Tuesday, December 15, 2009
From Kent 12/14/09
¡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!!
Posted by Gary at 8:02 PM