Friday, August 30, 2013

August 26, 2013

The over the shoulder bag has been implemented here in the mission also, but the president said that the older missionaries can just keep using their backpacks. The newer missionaries and all the ones that are coming in have to make the switch. So... with having just 2 months left, I kind of fit into that older missionary group.

That's good you guys are having the missionaries over - it's nice for them to be able to eat over. When I get back I'll be able to meet them and see what's up there.

I told Garrett to get in contact with you guys... and now I'll tell you guys to get in contact with Garrett.

I miss the temple :(

As far as my reading goes I started the Book of Mormon again on Tuesday and am in 2 Nephi: 26. I changed my goal to be finishing by the 22 of September instead of before I leave, but you guys should still try and finish by the time I get home. Both of you.

I don't have any flight info yet, but I assume I should be getting it soon.
I love you,

Audio summary...
It's Monday, August 26th and it's Elder Gillespie's sister's birthday!

Elder Gillespie's been chatting  it up so much with the sister missionaries on the phone this week we ran out of minutes. He nas actually been doing his District Leader duties but we did run out and don't get minutes on our cell phone until the end of the week so we can't call anyone - it's kind of nice actually.

Last Tuesday Elder Gillespie had his District Leader meeting and all the Mission Office people (4), plus the 2 Assistants as well President and Sister Dalton showed up at the church here. We thought they were all going to be hanging out in our District for awhile, but the President was in the meeting for about 1/2 hour and that was about it.

Later on Tuesday we went to Lorenza's house - she had her date to get baptized on Saturday, but she was feeling really sick. Her son said if she feels sick we can't do the baptism because she's 89 and if she's sick that wouldn't be good. That was a drag, but I could kind of see where he was coming from, but I said "Here's what we can do... we can give your mother a blessing." Lorenza is awesome. She is a fantastic women... she has so much faith. She's like a big ball of faith in Jesus Christ. She got totally better, like there had been nothing wrong with her. She probably could have run a marathon. I was amazed! I was like... the church is true!

On Wednesday we had our zone conference and Elder Francisco Zinas from the 1st quorum of the Seventy (he's been there for about 16 years) was there to speak to us. He was amazing, I couldn't believe it. Sister and President Dalton spoke briefly and then Elder Zinas spoke and I was riveted the whole time. His way of speaking is amazing - I don't think I can really explain it. He used the scriptures as part of his normal speaking - you didn't even notice there was scriptures sometimes and then you'd recognize it because you'd read it so many times or had memorized it. It was like he weaved the scripture right into what he was saying. It really was amazing... and I realize I need to study more. One of the missionaries asked him how much he studied. He said if he didn't have much time, he'd study for 1/2 hour a day, but other times he'll study for an hour or two. Then he said sometimes he studies in his head because he has so many scriptures memorized. He also said he just loves the language of the scriptures so much so he tries to use it as much as he can. That was super cool. I was super impressed with that.

One thing that Elder Vinas explained to us that we thought was cool was about the pre-earth life, earth life and the spirit world that comes after. For us, we're sad when someone dies in their earth life, but in the spirit world they're all happy because they're going to a better place, which we know. But something we don't really think about as much is that when babies are born, we're all happy here, but in the pre-earth life they're sad because that spirit just left to come to earth. They're sad because they've left, but happy because they've come to earth to get their body. It's similar to the feelings we have when people die here on earth. It makes sense but we don't really think about that much. There are also 3 points in our lives when we don't have agency - when we're born, when we die and when we're resurrected. We can't affect these things. I guess if you chose to follow Satan in the Great War in Heaven you wouldn't go through those, but that's a whole different can of worms.

He spoke a bit in support of the changes that President Dalton has made since President Bruce left and backed them up with scriptures. He basically said there's no being a Bruce missionary, or even a Dalton missionary. We are missionaries of Jesus Christ which I have to agree with.

We did service on Friday - the same lady where we cut the trees down. This lady is smart - she looks at things that she needs done that she can't do herself and asks the missionaries to do it... and we want to. We went there and cleaned her windows. I don't know why people don't ask the missionaries to do more stuff for them. It's a nice change from our routine, especially in the mornings when it's hard to make appointments here, and it helps people out.

This morning before we got back to the Pension, we were doing Jeopardy with the other missionaries - the super hard Jeopardy Elder Gillespie and I prepared for the missionaries. The Elders actually seemed to like it better than the Sisters - not really sure why, but it went over really well. Here were some of our questions - How many animals were sacrificed during the dedication of the tabernacle? Where was Abraham buried? In which mountain did Soloman build the temple? etc. Our final question was ridiculous - it was a math question based on the Nephite currency talked about in Alma. It was super fun. The elders said it was one of the funnest activities they've had, eventhough it made the brain hurt. It made my brain hurt finding the questions too, so I'm not surprised. 

One day this week we went to see Patricio (Patrick) Pinto - he's a convert of about 1 1/2 years. He's a lawyer here in Copiapo and somewhat famous. He's the lawyer of the local Senator. Everything the guy wants to do in the whole region, he passes by Patricio Pinto to make sure it's all good. This guy is legit! So, he said we could go by his office, or wait and go by his house. We really wanted to see his office and what it was like so we went by there to share a message with him. He's pretty famous though. Most people will know who he is if you say his name - it's crazy. He's pretty big stuff here, especially among lawyers.

We had Lorenza's baptism because after her blessing she was perfectly fine for 5 days and was super champion Lorenza. We helped her get in the water because she's not super stable. Good for 89 years old, but we wanted to be sure. We were both in the water because she requested that. Elder Gillespsie said the prayer and when we went to lower her into the water she looked uncomfortable like she felt unstable, so I just said whoa, slow down, don't let go of her hand and we'll do it when she's ready. Then I put my hands on her back so I think she felt a lot more stable and then she baptized like a champ! That's all I can say... she was a champ. I was so impressed! She's really cool. She actually said to us later that she didn't want to come out - she wished we'd held her under a bit longer. But, we didn't want to drown Jocelyn's grandmother. That probably wouldn't have gone over very well. 

After the baptism, kind of a funny thing happened. We forgot to turn off the water. Normally that wouldn't really be a problem, but in this font the tap is on the side where the door in only one way out of the font. There's no handle from the other side, just the lock and it feels like you'll break the key if you reef on it too much. So the taps were across the water. We'd pulled the plug and it was emptying, but it was filling at about the same rate. We couldn't stop the water from the main valve because it was corroded with mineral deposits. We had a few ideas - put our wet clothes back on, have our popita walk across the water like Peter, throw the keys in such a way that the key magically entered the keyhole, turned and opened (Elder Gillespie didn't think that would work - he didn't have enough faith). What I ended up doing was leaving my dry dress clothes on, grabbed some large-ish plastic bags (about 3 feet tall) from the kitchen, put one on each leg and I walked across the font. It was really close, but I got to the other side and turned off the water, opened the other door and walked through. Our popito even recorded it - I suspect he thought I might not be successful.

We went to the house of the family Solar. His wife was going to get a surgery on her eye so we gave her a blessing. She got back yesterday. He went and picked her up and she wanted to come to church but she was wearing jeans so they didn't come. We told them they just should have gone. Just go to church and take the sacrament.

Also, I learned how to play the right hand of Nearer My God to Me on the piano. It's not that hard, but I'm happy I learned it. I also learned Sweet Hour of Prayer the other week.

Lots of stuff this week. I love you guys, talk to you next week.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August 19, 2013

I think this will be a bit of a short recording, but here goes! I don't know if I told you, but last Monday we didn't have any water in the Pension and that carried into Tuesday. On Tuesday we had to wash our hair but we only had 1.5 L juice bottles filled with water from when the sister missionaries were here so we had to wash our hair and shave with water from a bottle. It wasn't too bad... a little annoying... but I can honestly say I've never washed my hair with so little water. It was quite impressive.

This week we had a Family Home Evening with one family. The lady has been a member since last October - she invited her eldest daughter and her boyfriend, her 2 youngest daughters and then we were there. She also has a son but he wasn't home. They're all members except the boyfriend although the eldest daughter isn't active and not very keen on the church so we shared a lesson that wasn't too serious, but meaningful. Then we played a game - it was just a fun evening. I'm not sure what to say about it, but it was really fun. I really enjoyed it.

On Saturday we went to one of the member's homes - Armano Guillermo. We are trying to prepare a Jeopardy game for the missionaries that is quite hard, with random facts from the Bible and stuff that most people wouldn't know, but would probably have to look up. So we took the game to his house to see what he thought and test out our questions. He got almost all of them - 20 out of 23! Lots of these I wouldn't have a clue and he got most of them... I was amazed! There were questions like... Where was Abraham buried? What was his grandfather's name? Where did Soloman build the temple? He got most of them. He said it was because he was a Sunday School teacher for about 5 years. If that's the case, I want to be a Sunday School teacher for 5 years. I would love that. After that we ate with Guillermo which was really  ood.

On Sunday we ate with President Castio whose the 1st or 2nd counselor in the Stake Presidency along with his wife and some other guy. We ate burritos and I ate about 6. I'm not kidding, I ate so much food because it was so good. Hmmmm....

Throughout the week we've been working with Lorenza, Jocelyn's grandmother and we put a baptismal date with her. So, this Saturday she's going to get baptized and we're so happy. Also, her son had a dream, which seems to be quite common here. He dreamed he was sitting on a beach and saw a row boat coming with 2 people in it and they came ashore. They walked over and said hello and then said, Hey, what are those on the ground?" Some explanation... in Spanish there are 2 words for fish - 1 means a fish that are swimming in the ocean and the other is a fish that is caught and is dead. So he said those are live fish, but the people said no, those are dead fish. Then they said we don't talk about the Past, we talk about the Present and the Future. Then he woke up and that was his dream. Then he said he couldn't get back to sleep and was just sitting in his bed and couldn't sleep anymore. Then he started thinking and what came to his mind was about prophets and that they don't really speak about the past, they speak about the Present and the Future. So, if I'm so willing to believe there were prophets in the past, why can't I believe that there are prophets now and will be in the future. What a fantastic thought! So, now he believes in the Book of Mormon and he believes about Joseph Smith and he said next week he's going to go to church. What an amazing experience from such a simple thing! That's what happened.

On an unrelated note, I figured out Abraham was born about 2001 BC - that's an interesting side note for you.

I've run out of things to say so I'll wrap this up. I'll talk to you in a week.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

August 12, 2013

Today we went to the church for an activity for P Day and it wasn't soccer... we played card games and ping pong. We also tossed the football around - was fun. Toward the end Elder Cabarera and I stood across the gym and threw a tennis ball at each other as hard as we could - I didn't hit him once. I'm losing my dodgeball skills. I got hit 3 times, but Elder Cabarera doesn't throw that hard so it wasn't that bad - no bruises. I think if I'd have hit him it really would have hurt so perhaps it was best I didn't. Fun missionary stuff!

Last Tuesday we had a zone meeting - a bit different than what we were doing because President Dalton is changing things up. Every month the zone leaders go to a zone leader conference to meet with the President and see what his focus is and what he wants to see happen. So the Tuesday after this council, the zone leaders come back and report to everyone on what was covered. There are a lot of rule changes, or more so a renewed focus on rules that have always existed. The meeting was 2 1/2 hours, but it dragged on a bit after the first hour or so.

This week we decided we were going to make a change with how we do our contacting. It worked really well the first day, but not so much after. We did find a couple new people so that was good.

Every Saturday we're supposed to meet with our Ward Mission Leader at 11am. This week we came a bit early and played the piano and I learned to play Sweet Hour of Prayer. Just with one hand, but I can play it. I know how to play Sweet Hour of Prayer! It really wasn't that hard. I honestly think video games made my hands more agile for playing the piano - you may dispute that, but I think it's true.

The Solar family didn't go to church this week, but there was a very specific and odd reason. There is a lady that works for them, worked her shift and all was good. At the end of her shift she left and went home, but on her way home she fell over and broke her arm. Obviously that was very unfortunate, but the odd thing was that Solar's, as her employer, are responsible for her. That's just so dumb - she wasn't doing anything work related or even near work at the time. I don't understand some of these Chilean laws. It was kind of funny when we were there, but not really. They've had a pretty challenging week since attending church last week for the first time in a long time. The lost one or two big clients at work, their car broke down, their employee's broken arm, his phone broke, and their oldest son is being a bit rebellious. But... they are planning to come back to church this coming week.

An interesting thing about one of the less actives we visit named Rodrigues. He's a super cool guy and we both really like him, the problem is he just doesn't go to church. However, since we've been going to see him more, he's started to read the Book of Mormon. He's reading in both Spanish and English so we're really happy about that. He even had a question, which is awesome. I love questions - this is good for you guys and everyone in general. If you're having the missionaries over for supper, have a question in mind to ask them. It's good for you to think about things and it also gives them a good lead for their message. If you don't have any questions, start reading the Book of Mormon again. If you're reading and don't have questions, think about searching the scriptures more than just reading.

This week we went to Jocelyn's house with members, because we're doing a real push for member present lessons. The first time we took Hubert. He's the one I mentioned before who is a great guy. He has a learning disability of some sort and struggles a bit in social situations so he didn't really connect, but he really likes to go out to do visits and we needed someone so it worked out really good for us. The second time Armana Campos (Armana with an 'a' is Sister and Armano with an 'o' at the end is Brother - generally that's how they indicate gender). We thought we'd teach about some Family History, but that fell a bit flat.

This Sunday we gave talks - mine was really long. I felt a little bit bad. Also, Lorensa, Jocelyn's grandmother stayed for Relief Society for the first time and she said she liked it, so that was really good.

That's what happened this week. Talk to you later.

Friday, August 9, 2013

August 5, 2013

That is good that dad is getting chucked into his calling quickly instead of waiting. It's also good that he could use his experience as ward mission leader to help with teaching his class.

It has actually warmed up quite a bit here since it rained so we are not having to wear jackets as much in the night time like we had to before. This is kind of nice as the night is the perfect temperature right now, but it will suck when it starts heating up a lot again.

I am glad to hear that you guys had a good time with Blaine and Maxine at the movies. It's usually quite an experience/adventure to go out with them.

Love you Guys,

Audio summary...
Ola! This is end of the first week of the 2nd transfer with Elder Gillespie. Because we didn't get transferred last week we had to stay in the Pension, but there were other Elders who came to stay with us because we have 2 extra beds. They came at 3am when we were sleeping. They turned on the light... jumped on my bed... woke me up from my sleep... fun missionary stuff!

This week we went to see one less active family - the Solars. They bought a new fridge so we went to help them install in which was pretty fun. We had to slide it down the hallway to the kitchen, then we had to figure out how to take the doors off because the fridge was too wide to get through. We did that, got the fridge in the kitchen, put the doors back on and then got it running. It was fun... I love doing stuff like that... figuring things out and getting it done.

Elder Gillespie's birthday was on Friday. We went to Jocelyn's house (1 of the 2 Jocelyn's) - she is a recent convert and she gave Elder Gillespie some cologne and her grandmother gave me a chocolate bar. I'm not sure why, maybe just because I didn't get anything, but I was pretty happy because I like chocolate.

This is the same Jocelyn who has her random emotional days. We figured out that it always seems to happen on Tuesday, so we're not going to go there on Tuesday. This week we went on Wednesday and there was no problems. We had a really good lesson.

The popitos, the people we eat with, had some questions about the second coming - what it's going to be like, what will happen before, etc. We answered their questions which was pretty cool. I was able to share quite a bit of the stuff that I have been reading in the Old Testament. I think I was able to open the eyes of their young son who is about 13 years old. Elder Gillespie said he was listening, wide eyed. The war before the second coming will be pretty crazy!

This week we made salad at the Pension, including some turkey because we couldn't find chicken. The salads we made were so big I had to use a pot because we didn't have a bowl that was large enough. I just ate salad out of a pot. Elder Gillespie was laughing at me - it was pretty funny! We made salad twice and it was really good.

We were at the church this Friday and were changing/organizing the "seemi" (ward list) so it was easier to work with to help out the ward. They don't have a secretary so they needed some help. While we were doing that we got a call from the zone leader and there were some changes in the rules from the new mission president. One was basic - under President Bruce we only had 1 hour in the evening to do eat, plan and get ready for bed. Apparently it is supposed to be 1 1/2 hours so that's really nice because we're not as rushed and we can plan better. The second change was a lot bigger. There's a the rule that says you can't visit women alone unless you have another adult male present. Under President Bruce that rule wasn't enforced. He said don't do anything stupid, but we could teach them on our own so that's what we'd been doing. Now, under President Dalton, we had to take someone with us to visit women - it will be more work because the wards aren't used to that, we aren't used to that, but we think it will be fantastic. Now that we're forced to, it could be a lot better as it will force us to have the members involved. This is what we've always wanted, but when it wasn't required and easier not to do it, it typically didn't happen. It will require better relationships with the members, more effort by the ward mission leader, more work on our part, but it will be fantastic. We're really excited! It sounds like there will be some other changes coming down, but less significant. 

With this recent change, we went to a couple lessons this week with a lady in the ward whose a recent convert and had a member present. It was awesome - we walked in and they started talking. We didn't have to worry about small talk or anything, we listened then asked to have a prayer and shared a message and some scriptures. She also asked questions - she always has lots of questions which is good and then we wrapped it up. The guy we took was a return missionary and very knowledgeable and knows what to talk about, sometimes more than we do in some situations, possibly.  It was good for us and she seemed content. I loved it.

On Saturday there was a ward baptism. It was from us, but it was pretty well done. We ended up doing a lot of it so we need to make some changes there because that's not how it should be, but it was good.

We had 123 people in church this week. The most I'd seen before that was about 96. It was awesome. The church was almost full! There were a lot of people there that hadn't been before. The family Solar that we had a lesson with - he's a return missionary and she was baptized when she was young but they've been less active. But, they know what's going on in the church and they have a lot of knowledge. It seems the most effective way of dealing with them is to go in and rebuke them. I've tried other ways, being all warm and cuddly, but it doesn't work. You have to give them a bit of a wake up call, make them feel a bit of guilt and help them feel the spirit again because that's what makes them go back to church. They work a ton and are really busy, but we were able to get in and teach them this week. We were a bit harsh and pointed out that their family is falling apart because they are focusing so much on work, then we shared a message. We met with her again later in the week and she said after we'd left they just sat there for about 30 minutes without saying anything and then finally they talked about what was going on. Then on Sunday, they went to church... the whole family went to church! We were so happy. It was fantastic! Not only that, one of their sons got up and bore his testimony. We were sitting near the front and the kids came and sat beside us because we're cool missionaries. Leus, whose 12, said to me, "you have to get up and bear your testimony", so I said I'd bear my testimony if he'd bear his testimony and he said "ok". He waited a bit so I started pushing a bit and then he went up and I went up behind him. It was a little odd bearing my testimony at the pulpit as a missionary, on a Sunday, because we don't usually do that. There was a lot of people that bore their testimonies. Their youngest son, Bencumin who is 5 was like a tornado and was all over the place. One lady, Armana Frescia, who is pretty serious, apparently didn't approve so she reprimanded him... and he stopped. He was probably so shocked, but it was awesome.

We had supper at the family Campos house. They are so cool - just a really good family. I don't think either of them served missions, but they are really active. He's the High Priest Group Leader, she's the Stake Relief Society President, one of the daughter's went on mission, the other daughter's husband is a bishop, one of their son's is going on a mission. They're just a great family - we love going there!

We have a fairly new investigator about 2-3 weeks ago, Lisa. She's a lawyer and she's super smart. The lawyer's here seem to be very smart. She was asking about the Abrahamic Covenant and we were reading in Galacians where it talks about getting accepted into the Abrahamic Covenant if you're not of the seed of Abraham. We read it and Elder Gillespie started to explain it a bit and she said Wait... so if I want to be accepted into the covenant I have to get baptized and ours jaws dropped. We were like, yes, that's exactly what you have to do. No one would ever get that. I don't know how she caught that after he just read it. We were amazed! We thought, wow, that was impressive. Now it's a bit tougher to visit her because she's a single lady. 

The other Jocelyn, the one who we're waiting on to get married - she read the scriptures this week. Yeah, we were happy about that. Also, her fiance's brother came to church this week so we were happy about that too!

That's this week's recording - a long one. I love you guys.