Wednesday, December 30, 2009

from Kent 12/28

Subj: ¡Saludos de Tierra Bella!

¡Hola de nuevo amada familia!

Hello hello again! The year is wrapping up, and as it is the last Sunday of every year, the ward tries to sing an end-of-year hymn that nobody knows. It's even harder without an accompanist. Unfortunately there's no ''Ring Out Wild Bells'' in Spanish, so we tried our hand at ''Another Year has Passed.'' There were light snickers here and there, usually after the universal pauses at the end of each phrase.

The weather's cooled down a bit these last couple of days, so that's been very nice, we've been able to sleep and all those lovely things that come with not getting toasted. T'was most excellent to talk words with you all on the Christmas day, I will make great effort to make sure next time if the phone can call the U.S., and let you know beforehand. Interesting note of the Spanish language: the past imperfect form (doesn't have specific beginning or end) of the word ''to speak'' is hablaba, pronounced Ablahbah. It caused chuckles to arise within me.

My stomach's trying to take a break now, with the Christmas week, every house we entered was determined to feed us silly. Christmas eve we had a slightly bigger lunch than usual, and then passed by a less active family that loves the missionaries at about 7:30, and they fed us gingerbread cookies (the song ''Last Christmas, I gave you my heart...'' was playing and I did weep on the inside. Not even the other half of the world is enough to hide from that song for just one year!) and other Christmas treats. Then we went to the Gonzalez family where we had a full-on Christmas feast, complete with roast beast. And chicken. And two large heaps of mashed potatoes. Then the next morning was breakfast as normal, lunch was Christmas dinner from the microwave. (Same amount as the night before). Then we stopped by to visit Yasna later that night, where we again ate a plate of steak, another kind of steak, (huge mind you) and chicken again. And of course rice everywhere. These last couple days we've been 'invited' to eat the left-overs of every single house we visit. I've decided to start running every morning instead of just my aerobics-jumping jack-stair routine.

Hna. Blanquita was able to get confirmed yesterday, ¡por fin! She's had something come up every single Sunday the past month, the most recent being her severe burns on her hand. But she was able to make it!We've started working again with Juaqin, Leandro and that clan. It's an interesting case, it's one of the very few where the men and boys in the family want to be involved with the Church, but the women are more or less opposed. The good news is that Leandro (10 years, uncle of Juaquin, 9 years) and Juaquin are gung-ho about the church and reading the Book of Mormon, they have their mark-a-day sheets that they're diligent with, it's just tricky getting them to church, as doing so requires accompaniment of parentals. Also, one of their neighbor friends is excited about it all as well!

The other day we were with Hna. Blanquita talking about the blessings of obedience, and I felt impressed to read the scripture that says ''I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say...'' but had no idea what the reference was, at all. I only knew that 130:20-21 talked about the law irrevocably decreed, until my companion said ''My companion has a scripture about obedience'' and very very strong the reference 82:10 came to my mind, which is exactly the scripture I was hunting. The promises of having what they need brought to your memory is real and incredible.

Transfers are in: Elder Carazas is being transferred to the beach, far away north, and my new companion is going to be Elder Law. Brief history: Elder Law is the younger brother of Hna. Law (now Hna. Beeston, who was one of my teachers for a week and half in the MTC), who was in this very mission a few years ago. Tierra Bella was her last sector. From what I've heard from her, he's a fantastic missionary. From what I've heard of my district leader E. Jensen, who was his trainer, he's a fantastic missionary who knows how to work hard, plan and study well. From E. Nelson (current companion of E. Jensen) who was in the MTC with him, he's ''The man, the bomb, etc.'' So I'm very excited to get to work with him!! It will be interesting because we'll be able to have a bit of extra insight into the sector because of the contact he has with his sister.

New Year's we've been invited to spend with the Presidents of the Soc Soc (Relief society) and Elder's Quorum, who are wedded. There has been promise of ''cordero de palo'' which is roasted lamb, greek style. On a stick, o'er a pit. :) We're only allowed to stay out until 10:30 however, so we won't get to participate the real festivities. All is well.

Cultural notes: Almost every meal has a plate of salted tomatoes available for mixing with food, as well as a bowl of chopped lettuce somewhat soaked in lemon juice and a bit o' salt. The condiment of choice, which is used for almost everything, no matter what it is, is mayonnaise. However, this mayonnaise is glorified. I don't know how or what's different, but sweet biscuits it's fantastic. Few people have cars here in Tierra Bella, let alone pickup trucks, so very often you'll see someone on a bike with a 10'-15' board or pole, if not several, balanced on his shoulder.

Enjoy your new year! The Church is true, God loves you, so do I!
Elder Pimentel

Monday, December 21, 2009

From Kent 12/21

Subject: Y...¿cuándo pasó eso?‏

¡Pascua feliz para todos!

So, it's Christmas already. Don't really have any idea when that happened. Nope. Christmas really isn't too big a deal here, it kind of is but not much. Interesting thing, here in Chile Santa hath not a name. In song occasionally, but it doesn't make much sense because ''santa'' is Spanish for holy (of a feminine noun). Instead they call him ''Viejito Pascuera'' which more or less means a little old guy of the pascal season.

I got to play Visa games this last week, that was all fun. Lines and lines, and questions and lines, pictures and lines and forms. They do fingerprints differently here than in the U.S. We do the ink pad and finger press. They paint a small slab of plastic or metal and then roll your fingers on it. They also completely roll the finger for printing. And then there's a puddle of soap and a water bottle and you're left to yourself to figure out how to clean up your hands without messing up the government office.

There was an unofficial leak of information and the newspapers read Tuesday morning, front page mind you, ''Mormon Church to construct 'Mega Temple' in Quinta Junge.'' (Many denominations here in an attempt to be different call their buildings temples, 'salons', or other things.) The Church itself hasn't said anything, so the newspaper took the liberty to inform everyone who the Mormons are: A sect of Christians from the United States, followers of Joseph Smith, who believe in the Book of Mormon, scripture that claims that Jesus visited the United States. The rest actually was mostly correct, that generally we're peaceful, happy folk that don't smoke drink, etc. For the most part this will get people talking a bit, and interested. We'll see.

One of the members in the Stake, Riccardo, who gave us the reference of Abraham stopped by earlier this week with a wrapped gift for us. It was a referral to a family that lives around these parts. It made me smile.

As far as hoo-ha and fiddle faddle go, we can stay at house of a member until 10:30 Christmas Eve and for New Year.

Other cultural things I haven't mentioned: Whenever you enter the house of anyone, it is custom to serve drink of one type or another. Simple water is something almost unheard of here in Chile, everyone drinks some type of juice with every meal, and if not juice, Coca-cola or some other soda.

Milk is another thing that's different. In the U.S. we generally drink ye olde milk, with its 1 or 2% reduced. Here, milk comes in boxes, and if you hunt you can find unflavored milk, but it's either whole or half and half. Generally the safest is to go with strawberry milk.

When [on a bus] in the central part of the city, at just about every stop at least one person will get on at the front and make his way to the back trying to sell something, ice cream usually, and then get off before the bus starts moving again. Or you'll get the rare treat of a troubadour, those are usually great, someone with their guitar and songs.

Merry Christmas to you all, much love! I can't wait to talk with y'all this week!

Hurra for Israel!
Elder Pimentel

P.S. Tell Liz that in fact, this is real Christmas, and not ''all a dream''

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

From Kent 12/14/09

Subject: ¡Buenas!‏

¡Cómo están querida familia mía?

Yes, I do realize that I have not spoken much of things that all wish to know, I repent of such. I actually talked a whole bunch about that in my last letter right before it crashed, so I shall try again.

There are no bicycles to be used in this mission, we are completely on foot, and bus when we need to leave the sector. I'm still with Elder Carazas, my Peruvian trainer. He was baptized three years ago, and has only about 4 or 5 more months in the mission. So yes, he's quite a recent convert, as is his family. In fact, with most of the members in the ward or here in Chile, it's odd to not be/have parents that were converts. Every tuesday we have our Zone reunion/district class at a ward building one sector away, so most of us walk. The Zone leaders tell us how the zone is doing number wise, what we need to work on and how we can improve, as well as give us the news of the mission. Then we seperate and our district leader gives a class. Our current district leader is Elder Jensen, from Provo (like oh so many). He's a great, loving Elder.

Every 2nd week of a transfer we have the mission conference in a stake center in the city. There are 2 major zones, Inside and Outside (Adentro, Afuera), which constitute of the (5?) or so zones that are close to the city of Concepción, and the other (5?) or so that are out yonder in the fields. We start by reading a chapter of scripture by ourselves, which we discuss later. Once everyone arrives we sing, pray, and one elder (at random) gives a talk on an assigned chapter of PMG, and another elder (at random) gives a talk on an assigned section of scripture. (We are informed of what these sections will be 3 weeks in advance). After this is the reports on each of the zones, and the mission in general. Then we discuss how improvement may be achieved. The President and his wife each speak, and we break for lunch. We meet again, and the Assistants speak, and we do practices. Then President and Hna. Chavez speak again, we have testimonies, talk about the section we read that morning, and depart. Generally all leave with a fire burning inside. Very good feelings when we leave said conference.

Every 5th week of the transfer (Transfers are 6 weeks a piece) there are interviews and a mini conference specifically for that Zone with President and Hna. Chavez.

The Presidential elections were yesterday. My gravy goodness and shoes, fuss fuss fuss. But with hope it will die out a bit within the next week or two. There are laws about meeting in groups for too long, so we only had Sacrament Meeting yesterday. Alexandra (18 yrs, first convert of family) gave her first talk about the the birth of Jesus Christ. Then there were somewhat strong talks on ''Wake up and pay your tithing'' and Love your Neighbor.

Yasna came to Church with her less active boyfriend! :) The mother (Hna. Parra) is very very very grateful for all that is happening, she's been praying regularly for something to help her son get back to church. We believe this is going to be it.

Hna. Blanquita is struggling. She seems to be consistently and regularly tried, afflicted, etc. The other day she severely burned her right hand, we're looking 1st degree for most of it, and so she yet again, could not come to Church. I don't know the rules exactly, but I believe we might have to re-baptize her, as it's been almost a month since her baptism and she hasn't been confirmed because she hasn't come. Which will be a painful thing to do with her hand the way it is. We'll see.

As for Christmas festivities, most people have a Christmas tree, a few decorations of snowmen, Santa Claus, the usual, even though Snow and Christmas do not go together in the slightest here. Most everyone goes to the beach on Christmas and/or has an ''asada'' -glorified barbeque-.

I've been struck with a cold, doggone it. So them handkerchiefs are seeing their share of use.

Interesting things have happened this past week. Due to elections and laws against things that look like campaigning (i.e. proselyting) we spent lots of time with the members talking, and watching church videos. One ancient one rolled up, a 20 minute piece from the 80's about heroes, which involved a grandpa telling the story of Chief Captain Moroni. Notwithstanding the corniness, the Spirit testifies very strongly of the truth. I've been able to feel these things a lot recently, specifically strong in the videos. Same thing happened when passing by snippets of The Work and the Glory, Legacy (The members here Loooove Church videos, just about whoever we have lunch with Sunday afternoon has some church video playing). The Spirit has been testifying quite strongly (is that a word?) of late specifically to me of Joseph Smith, the pioneers, etc. It's a wonderful, glorious thing, I'm rarely one for strong emotion in these things, but that is changing, and it is changing because I have asked The Lord to change it, to bless me with a stronger testimony and He has. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, and that means something. That means everything. That means that God is alive and that all the direction, help, and inspiration that existed in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Early Church is exactly as available right now as it was then. God answers our prayers, and that is the truth. May we always remember the great sacrifices that have been made to bring this glorious knowledge and invitation to us.

Hurrah for Israel!!
Elder Pimentel

From Kent 12/7/09

Subject: ¡Hola Flami!‏

Computer asploded again. I am to be brief then.

Yasna is doing well! We weren't able to get in contact with her since our first lesson, but we talked with her member friend, the mother of her boyfriend, and she's been reading and praying consistently. We were able to talk with her yesterday, and she's prayed about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and knows them to be true!! Now they only trick is resolving the situation, as she's somewhat living with her boyfriend, who is an inactive member. What she wants is to go to Church with him, so this will require that they get married, which will also require some bishop talkings.

After a long long day of fruitless appointments and contacting, at our last house we found Berta. She was very happy to talk with us, and was relieved to finally know what the purpose of baptism is. Lots of people in truth don't know that it's for the remission of sins. After talking she was very delighted about everything, and was excited to have us come visit again!

I was flipping through the Liahona of November with all the General Conference talks, and who should I see taking up half a page but Molly Goodrich singing! Good work 15th ward!

The Church is true, God loves you, so do I!

Elder Pimentel

''I hear.... Chile singing...'' (''Working''' silhouettes)

Monday, November 30, 2009

from kent 11/30

Stop the world, I want to get on!

¡Hola famila mía!

Great to hear that Liz was able to make it up for Thanksgiving and all those fun things. Can I just say that I'm jealous of all the music y'all have been enjoying? Hahah wow, Ray Smith is an incredible, INCREDIBLE musician. [editor's note: Ray Smith played a soprano sax solo of "O Divine Redeemer" accompanied by Bonnie Goodliff on the organ at our stake meeting Sunday.]

Another interesting week, different from the last (I think, they like to mesh together, just about everything). We've been working more lately with Christian, he's getting a little better with reverence, and other such things. I continue to be amazed at how sharp the kids can be here. With their sense of humor and grasp of the world around them, very interesting. Repetition seems to be the key thing with him, and with a lot of people. It's a powerful thing repetition, I seem to understimate its power and usefulness, and how necessary it is. Good old repetition. ;)

Jocelyn was confirmed yesterday! It was a happy day. Hna. Blanquita didn't come, and we're not quite sure why, we went to her house after church and they weren't home, so I do hope all is well.

Miracle Report!: Last Sunday we had lunch with one of the members (as we do every day) who had a less-active son and his girlfriend Yasna joining us. As is the way with meeting nonmembers, they must be invited to learn a bit more. She said she'd have no problem with it, and we set an appointment with her for the next evening. She (Yasna) has a somewhat dysfunctional family, so she spends a lot of time with Hna. Parra (The active mother of her boyfriend). When we came by the following evening, Hna. Parra had the Book of Mormon movie (which I did not expect to be detailed) and we watched that. Unbeknownst to me, pt. 1 explains the origin of the BoM, (Moroni to Joseph Smith) and portrays what happens from 1 Nephi to about 2 Ne 5, in about 2 hours. There were a few creative licenses taken, and acting faltered here and there, but there was something unbelievable which was the Spirit that accompanied. It brought an amazing sense of reality to the account of Nephi. After finishing, we explained a bit more and talked about Baptism of course, and she was quick to realize ''So my baptism wasn't valid, I need another.'' Usually when this sort of thing happens, there's a bit of a turnoff, and so we weren't sure how things were going to go. We set an appointment with her, left her a copy of the BoM and returned Thursday.

Here's the miracle part: She wasn't able to come (technically she could have but she would have needed to lie to her family, something she didn't want to do) but we talked with Hna. Parra. Apparently they had been talking a lot over the past few days, and Yasna had explained how she felt something very different and special the whole time watching the movie, and even more so when reading the book (As always, the book is better than the movie). Though she faces great opposition from her parents and her family, she has incredible support from Hna. Parra, and she defended her decision to read the Book of Mormon and investigate (she and her family are Catholic, though she's noticed the emphasis on ''The Saints'' is just too pagan). Many emotional conversations with Hna. Parra and she has decided ''Sí o sí'' -literally yes or yes, which roughly means come rain or shine, do or die- she will come to church every day she can. We have a date set for the 27th. It's tricky because she like most works 2 sundays a month, and also there are elections the 13th, with which there's some law against assembling too many people, and the 20th is Stake Conference, and of course after that is Christmas. The week before all this the Ward went to the Temple in Santiago, and Hna. Parra was unable to go, but sent along seven names of her ancestors that she had found to have the work done for them. After this, she has not only had this wonderful experience of helping Yasna, but she's been having many dreams that are all related to the Church, as has Yasna. When we met with her on Thursday she said she had been doing more genealogy work, as she had seen rich blessings from the work done. 5 miinutes after learning of all this we were on our way to another appointment when someone stopped us in the street and said ''Hey Elders! I'm an inactive member and I want to be reactivated, but I don't know which ward building is mine, can you help?'' We were delighted to do so. I was re-imbued with a fire to preach the Gospel, a wonderful wonderful feeling. The Spirit is strong, I'm loving it!

Something that has helped me keep going is the idea to teach as if I just found out everything I know about the gospel yesterday. When you think about it, it's mind-blowingly amazing. One of my ballroom friends who had before not been raised in a gospel-founded home but was taking the religion classes at BYU was telling me one day how ill-prepared he was for a mission, and of course I said that nobody feels ''ready'' but of course he is. He turned to me and said ''There are things I'm learning in my New Testament class that BLOW MY MIND. I hadn't realized before that religion is actually a big deal, that it's something important. Beyond important.'' That got me thinking of when we break things down to basics, This Is Amazing.

Another good thing we've discovered, is that the Ward holds aerobics classes a couple nights through the week. This is a great boon to finding investigators and re-activating people.

Something I noticed: The moon waxes and wanes the other way on the Southern Hemisphere, left to right. This really confused me this past week, and I lost grasp of time, what week was which. Time which is going by far too rapidly. We were ''showing support for a member leaving on her mission'' yesterday and one of the things one of the members said was ''Live every day of your mission as if it was your last. If you've been in the field only 4 weeks, work as if a mission only lasts 4 weeks, as if that's all you get to show the Lord how much He means to you.'' Good advice.

Hurrah for Israel!!
Mucho amor,

Elder Pimentel

from Kent 11/23

¡Segundo Bautismo!

Amada famila mía,

It's great to hear we're getting those units filled! Thank groodness!

We baptized Hna. Blanquita yesterday! (The first I actually performed the ordinance) She was our miracle investigator that came to Church by herself and progressed wonderfully. She's stopped smoking and all such things, and has told us that she really doesn't have a desire to smoke anymore. She'll be confirmed with Jocelyn next week (Jocelyn still only gets 2 Sundays off a month, it's a common way jobs are run here) .

Things are getting interesting of late. This last week has been pure insanity in regards to weather. Technically summer starts in a month, we're at the midpoint of spring. But Chiguayante is fun, it has its own weather system. The area of Chiguayante is enclosed between two ranges of mountains. To the east is a large mountain line that towers above the town, and to the west is the River Bío Bío (Río Bío Bío) and another mountain line. The valley is about maybe 3 miles across, and the clouds are very friendly in the manner that they stay close to the ground and travel very quickly. This allows someone only about 20 minutes of foresight to what the weather will be like. We've had (in the same day usually) sickening humidity and heat, strong freezing wind, furious rainstorms, and bitter cold. On and off. I guess it's a sign of the times, everyone is commenting how bizarre the weather is of late.

That and there's hubbub and rumors of wars. Chili and Peru haven't really gotten along much in the past and are in a bit of an arms race at the moment, both building up big navies and such. Peru just recently uncovered a Chilean spy and Oooohhhhhhhh goodness was there a fuss. Big fuss. That and the meteor shower, lights falling from heaven and apparently Utah got hit with a meteorite. This has people talking more about the 2012 apocalyptic movie. Actually one of the less active relatives of a member has reinvestigated and is taking the church seriously after seeing it. So maybe there is some good in that.

We have some hope with Marcela! When we stopped by this week she was excited to tell us of the things she had learned from her reading in the BoM, how it explained more about the fall and how it makes sense. She had read every day of the week :)! She still is faulting a little bit in praying, so we encouraged her to make sure she does that every day before and after reading. The tricky thing with her is that her husband doesn't really care much for religion, and so we haven't had a lesson with the family. Also, she is still hesitant about going to church because she has fear of meeting with false groups. This week we're going to try to get her to come!

Not much luck with Abraham and Juaqin... We're still trying to get in contact with all of them but they're rarely home, and don't have phones.

New investigator...we think! We contacted a girl a few weeks back in the street and she was very receptive to what we had to say and invited us to come to her house and teach more, but it's the old ''I might be around at 6'' rather than ''I'll plan to meet you at 6.'' The good news is that when we were going to see if she was there one day her dad came out and talked with us. Unlike the usual, he was very interested and receptive and wanted us to teach the whole family! Whenever he sees us in the street he waves to us, says hi, and tries to work out some way that we can get with them. It's still tricky though because it's near the end of school, so everyone's crammed with studying for finals, etc. So we left her with a Book of Mormon, explained it all and she seemed receptive to it and said she'd read it and pray, so here's hoping and praying!

Hna. Joanna Rivera, one of the less active members (for around a year, a bit more) has started coming back to church, we've been meeting with her and her family recently, she has a son, Christian who turned 8 recently and we're trying to get him back into the church and ready for baptism. Oh he's a rowdy one, but there's progress.

Mucho amor!

Elder Pimentel

Monday, November 16, 2009

From kent 11/16

Subject: ¡Hola Familia! Primer Bautismo!

¡Hola Hola!

Fun to hear about Mom's recent stardom! Things continue to trangle along nicely in Tierra Bella! Jocelyn Sepúlveda(I found out how to spell her name finally) was baptized yesterday!! Her family all came for the baptism, so that was very nice, and a lot of the ward as well (Alexandra's baptism was apparently ''cold,'' only her parents came and not much of the ward) It was indeed a very very happy day. After church and the service we had super lunch both with the Riquelmez family (They recently had a baby, Emma. This is the same family with Antonia, our missionary plug for the primary, who is apparently only 9 years old even though she has a firm grasp on intricacies of society and communication) and with the Sepúlveda family. We were very filled.

Hna. Blanquita (miracle investigator) had a great week this last one, and is doing well with not smoking. She did get very sick yesterday, however, and was unable to come to church, and had to go to some medical place or other, so we weren't able to get with her. We were able to teach a lesson with her neighbor though. After he told us that she wasn't there we thanked him, left him a pass-along and were about to head out to our next appointment when he came back and said ''I don't have anything to play the video on, come tell me what it's about.'' So, with the ward missionary that we were with we taught him of 'bout the gospel. He was interesting, very very involved in the lesson, asking many questions, he had clearly been thinking a lot about religion of late, and when we said ''God wants you to come to church and to learn more of the Gospel'' he said ''Of course! There's a reason you came and knocked on my door.'' So hopefully there will be progress there!

We found a new investigator this week, her name is Marcela. She's what I refer to as a Luther investigator, those who read the Bible for themselves, realize that the churches around them don't quite fit, and go to none of them so as to not risk uniting with false groups. She was very open to all we had to say, we've met with her about three times and left her with a Book of Mormon, and she seemed excited to read it. We did a lot of talking about prayer and how to know the truth of things, that the Book of Mormon is true, etc., and it seemed to ring with her, but she still didn't want to come to church. Like most every investigator, she was more interested in religion than her husband, so that might be a problem in the future, but we'll see.

What made Sunday even more of a fantastic day was one of the lessons we had with a member, Hna Sanzala. She's the wife of the ward mission leader and took ''the list'' (write down names of your friends, pray to know how-when to do those things to invite them to the Gospel) quite seriously, and we had a wonderful lesson with Hna. Flavia, one of her neighbors. The Spirit was very strong, and she gave a strong testimony. It was clear that Hna. Flavia felt The Spirit, and she seemed very intent on praying for more witness of the truth. She also asked for blessing, as she was a bit sick, and she was very grateful for it. We will DEFINITELY stay in contact with her.

Fun things: Good gravy summer is coming. EVERYbody I talk to says ''Wow, you're burned, you need to use sunscreen'' which is interesting because I look at my face and it doesn't seem different colored to the point of burn, except a bit of my nose, but I'ma definitely need to use some soon because it is getting hotter. The Soc Soc did an interesting activity some time back, involving transferring Church paintings onto plates. Many many of the members have a plate on their wall that has one of the church paintings copied onto it, direct plaster copy I believe in the center, but then expanded on the corners and edges by the painting of the peoples' own doing. Very interesting. I'm beginning to see lizards all over the place now that the heat is upon us.

More day in the life: Tuesdays we have District Class and have to trangle over to a different sector's chapel, about 15 minute walk. That's after we drop off the laundry with one of the members who washes them (we do pay her, don't worry) Wednesdays are normal days, Thursdays we sometimes have other things, such as interviews/class with the President as a zone, or a mission conference for the whole day. Fridays we have weekly planning, so that takes the rest of the morning until lunch. Sunday we usually have some meeting with the Bishopric or ward council at 8, then church starts at 10. We usually attend the Gospel Doctrine class with investigators and recent converts, then head to Priesthood, lunch, work.

Don't do drugs, stay in school! (per en serio, there are a lot of people that don't follow that advice and life is not pleasant for them)

¡Mucho amor!

Elder Pimentel

Monday, November 9, 2009

From Kent 11/9

Nyob Zoo! (chiste, no más)‏

¡Hola Familia!

Things continue to progress and change all o'er the place here. We can't afford to simply latch on to one single investigator and try to work with them forever until baptism, there are too many other hungry souls to harvest. We've had to drop (or rather not meet with them frequently) a couple of investigators, Onésima and eScarlet. But we've found others to work with!

More great news with the Sepúlveda family! Alexandra continues to progress as a strong member of the ward, she's going to give a talk sometime next month. Yoselin still has a little bit of fear of baptism because of the opinoion of her grandparents. She was mostly raised by them, and they are strongly opposed to anything non-Catholic. However, she has the support, (more than just approval, actual helping and pushing along) of Alexandra and of her brother and mother, who as of this moment aren't members but are warming up to things and investigating. Yoselin has her baptism date for this Sunday, the 15th. Her brother has (of his own free will) started reading the pamphlets about the house and reading a bit of the Book of Mormon (Yaaayyy!!).

Ivan, the grandfather of Juaqin, was unable to come to church this week because of work, but he dropped off his grandson Juaqin (9 years) and his son Leandro(11 years) at the church, which they both enjoyed. We have some strong member-missionaries plugged in about every organization, including the primary kids, a girl (I think she's 10 or 11) named Antonia, so a quick friendship was established and they both participated in class, etc. It's very nice to have members that are attentive to the missionary work and offer their help in fellowshipping and other things as well. Leandro has a baptism date for the 29th.

Miracle report: Yesterday the daughter of one of the recent converts, Hna. Blancita came to church and when we met with her afterward told us that she knows this church is true and wants to join. So we're going to teach the required lessons and help her quit smoking, and she's excited, and wants to present her son and (from what I was able to understand) is going to have the baby blessing soon in the ward. Baptism date: 22nd.

One of our somewhat struggling recent converts, Carlos, is improving and coming to church more frequently, and his mom (former investigator) is reinterested in the church and wants in, and we have a date for the 22nd as well, we only need to review the lessons, strengthen her testimony, and help her quit smoking.

We're not quite sure what the situation is with Habrahan (I actually have no idea how to spell it, I've seen it umpteen different ways) he hasn't been to church lately and is difficult to get a hold of because he lives in a gated community (there are a bunch of those around). We're trying to work harder with his member friend that gave us the reference in the first place to get him to church and to help us get a hold of him. This is a drachma that must be found. (parable of the woman with the coin that is lost)

Fun things: The dessert that is had after every meal is some type of fruit. Usually it's a bowl of mixed fruit and yogurt, or some other fun delicious assortment. In Spanish, the Relief Society is called Sociedad de Socorro, or abbreviated, Soc Soc. It made me smile. There's a neighbor that we pass just about every single day who works as some type of auto mechanic, repair, painter, etc. just about everything for cars. Every time we pass by he shouts ''¡Hola compadres!'' with emphasis on PADres. It's more or less the Spanish form of homie. We gave him a pass along and he called for the video, but it's going to be hard to get with him at all because he works nonstop, all day everyday. There's also a local prophet that wanders the streets. He always wears the same coat, and usually has a wheelbarrow of some type or another, and is shouting constantly things like ''We need to pray without ceasing, and read the holy words of the Holy Bible! Jesus Christ is the only savior, there is no other savior, and He is the only prophet!'' and other such things as he goes about his day. When we pass by and say hi we're met with either a break in his stream of preaching and a very cordial ''Good afternoon brothers,'' stronger angrier preaching, or a simple stop to the preaching. Very interesting.

The weather continues to be insane, in the same day I'll need sunscreen a short sleeved shirt and a coat and umbrella. Ay.

Transfers are next Tuesday, and I might be getting a new companion, but we'll see! With the influx of missionaries coming to Concepción, I might even be a trainer for a greenie.

Love ya Love ya!!

Elder Pimentel (Pimienta(pepper), Pimenton(not sure, think it's a pomegranate), Schwarzenegger)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

From Kent 11/2


¡Hola más querido familia!

Fantastic to hear about the success of the Wiggle! It´s always a great feeling to have things go right, especially when you're the one that organizes them ;). Things are tuckering along here in Chile, some better than others.

I realize I haven't given the day-in-life of the happenings now that I recognize the rhythm, so here goes. 7:00, wake up and do the exercising. 7:30, light the water heater and shower, get ready, eat breakfast. 8:30 Turn off water heater, personal study, 9:30 companion study, 10:30 language study, 11 go hunting (not fishing). Depending on the day, we'll either have some lessons planned, or we'll go contacting. People don't tend to live at their houses, which makes things rather tricky, also considering that only a handful have phone numbers. Schedules aren't of quite the importance here as they are to United Staters, so quite often people won't be there for their appointments. Round about 1, 1:30 we have lunch with one of the members (unless it's P-day, then we're on our own) When that finishes -we try to keep it less than an hour-we head back to the apartment for any extra planning, studying, or resting we need to do, because we aren't given the hour for dinner, because it is a false meal, and we are strictly commanded not to partake of it.
3:30 we head back out for the hunting. Perhaps one of the trickiest things isn't getting people to teach, but getting in contact and setting appointments. Most people don't know their schedules for the week, so appointments are like battleship. 10:00 we return to the apartment, plan for the next day, and at 10:30 update the area book, teaching records, get ready and go to bed at 11.
Cultural notes I forgot to mention: Like the beloved Europeans (rather, the french), the Chileans are very friendly, stranger or no. If you are both men, more often than not (very rarely, only in very professional circumstances or an unsure first meeting will you not) shake hands, hug, then shake hands again. If you are a woman or child you give the cheek kiss, which can become a problem with new investigators, as such is not permitted.

Updates for the week! Habraham passed his interview (a whopping 1 hour and half, we're quite certain both he and our district leade Elder Jensen were taken away in the Spirit after the manner of Lamoni). Bad news is that his mother changed her mind and is insistent that he is not ready, and is too young to make this decision for himself because he hasn't seen the world yet. We did our best of explaining, but she did think so. I firmly believe Alma 31 verse (16?) is the route on this one (The word of God has a greater power to change the desires of men than the sword or any other thing, so Alma thought it expedient that we try preaching the word of God-something like that)
Diego's parents are slightly the same way, his mom doesn't think that there's been a change in his behavior to warrant fruits for baptism (we explained that it is the port, the gate to the path of improvement, and not a finishing, climactic graduation of your religious life-to no avail) and his dad doesn't really care either way. Which is a horrific shame because they're both members, though highly inactive. So alas, no baptisms this week, we will continue to work with these parents.

Good news! Yoselin came to church again, and has a testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith! (This I didn't know earlier) Though she still is a bit hesitant to be baptized on the 15th, worries of friends, family and boyfriend mocking, which are a bit of a problem, Alexandra still gets ragged on by her grandma about converting to the Church of Jesus Christ and not staying Catholic. More good news! Nelly Sepúlveda (the mother of Yoselin and Alexandra) accepted a Book of Mormon and kind of accepted the commitment to read and pray about it. Considering that when the missionaries first met with Alexandra they weren't allowed in the house, and when they were allowed the rest of the family would flee the room, this is much progress. More good news! Two of the less active recent converts of the ward came yesterday! By themselves!! So that made us happy! Also, Yoselin didn't have any uncomfortableness with testimony meeting (she was a little offset by the many testimonies given during the talks her last time at church).

Found the rest of the iceberg with Onésima. Turns out coming to church isn't her biggest problem. She's moving in a few weeks. Moving in with the man who we thought was her husband... who isn't actually her husband. She does have a husband though. Ayyyyyyyyyy.

We have more battleship to play in finding Solanch (the investigator that moved back in last week) Escarlet, and Maria (the woman who had met with the missionaries before, mom didn't like it, but she doesn't live with her now)

News on Juaqin: After pegging mutliple white pegs in the area of HMSS Juaqin, we got a red one. We were able to meet with him and his grandpa (nonmember father of the mother of Juaqin, not the inactive father of the father of Juaqin) Ivan. Ivan wants a change in his life, more than any other thing, he's struggling with Alcohol, and wants to repair his life. So we taught him all about the atonement and gospel of Christ, and he's willing to try, and wants the same for Juaqin. We'll need to keep close contact with him, and check if there's the Church's addiction recovery program here. (There was an Ensign article about it back in... July or June, something I didn't know the Church offered.)

We went to Chifflon del Diablo today for a zone activity, it's a coal (I think, the spanish word is Carbon) mine that goes under the ocean. Very neat.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. Absolutely and completely. Jesus is The Christ, our Redeemer, Saviour, and very Best Friend. Thomas S. Monson is His prophet on the Earth. Shall we not go on in so great a cause?

Elder Kent Pimentel

Sunday, November 1, 2009

From Kent 10/26

Y los desafíos vienen
¡Hola Familia de mí!

Sounds like it's busyness (business?) ville up there, what with all the shenanigans and goings-on. Best of luck with the Wiggle! It's great to have Notorious coming back, they're fantastic! Too bad to hear that there are struggles with SYTYCD :(, it truly would not be the same w/o Mia.

We've stumbled all upon an obstacle. Juaqin, who was to be baptized yesterday was not. Friday evening when we were over at the house of his grandparents that were taking care of him to iron out details of the service, etc., his mom came a knocking at the door. Apparently his mother isn't the most stable as far as her word goes. Though we had been given permission from both his parents, his mom decided that it wasn't a good idea (I'm quite certain it had much more to do with troubles and angst betwixt her and her parents.) So she took Juaqin back to live with her (which is only a few blocks away). We went over to talk with her Saturday about the whole thing, she was in better spirits, said that she didn't have a problem with him going to church but still didn't think he was old enough to make a decision such as baptism (which is odd because she's a member, though hasn't really been active for 9 or 10 years). When we came to pick him up for church they weren't home. :(. We continue to pray for him, but things look bleak for the moment.

One of our more promising new investigators is Escarlet (It's against the rules in Spanish to have a word start with an S then a consonant, so you throw an E in front), she's 14 and was pretty interested in the church and wants to get baptized. Both her and her mom have a date for the 15th of November.

Good news! One of our eternal investigators, a boy named Diego, 12 years came to church yesterday! His parents are members, but aren't very active, and he trangled himself to church all on his lonesome and wants to get baptized! We went over the interview questions with him and he seems ready, but we still need to have the actual interview, and he could be baptized this Sunday, along with Habraham!

Onésima is still having a bit of a hard time with coming to Church, her husband is still not liking the whole thing and she's scared to come. On the good side, we did run into him in the street last week and he was very friendly toward us, which is a bit of a change. Hopefully we can get with him and explain a bit more about the church and things will work.

Yoselin had work (blast) and wasn't able to come to church this week, but we met with her later yesterday and had a great lesson of'bout the restoration and her mother and brother stayed and listened for the whole thing as well (usually they go off to their rooms/kitchen and do other things) We exhorted her to do her readings, she hadn't really done any this last week, so we exhorted Alexandra and Yoselin to read together (Alexandra is her sister that's a recent convert) Hopefully that will work well!

Things are starting to heat up, and summer is on its way (though it did rain for 2 1/2 days straight, which was very cold) I had my first mini-exchange over into the Chiguayante Chiguayante sector, it was very strange being with an Elder who spoke English as well. He had only been in the mission 3 months, so it was a bit tricky for the both of us, but we managed. My Spanish is getting a lot better, I'm able to understand people a lot more, though questions are still tricky because each word is important.

I saw the Qüeca (no idea how to spell it) which is the national dance of Chile while on my mini-cambio. From my understanding it's a dance that EVERYBODY knows like the pledge of allegiance, and it's not that simple. Not at all, I don't know how to really describe it, there's a lot of fancy foot work from the men, quick kicking and stomping, both waving around handkerchief type things. Slightly flamenco, but far more...Mexican? I don't know, but very interesting, I like. I won't of course be able to learn it though :(, but oh well. I heard a first while on my mini-cambio. One of the families said that I looked just like Arnold Schwerzenegger (minus muscles of course). Though I denied it they wouldn't hear it. So that's what they called me the rest of the night, Elder Schwerzenegger.

Last Tuesday we ran into a former investigator that had moved away right before being ready for baptism, I can't remember the name, it was really tricky, but she's 12 I believe and her Dad was ready for baptism too!(Yay, men in the church!) They're back in Tierra Bella and had set a date for the 15th!

Breakthrough with another eternal investigator, Hector. His whole family has been Catholic their whole life, but one of their sons (Yonatan I believe, I still have trouble with names) but from my understanding his mom passed away recently and so he was willing to listen more and religion had become a bigger topic of discussion. He feels good about the Church,he's seen a lot of the positive changes it's made in his son, and felt really good about the Plan of Salvation, which we went over with him. He's a bit hesitant because he doesn't want to turn his back on part of who he and his family have been for the past 40+ years, but felt more comfortable after I had explained that he's not turning his back on God, that the Catholic church had helped him come to know Him and that now God has more and wants more for him. It's an addition to that which he already knows.

Postal service is slow, I received that first letter that you sent and wanted to be waiting for me a week ago, but haven't received anything else, just been going off of the confirmation emails. The water here is good, no worries about that it's safe to drink from the tap. As for the toilets flushing they don't go the other direction, they don't go any direction actually, it's just a mess of splashing.

Thanks for all of your prayings! Love ya Love ya!

Elder Kent Pimentel

From kent 10/19

Pero en serio esta vez.‏

¡Hola familia!

With hope, things will work this time, ay! (Ay is the Spanish version of Wo in the scriptures)

So, in looking over my last letter I saw an extreme error. When I said we ''did 9 of them this week'' I meant set baptismal dates, not actually performing the baptism. Bueno, so on to the stories!!

Chiguayante is a common (a bit bigger in area than a city, but not containing big ol' buildings). It's not all too different from the U.S., except it's much poorer, though not like the 'poor' areas in the U.S. as far as character of the people and safety goes. Most houses are very very small, but the people have what they need, and are very content with it. There's no insulation in the buildings, in fact we keep specific window slits open at all times to ventilate the building (otherwise nasty colonies of flies appear) so it gets wicked brisk in the night. Oh so very very cold. You'd think it was a desert with the difference of hot in the day and cold at night. That's a slight exaggeration, but yeah. The majority of the roads are paved, any of the big ones are. Once you get off into side roads and such you don´t have that. A little less often than you'd see a motorcycle in Utah you see a horse-drawn cart.

Bob Barker didn't bless Chiguayante with his daily reminders, and there are dogs EVERYWHERE!! Alllllllllll over the place. Cats too, but not as much as dogs. There also isn't a rule on how many you can have. Often we'll go to someone's house and up to six dogs will come running to the fence a-barking. Most don't have doorbells, so if they have a fence or such you shout ''¡Halo!'' (pronounced like the french allo, or something, don't pronounce the H)

The mission has a goal of 150 baptisms a month, and we get pretty close. Religion doesn't have a fraction of the taboo it does in the U.S. People are open and willing to talk about it all with whoever of whatever religion. I feel that it's a little bit like New York 1820. The strongholds of religion in Chile (and Concepción-Chiguayante specifically) are Evangelical, SUD (LDS), Catholic, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Not necessarily in that order though. The topics of usual conversation from what I've seen is 1. Futbol, 2. Politics, 3.Religion It's a big deal here. BUT, and there is a but, (and it's not Randi's)most don't have the same pride of ''this is my religion, my alliance, my loyalty to THIS church, and my value as a human rides on my being RIGHT in having made this decision'' as most in the U.S. For that reason, even if somebody's extreme Catholic, they'll still gladly have you over for a lesson.

The investigator we're most excited about is Habraham, a boy of about 15 years. He's investigated the church and gone multiple times, gone to activities and such and had a few questions. It was a Saturday activity at the Ward building and we sat him down in a room and taught him lesson 3. (Here in Concepción we start with lesson 3, then 2 then 1. Since doing so the baptisms have nearly doubled in this mission). We could absolutely tell that he felt the Spirit, and does so every time that we have a lesson with him. His family, and especially his mom are very evangelical, and so permission for baptism is being a slight speed-bump because she understands how significant and serious a thing it is, that it's a covenant and a commitment. So that's good that she understands that, because that means she'll be a faithful member when she gets baptized! (We started teaching her as well).

Then we have Onésima, a woman around 45 or so who cuts hair on the corner of the street (By the way, it's fantastically cheap to get your hairs cut here. It costs about 2.000 (2,000) pesos at the most, which is about $4 U.S. (Exchange is about 500 pesos = $1 U.S.) and was actually the first lesson that I taught when I got here to Chile. She still needs to come to church but she knows that what we're saying is true, and was excited to tell us how she had been keeping the word of wisdom and stopped drinking Coffee and tea. Her husband however is afraid of change and such, and doesn't really like the whole thing. That's very common here, the sisters are far more open and receptive to the Spirit than the men, goodness sakes it's ridiculous.

Juaqim is a 9 year old grandson of one of the members (who was taught originally by one of my teachers in the MTC, Hermana Beeston, who was then Hermana Law. She´s spoken of highly and much of the members, and I've seen her in many pictures here as well) who is progressing wonderfully. He's not as excited about it all as the others, but he's keeping commitments, understands the reasons for things, reading, praying, all the above, and enjoys it.

Up next is our tricky, slow but sure process. There's a neighboring family of ours, the Sepulbada family, who are some of the nicest people you'd ever meet. About 4 or so months ago, their youngest, Alexandra (18 years old) was baptized, and the rest of the family is a bit hesitant. The mother is very Catholic, but is happy to have us over and ''review lessons'' with Alexandra and sits in on many and most of them. In truth, our follow up lessons are heavily planned and pointed toward Alexandra's mother and sister, Yoselin. Yoselin has opened up a bit more and started listening to the lessons and came to church yesterday. She still has a way to go for baptism, she doesn't feel comfortable yet, but committed to keep coming to church and reading and praying.

The Church is fantastically true, as is the Lord's hand in His work. The 2nd day here I was doing my morning study and my bible flopped open ''on its own'' to Santiago (santiago = james)5:--something I don't remember but it says in effect: If there are any sick among you, let him call for the elders of the church who will anoint with oil and give a blessing. Then I realized I didn't know how to do that in Spanish, so I figured I should learn and did. Our first contact that morning (There are a LOOOT of less-actives that we work with) asked for a blessing. Similar things have happened with what I study that morning or the day before, Habraham's mom had a question about baptism and those who haven't had it, and I had read that morning 1 Cor 15:29 for the first time since 9th grade. Things like this are very common.

Things are cheap here as well, the buses are like taxis, there are two to four every minute that you can just flag down, it costs from 380-430 pesos to take you into the City. Lunch, which is the biggest meal of the day, will very very rarely cost more than 2.000 pesos. (four dollars) which we only do about once a week, we eat lunch with the members in the Concepción mission, more often those that need a little more get back to church.

Oh my hecks goodness, so on Tuesdays we have Correlation with the ward missionaries and mission leaders, but usually everyone's late. Punctuality isn't quite as much of a value here, only somewhat for church and work. So we spent an hour outside the church and invited passers-by to come in and see the building and all the paintings we had (which are so conveniently alligned in an order helpful for teaching) Only one woman and her absolutely adorable daughter (four or so years, she looked exactly like one of those children from church videos like Testaments and such) When we got to the painting of Jesus getting baptized and explained about it all and what is needed to make baptism valid, the woman (Verónica, which is a name more common than Maria here) asked with hope ''Could we get baptized again?'' That made us very happy. Once we got to the final painting of the first vision and explained and asked if we could come by and teach more at their house, the little girl looked up to her mom and ''whispered'' ¡Sí sí sí sí! I pretty much melted up right there. Hooray for children. Unfortunately, they weren't home when they said they'd be, so we're going to try again.

We have Juaqim's baptism scheduled for this sunday, the 25th, Habraham's for the 1st of November. If Onésima comes to church these next weeks we're looking on the 8th. Yoselin didn't want to set a date, so we're going to help her testimony grow a bit more before we can set one with her. There are many other investigators that are hopeful, but not like these'uns. I will report of those such things when they come of about.

Glad to hear about Grandpa's voice! That's great that he's getting some comforts back into his life.

Bread is fantastic here by the way. Food is usually spaghetti or some other noodles with a light sauce and whatever else you want on top of it: eggs, hot dogs, tuna, chicken, beef. And then desert is usually some delicious type of fruit collection. And as much as American's want to claim french fries as their national food, we don't eat it half as common as the folks of Chiguayante. Almost every other meal has had it.

Well, I must be a heading off and away, have thyselves a grand and wonderous week! The Church is True!

Siempre con amor,
Elder Kent Pimentel

From Kent 10/12

¡Hola de Chiguayante!‏

Hello Flamy!!

MyLDSMail must have something against me, I don´t know if I like, spilled Mountain Dew all over it or something, but it´s rejected the last two letters I´ve tried to send, both of them nice and dandy, so I´ve lost much of the will, I´ll get the rest of things back to you next week.

I´m in Chiguayante, a city 20 min south of Concepción, in an area called Tierra Bella. Beautiful Earth, and oh how it is. Very beautiful in landscape, and very white in field. We have 11 baptisms scheduled for the end of this month (9 of them we did this week). My companion is Elder Carazas, from Cuzco Peru, he doesn´t speak too much english, so I´ve had fun trying to figure out what´s going on. It´s only us two in our apartment, which is decent for an apartment in the U.S., pretty big for a house in Chiguayante.

I´ll have more next week, I don´t has much time now, Perdonadme.

Love ya Love ya!
Elder Kent Pimentel

From Kent's mission 10/9

From: Chile Concepcion Mission <>
Date: Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 5:01 PM
Subject: Elder Pimentel

Dear Pimentel family,

Your son has arrived safely and securely in Concepción Chile. He has met his trainer and is now working diligently in his new sector. We are excited to have him here and expect to see many miracles through his service. Attached is a letter from him, a photo with President and Hermana Chavez, and a map to help you know where your missionary is serving. Thank you for your sacrifice and support.

Elder Eric Davis


Misión Chile Concepción

From Kent 9/28

Una semana más en los Estados‏

¡Hola Famila!

Pues, es la fin! This is my last week here in America, we got our travel plans on Thursday, and we leave Monday morning bright and early. Our flight from Salt Lake leaves at 9 A.M. Oct 5 and we arrive in Concepción at 9 A.M. Oct 6. ¡Oy! Es difícil creer pero ¡el tiempo es aquí!

The weeks have gone past far too quickly, that's without doubt. There have been some interesting things happening this last week though. One of the Elders in our Zone, Elder Stephensen got extremely sick, he's been out almost all week, so we had to take him to the Instacare, it turns out that he's got some crazy infection in his throat and pink eye.. no fun.

Elder Jardine, the Opera singer in our zone sang a solo for the fireside yesterday, it was most fantastic! He sang ''I Heard Him Come.'' Umm... not a whole lot else to be of reporting. Oh! The Lindseys (Branch President and his wife) spoke with Uncle Tom Green and said that he had a Pimentel as a zone leader and Tom said ''Oh those Pimentels are great people!'' so that's good!

¡Oh! This Wednesday we hosted again, and guess who should come trangling out of the car I was to host? None other than Elder Kekoolani! (Henry Kekoolani was one of my roommates last year) It was a most joyous occasion to see him again, we thought we were going to miss each other and not come across each other in the MTC, but alas, we did! :) He's going to the same mission that Jordan is in, San Domingo East I believe.
It's amazing how close we've all gotten with one another in the course of a few weeks; I suppose that when everyone is united in a common goal it's very easy to connect and become friends. I feel that I have grown so much, but in having done so can see that there is so much more to go. I'm excited to continue to press forward.

The Spirit is without a doubt present and His power is manifest. In the exercise where we teach someone as though they were someone we really know incredible things happen. From the one brief paragraph describing Elder Dushku's friend that he wanted to share the gospel with, the Holy Ghost helped Hna. Scaife know a lot LOT more about the friend than was written. We asked a question about her family, the vast majority of details were not written on the sheet, and Hna. Scaife plunged into a great amount of detail and things that Elder Dushku had forgotten as well. Very powerful.

Pues, esta es la último carta puedo escribir a vosotros ante salo para Chile. Quiero sabéis que los quiero y amo mucho, y que la iglesia es verdadera. Estóy animo de enseñar y predicar el Evangelio en Chile y en español. Daniel, venga a el templo tanto como puede con sus amigos, estarás feliz hizo.

¡Los amo mucho!
¡Tiene un día buena, haz trabajo bueno, los amo los amo!

From Kent 9/21

For Pete's Peppers, I'm out of here soon!‏

Hola, Buenos días, buenas tardes, etc., all that jazz, Flammy!

Two weeks. Then I head south. Two of them. That is verily a few amount of weeks. Eeps.

I'm glad to hear that the e-mail worked, it was throwing a hissy fit last week, so hot diggity for that! This has been an interesting week for surely! Sadly, neither of the international Hermanas made it here... hopefully they'll show up some later time and be put into a suitable district. We know that the Korean Hermana was postponed and to be moved to another district, but the Tongan Hermana we haven't heard anything about :(. Pues, está bien.

Our district got to host the new missionaries this week, it was a jolly good time! Two of the Elders I helped around are going to Chile on their missions, one of them going to Concepción! So that was grand and interesting! On the subject of grand and intersting, I've met some people here of distant relation! We were coming back from dinner, I think it was Friday night and Elder Dushku took two stairs thinking they were one and brutally rolled his ankle, yea verily we did need to trangle to the trainer to whom it was appointed to tend to such injuries and wounds. Upon seeing my nametag of Elder Pimentel, he said "Hey, I've got some cousins that are Pimentels, A Lisa, Cari, and a Megan, whose parents were just called to be Mission presidents in Berlin!" Clearly, these were the same Pimentels to whom I am related. His name is Terry Eugene Jacobs, one of Aunt Becky's grandsons. So, there's another 2nd cousin to add to my growing list of family I've not known I have.

I also ran into another Elder Pimentel at service who traces his ancestry back to some Pimentels leaving the Azores for California, and others for Brazil, approximately 5 or so generations back; he is the Brazil half. We didn't get much time to figure out exactly when this split was, but it sounded quite possibly related.

Our teaching went nicely this week, we have three progressing investigators, and then the Teaching Appointment with volunteers in the RC every week, and then other ones as they come up. Our TA this week was very nice, we were teaching a non-Christian store owner from whom we were purchasing clothes. It's interesting the times when you go in having planned how you're going to teach the 1st lesson, and you only end up touching one point of it because they have different specific needs. The Spirit was very very strong and it did loose our tongues, it was the most seamless we've ever been teaching in Spanish, and the Holy Ghost did carry our message to the heart of this child of man.

Also had a very Very strong Spiritual Experience when we watched a brief clip about the Martin Handcart company and the three 18-year old boys who carried them all across the river. How powerfully and quickly it affected everyone in the meeting was phenomenal. To imagine that they could sacrifice so much, experiencing immeasurable pain, eventually at the cost of their lives for these people was too much to handle. And then to realize that that is exaclty what Christ has done for all of us... No puedo describir con palabras.

Needless to say, the Spirit is very strong here, and The Church is very true.

Tell Dave Happy Birthday two days ago, someone mentioned it was Talk like a Pirate Day and I did remember those things that had been spoken to me concerning his birthday being of the same day.

The new district that we got this week has officially settled in I think, they aren't as silent and nervous as they were the first day, it was pretty dreadsome. But they're good now, so huzzah!

I am verily stoked and excited to head to Chile, I'm feeling comfortable with the language (I can at least notice when I don't know a word and what it was I didn't hear, and can therefore ask) but of course I'm going to have to re-learn it Chilean style (i.e. pues=po, más o menos= maomao, and other bizarre dialect changes)

Well, I must begone of this place, I do hope that all is well on yonder home front, and if it's not now, it will be :). The Lord keeps his promises, of that I am sure.

Love ya Love ya! (Btw, I'm having good weeks and doing good works!)

Elder Pimentel

From Kent 9/14

Hola del CCM! (<--Spanish for MTC)‏

Helloo Hello!!

Things are just zipping along here like crazy, it's hard to believe that we're already six weeks into the MTC (Well, we will be on Wednesday). Many a things have been a happenin' here this past week!

We got a true taste of some good ol' quality time Zone Leader duties. There was a batch of contention in the oven of one of the districts, so after approximately four hours of prayer, meetings, prayer, interviews, prayer, discussions, prayer, deliberations, prayer, deliberations, and some phone callery and prayer, 'twas sorted out. Oy!

We get a new batch of missionaries this week! This district will be doubling the number of Hermanas in our Zone, bringing in four sisters, two of them we believe to be international. (Their ID numbers are different and their names are Soo Ryun Lee and Feofaakiakakau Funaki, and yes, that is those are actual names, not exagerations). So in addition to being host missionaries on Wednesday this week, we'll have to go find these two sisters the day they come, which will be on Tuesday instead of Wednesday like the rest of the clan. Then give the whole district the new and improved/lengthened intro to MTC, tour, rules layout, uplift and loved...ness thing. That we do. On Wednesday and Thursday nights with new districts. :)

We witnessed some great courage and wisdom from one of our Elders this week. Knowing he had left some unfinished things back home, he talked with the Branch President, etc., and flew back home yesterday for a time to get things all sorted out. He's already got a system set up to keep studying PMG and learning Spanish, and we hope to have him in Panama in a few months. Very humbling to watch him do it all on his own accord, and with determination.

This week we did our first SYL day, speaking only Spanish for all of Friday. It was a challenge, but it helped us all to focus and it was great to use the language that much. Hna. Scaife never ceases to amaze me, I am SOOO grateful to have her for a teacher. She was telling us about the need to teach from the heart, etc., not just teaching but TEACHING, and it took a while for me to figure it out, but then it hit me. Those are the exact, abstract, make-no-sense but actually does-make-sense words I use when I try to get dancers to DANCE and not just move. That kind of "meaning it" and "from the heart." It clicked, and it makes sense, and it has greatly improved my teaching I've felt.

On the subject of teaching, we taught four lessons this last Saturday, it was exhausting but great at the same time. Though technically all were "the first lesson" the investigator's needs differed so greatly that only one of them really followed "the script" so to speak. Though with limited Spanish it's hard to go too far off base, which is a good and bad thing. Oh yeah, we're teaching wholely and entirely in Spanish now.

Estoy lo encontrando difícil decir mucho más, la menos en inglés. Entonces, intentará hablar español! Vimos "Los Testamientos" ayer, y cada vez lo veo crece más y más poderoso. Cuando vi ayer El Espíritu fue lo más poderso de cualquier vez lo vía. No tenemos mucho tiempo más, entonces terminará pronto. La Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de los Últimos Días es verdadera, sin duda. Estoy animado enseñarlo con la gente de Chilé y Concepción. La gozo que trae no puede ser econtrado de tereneal cosas. Recuerdelo.

Los amo mucho, toman suerte!

Elder Kent José Pímentel.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

From Kent 9/7

Subject: Downhill from here!

¡Es muy loco pensar que ya estoy pasado la media de mi tiempo aquí! Todas cosas estan bien y los distritos nuevos han cabido bien tambien.

Pretty much things are rolling along at the same pace here, and that pace is very very very fast it seems, at least as far as weeks are concerned. No new district this week so I don't have to be trangling them all around town while trying to keep up me studies and other duties of organizing church.

Sadly, the temple was closed today due to it being Labor day and all such things, so I did not get that lovely blessing. Fast sunday was great however, we had mission conference which was very neat, we heard from all the MTC presidents and their wives. These meetings go by very quickly when you're paying attention and taking notes, etc. The two hours were up far before I thought they would be. As of last or... maybe two weeks ago we are now the 2nd most senior district in the zone! ¡Oy! ¿Tiempo pasa tan rapido, a cierto?

The Church is true. Yes, yes it is. Verily. I keep geeking out about that at times, and get some fun responses. A few of my ward members from BYU have trangled their way into my same building for classes, so we run into each other a lot. We started an interesting exercise this week, practicing teaching investigators as though they are real people. I.E., fill out a teaching record of someone I know (Nick Grossaint) and ask someone else to be him after I give a bunch of characteristics etc. With the help of the Spirit, inspiration comes to ways that that person can be helped to understand the Gospel and come to Christ. It makes the "exercise" a lot more real, especially since it's to be done as a progressing investigator, with follow-ups, etc.

Our district has bonded together very tightly, had many a Spiritual experience. Thank goodness for the Holy Ghost and our fantastic teacher Hna. Scaife!

At the fireside last night Steven Graham spoke about how a Soviet ambassador came for a "15 minute"stay at the MTC and was shown to one of the Russian classes. He came out an hour and 15 minutes later with tears in his eyes and exclaimed "This is the REAL United Nations!" The Gospel is true, and living it blesses the people of the Earth in all ways. I haven't much more time, so I shall bid thee all adieu! I love you all!

Elder Kent Pimentel

From Kent 8/31

Subject: A cerca de media (Close to the middle)

Howdy flammy!!

We are approaching the midway point of our stay at the MTC, it's quite possibly the most bizarre thing in the world to realize we don't have that much more time here. Truly we require the Lord's assistance in all things.

So we greeted, oriented, welcomed, etc. the new district that came in on Wednesday, it was much fun and much work. It's very different having a batch of Elders that don't know you as anyone other than "The Zone Leaders" whereas everyone else has a bit of that "They're some of those new missionaries" attitude still, but they're still good. Part of being the New Zone Leaders is we get the all-knowing binder passed down to us. I was flipping through a few pages of it and there were pictures of all the districts. First picture I saw was of District E which is leaving this week and had a lot of Elders leave earlier to other MTCs. Top left corner is a very bright grin of an Elder Hunter, Jordan Fife. Yup, Jordan and I were in the same Zone, but we never crossed paths because he had to trangle off to the other MTC. Pretty neat though, I was able to talk with a couple of the other Elders that knew him and talk about him.

Provo's been hopping since BYU starts today. BYU starting today has also caused a slew of hiccups among the staff here at the MTC, as all the teachers are required to be students of BYU. Thankfully we get to keep Hna. Scaife as a teacher, but sadly Hno. Harrington is being replaced by Hno. Jessen, who we don't really know that well, so we're hoping for the best.

Sunday came, had ten meetings to attend, more meetings on this day than the week my friend. There are no partings in Heaven, though I hope the meetings will end, life gets wearying, don't it. The meetings weren't as bad as all that though, they were nice. Just in great quantity. There was a bit of a fiasco getting Sacrament Meeting organized though, the leaving district hadn't had a chance to administer the Sacrament yet and really wanted to, so we had to change the program the night before and re-figure out who was doing what. District E (leaving) ended up doing EVERYTHING (oops) for the meeting, (opening and closing prayer, blessing and passing sacrament, pianist, musical number, and closing hymn). But it worked out in the end, so all is well!

Jon might remember the amazing devotional by Elder Holland I think they have every missionary watch, "The Miracle of a Mission." We watched it, and goodness gravy, Elder Holland epitomizes what it means to be "bold, yet not overbearing." Very powerful. We also had Richard G. Scott come for the Tuesday devotional, and he gave a truly amazing talk. Those kinds of talks just can't happen at General Conference or Youth Firesides. Very very spiritual, many sacred stories and some very neat apostollic (sp?) blessings. Yay for truth!

I'm truly learning more each day here, both about the Gospel and in Spanish. Purely amazing, the Spirit is very very strong. For yesterday's Fireside Robert Swenson, director of Missionary Services spoke, and the theme of his talk was "This is The Christ," James E. Faust's song. There was actually a video of some missionaries from earlier this summer singing it to new mission presidents, with a very prominently featured Alyson Harmon. The Church is true, and that's about the end of it.
Liz, you'll be happy to know that I am taking Brandon's advice and taking the work very and extremely seriously.

I hope things start working out better for y'all, it seems the autos have served their time. I pray for you all! The Church is True, Christ lives, Joseph Smith was a prophet, and the Book of Mormon is true. Amen and amen! Recognizing and following the Spirit is fantastic and amazing!

Love ya love ya! Less than three! (<3)

Elder Kent Pimentel.

Monday, August 24, 2009

From Kent 8/24

Subject: He éxitomente hacido semana tres

Haaaalloooooooooooo (In the manner of a Jagular) Fambly!

Muchas grácias por el regalo que dáis! (Thank you very much for the package! I actually am only allowed to say dáis to family, otherwise it's strictly dan. Dáis is the informal second person plural, and missionaries are not to use the informal/intimate second person, unless in prayer.) I did enjoy it very much, and will continue to do so! Also, thank you very much for the addresses, I don't really have anybody's so that will be very nice.

Elder Dushku and I are officially Zone Leaders now! And we started our new leadershippery by finding out that they're changing the way new missionaries handle their first few days, and they're giving us a slew of new and more responsibilities. We take each new district our Branch/Zone gets and give them the tour of the MTC. We also help explain their schedule, give them the lowdown on culture and expectations at the MTC, teach them how to do Companionship Inventories, plan, so on and so forth. Every week. Well, every week that our branch gets new missionaries. We're pretty much the example missionaries, the presidency of the MTC can only say so many times how things are supposed to go, but once the greenies (kinder term than n00bs) see actual missionaries following it then they believe it.

We can't seem to keep our teachers for too long at a time, once Hna. Scaife came back Hno Harrington's Grandpa passed and he had to take the week of for family and funeral type things. We've been lucky to have one steady sub for him though, Hna. Beeston. She's been great, and she served her mission on Concepción as well. In her words, I don't know what cold is yet. Insulation apparently doesn't exist in buildings, and it's so wet and humid that it makes it worse no matter what temperature it is. So I took that as a yes, I probably will want some type thermal garcias.
We got to attend the Oquirhh Mountain Temple dedication, it was very very nice, strong Spirit. They closed the doors at 2:30 and just had silent meditation until it started at 3, which was very nice. Over the past few days my testimony of the Restored Gospel has grown a lot, primarily because of Temples and what happens in them. And we did some serious investigating of Facsimiles in Abraham, and Abraham in general, and it witnessed how authentic and pure The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is, God has restored in full the blessings of old. The verses to "The Spirit of God" have taken on new meaning, very neat.

We've had some excellent teaching experiences this week! In the T.A. (Volunteer scenarios) we taught an excellent lesson, very strong in the Spirit. Earlier in the week we got a new investigator in the R.C. and challenged her to read some passages in the Book of Mormon and pray about them. We haven't gotten a chance to hear back from her yet, we haven't been able to check the R.C. email for the past couple of days, but it was a wonderful experience to talk to a real person who was struggling to "decide whether or not she believed in the Book of Mormon." She was raised Christian and didn't have any objections to what she had read so far (she was about half-way through it). Fingers crossed! Hna. Beeston also took us through a progressive investigator scenario in one of the observation rooms (FBI interrogation style, there's a mic'd "home" set up and a 1-way mirror). Each companionship in the district got a chance to teach, and base it off of what the last had gone over. I find most teachers when 'playing' an investigator will often assume the characters of real investigators they taught. It makes it a lot more authentic, and it really feels like you're talking with this other person who's had all these problems in their life. The Spirit is phenomenal. Elder Dushku and I were the last companionship to teach her (Susan was the simulated investigator's name), and at that point she had become comfortable with the missionaries and really opened up her feelings, why she really hadn't been to church etc., so it wasn't according to any lesson plan, but it felt like it was.

Spanish is coming along great! I can understand most of it if I read it, get a gist when it's spoken, but can hardly speak it... interesting. Anymcwhoozle, time runneth out, I must be trangling off. Two of our missionaries are heading to the Guatemala MTC tomorrow, and we lose all of District A today. Fantastic group of Elders.

Love you all, The Church is True!!

Elder Kent Pímentel

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Germany Berlin Mission Blog

For pictures and more updates see

Report from Colleen

From Colleen:

I will say it again - I can't believe how time flies. The last few weeks have been just packed. I'm so happy to have a Sunday afternoon at home. Just a few highlights:
  • we attended our first baptism since coming on our mission. It was held in a river across the street from the Potsdam Ward building (no baptismal font at the building). It was very cool and the young lady looked just beautiful!
  • We finally got our shipment from the states. Nice to get recipes, measuring cups and family photos.
  • Finally did some yard work.
  • Visited three wards/branches traveling 1 1/2 hrs. to get to one.
  • Gave my first talk in all German in Sacrament Meeting - it was very short but I did it.
  • Picked up 16 new missionaries at the airport and did training, interviews, fed and photos and the next day did the reverse for 17 going home. It was nuts around here but that only happens once or twice a year with groups that big. I love them all. What fine young (and older as well) people they are.
  • We spent this last week in training with the other mission presidents and their wives in the European Area. It was so good to meet up with our MTC group from 6 weeks ago. We received training from our Area Presidency and Elder Rasband, Q of 70 AND Elder and Sister Tom L. Perry. It was a wonderful meeting and we learned a lot. We also got to attend the temple and some church historical sites in the Manchester/Preston England area. We missed our missionaries and are now glad to be home.
We love you all so much. We think of you often. We are headed off again this next week for Zone meetings, Tues.-Fri. and will get back Fri. night.

Hope to talk to you again soon. Love, Colleen and Jay

Monday, August 17, 2009

From Kent 8/17

Subject: Semana dos

I've succeeded at week two of the MTC! Many things have happened, I'm now officially in the groove of everything, and todo bien! (all is well!) We got new branch presidents last Sunday, the Lindseys. They perked up at seeing the Pimentel name and asked if I was related to any Pimentels in the Bay area. Turns out they know the Greens more than the Pimentels, but they knew Grandma and Grandpa Pimentel, and I think a Thomas Green specifically. Our branch presidency is an amazing group, I love them all!
Our district, 1C, has two teachers, Hermano Harrington and Hermana Scaife (Hermano = brother, hermana = sister). Hna. Scaife is absolutely phenomenal, I can't even grasp it. She is so in tune with the Spirit I think she could be a general authority. Very often she'll just pause, step back, and then ask a question or make a comment that is not in the exact lesson that was planned at all, but is exactly what we need to hear. Monday night specifically was amazing. I had prayed about something in the temple earlier that day and it was answered in full that night at class, I feel it was being so done for everyone, the Spirit was very very strong. There's a lot of love here among the district and zone and teachers.
On the subject of zones, our zone leaders, both absolutely fantastic Elders, Hammer and Bowden, are leaving for the field next Tuesday. So yesterday during weekly interviews with the Branch Presidency President Lindsey tells me that Elder Dushku (mi compañero) and I are going to be the next zone leaders. It was a bit of a shock, I have to say, what with us only having been here a week. I kind of was anticipating some form of leadership opportunity, however, just not that much this soon. I have full faith that we'll do a great job, however, we've had wonderful examples of how to do it.
Elder Dushku and I room together with another companionship of Elders Mayberry and Barton. Elder Barton knows Addison Redding, so we have quite a bit in common. Elder Mayberry is a very outgoing man with a phenomenal singing voice and is very very savvy when it comes to outlandish thoughts/connections, musical references, etc. Elder Barton gets/makes all the Homestar references of obscurity, etc. It's amazing how clear the Lord's hand is in what districts, rooms, and companions we have. Our entire district gets along amazingly well, we're all just a little weird, and know our Star Wars quotes a bit too well. The new district that came in last Wednesday to my knowledge are all of the same feather as well (Not our crop, but a league of their own). One of the Elders, Elder Hine (pronounced heenay) is a riot. He's black and has a chiseled, sculpted muscular body comparable to that of Zeus, but he'll always be the one reciting the weird Al star wars songs, quotes, etc. Yesterday he did the impossible and did a front flip over Elder Mayberry (who was standing up) on the cement, without touching him at all, and landed on his feet. Very entertaining, we refer to the event/action as "The Hine."
I run into a lot of familiar faces, Alyson Harmon, people from Skyline and choir, people from my BYU ward, lots of faces from my dance classes and ballroom in general. We went to the Referral Center on tuesday and did the outgoing calls, where we check up to confirm deliveries that people call to order movies, Bibles, Book of Mormon copies, etc. I only actually talked with one lady (most of the people live in the South, lots of Texas, Alabama, Mississippi numbers etc.) who was very nice and agreed to have the missionaries come over. Elder Dushku, however, got the persons dad or grandpa, who started asking what stuff was, and when he heard about the Book of Mormon got extremely excited. In short, Elder Dushku taught the first lesson over the phone. In entirety.
I do not receive Dear Elders before my computer time on Mondays, the earliest I'll receive Dear Elders before I write is on Friday evenings, as they don't send them on Saturdays or Sundays. I do find it interesting the way that Dear Elder combines all the letters sent to you by Dear Elder though. I got something short from Brandon, so it combined it with one of Dad's letters. It got to the end of Dad's letter, and then there was a p.s that he gave, and then he signed it again. I got an entire letter with the words "-Continued- -Dad." It was very humorous, so we pinned it up against the wall. The weeks are going by incredibly fast now, I can hardly believe it's already Monday, truly truly bizarre.

My time runneth out, and I must draw to an close. I'm learning how simple and practical Spanish is, it's probaly one of the most efficient languages known to man, especially since it's completely phonetic, no exceptions (no spelling ghoti and pronouncing it fish).

The Church is beyond true, it's amazing, I love you all!!

Elder Kent Pimentel

From Kent 8/10

Subject: P-day!

Hello Flammy!

The MTC is a plethora of things. The first couple days were highly overwhelming, it took a few days for me to stop simply absorbing things and actually asess them. All is well now, I've emerged from my reclusive, observatory coccoon and feel at homeish. It's definitely an entirely different existence, that's for sure. The Spirit is present just about everywhere, and there are SO MANY rules, but I suppose that's good because that only presents more opportunities for obedience, which is one of the simpler requirements for the Spirit. I've been picking up the Spanish rather quickly, it's extremely similar to French so I have twice the cognates. Only problem is that the French will sneak in left and right, especially when it comes to articles and conjunctions. Learning a lot about myself and what is needed in the mission, and so far the primary two are Planning and Obedience, and hardly any focus on me and the things I need to do so I can be a good missionary. Focus is on the people and what THEY need. Amen to that.

Interesting thing, my companion Elder Dushku has twice now spoken distinct and clear Spanish in his sleep, though he hasn't taken any before now. Though he has taken six years of acedemic Latin. Elder Popcorn is here, along with many from my BYU ward, and many from the ballroom world, both Elders and Sisters. The name Pimentel has sparked interest, I met one of Ruth's schoolmates from Harvard, and someone who knows Roger and his family. There were so many missionaries going Spanish speaking the day I came in that they ran out of Spanish Bibles, so I still don't have one :(. Oh well, it will come.

My P-days are on Monday, so that's when you can expect letters from me. One of my roommates has the exact same coat as me, another Elder in my district has a suit the exact same style as me, and my companion has a pair of shoes that's only 1 size different from being identical to mine (I'm a 42, he's a 43). Thank goodness for marking them ;) (And just generically making sure I don't accidentally put them in other people's closets...) With my P-day on Monday it lets me get a weekend to breathe, as Sunday helps me as well, no classes, just usual meetings.

Those I've talked to say that Concepcion is more temperate in the summer and very cold in the winter, so I may need to invest in woolen socks or something of that type, but I suppose I'll find out when I get there. Exciting things I tells ya! It's interesting, I have trouble pronouncing "Pimentel" the way we normally do, I've been saying "Peementeo" type variations without trying to... ah wellz.

Hope everything's going well and such back at home with y'all! The Gospel's true!

Hurrah for Israel,
Elder Kent Pimentel

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Notes from Sam -- 3 August 2009

[Editor's Note: This may be the last letter we receive from Elder Sam Pimentel, as he is slated to return home next week.]

Dear family,

Andy got baptized on Saturday! Everything went really well. Kevin Ashton, a great recent convert who was baptized in April and who comes out teaching with us all the time, baptized Andy (the first time he’s ever baptized anyone). The bishop, the ward mission leader, and the entire elders’ quorum presidency attended and were very supportive, and President and Sister Bullock were also able to come. There were only a couple of hiccups (someone failed to bring a change of underwear and poor Brother Ashton struggled with the baptismal prayer a few times) but it was a very spiritual meeting. Brother Ball, who gave the talk on baptism, spoke in some depth about the people of Alma and the baptisms at the waters of Mormon, which (unbeknownst to him) was perfect for Andy since he’d just studied that chapter in the Book of Mormon and really enjoyed it.

I think Elder Eichelberger and I enjoyed the baptismal service more than anyone else. During the talks especially, we just couldn’t stop smiling. I think one of the reasons I was so happy is because I knew that Andy, who loves the Bible and all discussions of spiritual things, must have been soaking up everything that happened in the service. But also I think now I really understand the baptismal covenant and how amazing it is in a way I didn’t even just a year ago. I’ve been reflecting on baptism this week and I’ve realized that serving a mission is probably the best education about the nature and importance of the baptismal covenant that I could ever have. I’m really grateful for the chance I’ve had to serve here and learn so much about this covenant. I think I will always feel differently about my own baptismal promises because of my service here.

The best moment of the baptism for me, I think was during the interval when Andy and Kevin were changing. Kieron Mayall, our ward mission leader, had chosen to show the Church DVD A Search for Truth, which portrays Wilford Woodruff’s efforts to find the true church and his eventual conversion. Something I really noticed in the DVD as we watched it at the baptism is the passion that Wilford Woodruff demonstrates in his search for a true church – you can tell he is hungry to hear God’s true word and receive his covenants and blessings. Eventually, the DVD cuts to show two missionaries trudging through the snow. They see Wilford Woodruff’s relative’s house, look knowingly at one another, and then go and knock the door, proclaiming the news of the Restoration. Seeing those missionaries, I felt very excited for Wilford Woodruff, knowing that they had exactly what he was looking for and were being guided to bring it right to him. I also identified a lot with the missionaries – I know exactly what it feels like to see a house up ahead and look knowingly at your companion, both of you knowing that you are supposed to knock that door. As I thought about these things, I realized that the gospel still hasn’t sounded in every ear, and that there are people (like Andy) in the world today who are hungering and thirsting for the truth every bit as much as Wilford Woodruff was. And this time I’m one of the people who’s been sent out to bring the gospel to them! It was amazing to really feel how important my calling is, and how real the fruits of our work are. I think this experience was in part an answer to prayer – we have been praying as a zone this week to be pure in heart (i.e. doing the right things for the right reasons). The Lord is so merciful to us.

Andy’s confirmation on Sunday also went very well. Just before the confirmation, Elder Eichelberger and I participated in the blessing of Vimbai Chatunguma’s 1-and-a-half-year-old son Miguel. I think I’ve mentioned Vimbai before – she joined the Church as a Primary child in Zimbabwe and was very active for a while but lost contact with the Church for four years when she moved to England. Shortly after she moved to Oldham Elder Rose street contacted her, and then I street contacted her again and got her phone number, after which we were able to visit her and help her come to church. Since she first came she’s been fairly active. Vimbai’s new home teacher blessed Miguel, and we also participated. As I was up at the front of the chapel, I realized that I’d street contacted both Vimbai and Andy at the end of May, and that if I hadn’t spoken to them neither the baby blessing nor the confirmation would be happening! I already knew that it was important to speak to everyone because you never know who you might let pass by, but it was kind of startling to see such an immediate and direct impact from my choice to talk to a couple of people. I’m so grateful for the mission leaders who taught me the importance of speaking with everyone and gave me the tools to do it, and I’m also thankful that I chose to listen, apply those things, and stretch myself. Wow.

Elder Eichelberger and I had some cool experiences yesterday. Some time ago we’d received a referral in the mail for a man named Marlon, who had been taught by missionaries in Jamaica. We’d contacted him but he’d been unable to talk. Yesterday we rang him back to schedule an appointment, and he asked us if we had some time later that evening. When we told him that we were free at 6 PM, he said that he was having a barbecue with some of his friends and invited us to come by and we could talk about the gospel! When we arrived at Marlon’s house there must have been a dozen cars parked outside, and when he invited us in his house was packed with people, most of them from Jamaica or of Jamaican descent, from all different parts of Manchester. They were very friendly and we had a couple of good gospel conversations. The food was also very, very good – barbecued fish in tin foil, various salad, juicy barbecued chicken, and Jamaican dumplings (reminded me of hush puppies). My favorite kind of finding activity! : ) Hopefully we’ll be seeing Marlon this week and another one of his friends the week after.

After the barbecue we went to teach a man named Heritier who was contacted by missionaries in Belgium. It sounds like there are some pretty great missionaries over there in Bruxelles – Heritier was telling us that he’s never really listened to missionaries before but that as he’d been helping his uncle move, these missionaries had stopped him and had engaged him in a very spiritual conversation that had interested him greatly and had really made him think. He still remembered a couple of the questions the missionaries had asked him. We had a powerful first lesson with him and he committed to be baptized when he knows the Book of Mormon is true and to come to church on Sunday. Those missionaries will never know it, but their spiritually-guided finding bore serious fruit here. I’m grateful for their dedication. It also makes me wonder about the different people I’ve contacted and referred to different missions.

I’ve had some of the best bus contacting of my mission this week on exchanges with Elder Winward and Elder Hall. I guess felt like I had it down before, but the Lord’s helped me get to a new level. When I started my exchange with Elder Hall, I had an especially cool experience. Right after lunch we hopped on a bus and went to help a member with some yard work. We wore our service clothes rather than our suits. Usually before on my mission when I’ve been wearing casual clothes I haven’t really street or bus contacted – it feels quite weird to do those things without having a shirt and tie on. But I decided that to truly follow Preach my Gospel and “talk with everyone,” I should be speaking to people even in jeans and a T-shirt. So I pushed through my misgivings and did it, and the Lord blessed me a lot! I’d had five quality gospel conversations, including one very spiritual one where I was able to set up an appointment, by the time we returned to the flat to change. I felt like a real missionary! It’s funny for me to think now how before my mission I wanted to be sent somewhere where I would just teach all the time instead of doing finding. I’m so glad the Lord sent me here instead. Finding can be so amazing.

This is the Lord’s work. It really is. I was reading my patriarchal blessing this morning and realizing that every one of the things the Lord promised me about my mission has been fulfilled. I know I was sent here for a purpose, and it feels wonderful to look back and see how the Lord has used me to bless others’ lives. All these things just contribute to my testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that the Book of Mormon is ture, and that the true and full gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the Earth by our loving Father in Heaven.

Well, I love you all. I’m really grateful for the support you’ve given me here – it has made my mission a lot happier and easier. I will see you soon!

Elder Pimentel