This week feels long I think becasue yesterday we couldn't write because it was a holiday here like labor day or something. Sorry if you got worried. Trying to remember everything from last week...
For some emergency reasons I had to give the district meeting class for one of the DLs on Tuesday and had really little time to prepare but it actually turned out really well and I think I was able to tune in with the needs of the district well enough and to give them some of my perspective with the time I have here (more than double the majority of the district members). We talked about challenges in the mission and sacrifice etc. The fourth verse of "praise to the man" is really cool in Spanish but I'm not sure if it's the same in English or no. It says something like "blessings are given for sacrifices" and thinking about that truth in the context of the early church was fun to talk about with the missionaries. After the meetings we did a kind of charades competition or catchphrase-like game where the companionships had to communicate to each other a word without saying it to practice companionship communication etc. They liked it and it was a good object lesson.
We had ward conference which was cool! Lots of fun activities and a lot of less active and non member invites which was cool. Wednesday we had a FHE as the ward and the Relief Society had put together a kind of crazy theatre interpretation of Samuel the Lamanite and the coming of Christ in 3rd Nephi and it was pretty loco and not ready so they recruited us and the hnas from the ward to fill in as extras last minute and it was something way out of our comfort zone but we did it to demonstrate that if they ask us to do something (anything) we will do it hahahaha. The really cool thing was our real part before the play (improv). Us and the hnas were in charge of the spiritual thought at the beginning so with the help of a hno we hatched a great scheme. We dressed up one of the elders from the ward nextdoor like a hobo and had him kind of meandering outside of the chapel while people went in. They really believed it! As we sang the opening hymn he came in and kind of shyly sat in the back and everyone looked so uncomfortable from the ward hahahah! The hnas started sharing their scriptural thought while meanwhile (totally unscripted) a really nice member with a huge heart went up and sat next to the disguised elder and talked to him and offered him a lot of help and even to stay in his house the night, totally believing he was really a homeless guy! It was so sweet and so amazing! The hnas at the end of their scriptural thought about charity called the disguised elder up and we took off his disguise to reveal his white shirt and plack on underneath and pretty much the whole congregation started to weep. It was really really special. One member even told us he was going to through the fake hobo out and that he felt so repentant after! Pretty fun stuff
Thursday we had a multi zone conference with Pres May and the APs which was cool. There was a lot of really cool instruction from the world mission department about focusing on finding and teaching youth from age 15-25 that was really cool. I hope we can apply it here.
Thursday we did an intercambio and I worked w Elder Burrows again which was fun. Elder Gordillo went to Nacimiento to do a baptismal interview.
Friday we had a really fun activity in the ward that was a silly hat competition. The hnos really went to town and there was a lot of really awesome participation. Really funny stuff.
Saturday was another intercambio with Elder Lighthall from Irvine California! It's crazy how that when I work with people from California I really feel like I'm with a friend from a long time ago or something it's so werid. We got to talk a lot about his mission up until now and he has grown a lot and has a lot of desires to grow and improve which is so cool to see. It's awesome to see how much the mission has improved since I got here. I dont know if it's just an issue of a changed perspective or what but it's given me a lot of hope for the future.
That same day I woke up kind of with a cold from Elder Gordillo which was a bummer but I'm pretty much better now. I think it was from the zone conference actually. Everyone gets sick after those things. We did a zone service project which was fun. We picked up trash in one neighborhood and it was a good chance to work together.
Sunday was good but I was pretty sick. I got home from lunch and was pretty tired so E Gordillo made me take a nap. It was werid because I think after 21 months I've gotten so conditioned to be so conscious of our time usage as missoinaries. To be honest when iI layed down to rest I was kind of expecting that guilty feeling of time wasting but was surprised by a really soft spiritual confirmation that I had to take a nap hahahaha. At least i interpreted it that way. I felt so much better after though. The Lord wants us to take care of ourselves.
Yesterday we had a zone activity with a 5 de mayo theme. we made tacos and had a homemade piñata competition and the missionaries did a great job with what they had. They were really funny. One companionship made it out of a cereal box with their likenesses on either side. It was really really funny to see the hnas take a bat to those things and we got some seriously good laughs out of that. For the first time ever the zone actually took some serious charitable initiative on clean up so that was a really nice surprise. Fun time.
It was a good week. We are still really in the busqueda but the members have been so willing to identify friends and family who arent members so we have a lot of seeds planted at least.
Ive thougtht a lot this week about the relationship between trials and happiness like i mentioned. I love a scripture in John 16:21-21 (i think) that ive mentioned before. Theres a really cool quote from CS Lewis that Jeffery Holland uses in a talk of his where he says that God is like a perfect surgean. If he took all of our challenges away right away, it would be like interrupting our surgical proceedures for what we need to become as Christs disciples. Its also interesting to think about the war in heavan. I think the argument waswnt just about agency, but about the decision to feel sadness in order to as well feel happiness, rather than feel neither at all. We obviously know the decision each of us personally made and also the decision that Adam and Eve made right after to eat the fruit, that was really the same decision all along. My patriarchal blessing mentions the "joys of mortality" which is a really interesting idea that suggestts that their are many many joys we have now thanks to our mortality that we did not have before being mortal and fallible like we are now. Really interesting and encouraging stuff. Chrits repeats many times to us to not doubt that premortal decision we made by reassuring us that the end result of our suffering will be worth the pain it takes to get there. A great example of that idea is when the apostols see the Ressurected Christ. I really doubt that they were still mourning the crusifiction and death of Christ when He appeared as a perfect and glorified being in front of them.
Its interesting because i remember that Nestor (my convert in lagunillas) mentioned that when he first learned about the atonement it seemed cruel adn pointless to him until he learned about the prize that was payed for by that suffering and how it applied to his life. Really profound idea from at that time an investigator.
Love you all thanks so much!
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.