Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Baptismal interview and cambios

Benjamin and Catalina

This has been a full week. As always I’ll start with the less spiritual and then progress from there on.
Last pday I cooked Reece’s, rice, and hot fudge sauce. One of my more relaxing pdays. This one has been polar opposite, haha. We have walked all day around town so Elder Weech can say bye to the members here. He is leaving for Osorno to participate in all of the activities with the missionaries who are ending. And because he extended his mission he will serve 2 weeks in La Union.
Cambios: in Quellón there are 4 missionaries. In the mission our numbers have lowered from 200 to 190, so they have had to close some sectors. They are combining the two sectors here. Elder Weech and Elder Linton are leaving. Me and Elder Torres will stay here and hold down the fort. When we found that out, we were too amped. I love Elder Torrez. During my 2 week intercambio/sobrecambio in Coyhaique with Puerto Cisnes, we changed companions. I also was able to work with him one pday in Coyhaique, and we have lived here in the same house this cambio. He is super funny and we get along too great. Really going to enjoy this cambio. We will see a lot of baptisms here. Legit though. He works so hard and is obedient. I have been blessed to have Elder Weech as my companion. He has taught me so much about working through the members and references. And it was during this cambio that I arrived to feel like a real missionary. I know now more about my purpose and how to do it. The life of a missionary feels more normal now, kind of like it did in high school. Love Elder Weech. He has done so much for the rama [branch] here.
During this week, we were in Castro. I bought a milcao. A milcao is basically mashed potatoes in a huge ball and then fried. Apparently, it is the specialty of Chiloe. So I ate one. First bite felt like a really fat McDonald French fry. Afterwards, I wanted to throw up because of all the grease. Didn’t feel normal the rest of the day, haha. Also in Castro we saw a worldwide missionary capacitacion [training] from SLC. Super good. Cool to see all the missionaries in Utah with their iPads, dry-cleaned suits, padded chairs, talking about past baptisms, and speaking English, hahah. And then us. jk. Totally jk. Well at least about the baptisms part because there are some here.
This week Elder Weech and I made a document for Catalina’s parents to sign giving permission for a baptismal interview. It might become an official mission document because our mission doesn’t have one. We made it on the fly!
After making that document, it was already late and we had like 15 minutes before going to the house. So we knocked the nearest less active’s door just to pass the time. We are just two young punks but the Lord blessed us with a cita with the less active’s daughter and her nonmember boyfriend. Totally God´s work.
Yesterday, we had an asado with Pres. Ojeda and today we ate lunch with him. His confidence in us is building.

There was some contention between some missionaries in our house, so Elder Weech and I made crepes and chocolate sauce for breakfast. Everyone is now best friends. Service works wonders.
I taught 20 minutes in district meeting. Super fun. We talked about goals.
Tonight we have a noche de hogar with Hno. Antonio and Hna. Jacklyn who live in the "kind of campo." We had an asado with them on Christmas. We are going to wash their 10 massive pigs, woot woot!
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that we set a cita with a guy and he turned out to be a preacher so we didn’t go to the cita. Well this week we were talking with Hno. Dias in his carniceria (meat store) and the preacher walks in. Once we saw him, we both thought "oh crud". But Elder Weech actually said it out loud. Haha. I tried not to laugh. He told us we failed the cita and that only men fail so we aren’t of God.  I said a silent prayer in my heart. No idea what to do. I was direct with him and told him we are here to baptize and he probably won’t want to be baptized so he isn’t in our focus. I stood as tall as I could. Being 6ft 4 sometimes doesn’t hurt. :) Then I thanked him for all the good he does in the community and how he helps people. That threw us onto "good vibes" territory, but it was still tense. We told him we had to go so he left.  I guess I tell this story to explain that God put words into my mouth that were not my own to protect the name of the Church and the work of salvation here in Quellón.
This week, I was talking with an elder. He was burdened with stress because of his leadership position. He told me that he is a horrible leader. That in every calling he has had (teachers quorum president and stuff like that), no one has ever wanted to follow him. The guy before him and the guy after him, the people follow, but never him. He tore himself apart in front of me. His thoughts were obviously not coming from the Spirit. I said another payer in my heart during the silence that followed to know what to say. I had no idea but I just opened my mouth. Again, God put words into my mouth. It is a special feeling as they come out. I told him of a blessing my dad had given me where he said that "a leader is just a good disciple of Jesus Christ." I explained to this elder that all he has ever done is try his best, he has never tried to do what’s wrong. He has only had good desires. As I spoke, I watched his eyes change. They softened, and I could see the Spirit working on him. His eyes filled with tears and he hugged and thanked me. Special experience sitting in a bus terminal.
CATALINA: we just barely said bye to them. They left for Santiago. Here is the situation. We went with Hno. Díaz to a cita this week. Her dad (Hno. Mario) answered the door, and we talked with him for several minutes. That is amazing because Hno. Mario has been pretty closed off. In a cita with Catalina, we did a practice baptismal interview. I asked the questions. That girl has a powerful testimony. I felt the Spirit so strong. What joy! The next day, she passed her interview with Elder Vega, our zone leader. He told me he wanted to cry during the interview as she told him of a spiritual experience she had. After the interview, we went to their house to have Hno. Mario sign the baptismal registro to give his permission. He did it! And then we talked for 30 minutes after. HUGE.  He is a pretty cool guy. In church on Sunday, we set a cita with Claudia and she invited the other elders too. That night, we cooked arroz con leche. Elder Torres, not knowing the situation with Hno. Mario, asked if he would join us because he was hiding in his room like normal. Claudia asked him and Hno. Mario came in!!! That whole night he talked with the four of us and we all laughed and had a great time with the family. The family is Benjamin, Catalina, Hno. Mario, and Hna. Claudia. I felt like I was with my own family. Bliss. It has been a complete miracle seeing Hno. Mario open himself up to us this week because in the beginning he wouldn’t even let the missionaries in the house. With time, he will come back to church and they will get sealed in the temple. I’m so humbled to take part in the conversion process of Catalina, reactivating Hna. Claudia, and just becoming a part of their family. Catalina will be baptized Feb 6 and confirmed the day after.
This week I started to read Jesus the Christ. That book blows my mind, and rocks me with the Spirit. I love it. It has helped me a lot.

Elder West
Doctrine and Covenants 100:15

Baptismal font that will soon be filled. We cleaned it and there were spider webs. It has been too long since there has been a baptism