Monday, February 1, 2016

Estamos hecho polvopo!

This week has been ridiculous.
Monday we washed pigs. First we had to feed them. We dipped buckets into a vat of slop. Slop is water, and ANYTHING ELSE. For real. Rotten tomatoes, old french-fries, corn husks, mystery meat. Everything. Gagged when I saw it. We carried these buckets of slops to the pig pens to feed the beasts. While we are trying to pour it into their troughs the pigs were slamming their heads into the buckets so slop would fall. Sometimes more slop ended up on the pigs than in the troughs. I also now know what it means to eat like a pig. The pigs slammed their faces into the muck and made all kinds of noises. Once "the feeding" began, all the pigs started shrieking. Straight Jurassic Park. Never going to forget that.

My new companion is Elder Torres from Chiclayo, Peru. He is a straight bro! I haven’t laughed so hard my whole mission. Also, Elder Torres is obedient and kills himself working hard. We have seen a lot of success this week for our work and obedience. He is my first Latino companion. THE SPANISH NEVER STOPS. I have been getting humbled for that. But this kid is a rock star. He has about 10 months in the mission.
This week we were with a family. They let us in to teach. We chatted beforehand and laughed a lot because the grandma. Just the way she talks is super funny. She has died her hair red and says the most off colored things. Elder Torres asked if we could begin with a prayer, and she said "dèle no màs!”, which basically translates to "just give it already." We killed over laughing for about 5 minutes and after gaining composure we started the prayer. Halfway through, we lost it and laughed again. We finally finished the prayer. Funny experience.
This week, because they removed 2 missionaries, we now cover all of Quellòn. We have walked wayyyy too much. We are dead at the end of every day. But God has been blessing us with success. We put 3 people with baptismal fecha! Mattìas (16), Moisès (30ish), and Nicole (19).
Nicole is amazing. Her less active friend from Santiago told her about the church. Nicole has been investigating for a few years now. She has an evangelico background. Last week she just showed up to church all on her own. In gospel principles class we all introduced ourselves. She gave the normal info, then explained that she is looking for the truth and that is why she came to our church. We were all speechless. This week we put her with the baptismal fecha of 27 of Febuary.  Pres. Ojeda gave her a triple combination Book of Mormon, D y C, and Perla de Gran Precio. She has been calling US and asking US when we can meet with her. As we taught her the restoration and asked her if she feels it is true, she told us yes. She feels it is true. She told us that she feels her search for truth has come to an end and she wants to be baptized in our church. WOW. Golden. She went to Relief Society on Thursday and drank mate with the hermanas and said she feels like our congregation is a family. Perfect. I don’t know why God allows me to take part in such an amazing conversion process.

Mattias is 16 and told us that he felt super relaxed and at peace when he prayed about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. His fecha is 27 of Feb., but we will have to change it because he is leaving on vacations. Moises is a former investigator. He directs the choir and plays lead guitar for his evangelico church. He has read the Book of Mormon up until 3 Nephi before. He is set on getting an answer. With all of his time investigating, he hasn’t gotten one, but said if through his efforts God gives him one, he will be baptized for the 27 of February.
Our new district leader, Elder Bliss is super funny. On the day we put Mattias and Nicole with fechas and we told him on the phone during our daily verification, he screamed. The next day when we told him about Moises he screamed again. Love him.
We don’t deserve any of this success. Doing my best to keep my head down and work.
We passed by a less active during the week. He let us in. He was ordained an elder, baptized his sister, introduced the elders to his brother and they baptized him, and was going to be the first missionary from the branch of Quellòn. But he has fallen away. He now is living with a pareja and won’t come back. It gave me great pain to see that. A man who was enjoying the fullest blessings of the gospel is now on the polar opposite side. As we talked he acknowledged what he was doing was wrong. He wants to come back. But he told us it is too hard. I told him very directly why we were there and that what he was doing was wrong and God wants him back. I felt the Spirit very strong. Elder Torres shared Alma 34 about repenting NOW. Then we left the lesson. He didn’t want to act. Walking away, I started praying for him and broke into tears. Agency is so frustrating. I want to use mine well.
During the week, we passed by a recent convert named Karen. We talked a bit outside. As we asked her about her conversion process the conversation became more personal. We asked her how she felt about the apostasy when the elders taught her and if she understood it. We were super down and frustrated with the day and with rejection. Everything she said was a home run to the heart straight from the Spirit. She said it is never our fault if they don’t accept it, and that we teach well. If the investigator is ready and prepared then they will understand it and ask questions if they don’t. She was our missionary in that moment. Elder Torres and I were crying, we sang a hymn with her (at her suggestion), and then said a prayer. That was a massive tender mercy. Such a strong convert, strong testimony. I love Hna Karen.
Hna Claudia called us this week super exited. She told us that she, Catalina, and Benjamin were at the SANTIAGO TEMPLE!!!!!  After Catalina’s examines, they walked to the temple and read their scriptures. She was way too amped. I talked to Catalina and she said she felt super good and ready for her baptism. Yesterday we passed by her dad, Hno Mario, to give him baptismal invitations to pass out for Catalina`s baptism. We ended up talking for half an hour. Then we talked about his baptism (never has been that open enough before!!!) and then shared a scripture (that`s never been done either!!). Elder Torres was bold and took the lead on both of those. Then I asked a question about spiritual experiences and Hno Mario then told us about one. I’m not going to explain it out of respect for him, but we were crying. And throughout the process, hugged like 6 times. Love that man. God has been working on him and he is opening up. Miracle. I see them as a family in the temple someday. Catalina will be baptized this Saturday February 6 and confirmed February 7.
Thank you for all of your support. I love you guys. You are important to me. And I need you. This church is so true and this is God`s work. So grateful to see it happening.

Elder West