Love your letters so much seriously! Write as much as you want, printing is way way cheap! Also the package came a week ago. It took all the willpower I had to not open it until this morning. I snuck out my sleeping bag and Birkenstocks early, and they are seriously life changing. Wow! Sleeping bag is such a luxury here! Also all the candy is so great wow! I feel super wealthy or something now. Such a good birthday -- more on that later.
First thinks first some bad news that Z. didn’t get baptized boooooo. Her family totally all ganged up on her and she told us she doesn’t want to cause more problems in the family right now. She had a cake for us when we showed up, which is kind of what Chileans do to soften the blow hahahaha. At first we were super bummed, but I think the Spirit testified to us both that we had done our part sufficiently, so we didn’t feel like we messed up or guilty or anything. We pressed forward really well and it took a few days but I’m still really happy for her and everything. I think as missionaries we want everything here and now, but that rarely lines up with the people’s time tables and the Lord’s at the same time. Her testimony is still super strong and I have no doubt shell get baptized eventually. Just hope I’ll get to be there!
This week was really good but a little long. hahaah We worked really hard! We were so exhausted on Saturday and Sunday, but feeling a little better now hahaha. We are just working really hard. It’s awesome. I’m so excited to read your letters. I’m super happy here and loving every moment.
So we taught more lessons this week it was good! We have a few new people that like to meet with us regularly. One family is super good but has a long way to go. They are super super receptive and love us to come over and learn really quickly. M. and P. with a little 9 month old adorable daughter. They are so awesome and super nice! They live super far away kind of in the campo and they are nice enough to drive us home after lessons to help us avoid taking a collectivo which is kind of like a taxi with a route that we use all the time to get around. They are super cool. The problem is that they aren’t married, and that’s a huge problem in Chile. Like I said they have a really long way to go, but we are confident the Lord will work miracles with them. One other problem is that M. plays soccer on a pretty serious team every Sunday which is a bummer and can’t come to church. They are still super awesome -- pray for them maybe! They are super interested in getting closer to God, and are even willing to change a little bit for that hopefully so we are excited for them!
Hey -- where did Ron and Beverly serve here? I’d be really interested to know! Also, Dad some people are asking for a pic of you when you were here, so send me one! I loved the story about Gayla's family -- so cool! Also S’s wedding -- wow that’s so exciting! Also it sounds like Alex and Christian are doing super good so happy for them! I’m sure Chile has just changed so dang much though.
So we were in these people’s house and their two little kids who were like 2 and 3 were just playing with a lighter lighting a bunch of stuff on fire in the house! It was pretty funny, scary, and distracting all at the same time ahhaaha. Chile is crazy. Elder Y. also lit elder P’s towel on fire with the stove we use for heat - it was crazy! It was an accident but it was like totally going up in crazy flames in our room. I’ll send a pic of it. Pretty funny.
So the members in our ward are just so amazing. Probably the best ward in Chile honestly. Everyone is so awesome. Hma D. is especially my hero here she’s so cool! She got baptized here in LA in 1975 Dad, so you might know her! We had a delicious lunch with her, and she shared us her super sweet conversion story, which she said she had never done before with missionaries but did it because she felt we were special. She is so strong and so faithful, and totally understands the concept of doing hard things for the Lord with strength. It was so spiritual in there. It’s funny because this week we ate one lunch with her, one with her daughters family, and one with her grandsons family, all who are super awesome, kind, strong, and serving in super awesome callings in the ward. It was so cool to see that one person’s faith and devotion to the church has had such an impact on all of Chile! All of her kids and grandkids are spread all over Chile serving as stake presidents etc etc. She is totally my hero and gave us exactly what we needed that day. Love that lady.
So my studies have been centered on faith and hope this week, and it has been super awesome! My favorite scripture I’ve read on it is Ether 12:4 (thanks Cassie) which pretty much says that if you believe in God you must also have a firm hope in a better world. I love that so much. It’s a beautiful scripture. I think too often as members we look at the world and view it as condemned or sinning or doomed but in truth we can have hope in a better world because Christ lives today. It’s especially important as a missionary because we are essentially the foot soldiers of bringing to pass that better world. We are the only dispensation that has been promised that our work and missionary work will end with success. How cool is that! Let’s try to have better attitudes about the future. It’s especially important because often as missionaries we say to ourselves "these people will never listen" or that their hearts are hard, but we can’t do that! I think that faith is the biggest thing that separates Nephi from his brothers, and is the root of all miracles in all of the scriptures. We are just trying really hard to maintain our faith until the miracle presents itself to us.
Earlier in the week we went and did some tracting for the Zone leaders in their sector to help them out, kind of a mini attack. Their sector is probably the only one in our zone harder than ours and it was pretty rough hahaha! It made me really grateful for my sector. I really do love it though - I won’t mind staying here for a while longer. I can’t believe my first transfer is already almost over! It went so fast wow!
My birthday was awesome. We got together with the Zone leaders who are our really good friends and cooked a ton of grilled cheeses! Like 30! We ate them together with a bunch of ice cream and it was super fun. The best part of my birthday will totally be reading your letters though!
Love you all so much! Sorry it was kind of a boring week! I’ll have more to report next week. Thank you so much for your prayers and letters and everything! I miss you all a ton!
This week was super good! It was so good to hear from you all and read your letters. I love it! Keep them up! They always answer my prayers too!
Loved hearing about Labor Day! Sounds so fun to just hang out all together! Poor Mal with his foot now. How is he doing? Shish sounds way good its cool that he is all the way off in Santa Cruz now! All the mission calls are super cool too! Give me all of their emails please. Also I can't believe Scott Harrod is going to Ghana -- what a crazy call! What language? Also do my friends read my letters? Also can you send me some of their email addresses from the list so I can email them a little? Crazy that Fletcher is in the field now too so cool! Is Chris Jones in the mtc? Can I have his letters too?
Macy here’s some answers to your q's. There is a ton of dogs and cats here, wild and not. I really don’t like the non-wild dogs though because they’re super mean and gross and bark like crazy at us. The cats are pretty chill though. Church is crazy small! We only have like 80 members who come every week, which is actually really good for Chile! I love them all though they are so great! Ton of crazy kids too and old ladies. Asado is my favorite food here, which is just kind of Chilean bbq. I think they stole it from Argentina though. We eat a lot of soup and a lot of bread hahaha. Also it's good you write a lot in English because the best way to be a good writer is to practice practice practice. It's fun when you get to a point where you can even be expressive in your essays. I’m so glad you love school! Stay that way!
It was awesome to hear about Ron's tip to the car wash guy. hahaha. Its crazy how some super small sacrifices by us can make such a huge difference to people. We should all look more for opportunities to do stuff like that.
This week really turned around from our last ones too! Thanks so much for your prayers in the last weeks I know they helped. It wasn’t like the most amazing week ever, but we got really blessed and found around 5 or 6 good new investigators so we should have a few people to teach in the next few weeks. Most of them are total miracles too. I'll talk about that later too. I totally know our prayers, work, and patience were payed off this week. Plus honestly I’m glad most of my mission has been contacting so far because now I’m really good at it for the time I have here. Plus it's kind of the hardest thing and now it just feels normal hahaha so every lesson we have is a total blessing and miracle. The ward comments pretty often on how hard they can tell we are working, which is cool. Plus after the 18th we are starting to have a super good relationship with them now. They are all awesome, but more on that later.
Thank you so much for my package too! I know it was probably a little pricy but it will be such a blessing to have a sleeping bag hahaha. The candy etc. too. No idea when I'll get it --honestly it's totally random here. I also haven’t gotten bitten by a pulga for 2 weeks now thanks to that spray.
So dad we do have a mission plan but no mission leader in our ward, which is hard. Our ward is super awesome and pretty big for Chile but the problem is there aren't a ton of men, so the most active men are already in leadership positions with the bishop and have their hands totally full. We think we might be getting a new ward mission leader soon but we don’t want to nag our poor bishop who really is super good. We have been inviting members to act on the stake goal right now, which is to invite friends to come to church. We are working on asking for references and people to teach in better ways, and especially by helping the members to be the missionaries, not us. Also dad we aren’t even allowed to take once hahaha or drink mate. It makes it kind of complicated and hard to meet with members sometimes but lunch is always a good opportunity. Our ward is pretty old too. Not a lot of young people at all. Mostly abuelitas who are awesome in their own ways. We also do "rescate" which is like a less active list we work on finding people with.
We really have received a ton of miracles last week, which is super cool. For one Z. will almost for sure get baptized this Saturday! There is still some stuff up in the air but it’s almost for sure. She went to the "campo" this weekend to talk to her parents but right now we aren’t sure how it went so we will know tonight. Please pray for her this week! Pray that she will get baptized the 26th specifically! In the temple too if you go.
The 18th was totally the biggest event this week. Before that we did our "zone attack" and found a few good new people to teach, plus a couple other awesome people the next two days. Not really sure what they’re like yet because we only have taught them once, but we will see this week. Hopefully all good though. This week we will get to teach M. again, and we are super excited for that! I'll let you know a little more about investigators next week.
The 18th is crazy here! Our sector seemed totally empty for like 3 days! Everyone was in the "campo", which pretty much just means out of town or with family etc. The streets were totally empty! The 18th itself was the holiday and our pday, and we spent the morning playing soccer as a zone in the morning with LA South as well, which was fun, but playing against Latinos is pretty humiliating. It was fun to see everyone though. Then me and Elder P. spent pretty much all of our afternoon with the S's here, who are like our favorite family ever. They are a youngish couple with 3 little kids, and are just super nice, cool, fun, and active in the church. We ate asado which was super delicious and just hung out talking about Chile and the US and a ton of other stuff, just laughing our heads off. They are super cool and definitely my favorite people I’ve met in Chile so far. We are kind of secretly praying that Hmo S. will be called as our ward mission leader, but it’s kind of a long shot. He just got released as the stake young mens pres. It was just super fun and relaxing to feel like normal people for once. Felt like home a lot. After them we went to the Galvarino ward party, which is the ward right next to us. There were some nonmembers there and it was our pday so they invited us.
The next day was our ward party, and it was so fun! It was super good to get to know the whole ward better and show them that we are more or less real people hahaha. I think after that they will be more excited to work with us and help us. It was so fun though! I love everyone in our ward! They are all so good natured, kind, and so dang funny! It seems like every Chilean tradition on the 18th is just another way to laugh at each other or to humiliate yourself and the people around you hahaah. We did games like 3 legged races and tug of war, and everyone participates, even moms and old ladies. The bishop totally cheated and pushed me and elder p down during the 3-legged race when we were winning. Pretty much every game ends with people falling on the ground. Another more or less tradition of humiliation is the cueca, which is their national folk dance. Pretty much everyone has to participate, and it ends up being really funny. We didn’t though of course hahaahah. The coolest part was that the ward put together a full on Chilean folk band with two guitars, accordion, singers etc. etc. and played a ton of really cool Chilean folk music and cueca. I really like the music here and want to listen to more of it when I’m home. They fed us so much food it was ridiculous. A ton of pastries and stuff like that too. It was just super fun to know everyone better and joke around. They especially love to tease the missionaries so we were the but of a lot of jokes and games, which was super fun. We figured the more we show that we want to participate, the more comfortable they will be with us etc. We did a super good job at that.
Other than that our week was pretty much summed up by more successful searching, prepping Z., parties and the 18th, and a quiet Sunday where we planned for all of our new people. Pretty chill week. I have a ton of pictures so I may not write a ton more to be able to send them.
The earthquake sounds really bad in the north, but here there was pretty much zero fallout. No one I know felt anything so that’s good.
Today we went to Salta de Laja, which is a super cool waterfall here! Ill send a ton of pics. I also got a haircut so don’t nag me about that after you see my pics hahahaha.
I love you all so much and cant wait to share the experiences I will have at the baptism and teaching a bunch of lessons this week hopefully! Keep writing! Love you all!
First off I love all of your letters so much! I swear you all know how to help me even before I say anything -- so cool. All of you sound busy but like it's fun too.
Macy seminary is so hard I'm so sorry hahahah. You wake up way earlier than me we wake up at 7 here because Chileans love to sleep in and stay up late. hahaha. My call is definitely inspired. Also send me videos of your dances if you can -- short ones or something. Mrs Borges is awesome too! I think my best Spanish came from that class actually. Also what are some tips for sore feet? Like stretches or something?
Mom I think managing kids and keeping them focused is like the biggest mystery of the universe. I think if they really grow to like you that works the best. If that means breaks or treats or games at first that will help. Also get them to talk if that helps. If there is a naughty kid in a lesson we were taught to have them read or ask them a question or something too. I'll try to think of ideas tho. Also we just have a microwave and stove no oven hahaha. It is pretty getto too. I was thinking this week that I miss hanging out with you watching tv too!
Dad as far as LA goes it's cool but I can see that its kind of hard too. Rich people usually don't want to listen at all. Its pretty funny because we find our pass-along cards in the windows of stores and houses who aren't members which is pretty funny hahaha. A lot of people who we don't know call us Elders as well hahaha. Also since you know the people what's the best way to ask for references? I think the hard part is that our sector is small so no one knows a ton of friends there. Also I'm dreading summer hahaha I can tell it will be so dang hot here wow. I love the Grandma Maughann quotes too! Elder Smith II is a great title! Printing is way cheap so don't worry about length ok?
So this week was a ton of contacting again, even more actually hahaha. We are being really patient and faithful though, and are having fun while doing it too. We just have to trust that miracles come after the trial of your faith and keep working and obeying. It's frustrating sometimes to hear that disobedient or lazy missionaries have way more success, but I'm learning to not compare of course. Plus who knows maybe they put the best missionaries in the hardest sectors hahaha. I've learned that your success as a missionary really is how you and the Lord together view your commitment to the work and to obedience. I'm getting better at seeing my own success in this way. Plus we are serving our ward in a ton of ways, and others in ways we probably cant even see anyway. Yesterday we gave a blessing of healing to a sick sister for example, and it was a really cool experience.
Z. is doing good! We are just praying so hard that we will get to baptize her the 26th. If that happens the last few weeks will totally be worth it. This week is totally crucial for that though so we are working so hard on that.
I felt bad about being kind of negative last week because I don't really feel like that hahha. We did actually find some good investigators this week though! One is a super cute family whose kids are totally awesome! The moms name is K., and her son and daughter are 9 and 7. It was one of two new doors we got in this week, and we shared a video and the spirit was there strongly. The only bummer was that everyone was super excited to get together that Friday but when we went Karen was kind of upset about something and pretty much closed the door in our face which was way sad after a pretty gnarly week of walking and knocking. We still have a lot of hope for them though!
So we had a bif Zone conference this week with the Mission President and Hma Bluth and it was way good. The bad part was that the night before we found out they were going to come check out our house, so we had to clean like crazy into the night hahahaha. They were actually surprised by how nice it was. Not sure how we pulled that off
This week was even more contacting and walking etc etc. The Zone Leaders saw how hard we worked though and that we had very few results, so tomorrow we have an Attack of the Zone on our district hahahaa. A ton of missionaries from LA are going to come work for 2 hours here, and if that doesn't get us some new investigators I'm not sure what will hahaha.
The members here are still totally awesome though.
The thing I've been thinking about missionary work is that if the people here knew how hard we work, think, walk, study, pray, fret, talk, and devote ourselves to them, I think they would be flattered or softened or something hahahaha. The work would be easy! For example if K. knew how giant of a miracle it was to get in her house and teach her, I think she would let us come back every day! If people knew how bad it hurts us when they don't do their reading or don't come to church, or don't act when they know its true, they wouldn't do those things! Its tragic to us! It breaks our hearts but we keep going back! Over and over again! I then realized this week after some lessons from the President of the mission and other people that this is how the Savior must feel. He suffered infinitely, and has given many of us knowledge of the truth, but we still fall often, or neglect to read the scriptures or go to church. I know at least a infinitely small fraction of how that must feel now, and I think that's really the miracle of missionary work. We get to feel at least a little bit what He must feel like. In the words of Elder Holland, the work of salvation was never easy, and definitely wasn't easy for Him, so why should it be easy for us? As we work as missionaries and as members, sacrifice, and suffer a little bit, we gain a little bit of empathy with Him. This has totally given me a ton of strength this week. Check out the talk, I think its called the Atonement and missionary work. So good.
I hope my letters aren't too real for everyone. I guess I just think its ok to tell it like it is hahaha. Honestly though I really am enjoying my time here and I'm really happy, as tired as we are. We aren't discouraged at all, and are going to kill it this week! I still love my comm and my roommates. They are so fun.
SO this week is the 18th of September which is pretty much their 4th of July and its going to be CRAZY. People had flags up a week ago! We have Friday as our pday and just get to write today. It will be so fun though! We have a ward party on the 19 so that will be fun, and we have lunch with some really cool people the 18. We will stay safe though. Chilean culture and people are really interesting though. Its kind of crazy here hahahaha everything is way relaxed but dramatic at the same time I guess. For example on the main street of our sector there's a bar like literally right next to the elementary school hahahaha. I dunno its just a really different place but it's fun. We had some seriously good weather this week, and most days could see Antuco from the city.
I'm doing really great here and I love you all so much! Keep writing! Have a good 18th ahahaha.
Hey everyone! I read your letters from last week and am writing addressing those. hahaha! That’s probably going to have to be how it is from now on due to time limitations. I don’t have time to read and write everything in one hour so I have to print out your emails and read them in the week and then respond the next p day. They are usually Mondays btw but I guess here they are kind of flexible about changing them randomly based on needs so if I’m late one week don’t panic.
So I love all your letters so much! Don’t cut them down based on time needs either. It’s awesome to hear everything about everyone and I love stories about Chile Dad.
Also I’m not in Mulchen hahahaha. That’s how Chilean rumors start. From what I’ve heard from other missionaries, Mulchen is awesome and a total gold mine, so I would love to serve there eventually. I can’t wait to hear what Dad has to say about LA though. Back then it was two missionaries and now it’s two whole zones!!!!
So about my sector a little. It's really, really small, and kind of a wealthy-ish suburb. The ward is awesome, and we are trying really hard to get some references from them. The bummer is that our ward mission leader ironically is like super inactive. My comp was here last transfer and tried to contact him because he had never met him! This whole week was pretty much just crazy contacting. Every day for hours and hours. Usually we only have 1-2 lessons, sometimes three. We knock a lot of doors. The sad thing is that we made 197 contacts this week and pretty much found 0 new investigators. We aren’t really sure why, so this week we are going to try some other methods of finding people to teach. We really only have 2 good investigators right now, but they are way good. More about them later. Most of the people here are either old or rich or just kind of rude haha. Trying to love them all though. I’ve been able to do that I think despite the constant rejection. Pretty much everyone here knows us. I feel like I’ve already knocked every door here in a week and a half and I’ll probably be here for 16 more weeks! We are trying to just have faith and patience and continue on. I do like our sector a lot though.
My Spanish is good! I surprise pretty much everyone, which is funny. Most people say their trainings were way hard and long because they can’t speak Spanish but mine feels like it’s flying by, partly because my comp is awesome! I lucked out bigtime with him. I honestly feel super blessed to know this language this well. El Espiritu Santo y Don de Lenguas, no mas as they say in Chile hahaha.
It’s cold here but we actually had some super random warm days here strangely enough. Yesterday was my first day of rain, which is a miracle, and my clothes and equipment are super awesome! I’ve had no problems with rain or cold. I love all my gear! The only bummer is that I got eaten alive by pulgas or fleas here the last few days but apparently some sisters picked up my packages in Conce and are going to bring them tomorrow so that permetherin will totally save me. I have a new definition and understanding of the fiery darts of the devil hahahaha.
I can’t believe Macy is starting high school wow! So fun. She is way lucky she’s all on upper campus too she doesn’t have to climb the hill. Also I loved mythology hahahaha sorry you didn’t like it.
Ok so Z. is our kind of eternal investigator I mentioned last week but we made huge progress this week, or rather she did hahaha. She totally committed to talking to her parents the dieciocho, the 18th of September, a big holiday here. She is so converted and understands everything so well. We shared the story of Esther thanks to Dad’s email reminding me, and we compared her issue to how Esther was afraid to talk to the king, but could do it with the help of the fasts of her friends. We all fasted this week that she would have the strength to do it. She is definitely going to be baptized soon and will be my first baptism! I feel like I didn’t do much of the work but am so excited anyway!
M. is the only other person we are teaching right now, and the only really good investigator we have found since I’ve been here. She’s awesome! She is kind of a slow learner but has such a strong testimony of Christ already. She is totally already converted to him, and is in the process of converting to the Gospel as well. We have totally seen so many miracles in her come to pass. She surprises us with her faith and desire to change every lesson. She even said she was excited to read the book of Mormon and to go to church! That never happens!!! We have really high hopes for her. She is so sweet, but a little shy. The sisters of the ward were so good to her her first Sunday! They all greeted her and hugged her like a long lost friend! Broke my heart! This week we are going to try to build her faith and conversion really strong before we talk to her about all the commandments.
I met someone that knows dad really well! Hma O. F.! She said she did all the laundry of all the missionaries around LA while dad was here! She totally remembers him and I’m sure dad remembers her too! Her two children are J. and J., and she thought dad would remember them too. She was totally sweet, way funny, and a little gossipy to boot hahaha. She cooked a dang good lunch too. She said a ton of good stuff about dad. She said when I spoke in front of the ward last Sunday she felt like she knew me already, and said my Spanish was perfect which is just straight up flattery. Still pretty nice though and way cool experience. I ate in the same dang room with the same family as dad did! How cool is that! She says she was 36 back then if that helps.
The prayers of the people here break my hear in the best possible way. From the new investigators to the oldest members, all of their prayers are so sweet, humble, tender, and personal. The leave me with wet eyes almost every time. Hma O. prayed that angels would accompany us every step, and when M. prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true, the spirit just flooded into the room. I love the people here so much. They are already so close to my heart.
Probably the coolest experience that happened this week was just such a tender mercy. It may sound dumb but it meant so much to me. This family we had been teaching and working really hard for dropped us for pretty much no reason. We were actually less sad than you would think, because we had done our job of inviting and couldn’t do any more for them. Still it was sad, and we said a prayer outside of their house as a companionship that maybe one day they would come back. We were walking kind of discouragedly and Elder P. and I went into a little store because Elder P. wanted to by this little hostess treat thing called a tortasso. I wasn’t going to buy anything and said so when the cashier lady asked, but she gave us 2 on the house with a smile. I’m not sure if she could tell if we were sad or what, but I swear it was such a miracle to me at that moment and still is. I just felt so loved by the Lord, as if through her He was telling us we did our job, and worked a miracle through that lady to show his love a little bit. We thanked her really graciously and walked out the store, and I just felt overwhelmed by the love of the Lord. I could have sat down right there and cried it was so special to me. It is little miracles and mercies like that that happen so frequently on the mission.
The work is hard but so fulfilling and so fun. I love you all so much, and thank you so much for your letters and your love. I love it here, and both can’t wait to see you all again and am dreading the end of my mission at the same time. Can’t wait to read your letters! Thank you for your examples and your love.
We went to a volcano called Antuco today! It was so crazy because it was blizzarding like crazy! We could only stay there for like 25 minutes it was so bad! Coldest craziest most beautiful thing ever!
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.