Monday, September 27, 2010

September 27 update

It sounds like Chile is still recovering from the massive bicentennial celebration last weekend.  The wards and branches in Talagante had their celebration this Saturday.  Matt commented on this photo — it's a law in Chile to have a flag up on the 18th

There were a couple of food themes in today's email and photos.  Last Tuesday for an activity, a group of missionaries visited a city called Pomaire, which is known as a craft and pottery destination.  Matt said everything was very expensive, since it caters to foreign tourists.  They are also known for very large empanadas (meat pastries).  Matt commented,
i tried to buy one but when i went there they lied. they said that had an empenada that weighed a kilo but it wasn´t even like 1/5 of a kilo. just a LITTLE bigger than the normal ones haha
Here's the evidence.  He wrote — an empanada in Poimaire, not as big as i thought. note my disappointment

He was also eager to show us these photos of making pizza at a member's home.  It looks like the missionaries are getting enough to eat!

This was a nice little story:
On the 23, that was thursday, we were in a conference with President King and the assistants. haha President King was talking about the Book of Mormon and how Dan Jones taught with it (see the first page in Preach My Gospel at the picture on the top) and right as he held up the Book of Mormon there was a... little earthquake. haha (temblor) and the whole chapel shook. not hard but a little. hahaha and everyone started laughing. and made the joke of the power of the Book of Mormon. haha it was hilarious! but i know that it really does have power haha :D
In support of that message, he sent this photo with the caption my message to all of chile. haha :D the Book of Mormon hahaha :D

Or there is this alternative, titled making my mark on chile haha just kidding.

He was on "divisions" and had an experience that isn't very common in Chile:
this was in El Monte with elder Guzman. ridin on bikes haha kinda different from Santiago.

And finally, one last photo.  We're guessing based on the caption that the huge flag is probably a present he bought for himself.  The display of socks is probably a special effect to impress his Mom.
companionship study with a "present i got haha"

 We sure miss this guy!!  But we're glad he's working hard and having such a unique experience.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September 21 update

Matt let us know at the last minute last week that P-day would be a day late this week  In true Spanish construct, Matt described the anniversary as
Chile completed 200 years
We showed our solidarity by flying the Chilean flag at our home on Saturday September 18!  But apparently Chile's Bicentennial Independence Day celebration lasted four days in the country, Friday through Monday; so all the stores were closed on Monday.  They would not have been able to shop or find computers to use, so P-day was postponed until Tuesday
needless to say it'll just mess me up because i always think it's a day earlier than it really is. haha
Same for your parents, Elder!  We managed to endure an additional day waiting to hear from him.

Of course, the holiday celebrations were pretty disruptive to normal missionary activities.  He promised to send more photos and details next week (limited time today), but he did comment:
yeah EVERYONE was gone or had family so was busy. it was just about a week of walking around trying to clean the SIMI (list of members) because people would at least answer the question "does this person live here?" so that was ok. but also we passed by for some members to see how they were doing. haha we've been eating LOTS of meat. haha empenadas and everything. and today we'll be going to Pomaire which is like a tourist center so hopefully we'll get to see alot of stuff :D
Pomaire sounds like an interesting place to visit.  It's about half an hour away from his current city.  Here's a description we found: click here

He did report a little on Maria:
with maria yes :D she's progressing amazingly :D she's having some trials but she's AMAZING in enduring to the end. her kids were out of town this past week to visit their dad (maria is seperated) but they'll be coming back today in the afternoon. :D Maria's personality is amazing though. she told us (after telling her about it) that she's really excited for General Conference :D we promised her that if she prayed with faith, she would be able to receive answers to whatever kind of question she has :D
We asked if the members were helping support their efforts in fellowshipping Maria:
yeah. the rule about us going into a house without a guy older than 16 is being re-inforced in our mission. so we've kind of had to bring members, it's helped to have a member there but it's so hard to get some men there because they all work but it's been good. also she lives really close to several members so that's helped :D
This was also an interesting response.  Matt has never said anything negative about his companions.  But we asked which of all his companions has had the most positive influence on him as a person:
all of them. all of my companions from disobedient and strict, to chill and stressed, have all helped me learn ALOT! so far the companions that i had the hardest time with i learned the most from. :D
Very interesting response!  We look forward to learning more details, probably after he comes home.

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13 update

It is astonishing to us to think that Matthew has finished 3/4 of his mission!  Eighteen months down, only six to go.  When we sent him a copy of this graphic and asked only, "Does this picture mean anything to you?  How does it make you feel??  (FYI, it SHOCKS us!!)" — this was his response, in large bold underlined letters:
I guess maybe we are.

Last week's best investigator report was a woman named Maria and her children. This is the update this week:
Maria has been trying so hard to do her best. read and pray and everything. but Satan is really makin it difficult, but she's still fightin :D she didn't come to church though. her son, the night before got a temperature of 102 so they left to the hospital and couldn't go to church. but they're still working hard. we recently taught the word of wisdom and Maria said,"wow this is so true. i've got to work on this." so hopeully she keeps going :D
Her daughter Jocelyn (and Jocelyn's friend Valentina) is 18 and son Francisco is 13.  As for any additional progress:
a couple new investigators but still seeing if they'll keep progressing. haha inactives. we passed by but most weren't home. we changed houses on wednesday so we've been painting and stuff. i've done my best to take before and after pictures but i don't have my camera with me but i should have lots of pictures next week. especially with the 18 de Septiembre coming up (the 4th of July for chile. and they´re completing 200 years, so it´ll be crazy. haha)
This Saturday is the Chilean Bicentennial.  That will indeed be an interesting time for the missionaries to witness!  Probably pretty distracting for their work...

We asked about the challenges that take people away from the Church in Chile.  This was an interesting response:
well we´ve noticed that wards are just like the Book of Mormon. they´re obedient, then they get a little prideful, then they have problems, are humble, repent and then they´re obedient again. so really lots of members leave in that prideful/problem time. kinda crazy. but that´s really been the problem.
Much of the rest of the week was the distraction of moving to a new apartment, and all the cleaning, painting, fixing up, etc.  We'll be eager to learn more about their "pension" next week!

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 6 update

Our communication with Elder Kenison was a little limited this week, since we are in England and didn't have as much Internet access as we would like.  But we were grateful to receive some responses.

In a previous message, he told us he and Elder Carvajal are working very hard.  We asked what kinds of things he has seen that are done differently by missionaries who work hard and missionaries who don't.  This was the response:
really their attitude. in a group it's hard to see who is a good missionary and who isn't. but for example if you see the missionaries and how they change you can tell. so really i've learned that baptisms don't show a good missionary. really to tell if someone was or is a good missionary just look at who they were and who they are. that'll tell ya. but as for Elder Carvajal. haha he's just a straight up stud. haha i'm so glad he's my companion haha
The rest of his email was sharing this wonderful story of working with an investigator family:
For the work here in Esmeralda, at the beginning it was really hard. The investigators that we have aren't really progressing. One of the investigators that was progressing said that she didn't want us to pass by anymore, we told her thanks for her time and left. We contacted lots of people but have had a hard time finding them again.

Elder Carvajal and I prayed and fasted that someone would open their doors and accept the message that we have to share.  On Saturday we got a reference from a member and we passed by to see them. The Mom, Maria, immediately became interested. Her kids, Jocelyn, a friend Valentina (who is practically a member of the family), and Francisco also became really interested.

After talking for a little Maria, and the family in general started to open up a bit. Maria told of the struggle of being a single parent trying to support her family of 4 kids. We found out that one of her kids is going through the stage where they're having a hard time. We told Maria that the message we have to share would be able to help.

When we started to talk about The Book of Mormon and baptism. When we mentioned baptism Maria looked at us and said "I’ve never been baptized, and neither have my kids, what do we have to do to be baptized?" each one of the kids looked at us, as if each one of them had the same question. Surprised by what we just heard my companion and I looked at each other. Then we told her that they needed to pray and read the scriptures to know about it. Afterwards we invited them to church.

We had asked the member who gave us the reference to pass by for Maria and her family to take them to church. At church they didn't come. We asked the member, Hermana Betty, and she said that she had passed by and no one was home.

We passed by after church and Maria told us that she had slept in. she said she felt really bad that she didn't go, and it was obvious that she was telling the truth. We asked if we could pass by later that same day, Sunday, and asked her if it would be ok if Hermana Betty came with us. She said that that would be fine. We passed by later and talked again with the whole family. We found out that Maria had read the chapter we gave them the day before. We asked if she would like to hear about the story of the Book of Mormon and why we have it. She said she would so we started to share the lesson of The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When we got to the part about the life of Jesus Christ my companion started to talk about baptism. He mentioned why we need to get baptized. He told them plainly that WITHOUT baptism we CANNOT live with God. We then talked about the Holy Ghost and how he can bring the peace that they're looking for. We asked them how they felt right then. Valentina (the daughter's best friend) said, is like... umm... uh I can't explain it. We read the scripture in Galatians 5:22-23 about the fruits of the spirit and asked them if they could feel any of those things right then, (love, joy, peace... etc...) right then Valentina (the daughters’ best friend, pretty much her sister) said "YES that is how I would describe it!" Maria looked at us and said "I don't want this feeling to leave. I want to always feel like this." we told her that that feeling is the Holy Ghost and if she is baptized she can receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost and have that feeling with her all of the time.

We then extended the invitation of being baptized. Because it was only the second time we've talked with them (not to mention the second day we've known them) we asked them if they would be baptized on the 2 of October. Maria immediately said 'yes' and one by one each of the kids, Valentina included. The spirit at that time was SO strong. I can't remember a time in my life that I’ve felt it so strong. We took the time to tell the entire family that God knows that this path will bring happiness and joy but Satan also knows that and he doesn't want them to be happy. He wants them to be "miserable like unto himself". We let them know that they can always pray and read the scriptures for help. Or go a couple of houses down and ask Hermana Betty for help. Or even call us.

At the end of the appointment we asked Maria to say the prayer. It was the first time she's prayed but you couldn't tell. For all of us she said Thanks for this moment. And then while pausing prayed sincerely for help to be able to be baptized. That she could do the things that she needs to keep going. By the end of the prayer she was crying, along with everyone in the room.

I now understand the words of Alma. "And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me." I know that that is true. The joy that I felt yesterday I can't explain with words. But I know that if I keep doing by best. because I know that I can do better. A little better every day, I'll be able to have more experiences like that.
¡¡¡LLEVEMOS LAS!!! (meaning "bring them" in response the other people say "al cordero" so really it means "Bring them, to the shepard" a phrase that President King has always said. haha he yells "Llevemos las" and we yell "Al Cordero")