Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Last message from Chile!

September 28, 2010 (I'll be home on Friday!)

an you believe how fast these two years have gone? Looking back, it all seems to have gone so fast! But, it also feels like I've been here forever. Crazy how that works, huh?

It has been a really awesome week! I'm sending you some pictures of our Branch President's family and our zone that we recently took. We have been working our very best this week. It's been pretty tough for me. It has actually been kind of hard to sleep this past week, even when I'm not thinking about home. I guess it's just lurking there in the back of my mind. It's also been a little tough to get out of our apartment in the afternoon to work, but I can testify that as I prayed for strength to endure to the end, the Lord truly blessed us with a ton of success! We did a lot of companionship exchanges again this week, and we did our best to train and help our fellow servants in the Lord's vineyard. The time has just flown by, and I'm still loving every minute!

Sadly, none of our investigators went to church this week, even though we labored with all diligence to teach and bring others unto Christ. As we have taught, I felt the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and we did our best to focus on commitments and our investigators' progress. However, everyone has their own agency, and it's a little sad when people choose to not listen, but I cannot be disappointed in my own work. I know that we have been doing exactly what the Lord has commanded us, and that makes me happy! :)

I have grown so much in these past two years, I didn't even think it was possible. I feel such a great love for the people here in Chile. I am so excited to see all of you this coming Friday! But, it also feels like I'll be leaving a family when I leave here. I know that the Lord has heard and answered all of my prayers and has filled me with a great love for my fellow servants and my Chilean brothers and sisters.







Last message from Chile!

September 28, 2010 (I'll be home on Friday!)

an you believe how fast these two years have gone? Looking back, it all seems to have gone so fast! But, it also feels like I've been here forever. Crazy how that works, huh?

It has been a really awesome week! I'm sending you some pictures of our Branch President's family and our zone that we recently took. We have been working our very best this week. It's been pretty tough for me. It has actually been kind of hard to sleep this past week, even when I'm not thinking about home. I guess it's just lurking there in the back of my mind. It's also been a little tough to get out of our apartment in the afternoon to work, but I can testify that as I prayed for strength to endure to the end, the Lord truly blessed us with a ton of success! We did a lot of companionship exchanges again this week, and we did our best to train and help our fellow servants in the Lord's vineyard. The time has just flown by, and I'm still loving every minute!

Sadly, none of our investigators went to church this week, even though we labored with all diligence to teach and bring others unto Christ. As we have taught, I felt the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and we did our best to focus on commitments and our investigators' progress. However, everyone has their own agency, and it's a little sad when people choose to not listen, but I cannot be disappointed in my own work. I know that we have been doing exactly what the Lord has commanded us, and that makes me happy! :)

I have grown so much in these past two years, I didn't even think it was possible. I feel such a great love for the people here in Chile. I am so excited to see all of you this coming Friday! But, it also feels like I'll be leaving a family when I leave here. I know that the Lord has heard and answered all of my prayers and has filled me with a great love for my fellow servants and my Chilean brothers and sisters.







Monday, September 20, 2010

One more week!

20 September 2010 (Chile's Bicentennial!)

The miracles have continued as we have worked here in Vallenar. I am loving every minute here in the mission field! :)

This week, on the 18th of September, we celebrated Chile's bicentennial -- it's been 200 years since Chile became a free country! That also means that everyone took the week off... everyone except us missionaries, of course. We got to work and did our best to find families at home and teach! And it went really well! I'm sending a lot of pictures that we took this week. We went to a little activity we had as a branch where we ate a lot of meat and the kids danced the "Cueca", Chile's national dance. I learned how to throw a top, and we had lots of fun with that as a zone. :) We also took some pictures of the usual scenery here in Chile, which I will really miss when I come home: the dogs on top of walls and houses, the beautiful city view of Vallenar, the hundreds of Chilean flags, etc. I hope you enjoy the pictures I sent!

This week, we did our best to find and teach, but one bad thing is that both Elder Shim and I both got a little sick, which totally sapped all of our energy! But, we continued faithful until the end, and though we had to rest more than we would have liked, the Lord blessed us in every aspect of the work. I went to the little coastal city of Huasco to work again on Tuesday, and it went really well. We taught many investigators, and the Spirit was our powerful companion. I've come to really appreciate and search diligently for the companionship of the Holy Ghost in all teaching opportunities, for as it says in the scriptures, "if ye have not the Spirit, ye shall not teach." We can tell when the Spirit is with us because we always come out feeling energized, excited, uplifted and edified. When we have a lesson without the guidance of the Spirit, we know right away! There is no way to produce lasting conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ without the power and influence of the Spirit of God.

For my final week here in the mission, I am planning on doing my very best! I know that this is the Lord's work, and through every decision we make and every action we take, we are laying the foundation of a great work. I love you all and pray for you every day. Thank you for your letters of support and encouragement -- they really help me from week to week to put my shoulder to the wheel and push along!

I love you all, and I can't wait to see you again. Take care, and have a wonderful week!



















Monday, September 13, 2010

Tearing it up!

September 13, 2010 (13 working days left!)

I have to apologize before hand for not sending any pictures this week; we didn't do anything more than work and travel and work some more, so I didn't have time to take any pictures. But, I'll be sure to make this a good email! :)

It turns out that I only have 13 days left to work here in the mission! Isn't it crazy how fast time flies? But, it's kind of strange, but I feel more focused than ever as we have worked diligently to bring others unto Christ. I really love working as a missionary and feeling the guiding influence of the Spirit in abundance, and I hope that I can always feel close to the Lord and be able to be led by His Spirit! I love seeing progress: in my life, in our sector, in our zone and in our mission. This week was just awesome as we worked non-stop and loved every minute!

In our zone, we are working a lot doing companionship exchanges to teach and train our missionaries. In the past, the missionaries looked down at Vallenar as one of the hardest places to baptize: it's a district and we missionaries have callings and assignments in the branches, it's not very big, etc. They just seemed like excuses to Elder Shim and I, so we started our work to be an example for the rest of the zone. Under the direction of our mission president, President Bruce, we started holding companionship exchanges 3-4 times a week, meaning that we hardly ever sleep in our own house! But it is a great experience to work with so many missionaries and see the progress not only in their lives but also in the lives of their investigators. We feel that their success is our success; we rejoice with them when they are blessed, and we share the burden with them when things start getting hard. For this month of September, we have 3 baptisms in the zone (5 companionships) and 5 more scheduled. We have seen miracles and a HUGE increase in many of our missionaries' numbers, which numbers represent souls and God's children. We're excited to keep on working in the Lord's vineyard!

While doing companionship exchanges with Elder Zaracho, a new Argentinean missionary, we were walking towards an appointment that we had. I heard some yell "√Člder!", which isn't too uncommon here in Chile. I looked around and got a distinct impression that I should talk to the young man, whose name was Yohanny. As we started talking, we found out that he always played soccer with the past Elders but never learned about the church. So, right then and there, we sat down in his patio and started teaching him and his friend, Alexander. As we taught, the Spirit testified strongly of Jesus Christ and His Gospel. When I shared the first vision of Joseph Smith, we paused and looked at these two teenage boys. I asked Alexander, "Do you feel that?" He said, "Yeah -- What is it?" I then asked, "How do you feel?" He said, "I just feel different. But it's not bad. When you talked about Joseph Smith, it was like a movie -- I could see it happening in my mind. I feel something different, something peaceful and good. What is it?" We testified that it was the Spirit of the Lord telling us that it was true. We said that God answers prayers in the same manner, through the still, small voice of the Spirit. Then we committed him to being baptized, and without hesitation he said "Yes!"

As we continued teaching, we shared some great experiences together. We invited both young men to church, and they accepted. Sadly, Alexander got the flu-bug the night before and couldn't come, but Yohanny went with one of the young men from our branch, and he loved it. Last night, we met with him and talked about what he learned. We talked about the importance of baptism and the Priesthood keys. I asked Yohanny, "Will you be baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the 9th of October to be cleansed and forgiven of your sins?" He paused for a bit, and then he said, "Yes." He looked at his friend Johan, the young member of the church who came with us, and said, "But you had better be there with me!" The Spirit was there, and a miracle was wrought in the life of one of God's children. Though I'll be home before he's baptized, I'm so happy to have helped him find the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and feel the power of our message, for I know that it is true.

This week, we also travelled 9 hours to Antofagasta to be in a Leadership training meeting for 5 hours, and then we came straight back to Vallenar for 9 hours. Even though we've been travelling a lot lately, the meetings are excellent, and we've been doing our best to apply what we learn and teach the rest of the missionaries in our Zone. President Bruce went deep into the doctrine of the Light of Christ as he taught us about the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion. We also practiced and learned about receiving revelation through prayer. It was an awesome meeting -- I wish I could have gotten it on tape! :) Working with many different missionaries has reminded me of many parts of my mission: working with Latinos, North American missionaries, new missionaries, ones with experience, ones that have struggles, ones that love the work, ones that feel a little down, etc. It has been an amazing week as we have strived to lift where we stand and raise the level of excellence of our entire zone. And it's working! The mentality of the missionaries is changing; Vallenar is no longer a zone that doesn't baptize. It is the most beautiful part of the entire mission, and God is aware of all of His children in this wonderful place. He has blessed us and wrought miracles here. I know that I was sent here by revelation through my mission president, and I will always remember what the Lord has done for us!

I love you all so much and am anxious and excited to see you in a couple of weeks. But, before then, I'll just keep on tearing it up here and enjoying every minute!

√Člder Sam Hobbs

Monday, September 6, 2010

Zone Conference



September 6, 2010 (Beautiful coastal city called Huasco)

It has been a truly amazing and quick week here in Vallenar! Along with the new assignment in the mission has come a lot of new and fun work, which means that time is flying by even faster. Elder Shim and I have been prayerfully holding companionship exchanges almost every day with the other missionaries here in Vallenar. We travelled to a beautiful little coastal city called Huasco, and I'm sending a bunch of pictures from there. (We're actually there right now since we came back to play soccer on the beach and have a little activity). We have worked with all the missionaries from our zone, and we can see a huge difference in the results that we are having in the mission. This really is the greatest work ever! I love it!

We also had our Zone Conference this week, and it went great. Our mission president, President Bruce, is really amazing. He has brought an awesome spirit to the mission, and we're all excited and working hard. I just have to sprint and work and sweat these last few weeks that I have to serve the Lord! We have one investigator, Diego, who accepted an invitation to be baptized on October 9th, and he is really awesome. We have other investigators who are also progressing, and I love being able to teach and see people change their lives when they feel the power of the Holy Ghost enter into their soul. While we were teaching a new investigator this week, a 16-year-old named Alexander, we asked him what he was feeling after teaching him about Joseph Smith's vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ. He said, "I'm not sure how to describe it. I feel different, but in a good way. It's like I'm really calm and peaceful. I understand perfectly what you are saying like it's a movie, and I know it's true." We testified to him that it was the power of the Holy Ghost, and by those same feelings he could know that truth of ALL THINGS, even our message!

I love the peace and knowledge the Holy Ghost brings to our lives. It is really the most precious and wonderful gift that we have! I feel so small as I work here in the mission and see such great miracles and blessings in the lives of my Chilean brothers and sisters. I know that this is God's work and that Christ is at the head of the Church. These really are the best two years!

I love you all so much. Sorry that I didn't write too much this week; we've just been working like crazy during this final stretch of my mission. I hope you enjoy the pictures! :)