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