30 Jun 2013
We ran out of gas on Friday night coming back from our investigator family in the mountains after teaching another lesson. It was about 11:30 at night and everyone we called was partying or something and we couldn't get a taxi because they are not allowed to carry gasoline so we ended up calling our investigator family to come save us. We were truly in the middle of nowhere on a dark desert highway in the middle of the Patagonia and we were FREEZING cold. They brought the whole family to save us and we piled into their VW to go get gas in Trevelin. They don't have normal gas cans around here so we had to siphon the gas from the gas can through a hose and into the gas tank. The poor dad got gas in his mouth in the process. We were okay with that because we knew he wouldn't go home and smoke that night. We didn't get home until after 1:00 AM that night and we were really worn out.
It was worth it because we had a good lesson with them. We asked the dad to explain the origin of the Book of Mormon to us once we realized he wasn't really focused on reading it very much. He was confused and after explaining it all again for the third time (with his wife shaking her head the whole time explaining it along with us) it seems like he finally understands. He went home that night after saving us and read two pages of the Book of Mormon and another two pages the next night. He seems to be serious now and understands the promise in Moroni which we explained in detail.
We start our English classes next Saturday! A lot of people are excited so we are expecting this to be a good tool for us to meet people.
24 Jun 2013
We finally made it to Chile. We have 52 members of our Branch that live in the town of Futaleufu, Chile and we are trying to figure out how to help them. The trip there and back was crazy. It was a dirt road through mountains and two border patrol stations. It took us about 30 miles each way, but by the time you go through the red tape at the border of each country (4 times - 2 each way) it takes a little under two hours to get there and another two hours to get back. Now we can see why these folks don't come to church as often as we would like. The trip here and back takes them more time than the three hours they spend in church, and the hassle factor and the wear and tear on a vehicle (for the few that have them) is tremendous. We will keep searching for ways to help these wonderful people.
|Homemade Chilean Hot Tub - just add fire!|
17 Jun 2013
When our sister missionaries arrived we introduced them to a young girl who will be turning eight next month and wants to be baptized. She is the little sister of two of our most faithful members, a thirteen and a nine year old boy. The sisters taught the seven year old girl the word of wisdom this week and after explaining it all they said, "Will you keep the word of wisdom?" She responded with, "I don't think I can give up my coffee!" We thought that was a pretty honest answer from a seven year old. :)
We are also reading the Book of Mormon each week with a less-active member and each time we go to his home he tells us he has read, but then can't seem to remember what he read. Recently, we asked him to read 1 Nephi Chapter 8. When we sat down to read, as usual, he said that he had read. As we reviewed it and asked him to explain what the fruit was like on the tree of life in Lehi's dream, he blurted out with an air of pride, that it was "tempting." As we suspected, he had not read...
We are witnessing many miracles as people are starting to read the Book of Mormon. We even had a member who finally came to church last week for the first time in a LONG time show up today again for the second time. He was excited to tell us that he had bid his wife good bye as she left to go to church and had climbed back in bed to go back to sleep. It's really tough around here because we start church REALLY early, at 10:00 AM. Anyhow, he got back into bed and then something told him to get up and go to church. He hurried and dressed only to arrive at the bus stop after the bus had left. He stood there a bit depressed wondering how his wife would ever believe that he had tried and the a truck zipped by him, hit the brakes, backed up and asked him if he needed a ride. This guy lives way up in the mountains and it was nothing less than a miracle that someone was even on the road going that direction that time of day. He was really impressed that he had experienced this miracle and was able to go to church. Once there he connected with a fellow who is trying to stop smoking and gave him encouragement since he had recently stopped smoking himself.
Our investigators came to church today. They stayed the entire time and seemed to like it. In fact, they went to his mother's home for lunch today and told her all about it and now she want to go to church with them the next time. By the way, his brother owns and runs a local Evangelist church so we are sure it will go over like a lead balloon once the brother finds out the rest of the family is converting to Mormonism...
Interesting day at church today because many people were away for Father's Day. I was the only Melchizedek Priesthood holder in the building. I taught the priesthood lesson, conducted the Sacrament Meeting, blessed the bread and the water and then gave a talk in church because the guy who was supposed to speak didn't show up - HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!
The pipes in the church freeze so we had no water in the building today. Next time we will plan ahead now that it is winter.
10 Jun 2013
We got our hands on a violin and a piano/organ (small portable version) and are starting music lessons for some of the youth in the ward this coming Friday. They are excited and it should help to reactivate some of the less-active youth.
We finally got home and visiting teaching set up and handed out the assignments today. It seems like most people are excited to get it up and running again. We think it will really help the branch a lot to have people other than the branch president making visits.
We had a service project at the church where we cleaned all the windows (outside) to remove the ash from the volcano that erupted a few years back. We also fixed all of the chairs and replaced all of the missing or broken plastic pieces - you know, the ones that are missing on the bottom that always ruin our hard-wood gym floors back home....we had a good turn out with even a few non-members that jumped in to help.
Our family home evening went well. We have found that the best FHE lessons are as simple as downloading a quick conference clip with a story from mormon.org and then discussing it with everyone after watching it.
We continue to read the Book of Mormon with some members in their homes to help strengthen their testimonies and help them create good habits. Our friend who survived the heart attack came to church today for the first time in a long time. We have invested so many hours with this brother that we stopped counting a month ago. The hook today was that his wife gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting and he was assigned to bring the bread for the Sacrament. On top of that we prepared ahead of time and sang his favorite hymn and he knew we were doing it for him. We'll see what we can come up with next week. Maybe we will invite President Monson to come down and pay the fellow a visit or something.
We called and set apart two new Aaronic Priesthood presidents today (Deacons & Teachers). After the new Deacon's Quorum President was set apart he stood up and his mother gave him a big hug and said, "Son, this is the first step towards being a member of the Quorum of the Twelve." It really caught him off guard and he just smiled in a daze....
We took one day this week with the regional property managers and fixed all of the broken things at the church. We fixed doors, lights, locks, the baptismal font pump (because we plan to use it soon), vacuums, and a ton of simple things that we take for granted back home that cause problems around here. It was a great day and the church is now better prepared for investigators and members to enjoy.
We had a great visit with our investigating family this week. We taught them the first lesson about prophets, the apostasy, and the Restoration. We visited them again tonight and read Joseph Smith's Testimony about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. They are doing well.
We went out to dinner with President Giorgi and his wife last night. They took us to one of the nicest places in the city where we had squid, cow tongue (surprisingly good), and a few other things. Luckily we avoided the frogs that they encouraged us to order. Then we had a steak and salmon (Pacific coast to be specific) for the main course. Dessert was berries with cream and creme brûlée.
We continue to have people put in our path at very specific times and ways to get us into conversation with them. Amazing to see it happen over and over!
3 Jun 2013
Our conference was cancelled due to the dangers of the volcano that is letting off some steam. So Elder Cook was stuck in Buenos Aires and didn't make it to Neuquen. Rather than go to Neuquen for a mission conference and meeting with Elder Cook, we ended up having a satellite training from Buenos Aires and I drove to Bariloche with the local leaders instead. Still a long day, but great training and advice.
We just returned from our second visit with our investigating family in the mountains. They had a bunch of questions related to the Plan of Salvation so instead of teaching about the Restoration we switched gears and taught them about our pre-mortal live, why we are here on this earth, and where we will go after we die. It went well and we even had their 12 year old daughter there the whole time as we explained it all. They invited us back this coming Wednesday.
We spent a good portion of the week putting systems together for the branch. Things like a teaching schedule for Priesthood, Relief Society, and Sunday School; Agendas for Ward Council and Missionary Correlation because they have none right now; a monthly calendar showing all of the activities for the ward and the YM; Youth Interview Schedules and a form to use during the interview; Setting up monthly firesides and service project schedules; a cleaning schedule for the church, a FHE Schedule so we can share the love with weekly lesson preparation, a checklist to use when issuing a new calling to someone so nothing is forgotten, Melchizedek Priesthood preparation training; a schedule of all auxiliary meetings for the rest of the year showing date and time; and a few other things I can't remember right now. Our focus is on the youth because we really think they will come out and be the future of this branch.