Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 2, 2013 Surprises and Joys

Happy Labor day to all!  I hope you are thoroughly enjoying Grand Lake! 

This has been a pretty wonderful week - as all weeks here are.  I officially completed 5 months in the mission.  As Sister Mora recently learned how to say ¨Wha da ayck?¨ (What the heck)  I seriously almost started crying yesterday when I realized how fast the time flies.  How can this be possible?  I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO AND SO LITTLE TIME!  I guess it´s the same in real life too.  Granted, this is real life, isn´t it.
Cool experiences:
1. Last week we were headed toward an appointment when two little girls ran up to us and gave us fresh picked flowers that they had found.  Their mom came up and  we began talking.  She said we could come by some other day.  A few days later we passed by and she let us in.  Turned out that her family had been taught by the missionaries many years ago when she was little, that nobody had been baptized , but that it remained in her memory as the only church in which she felt happy and peaceful and comfortable.  We taught the Restoration.  After, we extended the invitation  to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Sister Mora asked Victoria, what she will  do when she receives her answer. She said, "Well, I´d really like to be part of your church.¨ We were like ¨Welpt.  We can help ya there!"
2. For quite some time we have been paying visits to an elderly woman who has a  bedridden husband  and very close to death.  We´ve never really taught her because she always just wants us to pray and sing to him.  We figured it was best to just let the husband die first (I know that sounds terrible... but she had been waiting a long time and was absolutely exhausted from taking care of him 24/7) and then begin to teach her. 

 As we were heading to our lunch appointment on Thursday, we passed the giant Catholic church in our neighborhood.  All of a sudden we heard ¨Chiquillas! Esperen chiquillas!¨ Everybody calls us chiquillas by the way. We turned around to see the daughter of Oreana (the elderly lady) chasing after us.  She told us that her father had passed away the night before and invited us to attend the funeral later that day.  It was sort of an open house funeral.  You walk in, sit down, pay your respects, and walk out.  When we walked in, I was a little shocked to see... not very much respect.  Everybody was in sweats and talking loudly and it just wasn´t very... respectful!  Not wanting to step on anybody´s toes... especially not in a different church, we asked Oreana if we could sing a song.  We sangHasta Ver (God Be With You Till We Meet Again).  It. Was. UNBELIEVABLE.  My companion and I sing hymns in lessons  about a million times a day.  But this time was like nothing I´ve ever experienced.  Absolutely beautiful.  It felt like the room was filled with angels, which of course, it was.  And they were all singing  with us, which of course, they were.  Then she asked if I could say a prayer.  I felt a little uncomfortable at first, because, again, I didn´t want to step on anybody´s toes, but wow. The words that came out of my mouth were most definitely not my own.  It was honestly all just so beautiful.  When we left, my companion and I were so filled with warmth we were literally sweating.  It was a freezing cold day and everyone kept telling us to put on our jackets and we were like umm... no thanks we´re burning hot.
3.  We are teaching this one family that has been having problems with fulfilling their commitments with the exception of their youngest son Darsiel.  Jessica is officially destined to marry Darsiel.  He is 14 and the neatest darn kid I´ve ever met.  Even though his family doesn´t read or pray or go to church, he does it all.  Yesterday at church I asked him how he was and he said that the night before they had had a HUGE party - 60 or 70 people- and that EVERYBODY had been drunk.  He said he refuses to ever participate in such nonsense and that he was so frustrated with his family for being so foolish.

 We love him.
  And Happy Anniversary mom and dad!  I hope it was the best one ever!  I´ve been thinking a whole lot about true love this week and how the truest of love is shown to us in the atonement of Jesus Christ.  Charity is the pure love of Christ, but such charity requires action, just as does faith.  If we truly love someone or something we are willing to DO anything for him/her/it.  Love is more of an action than a feeling.  Or perhaps a feeling upon which we act. 

As a missionary I´m supposed to be an instrument in God´s hands to let others feel the love that He has for them.  I have been working so hard on loving EVERYBODY.  Sometimes it´s difficult when the person you want to love tells you you´re going to burn in hell and that you´re dragging down people with you.  But I´m trying to love them too.

Fernando.  Our golden Peruvian investigator.  Let us down.  Hard.  Yesterday he was unable to go to church because of a work conflict.  Which we were fine with, because there is a WONDERFUL WONDERFUL law here in Chile that does not allow people to work more than 2 Sundays every month so that they can go to church.  So we went to visit him last night to teach him a little and fill him in on what he missed (he loves the classes).  Turns out he had been drinking.  Also turns out he´s not sure if he wants to be baptized.  We were devastated. We began to pray in our hearts and let the Spirit guide us.  In the end we were all tearing up and the Spirit was so strong.  Still not sure if he will be baptized.  But we know that we have done our part.  We showed him love in its truest form and that he can feel more and more of that love through the healing power of the atonement.  Fernando knows that this is the Church of Jesus Christ.  He knows what he needs to do, and he knows that the Lord loves him in a way that is indescribable.  Will he be willing to submit himself humbly to the will of the Lord and leave his past behind?  I guess you´ll find out next week!
I love when dad talks about the disciplinary councils filled with love and peace.  That´s honestly how we felt yesterday.  We truly felt the love of God pouring from our hearts to testify to Fernando.
Sometimes, as missionaries, God allows us to feel a little teensey weensey bit how He feels about His beloved children.  But it´s the same in all callings. Mothers and fathers feel it with their own children.  Wives with their husbands.  Husbands with their wives.  Etc. etc. etc. So thanks mom and dad for being such a wonderful example to your children of true love.  Showing us charity, the pure love of Christ, and how, when a home is built upon the rock of Christ, it will not fail.

Not sure if all of that made sense.  I have a whole bunch of thoughts in my head, but anyway.  I´m just grateful  for your patience with one another and with us and with the world and for teaching us through your example how we can best exemplify Christ and be lights unto the world.

Mara answered some of the  questions I asked her in my letter- 

 1.  What is the weather like? The weather is scorching hot some days and absolutely freezing others.  I guess September is always really windy, and we´re beginning to see that already.
 2.  Are you eating with members often or do you cook for yourselves? We are now eating every day except Monday with members and for free!  Woohoo!  Before, some members made us lunch but charged us because they had to do it every week.  When we do have to cook, we usually make rice with vegetables and eggs or spaghetti or something like that.
3.  What is church like?  Do you teach Gospel Essentials? We usually get to church in time to participate in mad chaos.  We are constantly running around helping investigators and less actives and greeting members.  (If only every missionary throughout the world had the opportunity  to experience the "mad chaos" Mara describes!! Isn't that what every missionary prays for?)The thing here is that if you don´t greet every single person with a kiss, you´re super rude.  So that´s difficult when you´re frantically sprinting around trying to help everybody and everybody insists that you stop and kiss them.  Yesterday I taught Gospel Essentials.  We have it every week.
4.  Do you have pianos in your buildings? Do you ever get to play? There are electric pianos in every building and I have played in every meeting that I have attended since I arrived here.  It´s getting relatively old, but the people just LOVE it... so I keep doing it.  (All those years of piano lessons were worth it just for that statement.) 

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