So this week was totally crazy again wow.
We started out pretty normal but we are just always really busy here in Boca Sur and can never find time to do all we have to. One reason for that is that our apartment is pretty far away from the part that we actually work in so we have to walk like a half hour or take a bus to get therre and back. Well truthfully it is a blessing that we don't live where we work because that would be interesting.
One cool thing about boca is that the ward is totally full of return missionaries and other priesthood that is willing to come with us to do pretty much anything so we can swing splits almost every day! We have pretty much just been contacting with them for right now but it's been really cool. It's awesome to see so much willingness to serve here. Recent converts are also really awesome to come with us and excited to do it. For example recent convert Nacho is 17 and loves to come out with us. He is really special and has an awesome conversion story. He will be a missionary I'm pretty sure of it.
The bummer though is that despite a ton of work to try and find (which is generally really easy here in boca) we ended up pretty dry as far as new investigators which I think has to do with post 18th festival syndrome or something like that. Who knows. I think we need to organize ourselves better, use our talents more, and seek more inspiration too. It will work out it was just kind of a slump week.
One kind of funny thing was that Tuesday the APs asked us if we wanted to do splits and we said yes of course but we thought that it was going to be in our sector hahahaha turns out when Thursday rolled around we had to go over to their part of san pedro and work there all day hahahahah we lost another entire day of work hahaha. Well I guess we will just trust that our act of kindness will bring us blessings. Their sector was really cool and full of families and we found and taught one which was fun. It's a really peaceful nice (and rich) part of the city and full of a ton of nice people so we were talking to everyone in the street and they were all really nice to us and really receptive. It got our faith all elevated to do the same thing in our sector but when we tried it we remembered that our sector is generally populated by less fortunate (and sometimes scarier) people and it didn't go so well hahahahaha. A few too many drunk people I guess.
Saturday was really cool because the whole zone and the stake did a big service project in a branch of the stake called Santa Juana. It was really cool. They had a bunch of stands about diferent stuff and offering a lot of different services etc. I got some other singing elders together and we made a barbershop quartet thing which was really fun and we got together a bunch of hymns. My comp is a clown (literally) so he dressed up and entertained a bunch of kids from the neighborhood and did a show etc which was awesome. A bunch of other missionaries did proselyting and a bunch of other stuff too. It was really cool.
Sunday was just normal but our ward has some serious struggles with retention and union so we are trying to work with the ward council etc to fix some of that stuff. The amount of work for this ward is kind of overwhelming so we are trying to help out
With that we did see a lot of success with some less active members we have been teaching recently. Two families we have been teaching came this Sunday and seemed really happy there, so that was really cool to see. There is a lot of more work to do there so I think we mostly just need to organize our time better to also be able to proselyte more too. I'm sure we will find new people to teach in that way too as usual.
Elder Gomez might be my favorite comp. He's great. It's just been total smooth sailing. I actually think our main problem right now in our work is that we are working too hard. Truth is we have 30 missionaries to lead, a big chunk of the ward's well being, and our normal proselyting on our shoulders and I can tell we are working at maybe too fast of a pace. We are both pretty crazy exhausted and it's taking an effect on our ability to think and work. Not sure what to do about that really because usually the solution to most problems on the mission is just to work harder but i think it's obvious that that is not a solution in this context hahaha. I'm not sure. I'll just try and eat better and rest better and plan better I guess. We definitely need to take it easier or we won't be able to help anyone else. I'm pretty scatterbrained right now.
Hey mom can you send me like really basic recepies of stuff you dont need an oven to make? emphasis being high nutrition low cost hahaha. Half hour or less stuff. I need ideas and guidance.
Ok so sorry if this letter is dry. Love you all and im grateful for the birthday wishes! I think we will put an FHE together and do something like that wednesday. Love you all Im doing great!
Elder Trevor Smith
i dont usually carry my camera around here so pics are tough. ill do better tho
Wow this week was crazy and felt really long. A ton happened.
First of was all the goodbyes in lebu which were rough but not as bad as i thought. I could pretty much squeeze everyone in by the time i had to leave and i got packed up all nice for the transfer.
After that Tuesday we came up to conce and waited for all the missionaries from the zone to get their comps etc. which took a really long time. Elder Gomez is awesome. He is way funny. I'll have to send a pic next week, but he is great. Pretty much more than half of our 30 missionaries are new in their sectors, so that's crazy. Like 25 of the 30 have less than a year in the mission too which is also crazy. Two of our 3 district leaders are first timers as well, including Elder Meiling my trainee -- hahaha that was a really cool surprise. The good thing is that all of the missionaries are really excited and dedicated to the work so that's cool. After they all got off to their sectors we finally got to our apartment which is really really nice and on the 5th floor of a building hahaha it's really cool and big. Then after that that day I got to know the sector a little bit.
Ok so Boca Sur has 6 missionaries divided into three different parts of the ward. It's a really big sector even divided. I think our sector alone has had 20 baptisms SO FAR this year which is kind of ridiculously enormous for our mission, but we are having some problems with retention and working effectively with the ward, but we are working on that. A large part of my work here will be reactivating recent converts and working with them but it's ok because a ton of new opportunities will open up too. We are always, always way busy. There is just a ton to do and a ton of people to teach.
The sector itself is not like anything else "'ve been a part of on the mission hahahaha it's totally crazy. It' somewhat poor and there are always a ton of people just outside and something is always happening. I don't know -- it's hard to explain but it's like there's just a different energy in the air here that is totally crazy and exciting 100% of the time. Some parts of it are a little frightening but everyone tells me that the missionaries live in their own bubble and that nothing happens to them and I believe it so I'm not scared ever or anything like that don't worry. It's mostly just really fun here and the people are really humble and nice. There's a ton of converts too that are really excited to help the work too which has been cool. We do a lot of divisions here and can get a ton done in one day. It's been intense.
Truth is that I only really worked in my sector like a total of 2 days because so much other stuff has been happening. We had another leadership council Wednesday, Intercambio Thursday after a district meeting, and then the 18th de September holiday made it so that we had Saturday, Sunday and Monday free, which was way different from last year and really weird. We had the ward party on Saturday which was just all kinds of killer with all good Chilean traditions like cueca, food, kites, games, music, jokes etc. Everyone teases each other a ton here. I feel like there are so many people that I still don't know anyone hahahaha around 180 people attend here which is huge for our mission. it will be fun to get to know them all if we get the time to do it.
Sunday after church we passed by some recent converts' houses and ate all kinds of asado and empanadas and made ourselves kind of sick. We had to be in the house early and we hung out for a while and went to bed. Monday we played some volleyball and ultimate frisbee with the zone and then monopoly after which got pretty intense hahaha. It was wierd to rest for so long and it kind of set me off balance and made me want to get back to work again honestly. I felt like I didn't really have a purpose for a while there it was super confusing.
Today we had a zone conference and taught the zone how to plan lessons better and how to study and some other basic stuff that a lot of new missionaries don't learn how to do until way too late in their missions so hopefully that turns out. The APs are in our zone so they helped out with their lesson and a few of the other missionaries did some stuff too.
Oh ya I had my first ward mission correlation meeting WHOOOO only 14 months into my mission too hahahaha! That will be a new cool thing I've never gotton to do before! the ward mission leader is a return missionary who got back like a month ago so that's cool.
Truth is I dont really know our investigators yet except for a few that I hear are progressing but I'll have to let you know more about that when I can wrap my head around everything and get to know them better. We have just been crazy busy.
Wow my brain is kind of fried and I'm pretty tired. I'm going to have to take it easy for a little I think. Mostly it will just be really nice to get to know my sector and getting back into the routine of things will help me feel more relaxed.
As far as spiritual learning goes I'm learning a lot about the power of delegating hahaha. I have also been studying a lot about what it means to "know" Christ as the scriptures mention a lot. I think it means a lot to be able to say that we "know" Christ, or maybe that it's something more perpetual than something that we just accomplish. I guess it has to do with conversion too.
Ok well I'm loving it here and loving the challenges I have. I have really seen how the Lord will consecrate our work and our efforts so that they turn out better than we can do ourselves.
I got my birthday package too! Haven't opened it yet of course so I'll let you know.
Love you all
Elder Trevor Smith
Hey ok so you already know the cambio news kind of thanks to Lebu chains of communication. haha.
Ya ok so I leave tomorrow in the morning to go to Boca Sur! It is part of the San Pedro zone so me and Elder Gomez (different from my old comp Elder Gomez) will be in charge of around 30 missionaries I think. It's the biggest zone in the mission so it will be a big change from here in Lebu, but it will be really cool. Elder Diaz actually served there for a while so he was able to tell me a little about it and it sounds awesome. It's kind of a famous sector in the mission for a lot of reasons. For one I think it's one of the top 3 baptizing sectors so that's cool! We will see how that goes. It's aparently a really big and killer ward too of like 150 people which is big for our mission. I might as well be honest and tell you right off the bat that it's kind of sketchy too but nothing crazy hahaha. It's going to be way different from anything I've experienced so far and I'm excited. I actually already know Elder Gomez and he is really cool and funny. He's from Argentina and really cool so no worries about that hahaha. I hear the house is good too and I'll be really close to the mission home etc. I'm way excited!
The bad news is that I'm leaving Lebu boooooo. Way too short here. I was pretty bummed and really surprised to find out. I know it's the revelation though so it's ok. If there is one thing I've learned about being here it's that these relationships with these families is eternal so honestly I'm not too sad. Also with skype and everything now it's really not hard at all to stay in contact with everyone. At this point it really wouldn't be a stretch to say that a child of mine will serve here in years to come either.
The main rough part is just saying goodbye. It's hard enough in other sectors but I'm kind of dreading the rest of today. I just hope I'll be able to communicate to them all how much i really do care about them. This place is just holy ground for me and for all of our family now I think. To say that this is the end now I think would be pretty ridiculous considering the circumstances. I don't know. My brain is still after 3 months trying to get around all the profoundness and purpose of my being here and I still haven't figured it out. It's sad to go but it's ok. I guess those are my thoughts about it. I just wish it wasn't so short! It's going to be so hard for me to think about walking over the bridges here for the last time or feeling the wind from the ocean for the last time, let alone thinking about seeing these people for the last time. On the other hand as I've mentioned I'm pretty determined that it will not be the last time.
The APs kind of explained to me the reasons about why im leaving and it mostly has to do wiht that the San Pedro zone needs help and that after praying about it they felt confirmed that i needed to go there. Thats comforting at least. One half of me is sad about all of this and the other is really really excited for Boca Sur. I hear its totally awesome there. Its giong to be fun to be so busy and to meet so many missionaries there too.
There is a saying in the mission that if you're comfortable, you're not growing. I'm pretty comfortable here in Lebu hahaha I know that the challenges I'll face in Boca will help me grow.
Anyway. enough about all that. This week wasn't super eventful. B and P were out of town or busy all week so we couldn't connect with them but we did find a couple other young MARRIED couples here that we were really excited to teach and who seemed really interested. They will go far here w Elder Diaz and his next comp. We did a lot of service this week too including painting TA's house and helping move cement and weird other random stuff here, but that was fun.
We had a zone conference with President and Hermana May which was really cool. We learned a lot and I think my training segment went well too, so that was fun. I liked a thing that President shared about how Nephi making a new bow when his broke really wasn't a very complicated or dificult solution to their family's problems, but that it made a huge difference. I really love the missionaries here too and it's been so cool to be able to help them.
Well I guess I will let you know more about my next assignment and everything next week. We will be writing Tuesday and not Monday FYI because of the 18th (Independence Day) which should be really fun and crazy in my next ward. I guess I'll have new investigators to talk about too etc etc. Sorry if this letter is boring! I'm kind of braindead from all this cambio news.
I think a big lesson I've learned here in Lebu is a saying that Hermana May uses a lot, which is that God is in the details of our lives. I keep being amazed by how well He knows each one of his children and knows exactly what we need and how we can help each other during this life, and he doesn't hesitate to put his hand in and shape our lives if we let him. Our futures hold so much for us, and God's plan for each one of us can be very intricate and beautiful.
Ok well I better go face the music and start saying my goodbyes. The hardest part will be saying goodbye, but I mostly just have to trust that God will take care of them all.
I love you all and am greatful for your letters and prayers and miss you too. I pray for you a lot! Congrats Debbie again!!!
Elder Trevor Smith
Lebu Branch President Silva and family.
Sister Olga Oporto and son. Scott taught her husband, Leoncio Oporto, who passed away the week Trevor arrived.
Sister Munoz and her daughter Ximena. Ximena and her sister Lorena were Scott's first contacts in Lebu and joined the church during its first month in Lebu. Brother Munoz was one of the first priesthood leaders there.
Saturday at Tamara Alarcon's house. Tamara also served as a missionary in Osorno and returned just before Scott and Wendy re-visited in 1992.
The Ulloa-Oporto family. Vinka's family joined the church during its first year when Vinka was only 5 years old. Trevor taught and baptized their daughter.
Gorge Chandia. Scott met him, but he was baptized later, along with his family. A great support to Trevor. Says he's eager to meet our grandson "Elder Smith" when he serves in Lebu someday.
Ok this week was pretty bland again sorry guys.
We went to Curanilahue on Tuesday after the district meeting to help find some new investigators for one of the companionships of hermanas there and that was fun. It's really huge and there are a ton of houses so we found some cool people and scaled some really big hills. I like getting to see new places and exploring them it's way fun. It was funny because we all of a sudden both had to go to the bathroom really bad and were VERY far from home and we got in a house by asking for the bathroom and handed off the reference to the hermanas hahaha hopefully they don't find out what happened -- that would be embarrassing jk. That night we took the bus home to Lebu.
Wednesday was pretty average and we had to go to branch counciM and I think we were able to help there. We are working on a choir w Hna Ximena muñoz for the branch conference we will be having here soon but hopefully we both stay here for another cambio because I'm directing kind of and Elder Diaz is playing piano hahaha. Regardless it will be a good thing to get the branch excited and to help them get something together as far as music goes.
Truth is our pool of investigators had pretty much dropped to a hard 0 by Thursday. Even M. kind of dropped out which was pretty sad. We are trying really hard to look for more people with few results right now but I think it was an attitude problem last week. Truth is the people are really religious here and usually don't want much to do with us. Even the guitar has yielded few results but we are going at it still! We had a few long days of door knocking this week but we are also trying hard to train the members on how to do missionary work and invite people etc. Hopefully that turns out well. I know things will be better this week because we really need to find some miracles for the next transfer. I'm trying really hard to keep pushing. Sometimes we're a little discouraged but it will get better. The sad part is that the other companionship here in Lebu is even worse off than us. It's just discouraging to see that after 5 weeks here in both companionships we have made little progress.
The good news is that I'm learning a ton about how despair and self pity are totally tools of the devil that we often do not see coming. I'm learning a lot about how to keep the attitude up and how that effects our results and the example we give to the people around us. I'm especially trying to give that example to the three missionaries I live with because they are essencially passing through the same circumstances. I also think a lot of what's going on here has to do with how we are using our time so I'm going to try really hard to figure out how to use each hour of the day in the most effective way.
At the end of the day we still have so much to be grateful for too. It's been absolutely beautiful here lately because it's been really warm and sunny for some weird reason so that has been a fun treat. We have been walking around in just our white shirts without sweaters or anything. Lunches here are always fantastic as well, we finished our fast this Sunday w Hermana Tamara Alarcon which was great.
The coolest news and events this week is the progress of a yound couple B. and P. and their baby M. who we hadn't been able to find for like 2 weeks. B's mom is a member who is inactive but we had a very spiritual lesson this week with them and they accpeted the invitation to church right away so that was really cool. They came to church and there baby was super chill the whole time and didnt cry once for 2 hours which was pretty miraculous. Hopefully they liked it! We will see what happens this week. They cool part about them is that B. has a ton of doubts and questions which sounds like a bad thing maybe but honestly to us it shows that he really understands the importance of all of this, and shows that he doesn't think of religion and faith as just like a social think like a lot of people in Chile think. Truthfully when people have a lot of questions our job is easier because they are in a place where they will really truthfully look for revelation in a meaningful and personal way so thats really cool. I'm really really excited for them.
I've been studying the sermon on the mount a lot again and I'm really loving it. I think the thing that impacts me the most, and that is really a central part of Christ's and Jon the Baptist's teachings is that our status as members of the church or even our testimonies are not what will save us in the end. The only true thing that will make the difference in our salvation (after Christ's personal sacrifice and grace of course) is true, righteous actions and living. I just think thats such a powerful and important message for Chile and especially for the church! I'm trying to apply it to my own life as a missionary and not act as if just "being" on a mission will make a difference in my life, but remembering that it is my own righteous efforts and doings that make the difference. I think being a Christian (or Mormon if you want to say it) is not really a status or even an adjective, but it's more a way of living. Or at least thats what I think they taught. I'm going to try harder with that this week.
Shoot sorry if it sounds like it was a hard week or I'm being negative. Still dont see the point in saying something that isn't the truth hahaha. It will all get better though that's for sure. One cool thing is that we will have a zone conference this week with the assistants and the mission president so that will be really cool. I'm going to give a training too so I'll let you all know how that goes. This cambio has gone so fast I feel like it just slipped through my fingers. It's been great despite it all though. I love Lebu and I guess we will see what happens with the transfers this week and I'll let you know. The most likely thing is that everything stays the same though hahaha who knows though my transfers are always kind of loco.
Ok this computer is frustrating me and I've already talked a lot so more next week. Love you all and hope you are doing great! I love your letters! Congrats Debbie on Australia -- how cool is that! They are going to love you!
Elder Trevor Smith
Elder Trevor Smith
Elder Trevor Smith is a Mormon missionary in the Chile Concepcion Sur mission, the same mission where his dad served. Although this is Trevor's own mission, he grew up hearing about the beautiful land of Chile and the loving people that inhabit it. These are the letters from his experience there.