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