Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Week 19 - Toes, blessings, and hot

Thanks for all the birthday wishes.
This week has been HOT. Like I mean leaving out in a t-shirt and sunscreen hot. It got up to 26 °C one day. But it don’t know what that is in Fahrenheit. But it is humid here too, and we are all used to freezing. Hot.
I heard from an RM [returned missionary] at mission prep that a mission is just 2 years of awkward experiences. One of the best bits of advice I’ve ever received.
In my morning routine, I was hustling around and WRECKED my toe on the sharp bed corner. It cut under my toe nail. It hurt super bad, but I could still walk. So I limped everywhere and gritted my teeth. Elder Lawton had his right foot hurting him too this week because of his exercises. So all of these poor confused Chileans saw two white kids in church clothes hobbling around all over Coyhaique. Funny, but at the same time it isn’t.

Because of the heat and my toe, I had a very powerful spiritual experience. We were walking to the highest part of our sector to meet with a lady for service. We were dying of the heat, my toe hurt so bad. And because I had to adjust my walk into a shuffle, I was using different muscles so my calf was hurting too. I don’t know. Just the combination of all the physical and emotional stress and other things, it was hard. I wanted to respond positively to opposition and challenges like Nephi. So I started to pray as we kept walking up the hill. I turned to Heavenly Father in the pain and I said "I love you." Then I started to cry. I knew He heard me.
As we started to serve the lady, my thoughts turned outward. I really enjoyed the service. We built a leñera, which is something that keeps your wood dry. It was so hot, but I lost myself in the service and had relief during that time. Service is great to relieve our own pain. I'll attach a pic of the leñera.

Elder Lawton can play the piano, so he is a very well used resource here. We were practicing with the primary “Families Can Be Together Forever”. As I listened to the children sing, I felt the Spirit very strong. Tender mercy. They sang great at the district conference.
At district conference, Presidente Obeso came and spoke in every session. I felt the Spirit very strongly testify to me in priesthood session that God always answers our prayers. I know that is true. After district conference, I had an interview with president. This was my second. Up to this point, I have cried in every one. Haha. This time, I laughed and cried. But it was crying because I felt the Spirit. Love his advice and help in my personal struggles on the mission. I can feel God’s love through him.
We have been having DTRs (define the relationship) with a lot of our investigators. We are no longer visiting investigators that don’t want to progress to baptism. It is hard. It takes faith to do that and trust that God will put people in your path. But on a happier note, we have taught 2 people about family history. Family history gets everyone amped out of their minds and it is super fun to teach and show them pics of my ancestors.
Andres chose the 30th of November to stop smoking. His fecha de bautismo [baptism date] is December 12. Please pray for him. We had a powerful lesson with him. I felt the Spirit. In a very powerful moment, I promised him that he will be able to stop smoking if he goes to church, reads, and prays. In the end, Elder Lawton and I both felt prompted to ask him if he would like a blessing of strength. I knew it would be me who would give it. He asked me. I was filled with the Spirit and with faith. No I don’t know Spanish perfectly, but I know enough. I laid my hands on his head and gave my first priesthood blessing in Spanish. I feel so grateful to be in the Lord’s service. I love Andres so much. He is in every one of my prayers.

Yesterday, we saw a guy smoking on the corner. He was white. I felt like we should talk to him. We did, and it turns out that he speaks perfect English and his grandpa is from Italy. He took us to his house that was secluded a bit at the top of the hill by the mountains and let us in. I felt like I was in a house in Alpine, Utah. That hasn’t happened since I left Utah. Wow. He could play the piano and the guitar super well. They even have a cabin! We taught him half of lesson one in English, mixed with Spanish sentences because we are both at the point where speaking church in Spanish is easier than speaking church in English. We will meet again with him tonight at 6:30.
Missions are hard. But looking back over the time I have, I realized how much of a great time this has been. I have my own crazy stories, times of discouragement, happy lessons, and everything in between. God helps us through it all.
Jacob 6:12

Elder West