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