Week 13 (12-23-13)
Every week there is just so much to say, but I have no idea how to explain it all. This last week has been packed with so much, its impossible to tell you everything.
I’ve grown every single second this week. I feel like I am learning faster than humanly possible. I am having incredible times, stressful times, and exhausting times. This week has been so much fun for me. Elder Layton is incredible.
Was of course when we got the news for cambios, so not much happened besides scrambling around and packing up. The rest of the day Elder Froerer and I were running around all of Nonguen saying goodbyes. We literally went from the top of the sector to the very bottom. It was an exhausting night. I was terrified and so stressed cause I’ve only been here for 6 weeks and for the first 3 I couldn’t understand hardly anything that anyone was saying. I was going to have to lead the sector and take charge to help Elder Layton get to know as many people as possible and have a productive week as well.
We headed to the bus terminal and met up with everyone to get our new comps early that morning. We waited and met up. Finally Elder Layton and I met up, and I said my goodbyes to Elder Froerer and Shumway and then we left and went to unpack Elder Layton. We soon got our stuff in order and went over some plans. We worked up in E and got to know everyone up there, like Ignacio, Familia Neira, Matias, etc. Afterwards, my head hurt after trying to speak so much Spanish and guide Elder Layton around for the first day.
We worked so so so hard, and our spirits were high. We found more and more future investigators. It was a super long, but good day. It was basically just running around introducing Elder Layton to members and finding people. We also had a baptismal interview in Collao with one of their investigators that went really well. And after that, we went to Concepción because Elder Layton had choir practice. We ended that day completely exhausted.
We had our Christmas conference. It was so much fun. Everyone headed to the giant stake center chapel in Concepcion. It’s one of the biggest chapels in the entirety of South America. We had some workshops and classes in the beginning, then we had the elderes and hermanas who were going home after this next cambio bear their testimonies. Then us new elderes and hermanas had to introduce ourselves. We then had a great lunch in the giant gym in the church. After, we had the devotional where the choir of some Elderes and hermanas sang some great Christmas songs, and watched some parts of the new bible videos in between songs. I felt the spirit kind of unleash on my soul. I was touched and I felt my saviors love. I felt his love that he was sent here and died and suffered for me personally, and knows me perfectly. I know he lives and is mindful of me.
We woke up and studied and organized our room a bit. We had a good planning session for church attendance and a good comp inventory. We had another exhausting day of work including another interview in chillancito. All went over well and Elder Layton, because he's super intelligent, had a lot of the area memorized already.
We had some good visits with a few people, and then set up for an activity Elder Froerer and I had planned. We planned a Postréton, (which translates to something like a Dessert fest competition thing.) The activity went really well, and although we didn’t get as many investigators there as we would have liked, we had a few menos activos, and others who came by surprise. It turned out good. We made some ginger snaps for our dessert. The activity started out with a musical number by the relief society, and watching some videos. We then ate some desserts and the judges had to decide which was most delicious. They said that we would have won, but since we're missionaries, they gave the prize to the pie that Miriam and Lidia brought. It really was delicious and deserved the prize of a 2 year free subscription to the Liahona.
Great church meeting. We had our highest attendance ever topping at 132 people. The chapel was PACKED. It was a mix of a Christmas program, and a primary program. It was so great. We had good classes and everything. Everything was really great, except the fact that Ignacio had to go home before it started because he felt sick, and our investigators made excuses and never showed up. But everything else went well. We worked really hard that day and eventually met up with hermano Christian Moya who is Jenny Reyes' brother. We went around and visited some families and it went really well.
We did some super deep cleaning this morning. Our house has never looked so good and has never been so organized. We all felt good and satisfied this morning. We headed out to the centro soon after and Elder Garcia and I went to Doggis and had some completos for lunch today. And now I’m here typing.
This week was tough, exhausting, exciting and amazing. Confusing right? Every day was painfully long, and tough. It was super stressful for me to make the right decisions and lead Elder Layton along to get to know the sector. But all in all, as I look back, the week zipped by. It hardly feels like it was anything at all. I cant believe how time works around here in the mission.
Elder Layton is so different from Elder Froerer. It’s a huge change. Elder Layton is coming from being one of the office elders so he is ANXIOUS to work. We pushed so hard this week. The results were clear. We were a lot more productive. Elder Layton is 20 years old and is from Mesa Arizona. He’s a lot taller than me and is really skinny. He’s super intelligent. He knows how to do basically anything. Really, he can do anything you can imagine. He is a great missionary, and a bold teacher. He strives to excel in every aspect of a missionary. We are going to really try and put a new face to the missionary effort in Nonguen. It’s a good time of excitement. Out of all that he can do, he loves to sing. He has a good voice. He took choir in high school, and studied a bit of music in college. He is always, always positive. He is always acting in a kind manner to everyone. He is always super organized and is a great worker and studier. I’m am so excited to work with him and learn from him. These next 6 weeks are going to be a blast.
Elder Garcias' new companion is Elder Montaña. He’s an elder who is nearing the end of his mission and is still going strong. He is always bursting with energy. He’s always positive and outgoing. Elder Garcia is having a heck of a time with him as well. Elder Montaña is from Santiago, and is 21 years old.
Elder Layton is super musical and Montaña is as well. Elder Layton has a Ukelele and Montaña has a guitar. So in other words we have a nice little possibility of a mission band in our casa.
Exciting times happening right now. This week is going to be incredible and we have some great plans. I’m going to be spending some time with some incredible families for parts of this holiday oriented week. I hope all of you at home enjoy the holiday season. I am so grateful for the true meaning of it all. As we reflect this season on our dear savior who was born so many years ago, let us remember who he is, what he did, and his influence on each of us every day. I am so grateful for my Redeemer, and my Savior. I know he lives. I know he suffered and died for us and through that he knows us perfectly. I am so grateful for this knowledge of him and this grand opportunity that I have to serve him and testify of him. He is my Savior, Lord, and King. I hope all of us have a great Christmas. I’m so grateful for the opportunities I have to serve.
May your Christmas be everything and more. I miss you more than ever, especially through this holiday season. I love you all so much. Until next week.
Elder Ethan Haws.