Well, looks like the Disneyland trip ended up taking away writing time, but that's ok - it's bound to happen every once in awhile. I didn't have time to write on Saturday nor Sunday, so I guess we're a little more even.
Last week was craaaazy. We left Concepción on Monday evening and didn't get back until Saturday evening. Each day we had a meeting with the zones of the middle and south regions of the mission, and then following each mission Elder Rubilar and I did some intercambios with the missionaries of those zones. I really enjoyed working with all the missionaries - it's a great learning opportunity on both sides and it gave me a chance to get to know some parts of the mission where I had never been before. The focus I had in my head when I was working with the missionaries was to get into houses and teach families, so each day we worked really hard to do that. I would say each intercambio we got into at least 4 houses and found a lot of good people that are willing to listen to and hopefully accept the gospel.
On Tuesday night I had the opportunity to go back and visit one of my old investigators in San Martín - her name is Patricia Provoste. I believe I actually sent a tape to you all with a short story about teaching her when I was with Elder Heiser. After I left San Martín she had continued to go to church and had even tapped into genealogy a little bit, but for one reason or another had stopped going to church and reading the scriptures a few months ago. I didn't call her to tell her that I was coming to visit her (I actually went with Elder Harper, my MTC companion, because we did an intercambio with him and his companion Elder Bustos) so when we showed up her mom let us in and then went to get her without telling her who was in the next room. She was really surprised - didn't expect that I would ever be back there to visit again. We talked for a little while about what was going on in her life and why she had left her spiritual progress to the side (she had been making REALLY good progress), and I could just tell that the Spirit was teaching her because she was thinking a lot and kept saying that she knew that she had fallen away a bit. When we left she told me that she knows now that answers come from the Lord in one way or another. I didn't really know what she meant by that (could have been a lot of things), but when I opened my e-mail last night she had written me telling me that the next day she received her answer and had decided to go back to church and to be baptized. That made me SO happy! Elder Heiser and I worked so hard with her; I had to learn a lot of patience, but I'm glad I did. Patricia is a miracle - the Lord prepared her and helped her to gain a firm testimony - she'll be a great member.
Another cool bit of news: An investigator I left in Curanilahue named Paola Morales is getting baptized this Saturday! She was actually supposed to be baptized the week after I left, but for one reason or another she stopped her progress for a little while. Last week I was able to go visit her with the elders in Curanilahue and she committed to baptism again. She asked that I be there so I'll have to get permission from President Swenson. Maybe this peanut butter that you sent me will help out with that....haha.
This last Saturday was probably the most adventurous p-day I've had in my whole mission. Elder Rubilar and I spent Friday night in a little village called Cunco (we stayed with the missionaries), so that we could wake up early the next morning and drive out to the Llaima Volcano. So we got up at 7, left at about 7:30 and got to the volcano at about 9 am. Earlier in the week it had rained for two days straight, but on the volcano it didn't rain, it snowed! So we got there and everything was covered in snow. As you may already know, missionaries are always equipped for all weather conditions - so for mountain climbing we pulled out our trusty ol' sneakers, put on a coat, borrowed some ski poles from the base camp, and made our way up. Obviously we wouldn't be able to reach the top of the volcano without climbing gear and a guide, so we just went as high as we could on one of the neighboring peaks. The view from the top was gorgeous - you could see the entire valley and even the Villarica volcano off in the distance. When we were going down we decided to hike over to another peak (we later found out that the peak is called the Japanese Hill), and there we encountered a military Sergeant - Sergeant
Rubilar and me by a cross they put up when Juan Pablo 2 died
Rubilar and me on our high point
The valley below (there is a drop-off behind me)
We decided to ski down
I'm also going to include pictures of when we went to Collipulli - what is so important about the little town, you might ask? Well, the biggest bridge in South America is there, it's called Malleco. We were going to go out to the middle of it, but it was a rainy morning and the planks were all wet so we decided that would be a bad idea. Maybe next time! We did get some good pictures, though.
Gettin' a little queezy on Malleco
Well, that's about all the time I've got for this week. Better get back to work now. Love and miss you tons! I'll look forward to getting your letter!