wow ok so it was a totally crazy week with mostly just a ton of work. We worked really hard!
The week started out pretty normal but we had a new focus on really involving members in every aspect of the work and saw a ton of good results from that! Part of those results was that we had 3 people in the church on Sunday which out of 16 people attending is a huge increase when you think about it hahahah! The branch was really excited and there was just a more cheerful and hopeful spirit there because we could all see that its possible for Puren to grow and become a stronger branch of the church. We really worked hard this week in planning our appointments well with members and working with a ton of part member families here (that just turned out ok but we are going to keep trying) and had a ton of success that way! Seriously this week went by so fast it was like a total blur!
Our main focus was S. and her family this week and we spent a ton of time with them to really lock in S's baptism. She struggled a little to stop drinking coffee but she hasn't touched it so we are all set in that aspect. It will be really hard to leave those people after spending so much time with them. We have seen so many tender mercies of the Lord with them and been so blessed to teach them more as friends than as preachy teachers or something. S's mom L. even got up and bore a really sweet testimony on Sunday and that was really special to see considering I have been able to see there progress now from shaky starts to really firm endings. We were talking with S. this week about Alma 32 and the seed of faith and it really sunk in with her and the whole family. They had a little tree they wanted to plant together with us so we planted it in front of the house and called it the tree of faith hahahah. I will always remember that. They have come so far! S. is pretty much totally locked in for her baptism this Saturday so that will be awesome and such a blessing. She is a little nervous for the interview but we will do a practice tonight and that will help her. I think elder P. is for sure going to come tomorrow to get it done and that will be really cool in a parrallism way hahaha. He is almost done it's crazy! I'll let you know how the baptism goes. The branch is really excited for a younger member now!
I think iIalso mentioned a family we found last week. We taught them a few other times and really really focused on the invitations we left them and it was working pretty well. They are really smart but a little lazy... The 9 year old daughter is the smartest and already told us that she prayed and received an answer which is pretty rad hahaha! When Saturday rolled around we called them in the night but they seemed pretty shaky for church. We called in the morning and no answer so we pretty much lost hope and then th 15 year old son R. showed up totally alone to church! Total miracle! He only kind of knew where the church was too and he looked for it and found it all alone! He is a little bit too much of i highschooler in some ways but I think that with some diligence to his invitations he can totally progress towards baptism now that he came to church. He is like the funniest Chilean I have ever met and he is super fun to teach because he is just all laughs.
Elder M. is just my best friend ever and it is so fun here right now. We work super hard but laugh a ton and really love the work together. We think our biggest strength is attitude. We have a nice little isolated attitude environment hahaha with very little negativity and a lot of faith. Our slogan this cambio has pretty much been "no se precupe elder" or don't worry about it elder hahahah. Stress free here in Puren. The cool thing is that as we have been practicing our strict policy of hakuna matata our results have shot up way high and now I don't think that Puren will have such a crappy rep anymore. I think when we worry uselessly it's kind of a lack of faith problem, and that has helped us a ton. A lot of our success has to do with straight up just being blessed a lot. We are really grateful and trying to stay really humble about things.
We had a conference with the Wilhelms and gave a really awesome training with the zone leaders too and we learned a ton from that. What I'e been learning in this part of my mission is the importance of repentance for people investigating the church. As missionaries a lot of times we avoid it because it's scary and sad and we are afraid people wont want to do it, but that's totally the wrong attitude. If people from the get go understand that baptism isn't complete without repentance, when the time comes that they need to make changes they will be more willing to do it. They need to understand immediately that Christ never promised that being a disciple would be easy, and that on the other hand, promised that it would be hard! Repentance is the stepping stone to baptism, and people can't really jump straight to baptism and be true converts. The truth is that if we just preach baptism we are not preaching the doctrine of Christ, which is repentance and baptism. Pres Wilhelm one time told us that if we are tired of seeing so many less active members in Chile we need to stop creating them hahaha. pretty tough but true. Applying this has been what has helped S. and her family most. It's crazy how much we learn when we study simple, pure doctrine.
I'm doing really great and really losing myself in the work right now. We have just been really really blessed recently. I'm really happy w/ Elder M. (especially because his fam sent a huge package of chocalate from Brazil lol). My package got here too! It's awesome. so much dental care. also what is the rosemary oil for? also I don't really trust the insect repellent oil enough to do a real controlled scientific test so I can't really say if it works... permetherin is pretty awesome.
It's getting colder now...
Shoot I dunno what else. sorry if this email is too much about the work. I feel like I don't think about much else sometimes so its hard to know what to write.
I love you all and am praying for all of you! Especially John Hilary Walter and especially Tilly. So sorry to here the bad news. Love you guys so much.
pics next week i swear
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.