I just got through with another incredible week here in the mission. Didn't you just love General Conference? I thought it was awesome what Elder Anderson said, that the talks at General Conference aren't assigned themes, but that everyone is to share what they are inspired to share. I noticed that, in all of the sessions of Conference there was a general theme: The Family. Isn't it just great to know that the family is eternal? I'm so grateful to have a wonderful family and share the gospel with all. I know we aren't perfect, but there's love, so we must be doing something right.
Today, we spent the day in Copiapó. We came, bought some awesome soccer shirts, and played for a bit. I liked playing basketball more at the end... But I won't complain. Everyone has their likes and their dislikes. What I like more than anything else is just doing my best and serving others. I have come to love the amazing members in the little town of Diego de Almagro, and I know that I am where I am meant to be. This week, I started doing the first administrative work here in Diego de Almagro now that I finally know more about the members and their individual situations. I've interviewed almost everyone, and I know that we have been exceedingly blessed as a branch here in Northern Chile. This week, we got together the new Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching companionships and assignments (that was a lot of work), and I started giving the first callings that I've given as Branch President. Though I can't share everything that I've learned here and that I've felt, I testify that this is God's work and that He works with power by faith among His children. I know that our Heavenly Father loves and knows each of us personally. Though I have little experience in life and am still really young, it is a great assurance to know that the Holy Ghost has all experience and all wisdom, and that I can work in the office to which I have been appointed because I am not the one giving callings or counsel; this is God's work, and He works through us as long as we strive to obey and to understand the bounds of the callings and offices to which we are appointed and ordained.
Also, a fun little experience was getting to go through a few other little towns: El Salvador and Potrerillos. President Urra and the assistants called us up on Friday afternoon and asked if we had appointments and if we wanted to join them to get to know the parts around Diego de Almagro. We, of course, jumped at the chance, and Friday afternoon we went and saw these awesome little cities. As we drove, President Urra described the desert scened that we saw and the history of what had happened before in these areas. He talked about the old-fashioned mining communities, showed us around ghost towns, and drove through the most arid desert of the whole world. As we got to Potrerillos, a factory where they purify the copper that's mined, we marvelled at the fact that it's built at the top of a huge hill, and it looks impossible for a train to go up and transport copper. But, the people who created this facility were really intelligent and creative. In really steep hills, amazing roads were cut out and built. The train tracks actually pass around the facility in order to climb the huge hill. I wish I had taken pictures, but we didn't have time to go back to our house and grab the camera! I think I'll ask one of the assistants for pictures because it truly was beautiful.
Also, my companion Elder Howard and I were tracting the other day, and as I looked through the door crack, I noticed some weird looking devices on the table. I said "Wow, Elder, I think it's a meth-lab." He then looked in and corrected me. "No elder, it's just a hairdressing place." We had a good laugh about that, and then went on tracting.
I'm really loving the work here in Diego de Almagro, and I know that this is where I'm supposed to be. I hope that I can serve with all my heart, mind, and strength so that when I leave this little city, the members are much better prepared for the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I know that Jesus Christ lives, that this is His church here on the earth. I also know that the Gift of the Holy Ghost is an amazing gift that we should always use and be grateful for. The greatest promise is the one that comes as we partake worthily of the sacrament: That we can always have His spirit to be with us.
It is my hope and prayer this day after Easter that we can carry with us always the amazing Gift of the Holy Ghost and enjoy a knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He suffered for US, that no matter what, we can turn to Him and have salvation. I am so grateful for this knowledge -- it is what brings joy and satisfaction to my life every day, it is the power that helps me to endure to the end, even when the going gets tough.