Thursday, July 22, 2010

from Kent 7/19

¡Hola Familia!‏

Yesterday Jorge Soto (father) was baptized and it was a most glorious day. Two of his sons that don't live with him came for the service, Sergio and Luis. We gave the address of Sergio to the Assistants, as he lives in their sector. It turns out that Luis (who has a wife and two kids) will be living here in Quillón for work. He came to Church and really liked it! He'd done a fair deal of church hopping but never found anything that really filled him, he said. Officially he's Catholic, he was one of the teachers/missionaries for them, but told us how he really liked the feeling that was had of mutuality and equality in the Church when he came for the baptism. He's excited to learn what there is, because he's seen the change in his brothers and in his father, and has agreed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it! I believe we'll be seeing another baptism in a month or so. Jorge the younger also received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday, and is taking the ordination of Teacher seriously, in that he is to teach his family those things he learns.
Here's the story of Elder Jaar. He played soccer professionally for Ecuador, and began his mission here in Quillón. The fewest baptisms he's had in a sector is 18, (I had 5 in Tierra Bella) and he had before seen just about all sides of life. Currently he is one of the Assistants to the president, and has a strong connection with those here of Quillón. A few months ago his father was killed while on the way to the Temple, but he's staying in the mission. So he volunteered to do the baptismal interview for Jorge (father) considering the recent loss.
I haven't really had the opportunity to give a great report on my investigators. Here it comes. First off we've been working with the Soto family for a long time. We came into contact through them by a member who worked with Jorge (father) for a while. He shared a bit about the Church with thim and invited him to Conference. After attending conference, he said that he really likes it and wanted to be baptized, but reading scripture will be difficult because he didn't know how to read. About a month later the family (Jorge, his wife Jeanet, and two sons Edgardo and Jorge) all came to Church and liked it. So we began to teach them. At the beginning it was an informational learning process, but after a few lessons everything changed and a light and joy entered their countenances. Edgardo told us about the first time he took the Sacrament. He said that he always felt it was something sacred and that one should be worthy to partake of it. The first day at Church he took it and told us that the bread burned him, and that he couldn't swallow the water. He said that at that moment he knew that he needed to repent and get baptized to enjoy the blessings of the Sacrament. The week following the baptism of Edgardo the entire family came into town for Jeanet's funeral. Jorge (father) took the opportunity to exhort all seven of his children to get to know the Church, and that it was through the Restored Gospel that he and Edgardo had such peace in so hard a trial. So far, we know that two of the sons, Sergio and Luis are investigating the Church, as well as a sister of Jeanet.
A week or two ago we found some new investigators. Knocking doors we came across Paola who had once talked with Missionaries of the Church when she was 14 years old. Turns out she didn't understand a lot, we clarified a few questions and she invited us in to teach her kids Franco and Esteban (17 and 15). She had taken the decision to let them decide what Church they would like to join, and therefore hadn't really taught them much anything other than that God exists, which they believe. So we've begun to teach them and they're pretty interested. She used to be Catholic but then spoke of how much she had "seen the light" when she became Evangelical. So far she's liked everything we've shared.
Katherine Cartes was found by the missionaries about nine months ago. She's read the Book of Mormon a few times, and knows quite strongly that it is true, but has a very set Catholic family (not so much that they're active at all but just that they don't want to change) and so they don't give her permission to attend the actual Church services, but she comes to Institute. She's 19 years old.
We haven't been able to meet with these friends of Hector yet, but he says they're still interested so we're going to keep trying. Hector (super convert from March, going on a mission in March) has convinced Oscar (Branch secretary and three year convert, the both 19-20 years old) to go on a mission! Oscar was about to go on a mission several months earlier but then lost enthusiasm and the branch had been worried, and he'd always kind of dodge the subject, but now he's decided to go again! He's got just a little bit more money to get together and the three (Hector, Oscar, Edgardo) will be leaving on their missions all about the same time.
The Fernandez family was here in Quillón for the weekend! I was riding by on my bike and they pulled up next to us in a car. (The Fernandez family were our neighbors in Tierra Bella). Turns out things are awesome in Tierra Bella still, Elder Law has been baptizing a lot of great people according to them!
The winter's not too ridiculous here actually, we've had almost an entire week and a half without rain! (We had before experienced two and a half weeks of pure rain). The thermals and cornbags etc. are holding up lovely.

The new President wants to work more with us, so we won't be having as many conferences, but rather he's going to be coming out and teaching with us. If there is another package to be soon sent (though it seems I just barely got the other one) I think there's a CD of Church/EFY type music somewhere in my room called "When All is Said and Done." If a copy of that could be made and sent t'would be most appreciated. The Almond Joys seem to have changed into fantastically delicious items, a contrast to what they were when I was of trick-or-treating age.
Much love, happy summer!

Elder Kent Pimentel

Monday, July 12, 2010

From Kent 7/12


I'ma running late so here's the abridged version! The legendary Assistant Elder Jaar (legends will be told next week, I hopes for time) came and gave the interview for Jorge Soto, who is to be baptized this upcoming Sunday. Amazing man. Both of them.

Hector (super recent convert) found and taught three new friends last night, two of which are eager to know what clothes they need for baptism. Hooray member work!

There was a partial eclipse of the sun yesterday. We saw many people looking through welding masks at the sun and then when we asked somebody, they showed us and the sun was a crescent, as though it were the moon. Very very neat.

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

Elder Kent Pimentel

Monday, July 5, 2010

From Kent 7/5

Dulce y amargo‏

¡Hola Familia!
This has been a week to remember, a week of surprises and change. We got a call Tuesday night from Hno. Lopez, the member who introduced the Soto family (Jorge, Jeanet, Edgardo, Jorge) to the gospel, telling us that Jeanet, the mom of the family, was in the hospital, so we called the Elders in that sector to go by and give a blessing. We're still not really sure what it was, a stroke or what have you, but Wednesday morning she passed away.
Sadly their baptismal date was for the end of the month as they still needed to get married through the municipality, but the good news is that she had fully accepted the Gospel to the greatest of her ability at that point. We stayed in the Church almost all of Wednesday and Thursday for the viewing as family from the neighboring cities streamed in. We learned that there are a total of 7 children that they have, not just Jorge and Edgardo. Jorge Sr. set the goal of July next year to go with all his family to be sealed and to the temple work for her. The thing that amazes me still is how well the family took it, especially Jorge Sr. Having come to know the Restored Gospel only two months earlier, he was at peace knowing exactly where she is, what needs to be done, and that she had done her part in giving her sons to The Lord. Others of the children that did not know of the Gospel didn't handle the blow as well, it was apparent.
Jorge Sr. bore his testimony yesterday in a very spiritual Fast & Testimony meeting. His daughter-in-law and granddaughter that were still in town accompanied them to Church, having seen the drastic change in Edgardo since getting to know the Gospel. We met with her last night and having talked a little bit expressed desire to know more and have the missionaries visit them in Concepción. Jorge Sr. suggested the possibility of her doing the necessary Temple work for Jeanet, and she liked the idea.
Unfortunately we couldn't go to the actual Funeral service as we were called to a conference in Concepción to meet President and Sister Humphrey. They come with a great and powerful Spirit, and as of yet we know of but a few changes. Conferences and Interviews with the President are going to be more sparse. Instead of every 6 weeks, it's moving to twelve. (Yes, that means it will probably take three months for me to get any packages, etc. Unless something else changes) Also, Preach My Gospel got revitalized and renewed. I didn't fully understand, but it seems they're taking the 4 lessons that exist and chopping them down into 8. I'm not really sure what other changes, but there's also going to be a new program of how to teach the lessons.
I hope all enjoyed a splendid 4th of July, I did sing a good many patriotic songs, and came to the realization that every patriotic song I know I can only sing with Barbershop tones. There seem to be many patriotic barbershop songs.
Much love,
Elder Kent Pimentel

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hamburg Missionaries Now Berlin Missionaries

Update from Colleen (the pictures are of the new missionaries - added to the our existing mission):

To paraphrase Jacob (Jacob 7:26), my life is passing away as if it were a dream. Each time I write I feel like the “last few weeks have been most incredible.” We have been serving just a year now and the “most incredible weeks continue!” For example:

  • I finally passed my written driving exam after hours of study. Miracle of miracles.
  • Love watching Jay conduct zone leader training. They have a round table discussion, teach each other and bear testimony. Each time I sit at these meetings I feel the Church is in good hands. These missionaries are exceptional and Jay is teaching them so many good skills.
  • Missionary returning home (to the Air Force Academy) taught 1,152 lessons over the past two years. He loves to teach. Members of the branch where he was serving showed up at the train station to see him off.
  • Elders called to say after a 3rd try to reach a lady they succeeded in finding her home. They were invited in and taught a Russian family of six. The Elders were thrilled with the experience.
  • Mike (our son) called us (we were at the airport putting a returning missionary on a plane) to say he was messing around and thinks he broke both of his feet. They were badly bruised but not broken, thank goodness (after renting a wheelchair and spending all afternoon in the ER).
  • We have been here long enough to follow the progress of certain investigators over many months. Recently they were baptized and we see that families are being strengthened through priesthood ordinances, habits and attitudes are changing for the better, part-member families are one by one finding the joy of the Gospel. It really is true that the world tries to change behavior from the outside in but the Gospel changes people from the inside out.
  • The missionaries themselves are growing in marvelous ways. They are learning about church leadership through their various assignments. Several Elders are serving as counselors in Branch presidencies. They have been privileged to baptize, confer the Holy Ghost, confer the priesthood and give blessings for the purpose of healing the sick. Miracles have taken place over and over again. They have blessed and given names to babies. They rejoice as they fulfill their priesthood responsibilities.
  • We said good-bye to 20 missionaries in the Erfurt Zone as the mission boundaries change. It was a bitter/sweet day. Three of Jay’s former Assistants are in that zone. I have attached a photo of the "Fabulous Five" assistants, past and present. They are terrific missionaries, just like the whole zone. For months now I have referred to the Erfurt Zone as the “little city of Enoch.” There is always peace and love felt there. I did not know the Lord was preparing me for this change.
  • With the combining of the two missions, we lost the 20 missionaries on one end and we received 86 new missionaries on the other end, bringing the total to 179. We met all of the new missionaries this past week. They are terrific. Our motto for now is “all the more to love.”
  • Our daughters have been richly blessed to find young men who will take them to the temple. We are grateful for that blessing.
  • If you want to take a quick look at our mission blog, you can find it at as a blog entitled germanyberlinmission.

We find tremendous joy in serving the Lord full time. We will do our best with the time we have been given. We love you and thank you and the Alameda Ward members for their prayers and support.

Love, Jay & Colleen

Monday, June 28, 2010

From Kent 6/28

Capítulo Nuevo‏

¡Hola familia!
Sorry for the lack of letter last week, we are absolutely fine. You know that forest fire video I sent? Well, yeah that kept going and going and died out and had absolutely nothing to do with me not sending a letter. We got really sick the both of us, and were unable to leave the house, but have recovered. Just a ye olde stomach flu. And I got the package, mountains of thanks!!
As of June 11, the World Cup of Soccer began. All I can say is thank goodness I'm not actually in South Africa right now, there's enough chaos and mayhem here. All people talk about is soccer soccer soccer, and everything closes down during the games. Everything; I felt like I was walking through a ghost town, nobody in the streets. We walked into a grocery store and found the entire staff and a few passersby glued to a TV screen. Thankfully though, most of the games are already during lunch and the siesta, that or they're early in the morning. But the celebrations are intense after a win or a classification. Also, the gas trucks (trucks that sell tanks of gas (like for a grill) for houses) instead of playing their jingles and songs of the respective company are now playing the World Cup theme, "Waka Waka."
Jorge got baptized, and Edgardo the following week! This is the strongest family I've seen. It's almost unimaginable. When we first began teaching, the father couldn't read. He now reads as well as the next person. We've entered our last two lessons with them to find them beforehand studying as a family. All three of them with their respective Gospel Principles book, Book of Mormon, and a Mission pamphlet, marking scriptures, etc.
They've changed so much. There's a light in each of their eyes that wasn't there before. I asked them how they were doing with the Word of Wisdom when we were doing the interviews for Jorge, and they all bore strong testimony of the change that has happened when they've started obeying. "My head is a lot clearer, I have more energy, I'm happier, and I can do my errands with confidence in general about the day," said Jeanet (Mom of family). "You definitely see the blessings of God by obedience. I didn't need to pick up my carnet (Chile's ID card that is necessary for government business) for another two months, but I felt like I should pick it up yesterday. Today, I needed to use it in an emergency situation," said Edgardo.
For a reason we didn't really think of, I was chosen to baptized Edgardo. Edgardo is 19 years old, but huge, over 220 lbs. of muscle. Combine that with a baptismal font that didn't fill up all the way, and it was tricky, but after a few tries were able to get it done successfully. Very emotional and spiritual the service, tears were shed. Edgardo told some very amazing stories a week before his baptism, some of which shall be in the next letter (time is leaking). My camera card-USB is being awful fussy, so I'ma see if I can't get pictures next week.
Thursday we had our last conference with President and Hermana Chávez, they finish their missions tomorrow, and President and Sister Humphrey will begin. It was without a doubt one of the most spiritual conferences we've ever had, with the Assistants giving a long program about the Atonement. Very powerful. It truly is something we can never fully understand, but we can always learn something more. I know that Jesus suffered for us. How much, we can't fully imagine. But I know of nobody who would withstand the worst false accusations and beatings at the hands of traitors without fighting back or rebuking them, especially if all power to do so was in said person. Only for love would somebody willingly go through it. Laws were broken, almost every law, to condemn Him, and He suffereth it, wherefore they scourge him, and He suffereth it; and they smite Him, and He suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon Him, and He suffereth it, because of His loving kindness and His long-suffering towards the children of men. And even after He finished the Atonement, after suffering all, alone, He did not rest. He continued working to preach the Gospel to those in the Spirit World. This because we sin. This because we say "I will repent later." But this so that through Him, we can change. This so that we can overcome, and become even like Him in loving kindness.
I know God lives. I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His. The Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith is a prophet of God Almighty.
I love you all,
Elder Kent Pimentel

From Kent 6/14

Invierno (¡Feliz cumpleaños Doug!)‏

¡Hola Familia!
Happy Birthday this tomorrow day Doug! May you fulfill this year happy and fulfill many others!
So it was another quick week. Elder Richardson is staying here in Quillón another six weeks. This is the cambio when we get to meet Presidente Humphrey, should be good times! The Soto family is on their way to Zion (the new Jerusalem), the youngest, Jorge (15) asked us yesterday how soon he could get baptized, and was very pleased to know that he will do so next Sunday! The rest are soon to follow!
Winter hit, and we had the first rain this weekend (it was long long overdue). It's been raining since Friday night, and is still doing so, with a bit of hail as well. Needless to say, it's cold. But we're able to be warm-kept. Almost everyone has a wood stove here in Quillón, which serves mostly to heat the house and also for boiling water. Very effective, but they make walking outside a pain, as the world is just covered with a haze of smoke. On the subject of smoke, there was a forest fire near our house! Video to follow.
I'm kicking myself for not having taken a picture, but there's a strange fruit here called the Caquis (Kakeese). This fruit is a very late fruit, the majority still aren't ripe. They grow from trees, and continue growing after all the leaves have fallen. They're orange, about the size and form of a tomato. The strange thing with these is that as you eat them (especially if they're not fully ripe) they have a temporary numbing/drying effect on the mouth. After chewing for four seconds, it feels that your entire mouth dries up; you can hardly feel your gums, lips, teeth, or tongue for about a minute and a half afterward. Almost like chewing on a cotton ball and getting a dentist shot. They taste pretty good, I wouldn't snack on them though.
We discovered a section of our sector called Florida this week. It's about 25-30 minutes by bus from Quillón, and is quite possibly bigger than Quillón. The problem is getting anybody from there to come to Church. The Elders Quorum president and the Patriarch live there, and according to them, there's an interesting situation of religion. Among the Evangelicals (pretty much just means Non-Catholic) there's a very large group that keeps going from church to church in Florida, and concluding at each one that they're not true, just lacking something. BUUUT until Quillón becomes a Ward, and thus Chillán can remain a Stake, Florida can't become a branch. So, the focus is back in, we've got a little over 5 months to qualify for Ward status, meaning just a few more tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders, we're almost there, but are going to have to crank out some serious work, fasting and miracles.
Much love!

Elder Kent Pimentel

From Kent 6/7


¡Hola Familia!
Things are swell here in Quillón. There's some lovely progress among the investigators and the weeks are zipping by, time is much more scarce than one would want. The Branch here is a lot more alive than I had originally feared. In Tierra Bella, they've been in a famine of activity, but here the Branch is indeed quite active in activities. Every Wednesday there's a guitar class, every Saturday an English class, an organized schedule and activities for cleaning up the building, and Soccer for the whole branch and whoever wants to every Saturday night. The Soc. Soc. (Sociedad de Socorro, Relief Society) has activities every Saturday at 4:00, there's seminary every weekend as well, and they're trying to get me to teach piano class (something I feel less than qualified to do).
With the hubbub of needing to become a ward by the end of the year (if not, all the Stake of Chillán will dissolve into a district, causing much grief for all) Home Teaching got started up again, Hallelujah! If there's anything that is not well done in the Church in Chile it's Home Teaching. But it looks like we're going to get some serious working done on it, so that's going to be great! This way retention will be a lot better, as it's not too hot in Chile. (Apologies, pun was not intended)
It's very strange to say, but we're now in the last week of this cambio, and Elder Richardson might be on his way out, as he already has three previous cambios here. As such, I should probably tell of him. Elder Richardson is from Cottonwood Heights, a graduate from Brighton High, and was a member of the basketball force. He's the youngest of his family, though first to go on a mission. He's been great to work with, there was a bit of the effect that happened in Tierra Bella when Elder Law came from my understanding, though I can't say as I don't know how things were before. He has only one cambio more than me in the mission, so there hasn't been much of a Senior Junior companionness. More of just, companionness. Which has been really nice. I'd say the thing I've learned from him most would have to come from Mosiah 3:19, becoming as a little child in humility. I feel we get too often in the "Of course, I knew/know that, what of it?" in life, and in the Gospel. But he still has that amazement at everything and appreciates the good things, the miracles, the truths found in the scriptures, the Spirit and the good acts of others that I find it's easy to lose after time. But we need to keep it.
There was an Elder in the MTC that I would hear say "The Church is true, water's wet," in an acknowledgment of the plainness and absolute truth of the Church, but looking back I notice had the "what of it?" feel that we can not let enter our mentality. When we declare that the Church is true we are declaring more than a simple truth. The Book of Mormon is more than a true history, an accurate account. This truth has the capacity to change worlds, lives, and eternities, I have seen it! As time goes on, archaeological evidence has only shown to support the Book of Mormon, from discoveries of Hebrew poetry forms, Chiasmus, records of King Zedekiah having a son that escaped death, with a name abreviated as Mlk (Mulek) etc., but more than all the spiritual impact it has. I know it to be true as I know God exists, and that I know without a doubt.
If anything has stuck with me and burned in my soul this last year it has been the talk "Safety for the Soul" by Elder Holland, October 2009. So many have I seen here that have not held fast to the rod of iron, the Book of Mormon, that have not, as Jesus warned, treasured up His word. And thus were deceived. Yea, even the very elect. The mists of darkness fall on all, even those of covenant, but if we, as warned, treasure up His word, we shall not be deceived; and neither our hearts, nor or faith will fail us. Hold fast, study every day, WRITE of your Spiritual experiences and review them, re-read them often! These can not be denied, but can be only forgotten by disregard, by lack of faith, diligence, and patience in nourishing the tree of our testimony (Alma 32). Like Nephi, go into the Mount of the Lord (Temple) often to pray (1 Nephi 17)!
Daniel, this is the prime moment of your life to wax strong in testimony and character as a Son of God and holder of His Priesthood. Organize with your friends regular temple trips, this helped me greatly in High School, perhaps more than any other thing.
I love you,
Elder Kent Pimentel

From Kent 5/31

¡Hola Familia!‏


Congrats and ¡¡welcome to Amber Hanami!! I don't remember what my guess was when I was asked Mother's day; ¿anyone remember? The week passed really quickly, mostly a normal week though. We took some time aside to set up a table and talk at the people in the streets. You can talk with a lot more people that way. This last week we had more contacts than the sector has had for an average for the past three cambios. (Before, "due to bikes" this sector would have about 160, 135, contacts accumulated over a period of six weeks. We did 188 in one.)
It looks like half the zone of Chillan will be transferring this next cambio -two weeks-. So will the President. We'll see what changes come about with President Humphrey. It's kind of strange to change Presidents, so we'll see what new things come. I think I talked last time about the Soto family (family of four). They're doing well, Jorge the younger (15 years) has come to EVERY church activity there has been over the last week, seminary, mutual, church, get togethers of the youth, etc. He'll be a strong one. Not too much progress with the rest of everyone else, but we're getting some great support from the members.
We need 4 more tithe-paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders to become a ward. There currently are Hector and Manuel, two recent converts that only have to wait time to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, we're struggling to fully activate one of the Brothers so that he can receive the Priesthood and baptize his son (which the both want to happen) and we have two of the members of the Soto family that could do so. So I might be here to see it happen!
As for the bikes, I found out that repairs are actually very very very low in price. We got a completely ruined tire and brakes fixed for 500 pesos ($1).

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

From Kent 5/24

¿Qué tal?‏

¡Hola familia!
Not too much newly new news from Quillón this week. We did find an umphload of new investigators that could be very good though! I'm not sure the name of family (In Chile, everyone has two last names, the family name of the father first and then that of the mother (her dad's dad's family name, etc.)) but a family of four, Jorge, Jorge, Jeanette and Edgardo. The father, Jorge, works with one of the members and is very VERY interested in the Church, came to conference, and the rest of the family is as well, their 15 year old son Jorge came to a mutual activity and was at the Church with the other youth from 4 to 10. Huzzah!
We also recently got a referral to a family, one of the girls wants to get baptized, LOVES the Church (friends of a member) and the other 11 in the family so far have not opposition. So the branch might grow by 15-20% here soon. Hector continues to help us at every turn, very concerned for retention among the youth, and offers his house for FHE/Youth get together Church nights every week. One of the strongest members of the branch, he is. It's interesting being in a Branch, there are few long time members, the Branch President was baptized but two years ago, but is very strong, a very good member.
High praises were sung when the knowledge came forth that I play piano (not during the hymns, but after). It's always a bit tricky when I'll play at one speed, the director will direct at a different speed than what I'm playing or she's singing, and the congregation takes thirty seconds to agree on what speed they want to sing. A battle of wills. In almost all the Churches I've seen here in Chile they have an electric piano with several options of of organ/piano for every building, so it's fun to change the intensity of the Organ to softer for more peaceful hymns(Sacrament, supplication hymns), and then to power mode for the praising hymns. (Restoration Hymns, etc.)
One of our investigators whose children recently got baptized defended the Church quite strongly against the criticisms of her atheist husband and bore strong testimony, it was very impressive. She said some interesting things, about how the Gospel can be approached in a very scientific, very logical way, as explained in Alma 32. If we try it and put it to the test, you'll see obviously that it is true and right. Don't have fear to put it to the test, constantly. I feel too many members have a rare spiritual experience here or there, or base their belief on that of others or on logic. We can constantly put it to the test, and constantly get the same positive result. If there is doubt, fear, or a lack of faith that impedes us from trying because we are afraid that it will not be positive, we will stay in assumption and hypothesis, rather than see the proofs, the evidences that are that of the growing seed. Put revelation to the test, put the Book of Mormon to the test. If you already have, do it again. The only causes of not having a testimony is pride. If we are too proud to test it in fear that we'll be proved wrong, that it is true, we will not know. If we are too proud to test it in fear that we'll be proved wrong, that it is not true, we will not know.

Try it, you'll like it. And then tell your friends to do the same.
Mucho amor y cariño,
Elder Kent Pimentel

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Your Foreign Correspondents in Germany

We are delighted to give you an update of some of the miracles in the past month. They have been amazing. We have done quite a bit of travelling for one reason or another, i.e. to attend church services, attend baptisms, speaking assignments, interviews and zone conferences. As we travel we realize what a beautiful country we serve in and how many wonderful people we serve with. For example:
  • A sister with grown children took two weeks off work in order to serve a mini-mission with the full time sisters. She lived and worked with them. It was helpful to the sisters and she came away with new excitement for missionary service.
  • Attending meetings with the missionaries and hearing them teach increases our testimony. They are insightful and bear strong testimony of the Savior and the restored gospel. The Church is in good hands with these young people. Several young Elders are serving in small branches as counselors to the Branch President.
  • We attended the Bischofswerda Branch one Sunday morning. The branch is made up of Polish refugees from years ago. When they had to leave their homes they had limited space for their belongings but brought their beautiful sacrament trays. The trays are round, three tiers, like a wedding cake. The small glass cups have a place to nest in. It is beautiful and still in use. Also, the church building was built on member’s property behind their home. It was built by the members. Colleen learned again that a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. The stake president was also visiting the branch on that day and Colleen thought he was asking (in German) how her language skills were coming along when in fact he was asking her if she wanted to speak in the upcoming sacrament meeting. She found out when the meeting started what had happened. She bore her testimony in Germany - did a great job - and then sat down.
  • We have been privileged to attend several baptisms, each with their own story. Young people who had many obstacles to overcome, people from other countries (Thailand, China, Bulgaria) who are so excited to share what they have learned. What a refreshing experience it is to witness. Many of our church buildings do not have a baptismal font so they opt for the lake! See the picture.
  • Heavenly Father blesses the missionaries in so many ways: healing from illness and “broken bones”, protection on other occasions, people in the right place at the right time to help (A couple of sisters took a wrong turn on the freeway, ended up in the Czech Republic and their car broke down. Someone fixed their car, turned them around and sent them on their way again.)
  • There are struggles along the way as well. In the past month two missionaries have had their fathers die unexpectedly and another couple have had grandparents who were very close pass away as well. We surround them with loving companions and they carry on.
  • While visiting one of the wards in the mission, we were surprised to see one of my former mission presidents there - BYU Professor Hans-Wilhelm Kelling. See the picture. He has brought a group of BYU German students to spend two months in Berlin studying. We had a great time reminiscing.

This next week we have a mission tour with Elder Weidmann, Q of the 70, and his wife. We will have a full schedule. That is all for now. We love serving the Lord full time. We know that it is His work that we do. We know it is true. We are blessed beyond measure. Our love and prayers are with you.

Monday, May 17, 2010

From Kent 5/17

¡Hola Familia!‏

Amada familia,
It's been an amazing week, that I have to say. One strong in the Spirit, and one incredible. I had a mini-cambio (they're a lot bigger in this zone, having to travel by bus about an hour, busses that only come every hour or so rather than 5 minutes on a bus that comes about two times a minute) that was very interesting, we had a lot of time for studying (late lunches plus bus rides) and for the first time in some time I started diligently STUDYING rather than reading a passage in the Book of Mormon and a few pages of Preach My Gospel. Cross referencing several other books, and with earnest prayer, focused in one specific topic, I can testify of revelation.
The mysteries of God are available if we search them. So much is available if we want it, ask, and then do something about it. If we don't try, if we don't search it out, if we don't humbly ASK God for help, we can stay with just "I don't really get it, but oh well." Can you imagine if Nephi hadn't asked The Lord to see what his father saw? Can you imagine what he would have missed had he replied when the angel asked him "Knowest thou the condescension of God?" with "Yeah, I pretty much get what that is" in fear of appearing an un-intelligent or un-knowing servant? Amazing personal revelation IS available to everyone. I know. Like Limhi I say "O how marvelous are the works of the Lord, and how long doth he suffer with his people; yea, and how blind and impenetrable are the understandings of the children of men; for they will not seek wisdom, neither do they desire that she should rule over them!"
God is willing to bless us with Spiritual guidance and revelation, and if we take it, act on it, write it down, and thank Him, and then ask for more, He'll give it to us. Yesterday we were leaving to go to our planned appointments etc. Right as we were about to leave to visit an investigator that we hadn't talked with for over a week, I felt like we should go contacting up above in a smaller, lowly populated area that we had as back up plan, but then I said we should go to the investigator. We went, she couldn't meet with us, so we started with contacts in this other highly populated sector. After fifteen or twenty minutes without success I asked Elder Richardson "Do you feel like we should be up in that small sector we had as a back up back up plan?" And he said yes, he felt that right as we were leaving, and that he wasn't feeling the contacts where we were. So we gave ourselves a couple kicks and went up to the low population place, talking about how we need to follow these impressions. "There might be somebody there who never will be here again that we need to talk to, or something like that," he said. We started contacting the upper side, and nobody was home. On the fifth house, that was heavily blocked up with a strong fence/wall that you can't see through, a heavy metal door and a doorbell with an intercom, and Catholic stickers on the window, over all a very unlikely house, we decided to contact. Out came the nicest man, David, who had shared with the missionaries a few years ago and really liked it. In getting to know him we learned that he's in the Armada (Navy) and is only here Saturdays and Sundays, and wants us to be able to share with his whole family, and expressed his feelings on how he always felt baby baptism never made sense. Leaving the contact we agreed to always speak when ever we had what could be impressions.
I also came across an Elder McGrath (I believe) who was in Uncle Dave's ward in New Orleans. Always neat to meet connections.
Much love to you all!

Elder Kent Pimentel

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

From Kent 5/10

Hola Familia!‏


I don't have too much time, so I'ma send picatures, and I spoke at the most of you last yesterday anyway, so we're good on most of it. New sector, small branch. I'll get some pictures of Quillon here soon.

A phrase has come about among a few of the missionaries here that I've coined, being "Chair moments." When I first came to Tierra Bella, there was a chair with a blanket over it and a few other things. I always knew there was a chair there. It had always been there. Yet every time I needed to sit down, move a chair somewhere else, stand on something, I'd go get one of the other chairs we use for study and that we have upstairs. It became a great hassle moving them all about. It wasn't until we were cleaning (purging rather) the house with Elder Law that I REALIZED there was a chair there. A chair that I could use! I could sit IN it! ON it! Use it as a stool! It had always been there, I had always known it was there, but I had never realized it was there.
I've felt that way about Joseph Smith since coming on the mission. My entire life I've known of the restoration, that he was a prophet. But so what? No big deal, why was there such a fuss, we didn't make one about Abraham or Moses. But when we have a chair moment and realize that God Himself and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph (as they both did to Stephen the martyr) who sought, that from that day the thousands of years of debates, councils, changing doctrines and confusion come to an end, that the God of Israel has made bare His arm and raised a standard among the Gentiles, fulfilling the prophecies of His servant Isaiah, that again pure holy truth is on the earth, that is when things make sense. That is when we REALIZE what the restoration means. God didn't reveal the Book of Mormon for nothing. I know that it is true, and as did the father of one of the missionaries here two weeks ago, I will defend it unto death. But more importantly, I will defend it unto life.
As He died to make men holy, let us Live to make men free. God is marching on and no unhallowed hand will stop His work until it has penetrated every clime, sounded in every ear and Great Jehovah Himself says, "It is done."

O Remember, remember.
I love you,

Elder Kent Pimentel

From Kent 5/3


¡Hola familia!
So, got the phone call this morning, I'll be trangling off to work tomorrow in the zone of Chillan (more east of here, I think by an hour or so) in the district Quillao (I think that's how you spell it, the "ll" makes a y sound). My companion will be an Elder Richardson, I don't know much about him, so we'll see how it all goes! So most of today will be spent taking pictures and informations of people. Pretty much everyone just says "I already added you on FaceBook." Oh the technology and world today.
Not too many news of this week past other than transfers. Diego is still coming to Church, so yay! Fabiola (less active member with daughter Fransisca who is investigator, I'll have a picture next week) and her family all came to Church yesterday, and Fransisca's boyfriend came too, AND without us accompanying them. Going to Church is now part of the program in their mind, so I hope that later on to hear good news of them.
Learned some interesting new things this week! One: The language of "Op" and its variants exist worldwide. We were talking about learning English with Silvana, Jean Pierre and Kevin, and then I jokingly said "Dang, we won't be able to talk in secret anymore if you learn English" and Jean Pierre said "You'll just have to speak in Leblib" which is the language that his mom and grandma always speak in when they don't want the kids to know. It follows highly similar rules of Op, just adding in per sylable, but it's trickier because you swap lebs and libs. Something like that.
Two: Strange trick-or-treating type tradition called the May Cross "Cruz de Mayo." On the 2nd of May (at least in the olden days, 20 some odd years ago and before) groups of children would get together after having made a great big cross adorned with flowers, candles, etc. and sing songs by houses asking for goodies of various types. If refused, the song turns nasty in guilting/insulting tones. It's not done much anymore, in some country towns it is, but not much.
I'll have much more to tell you next week as I'll be in Chillan, so best of all to y'all!
Con amor y un abrazo,

Elder Kent Pimentel

From Kent 4/26

Chao Pescado‏

¡Hola Familia!

Sounds like craziness is afoot in yonder Lake Salted (literal Spanish translation of Salt Lake -Lago Salado). Had another speed-week, I don't really remember too much of what happened, but nothing bad, so that's good. We did a mini-cambio with neighboring Chiguay, so I was with Elder Dushku again, that was nice. It's interesting to see how people have changed since being in the mission field, and always good to be with other missionaries from time to time to see their tactics, approaches, etc., and learn what you can.

We've continued working with the members like nutzo, as we've realized that they can get people to come to Church a lot easier than we can. (The past three weeks we've worked anxiously to get investigators to church many hours of teaching, working, etc., and consistently have met the number of planned non-members at Church, but none from the people we've worked with, so... yeah) We've made grand progress in this aspect, so hot dang hallelujah, work with the missionaries and share the Gospel!! There's a lot more success when members share the Gospel than just missionaries.

The world shrank again. The Brazilian boyfriend of one of the members just got back from BYU yesterday and came to Church. He speaks almost perfect English, Spanish and Portugese, and served his mission in New Jersey. I didn't catch his last name, but his name is Igor, and he knew Kelly and Nancy!

Send my regards to all the marriagites, the world moves along too quickly.

I leave Chiguayante next Tyoosday, to where I do not know. ´Twill always be me home though. The Gospel is true, This is God's one and only True Church, cling steadfastly to the Rod. One of the missionaries that had been in our sector a year ago worked a lot with a specific member to uplift him. Sadly, since I got to the sector he had gone inactive, and we ran into him today. After talking a while, the missionary commented to us that he hardly recognized him, his countenance was "filthy." Living the Gospel makes a visible change in people, so stay in it! And help others stay in it!

Con amor,
Elder Kent Pimentel

From Kent 4/19

Como vuela el tiempo (How the time flies)‏

¡Hora famiria!
Chiguayante is still dandy dandy sweet sugared candy. Not too much new, but there are the goody bits. We've had a swarm of referrals this last week, one usually gets about 2 a week or so, this week we got 9! So we've been out hunting them round. One of them is a nice woman named María Rodríguez, her member son & family called the office and has been calling every day for reports on how the visits have gone. They're pretty serious about it. She was born Catholic, married catholic, etc., but doesn't know what it means. Most Catholics are that way. She's been diagnosed six months to live and decided she wants to know everything there is about God and what she needs to do to set her life in order. Great great support from the family with her, and she loves our visits and pays attention, a blessing. (Most people who love our visits enjoy talking, and only listen so so amount and thus, understand almost a so so amount).
Sunday with the Gonzalez family we ate rabbit that they had hunted the day before. It was good! Though I didn't notice much a difference between it and chicken, maybe a bit harder and drier, but it was still very fun. This is the family that we ate Shark with before Christmas. The shark was fantastically amazing, if you ever get the option to eat shark, do so. On the subject of good foods, thanks again for the sixlets, I had forgotten of their existence and the insurmountable joy they bring. I'm doing my best to finish all the candy before cambios (transfers) in two weeks. It's pretty stone set that I'm going this next cambio, so we'll see where I go.
Remember Karen from ever ever ago? Anyway, we got in contact with her again, she's the one that started talking with us because she felt her baptism was invalid (Catholic) and wanted to know the things she needed to really do. Well, we found out that she really wants to know how everything is after death, etc., so we gave her Alma 40 and taught the plan of Salvation. This time that she actually read, searching to learn, she felt a peace she hadn't before felt, and found herself being nicer to everyone around her the next day. Our next appointment she was eager to talk and learn of the commandments, everything. So she's going to be progressing along nicely, despite a horde of opposition from friends at work. Thankfully she clued in when they said "I've read and studied everything there is to know about that Johnny Smith, and I know that he isn't an Apostle from the dead like the Mormons say he was" that perhaps their sources aren't quite reliable.
The devotional went lovely Saturday night (we'd been working with the Sunday School to get an activity done for the last few months) and there were 6 or so non-members that came. It was called "Conoced a Cristo" (Meet/Get to know Christ -in Scripture talk command form- like "Know thee Christ" or "Meet ye therefore, Christ" something like that) and had 5 or 6 brief messages from recent converts about principles of the Gospel centered in Christ, with musical numbers scattered throughout. 30 min. before it started, we were informed that I was to be singing in two of these numbers, and Elder Law would be giving one of the messages. It all worked great, so no worries!
With all the signs of the Second Coming being fulfilled around the world, my mind had pondered over them greatly. As a result, I dreamt that there had been an earthquake/meteor storm/solar flare that caused everyone to be sent two months back in time, though we all had a perfect memory of everything that had(n't) happened. (And a permanent 5 o'clock afternoon time of day). So we were getting everything ready for when the earthquake would happen, because now we knew exactly when it would. Made me think of how more or less, we've got a pretty good idea that His Coming is much much much closer now, and that we need to making those preparations. So, make sure y'all are ready. (That's not just food and water storage). It's going to be an exciting time, though it will require much faith and obedience.
Con mucho amor,

Elder Kent Pimentel

From Kent 4/5

¡Feliz Pascua de La Resurrección!‏

¡Hola hola!

Great to hear that all is well! It's surely been an interesting week, we haven't actually had much opportunity for proselyting, but the week was fantastic! This week we had the mission conference, I was called on to give a talk on chapter 5 of Preach My Gospel, using the Book of Mormon. It went quite nicely! The experience with Jean Pierre was also referred to by both President and Hermana Chávez that day.

This week we went to Dichato to help with everything there. Dichato is a town close to the coast line, and was utterly destroyed in the earthquake and following tsunami. A few buildings, including the Church building there are still standing, but the majority are not (over 80% of the town is wiped out completely). On the buildings that still stood, you could see the standing water line that had been at at least eight feet. We actually found a fish plastered against a building seven feet above the ground. We mostly did clean up, which consists of collecting rubble and debris, putting it in large piles and burning them. I think we'll be heading back later on to help build houses and such. The missionaries that lived there are fine, but their house is gone.

Conference was GREAT! We were able to go into a separate room to listen to it in English, and when more people than anticipated came Sunday morning, we went into the family history center to watch it online. So I still need to see Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Scott's talks from Sunday morning. A very strong focus on teaching the Gospel in the home this year, no question what needs to be worked on.

So Elder Law and I had been talking a week or so ago about how amazingly Roberto has progressed, and that usually there's always something that gets in the way as opposition, but nothing had happened with him yet. Well, he broke up with Viviana, his member girlfriend that introduced him to the Church a few days ago. BUT he knows the Church is true and is still going to get baptized. He came to the Sunday conferences!

Enso's doing great, came to conference as well, and it looks like he'll be getting baptized next week!

Easter here is muuuch different from the States. Due to Catholic influence, the entire week is observed, especially Good Friday. The North American traditions are known of, and somewhat observed as far as searching for eggs goes, but only in a few families. It's certainly not commercialized in the non-religious sense (though it is quite commercialized, which isn't a step in a good direction).

Thank you so much for all your prayers and love, they are felt!
Much love,

Elder Kent Pimentel

From Kent 3/29


¿Cómo están querida familia mía?

Sounds like things are trucking along quite normally in yonder states, they're doing about the same here. The roads here are fine in Chiguayante, but I hear that the road to Hualqui (town about 20 minutes south of here, also in the stake) is pure Indiana Jones. A few sidewalks have pushed up wrinkles in them here, but there's no other damage to the earth (fissures, etc.). There is one investigator, Edith, 60 years old, baptized Baptist three years ago but feels understanding and light and clarity when she talks with us, who has a large front yard (most people have no yard) that received a large sink-hole of about 4 1/2 feet deep, 6 or so feet across. Thank goodness it was the yard and not the house! Aaaaalso, Elder Dushku from the MTC is now in our district, in the neighboring sector of Chiguay!

There's a huff of which ward Roberto will be a member of because he technically lives out of the borders, and for such reason will be baptized the 11th (Conference is the 4th). But he LOVES the Gospel! He's already read the Book of Mormon all the way through and is starting his second run, went out and bought himself some Church clothes and is attending Institute classes! He'll be baptized here in our ward, but I think his records will officially be in the the other one, so there'll be some work of trying to make a transition, but he'll be firm, that I know.

Moses 6:34 was manifested this week (Enoc was timid to preach repentance, and The Lord promised to justify the words Enoc would preach and give him powe). The Lord gives His servants truth and power to promise in His name. Last Sunday night we talked with Delia again, and she was a bit more receptive and nicer (she's still reading the Book of Moromon) and was sure that she couldn't meet with us at all this week because she'd never get home from work until 10, especially because of the increased traffic. Elder Law looked at our schedule for the week and said, "We'll meet Friday night at 9. I promise that there won't be traffic and that you will get home by 9." She was hesitant and said that she didn't want to commit to that because she didn't want us coming by and not having here there. We got to her house at 9 Friday and asked her about her week. She said that it had been a heavy work load, she hadn't gotten home until 10, 10:30 all the days of the week except for today, Friday, when she got home at 8. I'm quite certain that she's beginning to recognize and understand authority a bit more.

We finally got in contact the the Yañez family, the ones that contacted us in their car and wanted to reactivate. They have some great history in the Church, he had been a counselor in the bishopric, Stake executive secretary, and his brother is a Bishop, etc. Very nice and wonderful family, they don't seem to have had anything wrong with the Church, just that they haven't gone for a long time. They came this Sunday and really liked it, so hopefully they'll start coming regularly. They live in the wealthiest part of our sector, a few of the newly built condominiums (gated communities). They seem to have great access to all the wonderful things that we've missed here in Chile, such as blueberries, brownies, cheesecake, etc. Interesting enough, Chile is a huge exporter of blueberries, they grow them like crazy here, but don't sell them here! You can't find them in the stores, almost at all! They were kind enough to give us a box of them. We are going to be firm though and make sure that all our visits are for Spiritual purposes, and not for treats ;).

We had a very special experience yesterday. After running for every part trying to get the baptism of one of the ward children organized, the 1st Counselor asked if we could accompany him to give a blessing. So we went into the Young Womens' class and their lesson was on Priesthood blessings, and they had just talked about the Father's Blessing. Many of the young women expressed concern because this specific blessing wasn't available to them because either their fathers weren't members, didn't live with them, weren't active, etc. So between the three of us there were nine blessings given as though they were Father's blessings for the coming school year, etc. -school starts in march, but with earthquake is starting about now-. The Spirit was thick in the room, a strong witness of the truth of the Priesthood, I found that my tongue was loosed and that the words just flowed. I think it was the day that I had see the Priesthood used the most, as Kevin was confirmed in the morning, and we participated in the confirmation of Jean Pierre, then the blessings for the Young Women (The 1st Counselor also asked for one once we finished), the Baptism and confirmation of Jared, a boy in the ward who just turned eight, and a blessing of health (that sounds a lot less weird in Spanish, I promise) to a member later in the day. It was amazing to feel the inspiration flowing and the power of God's Priesthood, and I found that I was somewhat exhausted afterward, but with much greater confidence in The Spirit.

Keep doing everything good that you're doing! Love you!

Elder Kent Pimentel

From Kent 3/22

Seguimos Adelante

¡Amada familia mía!

Cultural notes that I have forgotten to mention (I believe). Classic Chilean foods include, and especially during summer:
  • Pastel de Choclo (paste/mix of corn): Pastel de Choclo is usually a bunch of meats, eggs, olives, onions, swimming in what I believe is creamed corn, as it is made from corn, and is of a mashed potato consistency. Often it is sprinkled with sugar. Very very good
  • Humitas: Humitas more or less are a simpler form of just the creamed corn. BUUUT it's made in a cool way. The large hefty pieces of the corn husk are used like wrapping paper for a serving (small brick size) of the corn mush, which are then tied with string and boiled. So you take the humita (more or less means humidified, wet) out of the pot and you have yourself a corn husk wrapped package of corn mush. Quite nice.
  • Casuela: Casuela is the Chilean stew. Potatos, part of if not all an ear of corn (on cob), chicken or beef, (or liver/cow heart if you're lucky) all in a soupish stew juice. I'm actually not in any way a fan of the cow heart/liver whatever thing. I haven't asked what it is, but it has a similar color and feel of the chicken hearts from Tucanos and Rodizio, but a lot softer, so I'm thinking it might be liver. I understand the reputation for liver if that is what it is.
  • Empenadas: Meat pie. In a delicious glazed bread covering, hides an even more delicious (and often dangerously hot) blend of what goes into pastel de choclo or de papas (Pastel de papas is pastel de choclo but with mashed potatoes, corn and cheese, like shepherd's pie) beef, pork, olives, onions, eggs. What hot pockets should be.
Also, a note on superstitions. It is a nationally known fact that dramatic changes of temperature are dangerous. This means, that if you are inside on a cold day drinking some hot beverage, and somebody comes to the door, you have to cover up your mouth with a scarf or your shirt. If you don't, the cold air on your hot mouth will cause the muscles to cramp up and your mouth with freeze crooked. This is more than a "Don't cross your eyes or make that face, it'll get stuck that way." It is believed quite strongly. When Elder Law told me this I told him that maybe out in the country of his old sector with old wives' tales and such, so one time at lunch he asked the members why people come out with their scarves some times. We were given in all seriousness the above explanation.

So transfers are in and it is meet that I finish my work here in Tierra Bella. With the horde of fresh amazing new investigators we've received these last two weeks, I am to follow through. The other two that came to this zone at the same time as me are leaving to other parts, so this makes me the oldest in the zone (most time in Chiguayante). I'm staying with Elder Law, so we're going to hammer it out a bit more here.

On that subject, there has been a lovely helping of progress among the investigators (and an increase of the pool). Jean Pierre and Kevin were baptized yesterday, we had to trangle to a different ward building to do it because our baptismal font in Tierra Bella is still filled with earthquake bathe yourself water, and refuses to drain. It's quite nasty. They'll be confirmed next week! Roberto, the boyfriend of Viviana is going to be baptized this coming Sunday, and he's very excited for it. He's progressed a lot and loves learning more about everything. He decided to take Institute classes and loves reading the scriptures and learning more. He has no problem with the Word of Wisdom or Tithing, and actually is excited about them both, so hot dog! Not a heap of progress with other investigators, still trying to get them to Church, but we have found new ones!

We found a young family, José Luis, Sandra and their 7 year old son Renato. We talked with José a month or so back and went to talk with him this last monday (complications of him not having been there before, earthquake, and emergency long lessons stopped us from talking with him earlier). José has a difficult time with religion, in that deep inside he knows and believes in a supreme being, but it's hard at times due to difficulties and trials that he's had. His wife Sandra on the other hand is excited about it. They were both born Catholic, but not active (like most), and Sandra has always believed that their family was going to find a Church that feels right and stick with it, and is very open to the possibility that this is it. They studied the pamphlet of the Restoration that we left them, and enjoyed reading it, but still need to pray and come to Church. Sandra was very excited about the idea of coming and wants to, but of course once that happens Satan steps in in the form of a boss and she has to travel for work over the weekend. But they honestly want to know, so we feel they will progress well.

We visited a member, Teresa, that hadn't come to church for a few years (she's elderly and lives far, so it's harder) and has a grandson, Enso -11, that lives with her. Enso has a great sense of right and wrong and wants to follow right. She's more or less taught him the Gospel, and so we invited them to come to Church and Enso to get baptized. We got a yes to both of them, and they came to Church! We had invited here many many times before, so it was great to see her there! We're going to work more with them and feel great that they'll reactivate and he can get baptized.

We had a very touching experience a few days ago. In the morning before we left, I had prayed that we could be better examples of Jesus Christ and have His image in our countenances. Later in the day we went by to share a scripture with Jean Pierre, and he had been having a really hard day. After talking about what had happened, we assured him that he's a good boy and can always find the peace with reading the Book of Mormon, praying and going to Church. He said another of his honest, heart-felt, amazing prayers that he does, and we asked him how he felt. He said he felt a lot better and thanked us for coming, and said, "Seeing you is like seeing Jesus." It was a strong witness of the absolute tangible, palpable reality of the Gospel. Also, they had lost their Book of Mormon(s) during the earthquake and couldn't find them for a couple weeks, so we invited them to pray to find them, and they came to Church the next day with them in hand. We asked them how they found them and they responded "praying." They're some fantastic boys, that have already expressed their desires to serve missions. I'm excited for them.

And finally I have pictures!

Much love and thanks,
Elder Kent Pimentel

From Kent 3/15

Si estáis preparados, no temeráis.‏

¡Hola de nuevo!

Things are all dandy dandy sweet sugar candy here in Chi-Chiguay-ChiChiguayante (Our zone cheer, similar to that of a "Go blue team!"). Life has pretty much returned to normal, we moved back into the house on Tuesday and have returned to the normal missionary schedule, though there is a lot more of service involved. There's no damage with all the continued quakes and shakes, they're just fun more than anything. However, a read of D&C 45 I believe it was did open eyes a bit, speaking of earthquakes in diverse places --Haiti, Japan, Chile, Taiwan, one recently in Argentina, and continued quaking in other parts of the Earth--, and the results of people hardening from it and raising their swords against one another --every street having erected walls and setting patrols with impromptu weaponry, and yes, many people actually had swords-- with the saints being in holy places --us locked in the Church for a week--.
So it's no question that the Second Coming is close, yea, even at the doors. In this case, I'd say you're hearing the key turning and the knob as well. (Don't forget the oceans throwing themselves beyond their bounds again). Such was the theme of the lesson Hna Chávez gave us Friday during interviews.

On different notes, we had a fun attack from aliens last night; a nation-wide power outage and the water got cut too at 8:50 or so. People were fine here in Chiguayante, I didn't hear of any hoodlumry or what-such. But you should have seen the stars! With a new moon and absolutely no light pollution, the sky was just FILLED! It made me understand why the Greeks and such ancient civilizations had such interest in stars and keeping track of them. Everything came back to normal by morning though, so all is well. We still don't know what caused it, but one of the members' neighbor seriously believed it was an alien attack.

I may or may not be leaving Chiguayante next week, things feel to be leaning to the not side, just because we're holding one cambio back on getting new missionaries into the mission, so with nobody new to be trained, there will be few companionship switches. There was a mass of people in the Church yesterday, I was quite surprised with how many came, and we had a higher number than usual for investigators that came to Church as well. So there's been an awakening of sorts, hallelujah.

So, all is well, Chile is getting back on its feet (at least Chiguayante is, I haven't been to other parts). Alas, I forgot to bring pictures again, so I'm going to have to write myself a note for next week.

Much love to y'all!

Elder Kent Pimentel

From Kent 3/8 - Earthquake update

Mi amado familia,

Okay, now that I can give a real run-down of everything I shall do so. First off, many thanks for all of your prayers, concerns, and good wishes. Also, I never did say thank you for that fancy-pants scripture marker, I have been enjoying it thoroughly.
Okay, so Saturday morning we awoke to a fun shakery of the house and loud breaking sounds. Exactly when it started I can't say because I don't know how long it took me to be awakened, but it was around 3:40, and kept shaking at full power for about five or seven minutes. It died down to a medium rumbling for the next 10 minutes as we grabbed all the things we thought we'd need and fled for the out of doors. All of our clothes had been thrown about the room so we were looking for flashlights, oil, shoes, keys and water. We went outside and after about two or three minutes the other neighbors began to come out as well and just make sure that everyone was okay. Power and water were cut, but there was a powerful full moon. We checked on other members that lived nearby that morning and all were well, but everything in the house had fallen and broke more or less. One of the members in our ward drives a bus for his job, and he said that it was jumping up and down and sliding from one side of the street to the other. Here in Chiguayante, very very little damage was done to actual houses and buildings, though many walls had fallen and crumbled upon the sidewalk. We came back to the house after checking the church (nobody there) grabbed some sweaters and slept outside sitting in chairs by a neighbor family (part member) until about 8 or so.
There were rumors flying about of another replica (aftershock) at 1 or 3 that afternoon which would be stronger than the first, but this turned out to be as true as hens' teeth. There have been tremors and such all week though, in varying degrees. The first couple of days they were very frequent, but nothing up to the 8.8 level, I think the highest level of replica we had was 6.5, possibly 7, but they only lasted at the most 7 seconds. We ran into our Zone leader and his companion at the Church at about 830 or so that morning but as nothing was going on or happening, he felt greater need to go help peole in his ward clean up, rebuild, etc. etc. At about 6 or so most of the zone was met all at the Church (many of the walls surrounding it had fallen, so even though nobody had keys to the gate we could get within the property). With a slew of bread and water that we grabbed from our house we were at the Church missing only two elders from the zone, so we slept outside in the little patio for a few hours and then found some neighbors that had set up camp in the parking lot (complete with tents and campfire, home-made bread and so forth) One radio station was on and could broadcast for the first slew of days, so everyone was listening to that the most they could. It was very cold, but we were safe.
We then had church the next morning (only sacrament meeting) and were instructed to stay in the Chapel. Two of the other elders wanted to grab their 72 hourish kits, so two elders went with them back to their sector. On the way, they found the other two Elders and brought them over. Luckily the members are pure angels here in Chiguayante, as we were blessed with food rations to last the week. We stayed in the Church without water or light that night and then the next day (an ominous overcast, same as Sunday) the Assistants came by to make sure we were all okay and safe and then told us to hold tight. There's only so much you can do in a church with 12 Gringos and no power or water (or cell phone service), so we built ourselves some beds by taking the cushions from the pews. In our geniusness we turned two entire rooms into large beds.
The President of the mission came on Tuesday (right as the sun broke through the overcast) and we were told to continue holding tight, but doing what service we could in or small windows of time granted (by this time the ''Toque de Queda'' -literally touch of stay--military roaming the streets, everyone needs to be in their houses-- -had started, limiting us from noon to six) So we've all 12 been living in the Church this last week, getting water from nearby wells, using propane tanks and a camping stove for cooking, and the baptismal font for bathing. It hasn't been the most food we've eaten, but it certainly beat the little that we had in our house. We were literally saved by the donations of the members. Tuesday night power came back, and cell service came back wednesday in the day. By Wednesday the streets were safe so we went about helping pull water from wells and other bits of service that we could do. Water is slowly returning, there was a bit Thursday morning, but as the earthquake caused many pipe breakages, it's been on and off as they find the breaks (random founts of water coming from the sidewalk, etc.)
Saturday was a treat though. Elders Amado and Corbridge (Area Presidency and 70's) and Presidente Chavez and their wives came and talked with us (just us 12). Elder Corbridge talked about the need of giving up the natural man, that even though there isn't always the battle between good and evil in our minds and our decisions, there is ALWAYS the battle between what I want, and what The Lord wants. He said that even if we are perfectly obedient doing everything the Lord wants, if it still isn't our will, it isn't going to help us. The only way to win this battle is an unconditional surrender of our will to His. Very interesting. Elder Amado (President of Chile area) talked to us about Love, it being a decision that we make, and that we need to always remember exactly who we are now, who we represent, and make sure that we use our time wisely. Don't let time go to waste ever, even though we may have to be locked up inside for an extra 6 hours each day, we have to use it wisely. Very true.
We're going to be heading back to our houses soon, the Toque de Queda has been relaxed, so now we have from 10 in the morning to 9 at night to be out and about. I know that our house has power, not sure about water yet though. The Helping Hands has been organized and is now in effect, so gargantuan trucks have been arriving from the Church with loads of loads upon very large loads of food and supplies that almost all our ward and all the missionaries, many from the stake all helped unload for several hours. Apparently this will be going on all week, so we'll be spending much time there.

Well, I do also have to write about all the amazing things that happened the week before the earthquake, so I will be brief in that regard:
I learned that the same as in English we have our way of spanishatizing any word (Put 'El' in front of the word and then add an 'o' and the end - El stairso, El sandwicho, etc.) Spanish has its way of doing the same to englishify words, they cut off the last letter of the spanish word and add 'ation' to the end. Thus, when someone asks "How do you say car (auto) in English?" The joke answer is "autation." I found it amusing.
We made ourselves a dumbell using a large and thick reedbar from a junkyard and cement, pictures on the way, I forgot to bring it today :(.
Remember Diego, the 12 year old boy who wanted to get baptized but his inactive parents didn't want it? A miracle has happened there. We ran into his mom last friday in the street (before earthquake) and she said she wanted us to come by the house so that we could get Diego baptized, as well as her other son (10 years old). Apparently the dad had lost his job two months ago and they both in their meditating, etc, realized that they needed the Church. So the whole family has decided that they want to be reactivated after 8+ years of inactivity, get all the children baptized, and have goals to get sealed in the temple.
Later that day, a woman contacted us in the street, and told us that she was slightly upset that we hadn't passed by a certain area for a long time, and that she wants us to come by, because she likes how she feels when she listens to us teach, and that she wanted to understand more about baptism. Her name is Francis. We're going to swing by her house as soonly as we can.
I don't remember if I told you about Roberto, the boyfriend of a member that's interested, but he came to Chuch with her all by themselves, and he wants to get baptized. He prayed about Joseph Smith and said he felt great, excited, and a sense of love inside him from it.
Many other reports of progress of investigators, but as for now, I've already written a novel, so I'll leave it for next week.

The Church is True, God loves you, so do I.
Elder Kent Pimentel

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pres. Uchtdorf visits Berlin

President Uchtdorf came to Berlin and included a meeting with the missionaries of the Berlin Mission in his schedule. President Uchtdorf's family joined the Church as he was a young boy living in the city of Zwickau - in our mission - and then his family fled to the Frankfurt area before the iron curtain went up. It was a joyous homecoming. His wife and two children were with him.

Saturday morning, Feb. 20, was the big event our missionaries have been looking forward to for weeks. At 9:30 a.m. we all gathered in the chapel to take a photo of the whole mission. We were all waiting quietly for the arrival of President Uchtdorf, Elder and Sister Kopischke and Elder and Sister Teixeira. When they arrived in the foyer, I went to greet them and all of the missionaries rose to their feet. President Uchtdorf stopped in the center isle and all the missionaries were invited to file by and shake his hand and the hands of Elder Kopischke and Elder Teixeira. Elder Teixeira and Elder Kopischke then each spoke to the group and a quartet of Elders provided a musical number - it was very, very inspiring and that was even before I turned the time over to President Uchtdorf to speak to us.

President Uchtdorf, speaking in German, spoke of the sacred nature of the call of a mission president and his wife and of the revelation involved in such calls and in the call of each full time missionary. He encouraged us to read and study Preach My Gospel. Study chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel again and again and again and we will learn step by step by step. Trust in the Lord, never look down, and the Spirit will help us learn and teach in the German language. To have the Holy Ghost, always be worthy and keep the mission rules with exactness – each missionary gave his or her signature to the Prophet and we will receive help from the Holy Ghost. The scriptures teach that now is the time to baptize and bring the Gospel to the ends of the world. He told us to try to BE the best companion – don’t wait to GET the best. Hyrum Smith was an example of thus right up to the end of his life. It is not all about us – it is that we circle around Christ. It is not our power – it is the work, it is the zeal that Christ gives us. Try to see in every person a child of God. We are called here for a purpose.

At the end, he bestowed an apostolic blessing on all of us. We were blessed to find joy in the work, to see the hand of the Lord in our work and to feel the angels who are with you and protect you. We were blessed with power and our family at home will be blessed because as we are true and faithful.

Colleen and I were also invited to a special sunrise meeting the following day, Feb. 21, with President Uchtdorf and about 20 or so other Church leaders. It was for the dedication of the country of Germany to missionary work. President Uchtdorf gave a talk in the meeting and said that the Church History Department had determined that there had been no recorded dedicatory prayer for Germany and President Uchtdorf explained how historic the occasion is and how he had prepared himself. President Uchtdorf said that President Monson had specifically commissioned him to give this dedicatory prayer. After his talk, he pronounced the dedicatory prayer in English. In short, the dedicatory prayer dedicated the entire land of Germany for the preaching of the gospel and for establishing of the Church. The dedicatory prayer was recorded and will be written out and translated into German. We look forward to having a copy when it is completed.

All of the experiences over the weekend testified again and again that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. The true church is again on the earth and that this true church is led by the Prophet Thomas S. Monson. We also had it confirmed again that President Uchtdorf is an apostle, prophet, seer and revelator. It is a delight to serve here and to work to fulfill the promises of the newly-pronounced apostolic blessing on the missionaries and dedicatory prayer on the land - to preach the gospel in Germany and to further establish the Church in Germany.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm Getting Married!

It's official, I will soon be Cari Ann Enesa. My husband to be is Desmond Troy Enesa, aka Dez, born and raised right here in Hawaii. He's working construction full time as of now(if anyone knows of any jobs on the mainland in that field let us know!) We met back the first week of August at the BYUH gym (he had a class with one of my roommates who introduced us) It wasn't until my surfing accident (9 staples in my calf from my fin) that I had to let him help me because I was on crutches and useless which gave him the opening to show me how much he cared. Thats when the L word came into play. LOVE. Now we're making our plans to seal the eternal deal. We're not sure exactly when, but maybe the fall(september, right before my last semester at BYUH.) but who knows. I'll keep everyone posted! Much Love

-Cari Ann

Monday, February 22, 2010

From Kent 2/22

Cumpleaños Feliz!‏

¡Hola Familia!

Happy Breathday to the Yohanne! (dos días atrás, disculpeme)

Great to hear about the packed dance, that's fantastic! It's always great when lots of people come to things. That hasn't quite been the case with our English class, it's dwindled to a steady 6 people, but at least now we can judge their level and teach to their needs instead of just sticking with basics. Should be good stuff!

This last week we had Mission Conference and it was verily nice. It's always great to have the conference and hear from the Presidents, and to know of the things that we need to focus on now in the mission. There's no doubt of revelation every time we have conference. It's going to be very weird to be getting a new president come June/July. Word on the street is that he's Gringo (and just by looking, over the last five months the percentage of Latinos to Gringos in the mission has dramatically dropped to below 10%) It's very strange at times to just sit back, think, and realize that I am understanding perfectly a different language. I can't put a mark on when the change happened, but I'd say around 2 1/2 months in Chile it became natural.

The Stake President came down with something awful over the week, so we're postponing the baptism of Jean Pierre and Kevin until next week (Ay, the original plan was 31st of January, but things are progressing, better to have them ready and have strong support in the family than to baptize them without a sure foundation)

There's been a shift in pre-supposed roles with Francisca and her family. From what we heard with the other Elders, they'd worked more with Francisca and she was the one with the interest in Church and such, but Fabiola (Mother, inactive member) was wishy washy, didn't really like it and such. Since we've been meeting with them, Fabiola's been the one to work harder to get everyone coming to Church. We had a great lesson with her Saturday night in general about reading the Book of Mormon and going to Church. She said that she didn't really feel the desires to read the Book of Mormon etc., and she doesn't like going to Church because she feels uncomfortable and judged by the members (she hasn't gone forever, isn't married, etc.) We shared 1 Nefi 8: 33-34 (People in the Great and Spacious mocking those partaking of fruit, "but we heeded them not") and she really had a big change. She really liked it and just paused for a while, read it a couple more times and said "I like that." So the next morning she had gotten up earlier than usual, and although Francisca did NOT want to go to Church, she continued strong to punishment stage.

Note: The virtue of "nice" and "you don't want to force anyone" has been tremendously blasted and inflated here to the point that when children (albeit 7 or 8 years old) don't want to go to Church the parents say "Well, I don't want him to go if he doesn't want to" etc. I however believe strongly in yes, you do force your children to do what's right so that they CAN learn, so that they'll understand and so that they will have the desires to do it.

So this was very relieving to see her say "If you don't come you're grounded for the week and are staying in the house." When youth don't have strong support from the parents it's very difficult for them to stay active. Francisca also has a friend, Mirko, who is currently searching for the true Church of God, because he doesn't feel that it's any of the one's he's been to, so he related very well to the Joseph Smith story.

We were contacting out in booneysville (farthest corner of our sector) earlier this week in the rain and came across Natali. She's 25 or so, hasn't gone to her Evangelical crossbreed church for over a year and really liked what we had to share. It was a liiittle bit tricky explaining the need for authority and that it doesn't come from just everywhere or anywhere, but she did really like the idea of the restoration and that Prophets do exist today. It'll be slightly tricky getting her to Church just because she lives so far off, but she said that she wants to, we just need to get a nearby member involved to help out.

I felt the strange desire and curiosity to see how Edith was doing a few days ago. The last time it was raining, Elder Law and I contacted a random house, very far back and buried behind a yard in a backstreet and a 90-something year old lady came out of the house with an umbrella, almost falling over in the wind to talk with us, to tell us that she'd love to but she's alone right now. Touched by her selfless concern and politeness, we went back a few days later to find her daughter, Edith. Edith had been Church hunting for the past few years and found the Baptists and got baptized there three years ago and was telling us of the mighty change she had had, etc. In talking she came to the realization that the only Church she hadn't attended or investigated was The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She then told us, in the contact, that she was now curious, that she had come out with the intention to tell us no, but something was calling her attention to investigate a bit, to meet with us again and to read some of the Book of Mormon. She then left for a 2 week vacation with the plan to drop the Book of Mormon off with her daughter who's a member with a no thank you, but forgot. When we came by yesterday (one day after she got back, I had lost complete track of when the last time we had talked with her was) she invited us in, but before we taught anything she said that she probably wasn't going to change or anything because she was satisfied with her Church. Near the end of the lesson however, she remembered how she felt when we first came by and then told us that her original intention was to just tell us at the gate that she wasn't interested, but in seeing us got happy and excited and invited us in anyway. We explained that this was the Holy Ghost telling her to learn more and investigate, and she said it probably was because ours is the only Church she hasn't looked at, and she hasn't had these strange desires to read and learn more. Despite that she looks 40, she turned 60 over the weekend, so it's a bit surprising that she has so much open-mindedness because most people after 30 or 40 trust highly in their "experience." So we'll be passing by her more often.

We've a lesson with Yasna tonight, turns out she has been reading and praying every day, just has been work swamped, but in having shared some pictures with a work friend has really wanted to start meeting with us again and going to Church, because her friend is now meeting with the missionaries. We'll have to review everything I think just because it's been two months, but she's great. These last few weeks we've learned the virtue of getting everyone's phone number and calling them, even though we have to do it from the money-hungry pay phones.

Take luck, loves ya loves ya!

Elder Kent Pimentel

(Description of photos)
Marcela's stay here in Chiguayante came to an end, so we passed the reference off to the mission where she lives and she has strong desires to keep attending curch and meeting with the missionaries. :)

It's been extremely foggy in the mornings, and we looked up today and saw the sun perfectly, a white circle in the sky but with so much fog you could stare straight at it without any pain or discomfort. Didn't work so well in the picture, but still very neat.