Wow last letter that's pretty crazy. I feel like I should be summing up my whole mission in this letter or something but I think that would be impossible so I'm not going to be attempting that at all. Whatever. It's weird because I still feel like this is any normal week!
Last week was good. Pretty rainy but we had a lot of luck the weekend up until last night which was a big miracle. We worked hard! Tuesday we had a district meeting and I shared the Elder Holland talk "High priest of good things to come" and I think everyone liked it. Then we did some practices about helping investigators with their doubts without making them feel like we just want them to get baptized for us. It was a good class I think.
That day we had a gran intercambio with the whole zone and I worked with Elder Ivory from Colorado which was a fun change. I can get around pretty well in our sector despite its huge size and downtownness but I'm still kind of learning how far away everything is from each other and we ended up walking a lot but it was ok. We talked a lot about the mission. It's kind of weird and fun in my last transfer becasue all these missionaries keep asking me for advice and consejo like im some master jedi sage or something and I feel like I'm still learning about how to be a missionary even now hahaha. It was a good day and we had a really good lesson with our investigator Edgardo who Ill talk more about in a bit. We taught an English class giving a tour of the chapel and practising vocab and pronounciation which was fun. We had a good turnout that night despite the rain even with some new people.
Wednesday was pretty normal and I'm struggling to remember anything about it and the rest of the week... We had a lot of lessons that fell this week and a lot of searching around for people but we were happy regardless.
I think the biggest event this week was all with E. He is a middle aged man with a beard and long hair and when we first met him he was pretty gruff and closed off to us and to our teaching. He had some kind of really debilitating viral disease like 2 years ago that left him totally paralysed and now he has recovered a lot of his ability and can walk and live pretty independently considering he was totally imobile neck down two years ago. He mostly started listening to us because he had nothing else to do but as the lessons have gone on and as we have answered his doubts he has softened up a lot. Still hasnt been able to come to church. The thing is that last week he went to teh doctor for a lump and they detected possible cancer. His parents and two of his brothers died of cancer in their late 50s. Last week we taught the plan of salvation and it obviously couldnt be better timed. He still wasnt sure what kind of tumor it is and supposedly had testing in valdivia yesterday and today he was going to call us with the news. After the lesson about hte plan of salvation and the atonement, spirit world, and resurrection he was pretty emotional. We gave him a blession of health and after that he was pretty much totally in tears because of all the unsurety of his future after he had just started to get better from his last ailment. It was all kind of really heartbreaking to see this formerly gruff guy be totally broken down at the end of the visit. As we left we told him we knew that everything would be ok and that we loved him and he said the same to us.
It was so hard to walk out of that door that day. I dont know what will happen to E. nor if he will live or not but what I did feel very strongly that lesson and that day afterwards is that regardless of the suffering and trials he has in this life that it will all work out in the end and be worth it in the end. If he accepts the gospel in this life or the next or not really ever at all he will still one day have a perfect resurrected body and be free of that bondage that he has now.
Im not sure if tragedy has been a theme of my mission or if its a theme of all missions or just of our lives in themselves but I feel like Ive learned a lot about it these two years. What I do know is that all we go through in this life would all be so arbitrary and hopeless if it werent for what Christ will make of us through His Atonement after this life. In the context of teh Plan of Salvation suffering and death changes from being "the end" to kind of a means to a really good "end" that we learned about and hoped for and chose in the pre earth life. Ive said this before but I think thats why Christ repeats so many times in the scriptures that we shouldnt fear or be sad, because despite sufferring all we suffer He knew ,like elder Holland says, that it would all work out in the end. I can say that that is very true for the two years of my mission at least.
I dont feel like its been two years. Ive loved every minute of it and learned so much like I said last week. I wouldnt trade it for anything. Im mostly trying now to maintain a really positive attitude about going home and new challenges and new life etc and Im sure it will all be fine. Im going to try and enjoy this week as much as I can and look forward to good stuff in the future too. I love the gospel so much and know its true.
Thanks for all the emails this whole time and the prayers and support. Excited to talk more and see you all in a few weeks!
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.