Ok hey everyone.
First up congrats Christian Smith for the graduation stuff! Also happy fathers day dad!
This week went fast and slow at the same time. The good thing is that we were pretty busy.
First half of the week was pretty uneventful which was nice kind of. We didnt have district meetings until thursday so tuesday was just a really normal day. We ate a really good lunch which is always nice. I cant remember very well but I think we spent the most of that day working with the stand in front of the church with some success. thats seriously my favorite activity right now. Wednesday was pretty similar but we also met with a new investigator we found that way who seemed pretty interested. He had a lot of crazy ideas about God and religion etc but he also listened well and wants to hear more so we will see how that goes. That was cool to see some fruits as far as the stand goes. I think wednesday we also had mission coorelation meeting with our new ward mission leader who is really cool! He got called last week. Only bummer is that he is a student and going home for winter break for a month after two more weeks of school (well i guess its a bummer for elder ritter that is oops). Tuesday and wednesday were just really normal mission days.
Thursday we had district meetings which turned out great. The ZLs wanted both districts to have lessons about weekly and daily planning and I think I mentioned my bad attitude and ability in that field last week so I passed the assignment of giving the class to the really eager and helpful training hnas and they did a way better job than I could have hahahaha. One really cool thing they did was have the district just list all the different things we can do to use our time wisely and have a good use of time planned for every hour of the day and we got a ton of stuff up on the board. I think ive mentioned in the past that time use is a huge trial at least in our mission, so it was a big relief to have a bunch of new ways to keep ourselves busy these next two weeks. After their part I taught about giving the first lesson and we practised that and it was good.
Friday was a big day too becuase we had a multi zone conference between four zones here in the south. I got to see a lot of friends which is fun, especially elder aravena who came from victoria. It was all really good training that they gave that day, and I could apply a lot to my next two weeks and beyond. Our zone got together a really good musical number which was fun. It was honestly kind of sad to just get a huge animo boost about how cool the mission is in my circumstances hahahaah I talked to some other last transfer people and they felt the same way. Just another reminder of how awesome the mission is. Its tradition in our mission at least that the people who are finishing give their testimonies at the end of the zone conference. There are like 6 killer hnas who finish with me in the south and elder aravena, and I went last. I pretty much never cry during that stuff or during lessons or anything, but that testimony meeting was pretty rough and the worst part was going last after everyone esles killer testimonies. I feel like every time I have to bear my testimony in front of people i know what I want to say but it turns out way different. I felt good about it though.
The rest of that day we had planned an intercambio with vilcun again so I could go meet this family theyre teaching. Oh yeah i forgot to mention that from like thursday till sunday afternoon we had just TORRENTIAl rain it was crazy. Definitely the worst rain ive seen in my mission. I mean this fall and winter so far there have been rainy days ya but this was the first time it was more than 2 days consecutively and that makes it way more annoying because its hard to get stuff dry again like your bag and stuff. Whatever. For whatever reason temuco has really bad drainage and the main streets turne into total rivers it was crazy. Like knee deep all the way across it was wacky.
Anyway elder Vargas from Chile (no relation to the chilean selection player vamos chile al ganar) and I fought through the floods to the bus station to go to vilcun and it was just as bad their but freezing cold on top of it all. It got dark at like 530 and a lot of the lights way out there were out too so it was like pitch black raining and freezing and then all of our appointments fell through hahahaha. We started walking around trying to find some former investigators from a list he had. Pretty miserable. The crazy thing is that at 8 o clock on the dot the freezing rain turned immediately into this really beautiful, peaceful, picture perfect snowfall. It was disneyland mainstreet during the holidays stuff (which is pretty much the only comparison Im really capable of making as far as snow goes anyway). It was absolutely crazy, and a one time in the mission thing for sure. Everyone came outside and there just this amazing shared sense of total childlike wonder. It was really special. Im sure theres a good analogy in all this but Ill leave you guys to find it. The flakes were like an inch in diameter! Apparently it snowed in temuco as well but not nearly as much and it didnt stick there at all, but in vilcun we woke up to a two inch blanket of snow over everything (and to another poweroutage at 730am wow Im so glad thats not my sector). Pretty amazing tender mercy.
Saturday was pretty normal as well. We tried to go to meet an investigator of the hnas but it all fell through but whatever. It kept raining all that day but broke up during the real working ours when we were outside which was nice. Wait actually now I remember we had a capilla abierta activity in the Nielol ward which was pretty fun and turned out well i think. The thing thats kind of unfair about those things here though ist hat the hnas just stay in the warm church and give tours while the elders have to go out in the cold and try and bring people in hahahaha jk its fair I guess. I worked with elder camp that day which was fun. We got back to Caupo at like 730 and visited some less active members who gave us like a sugar feast for some reason of like hot coco and every chilean candy imaginabel and we didnt want to be ungreatful so we ate a lot. We were kind of rough in the stomach after that so we figured some completos caseros would top us off well so we cooked some up at home with the house comps. Fun night.
Sunday was good. No investigators of ours unfortunately but one less active student we invited and a friend of a member luckily. seems to happen a lot here. It cleared up after lunch which was a big blessing. We had picarones for desert after lunch which is a chilean dessert classic and very delicious. We spend a lot of sunday looking nfor a bunch of references that the sector had recieved here in the past but no luck. We worked hard this week and were pretty beat last night. A good feeling.
Today was zone activity with volleyball and soccer which was fun. Cant believe just one more pday. Got to make it good.
Going back to the zone conference I think the whole thing was pretty retro and introspective for me. I shared in my testimony that preparing for a mission before I was sure I was going to see a lot of people around me´s lives change, and that definitely came to pass. I said what I didnt expect was that my own life would change so much from my own service as a missionary. I think its summed up really well in Alma 5:7-97 Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened themout of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God. Behold, theywere in the midst of darkness; nevertheless, their soulswere illuminated by the light of the everlasting word; yea,they were encircled about by the bands of death, and thechains of hell, and an everlasting destruction did awaitthem.
8 And now I ask of you, my brethren, were theydestroyed? Behold, I say unto you, Nay, they were not.
9 And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and thechains of hell which encircled them about, were theyloosed? I say unto you, Yea, they were loosed, and theirsouls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love. And Isay unto you that they are saved.
Im not trying to say I think that I was surrounded by "the bounds of death" more than anyone else hahaha. Im trying to say that I had always read that verse as Christ changing the hearts of the investigators and other people we serve (and like I said that surely happens), but that its equally if not more valid to say that Christ changes the missionaries hearts; that throughout two years Christ is waking us up from a profound sleep to a bright reality of a life lived in the Gospel. Ive seen so many missionaries be changed by their service, and I told all the missionaries there that I consider the greatest fruit of my mission to be the change that has occurred in my own life.
And for that I guess with as hard as it is to be finishing so soon, a mission wouldnt fulfil its full purpose without a better life after as a result of a mission. That would be like going to the mtc and then home or something like that. I keep repeating that I mostly feel greatful and its true.
Well this is pretty weird right now but good I think. Thanks for all your emails even so late in the game. I cant wait to see you all. Im doing good and squeezing out everything I can from this. Love you 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.