stands out the most to me about this sector like i said last week is the membership. The members just love us so much and its been a huge change from the usual. The lunches are giant and so delicious and the members just spoil us and think we are the coolest thing ever. Honestly its been kind of socially exhausting. Its been hard with our planning to get out of our lunch appointments on time. A lot of great support as far as coming with us to lessons too. We are working on the reference thing though. Step by step. The leadership is awesome too.
There has been a lot of work to do as far as less actives and recent converts go and that's been a good thing and a bad thing. Our ward has a upcomming temple trip planned and that together with a new focus on family history work that Elder Packer gave us a few weeks ago we worked a lot on that and i think we made some serious progress with some of those LA and CRs. We put some serious goals with some to go and even got to help them with Family search etc. There is so much of that work to do here in south america. I like to show off my family tree that literally has no end thanks to grandparents and relatives etc and their efforts and Ifeel obligated to tell them that I never lifted a finger to do it but I think its still cool to show them how big this work can be. Its cool to use Hyrum Smith and Joseph F Smith as examples to show how cool our ancesters can be too. I think I felt the spirit of Elias with us and the spirit of the temple and that was cool. I hope i can make that a constant thing in my mission now.
Bad thing is that I feel like we can use our time better. Like i said the main struggle has been finding. We are kind of puzzled on how to do it because when we do dedicate time to hit doors and talk to people it hasn't gone very well. I think we probably need to use our area book better and the ward lists as well but both things are GIANT and way messy. Its been kind of hard to motivate my comp (and myself) to really committ ourselves to finding when we have so few investigators and so much cool work to do with retention and reactivation but i want to make progress to baptism. I need to be patient too though. Hard balance there. Poor Elder A. didn't see any baptisms the last to transfers he was here and his previous comp finished the mission here so its been kind of a struggle as far as motivation goes but i want to work on it better this week.
I heard that N. from Lagunillas got baptized! Yaaaaay! no pic yet hopefully elder oxborrow will remember to send me some.
I went to Santa Barbara w elder G. from Guatemala and that was fun. Its a really beautiful town in the cordillera and really small and touristy. The work is hard there for that reason but we worked hard and it was a beautiful day. Elder G is really nice and really new in the mission but very level headed and committed to his testimony and purpose. It was cool to meet him and in part made me miss the countryside and in part not miss it at all hhahahaha. I actually got to see some friends from Via O'Higgins who had moved there and that was cool. It had rained earlier in the week so the mountains and volcano were all covered in snow but it was just way pleasent down where we were.
Saturday and Sunday were full of a lot of work. A lot of recommittment on me and e A. part too and I think we will do better this week. The good thing is that we get along great. Our church meetings were about as on spot as they get here and really spiritually uplifting. Lunch with the bishop and his wife was awesome too i felt like i was at home.
The zone is getting better slowly. We are really pushing them to push themselves as far as getting our teaching and obedience better and it has shown in our results. I had a really cool experience Thursday when a district leader felt impressed to tell us to call a sister companionship at night to try and uplift them a little because they were kind of discouraged. The senior comp had just came out of a kind of hard companionship the transfer before and her new comp is a tiny Hermana from the philipines (yes the phillipines) who is really new and hasn't had much success and there in a really hard sector. I called them and shared a scripture and talked a little about how I didn't have much measurable success in the beginning of my mission etc but they told me that just that day they had a crazy miracle breakthrough with a part member family who had accpeted a baptismal date. When he gets baptized he will be the Hermana from the filipenes first baptism in 8 months. It was so special to hear how their faith had been responded with a miracle when sometimes that doesn't happen. It was so refreshing as a leader to feel empathy for someone we're guiding but in a positive way. Honestly I think I'm most greatful for that this week.
This week I thought a lot about faith. Its always been kind of a puzzle for me. I think a lot of it is about positive thinking but also a lot about action. I get confused about it sometimes, especially when you throw hope in there as another principle. I remembered a talk by Elder Bednar about the "faith to not be healed" and i think that applies to our work a lot. Patience as well. I'm just trying really hard to stay focused and worthy enough to be able to be gifted success I guess and trying to work hard enough to deserve it as well. I know we can make it work in this sector too.
Ok I love you all and miss you. I had like 3 dreams i was home which was unfortunate this week hahaha but I', focused don't worry. I hope your all doing great and I'm praying for you!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok it was a super quick week! Monday I said goodbye to M and N. Sad but good. They took it well and are in great hands. I packed it all up at night and it was my best packing yet I think! Tuesday we got up early and a great member Bro G. took us to the bus terminal and I took a bus right away at 9 and was off.
LA is so much cooler than I remember hahahaha! I think the main thing was the shock of being out of the states at the begining but now I see that this is like by far the best developed and most beautiful urban sector I've been in. San Martin is really beautiful and the people have been really nice so far. The members here are legendary and just love and spoil the missionaries so much which is a fun change. I've eaten so much delicious food. Most people in this ward live comfortably too. The ward is really really cool. A lot of good priesthood and cool recent converts. Not quite as big as Lagunillas but very friendly and most have more time to help too than in my last ward. Really really cool people. I feel like a total regalon.
The sector is like from the downtown of LA to the southern border kind of with a few borders of other sectors around there. It's pretty large and has great landscaping weirdly enough. I was bracing myself for like crazy hot weather but it's actually been very pleasant and it even rained a couple days. I hope I got here right in time for hte end of summer because it's been really great weather.
Elder A.is really cool. He has a really serious look and hes really soft spoken but is super funny and kind in his personality. He's from a city in the very north of Chile. I'm his first gringo comp hahaha! We will be finishing hte mission together too so he knows a lot. Hes a great missionary. The house was kind of a disaster because their vacuum was broken and the missionary I replaced finished his mission so the house was kind of a nightmare but we put a goal to fix it and it's gotten cleaner and cleaner every night. It actually is a really nice and big house so that's cool. Lots of storage space.
We had a district meeting on Wednesday and I felt like I had so much time int hte mission because i knew like 6 people in the zone and the rest of the 22 were newer missionaries i had heard nothing about hahaha. Elder G. and Elder G. are here and they're great friends and it's cool to see how much each of them have grown since I was around them. The zone is working hard but struggling a little in their results, and there's a lot of work to do here but that's good. A lot of new problems to solve. It was cool to feel even more the help of the Spirit in my assignments this week due to kind of a group of less ideal circumstances here compared to the paradise that me and Elder O. had constructed in our sector and in our zone with the help of the missionaries there. It will be fun to have new challenges though. A lot of work needs to be done about how we teach so that will be cool.
We had a leadership council on Friday so I went back to Conce hahaha. It was cool to see old friends as always. Nothing too crazy there but it was cool to see how much our mission has changed and is changing for the better. It's sad to think I won't get to see it farther down the road because I'm sure it will be having more and more success as the months go on. I got to ask Elder O. about N. and he said he's doing great and right on track for baptism this week.
Other than that we were mostly working really hard to find new people to teach here. Looks like their teaching pool had pretty much dried up before I got here but that's ok. The members are really willing to help and its been easy to find people contacting too. There are a ton of less active members and part families here so that will be a cool new way to work to find new people to teach. Our ward mission leader F. is great, as well as the rest of the ward leadership here. The lunches have been delicious.
Theres a companionship of Hnas in our ward too and they had a baptism this Saturday which was cool. Elder A. was asked to baptize the convert and he did.
Sunday was some good church meetings. A lot of excitement about an upcoming temple trip as a ward in March so that was cool to see. Got me kind of jealous to go.
This week I think I was blessed at the end of the week with some insight about what it's like to have an eternal perspective. I think that sometimes our "here and now" becomes so overwhelming to us as normal humans and we forget how much more life and eterntity we have to live. I think about how much I've changed in only 20 months and it makes one week and its challenges seem much smaller. God has such a larger perspective of us and what He wants our lives and eternities to be. Getting there can be painful, but I know now that as we trust in the guidance of the Holy Ghost He can indicate us to know how to respond to our circumstances to be able to achieve our potential. I think that's why it's so important to be worthy of that guidance. I can't remember where the scripture is (John 14 or 15) but Christ teaches His Apostles how a woman feels pain upon giving birth but then how the pain is forgotton when she feels the joy of having a child. A really interesting idea. Faith is wanting what God wants for us.
Ok I think that's good for today. If you have questions for me write away! Its going to be a good cambio we are giong to work really really hard! I love you all!
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.