Ok wow so it became winter in the blink of an eye. 4 days ago it was still really hot here and all of a sudden we woke up today and yesterday to some bitter bitter cold. Its different here too because its so humid. I'm kind of glad I'll be leaving half way through and arriving to summer at home hahaha.
It was definitely a weird week here for a lot of break ups in our usual routine. Firstly Monday we wrote and bought food and then had to work for the rest of the day because Wednesday was the national census and we had to be at home for a large part of the day for that. Tuesday was normal and I really enjoyed the usual meetings this time and felt like i could help some missionaries. I feel like an old experienced geezer in the mission now and it's fun to see younger missionaries ask for help and be able to give sage like advice hahaha. Elder Rammos who I think I mentioned last week is a new DL and just gave a totally killer lesson to his district.
Like I mentioned Wednesday was the national census! As a misson we took the time in the house to do a really deep cleaning. I cant believe I'm still cleaning this house since I got here and it was a pigsty. It's finally (finally...) coming together and feels homey now. It was nice and cool during summer but it's going to get cold during winter because it's really dark and has a brick floor. It was funny for the census workers to knock our door and for us to come out. Definitely not what she was expecting to get and it was a funny turning of the tables for her to be knocking our door instead of vice versa. We mentioned it and she laughed. We ate lunch with a member after being counted and rested until 6.
The biggest event of the week was a visit from President Nelson to the South America South area! Wednesday and Thursday there were some devotional transmissions and Friday the whole mission and the Conce north mission met up in a giant chapel in Conce for a conference with him and part of the area presidency! It was a huge thing and I saw a lot of friends obviously! It was really really cool. We all got to shake his hand too! He gave some really cool instruction on mostly the BoM and then mentioned DC31 which is a favorite missionary scrip that I had originally found and loved in the MTC so it brought back a ton of really good memories, especially out of the mouth of a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Sister Nelson is great too. That took up pretty much the whole day though. Pres Nelson seems waaaay more serious in General Conference and is more like a really wise nice grandpa in person. Really really loving. Very cool experience.
Well the rest of the week seems pretty average after that. Our ward conference is this weeks so we have a ton of cool activities planned and a lot of members committed to bring new friends. Like I said we are really really focusing on member work right now and praying to see fruits sooner than later. Should be a fun week from all the activities.
We helped out the HPGL with a massive family history activity. It's really fun here in SA because there is so much fresh ground to tread and most of the work has not been done at all yet and everyone is getting really amped about it because of the temple. It was fun to help people do the work even though I mostly helped as technical support with people who had lost their accounts or put in wrong info etc into the system. Still really fun.
Sunday was really good but my comp got the flu so we were stuck in the house boooo. Nothing worse than that.
A lot of meditation this week on freedom and captivity. I heard a really cool Elder Holland talk where he said that he thinks that if there was a central theme for our existence (mortaly as well as pre and post mortally) it would be freedom. Pretty cool idea. Reading the scriptures and thinking about the plan of salvation in that light has been a fun activity for me because the scriptures are full of freedom and bondage imagery, especially referring to Jesus Christs role in our existence. Joseph Smith has a lot to say on the subject as well, especially after having been imprisoned so much. I've kind of been fascinated with church history these weeks as well, and the beginning of this church is all about bondage and freedom, just like the biblical exodus. The imagery of being "delivered" or "carried out" of our personal bondage to our personal "promised lands" is really beautiful to me. That's what the Gospel is for anyway right?
Ok I'm doing good here. Love you all so much and miss you a lot. Excited for all the wedding glam etc and to talk to you all in not too long on Mothers day. I love you all so much!
Elder Trevor Smith
Trevor was reunited on Sunday with John Sanhueza, a real friend and support to Trevor during the first weeks of his mission. John's post said: "cuando pensé había sido un gran día... se convirtió en algo aun mas genial :-"
Ok it was a good week! Lot of changes!
Tuesday was the usual chaos of the transfers here in LA. Elder Gordillo and me had to wait there in the bus terminal a long time and then we had to eat something really quick and drop his stuff off at the house and shoot up to Conce for a medical appointment he needed for his arm that he had fractured a few weeks ago. Pretty crazy day. Safe to say we slept really well that night. It was fun to see conce again after a long while. They had to take more xrays and everything so it took a while but it looks like hes pretty much 100% health right now which is good.
Elder Gordillo is really cool. Hes 25 and from mexico city and already finished studying international relations at pretty much the best university in mexico so hes a really smart guy. He got to the mission together with elder meiling and elder gimenez so he doesnt have that much time here which has been really refreshing. He has a very good atitude and is very mature and knows really well how to work with the members here in LA and has been teaching me a LOT abotu that and it looks like we are going to have some serious success in that field. He is really clean to which has been nice. He is super humble about his assignment and is really loving the learning process and has done a great job. Hes a killer missionary!
So wednesday was our first district meeting with the new zone. We are like 4 missionaries smaller than last transfer with some good new faces to freshen things up a little. The meetings were good and we talked to the DLs and Hnas Trainers about charity in leadreship and having that be our motivation for working and serving our missionaries. It looks like we are going to have a really good transfer and that we could double our baptismal goal for the month which is a huge surprise but just a ton of prepared people have popped up all over the zone.
We had a short meeting with the hnas caps to plan out this transfer and the focus we want to have with the zone and we got some really good plans down on the calender. We mostly want to focus on helping every companionship be really strong and to work in synergy and to help missionaries be more spiritual in their obedience and dedication to the work. One thing we may do is try and have a service project every saturday together and to have a little scripture devotional before to really invite the spirit and help the missionaries find the joy in service. Also we want to spend some time doing like teambuilding stuff with the companionships so if you know of any teambuilding games or ideas let me know.
As far as the work like i mentioned we have been focusing a lot more on challenging and helping the members to identify and share the gospel with their friends and have seen a lot of success in the first steps there. I havent mentioned it yet but we have been teaching a guy named Leonardo whos 27 and came to engilsh class as a reference of the investigators of the hnas. Its kind of a long story but after some confusion of who had dibs on teaching him etc (it was all kind of awkward for a lot of reasons) the hnas and us decided that both companionships can take turns teaching him which has turned out really cool actually. He had a really big need of the gospel in his life and has already pretty much had it confirmed to him that thats what he needs so hes pretty much in the water. If all goes according to plan he should be baptized the 29th of april so that will be really cool.
The other big breakthrough we have had is Sonia, the mom of a recent convert here who came to church. The missionaries had tried teaching her in the past but hadnt really taken the iniciative in talking to her and figuring out where she was coming from and what she needed so when we did that it really surprised her and she opened up to the teaching a ton. She is kind of hard to find and not totally committed yet but we are starting with really small steps and trying to be really patient with her. She knows what us and her daughter are after anyway so its a big deal that shes listening at all.
I know i say it a lot but this ward is awesome. THey really love the missionaries here. I was thinking about it a lot and trying to put my finger on why and then i remembered that PMG says that a good relationship with the ward starts with the bishop. Bishop Troncoso really gives a great example of cooperation and apreciation for missionary work in the ward and im positive that everyone sees that and treats us in the same way.
Ive been thinking a lot about charity and love this week. We repeat a lot that the ultimate expression of love is in Heavenly Father sending us His son Jesus Christ (John 3:16) and i think its kind of become cliche now when it really is the central doctrine of our faith. I studied a lot about that idea and questions like the "why" and "how" of it all and its really cool stuff obviously. Lehi and Nephi talk about it a lot as well as most profets. Its so important for us to not only hear and say that phrase in john 3:16 but to understand what it means and how it applies to us and those around us. Im trying really hard to feel that doctrine in my mission and to appy it to my life really well so that i can testify about it and how it can bless others in a really sincere and personal way.
Not to mention what it means as far as for us following the Godheads example of sacrifice. Thats when our level faith and dedication get really serious.
Ok im doing good here but out of time. Its going too fast and im trying hard to enjoy every minute of it all and to be as happy as i can! I love you all so much and hope everythings good!
Elder Trevor Smith
Wow so the transfer actually ended again. crazy stuff. Weird to think i only have 2 more.
Ok this week im struggling to remember as always but usually my memory gets jogged as I go. First up is tranfer news! Im staying and elder Aravena is headed off to Victoria to freeze to death during winter hahaha. Elder Gordillo will be my new comp! I will be training him as a zone leader which will be fun. Hes from Mexico and ive only heard really cool things about him so it should be a really really good fresh start and a good cambio. It will be good to have fresher meat around as a companion becasue he will probably be my last! Ive always wanted a mexican comp.
So we started the week out with mission leadership council which was really fun this time. It was really cool to see old friends especially elder Oxborrow in his last week. Way fun to talk to him and hear about our converts from there in Lagunillas. They gave us some spot on training there that we really needed and we left with a really good spirit from conce. We recieved a lot of revelation for the zone and for ourselves. Well as you already know they used videos of all of us opening up our calling letters to make a big video of all of us which was a weird but cool surprise. I feel like i look really different than i do in the video of that hahaha it was funny to see everyones premission self.
The week was pretty packed with intercambios and stuff because we had 5 baptisms in the zone which was totally awesome. A lot of interviews and stuff like that. Wednesday i started out working w elder burros in san martin which was fun. We got to talk a lot about our impressions from conference and about conversion and stuff like that and it was a good oportunity to minister and talk about obedience etc. We both came out of hte intercabio really determined to make changes to become better missionaries and i think thats the point of intercambios. The most fun thing of the whole week was talking to 4 university students diong a project on religion or something who had a ton of really cool questions. Im usually kind of suspicious of university students here because they tend to be like way overly "progressive" and anti religion but these guys were actually really cool and we talked for like an hour. I think at first it was just about doing their homework but in the end they seemed interested in the message. They said they werre coming to church but no go all final. We called but no luck. Hopefully we will find them again.
Friday we had another intercambio so that elder gray could do some interviews here for the hnas in San Martin so that was fun. We taught a good english class too. It rained really hard that day out of nowhere so we got pretty wet but had a good day anyway. He got transfered to lota now so it was good for one last hurrah.
Saturday was marked mostly by the baptisms i mentioned. ONe in santa barbara was an old lady 105 years old! Pretty impressive stuff by those elders! I think she was the grandma of a member or something but she really wanted to get baptized before it was too late! the hnas here baptized the parents of a recent convert and it was really cool stuff.
Wow I dunno the week mostly went just way too fast. I feel like the days just slip out of my fingers now its crazy. Im kind of out of time now too sorry we were kind of rushed! Today we went to a cool waterfall near mulchen with some recent convert friends which was cool! Ill try and upload pics instead of rambling on! Sorry this is short this time ill do better next week.
Love you so so so much!
Elder Trevor Smith
Wow general conference is such a giant event in our lives as missionaries that it's hard for me to remember what happened before that in the week it was such a landmark. I'll do my best!
The beginning of the week I did an intercambio with Elder Culotta from Mississippi (spellcheck) which was cool. Like I said I love the campo on intercambios because it brings back tons of good memories. Nacimiento is really big and honestly there should probably be 4 missionaries there but there's only 2. We had a good day with a lot of lessons. The weird dumb thing was that on the way there a wasp flew into the bus and stung my wrist just out of nowhere and hurt like crazy and itched bad for a few days. That was dumb but it's over now. It left a little mark on my wrist so now I look like spiderman (yes!). Elder Culotta is from my group and a good friend so it was cool to work with him. We did a lot of walking and its pretty hilly there which was a hard change from my super flat sector hahaha. We had some good conversation about obedience and the mission and what we can do better as leaders in the zone and he was so receptive. He will be going to byu too I think so he will be a good friend to have.
Wednesday was good after getting back. Pretty normal but good. We found a new investigator who had been taught by the missionaries a while ago and whose nephew from Temuco was a missionary a while back and I think we taught a good lesson. It's so important to establish not only our purpose as missionaries from the get go but also why we are committed to that purpose, or rather, to bless them and their families. I studied a lot about that this last week, about how the Gospel is really "it". There were a lot of moments during the week when I felt the spirit testifying to me that the Gospel was the only thing that could help the people around me or the people I taught. There's a lot of good scriptures and examples about that idea. some good ones are the tree of life, whose fruit was more desireable than any other; the bread of life, of which when we eat we cannot die as compared to normal bread; and living waters, which are the only waters that can eternally quench our "thirst". Its really important for missionaries to understand that for their own good and the good of the people around them. I try and share that concept with the people around me, whether they are missionaries, members, or investigators.
Wednesday we had english class. Its not growing quite like we want it too but maybe we can try harder to publisize it. I still really like to teach it but we need more people to come.
Thursday we had lunch with that really cool Bro Constant i think i mentioned last week(?). He lives out in the campo with his sister and parents right now and it was so delicious. He is really familiar with the US and knew i was coming so he made a giant pot of Chili (yes chili in chile haha) and made everyone try it. It was way good and it had been a looooong time since i had eaten that. The other missionaries were kind of hesitent but then really liked it. That was only the appatizer of course and then we ate like 500 tacos with really good mexican food stuff. Way fun. Im getting fatter here si o si.
That night we had our big mission work activity but honestly it was kind of discouraging for the turnout that we got. I think it was kind of poorly communicated to the auxilary organizations or something but im not sure where we went wrong because everybody knew about it. Nevertheless we had around 30 or so members there and we had a good time and the spirit was totally there for the message part so it ended up really good i think. The best part was that some really good investigators of the hnas of the ward came and after taht and general conference they are pretty much in the water according to the hnas so that is cool. We still had a good time and the members who came were really nice about it even if they had expected way more people to come. We talked about the temple and family history and it was good.
Friday was good too. We did teaching practises in the morning with half of the zone and it was really good. The hna trainers had some good stuff prepared and then we followed up with practising teaching the doctrine of Christ. We did a good demonstration and i think the missionaries got the spirit of that super important part of what we do. We had an FHE that night with a really cool young family that is reactivating and working toward getting sealed so we are really gunning for that.
Conference. CONFERENCE. So good
I feel like I always get so stoked by conference when it happens in the mission when it happens and then forget everything that was said in like 2 weeks so my main goal is to keep studying it all and doing my own followup on the main revelations i received. Its crazy how it feels like every talk that is given is so according to what we need to hear. Its almost spooky. I really liked the talks by Yoon Hwan Choi and the one about fear by Pres Uchtdorf. I loved all the insights about positive thinking and trusting in the Lord with everything and i so needed to hear all that stuff. I especially loved how Pres Uchtdorf spoke about how redeeming love is the atidote for fear. I really want to be able to put in practise all i learned and it was so much that i was kind of stressing about remembering it all but as we walked out of the last session and got to work i already feel like somehow i had had a change of heart and felt so renewed and light it was crazy. I really want to keep that feeling with me.
How blessed we are to have modern profets. I think we take them for granted way to often especially when it is the number one thing that sets us apart from other faiths. THey are such a spiritual anchor for us. I want to listen to all of it again as soon as i can. I recieved so much help from those talks it was crazy. I think as zone leaders sometimes we are kind of like the top of the support and love ladder so it was really nice to be at the other end of the ministering for a weekend and i really needed it. I feel so refreshed spiritually.
Ok i love you all and am out of time for today. I planned on sending pics but left my converter at home sorry. I am doing good and love you all so so much! I pray for you always!
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.