orry about writing a little later than usual this week. It has been a pretty eventful P-day for us here in Diego de Almagro (actually, we're in Chañaral right now, a little city on the coast about 1 hour away from Diego de Almagro).
To start off, I'm sending a couple pictures of last week when my new companion arrived here in Chañaral. His name is Elder Howard and he is an amazing missionary! He's still pretty new in the mission, about 4 months here in Chile, so it's been fun to work on him with his Spanish. I have been speaking a lot more in English nowadays, which is bad (I know!), but at least I won't have so weird of an accent when we have the Mother's day call. That should be nice! Wow, can you believe that my last General Conference in the mission is coming up? And the Mother's day call is my last call home in the mission. How insane! Where does all the time go? It seems to be speeding up every day...
Here in the branch, Diego de Almagro, we've had quite a bit of work to do. Just yesterday, we had our 6 month audit, which was kind of fun. I'm just glad it only lasted 2 hours; the audit we had in the mission office last year took 2 full days! But everything went great. I learned a few things that I can do better in the administration aspect of the branch, and I definitely have got my hands full of things to do. And I'm loving it! It's a great experience to learn from amazing leaders and to be able to love and serve the members in our little branch. Today, we had a district meeting with 3 branch presidents and the district president, and we went over a few things (such as study materials for the church for this year) that we can do to help strengthen the branch. I'm excited to start putting it all into practice. We're in the middle of the long process of interviews and callings. When I got here, the branch really didn't have any kind of organization, so we're starting from scratch calling all the presidencies and organizing home and visiting teaching. It's a great experience to plan, interview, feel the spirit guiding our decisions, and strive to serve the members. I'm really enjoying the work here in Diego de Almagro!
We also found a lot of new investigators this week. It's always a bit of a struggle to balance all of the administrative work and the missionary work, but I know that the Lord is blessing us exceedingly for the sacrifice we're making. I really love my Heavenly Father and am so grateful for His help every day. I could never do this work without Him! We have a great vision of the progress of the work here in Diego de Almagro, in the district Chañaral, and I know that all that we do is help people come unto Christ by helping them receive His restored gospel. Right now, we are working to put the foundation of the Church in, to build it up so strong that, no matter what happens and what temptation might befall the members, it will stay strongly rooted in the faith of Christ. Though we are few (20 people attended last Sunday), I can feel the strength of the members that we have in the branch and I know that together we can start seeing miracles.
I love this work here in Chile and in all the world. Though I love all of you and miss being with you, I know that I am where the Lord wants me to be. I know that this great work is true and that we are in His true Church. I have felt the overwhelming love and peace that only my Heavenly Father can provide, testifying of the truth of these things. I hope that you all have an amazing week and that we can enjoy General Conference. I'm really excited to hear what the prophet has to say! :)
I love you all very much, and I hope that all is well. Thank you for always writing and letting me know how everything is -- I really do appreciate it!