k here's my letter!
Cambio news this week was kind of a curveball: Elder Gomez is out of here to Angol (so glad I'm not him) and they closed our sector and put me and my new comp in Lagonillas, another sector in the zone. It will be a "whitewash" so we will be pretty lost for a while. Up until now there have been 6 missionaries in Boca Sur but they closed our sector so now there will be only 4, And now there will be 4 in lagonillas I guess. Pretty crazy and unexpected news after only having one cambio here in Boca but it's good news too for a lot of reasons. I think they did it mostly because lagonillas is totally a killer ward and sector. My comp is Elder Oxburrough (spellcheck)! I dont know him very well but he is a really nice guy. I'll give more details next week.
Ok so this week was pretty busy and good. Obviously now that we are both leaving pretty much all the work we have done this cambio we will be passing to the other elders here but I guess I'll go into our week anway why not. The coolest event is that the previous week we had tought a 15 year old kid on the doorstep and we went back and his whole family was there! His mom turned out to have been baptised in the church when she was 16 , but the dad and the two little brothers aren't members. We taught them a few times this week and they are totally golden. The mom is not very transparent about the fact that she pretty much wants her whole family to be baptized and in the church so that makes things pretty easy hahahah. We had a super killer lesson with a husband and wife in our ward that are the elders quorum couselor and beehives teacher and converts. How perfect is that!?!?! They got really excited about the youth programs of the church and the daughter almost went to a beehives activity etc. They are by far the coolest people we met all this Cambio and im sure that the other elders here will do great with them (DANGIT).
I did an intercambio with Elder Meilings comp Elder Cheney from Vancouver Washington and it was really fun. We were in boca and I was really proud to have learned how to get around in such a big sector and to know all the members blah blah blah the irony is now I'm leaving and I'll have to walk around lost for a couple weeks with Elder Oxy hahahaha. welp. Elder Cheney and Meiling are great friends and now I'll be conviviendo with them in lagonillas so that will be really fun and a weird throughback to the Cunco days w Elder Meiling. We also got to go to a baptism there on Saturday and it was really cool to be able to see how Elder Meiling helped the convert through the experience etc and think that I at least had some part in his entry to the mission. It was really cool and me and Elder Gomez were really impressed by the ward involvement and support and the irony of it all is that on the bus home we were talking about how we thought that someday the LZs of san pedro would be switched from boca sur to lagonillas and then opened the door to our house only to recieve the call that exactly that would be happening hahahaha. The Lord knows our hearts.
That's the weird thing about being really close to the spirit on the mission. This whole week as we rode around in micros and talked to members etc I couldn't shake the feeling that I was going to leave even though it was totally not the reasonable or probable thing to think. God really does speak to us through the Holy Ghost if we are connected to Him.
After that it was a lot of tough goodbyes for Elder Gmez (6 months here) and a lot of kind of awkward "we only kind of got to know you"s for Elder Smith (6weeks here). It was really cool to see how many wakes in peoples lives a really consecrated and pure of heart missionary like Elder Gomez could make, especially contrasted with the kind of lukewarm legacy that I left in such short time (obviously not because of it being me or anything, just becaus of the time here obviously hahaha). It definitely inspired me to try and make those kind of impressions on people in lagonillas now that I didn't have the time to do it here. Honestly the huge weight of thinking about having to fill Elder Gomez's really big shoes here in boca sur was on my shoulders all this cambio, so actually I'm really relieved now to not have to do it hahaha. He was really really loved here. I can already totally see that this is the will of God and I'm happy about this cambia.
I will be really sad to say good bye to some people. N. is probably the hardest one to say goodbye to. At least I'll see everyone in stake conferences and intercambios etc.
I've been really enjoying my studies lately again. I have been thinking a lot about what Pres Uchtdorf said in conference about how we walk on pathways of diamonds and treat them like pebbles. Our doctrine as Mormons is so profoundly perfect and simple. We do not appreciate the clarity that we have. It has been made very clear to me as a missionary as the mysteries of God have been slowly revealed to me over time. The sad part is that a lot of people do not want to have clarity in their lives for fear of having to act or change. On the other hand the knowledge i know have has certainly served me and the others i have taught and teach and will continue to do so. I love to learn the simple things about the gospel inside and out. As we do that it can become easy for us to help others learn those things in an organic and powerful way. I love being a missionary.
Our zone is still making slow and sustainable progress so that's good.
Welp it looks like my future cambio will be full of a lot of door knocking, getting lost, and walking walking and more walking. Lagonillas is even bigger than Boca wow. It's going to be so much fun though.
Ok thats kind of it. Love you guys so much! Its a bummer to not be at the wedding but its ok. Congrats! Send me a ton of pics please! Love you all so much!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok wow this week was crazy again here en la boca choica.
Ok so Tuesday was just pretty normal after I wrote. We keep doing a ton of divisions which is awesome but I think this week we are going to have to take it easy because I only know half of the investigators we have found because I wasn't with my comp a lot of the time hahahaha. Boca is huge and kind of maze like so I'm going to have to learn how to get around really quickly this week because elder gomey is almost for sure out of here and I'll be in charge. It's always lame when a missionary leaves a sector because the members generally have a better relationship with the missionaries who stay longer but in this circumstance it will be even worse because gomey has been here 6 months and is really loved by the people here. I'm just hoping that my next comp will be really friendly and that people will love him even though elder g probably won't be around.
We are having a ton of crazy spring weather with warm sunny days and then suddenly rainy stormy days which is crazy. It makes for hard planning more than anything.
Wednesday we had our zone meeting which turned out really cool. We had a few different trainings assigned to people but the hook was that all of it was focused on the life of Christ. For example we had one missionary teach about how Christ used certain teaching strategies that are found in PMG etc. The coolest part was that we did it outside next to a lagoon that is really pretty. The point was so that it could be like when Christ would teach outside and next to the sea of galilee etc. It was really cool! Only problem is that it started to rain a little bit but we were under a big tree and had umbrellas so it didn't turn out too bad hahaha. We mostly wanted to do something different. It was really cool and i think it helped a couple missionaries in particular so that was cool to see.
That day we also had a gran intercambio and we all switched comps for the day and some cool miracles happened in the zone. I went with an old friend elder k who is currently in the mission office so I worked there for the day. It was kind of weird and honestly I don't envy that assignment at all. The only cool part is that they have a car hahaha. I did get to see a lot more of conce and even more to the north to tacahuano etc. Pretty fun. We ate lunch at the house of the senior couple which was weird and surreal. It was so weird to eat familiar food and speak English over lunch etc. Bizarre. We had a good day though and thought of a few ways they can maximize their time in their sector working etc etc. Elder K is a great missionary from Holladay and knows the Sheets.
The next day we did another intercambio with one of the companionships in boca which wwas fun. It made me realize that the previous ZLs here probably divided all of boca in a kind of unfair way so we might be fixing that hahaha. Our part of the sector is kind of stacked and the others not so much. It was fun though and I got to know elder m well which was cool.
We had an open chapel tour in one of the sectors here which was really cool. It turns the normal chapel into a kind of temple visiting center thing and the ward got really involved too. It actually achieved a bunch in a sector that otherwise sees few results so that was cool. I would love to do that in other sectors including boca etc. We will see what we can do.
I'm really bummed that elder g is going to be leaving probably. We really worked well together.
Our whole zone got like deathly ill this last week except for me which was a personal relief. The hard thing about this zone too is that generally missionaries with health problems who are in risk of going home serve here while they are deliberating etc. It's really sad to see it. This week I tried really hard to apart some time to give support to some of those companionships and I really enjoyed helping them. A lot of times as missionaries we are the only people that investigators, converts, some members, and other missionraies have to talk to. I felt like this week especially me and elder g were called to bear others burdens and suffer with them. I feel like as a missionary my ability to empathize has grown a lot for better and for worse. It made my problems seem a lot smaller, but at the end of the week we felt kind of weary from it all. It was really nice to be able to take the sacrament and feel kind of renewed spiritually.
I think also that through all of that stuff and through the course of this cambia I've been learning a ton about agency. It's a really complex principle and has a lot to do with human suffering. It's a big theme in the scriptures too. Noe (Noah), upon seeing the iniquity of the earth even says that he laments the creation of man because of their misuse of agency. I've mentioned before that Enoch sees god weeping over poorly used agency. I think it must have been so hard to send us to the earth knowing that we would surely suffer greatly from the misuse of our agency. At the end of the day that is why Christ is so central to the plan of salvacion. His redemption is the only thing that really justifies our existence here and that gives meaning to our lives here. That's why our jobs as missionaries is so important. It also makes it a tragic work when we see people continue to misuse this agency and deny the redemption that Christ offers them. The triumphs are more than the dissapointments however.
Ok well I'm loving it here. It was a hard week but a good one too. We are working really hard here but still need to learn patience to see our work turn into baptisms here. Next cambia I'm sure we will have one. I had a lot of fun this week too and laughed a lot. I got the packages with the flashdrives and love the music thanks! I love you all a ton and miss you!
Elder trevor smith
Sorry I have very little time it's gonna be short today!
Ok this week was awesome! We had consejo again which was cool and i got to do an intercambio with elder meiling which was a weird time travel moment.
We did a ton of divisions with priesthood holders here and got a ton done! Like probably the most in any week of my mission! We are really blessed to have good and willing members here! N. is a recent convert who is like our third companion who although kind of ghetto has a heart of pure gold! It's also good to have the built in street knowledge to keep us safe and part of the hood hahah jk.
We have a good group of people progressing but the problem is that most of the people hjere in Boca Sur are really humble and have good desires but usually have to make very large changes in their lifestyle. Repentance is huge here. We are teaching various unmarried couples and a few that show really good progress and interest, the problem is with the marriage process can take up to months so it's kind of a long term investment. We are still kind of looking for that golden chosen one who we can see baptized here in the next month or so and we are going to find him!
The people are really humble here and it makes a huge difference. They have really good hearts and their families are everything to them. Most of them are looking for something more in their lives too. I love this sector!
Elder Gomez is really funny so we laugh a lot. I'm going to be really sad to see him go in a couple weeks. We have seen a lot of progress in the zone but we still need to do more. There is a spirit here that is different from when I got here so that's good. The missionaries are taking a lot more of the initiative and are getting a ton more done. I have a goal to be able to say that each one of them is a friend after the next two weeks of the cambio.
Cool spiritual thought that I had this week is about when Enoc has a vision of God crying and he asks him how he can cry. God explains to him (more or less) that he cries for humanity's poor use of their agency, and that he can't really change the consequences of our bad actions. Way cool. Another interesting thought was that the Gospel of Christ's purpose is the remition of sins, which alows us to be pure and worthy enough to make bigger covenants with God that are done in the temple, like family sealing. Without the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel like repentance and baptism, nothing would be possible. Our job as missionaries is really important.
Ok I'm trying really hard to think of funny stuff but I'm drawing a blank. Next week my letter will be better. Elder Meiling is doing great is cool to see how far he has come.
We had a zone activity that was really fun! The hna trainers planned out for us (blessings of delegation) and it was really good. Minute to win it between our three districts. Way fun
Ok i love you all and I'll write more next week!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok wow this week was awesome ill try and remember it all.
So Tuesday we had just the normal district meetings and interviews with president May which was all just pretty normal. It's been cool to see the newish district leaders progressing and getting better at recieving revelation for their districts. With president may it was pretty normal we mostly just talked about rthe zone and ward etc. We were the last interviews and after they took us to a nice Peruvian lunch which was super delicious and a fun birthday celebration even if a day early. It was fun to get to know them better and hear about their missions and eat good food. We felt kind of spoiled it had been a while since either of us had eaten such good food. After that and some work in our sector we had a really great coorelation meeting with representatives from the ward presidencies and got a ton of recent convert helping delegation done and were able to make some cool plans i think. We will see how it turns out when we will all give our next reports tomorrow. I really hope we can form good habbits as a ward now becaue the retention here in Boca Sur is kind of discouragelingly bad BUT it will get better if we really involve the ward and help them develoup that culture i guess.
So we have been able to really put our hombro to the wheel in our sector this week which felt great after a while of feeling kind of stressed about all that. We were able to find a great set of investigators in a variety of ways and i think im the most excited about the grandma of a recent convert and a lady and her pregnant daughter in law who should be having her baby like today or tomorrow. With that last lady i swear me and elder Gomez gave the best lesson on the restauration ive ever given on my mission so hopefully it works out and she will gain a testimony! We really feel like there will be progress there because they had a ton of good questions and real intent to be able to know. We will see what happens there. Ilove this sector i think it really is the best in the mission!
Ok so my birthday was really good! Pretty much a normal day but we had a ton of success and worked really hard and honestly that is kind of what i like to do now sadly enough hahaha truth is after so much free time during the 18th i kind of realized that resting isnt that fun if one doesnt work before hahaha. Obviously its about finding a balance and i think thats something ive been learning from chileans. They seem to have a healthier work and rest ration than us north americans. We had a FHE with that less active family i mentioned and that was fun. We watched a segment of meet the mormons with them and it was way fun. I opened my package and it was awesome! That night we ordered some rediculously large churrascos and ate like locos so that was a fun celebration. Lorena Oporto surprised me with another rediculously large package of chocolate and treats during the last session of general conference too so send her thanks dad! I had a great birthday but honestly i feel like i never even really turned 19 so this whole 20 thing is confusing.
We did intercambios with a companionship that is having some struggles on thursday and that was fun. I think we were able to help a lot. Sometimes all the missionaries need is a break for a day. That night we had coorelation in their ward too which was funny but their ward mission leader just got called and was super excited and really inspired both of us to focus more on member missionary work which was cool. It was obviously really confirmed by conference as well. The hard truth about things here in Chile (and i assume the world) is that if we really expect to see sustained and consistent growth in the church here there needs to be a cultural change in member involvement in missionary work. The thing is we kind of accustom the members here to not participate by doing too much and having a baptism every once and a while so they kind of get complacent and dont help. The bigger problem is that those randome here and there baptisms kind of fade away way more than reference baptisms and thats where the problem is. Especially after conference im really determined to focus better on that and help make that change!
Conference was super awesome. Like too much to handle. I felt like every different thing the Spirit and my time here have been teaching me over the last 6 months was in some way confirmed by the talks given. It was really cool. Lots of revelation. Im not sure if you noticed but in the saturday morning session the first 3 talks were pretty much the first 3 missionary lessons. It was rad. I loved all the talks about the difference between preaching a church and preaching Christ. Way cool. I think elder Hales` talk was my favorite. Hard to say. Elder Bednar answered a lot of questions for most missionaries too. I cant wait to read it all again.
We are still struggling as a zone and picking up a lot of pieces from like 3 bad cambios here. I think we have successfully helped the new missionaries learn about the basic skills they need but we have kind of decided as leaders that the problem is deeper than that. We are planning on focusing more on the spiritual needs, developement, and conversion of these new misisonaries. The thing is that the 6-9 month mark for missionaries GENERALLY speaking is kind of a rut and like 70% of our missionaries are in that age group. That means the goal is to help them get out of that rut as soon as possible. We have been thinknig about it a lot and a lot of our ideas were confirmed by conference. Personally i think i need to be like alma the younger a little and give up "the judgement seat" or kind of distance leadership and try and strengthen missionaries on a more personal level like he did when the church was suffering. We will see how it goes. The struggle is one ive mentioned before and trying to invite long term missionary development and not just short term success that goes away. We want to have a goal to live more christ centered missions.
Elder Gomez is totally killer. Ive had so many great comps.
Im doing better on energy i think so no worries. We got permission to go paintballing today and it was surprisingly cheap and all kinds of fun.
Shoot i feel like this letter is boring. Ill try and right more funny experiences i guess i know funny stuff happens but i feel like i always forget. The office elders did a surprise check of all the houses but it got leaked to us so we were able to do an amazingly quick clean of the house. Funniest thing was a mark on the wall we have been meaning to paint over but a quick switch of our painting of captain moroni to right over where the mark is did the trick. Best trick ever. dont tell please. They gave us cookies😇
Ok love you all thanks for the bday wishes from all!
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.