Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 18 --Perros y Halloween

Dog story of the week: Elder Lawton and I were walking to a hermana’s house with a bag full of her lunch Tupperware. We heard a really low and angry bark behind us. As we turned around, a dog was lurching at us. I remembered Elder Ryan’s advice to me to never run or you will get bitten, that you have to fight back. Instinctually, I cranked the Tupperware bag and clocked the dog right in the face. It ran away. I’m straight out of Coyhaique. We laughed because it was super scary and it was weird that Tupperware did the dirty work.
Cambios [exchanges]: Elder Lawton and I stay together for this cambio. That made me happy. We are getting work done and I’m learning a lot from him. Elder Peterson is dying [going home from his mission], so he will fly to Osorno and elder Godoy will replace him as zone leader. I’m now a normal missionary. My last day of training was yesterday. We ate a birthday lunch with the familia Quinteros. They are angels.

Halloween made me trunky for home. Seeing all the little niños made me think of home. I’m never going to miss a night of trick or treating with my little siblings after the mission. Also on Halloween, there was a baptism of the hermanas [sister missionaries] in centro. Elder Lawton and I killed ourselves for two days trying to find investigators who could go. None of them showed up so we had to leave the baptism. But I was happy and felt good because we did all we could. So it is in God’s hands.

On Tuesday, I left the house only wearing a long sleeved white shirt; first time in my mission. But I had to whip out the coat for after like 6 o’clock. I have 4 months in the mission; woot, woot. Dang that seemed like a big deal. But as I wrote it, I just realized that it is nothing. But I have grown and learned A LOT.

Jose, who is a recent convert, received the Aaronic priesthood on Sunday!!! It is crazy cool to see how the Lord has totally prepared him to go out with us in our citas [appointments].

On Halloween, Elder Lawton and I were writing down information from a contact we just had made, and the next thing we knew there was a bloody scream mask in our face that was screaming. The teenage girl ran away laughing. Weird.
In a cita with Jordana, her 99 year old grandma and I made eye contact. Her grandma then made the sign of the cross. I don’t know if that was a good or bad thing.

While we were knocking doors, I had an insight. As missionaries, we want people to read pray and go to church SO badly because we know the joy that just a little bit of sacrifice to be obedient will bring them. Then I thought about how Heavenly Father must feel the same way about me. If I just sacrificed a little more and completely embraced all the rules and everything with complete obedience then how much more joy could I experience?

Coyhaique after sunset
We knocked on a door and the guy shafted us and was like "hah, go visit my neighbor." Then he shut his door on us. We were going to leave, but Elder Lawton was like, “Let’s just go check it out even if it won’t be anything”. We went. A 25ish year old let us in. We had a textbook how to begin teaching lesson and I felt the Spirit super strong. He came to know God after he was in a coma for 8 months because he saved a guy’s life from some thugs while he was drunk and they beat and cut him up pretty bad. He has some gnarly scars. After that lesson, I said "oh my gosh" and "what just happened" like 100 times. We passed by later in the week and talked about baptism, and he said he doesn’t like the idea of going to church or baptism. But we’ll see how he turns out. Once he keeps commitments, the Spirit will work with him and change him.

We visited Andres. We put him with fecha [baptismal date]. He is so prepared. He just has an addiction to smoking. So we will work with him on that but he really wants to be baptized and have an eternal family.
This week has been hard with lots of walking and sore muscles. Sometimes, I’ve thought "It doesn’t make sense. I don’t have to be planting seeds this whole time. I should also be harvesting seeds that have already been planted." I know God is over all. He guides this. I had a personal study this week where the Spirit very clearly showed me how merciful God has been with me and how He has so perfectly placed everything to work out this cambio with my personal growth and in answering my questions. Questions I have had that seemed like a big deal 2 weeks later are worked out through experience or are no longer important. So much of life and receiving answers is just patience and trust.

The sacrament has become so sacred and precious to me. It is like the temple. Hermana Juetra, after a lunch this week, talked with us. We were talking about the temple. We asked her how she felt when she made her temple covenants. She looked as us with tears in her eyes and choked out "maravillosa." I was about to cry. Afterwards, we were cutting wood for someone and I just sat there as the Spirit worked me over testifying of temple covenants and the family. I’ve never yearned for something more in my life. I ache to visit the temple again and to be with my family, and to go to the temple with them. But all is in God’s timing, and I am focused here.

I love you all.

Elder West
Jacob in his apartment with some aviator glasses he found.