Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 24 -- Quellón, hospital, mission conference, etc.

On the ferry to Chiloe Island

Mother Dearest: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!
For Christmas this year we have a zone conference in Castro, Chiloe. So it isn’t a legit Christmas, but we will feel the Spirit so we are good. Still don’t know about skype.
So we left Coyhaique early Tuesday morning, I’ve had like one day of normal sleep since then because of all of our traveling. I’m now in Quellón Chiloe. I saw the sun yesterday!!! It is just pure rain here! Learning to love it. I’m praying for our investigator Andres in Coyhaique. He was really an elect person that just had an addiction to smoking.
There is a goose coop from our neighbors right next to the window by my bed. They also have a rooster. Every morning from 5:00 am until 7 it crows. It makes me think of the movie Happy Gilmore when Adam Sandler is ticked at the mini golf clown because it won’t take his ball and he says "You’re gonna die clown!" then hacks its nose off with the golf club. I feel like that every morning. Learning patience. :)
My new companion is named Elder Weech from Pima, Arizona. He reminds me a lot of my friend Chandler Jenks. This is his last cambio in the mission. He is a great example to me. I am learning a lot. He has had an illness for a while. The mission nurse doesn’t know what it is. Basically his stomach is always in pain. So he can’t do his exercises super intense, and while we are walking we sometimes have to stop so he can rest a bit. But he fights through it so hard with a good attitude. I love him. Already I am learning how to work through the members (answer to prayers) and how to be chill, reasonable, and balanced while still working. I need that.
The Elder Teixeira conference was straight up amazing. I felt the Spirit super strong. His had us list all of our mission, personal, investigator, branch, and spiritual problems on a white board. Then he told us stories from his son’s mission and other personal experiences to answer every point. He emphasized contacts like crazy. It all starts with contacts. And they can be stupid simple too. We don’t have to stress about teaching a ton or saying something well-rehearsed in a contact. Love it. I felt the spirit teach me. Elder Teixeira said something and the Spirit taught me: "This is the Lord´s work, I’m not in this alone. So why am I doing it alone?" I can involve the atonement so much more in overcoming weaknesses and fears in this work. The atonement is for that too.
In Puerto Montt, I visited the mall there with Elders Watson and Strate because we traveled in two groups and Elder Lawton wasn’t with me. It was like swan diving back into Babylon with all the music, noise, images, and shopping.
While staying in Puerto Monte, I worked one evening with Elder Jepson. We entered a contact’s house. He was drunk. He showed us a Book of Mormon a friend gave him with the steps of prayer in the back. Then he piled a mound of medals and newspaper articles showing that he was a successful weightlifter when he was younger. Because he was drunk and it was going nowhere, we asked if we could leave with a prayer. He agreed, but brought out statues and put them on the table. He said if I was going to pray, I had to pray to them because it was his house. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to make a drunk guy angry. I prayed. Then I told him I would like to use the steps in the back of his Book of Mormon and just went for it. WHILE I was praying, he left the room and piled his weightlifting medals on the table so I could pray to them too. I ended the prayer, and we left the house safe.
I also went to the hospital. About a month ago, I accidentally kicked the corner of the bed while hurrying to the shower. My toenail died. So we went to the hospital so they could rip that baby off. In Chile, you go to the hospital for ANY kind of medical problem. They don’t have family clinics. You just go to the hospital. The hospital was super old and looked ghetto. After an hour or so, they bring me into a curtained off room. I can see two other patients in beds. The guy checks out my toe, tells me "I’m ripping it off," and the next thing I know he has his fingers gripping my toe nail. I was thinking "Bro, what are you doing???!!" My breathing accelerated rapidly. Then he tore it right off. Didn’t hurt too bad because it was mostly dead. But scared me half to death.
In a cita, I played with a little kid to keep him reverent. He was just like my little brother Tyler. Tender mercy. While he was tugging on my jacket, I testified to them of how God has helped me to be obedient even when it was really hard and uncomfortable. I felt the Spirit.
We also knocked on a future investigators door. She answered and was crying. She let us in and we asked her what was wrong. She was crying because she had a super bad headache. But she also poured out to us all of her life stresses with work, money, being a parent, and being overwhelmed. She told us she had just offered a prayer for comfort and help. Then we knocked on the door right after. After Elder Weech and I picked our jaws up off the floor (such a textbook missionary experience), we shared Alma 7: 11-13 about Jesus Christ and then invited her to baptism. It took a bit of explaining, but she agreed to prepare for baptism for the 23 of January.
Yesterday, we ate lunch with a returned missionary and his nonmember mom. Biggest lunch I’ve ever eaten in my life. After the first plate heaped with rice, potatoes, and meat, I had broken the word of wisdom by too much. Then we had another plate. Then ice cream. Then two bowls of jello. I tried gagging myself with a spoon afterwards to make myself throw up. Didn’t work. I just felt more sick. We took a nap and then were able to leave and work.
I have improved my personal studies with better planning. They have lifted me up. The mission is so hard, then my personal study picked me up. I have been able to receive answers for my personal questions and for investigators. During my study today, I was thinking about desire and obedience. Being obedient is enough sometimes. Jesus Christ didn’t want to drink the bitter cup, but he wanted to be obedient. So he did it. It is OK to obey out of the desire to obey, even when we don’t want to because it is hard.
I felt today that I have developed a greater depth of character in my mission. They are so hard. But I have never grown in this way before. I love you all. We are so blessed.

Elder West