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
Elder Kent Pimentel