October 31, 2009 (Happy Halloween)
I'm really sorry, but this week I haven't taken any photos! I feel pretty bad about that, so I hope that you can forgive me. :( We have just finished what is called the "Crazy Week" ("La Semana Loca") here in the office. It was especially crazy because 3 missionaries showed up that we didn't know were coming to our mission (they were reassigned from other missions, and one came early from the MTC in Provo). Also, I had to make all the payments for rent, the mamitas that we have, the missionaries, etc., etc. We also had lots of work organizing the transfers, buying all the bus passes, changing our system with the new transfer information, and finishing up the auditing materials from the week before. It was tons of work, but we got it all done, and now I am just relieved that we can be back to do more work in our sector! I only have a few things left to do (terminate a few contracts, write a few contracts, reclaim security deposits on some apartments we are renting, etc.).
I have learned a ton in the past week, especially from my awesome mission president, President Urra. I called him to get some advice on a few things, and he called all of us secretaries to his office just to motivate us and teach us. It was amazing to sit there and feel his spiritual power. I wrote a lot of his counsel in my journal, but oh how I wish I could have had a camera and have recorded all of his words! He is really an amazing person that is full of love and just wants to help us have a successful mission. One thing that I have learned is that every experience in the mission is to prepare us for what is to come. If we have difficulties with something, we can be sure that those same difficulties with arise after the mission. Now is the time to overcome our weaknesses and be who the Lord wants us to be! But I'm sure you all know that already... Still, it is always a nice reminder. :)
Today, we have a baptism. Yay! We have been teaching Hernan Ramos for a couple months now, and he will be baptized this afternoon. He is awesome, and he has really found a lot of happiness and peace in living gospel principles. So, after today we will have 2 baptisms from the beginning of this trimester (October), and the goal (for us) is 8 baptisms by the end of the year. We can do it! I'll be working like crazy to reach this goal. But even if we don't reach the goal, I know that if we do all that we can and strive to help the people here in Antofagasta, we will be successful, no matter what. The true measure of our journey is not in reaching the goals that we set but in making a true difference in the world, fulfilling the great commandments in the law: Love God with all your heart, and with all your strength and all your might, and Love your neighbor as yourself. How amazing the world would be if only we all could live this command perfectly!
Thank you to all that wrote me! I really enjoyed reading your words and looking at the pictures of Halloween. I sent a couple to my mission president. I don't know why, but it's kind of taboo for adults to celebrate Halloween here in Chile. Halloween is still pretty new in this country. Just two years ago, the evangelical church added a new holiday to Chile, which just happens to be on Halloween. So, there is a mixture between super dramatic, religious folk on the street (here in Chile, they are called "canutos") and little kids dressed up as monsters. It's pretty funny. But then again, Chile has more holidays than any country I know! I think it's just an excuse not to work... Though I'm not complaining. It means that the people are in their home more so that we can teach them!
Right now, Chile is on another teacher's strike (the second this year), which also means that there are a lot of youth roaming the streets without going to school. Politics and money just do weird things to a society. I'm just grateful that we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ to hold us in place and guide us in a sure way, the way to eternal life. This experience here in Chile sure is colorful! I really do love the work that we are doing here. It is amazing to be a representative of Jesus Christ, to enter into homes and teach families, and to help unify and strengthen family relationships.
Well, I think that's about it for now. We're gonna get off soon to do some service in a cemetery (a perfect activity for Halloween!) and then get off to the baptism. Have a wonderful day, and know that you're always in my prayers!