February 10, 2014
Hey, I want you to know first of all that it has been about six week since I have been here with Elder Keetch. He is leaving tomorrow. He is headed to Puerto Montt. My new companion will be Elder Powell, also from Utah. I think he has like 6 months on the mission or so. Something like that. It will be good. We are going to travel to Punta Arenas tomorrow on the barcaza (ferryboat). We will probably return back to Porvenir on Thursday or so. So... there is that news.
This week... was interesting. Haha. It is really funny sometimes how things happen. We seriously had EVERY single appointment fall this week. All of them. Every single one of them. Like... not kidding. But it is okay, because we took advantage of that to get to know people. We talked to as many people as possible in the streets (the streets are usually fairly deserted here). We knocked a bunch of doors. Oh my goodness. This week, I got a ton of doors slammed in my face. Usually people are polite enough to end the conversation nicely. But here?? Nope. I will be talking and people scream "go away!!" and then they slam the door in our faces. Haha. I usually don’t really get upset by that. I just kind of laugh about it and say. "Otro dia será" (maybe another day) and then we just keep going. That is what you gotta do. You just got to keep going. Laugh. Keep a good attitude. I feel like that is the secret to life; Attitude and Effort.
Wanna hear one miracle that happened this week though? Okay, so we had a bunch of appointments set up for the day. Like four. ALL OF THEM fell. So we said, “pucha, what are we going to do now?" So then we decided to go out and to look for a reference that we had received. We didn’t really know how to get there. We were just told that the person lived a kilo metro outside of the city by some hotel thing and they had a white car. So we start walking. We didn’t know for sure how to get there. But we kept going and found a house by the little hotel and they had a white car. So we go and we knock the door. A lady holding a baby opened the door. We commented how cute her baby was. I said, “Hey, you are friends with Carolina!" She just looked at us and then told us to come in! That never happens! Usually the references here are a little chanta, but this one was good. We go in and we talk to her and her husband for a little while. We get to know them. And then we taught them the restoration. They paid attention and actually PARTICIPATED in the lesson. They made comments and asked questions and everything. That NEVER happens here in Chile; at least not in my mission. I have always had to work so hard just for the people to sit still in the lessons. Most people don’t pay much attention or participate at all. They just sit there while we talk and they usually don’t answer questions. But these people were different. They asked some awesome questions. They asked intelligent questions. I have a good feeling about them. We set up an appointment and we will visit them again this week. Okay, so what was the point of that story? This is the Lords work. Not ours. We had plans to do something, but that all fell through because God had something better for us to do. He had a family that we needed to go find and to teach. He is in charge. We are just working hard so we can be the instruments in His hands.
You asked what I meant when I said the members are disseminated. I think the big problem is that we are so far away from other church members. The branch is weak here because of it. We are a branch in the stake of Punta Arenas, and the stake leaders only travel out here when there is Branch Conference. So, the members feel abandoned out here. There is never any training from stake leaders for the members of the church here really. The Branch President here has been the Branch President for 17 years!! That is way too long! You usually are only in for like 5 years. But there simply isn’t anyone else here that can fill his spot. Also, materials never arrive. The new handbooks for Joseph Fielding Smith haven’t arrived still. So nobody prepares lessons or anything. It is just kind of sad. Church starts at 10:00 here. Yesterday, at 10:00 we were the only ones in the building with one old guy. The meeting started almost 20 minutes late. And that happens every single week. People just don’t come. And those that do don’t come on time. The people just seem worn down and not very happy. They actually don’t really like the missionaries either. They are just disseminated. But it is okay. It is teaching us a lot. We are working really hard to help the members. We are doing a program to read the Book of Mormon in 4 months! There are a couple of people that are sort of excited about that. I think it should help.
Well, that is all for me. I am happy. I am staying positive. This is good for me. I really have to put all of my effort into this place. I am doing what the Lord would have me do. I am gaining really good experience. This is good.
Be happy. Be safe. I love you and miss you.