March 16, 2009 (Better than backpacking)
Hello my amazing family! How is everything going? I can't believe that you are all backpacking in the Grand Canyon right now!!! I'm pretty jealous, I'm not gonna lie. :)
Well, I'm actually not too jealous because I love being a missionary. It rocks! This week, I just had this crazy reality check when my companion and I were training a bunch of ward missionaries that were just called to serve. I was talking in SPANISH. ¿Que onda? But what is more, we were teaching about how to speak and teach with more tact, being considerate of the other person's time, beliefs, circumstances, etc. At one point I thought: Wait. They can speak Spanish and I'm just learing. How can I tell them how to speak to others? But that's the crazy part about being a missionary, I guess. We really have received this great gift of tongues for which I am eternally grateful.
I still can't believe I've been out almost 6 months! It feels like just moments. Before you know it, I'll be at the airport... married! chiste. Anyways, this week was pretty amazing. It's still hard to understand when people talk who have really thick chilean accents, but it's all good. With time, I know it will come. Hopefully I can come home speakin' a little chiléanpo. ;) Right now, I can fool people into thinking I'm from Chile if I only speak a little (like asking basic questions or telling the time) because I have the dark skin of the people of Chile. It's funny because my companion has the blue eyes, so all the people talk to him in English as a Gringo and to me in Spanish as if I'm Latino. Too bad I can't understand anything!
Anyways, this week has been filled with miracles. As we've focused ourselves on the reactivation of less-active members, bautizar al reactivar y reactivar al bautizar, we have really seen some great success. One of the less active members blessed his baby girl and accepted a calling in the church, and another attended our recent Zone Conference -- he is going to receive the Priesthood next week, and he's working on his mission papers now!
I don't know if I've told you about one of my investigators before, but I'll tell you again just in case. He is really smart and always is working. His wife was an in-active member, but as we worked with their family, we baptized her daughter Joaquina in January and reactivated the mom. However, it's been tough with Erwin. However, we saw a miracle as he started coming to church and all the activities. When I directed the choir, he came to every practice and sang for the ward conference. He also gave fireside and shared his testimony of the gospel -- it was crazy powerful! Right now, we have a baptismal date for him for the 28th of this month, provided that his in-laws return from their vacations. I hope they do because I might be leaving this sector the first week of April!
This city, Arica, has really become like a home to me. The members of the ward, the investigators, the less active members -- they are like my family away from my family. I can really feel their love and their amazing spirits. It is incredible to see these faithful saints and to work with them! One of our investigators who is progressing is Carla, a daughter of members. Her mom told us that we are the angels in her life, especially for bringing the gospel to her daughter and always bringing the spirit into her home. Another family, Hipólito y Lila (less active members), told us that we were the answer to their prayers. We just happened to pass by in the very moment when they were praying for a miracle and a blessing for their daughter. This was a real miracle, and Hipólito is almost reactivated! He just needs to accept a calling in the church.
Anyway, sorry there're no pictures this week. I'll try to send more next week. Just remember to have a blast in the Grand Canyon and send me some great pictures (as long as they're small and not too many). :)
I love you so much! Thank you for your thoughts and your emails. They are always welcome!
¡Chau! Les quiero mucho,
babelfish: Chau! I want much to them