Monday, March 14, 2016

Cambios and exhaustion

Cambios--so we got the call Tuesday morning. Elder Torres is now training in Quellón, Chiloé and I’m now in Valdivia, in the Calle Calle stake in Los Encinos. 

Tuesday, I was in a bus all day and stayed the night in Osorno. And then Wednesday I bussed up to Valdivia. My new companion is named Elder Smith. He is from Colorado. His family now lives in West Valley. He is the district leader. There are 8 in our district. This is Elder Smith’s second to last cambio in the mission. We get along great and laugh a lot. He is obedient in a balanced way. Super good. Elder Ryan (my trainer) is my zone leader, and he is in my district. Crazy!

I’m going to miss Quellón. I saw a lot of lives change there.  I’ll miss the Familia Carrillo-Lemus, Nicol, Hno Felipe Colivoro, and a bunch of other great people. But I won’t miss throwing slugs out of the bathroom window every morning and mold on our ceiling, and more dogs than I’ve ever seen in my life. Haha. It is pretty hot here, with less dogs, and less drunk people. But I’m still getting eaten alive by fleas.

Here in Valdivia there are giant wood piles in front of everyone’s houses. Preppin’ for the winter.

Los Encinos is a ward of about 65 or 70. My first ward! Here we have a ward mission leader! He is the best, super full of energy. And we also have ward council.
The mission focus of the month is contacting. In our leadership council we all brought a creative idea to do new contacts. There was an idea to ask for references, film them and ask them questions for a video (our idea), start the contact in English, haha (ZL idea), give them a balloon and then pop it? (hnas idea), and sing a hymn with a harmonica backup. We are trying new ideas out.
Our neighbors are pretty cool. We live in a green apartment. Our neighbors downstairs are always booming the latest rap music, reggaton (Spanish rap), and any other kind of party music. We call it the green and spacious building.  
If I could describe this week in one word it would be: contacts. And sore muscles. And walking. Haha. Forget one word. One day we did so many contacts I was losing my voice.
In my contacts, I have been focusing more on bearing my testimony in 2 or 3 sentences with all the sincerity I can muster. I have felt the Spirit more in the contacts. But it also hurts more when I’m rejected. But I know I am filling more of my purpose. I felt to knock a street. We did. Straight rejection except one house. We asked the lady something called "questions from the soul" (Preach My Gospel chapter 5). She responded and was very open. She has a 4 year old son and wants us to come back.
We also met another woman. We asked her how she was, and she said that she wasn’t doing well. Her grandma is on life support, and just a month earlier her baby died. It was a very late term miscarriage. We testified of the plan of salvation and the atonement. She said she is seeking spiritual help. We are trying to set up a cita with her.
With all of the walking, knocking, and contacting that we have been doing in the sun, we are pretty beat up. And there are times during the day when we are bummed out. I like the new rule that we have to carry a Book of Mormon in hand all the time. I can open up to scriptures in contacts and also read scriptures of comfort when it is hard and we need to keep going. There was one time this week where I had had it. I was tired, sore, and it was only like 6 in the evening. I remembered something Elder Bliss (my last district leader) told me. He said that the Holy Ghost gives us energy. I remembered a story he told us. He had been knocking doors ALL DAY and was done. His companion looked him in the eyes and said, "We don’t have the Spirit with us. We need it with us. I am going to bear you my testimony with all of the power and authority that I can. Then you will share yours." His companion bore his testimony, and the Spirit was strong. Then Elder Bliss shared his and started crying in the middle of the street. Afterwards, they were full of the Spirit and felt energy to do the work. As I remembered that story, I found myself in the same situation as Elder Bliss. I told Elder Smith, "Elder Smith, I’m tired. I don’t have the Spirit. I need it with me. I’m going to bear you my testimony." He was kind caught off guard. But he listened. My testimony was short. But it held all of the truths I absolutely know to be true. I felt the Spirit very strong. Afterwards walking in the street, I felt the Spirit burn within my chest, confirming to me that what I said was true. That Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I choked back tears. I know this gospel is true. I know it. Sharing our testimonies helps us realize we know it and provides the Spirit with the opportunity to confirm our testimonies to us.

Elder West

Elder Smith

A dog