Hey ok so this week was good!
First we did a gran intercambio and we pulled a fast one on everyone and sent 4 missionaries to Los Alamos and noone was expecting it so it was pretty funny. What happened is that Elder Duffin was living there like 3 months ago so he knows all about it so me and him worked there and two other missionaries. It was a fun day and cool to work in that sector again but the pulgas bit me. Intercambios are a lot of times kind of like a missionary slumber party despite all good intentiones. (also when I referred to "mate" night a few weeks ago it was referring to the cultural drink here mate, pronounced "mah-tay" but I can see where the confusion came from my fault). It was a good thing to get the zone more excited during the hump of the transfer. Now we are looking a lot better for baptisms as far as September goes as a zone. We have some killer missionaries here and some especially killer hermanas.
After that it was just the usual grind. We were kind of dissappointed to find that almost all of the investigators we had found the previous week kind of dissappeared so we started pretty much from ground zero AGAIN except for M. (more on him later). We did a lot of looking but little finding, but I think this week will be better we have some better ideas on how to do things here and have some member references cooking. A lot of our time is spent walking because in the end Lebu is a really big sector. I think if we had bikes we would be totally more efficient but whatever. Right now it's pura pie. We have been working a ton on the big hill of Lebu which is good because it's kind of untouched but bad because it's a hassle to climb up and down.
Interesting thing was that Saturday we found like a secret neighborhood behind the lebu hill which was cool. It's called a "toma" or a "take" in Ingles which is essencially just where a bunch of people are squating on the land. It's waaay out of the way but we found a really cool couple up there. They're older and really evangelical but they told us that they let us in but they had never done that before and that they just felt like they should have done it. we told them that was the spirit of course. We had a really powerful lesson about the atonement of Christ and cleared up some really special truths for them. That's the thing about evangelical churches here, they've strayed from the truth, but when the people have soft hearts and hear restored truth, it makes a lot more sense to them. Sometimes they actually believe in gospel truths without knowing that their churches actually teach something totally different hahaha. Anyway they were pretty cool and we will see where that goes. They have a car which is a big plus.
Other stuff. hmm. We randomly had some really nice sunny days here which was miraculous. Hopefully it keeps up. I worked with Elder Duffin again which is always awesome and we had a good day here too in lebu.
We got kind of lonely here this weekend becuase the district of Lebu had a temple trip! A huge number of members traveled up to Santiago Friday until Sunday morning so we were pretty alone. Our ride to look for M. Sunday slept in by accident and 5 minutes to the meeting starting Tamara Alarcon saved our skins and took us up the hill to bring him down! Totally saved us and him. I literally understand like 25% of what he says which is hilarious. As missionaries we get really good at inferring from context. He learns pretty slowly but he still has to make some changes before he is baptized so it might be a while but he is really progressing in his own funny way. When you go in his house now you can tell there is a difference from when we first got there. He's awesome.
Ok I hope you like the pics I sent. Today hna Tamara saved us a again and lent us her two bikes and we went on a pretty hard ride considering that lebu is like San Clemente in that it's in a valley, so we had to ride like straight vertical for a while and we are kind of Chilean bread chubby as is the norm here. It was really cool though and I will send more pics next week. No one got hurt ;).
I think I've mentioned Elder Montoya before but he is really classic Chilean funny. Like so funny. He does impressions of other missionaries which is probably not ok but really funny. He is a constant laugh.
I'm practising cooking! I have chosen to look at my failures just like steps towards progress but usually at the end of the month here we have to get pretty creative with what we end up with in the pantry.
I can't believe this cambio is ending. I hope I stay here more time! Lebu is awesome. Pretty evangelical, but awesome.
Me and elder Diaz are getting better as a companionship a ton. We realized that we are pretty similar and we were talking about how to get better as a companionship and after a lot of deliberation we decided that we just take way too much way too seriously, like every decision we make is the end of the world. That turned out to kind of be the secret to us being in union better. We have been able to totally tell the difference in our lessons now and so that's awesome.
I've been working really hard at listening to the investigators here. A lot of times as missionaries, we don't do that. It is so important. I've been thinking a lot that the people we teach and talk to all need to know, as soon as possible, that we are on their team. If they don't know that, we are failing. They also need to know that God is on their team. The quicker they can feel that, the more receptive they will be to the invitiations we give them. I'm working at it.
One cool thing about this week was to see the branch in a before temple and after temple way. It's like when they all got back there was just some kind of spiritual maturity there that wasn't there before. It was really cool and made me miss the temple a ton. We were talking as a house about how much we have progressed and changed for the better in the mission and how it's so cool etc and we realized that a lot of the change we attribute to the mission probably has more to do with the covenants we do in the temple, even though they don't get as much credit usually. Food for thought. It makes me want to think about what I promised God there more and try to magnify that stuff more than I do normally.
Ok I love you all thanks for writing. I'm doing great and excited to kill it this week.
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok hey all,
This week went by really really fast. We were really busy so I think that's why and taught a ton of lessons!
Tuesday I went to los Alamos with Elder Loose on an intercambio. I had heard a lot of negative things about that sector for a while but I thought it was pretty cool. The bummer part is that its really like 5 really tiny sectors rolled into one because it pretty much consists of 5 little pueblitos. We had some days of really beautiful weather here and Los Alamos kind of looks like some weird tiny town in northern Utah or something. We found a lot of new people to teach which was exciting too. I think it helped E Loose have a little bit of a more positive experience about his sector and I think it helped them throughout the week because they reported a killer week at the end. I really like training and helping other missionaries and then seeing them grow from it. They all end up having something to teach me too of course so that's always really cool. It was a good day but Elder Loose gave me his cold boo. I'm already better though. Also Los Alamos has a lot of pulgas (fleas) boohoo. It was good though.
In Lebu we started to find a ton of people all of a sudden, And almost all of them are actually interested in the message! It's been kindof miraculous. I think it has to do with a set of changes we made ,but it was really exciting to see. A lot of it has to do with our union as a companionship and attitude changes. Having a good attitude helps us be more receptive to the guidance of the Spirit. Example. We had like an hour to contact and find someone and I told Elder Diaz that we should go up Cerro de la Cruz (Cross hill? hill of the cross I guess). The thing is that its the biggest hill in Lebu and takes like a half hour to get up. We were walking up just kind of meandering and we finally got to this like secret neighborhood on top of the hill and went waaaay to the back amongst a ton of barking dogs and were about to turn back and knocked the last door and found a super nice little family!!! It was really cool! We have taught them like twice now so we will see where that goes. When we got back to the house Elder Diaz told me that the whole hour of looking he was just kind of brooding in his head and complaining about potentially wasting time and climbing the hill etc. and that he was super surprised and humbled when we found that family at the end. We decided that in that moment I was receiving guidance from the Holy Ghost and that maybe he was missing out on that because he was just feeling too grumpy. tI know that shoe's been on the other foot before, so we tried to apply that principle to the both of us this week and we saw a pretty big increase in our results, so that was really cool!
We are also working with a less active member and her two children and that's going well. The younger sister of the two loves to read so we got a Book of Mormon in her hands the first lesson and we are excited to see where she goes with that. Her brother is like 24 and we are teaching him and his girlfriend too so that is promising too. They are all really smart and have a ton of questions so that makes them pretty high priority. They will be in church this week if we die trying. It was funny becasue one day me and Elder Diaz were walking and he passed in his car and gave us a ride which was really nice.
We are also teaching M. still! He has a baptismal date for the 10th so he his making a ton of progress. He is only kind of half committed to it hahaha but we know that as he makes changes in his life and repents that he will feel ready by then and want to do it. It's crazy because at the beginning he wasn't following our message too closely but now he is getting stuff really fast. A lot of it has to do w Hno Florin accompanying us who has been a huge help. They knew each other from the mines a long time ago too. It was super cool this week in the church because we went to go pick him up w Hermano Florin and when we got to the house we were pretty scared because no one answered the door. We called him and he answered and he told us he was already in the church! We were obviously cutting it too close for his taste, so he got a ride down the hill with some acquaintance all alone! it was pretty cool. This time he stayed for the class too so that was good. He is awesome.
We are trying hard to have a better relationship w the members here as I said the last time. We are trying to use the worst hours of the day for tracting to take the time to visit people on the fly and do it in at least kind of an inspired way. Sunday all four of us did a lap and "caroled" to as many members as we had time for so that was a good move too. Tamara Alarcon has proved to be kind of a secret weapon blessing as well because she is a return missionary and has a car so in an hour and a half one night we got a ton done together. We are meeting with a few different single moms so bringing members has been super important. We didn't have a ton of success bringing the new people to church but a lot of times people need two weeks to make that committment so this week will be key for us.
Our zone isn't progressing too well this month but I think they will be getting better this week. We are going to be trying to do lot more intercambios aand maybe not just with the district leaders to try and give the example to the zone better. It's hard sometimes when we are all so spread out. I think a problem we had in the past and that the zone is now facing is that a lot of times when we find new people to teach we judge them on the first visit and don't go back or give them a real good chance. We made the change to not do that at the beginning of this transfer and it has been helping us a ton. We are going to try and help the zone to have the faith to do that too.
I finally met Lorena and Ximena Munoz´s mom Dad! She's getting on in years but is still really spunky and funny and really bright mentally. That was really fun.
We are getting to the end of winter here and slowly rolling into spring and it's starting to get really pretty here in Lebu. August means a lot of rain that stops and starts every hour or so but when it's not raining its really really pretty here. Some of the blossoming trees are starting and the river is rising and the grass is getting really green. Next week is supposed to be a really weird heat wave too so that will be a weird but nice change from the rain.
We went to a really cool forest today and I took a bunch of pics but this computer is really fighting me about uploading pics so they will have to wait to next week and I'll send a bunch of everything. I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a child of God these weeks. I think for me that knowledge is the really only true source of confidence for me. I was reading in the Pearl of Grand Price about Moses´s vision about when he saw all the earth and all of God's different creations. He asks God the purpose of all His creations, and God tells him that all of His purposes are to bring about the inmortality and eternal life of man. In other words, all of creation, this world and the cosmos and all the intricate processes and systems and details that exist all were created by God for the purpose of our eternal progression and eventual exaltation. The cool thing was that after reading that today I got to walk through a really pretty part of that creation and think about how important I must be to God, if He had set up all of that beautiful nature for me to walk through, then I thought about how important all of His children must be to Him, and about how in a very miniaturized way, right now God and my purposes are united. Pretty cool stuff.
Ok so this is long but it's been a really good week and I'm loving my mission. I have a lot of things I want to do before I get home and I want to grow in a lot of ways before then too. Loving it here!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok this week was pretty super normal butI'll try and think of some stuff to say. I usually don't have a problem as you all know hahha.
Ok so Tuesday we woke up really early and me Elder Diaz, Duffin and, Loose along with Hermanas Bently and Flores all went up on a roadtrip to Conce for that big leadership meeting we have once a month. It was cool to see a bunch of friends and recieve a ton of training too. We came home with a ton of new ideas and stuff to try with our zone and presented it all in a zone conference Wednesday, so that was really cool. We are trying big time to help our missionaries be their own agents and not be reliant on us as their leaders so that's been a nice change and I think it's working out. We were pretty exhausted the day after but the week just got better after that.
We spent a couple mornings helping Marcelo Oporto and his wife (son of Leoncio Jr) paint their house. They are now living in Hno Oporto Sr's house which is right next to Vinka so that was fun. I found out that Hno Oporto was a blacksmith and we got to see his whole shop behind the house which was pretty rad. He's so tranquilo, I can't picture him banging out ironworks in days gone by!
We have been teaching M! I think I mentioned him last week? He's a old retired miner who is super cool. He is really humble. He learns pretty slow and cant read but we are helping him get it all slow and steady. The thing is is that he is there for our appointments and follows through with the invitations we make so that makes him like 2000x closer to baptism than anyone else which is really cool when you think about it. The best part of it all was him coming to church. He said he would come no problem but Saturday night we found out the hour was changing in Chile and he didn't answer his phone so we couldn't tell him! We were pretty scared he was going to have no idea and get up late! We went w Hermano Florin in his truck waaay up the hill where he lives and we had like 5 minutes until church started so we were pretty worried and then as we drove by the house we saw M. standing there with his cane all dressed up in Sunday clothes waithing at the door!!! MAN I was so excited!!!! It was really cool. When we got to the church we felt pretty proud to show him off to the branch and it was even cooler because he knew a bunch of them back from his mining days! He seemed really happy but we will verify tomorrow and see. He is really special!!!
Ok other stuff. We have been trying to have more fun together as a house every nightand that's been a nice break and has helped us relate and be happier, which in turn helps us have the spirit more with us during the day. Short list of our activities is spa night, taco night, mate' night, restauration movie night, etc. I think the peak has been a mission version of monopoly I drew up on a piece of paper ( I won ;)). We just try and do something for 15 minutes at the end of every night and it really does help a ton. I've been really trying to not worry this week and it has helped a ton we are all way happier and more successful too.
We are still trying hard to have good relationships with the members here so that they are more likely to help us and it's been going pretty well. We have a fhe tonight w Hermana Olga and some other people so that will be fun. Yesterday Lorena and Cecilia Oporto were in town so we went over and taught Caroline a little review of the lessons with them which was really fun. We are also working w a list of less active families to try and find people who are already members of the church but who's families aren’t etc.
Lebu when it isn’t raining is really beautiful. Flowers are starting to come out. Every time I cross the bridge or climb the big hill I am always taken aback by how lucky and happy I am to be here. It's crazy how fast it's gone.
Other people we are teaching hmmmm. We found a family whose dad was baptized a long time ago in Antofogosta so we are teaching them now and they seem like they will progress. We are still looking a lot but its going better now slowly our pool of investigators is growing so that’s good.
I've been thinking a lot this week about how the Lord looks upon the heart. That means a lot to me now especially as im in charge of leading missionaries and helping them grow etc. I've been thinking a lot about the health of my own spiritual heart and what that has to do with my spirituality and happiness, and have been really enjoying meditating and practicing whith that. I think I'm learning about that with M. as well. It helps to try really hard to look at other missionaries' “hearts” when trying to know how to help them. The same goes for investigators too. I really want to have the purest and most good(?) (best?) heart I can have. I'm trying to care only about what the Lord thinks about me. It's freeing in a lot of ways and helps me feel more confident.
Shoot I'm running out of things to say. I love your letters! I love my mission too. A lot. It's just bliss sometimes. I cant believe I hit 13 months today but who's counting? I love you all too!
Elder Trevor Smith
Oh ya today was Elder Diaz's birthday so we bought him a cake and played ping pong which was fun. Also soccer. I'm learning more on how to cook and am trying to expand my ydiet so that has been fun too
Ok still trying to figure out this camera but heres two pics I've taken. I'm still trying to get back into the habit!
Ok so this week feels like a total blur. I'm pretty exhausted. A ton of work! So Tuesday we all went up to Conce to get our new zone and travel back to our little zonita. We got home at like 7, moved Elder Diaz in and then ate some food and that was pretty much it.
Wednesday we had our first meeting as a zone and got to work! (Shoot I'm really trying to think of eventful stuff that happened this week but im having a hard time remembering for whatever reason.) Like I've been mentioning pretty much our group of investigators has all dried up due to the baptisms, etc so we have been doing a ton of looking. Weirdly enough it has been pretty tough recently to get in doors which is strange for Lebu. Like really hard. I even pulled out the guitar again to little avail until the end of the week where it was too late for them to come to church.
Luckily we had already had the goal of working more with the branch to find people to teach and we have been trying really hard with that. We are aware that there are a ton of part member families and less active members here in Lebu but all four of us missionaries are new here so we don't really know who they are. What we have been doing is just asking people for names and addresses and trying to pass buy. Not a ton of luck yet but we are working on polishing the tactic. Trying to do new stuff always. We are thinking about doing an English class or ping pong tournament or something like that so we will be thinking about that. A lot of work to do to get our sector on track. We arent teaching a ton of lessons as of right now.
The zone is doing well but it's a whole different challenge with training a new ZL as great as Elder Diaz is. Also pretty tough when our own sector is having problems. We didn't see the results we wanted really last week so it's looking like we are going to land pretty far from our goal for this month of August but honestly it's almost kind of a relief to just be working for September now and have a preparation month. The zone is really good but almost everyone is adjusting to a new sector or a new comp or both. I love them all though! Our house is especially fun with Elder Diaz and Elder Duffin who got here with me and is from Smithfield Utah. I'm really exhausted though. I think a little sick now too. I probably need to slow down for a few days to be able to work and think here at 100%. We are going to Conce tomorrow for a training of liders too so that should help give us some guidance too.
Elder Diaz is super awesome and a great leader. He is from Cuzco Peru and is a really talented teacher and worker. He plays piano in sacrament too which is awesome! He is very funny too. Its going to be a great time with him!
I think I'm learning a lot about faith and paitience this week. I realized that what I mostly had to do this week was trust in the Lord and not panick hahahah and just keep up a good attitude and work ethic. Basic stuff I forget sometimes. I think finally Sunday when I stopped worrying it all came together and we finally found the people we needed to find so we will be able to teach them this week and give a good example to our zone. It definitely was not the easiest of weeks for a lot of reasons but not every week can be awesome. I think there is always a little bit of opposition right after and before miracles so I know this week will be better if I give myself the chance to relax a little and trust more in the Lord. Lebu is still awesome and we still have the help of the Lord in all things. It's been a fun week too.
Wow sorry I just feel way braindead right now not sure if I'm writing coherently. I also got to do an intercambio with elder Sterri from Northern California like 3 days into his mission which was really fun and gave me great memories of training 6 months ago with Elder Meiling.
The work is awesome and I'm loving it. Learning a ton as always and working on growing up little by little. Love you all and your letters.
OH YA explenation of the title of the email and funny story hahaha it happened yesterday so I could remember it. As a missionary you end up meeting a ton of crazy people because we talk to everyone. Me and elder Duffin on an intercambio entered a house with a pretty normal looking old lady but as the conversation went on and on it got werider and weirder. She told us she had a daughter in the US and said "let me find out where she is" and closed her eyes and just sat there. She started whispering "donde estas hija mia" etc and suddenly opened her eyes and said "shes with the missionaries!" DUH why didn't I think of that?! She told us that she can't leave the house much because everyone would ask her to bless and baptize them. We asked why and she said that she was the great Profeta Marta and that she was sent to the earth by the Father after Jesus and that he is her brother (true in the right context I guess). We just nodded and listened bewildered as she went on and on pretty interesting stuff. She started meditating to find out where her daughter was again and Elder Duffin whispered really softy "..florida... florida" to no avail she didn't hear I think. She was nice though and gave us some pan on the way out 😇
ok that's really it this time. I'll let you know if the camera is here yet!
Elder Trevor Smith
Picture of Sunday dinner with Tamara Alarcon and her parents. (Old friends of Scott's.)
Ok wow crazy week again whew it went by fast! Also this transfer already ended wow! Ok so i dont know where to start but ill try and figure it out. This cambio was totally crazy and really successful for me and we had a great time too. I cant wait to keep it up this next one. Ok so cambio news elder runyan went home (duh) it was pretty sad but he had extended his mission so it was about time. I really had never seen anyone finish there mission so well and so diligently. His last saturday he got to baptize A. too which is pretty awesome.
My new comp is elder Diaz from Peru! I dont really know anything about him but he just got called as a ZL so I'll be training him on that. I've heard a ton of good things so I'm sure he will be awesome. It will be way cool. Elder Gonzalez is leaving too but elder Dffin is coming to take his place and he is a along time friend so that will be crazy fun to live with him. Both of my district leaders are leaving which is sad but I know all the missionaries who will be in our zone and they're all really good so that will be awesome. Hopefully we can keep up the crazy miracles we are having here! We had 20 baptizms as a mission this last week end which is a lot and 8 of them were from our zone! Our little baby zone finished with 12 baptisms this month which is one per missionary! Totally a crazy miracle and we were all really pumped! Seriously our zone really deserved it because they were working really hard and obeying really well. I love them all! There is something different when 100% of the missionaries in a zone are working and obeying, and I think it was that that made the difference. We will be able to keep it up, if not this month then the next. It's going to be a great adventure again.
Ok so because of all the baptisms this last week we were crazy busy with the DLs doing intercambios for the interviews. Also Elder Runyan had his last interview with president which we had to travel a little for too.
We keep finding a ton of people around Lebu but they don't end up progressing like ever so I'm trying to make the shift to be able to work more with the members and branch here because they are all really excited! Hard part is that Elder Runyan didn't do too much member work and I've never really had a large unit to work with so I'll kind of be making it up as I go but it will work out. It all has to do with time management and visiting members at the right times of the day. Our branch here is really special so I'm sure there will be a ton to do like that. I think mostly we just need to communicate better. I think doing it prayerfully and in an inspired way might work too.
The biggest event of last week was A's baptism! It was really cool. The whole branch really knows him well now that he has been coming for like 3 months now and he is just kind of generally well known around Lebu so it was a big deal that he got baptized. He is a total character. He is like 65 years old, wears suits, scarfes, and a bouret (? is that how you spell that) and is really wise and knowledgable. He thinks a lot about what he is going to say and speaks really soflty and slowly and is just in general really cool. I think I mentioned now that he was already kind of Mormon without being a member of the church so really didnt have any problems with doctrine or the lifestyle, he just needed time to recieve revelation and feel repentant enough to feel comfortable taking the step of baptism. It was crazy because I swear that right after he was baptized he just looked like he had always been a member of the church. I got to confirm him and I really felt impressed to bless him primarily in his service to the church and in his relationship with the Saviour. I'm sure he will be a really important asset and worker in the branch for a long long time.
I'm excited for the fresh start of the new cambio because I really want to use my time better here and live up to my potential more. I just feel like I can do more. I really want to increase my spirituality and be that kind of example to the zone, my comp, and my house.
I feel like in the first 6 months of my mission, my learning, studies, and pondering were really centered on Lesson 1 or the restauration, in the second 6 months on the Gospel of Jesus Christ (lesson 3) and that now they are really centered on the plan of salvation. There is something about being a missionary and studying the basic doctrines of the church that is just unlocking a lot of mysteries and knowledge for me. I really love it. I've been thinking a lot about why we are here and where we are going and where we were, and I'm realizing that the baasic truths we learn in primary are so very special and that we often take them for granted. Some of the revelations taugh in the plan of salvation are answers to questions that people have for years and years. We are so lucky and we dont even know it!.
OK I'm starting to draw a blank here.... It's just been really great over here in Lebu and I'm excited for the next phase of the adventure. I'm trying really hard to keep growing my faith and to worry less. I learned a lot from Elder Runyan and I'm excited to learn a lot from Elder Diaz and the reast of my new zone. I'm doing great and am having a ton of fun. I'm excited to keep it up! We need some serious miracles this month but I think with prayer and the guidance of the spirit we will be guided to the people who need us this month and who the Lord wants us to find. Alright love you all and your letters! Hope you are doing great!!!
Elder Trevor Smith
sorry no pics dont have camara :(
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.