Ok it was a good week! Lot of changes!
Tuesday was the usual chaos of the transfers here in LA. Elder Gordillo and me had to wait there in the bus terminal a long time and then we had to eat something really quick and drop his stuff off at the house and shoot up to Conce for a medical appointment he needed for his arm that he had fractured a few weeks ago. Pretty crazy day. Safe to say we slept really well that night. It was fun to see conce again after a long while. They had to take more xrays and everything so it took a while but it looks like hes pretty much 100% health right now which is good.
Elder Gordillo is really cool. Hes 25 and from mexico city and already finished studying international relations at pretty much the best university in mexico so hes a really smart guy. He got to the mission together with elder meiling and elder gimenez so he doesnt have that much time here which has been really refreshing. He has a very good atitude and is very mature and knows really well how to work with the members here in LA and has been teaching me a LOT abotu that and it looks like we are going to have some serious success in that field. He is really clean to which has been nice. He is super humble about his assignment and is really loving the learning process and has done a great job. Hes a killer missionary!
So wednesday was our first district meeting with the new zone. We are like 4 missionaries smaller than last transfer with some good new faces to freshen things up a little. The meetings were good and we talked to the DLs and Hnas Trainers about charity in leadreship and having that be our motivation for working and serving our missionaries. It looks like we are going to have a really good transfer and that we could double our baptismal goal for the month which is a huge surprise but just a ton of prepared people have popped up all over the zone.
We had a short meeting with the hnas caps to plan out this transfer and the focus we want to have with the zone and we got some really good plans down on the calender. We mostly want to focus on helping every companionship be really strong and to work in synergy and to help missionaries be more spiritual in their obedience and dedication to the work. One thing we may do is try and have a service project every saturday together and to have a little scripture devotional before to really invite the spirit and help the missionaries find the joy in service. Also we want to spend some time doing like teambuilding stuff with the companionships so if you know of any teambuilding games or ideas let me know.
As far as the work like i mentioned we have been focusing a lot more on challenging and helping the members to identify and share the gospel with their friends and have seen a lot of success in the first steps there. I havent mentioned it yet but we have been teaching a guy named Leonardo whos 27 and came to engilsh class as a reference of the investigators of the hnas. Its kind of a long story but after some confusion of who had dibs on teaching him etc (it was all kind of awkward for a lot of reasons) the hnas and us decided that both companionships can take turns teaching him which has turned out really cool actually. He had a really big need of the gospel in his life and has already pretty much had it confirmed to him that thats what he needs so hes pretty much in the water. If all goes according to plan he should be baptized the 29th of april so that will be really cool.
The other big breakthrough we have had is Sonia, the mom of a recent convert here who came to church. The missionaries had tried teaching her in the past but hadnt really taken the iniciative in talking to her and figuring out where she was coming from and what she needed so when we did that it really surprised her and she opened up to the teaching a ton. She is kind of hard to find and not totally committed yet but we are starting with really small steps and trying to be really patient with her. She knows what us and her daughter are after anyway so its a big deal that shes listening at all.
I know i say it a lot but this ward is awesome. THey really love the missionaries here. I was thinking about it a lot and trying to put my finger on why and then i remembered that PMG says that a good relationship with the ward starts with the bishop. Bishop Troncoso really gives a great example of cooperation and apreciation for missionary work in the ward and im positive that everyone sees that and treats us in the same way.
Ive been thinking a lot about charity and love this week. We repeat a lot that the ultimate expression of love is in Heavenly Father sending us His son Jesus Christ (John 3:16) and i think its kind of become cliche now when it really is the central doctrine of our faith. I studied a lot about that idea and questions like the "why" and "how" of it all and its really cool stuff obviously. Lehi and Nephi talk about it a lot as well as most profets. Its so important for us to not only hear and say that phrase in john 3:16 but to understand what it means and how it applies to us and those around us. Im trying really hard to feel that doctrine in my mission and to appy it to my life really well so that i can testify about it and how it can bless others in a really sincere and personal way.
Not to mention what it means as far as for us following the Godheads example of sacrifice. Thats when our level faith and dedication get really serious.
Ok im doing good here but out of time. Its going too fast and im trying hard to enjoy every minute of it all and to be as happy as i can! I love you all so much and hope everythings good!
Elder Trevor Smith
Wow so the transfer actually ended again. crazy stuff. Weird to think i only have 2 more.
Ok this week im struggling to remember as always but usually my memory gets jogged as I go. First up is tranfer news! Im staying and elder Aravena is headed off to Victoria to freeze to death during winter hahaha. Elder Gordillo will be my new comp! I will be training him as a zone leader which will be fun. Hes from Mexico and ive only heard really cool things about him so it should be a really really good fresh start and a good cambio. It will be good to have fresher meat around as a companion becasue he will probably be my last! Ive always wanted a mexican comp.
So we started the week out with mission leadership council which was really fun this time. It was really cool to see old friends especially elder Oxborrow in his last week. Way fun to talk to him and hear about our converts from there in Lagunillas. They gave us some spot on training there that we really needed and we left with a really good spirit from conce. We recieved a lot of revelation for the zone and for ourselves. Well as you already know they used videos of all of us opening up our calling letters to make a big video of all of us which was a weird but cool surprise. I feel like i look really different than i do in the video of that hahaha it was funny to see everyones premission self.
The week was pretty packed with intercambios and stuff because we had 5 baptisms in the zone which was totally awesome. A lot of interviews and stuff like that. Wednesday i started out working w elder burros in san martin which was fun. We got to talk a lot about our impressions from conference and about conversion and stuff like that and it was a good oportunity to minister and talk about obedience etc. We both came out of hte intercabio really determined to make changes to become better missionaries and i think thats the point of intercambios. The most fun thing of the whole week was talking to 4 university students diong a project on religion or something who had a ton of really cool questions. Im usually kind of suspicious of university students here because they tend to be like way overly "progressive" and anti religion but these guys were actually really cool and we talked for like an hour. I think at first it was just about doing their homework but in the end they seemed interested in the message. They said they werre coming to church but no go all final. We called but no luck. Hopefully we will find them again.
Friday we had another intercambio so that elder gray could do some interviews here for the hnas in San Martin so that was fun. We taught a good english class too. It rained really hard that day out of nowhere so we got pretty wet but had a good day anyway. He got transfered to lota now so it was good for one last hurrah.
Saturday was marked mostly by the baptisms i mentioned. ONe in santa barbara was an old lady 105 years old! Pretty impressive stuff by those elders! I think she was the grandma of a member or something but she really wanted to get baptized before it was too late! the hnas here baptized the parents of a recent convert and it was really cool stuff.
Wow I dunno the week mostly went just way too fast. I feel like the days just slip out of my fingers now its crazy. Im kind of out of time now too sorry we were kind of rushed! Today we went to a cool waterfall near mulchen with some recent convert friends which was cool! Ill try and upload pics instead of rambling on! Sorry this is short this time ill do better next week.
Love you so so so much!
Elder Trevor Smith
Wow general conference is such a giant event in our lives as missionaries that it's hard for me to remember what happened before that in the week it was such a landmark. I'll do my best!
The beginning of the week I did an intercambio with Elder Culotta from Mississippi (spellcheck) which was cool. Like I said I love the campo on intercambios because it brings back tons of good memories. Nacimiento is really big and honestly there should probably be 4 missionaries there but there's only 2. We had a good day with a lot of lessons. The weird dumb thing was that on the way there a wasp flew into the bus and stung my wrist just out of nowhere and hurt like crazy and itched bad for a few days. That was dumb but it's over now. It left a little mark on my wrist so now I look like spiderman (yes!). Elder Culotta is from my group and a good friend so it was cool to work with him. We did a lot of walking and its pretty hilly there which was a hard change from my super flat sector hahaha. We had some good conversation about obedience and the mission and what we can do better as leaders in the zone and he was so receptive. He will be going to byu too I think so he will be a good friend to have.
Wednesday was good after getting back. Pretty normal but good. We found a new investigator who had been taught by the missionaries a while ago and whose nephew from Temuco was a missionary a while back and I think we taught a good lesson. It's so important to establish not only our purpose as missionaries from the get go but also why we are committed to that purpose, or rather, to bless them and their families. I studied a lot about that this last week, about how the Gospel is really "it". There were a lot of moments during the week when I felt the spirit testifying to me that the Gospel was the only thing that could help the people around me or the people I taught. There's a lot of good scriptures and examples about that idea. some good ones are the tree of life, whose fruit was more desireable than any other; the bread of life, of which when we eat we cannot die as compared to normal bread; and living waters, which are the only waters that can eternally quench our "thirst". Its really important for missionaries to understand that for their own good and the good of the people around them. I try and share that concept with the people around me, whether they are missionaries, members, or investigators.
Wednesday we had english class. Its not growing quite like we want it too but maybe we can try harder to publisize it. I still really like to teach it but we need more people to come.
Thursday we had lunch with that really cool Bro Constant i think i mentioned last week(?). He lives out in the campo with his sister and parents right now and it was so delicious. He is really familiar with the US and knew i was coming so he made a giant pot of Chili (yes chili in chile haha) and made everyone try it. It was way good and it had been a looooong time since i had eaten that. The other missionaries were kind of hesitent but then really liked it. That was only the appatizer of course and then we ate like 500 tacos with really good mexican food stuff. Way fun. Im getting fatter here si o si.
That night we had our big mission work activity but honestly it was kind of discouraging for the turnout that we got. I think it was kind of poorly communicated to the auxilary organizations or something but im not sure where we went wrong because everybody knew about it. Nevertheless we had around 30 or so members there and we had a good time and the spirit was totally there for the message part so it ended up really good i think. The best part was that some really good investigators of the hnas of the ward came and after taht and general conference they are pretty much in the water according to the hnas so that is cool. We still had a good time and the members who came were really nice about it even if they had expected way more people to come. We talked about the temple and family history and it was good.
Friday was good too. We did teaching practises in the morning with half of the zone and it was really good. The hna trainers had some good stuff prepared and then we followed up with practising teaching the doctrine of Christ. We did a good demonstration and i think the missionaries got the spirit of that super important part of what we do. We had an FHE that night with a really cool young family that is reactivating and working toward getting sealed so we are really gunning for that.
Conference. CONFERENCE. So good
I feel like I always get so stoked by conference when it happens in the mission when it happens and then forget everything that was said in like 2 weeks so my main goal is to keep studying it all and doing my own followup on the main revelations i received. Its crazy how it feels like every talk that is given is so according to what we need to hear. Its almost spooky. I really liked the talks by Yoon Hwan Choi and the one about fear by Pres Uchtdorf. I loved all the insights about positive thinking and trusting in the Lord with everything and i so needed to hear all that stuff. I especially loved how Pres Uchtdorf spoke about how redeeming love is the atidote for fear. I really want to be able to put in practise all i learned and it was so much that i was kind of stressing about remembering it all but as we walked out of the last session and got to work i already feel like somehow i had had a change of heart and felt so renewed and light it was crazy. I really want to keep that feeling with me.
How blessed we are to have modern profets. I think we take them for granted way to often especially when it is the number one thing that sets us apart from other faiths. THey are such a spiritual anchor for us. I want to listen to all of it again as soon as i can. I recieved so much help from those talks it was crazy. I think as zone leaders sometimes we are kind of like the top of the support and love ladder so it was really nice to be at the other end of the ministering for a weekend and i really needed it. I feel so refreshed spiritually.
Ok i love you all and am out of time for today. I planned on sending pics but left my converter at home sorry. I am doing good and love you all so so much! I pray for you always!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok Hi all!
Kind of short on time I'll have to write quick!
It was a pretty normal week but we definitely made some progress here and I'm excited about it! The coolest things that happened were finding a good group of new investigators! Most of them just came out of nowhere but now if we can keep contact with them we could end up teaching a lot this week! The most notable thing was a family we found that the parents told us that they had been waiting for Mormon misionaries to knock their door for like 2 years to be able to teach their kids about the church. Both the parents had had contact with the church as youth and had good memories about those experiences and wanted their kids to learn more. We taught a good lesson but I think they ended up thinking they bit off more then they could chew because our objective is misionaries is to seal them as a family not to just teach them a little and we were clear about that hahahaha. I think the spirit touched them though. Only problem is that they are really busy and the kids are taking classes by the Catholic church to prepare for the first communion so we need to act fast hahaha. It was such an amazing miracle though.
Tuesday I worked with Elder Gray. He is one of the best friends I've made on the mision by now. He is a DL and just gave a killer class an then we worked in Mulchen the rest of the day with little luck but it was good. Fall is coming so it's starting to look really beautiful around here with falling leaves and big clouds and cool sunsets. I especially love the campo though. I kind of miss it sometimes. It's so quite there it's crazy. It's still pretty hot but on occasion now we have really threatening cold cloudy days that are just a warning of how cold winter will be this year and I'll get a taste of that before I leave.
Wednesday we found that family. We also had our first English class that went pretty well. It looks like it will be a little harder to work with here than in lagunillas where it was a huge success but I think with time it will be good. I like teaching English a lot it's fun.
Thursday we had a pretty busy day with coorelation and a baptismal interview of a 87 year old single guy who the hnas from Avenida Alemania were teaching. One of our gringo DLs interviewed him first, or tried to, and couldn't because he didn't understand or hear him. We figured a little home field advantage with Elder Aravena would help and sure enough his Chilean charm did the trick and he was baptized with another one of their investigators Friday. Pretty funny guy but a soul is a soul. Props to the hnas for showing some serious Christlike patience.
An investigator I interveiwed of Elder Gimenez got baptized Saturday and that was cool.
There is a rockstar member here named Hno C who is just a ton of fun and comes to English class and speaks perfectly. He does a lot of buisness trips to California and loves to talk to me about San Francisco even though he knows I'm not from there. Really nice guy who helps us a lot. The ward is just full of members like him who are so willing to help.
Sunday we had a meeting with the stake presidency who asked us as a zone to help reactivate and recruit youth and young adults to go to seminary and institute. It will be a really cool way to work together with the wards and stake and we will find a ton of new people and part member families like that as a zone so it should work great. We just need to be sure we can get the zone excited about that type of work (even though in our mission it's actually like the most efective way to do it) and it should be great. The stake leadership here is really loving and supportive and really take us seriously which is nice.
Sunday in the afternoon we had a zone attack in Ave Alemania and it went well. It's always a treat to see the zone working together and in action. I just hope it turned out well.
I think this cambia I'm learning a lot about patience and faith like I've said. So often I want things here and now or exactly how I want them, and I often get frustraded with myself and with others when we don't act up to par with Who we represent, but I need to try and remember better that (in the words of PmG) repentance is a process of our entire lives. I think the key is to not let healthy introspection and correction turn into obsession and being hypercritical. I really got hit over the head by a scripture this week that i had read before but had a new meaning for me this week.
20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another--
21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.
23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?
I especially like how it says that all He asks of us is to keep His commandments. really simplifies everything and gives me a lot of hope when I see the other stuff that isn't commandments kind of floundering.
It was a good week. I'm trying really hard to take advantage of the time I have left. I really love my mission, the best one in the world. I love the Gospel more though. I love you all a lot! I hope youre doing great and I really appreciate your letters and pictures and all that stuff!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok I'm struggling to remember main events of this week but I'll do my best!
Started off good with a district meeting and a game of Preach My Gospel Jeopordy me and Elder A came up with to stump the zone and motivate them to study PmG. The idea was for it to be really hard and to stump everyone but they actually killed it and surprised us. They competed as districts and it was really close and got competitive and that was fun. It was also to show them how much golden information PmG has that is so important to our work and I think they could all see that. We are going to have another round at the end of the transfer and try and show them their progress that way.
That day we did an intercambio w the elders from Nacimiento and I worked with Elder B from Florida. He has like 9 months in the mission and is a great missionary. He actually started his mission with four cambios in San Martin so he knows my sector way better than I do so we took advantage of the situation and tried to visit all of his former investigators and promising future investigators and ran around the whole sector a bunch to do it in time, but we didn't come out very lucky. It did give us the chance to talk about his progress as a missionary a lot and his challenges and I felt like I was able to be a good example especially of the importance of obedience and he was really receptive to what we talked about that. Really good guy and very talented musition so we sang a little at night together and that was fun.
We are still kind of in the same drought of investigators which is discouraging at this point in my mission considering that most investigators here take about 3 months on average to be baptized but that's ok. most of my converts went through the conversion process faster than that anyway. We are pulling out all the stops on all of the finding ideas we can from English class to ward activities to family history (yes family history) and really crossing our fingers right now. I still feel like we need to push ourselves to be even more diligent even though its way hot right now.
Thursday we had a multi zone conference with Pres May and Hna may and the APs. It was really cool and was mostly follow up on what Elder Packer shared with the whole mission. Really inspiring and spiritual. I think the main revelation I took out of it was to refocus not only my mission and my teaching on Christ, but also to refocus my faith on Christ. That afternoon the APs did divisions with us and the Elders from LA north so we got to work with Elder Q and he was really inspiring. I think it was just how his faith was manifest in his rock solid confidence but I guess that's why they called him an AP hahaha. It was a good day and we actually taught a good amount of lessons that day and I got to get some good advice on some of the challenges we are having.
Friday was a total treat because I got to work with Elder G my trainee! What a privilege. He still is so awesome and has grown so so much. We taught a lot of really good lessons because he is killing it in his sector. It was crazy to think that he has twice as much time as I did when I trained him and to see how much better we both are now and how we meshed so much better Friday because of that. he has had a really successful mission since we were comps and that's really cool. The coolest thing was to see how stick straight obedient he is. At like 845 at night the Hnas from the sector over called us and needed us to go buy some eardrops for them downtown because the district leaders have the insurence cards to buy meds so we had to go way into centro to find a pharmacy and it was quite an adventure. It ended up only costing like 5$ anyway which was funny in a kind of frustrating way hahahha.
Saturday was fun because somehow the ward missionary force got assigned the church cleaning of the week so that was a fun change of pace. Us and the Hna missionaries from the ward with some recent converts got it done in an hour and a half. That night we did get lucky and by some totally crazy divine guidance we found some pretty cool new investigators that show some serious hopes of progress. One of them actually really wanted to come to church the next day so we got our hopes really high for the miracle but no cigar at the end of it. Still it was a really relieving breakthrough.
Sunday was good. I had to give a talk on missionary work but I think I did a good job (not like I haven't done it before by now hahaha). Our ward is so special. That day the elders quorum pres got called by a single old lady sister who had somehow ordered like an entire truck of chopped stove-wood but had accidently ordered it to be delivered Sunday so the quorum and the young men and us got together to help unload it all and it was a really cool act of charity to see in action. I had never seen so many members mobilize so quickly and so willingly to help. That really brought the spirit into our day.
One thing I've been learning about this week has been about the importance of helping others after our own conversion to Christ. I think in various ways in the last 6 months that's been a lesson God wants me to learn and it really got concreted in a ward council where we watched a training video by the area presidency that talked a lot about first converting ourselves and then helping the people in our domain be converted as well. I feel like it's really easy to get stuck after that first step because its a hard change of focus to make but i know that that's the way we can continue to grow. There are a ton of scriptural supports about that too like how Lehi tastes the fruit of the tree of life and then beckons his family to come eat too. I need to work on this. I feel like sometimes week to week I hit a roadblock in my spirituality and growth and learning and used to have no idea why but now I think it has to do more with this principle. Send me your thoughts on this idea.
Wow it sounds like you're all doing great! i miss you a lot but its going by quick! it sounds like Macy is killing it at dance and I wish I could see her do all that coreography especially Victor's dance! I love you all so much and am doing great!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok hello hello 123 all!
It was a long week but a good one! Mostly looking back I wish we had made more progress in the sector but we are getting there hopefully! It's been kind of rough finding people to teach but it will get better because I know the sister missionaries found like 10 new investigators last week in the same sector.
The week was pretty normal honestly. Started out with a good zone training meeting under our direction. We did our part at the end and it kind of got cut because of the time but the whole thing turned out well I think. We have some good district leaders here and I know each one of them really well and love them a lot so its been so cool to be able to help all of them in their duties. With the changes in our mission that our going on it seems like that is our principal duty now as ZLs is to just help them. The hermana trainers did a great job too. Honestly I think what made the whole thing great was the reverence that all the missionaries had before and during the conference and that was way cool. The spirit was there really strongly and i could tell everyone genuinly wanted to learn a lot and were desperate for help so there was a good spirit there maybe even if we lacked a little in the messages and practices etc. Elder G. gave a great lesson on faith. When everyone finds out I was his trainer they kind of look at me wide eyed and I tell them I had nothing to do with it hahaha I think I mentioned that way back in Puren.
That day we wanted to do exchanges but couldn't because the dls had already planned them with their missionaries. I think the charecteristic that stands out the most to me about this sector like i said last week is the membership. The members just love us so much and its been a huge change from the usual. The lunches are giant and so delicious and the members just spoil us and think we are the coolest thing ever. Honestly its been kind of socially exhausting. Its been hard with our planning to get out of our lunch appointments on time. A lot of great support as far as coming with us to lessons too. We are working on the reference thing though. Step by step. The leadership is awesome too.
There has been a lot of work to do as far as less actives and recent converts go and that's been a good thing and a bad thing. Our ward has a upcomming temple trip planned and that together with a new focus on family history work that Elder Packer gave us a few weeks ago we worked a lot on that and i think we made some serious progress with some of those LA and CRs. We put some serious goals with some to go and even got to help them with Family search etc. There is so much of that work to do here in south america. I like to show off my family tree that literally has no end thanks to grandparents and relatives etc and their efforts and Ifeel obligated to tell them that I never lifted a finger to do it but I think its still cool to show them how big this work can be. Its cool to use Hyrum Smith and Joseph F Smith as examples to show how cool our ancesters can be too. I think I felt the spirit of Elias with us and the spirit of the temple and that was cool. I hope i can make that a constant thing in my mission now.
Bad thing is that I feel like we can use our time better. Like i said the main struggle has been finding. We are kind of puzzled on how to do it because when we do dedicate time to hit doors and talk to people it hasn't gone very well. I think we probably need to use our area book better and the ward lists as well but both things are GIANT and way messy. Its been kind of hard to motivate my comp (and myself) to really committ ourselves to finding when we have so few investigators and so much cool work to do with retention and reactivation but i want to make progress to baptism. I need to be patient too though. Hard balance there. Poor Elder A. didn't see any baptisms the last to transfers he was here and his previous comp finished the mission here so its been kind of a struggle as far as motivation goes but i want to work on it better this week.
I heard that N. from Lagunillas got baptized! Yaaaaay! no pic yet hopefully elder oxborrow will remember to send me some.
I went to Santa Barbara w elder G. from Guatemala and that was fun. Its a really beautiful town in the cordillera and really small and touristy. The work is hard there for that reason but we worked hard and it was a beautiful day. Elder G is really nice and really new in the mission but very level headed and committed to his testimony and purpose. It was cool to meet him and in part made me miss the countryside and in part not miss it at all hhahahaha. I actually got to see some friends from Via O'Higgins who had moved there and that was cool. It had rained earlier in the week so the mountains and volcano were all covered in snow but it was just way pleasent down where we were.
Saturday and Sunday were full of a lot of work. A lot of recommittment on me and e A. part too and I think we will do better this week. The good thing is that we get along great. Our church meetings were about as on spot as they get here and really spiritually uplifting. Lunch with the bishop and his wife was awesome too i felt like i was at home.
The zone is getting better slowly. We are really pushing them to push themselves as far as getting our teaching and obedience better and it has shown in our results. I had a really cool experience Thursday when a district leader felt impressed to tell us to call a sister companionship at night to try and uplift them a little because they were kind of discouraged. The senior comp had just came out of a kind of hard companionship the transfer before and her new comp is a tiny Hermana from the philipines (yes the phillipines) who is really new and hasn't had much success and there in a really hard sector. I called them and shared a scripture and talked a little about how I didn't have much measurable success in the beginning of my mission etc but they told me that just that day they had a crazy miracle breakthrough with a part member family who had accpeted a baptismal date. When he gets baptized he will be the Hermana from the filipenes first baptism in 8 months. It was so special to hear how their faith had been responded with a miracle when sometimes that doesn't happen. It was so refreshing as a leader to feel empathy for someone we're guiding but in a positive way. Honestly I think I'm most greatful for that this week.
This week I thought a lot about faith. Its always been kind of a puzzle for me. I think a lot of it is about positive thinking but also a lot about action. I get confused about it sometimes, especially when you throw hope in there as another principle. I remembered a talk by Elder Bednar about the "faith to not be healed" and i think that applies to our work a lot. Patience as well. I'm just trying really hard to stay focused and worthy enough to be able to be gifted success I guess and trying to work hard enough to deserve it as well. I know we can make it work in this sector too.
Ok I love you all and miss you. I had like 3 dreams i was home which was unfortunate this week hahaha but I', focused don't worry. I hope your all doing great and I'm praying for you!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok it was a super quick week! Monday I said goodbye to M and N. Sad but good. They took it well and are in great hands. I packed it all up at night and it was my best packing yet I think! Tuesday we got up early and a great member Bro G. took us to the bus terminal and I took a bus right away at 9 and was off.
LA is so much cooler than I remember hahahaha! I think the main thing was the shock of being out of the states at the begining but now I see that this is like by far the best developed and most beautiful urban sector I've been in. San Martin is really beautiful and the people have been really nice so far. The members here are legendary and just love and spoil the missionaries so much which is a fun change. I've eaten so much delicious food. Most people in this ward live comfortably too. The ward is really really cool. A lot of good priesthood and cool recent converts. Not quite as big as Lagunillas but very friendly and most have more time to help too than in my last ward. Really really cool people. I feel like a total regalon.
The sector is like from the downtown of LA to the southern border kind of with a few borders of other sectors around there. It's pretty large and has great landscaping weirdly enough. I was bracing myself for like crazy hot weather but it's actually been very pleasant and it even rained a couple days. I hope I got here right in time for hte end of summer because it's been really great weather.
Elder A.is really cool. He has a really serious look and hes really soft spoken but is super funny and kind in his personality. He's from a city in the very north of Chile. I'm his first gringo comp hahaha! We will be finishing hte mission together too so he knows a lot. Hes a great missionary. The house was kind of a disaster because their vacuum was broken and the missionary I replaced finished his mission so the house was kind of a nightmare but we put a goal to fix it and it's gotten cleaner and cleaner every night. It actually is a really nice and big house so that's cool. Lots of storage space.
We had a district meeting on Wednesday and I felt like I had so much time int hte mission because i knew like 6 people in the zone and the rest of the 22 were newer missionaries i had heard nothing about hahaha. Elder G. and Elder G. are here and they're great friends and it's cool to see how much each of them have grown since I was around them. The zone is working hard but struggling a little in their results, and there's a lot of work to do here but that's good. A lot of new problems to solve. It was cool to feel even more the help of the Spirit in my assignments this week due to kind of a group of less ideal circumstances here compared to the paradise that me and Elder O. had constructed in our sector and in our zone with the help of the missionaries there. It will be fun to have new challenges though. A lot of work needs to be done about how we teach so that will be cool.
We had a leadership council on Friday so I went back to Conce hahaha. It was cool to see old friends as always. Nothing too crazy there but it was cool to see how much our mission has changed and is changing for the better. It's sad to think I won't get to see it farther down the road because I'm sure it will be having more and more success as the months go on. I got to ask Elder O. about N. and he said he's doing great and right on track for baptism this week.
Other than that we were mostly working really hard to find new people to teach here. Looks like their teaching pool had pretty much dried up before I got here but that's ok. The members are really willing to help and its been easy to find people contacting too. There are a ton of less active members and part families here so that will be a cool new way to work to find new people to teach. Our ward mission leader F. is great, as well as the rest of the ward leadership here. The lunches have been delicious.
Theres a companionship of Hnas in our ward too and they had a baptism this Saturday which was cool. Elder A. was asked to baptize the convert and he did.
Sunday was some good church meetings. A lot of excitement about an upcoming temple trip as a ward in March so that was cool to see. Got me kind of jealous to go.
This week I think I was blessed at the end of the week with some insight about what it's like to have an eternal perspective. I think that sometimes our "here and now" becomes so overwhelming to us as normal humans and we forget how much more life and eterntity we have to live. I think about how much I've changed in only 20 months and it makes one week and its challenges seem much smaller. God has such a larger perspective of us and what He wants our lives and eternities to be. Getting there can be painful, but I know now that as we trust in the guidance of the Holy Ghost He can indicate us to know how to respond to our circumstances to be able to achieve our potential. I think that's why it's so important to be worthy of that guidance. I can't remember where the scripture is (John 14 or 15) but Christ teaches His Apostles how a woman feels pain upon giving birth but then how the pain is forgotton when she feels the joy of having a child. A really interesting idea. Faith is wanting what God wants for us.
Ok I think that's good for today. If you have questions for me write away! Its going to be a good cambio we are giong to work really really hard! I love you all!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok it was a good week I'll try and fit it all in in the time I have!
First up is the transfer news! I'm going back to Los Angeles but this time the Southern Stake and I'll be in barrio San Martin. I've heard a lot of good things about it so I think I'll like it. My comp is Elder Aravena and he will be my first Chilean comp actually! I know him enough and he is really cool and a great missionary. It's going to be really really hot there though. Can't believe it's been 6 months since I left Lebu now. This could be my last sector too! It's been great here in Saint Peter but a change will be good. 3 cambios w Elder Oxborrow too wow it's gone fast.
This week was really cool. Tuesday was pretty normal but then we had a multizone conference with Elder Packer from the area presidency. Yes, he is the son of Elder Packer from the 12. It was really really cool. He talked about a lot of different things but I'll write some stuff that stuck out to me
First thing was that he talked a lot about the different between "fruits" and the "means" by which we obtain them. He explained that fruits are souls, or the conversion of souls, and how that always need to be our first objective and is what the Lord commands us to do. He talked about how fruits are hard to measure and that why in the church we often need to measure our means, and how sometimes we get to busy focusing on means and not enough on the ends, or fruits so to speak. I think that was especially meant for our zone and for our companionship as well. Even a baptism technically is not even a fruit but a means to obtain a fruit. Pretty cool way to change how we think about helping people and being a successfull missionary. Me and Elder O kind of analyzed our 3 tranfers together in that light and we could feel really successful about the fruits we got together even though they were few baptisms. I hope I can help other missionaries to see the work in that way too.
He also talked a lot about what he called understanding the language of the spirit. Really cool stuff. He talked about how it's pretty easy to detect what things we do and say that drive the spirit away if we are trying really hard to maintain the spirit with us, and in that way make the necessary changes to be able to have the spirit more. Pretty cool stuff and I think it inspired everyone to be better.
At the end he told us that he felt inspired to tell us that our mission can have baptisms in every week in every sector which was pretty crazy! He invited us to find a way to do it too. I think it will obviously be a really long term goal and I probably won't be here to see it achieved but it was really inspiring. He mentioned and I also felt impressed that the changes we have to make wont be weird or surprising but will be the simple things like obedience and getting our teaching better and having a closer union with ward leaders etc, opr pretty much just everything said in PMG. Pretty cool. We will have a lot of work to do here though! It will be really fun.
Honestly the week was kind of uneventful but we taught a good amount of lessons which was fun. I'm excited for new terrain I feel like ive been here a long time and I think new challenges will help me grow and have the spirit more.
We had found this older gentleman who is religious but pretty new to religion and he has a ton of real intent and that makes him really fun to teach. He's reading the BoM and even surprised us and came to church this week so I hope to hear about him getting baptized from Elder Oxborrow in the coming weeks.
The majority of our time and concern was dedicated to N! His baptism was origionally planned for the 4th of March so we had to teach him like 5 times this week to get him ready but then we had to change his date to later anyway so his family can be there. He is so receptive and so converted that teaching him is like a more sacred experience. His faith is so amazing. He's pretty much accepted all the commandments now and the changes he will have to make to live them etc. He has learned so much and so fast that we know that most of it hasnt even been from us but from the spirit and prayer. It's been such a cool experience and honestly I don't feel too bad about not being there for his baptism. He can go so far in this gospel and it will be so cool to see in the years that come. I know that finding and teaching him has all been a result of me and Elder O's obedience and hard work, especially when we saw people working and obeying less than us and having more success. God keeps his promises!
Other than that we had a cool soccer tournament as a ward and we put together some missionary and investigator teams. Pretty fun stuff.
Ok sorry I'm low on time but I love you all! I'm trying really hard to keep growing and keep feeling the spirit every day! I really want to give it all these last transfers so any advice is welcome on how to do that. Also dad send me any converts or people I should look out for in LA. I really want to work well with the ward there!
I love you all so much!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok a long week we worked really hard!
Started out with some good district meetings as usual. I was asked to teach a little in one of them about asking questions which was fun. That day I went to La Harina and los huertos to be with Elder Sheidel from Vancouver and elder Pinto and Elder Batista worked w Elder Oxbox in lagunillas. One problem we encountered is that poor Elder Sheidel had been absolutely devoured by a pulga (flea) outbreak the night before and hadn't gotten any sleep so we spent a good chunk of time doing and emergency purging of their house that ended up working well and no new bites. I think they stopped liking me a while ago because I don''t get bit anymore. It was a good day and they are some killer missionaries who cracked me up all day. They had two baptisms this last week and one of them was a total miracle so that was really cool to see. It's really fun to get to know the whole zone.
The next few days were pretty normal with quite a few lessons and English class etc. A. is progressing but slowly. It's just hard after so much time with someone when we see how much potential they have and they dont see it. I'm sure thats how God feels with us. He really needs to get more motivated quick because he knows all we teach is true and that he needs to get baptized etc but is just kind of slow to act. We walked all the way across our sector to wake him up for church so he went this last Sunday. I think in part it's hard right now because he has to quit smoking. I think we need to help him grow his faith that the Lord really can forgive him for his past self. He will be such a good convert when he does get baptized.
N. (that reference) is doing really good but was pretty busy last week so we didn't get to teach him much but he came to church and loved it again. He is very chosen. The Elders quorom pres is doing a great job of fellowshipping him and it makes a huge difference. He and a few others are going to play on the Mission work team in the ward soccer tourney this Saturday. He loves Elders quorum. We had originally planned for the 5th of March but it looks like he might need one more week or two because we haven't gotten to teach him much.
We really rededicated ourselves this week to find new investigators but it proved kind of hard for us. We re-analyzed a lot our first lesson teaching and our door approaches and improved both a lot thinking that in that way we would find more people but no such luck. I think in part its from summer break etc. Im learning how charity really comes into play in finding because like Moroni says without charity we are nothing. I think we have been trying to be less shy about being open and direct about the blessings they can recieve and the change their lives can have and that has helped. In the worldwide training from a few weeks ago they mentioned that we need to "sanctify every door we knock" and I liked that a lot and want to do it better.
We went to the temple yesterday with a part member family we are working with to really get them to get the vision to make the changes necessary to get there when it's done in summer of 2018 or to Santiago before that. It was really cool and looks like twice as big as the Newport Beach temple. I forgot my camara (sorry) but they took a lot of pics andI'll have them send them to you. It's really advanced in its structure and looks like 5 stories high. Really cool location too. It's got a ton of cool anti earthquake tech that will make it the last thing standing in Conce if theres ever a catastrophy big enough. Definitely want to come back when its done. It's really close to the river Bio Bio.
This week is the last of the transfer - wow it went fast. We did really good a zone even though we had quite a few baptisms fall through last minute. The most likely thing will be that I get transfered and that Elder Oxburt stays and finishes here which, as much as I love this sector, will be a good change. It's really strange for me to be in the same sector so long too. This is officially the longest I've been in one place and the longest with one comp by far. I'm really excited to see what my next assignment will be and to have a good change of pace. hopefully I don't eat my words on that and stay here. We will see and ill let you know what's up next week.
I studied a lot this week about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about the plan of salvation. I think a conclusion I came to is that one of Satan's biggest and most frecuently used tools is lying to us about who we are. How we see ourselves has a really large effect on how we act. One testimony God will always give us is about our divine potential, heritage, and even history. The cool thing I learned too about covenants is what it means to be "worthy". It is very different from being perfect, and that's the point. If we have the constant companionship of the holy ghost with us we can be sure that we are keeping our covenants, which in the words of PmG means not only that we have recieved the remission of our sins, but that we are retaining the remission of our sins as well. How cool is that? Therefore we know that if we have the spirit with us we are being found "worthy" and pure enough to have the spirit through the grace of Christ despite our fallen and sinful state. That''s the cool thing about covenants; we are found spotless as we keep them even though we are not. I think too often in the church we talk about the remission of sins as if it is something that happens to us someday far in the future eternities or only right after baptism when its really not that way at all, it's a weekly and even a daily occurrence as we keep our covenants. It's retaining the remission of our sins, from what I understand, which allows us to have the spirit and therefore progress in the transforming process that Christ can do to us if that makes sense. From what I understand its the remission of sins that allows our progress, but maybe I'm wrong hahaha check me on that. I love how Joshua tells the Israelites to "sanctify themselves" so that God could do miracles for them the following day. I think the miracles we recieve as we "sanctify ourselves" occur in us rather than making walls topple or seas part. I hope I'm not preaching false doctrine here let me know if I am.
Ok I''m doing great and learning and growing a lot. We want to push ourselves to the limit this week working hard and focusing in a ton to finish the transfer well. I love you all so much and miss you but im happy here! Keep writing me and letting me know what's up at home etc!
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.