Monday, March 18, 2013

March 11, 2013 (a week late)

Hey, Everyone!

Sounds like it’s about time for Spring Break back in the ol’ states. Good stuff. We are headed into winter here. Uh oh. Especially given that our shower is electric, the heat cuts every two minutes, and in the best of situations is only barely warm, it could be a very cold, wet winter. But exciting!

We have been doing really well here. It is beautiful, the weather is really nice, it’s fun feeling like you are just hiking all the time because of the hills, the ward is ridiculously awesome here (compared to some other wards that I have seen), we have all kinds of support and help here, it is great being with companions that are great, etc. Basically, just lots and lots of bendiciones. All those long, hot, sweaty days in Talca Centro are starting to pay off!

Big news of the week: We have been working with Patricia, the mom of a young man in the ward, preparing her to get baptized! She has been to church a lot but never really clicked with the missionaries, never really accepted a date to do it. Felt pressured. Then when Elder Saenz and I went by last Friday, she was just like, “Yeah, great! I feel ready! Let’s do it next week.” Bingo. Half her extended family are members, too. She got baptized by her son on Saturday. It was great. That was in the morning on Saturday.

Then Christopher, a joven that has been having problems smoking, that we have been praying and fasting for, we were able to baptize as well on Saturday in the evening! Crazy, crazy day. Super hectic, filling the font, keeping it hot, getting refreshments, speakers, telling all the ward at last minute notice, running around like chickens with our feet cut off. They are both great and there was FABULOUS attendance, given the circumstances. I love good Mormons. This ward is great. I played special musical numbers in both, go piano go, and the speakers really showed up in a big way. There are lots of youth and RMs in this ward who help us a ton.

So that is the greatest. Starting to see those blessings. It’s weird, I feel like I have not changed much in what I am doing, still being as exactly obedient and diligent as before, but now we are starting to really blow up the sector! We are teaching a family, a guy named Julian and his less-active wife, who is a Marine. His two daughters showed up to the baptism on Saturday alone because he was sick. He has worked in Moyok in North Carolina, he was a part of Blackwater, he has been everywhere, and his family is AMAZING. I feel so lucky to be able to teach them, and it was all because we just pushed ourselves to contact people in the street.

Sounds like things are going really well there! Too bad for the boys’ tennis team [to not be attending the tournament anymore]. That was such a fun trip. It is weird that just about all those kids are now on missions. Where is Brett Jaynes headed?

We are having good times here. It is super fun living with Elder Rees, super great guy. Elder Carter is fun, too. Elder Saenz is also great. But Elder Rees is stand out. We are working hard and having success now, too!

But anyways, where was I. We are also teaching a lady named Nora who is progressing really well, who lives by us and is great. She was a reference from this great recent convert, Pablito, and when we taught her first she was super depressed. I really felt inspired to share 3 Nephi 22:7-8 with her, and she really opened up. She has come to a bunch of stuff, including church, and is excited for her baptism! Hopefully she stays here--she had plans to go to Iquique soon.

Also there is a mom of a member here that we found, really neat experience. About a month ago, this young couple lost their baby when it was being born. The dad is the ward secretary, fabulous guy, convert, and the mom is a returned missionary. She is still super sad. But we ran into them in the street one day, and they invited us to accompany them to the cemetery. We went in hesitantly, and I must admit I was there thinking, “What are we doing here, wasting time we could be using to find new investigators and do the work?” But we helped them get some flowers and take care of the grave, and we talked a little bit about the plan of salvation, with the mom right there. Then, after, we went to their house, taught a lesson, and the next time taught her in the chapel with the pila and she is getting baptized in two weeks. Very special experience.

So those are the investigators we are focusing on right now. I am learning a lot with Elder Saenz, he really controls a lesson well and speaks Spanish well. Ha ha obvio. But we are having fun and practicing so that I can participate a little more, too. But we are doing well being really obedient, doing the things we are supposed to be doing and going that extra mile to really own our sector and help this ward. The ward really expects a lot from us now. It’s great. They are so willing to help, and we have TONS of great.

That is about all for the week. We are eating well, working hard, living that missionary life. I feel more and more like a real missionary every day. I mean, Elder Rees and Elder Carter are kinda great examples. I think that this whole mission thing might work out for me after all. But all of this success, from really changing very little in what I am doing, has caused me to think that maybe sometimes we just have to sweat and burn and die in the streets of Talca before we receive the fruits and progressing investigators and baptisms and ward members of Valle Hermoso. But I am so excited to keep working here. Just gotta keep it up! 

I have gotten some good letters from Allie, and from the whole Bradford family, too!! Loved that one-- Danny is great. Classic Danny. Gabe sounds like he is too intelligent to handle. Good Chris is doing her thing, and Sister Bradford, as always, has her words of wisdom and refined, dignified support. I don’t think I heard from the obispo though... Also got a letter from Ben! Sounds like he is doing well and really enjoying and learning a lot. Actually he just sounds like same ol’ spiritual Ben. I don’t think that the mission can change people who were already perfect.

Any news from Tom and Cars or any of those other champs?! Did they tent this year, and was it just so gratifying to rub it all in UNCs faces? I am sure that attending singles ward was more fun this year than last year. Tell Jordan and Adrienne and Han I say hi.

So, yep! Doing well. I hope everyone there is great. Say hello to everyone!

Elder Brown

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