|Soccer activity on p-day|
ONE YEAR IN THE MISSION
Well, here it is! This Thursday I will have one year in my mission. I can’t believe that I am already to this point in my mission. I really have to be careful with time now. It gets faster from here on out. It’s all been like a dream to me. It almost doesn't seem real; all the things that have happened.
The week was great! I’ll admit that it was a bit more challenging because I got even more sick during the week and was a bit low on energy from that. To make it even more difficult for us as missionaries, the Chilean Independence Day was this week, and that meant: DRUNKS. Their independence day is on the 18th of September but they practically celebrate the entire week. It got pretty crazy, but, in the way I least expected.... I’ll talk about that a little further into the letter.
The beginning of the week was just a buildup to the holiday on Thursday. The majority of the people we tried to visit told us to come back the next week after all the parties had ended. I expected to be finding more people in the streets and in their houses with families, but everyone ended up leaving to other parts of Chile, to the ''campo'' or camping, or to the countryside. Chillán felt like it was slowly draining out.
However, we did still have some good visits. We focused a bunch on less actives and converts rather than investigators to start. Right now we are really focusing on helping a less active family. The E P family. R the mom, I the kid, and C the dad haven't gone to church for ages. I and C were baptized this last December so they are still recent converts. They understand quite a bit about the church, and have a lot of potential, but the only thing they lack is a desire to go to church. We commit them and help them but they are never up on Sunday morning, and have their phones turned off. We keep visiting, teaching, and trying to get them to church. They didn't get to church this week but we will keep trying. We taught a really good lesson about the plan of salvation this week with them, we included some Mormon messages with it, and it was really powerful. We all felt the spirit.
M our investigator started progressing again this week. We had powerful lessons. I have rarely seen people as sincere as she is. She has given up alcohol while we have been teaching her, but she is still trying to drop smoking. We taught her the plan of salvation and verified with the word of wisdom throughout the week. We had great lessons especially on Saturday. M, and M (the first counselor in R.S. who accompanied us) Were both in tears in various parts in the lesson. M has had some incredible experiences with us missionaries. You can feel her earnestly in her prayers. It is a witness to me that God lives and his gospel changes lives. You can see Gods light starting to open her life. We extended an invitation to the church hosted party for the 18th, and to church. She accepted both and went to both. She loved the party for the 18th and made a lot more new friends and loved the church as well. That was her 2nd church attendance. She has a baptismal date for the 4th of October, but we will see how she does with dropping cigarettes.
Now for the party. The church was open from 10:30 in the morning till 10:00 at night. It was mostly just to provide a great place to celebrate in a family friendly event. They were blasting Chilean Cueca music all day long. It was a good break from all the stinking Reggaeton that we hear all the time. (so sick of that music. Haha.) We went to check if M had arrived. When we got there we saw that she hadn't. We went back to her house and she was just about to leave so we walked back to the church with her. We dropped her off and tried to get a few things done for the day and to our surprise the streets were EMPTY (With exception to a few drunks). It looked like the city had been abandoned. There was no one in the streets and very few cars going down the roads. It surprised both of us. We walked around looking for people until lunch time and then headed back to have lunch at the church. We had a good Chilean classic soup with noodles and beans, or ''Porotos Chilenos.'' At the party they danced the Cueca, ate all kinds of Chilean food and played games, we were only there for a limited time but we still had a blast. It was way cool being a part of it all. People were all dressed up in their Chilean dresses and clothes. It was cool to be part of a completely different culture. I was exhausted by the end of the night. My camera unfortunately died in the first part of the day so I wasn't able to take that many pictures.
The day after the 18th I got pretty sick. It was a hard day but a great day. Most people had hangovers and the streets were still empty. I headed to a pharmacy in the morning to get some medications prescribed by our mission nurse and then we headed to the church to clean up the chapel from the party. That day we had a baptismal interview with I our 9 year old investigator (The son of E) and we visited with the V family and their extended family. I passed his interview with flying colors and was really excited to be baptized all his little siblings are really looking up to him and they want to be baptized too when they turn 8 as well.
The visit with the V family went really well. We ended up teaching C's sister, and mother. We shared the Restoration and it went really well. The spirit was definitely present. C’s sister is especially interested because she has seen how much of a change the V's have had. It is amazing to see the gospel changing so many lives. It is such a testimony to me that this is the true church and that the work of the lord is so important in these final days.
To finish out the week we had a great baptismal service for I. There were a bunch of people who showed up to support him and his mom, E (his mom) was very emotional, and it definitely changed her and their family.
For Sunday we had good meetings and it was great that M could make it to all the meetings. In the afternoon we had a crazy FHE at the V’s with like 30 people. I thought it was a bit much but it went down really well, haha!
I'm going to start something up in these letters from now on and add something informative about Chile, or just what is going on about the culture.
Weekly Cultural Thought.
So since it was the 18th this week, the food and the dancing were the major hits. The main items of food that were shared were: Asado Chileno, Las Empanadas, Pajaritos Chilenos y el mote con Huesillo. You can go and google those items go get a glimpse of what they are. All I can tell you is that it is all DELICIOUS! Also you can go and google the Cueca the national Chilean dance. Their music for that is pretty unique as well. Other than those celebrations they usually like having alcoholic beverages. We offered to help with service to a lot of people this week. Most were just chopping their weeds. Yes, not pulling weeds, but chopping weeds. Here to get rid of all their weeds they just take a huge bladed tool and just chop them all up.
This scripture impacted me this week. 2 Nephi
13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.
14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.
15 And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.
16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.
I think it is amazing how many people don't know that God is more than just some mist floating around far far away. It is comforting to know that that God LIVES and He LOVES US. Those sacred truths can change the world if people really knew, believed, and applied it in their lives. I know He lives and that He loves us. He speaks to his chosen servants today.
Thanks guys for all the support this week. I feel your prayers and I feel your love. It carries me forward. Thank you for all you have done for the whole first year of my mission. I know that time is going to fly like crazy from here out. I love you guys so much. You are everything to me. I love you and miss you. Have a great week!!
Elder Ethan Haws