Saturday, March 26, 2011

March 26, 2011

First of all, I'm sorry to hear about (name omitted for privacy)'s girlfriend. It's always sad when things like that happen. In moments like these it really helps to have an eternal perspective - internal peace can be found in God's words communicated either by himself or by His past and present servants. I love the comforting words of Christ in 3 Nephi 9:14 - ''Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I recieve; and blessed are those who come unto me.'' Anyone can come unto the Lord. Naturally this will require repentance (key word, come), which can be a difficult process, but just as it says in Psalms 147:3 - ''He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.'' It is my hope that (name omitted) and all who are hurting may search the comfort that comes as a result of the healing power of Christ's Atonement. I know it will help them achieve internal peace.

This last week we were traveling the mission, once again. I feel like I've driven more here than I ever did back in the states! Except for that one trip from Nebraska to Utah...and from Utah to Virginia... It's a good experience, though. This week we had three multi-zone conferences in the north, middle, and south regions of the mission. Elder Rubilar and I prepared a message about focusing on teaching people, not lessons. We started out by picking a missionary and bringing him up in front of everyone and then had Sister Swenson buz a line across his head, haha. After she did the hack job she said, ''Alright, done!'' and sent the missionary back to his seat. A nice shock factor, don't you think? The message of that was that there isn't a ''one-size-fits all'' in missionary work; every person is different and has different needs so we must adapt how we teach to make sure that the Spirit is there and testifies to their hearts of the truth. To demonstrate a good example we spliced a few scenes from Patch Adams (the four scenes with the terminal cancer patient), and that got everyone thinking. It was a good experience - the missionaries seemed like they had a lot of good ideas to put into practice in their sectors.

Oh wow, it's almost conference time again! I LOOOOOVE conference - Kelton better not skip priesthood session! I've decided that I will make sure I have work off and studies planned so that I will never miss another session of general conference. Could be a little difficult...but not impossible, right?

We had a cool day this week - Elder Rubilar and I hardly had any time in our sector because we were getting everything ready for conference and all that jazz, but Monday we did manage to be there from about 6:30 to 10 pm. We only knocked about 5 doors, but we got let in to many of them! One of them was an ''athiest'' guy named Franco. He actually ended up being really receptive and cool (Ian would get along with him - he's a metal head with long hear, haha). Before leaving we left a picture of Christ in Gethsemane and he told us that whenever we wanted we could come back. So we'll take him up on that offer! The next person who let us in was just amazing. Her name is María José, and she just barely moved to Hualpen for work. We got into hear house by offering her a picture of Christ and asking if we could come in and share a short message about Him. She said yes, and after a little while talking to her we found out that she had gone to an LDS church with an LDS friend before and loved it, but had never decided to continue in any religion. For awhile she has felt confused and a little lost spiritually - or maybe just not so decided. She does know that God exists, but nothing much past that. We decided to give her a Book of Mormon, which she said she would read and then she said she'll come to church with us on Sunday. It's so refreshing when you find someone like that! And then that night we had a FHE with a family in the ward, to which they brought a non-member mother of a member-girl. The mom is battling depression and doesn't really know where to turn. Something cool that happened with her is that after the FHE while I was saying goodbye to her I asked her if she was going to come to the ward activity on Saturday (today) and to church on Sunday, to which she said ''no''. I asked her why and she asked me what good it would do her. Peace in your life was the only thing I told her, and I knew that she felt the Spirit and wanted more because her attitude changed immediately. She, Edith, said that she would be there with her daughter to learn more about it. So yeah, that was an amazing day!

Well, I think I've blabbered on for enough today. I didn't really take any pictures this week...should have done that...but I'll get on it for next week and get you all some good ones. Sorry! Love and miss you tons!


PS. When does registration open up for USU? I hope everything is being taken care of there - I can't do too much from here. Thank you!
PPS. CUMPLEAÑOS FELIZ!!! TE DESEAMOS A TI, CUMPLEAÑOS FELIZ!!! QUE LOS CUMPLA FELIZ!!!! That's for all you old fogies that had birthdays recently! Love you!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

March 20, 2011

Hello Mammy!!

Alrighty, sorry about not writing last week! Things just got really busy and then Elder Corbridge came to visit the mission so we were busy with that as well. But here I am, starting out another cambio with my new companion Elder Rubilar. On Tuesday I took Elder Moreno to the airport along with some other elders. Elder Heiser is also going home this cambio, but is now touring the mission with his parents, so I didn't take him to the airport. It was a really crazy sensation when Elder Heiser's mom ran up to hug him when we brought him to the hotel. It was also a weird sensation to see parents of a missionary here in the mission period, haha. It would be cool if you and dad could come down here when I finish, but I think we already decided that it's not possible. Oh well, you can come down with me when the Concepción temple gets dedicated! Sound like a plan? I thought so.

Let's see, what's new in the life of Elder Vincent.

The baptism we had last weekend was awesome! Nataly asked me to baptize her, and after the ordinance she just stayed there standing in the water with her eyes closed and said that she had never felt anything like that before - she had the biggest feeling of peace come over her and knew that God was pleased with her. When we got back into the tabernacle the ward councelor asked Nataly to share her testimony, which she did. It's been a little while since I've heard such a strong testimony coming from a recent convert. Hearing someone you taught say the things she said just fills your heart with joy - it's those moments that make every bit of the work worth it. The promise is real in D&C 18:15-16. One of the ward missionaries told me that Nataly went out with her to do some of her visits to recent converts and less-active members, so she's getting really involved right away!

Nataly's baptism

coming out of the font with Nataly

I've got a funny story to share with you all. Well, first of all you should all know that Elder Rubilar and I work hard and play hard. And well...we also make the work fun, haha. I'm really enjoying working with him - he's a great missionary and a great leader, so we're going to get a lot done for the mission this cambio. Anyway, so the other day we were driving in our sector to go visit one of our investigators, Katy (she actually has a baptismal date now!), and I decided to take a little short cut. There's a small dirt field between two roads, and instead of taking the long way around to get to the other side, I decided to just drive through the little dirt field. The cool thing about this dirt field, though, is that it is just FULL of potholes. One other key point of information: I didn't mention this to Elder Rubilar - best to just find these things out for yourself, right? So there we were going through the pothole field, Elder Rubilar and I were talking, and then the truck begins to shake side-to-side. Just a little at first, but then it got pretty violent, hahaha. Elder Rubilar let out a little yelp and then smacked his head against the window! PRICELESS! I'm still laughing about that one! I think I'll make that the official initiation process of Hualpencillo - gotta get your head smacked against the truck's window :).

I think I should explain a little bit about one of the pictures that I've attached. So this cambio three new missionaries got to the mission. After the first meeting with them in President Swenson's house Elder Rubilar and I decided to take them all to their sectors: one went to San Pedro, the other close to Coronel, and the other to Curanilahue (I LOVE that place). So we dropped the first two companionships off with no problems. Then on the way through the curvy roads along the coast to get to Curanilahue one of the trainers, Araya, got motion sick or something and painted our car with lasagna. Hahaha! I got some nice pictures of it - including one with the artist - so I hope you enjoy!


On a more spiritual note, I'd like to share with you a portion of my studies from this last week. I'll translate it to english for you (names might still appear in spanish):

I was reading Alma 47 (the story about how Amalickíah conquered to king of the lamanites and gained power over the kingdom) and I realized that I was being taught about how the devil uses sin to TRY to destroy the kingdom of God on earth.
*In verses 10 and 11 it is seen that Amalickíah subtly tried THREE times to make Lehonti come down from his refuge. Each time Lehonti said no, but Amalickíah persisted. Likewise, satan persists with his temptations.
*In verses 12 to 14 we see that Amalickíah tries in another way to get to Lehonti - he goes a little closer, thus making it appear as if he were making himself weaker to make Lehonti feel more comfortable. Amalickíah even says that if Lehonti joins forces with him that he will make him the first chief, and that he (Amalickíah) will be the second chief. Satan lies to us and makes his plan seem harmless, when really he has no intentions of fulfilling what he says.

*In verse 16 we learn that Amalickíah only used Lehonte as a means to get to the end he desired. And just as is evident in verses 18 and 19, satan does the same: he uses us while it is convenient for him, but when he no longer has need of the us he will leave us in an instant to despair (known as spiritual death).
*In verses 20 to 35 we see that Amalickíah continued to conquer the whole kingdom with his lies and frauds. And all of this because Lehonti went HALF WAY DOWN THE MOUNTAIN. Satan leaves ruin and heart ache in the lives of people and nations when they let themselves be lead by his influence. Key word being LET. Lehonti did not have to go down, rather he CHOSE to do it. The key to avoiding this is virtue and righteousness - doing what is right, even when nobody is looking, and searching diligently for what God wants us to do. This will, as Nephi wrote, ''give no place more for the enemy of [our souls]''.

* Verse 36 shows us that an entire civilization, even one that has been taught the ways of God, can dwindle in wickedness if they apart themselves from Him.

*Read verses 11-13, and 17-18. It talks about the example of Moroni.

I feel that this could be applied to our lives in more ways than just sin and temptation, but those are my feelings and thoughts, so I'll have to leave it up to you and see what the Spirit tells you. I hope you can enjoy this chapter as much as I have.

Well, this coming week we'll be going on another road trip - we've got mulit-zone conferences in the north, middle, and south of the mission. We should be back by Saturday, though. So hopefully I'll be able to write.

Update on letters: none have gotten to me, I'm guessing that's because nobody has sent any, haha. I am going to be sending one out today and that should get me all caught up on letters. Taadaaa! Magic.

Alright, I think that's just about it for this week. I'll get some pictures attached to this and send it off. Thank you for remember to write! Love and miss you tons!

leaving Elder Moreno in the airport

The office - Rubilar, Brimhall, Moreno, the Sullivans, Me, Arskey

this is how we see how much we weigh


PS. Thank you for getting in touch with USU. When does registration start? I need to get all that stuff figured out. I think I've decided to keep my music major and then double minor in spanish and political science. So if you could talk to USU and figure out what I need to do to get all that put together I would really appreciate it. Let me know ASAP!!! Thank you!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March 9, 2011

Well hello!

Finally found a quick moment to write a few lines! Things have been really busy here this week and all last week as well.

I don't think I wrote on Saturday...probably because I didn't have an e-mail to respond to! Haha.

So last week we were traveling again - training sessions with all the zones of the mission. Elder Moreno and I trained about revelation through church attendance and how to work well with the members. We had a fun game to demonstrate: two companionships had one cup each and they had to gather water from one bowl on a table and walk heel-to-toe to another table about 20 feet away and dump the water in another bowl - the first companionship that filled the other bowl won. The catch is that one companionship had a bunch of holes in their cups, so obviously they weren't going to get very much water to the desired destination. We all got some good laughs, some got some cleaner shoes, and hopefully everyone learned a thing or two.

my group at Consejo

On the way home from Temuco Friday night (we left a town called Lautaro at about 10pm because we had to do a baptismal interview there at 9 pm) we got pulled over by some Carabineros! It was about 10:30 pm - we had just been pulling out of a gas station where we bought some snacks and drink for the ride (it's about 3 1/2 hours from Temuco to Concepción). As I pulled over I was thinking....what in the world? This can't be a speeding ticket, I was only going 30 (about 18 mph)! So I rolled down the window and the officer said, ''Where are you going?'' (in spanish, of course ;-) ) ''To Concepción.'' I responded, a little confused. He then asked me if we could take one of their captain's up to Concepción - apparently he had missed his bus. We said that would be fine, loaded the bags into the back, and then started the 3 1/2 hour drive. The carabinero was actually a really nice guy and we had a lot of time to talk about the gospel and some things about life in general. We got back to our house in San Pedro at about 2 and immediately fell asleep.

This week I've been really busy every minute of every day - President Swenson has asked us to pull out the records of a program called ''permaneced'' (it's a program to help reactivate members) from 2010-11 and to compile it so that he can have the totals and the averages. Sounds like a simple task, right? Well, it would be if the elders last year had done their job better! There weren't any sheets in microsoft excell with the totals from each month, so we have had to go through and do all of them, haha. Today we should be finished with that assignment.

We'll be having a baptism this Saturday! Woooo! Her name is Nataly Candia - she's 26 and is very ready to be baptized. The other day when we were in an appointment with her and another member the member voiced a concern that Nataly's family doesn't really like the idea of her getting baptized. So we asked Nataly how she felt about that and she said, ''No, I'm getting baptized. I was praying last night and God told me: Nataly, this 12 of March you will be baptized.'' We didn't even have to do anything! It's a great feeling when the people you teach and care about just follow the promptings of the Spirit.

Alright, I've got a fun moment to share with you all. To prep this moment, it's important that you know a little bit about the other two elders that I live with: Elder Brimhall and Elder Arksey. Elder Brimhall is a pretty new elder from Arizona - really good guy; he's got a good heart. Elder Arksey is from Canada and will also be studying law. He's also a bit of a comical cynic, haha. It's entertaining at times - such as this moment that I'm about to be sharing with you. Ok, so last night we were getting ready for bed, Elder Brimhall was feeling a little bummed about something, so I told him to keep his chin up. And then out of nowhere Elder Arksey says, ''Yeah, that way it's easier to punch you in the throat!'' Hahahahaha! I hope you all enjoyed that one as much as I did.

This week I get to have a new experience - cambios! Why do I say new experience, you might ask? Well, because President Swenson asks Elder Moreno and I for our opinions about cambios for the mission (new leaders, etc.). It'll be a good experience - hope to learn a lot from it.

Quick letter update: I had a little bit of time to write some letters and send them out, so some may expect letters in the next couple of weeks. I'll do my best to respond to the others that are left - I believe there are about 2 or 3. Thank you for being patient! I have a LOT on my plate down here!

Well, I think that's about it for this week. Hopefully I'll have a little time to write again on Saturday, but if not I'll just get to it at some point during the week. Thank you for writing! Love and miss you tons!

FHE - Bernal, Daniela, Hno Rojas, Hna Fuentealba, Emanuel, Moreno, Pung

FHE game