Monday, March 7, 2016

Craziest week ever, for real

Yeah, so this week was crazy.

We went to Osorno for Elder Torres’ second visa. We were in a bus for a solid two days. I ran into Elder Ryan while in Osorno.

We have a new mission rule to always have a Book of Mormon in our hand when walking around.
I had an intercambio with my district leader, Elder Bliss, in Castro. We did 31 contacts and then slept VERY well that night :)
The mission has changed the day of when they tell us our Cambios [transfers]. So we find out tomorrow. Elder Torres and I have the same amount of time here in Quellòn, two cambios. So we will see what happens.
We can see the massive Volcano Corcovado basically the whole time we are tracting, along with two others. So that is a blessing.

Remember that guy who was always looking for his "horses", who was drunk? So we were passing by his house to visit an investigator yesterday. We hear a scream, look back, and see him. He comes up to us, and the next thing we know he has us seated on his couch inside his house. We attempted to teach lesson one. But he told us some pretty neat stuff too, such as:
- he is a gringo from Germany
- he has 2 hearts
- he has 5 horses that have been lost for months. That’s why he always walks with lassos.
- the carabineros (police) hauled him off to the jail in Castro because he was drunk. As he was trapped in the back, he belted out an epic braveheart scream: "Vive Quellòn!!!" ("for Quellòn").
That was a fun cita.

On Wednesday morning at 3 AM, I woke up to sirens. The first thing I thought was "Oh shoot. Tsunami!" I opened the curtains in our room and saw a massive ball of fire. I woke up Elder Torres. First thing we did was grab our cameras and started taking photos and videos. A house on the street next to ours was on fire. And I mean ON FIRE. 
Our dueña (the person we rent from), ran to us and told us to be careful with the cenisa (ashes) that were falling. The wind was blowing all of the ashes our direction, and they were landing on the rooftops. Everyone and their dog were on top of their roofs spaying water to prevent the ashes from catching their homes on fire. We could see the silhouette of our neighbor, valiantly spraying water on his roof while smoking a cigarette at the same time. The bomberos (firefighters) arrived. A crowd watched from an evangelical church just up the hill.  The fired then spread to 3 more houses, and then we got pretty freaked out. So we ran in and packed our bags. By 4 AM, the bomberos managed to put out the fire. We slept for 3 more hours. The next day we learned that two people had died- the albino DJ that is pretty well known around here and his girlfriend. Hna Claudia knew him well. So she has been pretty shaken up. We met a man in the street the other day who was a friend of the man who died. We testified of the plan of salvation and felt the Spirit.

On Saturday, we knocked a door, and a lady who was willing to talk to us came out. Turns out she is an atheist. But that wasn’t a problem. Atheists are normally very willing to listen, and we both leave respecting each other’s beliefs. We shared with her our testimonies, and then she started to tell us all of our testimonies are just human feelings that we invent to have our minds rest, and because we need to have something to hope for. It reminded me in the Book of Mormon, of the antichrist who taught that no one can know of spiritual truths because we can’t see, and that testimonies are just the results of a "frenzied mind." I’ve never had my testimony more challenged, picked apart, tried, and blasted than in my mission. But God does not fail us.

We had interviews with President Obeso this week. I’m telling you all about the following and opening up about my weaknesses because I want to help any other currently serving or prospective future missionary. President Obeso sat me down and asked me if I was enjoying my mission. The man has the gift of discernment. I started to cry and told him “sometimes.” I’m trying so very hard to be obedient, but I’m not perfect. I want to do my mission to the best of my ability and serve with everything I have, because I don’t want to let the Lord, myself, or my family down. And all of that has created a lot of stress for me. And to be frank, I am very hard on myself. Always thinking on how I can improve, and how we should have acted in that situation, and how we are going to act in the future. Anyway, President Obeso had me open up to Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-46. He explained that Christ is kind, and we show love for our investigators, and we are kind to other people, and we are so forgiving to other people. All this because we want to follow Christ and because they are commandments. But that those things also apply to ourselves. We need to treat ourselves the same way. We read the Doctrine and Covenants scripture and told me to have those same attributes with myself.  President Obeso told me that I’m doing the work well. That helped me a ton with being less hard on myself. Tender mercy. For fast Sunday, I fasted for help in being less hard on myself and to have help with this weakness. My fast and prayers are being answered. After a study, I felt I just need to be patient with myself and have faith. I hope this helps you guys.

One of our investigators said she wants to be baptized. She and her husband came to church again.
Hno Mario came to church without his family because they had the funerals to go to. But he came by himself. He is serious about getting sealed in the temple.

We taught a less active member. We were very direct and invited him to live the law of chastity, because he his living with his partner. I used to be very squeamish about being direct like that. But as I understand more about the power and authority of my calling, it has become natural. It is such a blessing to help others.
I know God answers our prayers.

Elder West