Wow a crazy week here. I'm getting tired hahaha. No, we are doing great (but I am tired). A large part of the week was preparing for Caroline's baptism that ended up perfect. Way cool. Baptism weeks are the most busy for sure. First, we made invitations and programs and handed them out. We had to do the interview. Then we had to plan out the program with her and delegate some assignments like food and talks. We spent almost and entire afternoon fighting with the broken water heater for the font that finally worked when all was lost and we offerred a prayer witht the hermano who is the church mechanic hahahah. Then of course the entire city's lights were cut a half hour before the baptism oops hahaha. There is always something that goes wrong without fail. Luckily we had already filled the font and whe had scheduled the baptism for 4:30 so it was still pretty light. So it all worked out. Interestingly, enough the light kicked back in right after the ordenance so we could show some Mormon messages while she and I changed into dry clothes which was cool. Sunday Caroline was confirmed and it was all done whew. It was all so cool though!
We had refreshments after (Hna Beti Alarcon was in charge of that. I hope I don't misweild my special "status" here too much) and there were a ton of people there. She was so nice to do that! It was so cool to see all these people I've come to know, many, if not like 60% of whom, are there as a result of Dad's work here. I was thinking that he probably felt the same as I did with Caroline., i.e., that I really didn't have much of a part in her conversion, and that I just got here under the right circumstances. I was also thinking that if I have any good reason to have faith in the difference a missionary can make, it was the large crowd standing in front of me. It made me really determined to take advantage of the time I have here. The whole experience has been like too much to wrap my head around. For example, Caroline is named after her grandma, who was taught by dad and baptized by her husband 37 years ago. It's just all so special and so unreal I can't sort it all out in my head. At the very least it has helped me really grow my testimony that there are people in the world that we are eternally tied to through the service we give as missionaries.
Other stuff that is happening. This saturday A. should be getting baptized! Pretty much everything is locked in but he is a little bit sick and he's older so we obviously don't want to baptize him if there is a chance of pnemonia or something like that. He is way smart and super special as I've mentioned before. He pretty much teaches the class of gospel principals. A. is one of those examples of people who don't change very much to live the gospel and are really just kind of made for it from the get go when the missionaries find them. He had no problem with doctrine or the commandments or church attendance or anything, just needed to take his time to hear from God that he should get baptized. He will be a huge asset to the branch! Everyone is really excited about it. Back to back baptism weeks too! And all for Elder Runyan to go home after! Way cool. We need to plan it all out soon but it's going to be really cool.
As far as other people we are teaching, we have been having bad luck as far as finding new people who will come to church. I want to really grill the members on less active people they know with family that isn't member because in our zone that has proved to be really key. I think if we have the time we will make a "meet the missionaries" stand or something like that hahaha. We just need to try new things again. We have a ton to do this week to find people who can be baptized in August so we are going to work really hard this week to do it.
We had a total miracle in the zone and one of the companionships of hermanas are going to baptize a family of 4 this weekend. We have seen a ton of miracles in this zone and are totally going to kill the goal we put in the beginning of the month. The next challenge will be helping everyone make this success sustainable which might be tough concerning that we pretty much baptized or stopped teaching all the people we had this month. We need to really start focusing on finding. Next week is transfers and I will be sad to say goodbye to Elder Runyan and a large part of our zone I think. It's been way fun to work with them all. I hear a big group of new missionaries is coming too so we will definitely have some people here training which will be fun.
Ok real quick because I'm out of time. I've been thinking a lot still about the Saviour being the prince of peace and had kind of a realization. I was thinking about how the Jews all expected the Messiah to deliver them from their physical bondage, and then rejected Christ because He did not give them that. I was thinking that a lot of time as the Lords' modern chosen people, we expect the same thing, but in a different way. We often ask the Lord to free us from our problems (just like bondage from Rome) which aren't necessarily evil desires, but when that physical liberation doesn't come, often we reject Christ just as the crowds of people in Jerusalem did as he explained to them that he was sent to bring them living bread of life, not literal bread or freedom from bondage. I personally, never want to make Christ go through the same rejection on my behalf. I think it also has to do with our baptismal covenants in that He asks us to promise that we will bear each other's burdens and cry with those that cry, as if to mitigate the sufferring that sometimes he cannot liberate us from for our own benefit. Food for thought.
Ok I'm short on time but I love you all and am so happy here in Lebu and am totally loving the work here!
Elder Trevor Smith
Note from Vinka, Caroline's mother: "Hi. How are you? I'm sending you the invitation to Caroline's baptism. She had her last discussion today to be ready. They asked her which missionary should baptize her and she decided that it should be Elder Smith. It's like everything from those years ago is repeating itself. She's very excited and happy. It will be a very special moment. I now know that God knows why your son is here."
Trevor and the entire Oporto family, except Marco, Lorena, and Job (who were out of town) and Leoncio (who passed away unexpectedly the week Trevor arrived).
Scott and Vinka (the birthday girl), Caroline's mom.
Caroline, her sisters, mom and dad, Trevor, and Elder Runyan..
Scott's journal entry from the day Caroline's grandfather baptized her grandmother (Carolina) with her aunts and uncles.
Wow ok every week is faster and faster! It got really rainy this week so that was a new challenge.
We started out the week Tuesday with a gran intercambio so I got to work a little with Elder Loose who is really cool. He's Argentinian but he kind of looks like one of santa's elves but rocks it so it's all good. Despite that he preaches with a ton of power and authority which totally makes up for his small stature so I learned a lot from him. We taught C.too which was cool and found some cool people. He's really funny too.
Wednesday we did a little attack in Los Alamos but we did it with a twist. We had everyone a week before bring a new idea of how to find people. For example we played music (look it was new to the rest of the zone), some people had like prizes and games and cool stuff like that and it worked really great! It was a crazy storm and raining way hard and we only had like an hour to look ( the hermanas got there late boo) but pretty much every companionship got into a house which was pretty miraculous! We got a little more sick so the rest of the day for me and Elder Runyan was mah o menoh. I'm better now though! The coolest part is that we barely worked up the strength to go to one last cita with A. ( I've mentioned him right?). The truth is that I was kind of losing faith with him thinking he was just going to be an "eternal" investigator but Elder Runyan was a different story. We taught a lesson on like just prayer and at the end he pretty much just committed himself to baptism!!!! He will get baptized the 30th! Totally a crazy miracle! A big lesson in faith for me. He just needed to keep receiving revelation I guess.
Thursday we had interviews with President May! Like I said before the most impressive thing about them both is there crazy humility. They are so crazy humble! They inspire me to be more humble and meek. It was a nice interview. After that we had time to do some splits with the APs so I got to show off C. and her sisters to Elder Rasmusson. She is for sure getting baptized but went to Conce this weekend so we have to cram in some more lessons but all will be well. We are really excited for that and it will be so dang special. The whole branch is really excited. Just have to make sure the font is working hahaha. They are awesome.
Oh also we went to Curinilahue and helped the hnas there with a really cool stand idea they had in the middle of the plaza amidst a ton of evangelical priests preaching. A ton of people were passing by and we found a ton of good people for them to teach later on! I think we are going to copy it here in Lebu and try the same thing.
Other than that the rest of the week was just a lot of hard work. I went to Cañete w Elder Willey again which was fun he's awesome. We have found a ton of people here but its hard for us to get return lessons etc. The same thing happened as last week where we had like 6 people committed to church and pretty much all of them flaked out when it started to rain Sunday morning (always Sunday morning!!!). We have plans to do a noche de hogar every night with various families here and have them invite their friends so hopefully that will work.
Today we had a zone activity on the beach of Lebu which was super pretty! There are some caves we went in too. We played games and it was simple but really fun. Our zone is the best there is. We got way lucky with the weather too it was sunny and warm randomly
I can't believe how fast this cambio is going. I'm learning a ton about faith and what it really is. I'm trying really hard to grow my faith. We see miracles every day so I have good reason to be faithful. I feel really busy all the time so its hard to find time to meditate I guess. I am really trying to always have a desire to learn and grow every day, and mention that in my prayers. The mission is such a good learning opportunity that I dont want to let it slip by with out taking advantage of it. One thing I learned this week was how much prayer has to do with our attitude and general happiness during the day. Every time I felt myself slipping into a less than happy mood I would say a prayer of gratitude and thing of a hymn and I ended up being way happier this week, even though I was sick. Having a learning attitude makes us happy too I think.
Ok that's kind of it. I really appreciate your letters and can't believe all your crazy adventures this summer (especially Macy). I love you all so much and miss you like crazy!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok so my brain is totally fried because I came down with a cold randomly yesterday which is a total bummer BOOO I get sick a lot it seems, but I'll try to rest a little and drink fluids. I'm mostly really tired I think.
Ok so first up in the week we traveled all to Concepcion to meet president May! It was a pretty short meeting but he and hna May seemed super nice and really excited to be here. They were just really really humble and spiritual and fun. It was a 3 1/2 hour journey there but we took some good naps on the way. There were a lot of old friends there like Elder M. who is still in the office and Elder C.and a ton of others and we ate pizza after the meeting which was awesome. After that we headed home.
So as a zone leader we have to pretty much do an intercambio with our district leaders every week which means that I feel like I barely even work with Elder R. sometimes or even in Lebu. Luckily there are only two dls here. First up I worked with Elder W. who is working in Cañete. He is pretty much the chosen one of the mission. He is a total machine and a really really hard and smart worker and has very little time in the mission. He pushes himself really hard, almost too hard, and reminds me a lot of how I was a few months ago but way smarter and better. We talked alot about his goals in his mission and how he is feeling spiritualy andIi think I was able to help him by mostly just talking to him.
We had a lesson with C. and she committed herself to baptism after having a dream about it which was so awesome. I loved being able to show her, her sisters, and her family off to Elder W. because it's always just tons of fun over there and a lot like teaching primary which makes it fun. We had a noche de hogar there Sunday which was also a riot. I love that family a lot! S., C's little sister looks just like her aunt Lorena a ton! They came to church in all the rain too and it was super cool. We watched the restoration on Sunday too and they are really smart and got it all.
We also found a family of 5 that day with Elder W. too! They were super skeptical and doubting but when me and Elder R. went back they opened up a lot and hopefully will progress! They are so cool and we could tell they really felt the spirit and were really humble and excited to learn! I hope so bad we can find them again! It's so special to teach a family! It's way fun. Another problem is that the dad works as a fisherman so is always at sea but we will try to catch him when he's home. Hey I just made a pun wow that was unexpected.
Our zone is doing really well! It's super good. We will be doing some stuff this week to keep the animo up too.
It started to rain which is kind of a bummer. The rain itself really isn't that bad but it's the Lebu wind which is killer and gets you really wet if youre not prepared. My gear is all totally sufficient so don't worry about that. It's not even really getting wet that is the bummer it's just that people sometimes seem less receptive when it's raining a ton. The wind here is crazy. Our house has a leaky roof too so we are trying to look for a new one hopefully. Other than that Lebu is totally awesome and really beautiful We ate lunch Sunday with an hermana that lives way up on the highest hill and the view was super pretty. We cross the bridge over the river a ton every day and see all the fishing boats coming and going. The chapel here is huge and there are two ping pong tables which are great for pdays.
Elder R. is awesome and you cant tell at all he is about to finish. He is a total example of a faithful missionary. Hes so faithful if you didn't know better you would just say he is really lucky hahahaha. I really want to learn how to develop my faith to be like his before he goes. Miracles just seem to pass around him all day every day. It's really weird but cool. I feel like I try to get stuff done a lot just through force of will and banging my head into my study desk all the time and trusting that the Lord will consecrate my really hard work, but his strategy of relying on the Lord seems a lot easier and with more results sometimes hahahahaha. Give me tips if you have some that arent just "read Alma 32" hahaha.
I'm learning a lot about teaching with power and authority as a missionary. A huge part of it has to do with gaining the people's trust, which a lot of missionaries ignore. It is so important that we be friends with who we teach. Obviously there is taking it to the extreme and just getting people converted to you, but there is a butter zone there in the middle that I'm trying really hard to find and I feel like I'm succeeding. If the people feel like we are their friends, the lessons change from lessons to being a conversation, and if the people we are teaching feel comfortable and trust us as we show interest in them, the spirituality of the lessons increases. It's really special.I think it might have to do with charity. I'm starting to find it as one of my strengths as a missionary. A big struggle most missionaries have is that its way easier to just teach like a robot and hope the people accept it, so they do it like that. I'm realizing that the Lord wants me to be Me, not some abstract boring version of me. I'm trying to teach that to the missionaries I work with.
I love this work and am doing great other than being a little sickcito. I love you all and your letters! I hope this letter was good!
ok so it was a crazy week again I'm not really sure where to start but I'll do my best.
so Tuesday was pday for some reason according to the mission so I wrote you guys then. Wednesday we had a zone conference that I think turned out really well. Our DLs are killer and really killed it with there trainings and lessons. Me and Elder R. talked about teaching didacticly(?) and just not being boring in general. Our thesis was kind of that when we are boring and teach in a boring way we get bored and the investigators get bored and noone wins. We akso talked a bit about how sometimes as missionaries we say that so and so is a "bad investigator" but the real problem is the way we are teaching, which is usally like school-teacher-robots. I think they all liked it. We tried really hard to apply that this week and we totally saw the results.
After the zone conference I went on an intercambio to Cañete and the Elders there had already set up lunch with V. knowing that I was coming We had a good lunch and a talk with her and it was way fun. After that it was hard work meeting all of their investigators and then doing a baptismal interview for one of them. She was way cool. K. has a grandma who is a member and who came back to church after a long time not going. The really sweet part is that the granma is pretty old and can't walk well, so K. (13 years old) pushes her in a wheelchair all the way up a huge hill to get to church. She was so humble and just had a ton of desires to follow Christ. The elders in Cañente did a really good job of teaching her and she was just plain ol really converted to Christ. I got to work with Elder S. who is in his training so that was fun too.
That day I heard that Leonzio Oporto had died suddenly. Way sad. We had eaten lunch with him 2 days before. He worked in the district presidency and was just really really loved. You could tell that throughout the week and the funeral services how loved he was. There was something profound to me that he was dad's convert too and that I was able to be there for all of his funeral. It was just really sad. The entire branch and even most of the city was mourning. We spent a lot of time helping out with stuff for that but the Lord helped us meet our goals anyway.
Better news is that we had a baptism! I think I mentioned it last week but V. and M. got baptized! Their mom was a less active member for a while but now is back and as strong as anyone. She's super cool and really smart because she is a school teacher. She always gives us and her sons a grilled cheese (cut down the middle) and a glass of cold milk and I feel like I'm like 9 again (it's awesome). Their dad who isn't a member came to there baptism and confirmation so that was really cool too! Their dad is next on our focus list for sure.
We are also working with a kid named G. who was in a similar situation but mostly because he is afraid of the water and doesn't want to get baptised. He is 11 but way way smart and is at the top of his class in grades. I think the past missionaries just kind of tried to force him into doing it but we are going really slow with him and mostly just trying to be his friend and help him build his faith so that he knows he will be ok. We had a lesson about faith and Peter walking on the water which has a lot to do with his situation if you think about it. I think he will for sure get baptized in July. he already comes to church every week and reads the Book of Mormon, etc
A. is pretty much the same but with time and a few more lessons and an interview he will totally committ to baptism.
Wow I dunno what else to say we have just been so busy I'm pretty tired hahahaha. Still really loving studying the very basics about the gospel like repentance and baptism. It's so special to see the spirit testify to peoples hearts and see them change in front of you. I have been realizing that the more we center our teachings on Christ, the more spiritual the lessons are. I love reading His teachings.
Ok still loving it a ton here in Lebu. It could definitely be my favorite sector I think! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!
Elder Trevor Smith
like i said my camara broke. not sure if would be better to send me one or for me to buy one let me know. I'll be checking out prices here I guess. also today for the 4th we ate pancakes 😄
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.