TOk so its been like the craziest week ever but I'm totally loving it here!
Tuesday I traveled to conce and met Elder R. and we had to wait for all of our zone to find their comps to go home so we got here pretty late. The drive to Lebu is way windy but way pretty as well. It's really gorgeous here and looks a lot like San Clemente in some ways. IT's so nice to smell beach air and wind even though the wind is cold sometimes. It's actually way warmer here than Puren.
OK. So so much has happened im having a hard time organizing my thoughts.
We live in a nice house on the north side of Lebu. Elder R. is in his last transfer becaue he extended so he should technically be home, but he is still way excited and a total machine. I'm learning a ton from him and it's way fun too we laugh a ton. He's from Spanish Fork, Utah. We also live with Elder G. who is a Chicano from south central LA and is like the most Christ-like ever. Elder M. is from Santiago and got here with me and is totally way funny. We are an awesome house.
The zone of lebu is only 6 companionships but everyone is way focused and working hard here so I'm way happy about that! We have tons of really good missionaries here, so it will be way fun to work with them, We left Thursday back to Concepcion for a council of leaders in the mission and we got a ton of good training. I saw a lot of good friends too, Scary thing is that next transfer like 10 of the 20 zone leaders are going home, so I will almost for sure have to train a new zl next cambio. We presented our plans for the zone which was fun. We are totally going to kill it this cambio and are way excited.
Lebu is like the promised land! The branch is easily the best I've ever been in and really works hard! Theres a ton of priesthood and a solid 70 members who attend. Also, it's really funny because dad is like SO famous here. Even people who aren't members sometimes know him. I got to bare my testimony and introduce myself to all on Sunday and it was way fun! It's crazy I've never heard of a missionary being so remembered and famous as dad -- it's kind of ridiculous I've been really special to meet so many who love him and see the huge impact one missionary can have. For example. Leoncio Oporto is the district 1st councilor and went on a mission and baptized scores of people and is a convert of dad- that's just one example.
It's been realy fun here. People say I'm like dad but it might just be good old Chilean chamullo. hahaha. We are so busy and teach a ton of lessons. It's really, really easy to find new investigators here. I remember dad saying that they would show off their door approach and just say, "Can we come in" and that it would work. Pretty much the same applies today hahahahah. There is a TON of work to do here and we are working really hard. We are going to have a baptism Saturday too, who are 2 kids of a formerly less active member named V. and M. They are really good and super smart because their mom is a teacher. I don't feel very deserving but it's cool to be able to have that. We have some other good investigators and the branch is helping a ton so we will be able to have a ton of success here. Our goal for the month is 4 baptisms, which is a lot but I know we can do it!
Lebu has got some cool culture here. Lots of people work in the fishing boats, so a lot of men actually are with their families and there are a ton of people to talk to. A lot of evengelical opposition too but our branch will be really good to counter-act that.
I've seen this week that when we have more responsibilities and expectations of us, the Lord can qualify us more. I don't know what it is about this week, but I was able to feel a closeness to the spirit and a confidence in the Lord that I didn't have before. I'm so excited and happy!!!! It is such a privelege to be walking where dad walked too. It really is like a werid but awesome dream!!!! It helps me see how much of a difference we can all make and it grows my faith.
Shoot the cyber here is going to close, but more next week! Love you! So sorry about short letter.
still no camara srry
Trevor with Brother Alarcon from Elder Smith I in Lebu.
OK so cambios news: I'm leaving Puren to go to LEBU! I was called as a zone leader too, which was really surprising and kind of scary but it's ok because I hear that my comp is awesome and also the Lebu zone is pretty small -- like 6 companionships, so it shouldn't be too bad, but it was still a huge surprise. Elder M is going to train like I thought! I'm way excited to go to lebu (except that It'll be there in the middle of winter booo).
S. got baptized!!! It was really spiritual and super awesome! The whole branch came which was really cool to see. There was a lot of things that went wrong Saturday and Friday but it all came together with few problems. It was really special. A lot of times baptisms are more stressfull than spiritual, but this one no. She just really has a light and it got a lot brighter this weekend. Elder M. baptized her and I confirmed her, and the spirit was really strong for the both. The branch is really excited about it and reallly adopting her as a daghter (or better granddaughter). We had a good once (dinner) in the church right after which was way fun. pics attatched.
This week was super busy for a lot of reasons in the branch and with intercambios etc but a good one too! I worked in Angol with Elder D who is Elder P's comp while he did the interview for S. She passed fine. Angol made me really really apreciate the pueblitos. I got to Puren again and it like scared me how quite it was. I'll miss Puren (but it's hard). Mostly I'll miss S. and her family. That's going to be a hard goodbye. I'm sad to leave Elder M. too he might be one of my fav comps. It got really cold this week all of a sudden! No rain but now in the mornings it frosts over sometimes and it's way cold.
This week was frustrating again because all of our lessons kept falling through and we had a hard time getting together with our investigators. elder molina and his trainee will have to get looking a lot again. A bummer but not too much cuz IM OUTTA THERE. I here lebu is kind of tough now due to a ton of other really aggressive churches there but we will see. I really have no idea what my duties will be im still not sure what they were as a district leader but a lot of being a missionary is fake it till you make it.
Dad ill need a list of things to do and people to see in Lebu obviously!!!!
Also I need Alex's emails and address pls.
Shoot I dunno -- it was a really uneventful week. We worked hard and walked a lot but a lot of it just kind of fell through when Sunday came around. Happens sometimes.
I really like Puren but I feel like I accomplished what I had to here. It was a really special sector for me. S. is special too because she's the first investigator I saw from beginning to end. I'm glad that Elder M. will be there to take care of her. What I'm learning on the mission is that there isn't anything better than seeing people you care about live the gospel. There is a joy that isn't really describable together with strong feelings from the spirit that just make a really beautiful mix. It just really gets me excited to see more of that. I was thinking Saturday and Sunday about how much time thought, prayer, planning, and just plain old effort we put into S. and her family, but seeing her take these steps have helped me realize that it is all way more than worth it. There's just an indescribable crazy joy that accompanies all this. It's what keeps us going I think.
I feel like Puren changed me a lot but in all good ways. I feel like more than anything my faith has grown. I'm really glad I had the time I did here. Obviously I'm crazy excited to be in Lebu too and im sure they will be feeding me a lot. Who knows they probably already know I'm coming, knowing Chileans.
Speaking of that last thing, I was thinking on Fathers Day that I realized how much of dad and his personality is from Chile. Like so much. They all remind me of him sometimes. Expert embellishers. Top notch. I'll stop here with the comparisons to not embarrass.
This email is all over the place. Sorry. Better next week. I love you all a ton and your letters too! Doing great here!
shoot also my camara broke OOPS not sure how it happened. let's just be thinking about the best way to replace it whether it be buy one here or in Conce. let me know what you think.
Ok so the week started out with an intercambio with elder p. tuesday which was a trip! S. drank tea tuesday and needed to go a week clean before her baptism but it was dum because they serve it for free at school or something. It at first was disapointing but i actually think it was totally part of god's plan because it worked out better for her in a lot of ways! First, she could have lied and said she didnt. Second, she immediatly had an expérience with repentance and will be able to remember this in the future and know that she can get better. Third, it made her want her own baptism even more than before so she is super excited and detirmined now. The good part is that she wasn't embarassed or sad or anything and just got working even harder for her baptism. She is doing awesome and will for sure get baptised this week. I really love that family and am so excited but I'll be sad to leave them when it happens. She is the first investigator who i have taught officially from beginning to end! that's something pretty rare and special.
The intercambio was weird because it just felt totally natural even though me and elder P were together like 9 months ago now. He is totally awesome and really working the last chunk of his mission really hard. It's cool to see how the mission really only changes people for the better and at the same time keeps them the same personality etc. We had a good day and had some cool lessons. One cool thing was that an investigator I. had read all of pamphlet one and parts of bom after the first lesson (that almost never happens) so she pretty much is teaching herself. we need to help her be willing to accept that there is kind of only one baptism that saves us but we don't want to go super hard with doctrine and just argue her into it. we are going to try and help her reach her own conclusion to that through the inventations we make. IT was short and sweet and a great trip down memory lane. It has been fun to work with him and the other leaders from the zone im learning a ton from example and i like that.
After that we had a good but pretty normal week.... We had a hard time finding a lot of our investigators at the end of the week so it kind of bit us in the butt and only S. came to church. It's ok though! not every week can be stellar. We still had a great time and taught a lot and were really able to see how the Spirit could guide us when our plans fell through and we could still complete most of our goals. The kind of last lesson i want to leave with elder m. with the chance that i leave this next week is to be able to be in union with planning and teaching between himself, his comp, and especially the Spirit. We both have strong opinions on teaching so we butt heads in a way but in a friend way so it's fun. It's crazy how specific the guidance of the Spirit can be if we really look for it.
Elder M. is one of majority comps, if not the favorite comp. it's hard to choose because i've had so many good ones. It was his birthday yesterday and we celebrated today witht the help of Hna margarita. We invited the elders from nearby pueblo Los Sauces and had a giant asado feast with a cake and all hahaha it was kind of rediculous. We played ping pong in the chapel and phase ten after and it was way fun. It's hard to get gifts for your comp because we are always together lol i bought him a completo friday night which is kind of like a hotdob plus. i tried. hna margarita spoiled him enough.
We frustrated ourselves a little wiht how we worked this last week and want to close out the transfer by working the last week like crazy and obeying 100%. It's just easy to get complacent in the mission sometimes but we are going to reallyt push ourselves this week. Ill let you know my transfer next week but i really have no guess what whill happen especially with how crazy pres whilheml is with the tranfers. this is his last one so im expecting that he will go out with a bang hahaha. Our new and permanent pres will be showing up in a few weeks. This cambio when by faster than all the past ones.
One really cool thing was that we found a new guy named P who really needed us. The main thing he is looking is peace, and he knows it, and he knows he can find it in Christ and wants our help to do it. I feel like with what ive learnede in my mission and this transfer in particular is perfectly suited to be able to testify to him about the healing power that Christ offers us. It was so special to be able to testify to him about that, especially considering current events in the states too. We had a good talk about the difference between wanting a "why did this happen" answer and really just looking for peace in Christ instead. Why answers might help us or satisfy our anger for a little, but the peace and the "living waters" that Christ offers us are what can help us and comfort us in the long run. Christ sometimes doesn't save us from the world, but He can lift us up out the effects of the world. I really think that might be one of the biggest lessons God wants me to learn on my misison and i feel like I've been prepared to be able to testify about it now. Im greatful for that, even though the road to get there hasn't been easy.
I love the mission and am trying to do better every week. Im really having fun too. Ill miss puren if i leave but i would be ok with a change too. I have a }pretty big hunch that elder m. will train but we will see what happens and ill let you all know.
love you all so much and love the letters. good luck alex i sent you and email too but i need his mtc email. Doing good and you're in my prayers!!!!
Elder Trevor Smith
are3 my letters getting shorter? let me know....
wow ok so it was a totally crazy week with mostly just a ton of work. We worked really hard!
The week started out pretty normal but we had a new focus on really involving members in every aspect of the work and saw a ton of good results from that! Part of those results was that we had 3 people in the church on Sunday which out of 16 people attending is a huge increase when you think about it hahahah! The branch was really excited and there was just a more cheerful and hopeful spirit there because we could all see that its possible for Puren to grow and become a stronger branch of the church. We really worked hard this week in planning our appointments well with members and working with a ton of part member families here (that just turned out ok but we are going to keep trying) and had a ton of success that way! Seriously this week went by so fast it was like a total blur!
Our main focus was S. and her family this week and we spent a ton of time with them to really lock in S's baptism. She struggled a little to stop drinking coffee but she hasn't touched it so we are all set in that aspect. It will be really hard to leave those people after spending so much time with them. We have seen so many tender mercies of the Lord with them and been so blessed to teach them more as friends than as preachy teachers or something. S's mom L. even got up and bore a really sweet testimony on Sunday and that was really special to see considering I have been able to see there progress now from shaky starts to really firm endings. We were talking with S. this week about Alma 32 and the seed of faith and it really sunk in with her and the whole family. They had a little tree they wanted to plant together with us so we planted it in front of the house and called it the tree of faith hahahah. I will always remember that. They have come so far! S. is pretty much totally locked in for her baptism this Saturday so that will be awesome and such a blessing. She is a little nervous for the interview but we will do a practice tonight and that will help her. I think elder P. is for sure going to come tomorrow to get it done and that will be really cool in a parrallism way hahaha. He is almost done it's crazy! I'll let you know how the baptism goes. The branch is really excited for a younger member now!
I think iIalso mentioned a family we found last week. We taught them a few other times and really really focused on the invitations we left them and it was working pretty well. They are really smart but a little lazy... The 9 year old daughter is the smartest and already told us that she prayed and received an answer which is pretty rad hahaha! When Saturday rolled around we called them in the night but they seemed pretty shaky for church. We called in the morning and no answer so we pretty much lost hope and then th 15 year old son R. showed up totally alone to church! Total miracle! He only kind of knew where the church was too and he looked for it and found it all alone! He is a little bit too much of i highschooler in some ways but I think that with some diligence to his invitations he can totally progress towards baptism now that he came to church. He is like the funniest Chilean I have ever met and he is super fun to teach because he is just all laughs.
Elder M. is just my best friend ever and it is so fun here right now. We work super hard but laugh a ton and really love the work together. We think our biggest strength is attitude. We have a nice little isolated attitude environment hahaha with very little negativity and a lot of faith. Our slogan this cambio has pretty much been "no se precupe elder" or don't worry about it elder hahahah. Stress free here in Puren. The cool thing is that as we have been practicing our strict policy of hakuna matata our results have shot up way high and now I don't think that Puren will have such a crappy rep anymore. I think when we worry uselessly it's kind of a lack of faith problem, and that has helped us a ton. A lot of our success has to do with straight up just being blessed a lot. We are really grateful and trying to stay really humble about things.
We had a conference with the Wilhelms and gave a really awesome training with the zone leaders too and we learned a ton from that. What I'e been learning in this part of my mission is the importance of repentance for people investigating the church. As missionaries a lot of times we avoid it because it's scary and sad and we are afraid people wont want to do it, but that's totally the wrong attitude. If people from the get go understand that baptism isn't complete without repentance, when the time comes that they need to make changes they will be more willing to do it. They need to understand immediately that Christ never promised that being a disciple would be easy, and that on the other hand, promised that it would be hard! Repentance is the stepping stone to baptism, and people can't really jump straight to baptism and be true converts. The truth is that if we just preach baptism we are not preaching the doctrine of Christ, which is repentance and baptism. Pres Wilhelm one time told us that if we are tired of seeing so many less active members in Chile we need to stop creating them hahaha. pretty tough but true. Applying this has been what has helped S. and her family most. It's crazy how much we learn when we study simple, pure doctrine.
I'm doing really great and really losing myself in the work right now. We have just been really really blessed recently. I'm really happy w/ Elder M. (especially because his fam sent a huge package of chocalate from Brazil lol). My package got here too! It's awesome. so much dental care. also what is the rosemary oil for? also I don't really trust the insect repellent oil enough to do a real controlled scientific test so I can't really say if it works... permetherin is pretty awesome.
It's getting colder now...
Shoot I dunno what else. sorry if this email is too much about the work. I feel like I don't think about much else sometimes so its hard to know what to write.
I love you all and am praying for all of you! Especially John Hilary Walter and especially Tilly. So sorry to here the bad news. Love you guys so much.
pics next week i swear
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.