Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 23 -- Cambios, Christmas, Perros

Chopping wood
This week while we were sitting on a bench, a guy asked us if we knew a place that sells marijuana. So we showed him our secret suitcase we carry around...NAH! Who do you think we are??? Ha-ha funny!
Cambios: I AM GOING TO CHILOE. The city is Quellon. It is the exact same sector that Elder Lawton was in before he came to Coyhaique. My new companion is elder Weech from AZ. I will become his companion after the mission conference in Puerto Montt. I’m killing him (meaning his last comp in the mission). So excited! Apparently Chiloe gives tons of food, and our house is the second closest house to the beach.
I will miss Elder Lawton. I have learned so much from him: exact obedience, supporting leaders, dealing with stress, focus on the work, growing grace by grace, patience, love, & desire. A ton. I know God will continue to bless me. Elder Lawton is like an older brother to me.
Elder Lawton’s feet have something wrong with them. They are all super red with spots and stuff. We went to the doctor and afterwards called the enfermera [nurse] in our mission. So we have been under house arrest for this week. We have been reading lots of the Book of Mormon, listening to conference talks, and even watched “17 Miracles”. We don’t leave often, but if we do leave anywhere, Elder Lawton has to wear sandals, NOT shoes. Because his feet need to dry out and rest.
Elder Lawton with sandals
His sandals have seen it all! The registro civil, in exercises, the shower, to church, p-day errands, in colectivos, even to a baptismal interview! He has been doing a lot of explaining.
While walking home one night, we passed by a fence. It went like this: I see big angry black dog. Big angry black dog sees me. He is ticked. I see open fence. I think that the fence shouldn’t be open with angry black dog. Big angry black dog is waist high. I move to shut gate. Little annoying angry dog appears. I kick-shove little angry dog away so I can shut open gate. Oh shoot, big angry dog is here. And then the next thing I knew is that I had this beasts jaws latched onto my glute. It fell off and Elder Lawton (after a very loud scream) starts throwing rocks. The dog runs away. After further inspection, my pants are ripped.  I’m not bleeding, and it didn’t pierce my garments. That is never a coincidence. Dog bite number 2 has been checked off my experience list.

Christmas devotional: we were trying to catch a colectivo so we could make it to the chapel in centro to see it. So we arrived 15 minutes late, at the end of a seventy’s talk. I really enjoyed the following song by the Motab choir, especially with that guy shredding the organ. So good. All the lights and music, and temple square shots made me trunky but put me in the holiday mood. We sang silent night in English. As the words appeared on the screen, I imagine I was singing it right along with my family at home. I remember last year’s devotional. We had just eaten Dutch cookies and milk. My feet were kicked up on the fireplace with a pillow behind my head. So comfortable with such great food that I fell asleep. Good times.
Scriptures that have helped me a lot this week: Helaman 12:23. It let me know that God sees me and is aware of my desires even when it doesn’t feel like I’m close to heaven. 2 Nephi 6:12 --I felt the Spirit as I shared this with a family here after lunch. I know God fulfills his promises to us. I just need to be patient with mine that will come.
Also during a lunch, we had a sad experience. We were sharing the spiritual thought/mini lesson to the recent convert. The husband was taking silly selfies and cracking jokes as we taught. The son was watching soccer and playing the guitar. The daughter wasn’t willing to participate, and this GOLDEN sister had just served us with a lunch and was listening to us. The husband was not giving us respect as representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ. He snapped a pic of me while I was giving my testimony. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who saw it.  But the hermana’s head was down for a bit. She was fighting tears. So sad. She is so good. God is showing me who I need to be and what I want in my family after my mission.
Everyone here wears these hats

After another lunch with a member who has basically the same situation with a less active husband, she asked us for a blessing. We had just shared a spiritual thought and felt the Spirit guide us in our words to the point that she was crying. I knew I would give the blessing before she asked me for it. As I gave it, I felt the Spirit. I felt I was saying what Christ wanted her to hear. I could feel God’s love for her. She was told what comfort God wanted her to hear. I felt that the Lord was happy with me too, because there isn’t a feeling greater than being able to answer when the Lord needs us to. Missionaries live for experiences like this. That is why we leave the house when we don’t want to.
God is good. Christ is everything. This church is true. I love you all.

Elder West