Keeping it real?? Let's hope so. We're cooking down here in good ol Limache. Had a nice break from the sun Tues - Thurs with a fantastic cats and dogs rainstorm Tuesday. What made it even more fun is that the people that saved us from the rain!! We were running through the streets (rivers), sharing a borrowed umbrella, when were arrived at the house of Ariel and Gabriela. They're a young couple who we've been teaching 3 or 4 weeks now. Elder Hermansen found them on splits with the subtle impression to clap their door no mas. They let us in and we taught them a really powerful lesson. I bore my testimony at the beginning, sharing an experience I had in the Sacred Grove a few years back when it started to pour amidst a solitary moment. Attached are some pics of us after we arrived at the apt. It was actually kinda cold (I'm sure nothing like what ya'll have now).
For my letter, I'll recount yesterday - a wild Sabbath Day to say the least. We had so much stuff on the plate, and I on my mind, that I completely forgot the Superbowl was last night. Anyway, so we had planned and firmly committed an investigator, 18 year old Nico, to walk with us to church at 9 am. He said all week he knew he needed to come, and wanted to come. We were/kinda still are planning his baptism for Feb 9. Anyways, he wont get out of bed at 9. He supposedly worked from midnight to 7am and passed out an hour before we got there. We came back at 10:30, and he was up, but after 10 mins of back and forth, we couldn't convince him to come. He said he had to go to a back-to-school meeting.
At this point, we were sitting pretty with literally no one at church, and our most sure candidates out of the picture for some reason or another. The only ones left - Ariel and Gabriella. They had missed church the last 3 weeks for this, that, and every other excuse. I was standing there in Nico's door praying for guidance and understanding. It was a pretty low moment. We decided we'd walk to Ariel's and remind them. As we walked, I was a good mix of angry, frustrated, confused, and exhausted. We made it down about half a block when guess who rolls up on his motorcycle. Ariel, Gabriella, and their 3 children!!! (5 on a motorcycle doesn't turn any heads here -7 perhaps is out of the ordinary). Wow, talk about a powerful answer to prayer. I smiled so big man. We were overjoyed.
Had a great great great fast and testimony meeting. I've been thinking this week about how I'd literally never gotten up a regular fast Sunday to bear my testimony, before I slapped on the title "Elder." Yesterday, I shared the influence my parents, especially Robin (Isaac and Brigham's nickname for Jonathan), have had on me through their public testimonies. Anyway, during the Sacrament, I got a little overwhelmed thinking just how freaking lucky I have been to be born of goodly parents, in a Gospel-centered home. I can't imagine accepting the Gospel growing up and any other circumstance, for the influences of the world that I've steered clear of as a result of the Gospel surely would have led me down a different path. Anyway, I was impressed to bear my testimony, and coincidentally (not coincidence, but inspired), had what sounds like a similar experience to you (Mom). Here's the Spark notes version:
There are varying degrees of happiness. Many worldly happinesses can blind us to the true happiness that is God's love. For me, this happiness manifests itself here on earth in the form of the relationships were cherish, our love for others. God gave us a way to have these relationships completely bonded together for time and eternity: Jesus Christ. He gave his life and comfort so that we can be happy. It's a simple, yet profound equation. I know that He lives, He loves, and He wants more than anything to cele with us as we accept His doctrine and reap the blessings.
As I walked up to the mic, I wasn't nervous at all. I had thought a bit about the words beforehand, but can say without a doubt that the Spirit spoke thru me and touched many people. In fact, a few members afterwards gave me some weirdly-worded Spanish farewells. I think they thought it was my last Sunday here or something. We'll see, next Sunday could be my last.
The rest of the day, we taught some lessons and did the good old stuff. Overall, it was a dope dia de reposo, minus the reposo. (reposo means rest).
S/o to Big Mac for being the only person besides my parents to write me this week. My faithful friend, you have shown me much love!!! I cherish your rich words and always laugh at your letters. I'm happy you're leaning towards English - I hope to join you in 18 months in the same studies, but who knows.
Mom - don't worry about my future. Just for you, I'll throw it in my prayers etc. Know that you and Dad will for sure be consulted. **Original Letter**
PLEASE SEND ME SOME JOURNAL PROMPTS. Send me some general missionary ones, but also some life** prep type deals. As your heart desires.
Dad - how do you make banana milk?
Mom - all good with the packages. Still haven't gotten number 2. The things you're sending are perfect. Will you and Dad please look for some good LDS music and put it on one of the flash drives? Dad - load up the other with your favorite talks and BYU speeches.
As for the future packages - the best thing I can receive is photos and painting/drawings, plus handwritten notes. Can you send me hard copies of the snow, as well as a few of each of my baptisms?? As for other pics, send stuff that would be good/cool to show investigators.