December 31, 2012
So Javier is coming along. A very strange man but I think he wants to be baptized, and he likes learning about the Book of Mormon but is really trying to do it all intellectually and very nervously, and that just doesn’t work. We are gonna talk about faith versus fear with him. I love Elder Ulibarri, though! We have all the unity we need, maybe too much, we are always laughing and probably speak too much in English. We might need to work on that. He is very organized and obedient and diligent; what he lacks in working really well with people and identifying with them, I feel like are more my strengths (with most people). But he has really opened up with me and we are having a lot of fun, even though it is SUPER hot here and we are having tough times.
Also at the interviews, I got letters from Allie! Woohoo! They were from like forever ago but it’s still fun to read things written in her voice. What a goob. Cute lil goob. Elder Ulibarri is the biggest Beatles fan, too. Allie should totally just come on her mission to Chile and we can all have Beatles parties together. He can play Blackbird on the guitar. He is teaching me. He already taught me how to play James Bond on the guitar. It’s prettttyyyy awesome. And he taught me how to do the Rubik Cube! I am pretty slow, it takes me like five minutes, but I can do it. All by myself. I am humbly proud.
One afternoon, we were visiting this guy in a part member family, we had him in our registro. So we went in, and he was this older guy but seemed like he was all there. Started telling us about how his wife and child had been killed and he had been put in a concentration camp by Pinoche. How he had escaped (showed us the scars on his wrists from when he broke the cuffs to get away) and then went on the run in Bolivia and Argentina and all these places "clandestina," to quote him. Sounds like he has probably killed people--was a guerilla soldier. And then he turned himself in and spent ten years in prison. Showed us all the scars. Not sure if this was before or after he was baptized--but he has a strong testimony of the gospel. We will probably go by again this week. His name is Manuel Jesus. He says he has a documentary about him and some other survivors that was made.
Another crazy story: One afternoon, Elder U and I were doing contacts on this dusty street by a canal (pit with water filled with garbage) and were talking to this old guy. Out of nowhere this guy on a bike selling ice cream rides up, tells us he is a recent convert from Independencia, gives us a free cone of strawberry ice cream, testifies of the truthfulness and blessings of the gospel to this old guy we were talking to, and then leaves. NO idea how he knew where we were or what he was doing in this random part of Talca, but the ice cream sure tasted good. A little extrañable misericordia.
We went by and talked with Fabiola about the scriptures she read in D&C 59, where it talks about keeping the Sabbath Day holy. In all her time with missionaries, I don’t think she ever realized that going to Church is a commandment and you can’t be clean without the sacrament each week. She kinda had a change of heart, and, as soon as her dad dies, I think she is gonna come to Church.
On Christmas, after talking with you guys, we went out to find people. We talked to this nice younger lady that was basically telling us how she doesn’t believe in Catholicism and is looking for the truth. We gave her a Book of Mormon--that was exciting to find her but it looks like she might be hiding from us now. Oh, well. Embarrassing for her. Can’t man up and talk to two jovenes.
The Chilean Santa Claus has been at large this week, too! He always stays on this one corner, and, every time we pass by, he starts yelling at us. We tried to give him a pass along card again, told him God loves him, and that made him even madder. Not a happy man. Probably not sane, either.
We taught a lot of good lessons this week, too--have lots of investigators but they all have lots of problems and lack real desires to commit and make changes, at least for right now. Most of them just don’t understand the need for action--they just want to feel good. Crazy Chileans. But we are teaching well, I think. I am feeling a lot more confident teaching and really controlling the lesson. We work pretty well as a team, and I have definitely felt the Spirit guiding me at times during the lessons to know how to respond to questions.
Well, that’s about all that’s been going on here. We are working hard and trying to be diligent in all things, and hopefully we will start to see all the blessings soon. I am feeling confident in my abilities as a missionary, and loving this sector, despite its MANY faults. Loving all the Chileans is a little more difficult but I love them individually as people. Even the Chilean Santa Claus.
My new favorite chapter of scripture right now is Alma 26. It’s a classic, especially for our situation right now. We are starting to qualify ourselves better and better, and can really feel more power in our testimonies and commitments with the people we talk with. It all starts with being humble and praying and going to Church and doing the easy stuff every day that people just won´t do! Patience.
There is a talk I love from Elder Christofferson about the consecrated life; you should all read it. About working hard. And playing hard. It’s a winner.
We are gonna eat dinner tonight with the Bishop, for New Years! That should be fun. I’m excited. And we have a good week planned, to start off my whole year as a missionary! Game time! Have a great week everyone! Get your call, Alice! And tell me soon ‘cuz I’m actually dying to know. Get good grades, Tom and Cars, and everyone else who is studying, and get wins, Duke basketball! Tell Jabari Parker to stay at Duke two years so I can chill with him when I get back.
“My lego men! They have all the personalities a missionary should have. Harold, the business man, who plans and gets stuff done and is a number cruncher. Then theres Bjorn, who works out a lot and takes good care of his body and is intense. Then theres Hamlet, who ponders and is spiritual, and then last but not least, Hans who just likes to have a good time with his good food. Good guys. And Grandma and Grandpa backin them up.”