Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 79.... The Blessings of Baptism!!!

This week was one I will never forget. We were able to accomplish our goals and were able to see two baptisms this weekend. They were both super spiritual. We saw two great people make the greatest decision they have ever made. Their baptisms were super special. We were able to bring two families together, which made it that much more special.

Gabriel is the coolest little kid I have ever met. He is 12 years old. I think he is the smartest little kid. He comes from a really poor background. His mom and dad are really struggling financially and it is sad to see their conditions. Gabriel’s mom, Marcela, got baptized about 8 years ago, but has not gone to church for about 5 or 6 years. We found Gabriel four weeks ago, and from day one he has been ready. We started teaching him and I have never seen a kid so ready. Everything we taught him, he would understand. We taught the commandments and he knew them by memory. The first time we met him, we made a baptismal date with him, and from that moment I have never seen that kid look back.
He was determined to be baptized. He has been reading the scriptures a ton and has found a lot of comfort in reading. It was awesome to see his conversion and see how this great kid could make a huge change. He is now leading his family and making them do reading as a family. He has gotten involved with the youth and now has many friends. I know he will serve a mission. He is the best little kid. 

Daniela was a miracle. She was the lady that had her interview done and she was ready. Daniela has been listening to the missionaries for a while. Her mom got baptized about 6 months ago. Daniela was never really interested. As we taught her, we thought she wasn’t progressing very much. She never really answered the questions we asked. She was very timid. Finally we did the interview thinking we would do it so we could get to know what she needed. She then told the Elder that she had been doing everything in secret. She had been reading and praying. She had received her answer. After that interview she has been nonstop talking about the Church. She impresses me so much to see her huge change. She had many changes to make, but after she had her answer she did everything because she loved God. Her baptism was really spiritual. Her mom was able to give one of the talks in her baptismal service. She got up there and began to bare her testimony. She was so grateful for her daughter and her decision to join the church. Her eyes began to fill with tears. The whole room was moved by the power of the spirit felt in that room. I looked at Daniela and I could see the light begin to beam from her eyes. 

I love to see the changes that the new converts make. Their eyes glow as they begin to see the light. She is a great convert and will continue on strong.

It was an amazing week and we were able to see many miracles. We know God has blessed us so much and also these two amazing people. Every baptism is a miracle and with each one, we see them gain that light and the happiness.

24 Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance ; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 

I have seen and experienced this joy. There is no other thing that I would rather do than to help my brother and sisters in Chile come and experience this joy. I love being a missionary. For those who are about to serve, or are serving; just know there in no greater joy than that of missionary work. Ya, it has been hard, it is not easy... but it is all worth it. 
I love being here and I love my Savior. 
I know this Church is true and this truth brings HAPPINESS AND JOY.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Monday, March 21, 2016

Week 78.... Interviews and Oceans!!!

P-Day at the beach

 Elder Woods  will be finishing here in a week, so we have been working super hard so that he can finish with baptisms. We started off the week having a lot of people who were progressing, but not a lot were too sure if they wanted to be baptized quite yet. We had our minds focused on a few people. Mainly Daniela and Gabriel. These 2 were definitely the closest to making the decision. We did everything in our power to help them prepare. 
On Thursday we went over to visit Daniela. This was going to be the visit where we asked her if she was going to do it or no. She has always said that she was going to do it but needed more time. She didn’t feel too ready and felt as if she was getting pressured. She was scared to live the commandments after her baptism. So, Elder Woods and I go into this lesson knowing that it will be crucial. We decide to go and ask her a bunch of questions to see if she is ready. As we ask them, her answers were awful. We began to talk about things that didn’t even matter. She had doubts that would pop out of nowhere. She would ask things about the Bible and about Adam and Eve. As we got further along in the lesson, it was getting clearer to us that she was not ready. She was not taking these steps seriously and that she didn’t want to do the things she needed to be doing. As we left the lesson we told her that a missionary was going to come over Saturday to do the interview and see if she was ready. She agreed to let him come over and meet with her. As we left the house Elder Woods and I looked at each other and felt very discouraged. We felt we had done everything for her. We felt that all our hard work had been for nothing. We just sat there and said how can this be? But after a second of sadness we looked at each other and said I don’t care what happens… she will be baptized. 
Saturday finally came around. We met up with the missionary that was going to do the interview for Daniela. Elder Woods went with him and I went with his comp. For the next hour and a half Elder Page and I walked around contacting and trying to find people. My mind was focused on what could be happening in that interview. I was so nervous about what was going to be done. After about an hour and a half I get a call from Elder Woods and says we need to meet up at this certain place to switch back. His voice sounded kind of sad. My heart dropped knowing this was going to be bad news. As we made the walk to where they were, only negative thoughts entered my mind. As we finally met up with them the look on their faces told me that she didn’t pass. Elder Diaz, the one who did the interview, went on to tell me that she doesn’t want to get baptized. She is going to move in with her boyfriend and doesn’t want to listen to us anymore. He said that in the interview she felt too pressured by Elder Boyer....... I began to feel the shame. My heart sunk... then all of a sudden Elder Woods and Elder Diaz yelled in unison: SHES GETTING BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!! 
WHAT?? NO WAY?? SHE PASSED HER INTERVIEW???? Daniela had passed her interview. She had been so ready for baptism. She had been secretly reading and praying and she has always wanted to get baptized, her only fear was getting in the water. She had never told us that. When Elder Diaz began to talk to her, apparently she opened up to him.  So we announced her date in church and she will be getting baptized on Saturday the 26 along with Gabriel. 
We are so happy it is going to be a great way to end Elder Woods mission. We are both so happy and we know the Lord had provided for us.

 I love to see the changes that people make in their lives. The mission is amazing!!

Lomas Coloradas Beach...

Monday, March 14, 2016

Week 77.... NO LIMITS!!!

Things are going great here in Chile. I am just continuing to learn and grow each day. It is amazing to see how as we put our trust in God we learn and see things that we would have never seen. The mission is the best place to change. I feel like as I have prayed to become closer to Christ, I have been put in places of trial, and I have been put in places of discomfort so that I have opportunities to change and grow. I love it so much.
 This week I was able to learn a ton. I feel like I keep saying the same thing. But it so true. This week I was able to do some mini- transfers and I got to know some new missionaries. I always love working with the new missionaries because they come in with so much faith. Whereas with us missionaries that have been here for a while, we kind of set limits and our faith has a limit. The newbies always teach me limitless faith. And that is how I feel like each one of us should be. I always ask myself.... 
 When I answer that, then I ask myself..
 I am usually not accomplishing my goal because of fear or maybe even lack of faith. But being with missionaries who don’t know better, they have no fear and they just want to baptize millions… and I love it. 

Also, this week we were able to see a lot of opportunities for growth. Elder Woods and I have been working so hard at finding tons of people to teach. I have never worked this hard. I have seen so many miracles. I could literally write all day about the miracles we have seen. But we have so many great investigators and I love seeing them coming and participating in the repentance process. It makes me so happy to see them leave the darkness of their lives before, and spring into the light of this gospel. 

This week we were faced with a big challenge. We had a Stake Conference, and the stake center is a place about 30 minutes away, and no one in our sector as far as investigators have cars. So the whole week we were thinking about how were going to get the people to the Conference. We decided to go out of our comfort zone. We decided to rent a bus. And on Sunday, we went around and picked each one of our investigators up. There were a lot of people that came and it was awesome to see how much they loved the Conference.

The Conference was given by Elder Nelson. It was given to all the stakes in all of Chile. They have been really focused here on making the Sabbath Day a delight. So each talk  was given on that theme. One of my favorite parts was when Elder Soares of the 70 started talking about LOVE and showed us how Christ loved us. I know I talk about love a lot, but it is a characteristic that I have been thrilled about. I have seen that love is the changer. Everything done with love is better. If there is no love, it will not be successful.

He went on to share this scripture:

Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 

 I hope each of you can read these scriptures; it helps me so much to see the example of our Savior. He accepted people even when they were making mistakes. Many times in our lives we will be asked to love people even when they are not perfect. No one is perfect. But there is no greater love than loving thy enemy and giving thy life for someone else. 
I know that as we develop the pure love of Christ, and just as CHRIST LOVED THE SINNERS but not the sin, we will feel HIS LOVE. We will grow to be just like Him!!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Week 76.... The (Chilean) Title of Liberty!!!

San Pedro Zone Conference
We had some great experiences this week. I feel like this point in my mission has been one of the biggest growing moments. I have felt that in these last few weeks I have learned things that I thought I would never learn. I have seen and done things that I never thought I could do. I have never been so happy. I have never had so much fun. This sector has been my growing sector. For a long time I  felt that I had hit a plateau and that I could not increase. Getting here in this new environment, and getting to know the people I now know has increased my learning and growth beyond my limits. I truly feel like, at this point in my mission, everything is clicking. It is amazing to see the growth I am having. I love it so much.

Over this last week Elder Woods and I had many spiritual experiences. One of which happened in our Zone Conference on Tuesday. We had been thinking for a long time how we could animate the missionaries. We decided after reading the story of Moroni and the title of liberty, to make our own TITLE OF LIBERTY… but CHILEAN STYLE: 

12And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it— In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.

20Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them.

So what we did was we brought in a Chilean flag with the words "In Memory of our God, our religion, our freedom, our peace, our sectors, our zone, and our mission." 

We read each one of these scriptures and asked each mission to come up and sign the flag symbolizing they were making a covenant with God. That if they made this covenant, God would bless them in their work and in the sectors. 

As we testified, the Spirit filled the room. We were in silence as each missionary came up and signed the flag. We could finally understand what it was like for Moroni, and what it was like for those people. 

We know God will bless us if we put Him first. If we give up our desires… HE WILL BLESS US!!