Sorry it took me so long to write you today - we were in Los Alamos for a zone activity, and I did get a chance to do a little internet, but we had to take a bus back to Curanilahue. Anyway, so here I am, back in my sector. We aren't close enough to the ocean to see it, but I have seen it - on the bus on the way here, and last week when I went to Lebu which is right on the coast. I didn't get a chance to go to the beach or anything, but one of these p-days I will be going to the beach and I'll take some pictures. It's really wierd to see the ocean...I've spent my whole life land-locked so it's a bit strange to see so much water. But it's really cool looking. I still like my mountains, though, hehe.
Glad to hear you've been enjoying the cds - I was going to send a DVD of the mission slideshow for the year 2009, but it didn't make it into the package (stayed in my backpack hehe) so I'll get that sent out with the next one. Make sure you put those cds in a safe place, and even back all of the pictures up on the computer if you'd like (they'll come in handy when we want to make a digital album of my mission in about a year).
Alrighty, now for my week:
1. We had a baptism on Saturday! Two sisters named Valentina(10) and Constanza(22) got baptized together, and they asked Elder Laurito and I to baptized them, so we were all dressed in white :) I'll be attaching pictures. We almost had a train-wreck with the baptism, though. Saturday morning I had a strong feeling that we needed to go see them before another district leader, Elder Frankson (the zone leaders couldn't come down from Cañete), came to do the interview. So we went to see them, and found out that the night before the dad of the family (the parents aren't actually married) had fought with the mom (who is a member that was inactive for about 15 years, but has returned now) about baptizing the younger daughter. So we talked with Valentina and the mom about why they were going to do it. Valentina didn't want anything more than to get baptized - she has wanted to do it for a long time. And then Constanza told us how she really wanted to start with a clean slate again and follow God. The Spirit was really strong...and then the mom just said, ''Forget it, I want my daughters to get baptized and that's what we're going to do. At 6:30 we will be in the chapel and I will see my daughters get baptized.'' That was one of those moments when you just look up and say, ''Thhhhaaank youuuuuu!'' hahaha. So yeah, the baptism went great, and then they both got confirmed the next day. And we've got another baptism this coming weekend, so the work is moving along really well.
2. We had a zone conference last weekend and Elder Zeballos (one of the newer 70) came with his wife to visit us. He was the mission president before President Swenson. He taught us about the importance of being able to speak english (he challenged every latino to learn english right away). I never really thought about what people mean when they say that the language of the Restoration is english, but now I understand. The language gets changed a little when you translate it, so some of the scriptures and passages lose some of the meaning. But in english it's pure, it's directly from God and can't be misunderstood. Doctrine and Covenents, The Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, all the Liahonas and Ensigns, etc. I, personally, am very grateful that I already know how to speak english, because I've heard it's pretty tough to learn, haha. ''Count your many blessings, count them one by one. Count your many blessings you are an english-speaking son.'' Hehe.
3. We found the eternal staircase! There's a staircase in our sector that goes alllll the way up a hill and then allllll the way down the other side. It takes FOREVER to get up and down. I took some pictures of it, so I'll attach those.
Thank you for being proud of me, mom. It really means a lot to get some of that supportive talk once in awhile. I pray every day that the family can recieve blessings and that we can all endure together so that we really can enter into the Celestial Kingdom as a family. I regret so much not having known about all this more before my mission - it would have saved me from a lot of time wasted and mistakes made. But one thing I know, is that what I have learned in the last year have saved my life and I could never go back to the way I was before. In the conference President Swenson talked about how when we get back from our missions the test to see if we really learned anything or not will be when we open up the boxes...if we want to pick up the same things where we left off we will not have learned anything. But if we open them up and don't want to go back to the same things, but rather go on to bigger and better things our missions will have changed our lives for the better. I know I could never go back to some of the things of my pre-mission life, but they aren't things that I will miss. I feel better about the person I have become, and I'm very eager to continue working to become what the Lord wants me to be and achieve what he wants me to achieve. And my family is an essential part of all that. I love you all with all of my heart and am looking forward to seeing you all in another year.