Monday, December 28, 2009

Well, not much happened since Thursday. Just Christmas, a baptism and two confirmations. But that´s about it. :)

Christmas was a great experience. The night of the 24th we worked from seven till nine. Then we went to the house of the bishop and chilled with his family. We ate some great food, then read the birth of Jesus from Mark instead of Lucas. Then the 4 missionaries sang some Christmas hymns for the family and we went home. The 25th we worked just like a normal day, but we did get to call the family. It was great to talk to my family even though it was short. The next time I call I´ll have more than a year, and next Christmas I´ll only have 4 months left. But better not to think of that.

Saturday Nicolas got baptized, because he thought he was going to be traveling Sunday and didn´t want to wait another week. It was a great baptism. A lot of members of the JAS (young single adults) to support him, and I´m sure he found several more friends. The ward mission leader, who usually does the program for baptisms, couldn´t go, and we didn´t know till 10 minutes before. So we made up a program and some last minute talks and I led the meeting. After the baptism, which Elder Squire did, Natasha and Nicolas both gave their testimonies, which were really strong. I started tearing up during Natasha´s and even more during Nicolas´s. Then we had a Sunday Surprise. Nicolas was able to come to church, so he got confirmed with Natasha. Again I had tears in my eyes, which was not great because I was at the piano in front, but oh well. I know that they both are going to be really strong members. Nicolas should hopefully receive the priesthood soon, and it would be great if he decided to serve a mission. We´ll have to see though. We´re now going to start sharing more with the rest of the family.

Well, I think that´s about it. So, until next week, Happy New Years!

Elder Murdoch

Friday, December 25, 2009

Well, after a week and a half there´s quite a bit to tell. Where to start?

Last week we had a zone conference, and Elder Amado spoke. Actually, it was more of zone training and he trained. Elder Amado is the President of the Area Presidency and in the 70. He is one of 7 Area Presidents in all the world. And I sat in the front row being taught by him for roughly 4 hours! It was great, I learned a lot. He is amazing. Also, me, Elder Squire, and two other Elders from my zone sang "Hark the Harold Angels Sing" in a quartet. It was a good experience.

Last Thursday I got to go to the temple for the first time since June. Too much time. It was a great experience, even in Spanish. Course, I did understand everything, and that was nice. I felt the Spirit way strong, and it was wonderful to be able to go. Also, while picking up clothes, I recognized one of the sisters helping out. After a few seconds of thinking I realized it was Sister Veas, from Renca 1, my last sector I was in. And she recognized me! It was nice to see her, but unfortunately we couldn´t talk much. She asked where I am now, and then how I am. Then I had to go and she had to help another Elder. But it was great to see her again.

Tuesday we had an activity with half of the mission in the mission home. We sat at tables outside in a huge yard (with a clear view of the locked up pool :)) and ate a huge dinner. Afterwards there was a program that Sister May put together, which included a lot of singing, some by my zone. It was fun and a good experience. It was especially good to see my "Daddy" (trainer), Elder Rigby. This is his last transfer, and he´ll be leaving in the middle of January. It might have been my last chance to see him, so I took advantage and got a good photo.

Well, I saved the best for last. We had a baptism Sunday! Natasha got baptized. And much to my surprise, when we asked her Friday who she wanted to baptize her, she asked me. I know it´s better to have members do the baptism, so there´s a better relationship. But I was glad she picked me. I was a little nervous, but not too bad. Although in the chapel it didn´t seem like there were a lot of people. But down in the font, when they opened the doors and I looked up, I could have sworn the audience had doubled. But it all ended up great. Her mom took time off from work to come, and will also come to the confirmation this Sunday. It was a good experience for them. Afterwards we did have an interesting experience. But before telling it, I have to explain something else. Here in Chile there´s a tradition of greeting people or at times just showing love or thanks. The males give a handshake, hug, and another handshake. With a woman greeting another woman or a man, they give a kiss on the cheek--which is against mission rules, probably in any mission. So after the baptism Natasha was hugging and kissing all her family and friends in the church. Then she got to me, who did the baptism, and almost wanted to do it. Then she caught herself and gave me a handshake. But immediately said "A little hug" and threw herself at me. It wasn´t a big embrace, but still pretty awkward for an Elder who´s been out awhile. Later the other Elders harassed me about it.

Nicolas, unfortunately, didn´t get baptized. He felt like he didn´t know anyone except us and the bishop (our fault) and wanted to wait a week. Monday he said the he felt better, more ready. He just wanted to see how a baptism is. But he might not be able to go to church this Sunday, so he´s gonna get baptized on Saturday. Yeah!

To close I wanted to share something from my personal study this week. In Alma 9:16-17, it talks about the Lamanites. Verse 16: "For there are many promises which are extended to the Lamanites; for it is because of the traditions of their fathers that caused them to remain in their state of ignorance; therefore, the Lord will be merciful unto them and prolong their existence in the land."
Verse 17: "And at some period of time they will be brought to believe in his word and to know of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers; and many of them will be saved, for the Lord will be merciful unto all who call on his name." As many of you might already know, the Lamanites are included in many of the South American countries--possibly Chile and for sure Peru, and there are a lot of Peruvians here. Right now I am a tool in the hands of the Lord to bring to pass this prophecy. When I read that scripture and realized this, it was really humbling.

Well, that´s about it for this week. ¡Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, December 14, 2009

Well, this was a pretty interesting week. It went pretty long for me, but it was a good one. Like I said last week, with cambios me and Elder Squire both stayed. But two more Elders arrived and are living with us. We split the sector in two and both companionships work in a different sector. They are good Elders. One, Elder Moore from Texas, is just getting here in Chile from the MTC. His trainer, Elder Pititto, is from Argentina, and this is his last transfer here. He´s really great. I´ve learned a lot from him, and he´s helped me a lot this past week. Funny side note. His last name, Pititto, is Italian, and in Argentina has no meaning. But here in Chile Pitito (spelled similar, but with one T instead of two) basically means a doobie. For those of you who don´t know what a doobie is, basically it´s a joint of marijuana. So he´s heard all the jokes about it. We told a few members before hand so they wouldn´t laugh when the met him. Sunday night, he told us how happy he was that the bishop didn´t even seem affected at all by his name. We didn´t tell him that we´d told the bishop already.

Their first night here they found a new investigator and put her with a baptismal date. Her name is Maria Teresa. The funny thing is that we found her a couple months ago. But she´s always busy and we could never find her, so after passing a few times we dropped her. Then they found her. She was going to go to church yesterday, but there was some miscommunication and she didn´t make it. But she´s gonna go this next week. It´ll be pretty interesting to see her there, as she has told Elder Pititto that she remembers us. Hmmmm :)

There´s a 16 year old boy in our ward who got baptized in another zone because that´s where his girlfriend lives. The bishop asked us to pass and invite him to our chapel and also said that his mom should have some interest in the church. So we passed for them. His mom is definitely prepared: she told us that she´s been wanting to hear our message for awhile, she´s been seeing the changes in her son´s life and wants the same. She accepted a baptismal date, and is going to progress great. He got confirmed yesterday, will get the priesthood this next Sunday, and then after that he´s going to start going to our ward with his mom. We´re really excited for her. Her date is January 10th, but it might get changed to the 3rd.

Nicolas and Natasha are on track to get baptized this Sunday. They are so great! I know that the Lord has definitely trusted us with two of his most prepared children. I´m glad I´ve had his help and haven´t messed things up. They had a hard time receiving their answer/testimony about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. So this week we did a fast with them. We taught them about fast and for one day did one, starting with a prayer given by Nicolas. The next day we passed by to end it, and they had received a testimony. They´ll be baptized this Sunday. I´m really excited for them.

Well, that´s about it for this week. I´m really excited for Christmas next week, especially the call. Oh, and P-Day will be next Thursday, the 24th, so there won´t be a blog entry on Monday.


Elder Murdoch

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Well, fourth transfer is now over. Last night we got the call telling us about the new tranfers. The problem is that Elder Barney likes to joke. A lot. He said that Elder Squire was leaving, and I was staying. My new comp would be a Chilean that was in my last zone. Then he called back and said that wasn´t the transfers, and asked if we wanted to know what they are. Then he said, "Do you wanna know the real joke?" Those were the transfers. Then he said just kidding and that he´d call when he got them. Then he called later with some other fake transfers, and then hung up. Then his comp called and said that they were frustrated and bored because the call wouldn´t come. Finally we received the real news. Both Elder Squire and I are staying again. This will be our third transfer together! Crazy! But there´s more: our sector, Carrión, is going to split. It will still be the same ward, but two sectors, Carrión 1 and Carrión 2. And there will be 4 missionaries in our apartment. It´s gonna be a little cramped, but it shouldn´t be too bad. One, Elder Pitito, is from Argentina. I´ve heard that he´s really good. We don´t know how long he´s been here, but he´ll be training so he must have some time. I´m looking forward to it. It will definitely help my Spanish, having a latino, plus we can help his with English which I enjoy doing. And we´ll be helping his "son" to learn. It does put a little more weight on my shoulder to be a good example for the greenie, but honestly I think it will be good for me. It should be a good experience for all of us.

Nicolas and Natasha are still doing great. They´ve been going to church, reading, and praying about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. They still haven´t received their answer or testimony, so we´ll have to work with that. They had their baptismal date for this Sunday, the 13th, but Chile has elections that day, so we can´t have baptisms. Which means we´ll have to baptize them the 20th, which I´m sure will happen. I´m glad I´ll get to be here for it. This week we´re gonna do a fast together with them; a fast to help them receive an answer. Then we´re gonna end it by having lunch with them. I´m really excited for them, and can´t wait till the 20th.

But we did almost lose Nicolas the other night. We were in the house planning for the next day, and the doorbell rang. We opened the door, and the pamplet of the Restoration was on the welcome mat, with a note. The hall was empty. It was a note from Nicolas that basically said "Don´t come by anymore. I talked to some people who told me a bunch of stuff about you guys. I don´t want any more. I don´t want to have a lot of wives! Satanists!" We were really confused because we´ve already explained polygamy to him and he understood and was good. Then I flipped over the pamphlet, and noticed that the back, which has reminders for the investigators, was blank. We always write stuff on the back:what they´re supposed to read, their baptismal goal, our name and number, etc. So I knew it couldn´t be Nicolas, it had to be a prank. But who knew about Nicolas, knew where we lived, and could easily get a pamplet? Besides a missionary? We went down to ask the guy in the guardhouse if someone came by and asked where we live. He said no, but two other missionaries had come by. (He´s actually a member from a different ward) But they hadn´t left. So we went around back looking, and sure enough, Elder Barney my DL, and his companion, were there. They had made it up on the way to our apartments. We were infuriated with them. But at least it was just a joke and not true. The next day we visited Nicolas, and he was just as great as ever. It was quite the experience. Now, looking back, it was kinda funny.

Maria, the woman who got baptized about 2 months ago, is doing good. We´re working with her son Felipe. We´ve tried with her husband, Mario, but he doesn´t want to stop smoking. We´re gonna baptize Felipe, and that should put more pressure on Mario, then being the only non-member in his family. Felipe, 9 years old, is coming along great. Actually, wonderful. Two months ago when we baptized Maria, he would always call us the bad Mormons. Now he really likes us. So much that after we left an appointment with them yesterday he came running after us and asked us why we have to leave. He had his head down and was about at the point of crying. Maria usually accompanies us a little ways out the door before leaving us, but yesterday she didn´t even leave the house. We know that she cried a bit. They´ll both be happy that we both stayed here. Also, Mario says hi to everyone.

The other day we were walking down the street and we passed a black man. He stopped us and, in English, asked if we speak English. We talked to him for a few minutes, in English and Spanish. He´s from Haiti, and has been here for awhile and said he has to practice English or he forgets. He´s pretty cool, and we took down his address and are gonna visit him when we get a chance.

Today I went to the doctor again. While there we stopped by the office of the Chile Santiago East Mission to drop off a referencia. While waiting, one Elder started talking to me. Turns of he´s from Idaho Falls and has heard of Grace before. Also, their mission president came in and also asked me where I´m from. He owns land in Bear Lake. Wow. It´s a small world. I come all the way down here to Chile and I still can´t get away from Grace. :)

Well, I think that´s about it. We´re a little low on investigators right now and knocking doors a lot, but we´ve been told that the whole mission is like that. Hopefully soon we can find more people. But until next week...ciao!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, November 30, 2009

Well, another transfer is almost under my belt. Next week is transfers, and we´re pretty sure that one of us is going to leave. Chances are that it will be Elder Squire, cause he´s been here in Carrión for 3 transfers now, as I have 2. But there was an Elder here before who stayed for 5 or 6, so ya never know. I kinda have a feeling that I´ll be leaving, but again, it´s hard to tell. We´ll see what happens next week.

Last week I talked about a zone conference that we had and promised awesome quotes from President May. I lied. They´re actually from Sister May.

1)The Lord comforts the afflicted and afflicts the overly comfortable. 2)Our emotions tell us what we WANT to hear; the Holy Ghost tells us what we NEED to hear. 3)For non-believers, miracles are insufficient; for believers, miracles are unnecessary. 4)We´re part of a work that will never stop. Some great quotes there.

Natasha and Nicolas are still progressing great. The only problem is that their baptismal date is for December 13th. That´s the day that the Chileans vote for president. And we´ve been told that we can´t have baptisms that day. So they might have to wait. Technically they both could get baptized this Sunday, but only if they´re ready. I could see it happening, but we also don´t want to rush it too fast. It might not happen till the 20th. But they are going to church, reading, praying, etc. Saturday Natasha went to an activity with the Young Men/Women and from what we´ve heard from other teenagers that went, it seems like she had a fun time and has a few friends. That´s great. Nicolas is also making friends with the Young Single Adults. Now we just need a friend for Sylvia. She´s sixty-something but acts and looks younger. There are a couple sisters in the ward like that, so we´re gonna try taking them to visit with her. I think she really is more interested for Natasha than for herself, but she can still progress and be baptized.

We lost Jorge. Two weeks ago yesterday he went to church, but left right after Sacrament meeting and we couldn´t talk to him. The next day we called him to set up a visit, and he said he´d call us. He never did, so last Wednesday we passed for him. He told us he doesn´t want anything to do with religion anymore: not Mormon, Catholics, Evangelists, Jehovah´s Witnesses, nothing. All because of about $37 and some miscommunication. He´s been having a little trouble financially, and asked us several weeks ago if we could ask the bishop to loan him some money. He has to travel to work and buy food and medicine. Bishop said that if Jorge gave him a prescription he could buy the medicine. But Jorge told us that he didn´t have a prescription he could give. So we told him to talk to bishop. Last Wednesday he told us that the bishop closed himself off and didn´t help at all. Neither did the Lord answer any of Jorge´s prayers. So now he wants nothing more. That night we talked with the bishop, and he said Jorge never talked to him about borrowing money. Only the one time when he asked through us. A few days after we told him to talk to the bishop, bishop and his wife visited Jorge. Bishop told us that Jorge didn´t say anything about borrowing money. Didn´t even mention it. So Jorge´s mad at the bishop for not borrowing money that he didn´t ask for, except through the missionaries. He wanted to give us back his Book of Mormon, but we told him it´s his to keep. I guess we did all that we could but he´s just not ready. Hopefully someday some missionary can baptize him.

That´s about all. I´m still recuperating from having the swine flu 2 months ago. I´m getting better, but still far from well. It hasn´t helped the missionary work much. But last week in divisions I learned something from Elder Valencia. (Elder Valencia is from Ecuador, and was actually my DL´s companion my first transfer here.) He said that we´re not here to be comfortable. We´re actually here to be uncomfortable so that we can help others be more comfortable. Jesus was not comfortable on the cross. With that perspective in mind, I´ve been trying to focus less on me and more on my investigators. It´s helped a lot.

The food keeps treating me well. Maybe a little too well. I think I´m gaining back weight. I´ve started being more careful with my diet, but it is pretty hard. One tough part is the Coke. Coke is pretty fattening, and down here it´s like water. People always offer us Coke, or if not juice, but even the juice has a ton of sugar. Hopefully I can lose some of all this fat.

Well, that´s all for this week. Talk to ya all later!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, November 23, 2009

Well, this week, like all the others, has been fast and slow. Interesting how time works.

Friday we had a zone conference. It was really great. We learned a lot from President and Sister May and the assistents. We learned about using the Book of Mormon to answer doubts, asking members for references, and lots of other stuff. President May said a lot of things that I loved. Unfortunately I can´t remember any right now, so I´ll send them next week. He also talked about a training that all the Chile mission presidents had last week with Elder Bednar. That would be pretty sweet. He told a story that Elder Bednar told them of a guy that had cancer. He was recently married, and didn´t want to die. A friend of his knew Elder Bednar, and asked him to talk to the friend with cancer. During the conversation, the man asked for a blessing. Elder Bednar felt inspired to ask, "Do you have the faith to not be healed?" Then he said that, applying this story (of which we don´t know the end) to missionary work, the question should not be, "Do you have the faith to baptize?" It should be "Do you have the faith to keep going faithful without baptisms?" It really made me stop and think, since in almost 6 months I´ve had one baptism, and I didn´t find her and someone else did the baptism. I´ve had so many almost baptisms. It´s something interesting to think about.

I think that I have mentioned in past emails that the people here in Chile are nice. It´s true. The people here are very hospitable and kind. However, I found this past week that there are exceptions. We knocked on one house, and I started doing the contact. She interrupted me, and said "No. I know you guys are Mormons. My church doesn´t allow me to participate with sects. Also, you´re Americans, and I don´t want anything to do with you." Regretably, I kinda lost the Spirit and said, "And what if we were Evangelists from Brazil?" It was an interesting contact. And another contact later, the guy opened the door and right away took a cigarette out of his mouth, shook it at us, and yelled, "I believe in this, nothing more. I don´t believe in your God or anything, only this." Pretty sad, but we also found it slightly entertaining.

Nicolas and Natasha are progressing really well. They both went to church, and later last night we had a family home evening with the Bishop´s family. It was really great. We taught the Word of Wisdom, and Nicolas basically said, "I don´t smoke or drink because it doesn´t interest me and doesn´t make sense." He likes sports and is a pretty big guy, and it was great to hear him say that. I´m really excited for them. Just to make sure it´s all straight (I´m not sure how well I explained last week) Nicolas is Natasha´s uncle. His mom is Sylvia, who talked to us in the street. Nicolas is 24, Natash 12, and Slyvia 60-ish. She isn´t progressing as well so we´ll have to work more with her. Nicolas could get baptized this Sunday, but it´ll probably be the 6 or 13 of December. Natasha will also be the 6 or 13. The last Sunday of transfers is the 6, so hopefully it happens then.

I´m slowly getting better from my 2 month long sickness. I went to the doctor this morning for the 7th time and he said I´m slowly getting better. He said I had been pretty bad, and he thinks that I did have the swine flu, but then got over it. Now my immune system is down a little, which is why I´ve been so slow at recuperating. But, slowly, I am getting better.

Well, I think that´s about it. Wishing everybody a happy Thanksgiving!!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, November 16, 2009

Well, don´t have much time, so this will be short. It seems like every week I have less and less time. Hmmmmm.

This was a great week. Jorge called us on Tuesday, and we set up a visit for the same day. He´s been having some bad moments, but with a lot of prayer, and a couple visits from the bishop´s wife (she´s amazing) he´s overcome a lot. Right now his only problem is finances. He has to buy a lot of medicine (like me) and doesn´t have a lot of money. I think he will or has talked with the bishop about a loan. He said he still wants to be baptized and wants to be a member of this church. We´re hoping maybe this Sunday. The next at the latest.

Willi and Vanessa are still waiting for his citizenship to come. January´s a long ways away. It´s frustrating cause when we give the report every Sunday, we can´t count them as investigators in the church or as progressing because they´re not married. Even though they´re progressing better than most of the other investigators and a lot of members! We´ve been meeting up with them on a corner close to the house to go to church together. But yesterday we had to pass for some new investigators. We called to tell them and they were already getting dressed and ready for church. Wow!! We had a Family Home Evening with them last night with another family from Peru. We talked about Joseph Smith, watched The Restoration, and shared testimonies about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Willi and Vanessa had the strongest testimonies of us all! It was really great, especially since they have fellow Peruvians to be friends with in the ward.

About a week and a half ago, a woman talked to me and my DL, Elder Barney, in the street. Her name´s Sylvia, and she´s looking for a church for her 12-year-old granddaughter and wants to investigate ours. Last Tuesday we passed for her. The granddaughter wasn´t there, but we set her and her son, Nicolas, with a baptismal date. Sunday when we passed by to pick them up for church she was in a dress and him in a shirt and tie. They had read the pamphlet about the Restoration we left, and saw that we dress up when we go to church. They said "Is this all right?" I was like, "Um, of course it is. It´s perfect!" They´re really great. In the church they found friends pretty fast: Sylvia with the bishop´s wife (I told ya she´s amazing!) and Nicolas with the bishop´s daughter, who is in charge of the Young Single Adults in the ward. Later after church, we passed for them and taught her granddaughter, Natasha. When we were talking at the end about baptism, Sylvia said about Natasha, "She´s not baptized yet." Then, startling us as much as her grandmother, Natasha said "I want to get baptized." Um, yeah. No problem there. She has the same date as Sylvia and Nicolas (he´s her uncle), the 13 of December, but they could all progress and be baptized the 6th.

Just a few tidbits of experiences that I didn´t get to put in last week:
1)One night we were coming home at night and a couple drunks stopped us in the street. They were pretty wasted. As one learned a bit of English from Elder Squire, the other told me the the watch on my wrist was his and he wanted it. He threatened that he had a pistol, but it was obvious that 1)he didn´t and 2)he was too drunk to aim properly even if he did. I got pretty amused, and he got frustrated cause I wouldn´t give it to him. Finally they left and we went to the house.

2)Another night we were doing contacts, knocking doors in a street. At one door, the guy came to the door, a little drunk, and said "I´m not doing anything. I´m just drinking coffee. There´s no problem." Turns out he thought we were from the PDI-Policia Departamento de Investigaciones (Police Department of Investigations, basically the FBI)When he realized that we´re missionaries, he asked us to visit him another day. He said that he´s been praying, and that night he had said "Lord, save me" and right then we showed up. Pretty cool story. Unfortunately, when we passed by with a member, he was way drunk, so we didn´t enter. We´ll probably pass by another day and hope he´s sober.

Well, I think that´s all the big stuff. We´ve found quite a few new people. Now we just have to keep passing for them and help them progress more. The language is going great. I can mostly say anything I want and understand basically everything. The food´s still great except for the clams we ate for lunch yesterday. Not my favorite, but not too bad. It keeps getting warmer and warmer. I´m really gonna miss snow. Recently I´ve realized that I´m not gonna see snow for two more years from right now, the winter of 2011. Wow. I really hope I don´t go into withdrawal this Christmas. :)

Well, time to go. Hasta la proxima semana (Until the next week)....

Elder Murdoch

Monday, November 9, 2009

Yeah, so I had my email all ready to go, and the power went out here in the internet place. So I lost it all and I´m almost out of time, so this will be fast.

Quick update on investigators
Jorge-has some personal issues to solve and needs some time to himself. Basically said not to come by untill he calls us.

Anibel-25 years old, I don´t think I´ve talked about him much. Stopped smoking. It took a couple weeks, but he finally did it. Now we have to work with the Law of Chastity. Fun.

The 4 generation family-Maria and Carlos, the great-grandmother/father said that they had realized that we´re not from their religion. They actually gave us back the books of mormon! But Camila, 15 years old, has some interest, and we´re gonna teach her in the house of a member close by.

Well, I have more to talk about, but I don´t have time. Sorry. Maybe next week. Ciao!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, November 2, 2009

This was a pretty good week. Tough, but good. I´m still fighting sickness, and having trouble sleeping at night. But one night, while trying to sleep, we did have a slight earthquake. I don´t know if it was just a really tiny one, or if we felt the edges of one farther away, but I haven´t heard anything about it. My bed started shaking, and then the walls and windows rattled a little. It lasted about half a minute then stopped. Nothing big, but it was still a little nerve racking.

We finally got a shower that works this week! I haven´t even written anything about our old one. What happened is that we live in a big department building, with 13 floors (we´re on the 9th). We haven´t had hot water or a showerhead that works. So what we did is boil water on the stove, put it in a big bowl, transfer it to the shower, put some cold water to cool it down, then use a tupperware to scoop out water and dump it on us. Quite the adventure, but not very fun. But there´s a member in our ward recently becoming active again who works with electricity. This week he came by and installed an electric shower with a head that works. We paid him and will get reimbursed by the office. We finally have a shower that works!!

Halloween was interesting. Just for that one night, we weren´t the only people knocking doors. There were all sorts of devils, ghosts, witches, etc., who all had much more success in their search than we did. Some even came to our door after we had arrived and we scraped up some gum, mints, suckers, etc. to give them.

Last night we scheduled some time just to knock doors. We were a little behind in contacts, so instead of trying to enter to teach we just set appointments for another day. But one door we knocked said, "We´re all together, and that almost never happens." So we entered and taught the Restoration and Book of Mormon. We left two Books of Mormon with them and set 4 of them with a baptismal date. It´s a real great family with 4 generations. They consist of the oldest, Maria Mercedes, her daugher, Hedy and her husband Carlos, their daughter Jessica, and her daughter Camila. They´re really great, and I´m excited to continue teaching them.

Well, that´s about it. Plus I´m out of time. The other investigators are doing well. Jorge will be baptized the 15th if everything goes all right, as well as a 25-year-old, Anibel. Willi and Vanessa are still waiting for his carnet, but we did a kneeling prayer with them the other day asking for the Lord´s help; and they went today to check up on it. Tomorrow we´ll see how it went. That´s the only thing keeping them from being married and then baptized.

Well, until next week. Hasta luego!!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, October 26, 2009

Well, another transfer has come and gone. I´m now over 6 months in the mission, and on my 4th transfer. And this is gonna be an interesting one. My companion, Elder Squire left, and I´m with another 2nd transfer, Elder Murinez, from Colombia. And I´m District Leader. I´m not quite sure how to be DL, so it´ll definitely be an adventure for me. (Spoiler from Maili: He's kidding about this!)

Aside from that, this week was, well, another normal week. We found some more people one night. We were knocking doors and at one of them a man came out and said "Come in!" They were really nice, and we thought that they have to be less actives. We were searching around the living room for a picture of Jesus or a Book of Mormon or something. Then we saw the statue of the Virgin Saint Mary holding the baby Jesus. Turns out they´re Catholics but not really active, practicing, die-hard Catholics. We set the parents with a baptismal date. The grandma was in and out and the daughter, 10 years old, as well. We´re gonna work with them harder.

Yesterday we ate with the Stake President´s family (they´re in our ward, pretty sweet). He knows a lot of English, and his wife and kids quite a bit too. So for the closing prayer they asked me to do it in English. I have to say, that was the weirdest, most awkward prayer I´ve given in my life! Even worse than my first prayer in Spanish! I kept wanting to talk in Spanish, and even said a couple of words in Spanish and had to correct myself. And I really had to think hard about what I was saying. It was very different for me, and not something I want to do again soon.

I don´t think much else happened this week. Jorge is still progressing well. He has a good testimony of the church, Book of Mormon, etc. and wants to be baptized. He has no doubts about anything we´ve taught him. Which is a big change. He said that when we first visited, even though he had asked us to, he was closed. But then we taught him how to pray, and in the first prayer he did after we left he opened up more. Saturday, more or less 3 weeks after our first visit, he prayed in the lesson, the first time he´s prayed with us. It was a really great prayer, and we could tell that he´s praying from the heart. But his problem is that he doubts himself, and says he still has some personal changes to make. We just need patience and lots of prayer, and he should be baptized soon.

Willi and Vanessa are also progressing great. He´s from Peru, and is just waiting for his carnet to arrive so he can be legal. Then they can get married and baptized. I´m really excited for them. They have a 5 year old daughter, Camila, who is really cute. They´re going to be a great eternal family. And I should get to go to their sealing in the temple, one year after their baptism. It´ll be a great experience, especially for them.

Well, I think that´s about it from here. Oh, and one more thing: I lied. Nothing happened with transfers. I´m not DL. I´m still with Elder Squire. Nothing changed. Sorry, I had to do that, I couldn´t help it. I thought about waiting till next week to say something, but didn´t want to be that mean, nor confuse people. So we´re still here in Carrión, me and Elder Squire. And things are going great.

Well, until next week!!

Elder Murdoch

Iré, Haré, Seré
I will go, I will do, I will be.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Well, this Thursday I will officially have 6 months, 1/4 of the mission, completed.(counting the MTC) I feel old. I can´t believe I´ve been here that long! Time needs to slow down more! But it´s been a good 6 months. I´m learning a lot, and growing a lot spiritually, mentally, and a little physically. (I´ve been a little bad at excercising and need to pick it up some more.)

This has been a very crazy and interesting week. One day we were working with Permanaced and looking for the house of a member. It was in a little alley that has like 6 different houses. There was a lady that told us not to say nothing, just keep walking, she doesn´t want our message of Jesus Christ. All we did was say Hola!! Then as we walked away she said "It´s difficult to converse with the Devil in this house." My comp didn´t hear, so I was like, "Um, Elder. I think she just called us the devil." Interesting.

Thursday I got to become legal. I had to wake up at 4, go to the mission office, then go on a treasure hunt. We got instructions that said go here, do this, do that, go there, etc. It took about 7 hours of walking, running (in the sun), take a number and wait, stuff like that. But after all the frustration, I am no longer a tourist: ¡Soy Chileno! I´m Chilean! I get my ID card in about 2 weeks, but basically I am now Chilean. Sweet!!

Jorge is progressing really, really well. I think I mentioned last week, he got his answer in church. As he took the Sacrament, he suddenly knew that this is the path he´s been searching for. He also had an interview with Bishop, who then invited him and us to FHE Monday night. During FHE, bishop explained about FHE, then we had a lesson by his daughter on conversion. During the lesson Jorge said "Me voy a bautizar." "I´m going to be baptized." We were like, what?! Can you say that again? It was awesome. Then I played the piano for awhile while they all talked and the bishop´s wife prepared a pizza. It was a great FHE. Jorge also went to church yesterday and felt the spirit even stronger. He feels like he has friends/family in the church. We´ve taught him Chastity, Word of Wisdom, and tithing, and he doesn´t have any problem with any of them. He was definitely prepared by the Lord, and is ready for baptism. Hopefully this Sunday, but at least the next one at the latest.

We have a couple that we´re teaching. They´re not married, but have talked about it. We´ve really been pushing them, lovingly, towards marriage, so that they can be baptized. Last night they said that they are going to do it. They´re from Peru, and he´s still waiting for his citizenship, the same thing I just got. But then they are going to get married. Last night they told us that they will never forget us because we´re the reason they´re getting married. They´ve talked about it, but never done anything till we came. I´m really excited for them.

Well, time to wrap it up. This is the last week of the transfer. Hopefully I can finish it well. Until next week!!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, October 12, 2009

This week was another fast and interesting one. We did have a baptism yesterday. Yeah!!! My first one on the mission. Maria was really nervous, but ready, and it was a good baptism. Except there was some sort of time change (did you all have daylight savings?) and the time went forward an hour, but we didn´t know until an investigator called to ask why we hadn´t passed to pick them up at 9:45. We thought it was 8:45. Oops. But he went anyway. But we showed up late, and then after sacrament meeting we had to prepare the font, but there was still water from another baptism that someone else did, so we had to dump the water and fill it up again, with lukewarm water, find clothes for her, and prepare everything else. We didn´t make it to Gospel Principles or Priesthood, but did get everything ready for the baptism, which went really well. I´ll attach a foto.(Maili's Note: He forgot the photo)

Another good thing about the day was Jorge. He´s the investigator that talked to us in the store and asked us to pass. (Maili's note: I think pass means stop by.) He was in the church. He´s still been searching for the right path in his life, and on the way to church had some doubts. But he told us that right as he took the bread in the Sacrament, he felt his answer, and is ready to follow it. We have a little more to teach him, and he´ll probably be baptized in two weeks. Yes!!! I knew that all he needed was the church. Another cool incident with Jorge happened Thursday. He called us in the morning and said that he´s still waiting for his paycheck (he´s a professor of French) and doesn´t have any food. We called the bishop who said Jorge could go to the church at 8:00 pm to talk to him and work something out. But Jorge works at night and couldn´t. So we took him some random stuff, like hot dogs and bread and ketchup, juice, stuff like that. It was great to be able to serve an investigator. And tonight we have a Family Home Evening with him and the bishop´s family.

The other day we showed up at an appointment, and there were a couple little girls outside the next door neighbor. One asked us if we´re Mormons and then said her parents want us to pass by and teach them. We set an appointment, but they weren´t there, so we´ll have to pass later. But it was pretty cool.

Something cool I forgot to say last week: Sunday morning in conference the Motab sang a song "Sing Praise to Him." This is one of the songs that Elder Squire and I sang in Priesthood Conference last April. Pretty sweet.

Well, I have to go. Elder Squire has something with President, and we have to go. We´re already gonna be late. Everything´s going great here. The language keeps improving. The food´s great. Actually, we just had lunch and had a soup with chicken feet. It was good, but kinda weird. I had to bite off each toe one at a time and suck the meat off. It was weird to think "I have a chicken toe in my mouth." But it was good.

Well, that´s it for this week. Ciao!!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, October 5, 2009

Well, another week under my belt. Actually, I had a little wake up moment the other day. We had divisions, and I was in another ward with my district leader, who has a year and a half. He asked me how much time I have including the MTC, and I realized that in about two and a half weeks I´ll have 6 months. Wow! Crazy! It doesn´t feel like I´ve been here for 6 months, and at the same time it seems like 6 years. But a quarter of my mission is already done. Wow.

Also, with my district leader in divisions, we contacted a 70! Woot! I was pretty excited. Except there´s a catch. He´s not actually from THE QUORUM OF THE 70. My DL explained to me: years ago when they called ward mission leaders, they got called to the office of 70, with that title. But they really were just ward mission leaders. Such is the case with this person. He was a mission leader, but was called to the title of 70. Still pretty cool.

We´re going through kind of a rough time with investigators. We´ve lost a lot of people this week. But we are hoping for 2 baptisms this Sunday. Fernando, who is 11 years old, should be ready. And Maria definitely. She had to stop smoking, but did it in a week. She is progressing great. Her husband Mario a little slower. Where she was smoking one cigarrete a day, he smokes 5, and at first didn´t think he can stop. But I shared 1 Nephi 3:7, and gave a strong testimony and promise that he can do it, he just needs the faith. Then he said "For you Elders, for Nephi, and for the Lord, I´ll make plans and goals, and stop smoking." It´s amazing the changes people can make when the Spirit is there. Mario will probably be baptized one Sunday more, the 18th.

We have a few other people we´re teaching, but they´re all mostly in the beginning stages, and have a long way to go. But they all have great potential, we just need to teach them, and with the Lord´s help, they can be baptized.

Now for the main part of my week: General Conference. We got to watch in English, fortunately, and it was great! I really needed it. When President Monson stood up Saturday morning, I got teary eyed and could have left happy right then. I testify without any doubt that he the prophet, seer, and revalator in our days, and that he is called by the Lord, as well as everyone else who spoke the past two days, and they all spoke the words of the Lord.

We were pretty excited to hear about the new temple in Conception, Chile. The members even more excited. It sounds like most of the temple attenders here are from that area, but it´s hard for them to come. A member told us that it´s easier and cheaper to go to the temple in another country than here in Santiago. But now they will have a temple down south in Conception. I´m sure they´re all pretty happy. I loved Elder Ballard´s talk in Priesthood, and Elder Holland´s Sunday afternoon. Wow! Elder Holland really put it all out on the line! Holy Cow!!! It was a great talk. Elder Bednar and Elder Uchtdorf gave amazing talks too. I´ve decided that this was the best Conference of my whole life. I learned a lot. It was also different, because I was listening and taking notes not just for myself like normal, but for my investigators, as well. I think that with Conference, when we love someone enough, and desire their salvation, we can learn more than if we just want to learn something for ourselves.

I heard that Elder Brice Anderson has an Elder in his district who is a cousin to Elder Barney here in Chile. Funny thing: Elder Barney is my District Leader right now. Wow, what a coincidence.

Well, here in Carrion the work keeps going. I´m learning a lot and growing a ton spiritually (although I think I´m still shrinking physically). I´ve never felt the Spirit and the Lord so near in my life. This definitely is the best time of my life so far. I only hope that I can make the best of it in inviting others to come unto Christ. This really is the Lord´s work, and can only be done when we involve him and do it his way, which is through the Spirit. It´s true what D&C 41:14 says, "If ye receive not the Spirit, ye shall not teach." The Spirit is essencial in the conversion of others, and in all aspects our daily lives. If we search for and live worthy to have the Holy Ghost, our lives will be better, and we will be able to better help other people come unto Christ.

Elder Murdoch

Friday, October 2, 2009

Elders Nicholas and Murdoch on transfer day

Well, things are still pretty interesting here. Some things are looking up, and others down. But no matter what, the mission work still goes on.

Elder Squire has improved so much! He can talk a lot better, teach great, and everything is getting better. It´s been amazing watching him improve so much the past two weeks, realizing that not long ago I was doing the same thing. I know that the Lord is helping him a lot, and I´m grateful for the opportunity to see it happen.

Last Monday we were shopping, and a man came up to us and asked where is our chapel. We told him, and set up a visit to talk with him. When we went, he told us that he feels like he´s lacking on faith, and has been searching for the truth. Jorge has studied a little with Jehovah´s Witnesses, Evangelists, etc. but has never felt anything like he thinks has helped. Then when he saw us in the store he had to stop and talk to us. We´ve since taught him about the Restoration and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He told us that he´s been feeling small changes in his life for the better since we started teaching him. He´s really progressing great and I think that we can change his baptismal date to much sooner that the 25th of October.

One night we were visiting less actives, and while waiting for one door to open, a couple stopped us and asked if we could pass for their house when we had time and gave us their address. Turns out that their searching some family history, and heard something about our church buying an archive from the Catholics, and wanted to see what they need to do to use it. We took them to the church and the talked with the Bishop and found out what they needed. Hopefully they can find the information that they need. Oh, and we also set up an appointment to visit them. They also went to a FHE that the priests were doing, and the opening song was "Families Can Be Together Forever." It was perfect.

We´re teaching an 11 year old who has been ready to be baptized for a few weeks. The problem is that his parents keep saying "Wait one more week." We´re going to teach them and invite them to church, and hopefully they can gain interest and be baptized, or at the least allow Fernando to be baptized.

Well, that´s about it. Things here keep going. We´ve dropped a few investigators, but found a couple more. With a lot of help I´ve basically got the language down. I can more or less say what I can want, and I can understand most of the time. Things are improving, more or less, and I´m learning a whole lot. I´m way excited for Conference this week. We´re gonna have several investigators there, and we´re praying that they can receive the answers that they need there. I´m also excited for the chance to see and hear President Monson and the other leaders. I know that they are called of God and that we will be listening to the word of God.

Elder Murdoch

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wow. This week was definitely a challenge. A lot of problems, prayers, tears, questioning why, growth, learning, etc. I still don´t understand why I´m here in Carrion, on my third transfer, with a companion on his second. I´m basically his second trainer, but I don´t know much more than he. I prayed a lot this week for help with this. It´s been difficult.

On a more happy note, his abilities to speak, do contacts(something that was difficult for him), and teach, have improved immensely in this past week. I know it wasn´t all my teaching, but mostly from the Lord, and I´m grateful for His help. Things are getting better.

On Friday the 18th we celebrated Chile´s Independence Day. Here they prepare for a week, and celebrate for 2-3 days. We went to the Bishop´s house Thursday and ate Empenadas, a Chilean food. Friday we had a barbecue, with hot dogs, sausage, beef, chicken, and potatoes. It was way great. And Thursday night there was a stake party in the stake center. We had permission from President May to go for two hours, with an investigator, but we still had to be in the house at 10, and couldn´t dance or play sports. It was pretty fun. We got to hear some good music and see some of the culture of Chile. I really enjoyed it.

The ward here is really great. The members are willing to help us; the recent converts are really faithful; everything´s great. I love the ward. And the bishop is really amazing. And his family´s great. They actually remind me a lot of the Brady´s, and Kylie and Lauren. I don´t know why, but that´s what I think everytime I see them. They´re really a great family. We had lunch with them yesterday, which was a fun adventure. We ate fish, clam, crab, and lobster. The interesting part was that it was the whole clam. We had to pull the shell open, scoop out the meat, and put the shell in a separate bowl. And the lobster claws, too, which was even harder. But it was pretty fun, even though it really didn´t taste to good, and my hands still smelled like fish all day even after washing like three times. It was a good dinner.

At lunch Saturday with the 2nd counselor in the bishopric, he asked what instruments I play. When I said I play piano, he asked me if I could play in church. So yesterday I played in Sacrament meeting and Priesthood and will probably be the ward pianist now.

We have 25 people with a baptismal date right now, which is a lot. More than I´ve seen in all my time in Renca 1. We´re probably gonna end up dropping some. There are a lot that I still don´t know, but also a few that I´m really excited about.
Fernando is about 11 years old, and really wants to be baptized. He´s received all the lessons. He actually was going to be baptized yesterday, but his parents wanted him to wait one more week. So we have to wait until this Sunday. Also, tomorrow we´re going to teach the rest of his family, and hopefully they can follow his example and join the church. Anibel is in his late teens, early 20´s, I´m not sure which. He´s a little shy and quiet, but a good person. He´s been reading the Book of Mormon and praying but still hasn´t received an answer to his prayer about baptism, so we have to help him with that. He was the investigator we took to the party Thursday, and met a few members of J.A.S. (Jovenes Adultos Solteros, or in English, YSA, Young Single Adults) and now has a few friends in the church, which is good.
Maria and Mario are a couple who have received a lot of lessons, and are preparing for their baptism. But they have to stop smoking and drinking coffee, which they said really won´t be too bad. They also were in church yesterday. I´m excited for them.

I learned a lot this week. I guess it´s true that we can learn from our trials. I´m still having a hard time and still learning a ton. But things are getting better and I know the Lord is with us. Romans 5:3, 4 says "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope." I know that this is true, that with tribulation we can acquire patience, and with this, experience and hope. I have gained a lot of these things this past week. I´m grateful for the opportunity to be here and for all the things I am learning. It´s definitely a great experience that will help me throughout all my life.

Elder Murdoch

Monday, September 14, 2009

Well, one more transfer under my belt. That went fast! I´m now in a different sector and not sure how to feel. Elder Nicholas stayed in Renca 1 with another missionary. I´m now in a different sector named Carrión. My new companion, Elder Squire, is from Ohio. He went to BYU-Idaho at the same time as me. He´s really great, and I can already tell that he´s a hard worker and we´re gonna get a lot done. More than that, this is his second transfer. He has one less than me. Kinda hard to believe, huh? I´m a little overwhelmed but also excited to help him learn all the things that I´ve learned recently. The sector´s gonna be great from what I´ve heard. Right now we have twenty-something people with a baptismal date. I´ve heard from him and other missionaries that the sector is great, easy to set people with a date, just have to maintain them, and that the ward is wonderful. Hopefully I can have more success here than in Renca 1.

The language is going great, which will help me be able to help Elder Squire. I can talk really well, basically say what I want to most of the time. And I can understand well too. There are still people who talk way fast that I can´t understand everything. But the majority of people I can understand. I´ve definitely had a lot of help from the Lord.

This last Friday we had a small adventure. It was the 11th, which is an anniversary of some sort of riot in Chile. It sounds like every year on September 11, they cut the lights and have demonstrations. We had to return to the house at 7:00. We planned, ate, hung out, and at about 9:00 the lights and water went out. We went to bed at 10:00. Fortunately nothing dangerous happened and it´s all good now.

This coming Friday is September 18th. It´s basically like our July 4th. They have a big celebration in the church, with lots of food and entertainment. We can go for 2 hours if we bring investigators but can´t participate in dances or sports. I don´t know if we´ll go. We probably will. I´ve heard about some of the food, and I´m excited to try it out.

Yesterday we had Stake Conference. Our chapel is the stake center, so we just went there like normal. It was really great. There were some talks and testimonies from some members including Michael Gonzalaz, who was less active for about a year and a half and now is preparing for a mission with his brother Denny. Then we heard from Sister and President May and the stake president. It was really great. The stake choir was amazing, and the spirit was really strong the whole time.

Well, not much more to say. The language keeps improving; the food´s still great; I´ve lost a bit of weight; and the work keeps going. I´m really excited to work here in this new sector.

Elder Murdoch

Monday, September 7, 2009

Go Cougars!!! Exciting!
The weeks keep going by too fast. We´re already in the last week of this transfer. I don´t know where I´ll be next Monday. I might stay here or go to a different sector. I guess we´ll see.

This week was interesting. I got my plaque back. I had lost in in the micro(bus) the first day of this transfer, 5 weeks ago. Turns out a teenager found it and this last week gave it to some missionaries in my zone. What are the chances!? I was gonna buy another. Glad I didn´t.

Thursday we left the pension, then had to go back in to get something we forgot. This second time, we left the keys on the desk without realizing it. I asked Elder Nicholas if he had the keys, because I didn´t. Neither did he. Uh-oh. We left to work, and called our district leader, who called the zone leaders, who called the office. Line of authority can be a pain sometimes. By the time we finished our day at 10:00, no one had called us about the keys. And the guardhouse of our apartments doesn´t have a master key or anything. So we went to the house of our District leader while waiting for the office to call. At 11:00 we decided not to wait anymore. We live on the second floor, and the back patio of the first floor has a roof. We borrowed a ladder from the guardhouse and Elder Nicholas climbed on the roof and then into a small hole into the kitchen, then opened the door. Quite the experience. Now we both have an extra key in our backpacks, aside from the main set of keys.

Friday we had divisions, and Elder Frost, our district leader, came here to Renca 1 to work with me. While walking down a street there was a house that had rock music playing. There was a dog outside--I think he was sick--bobbing his head in perfect timing with the music. Elder Frost looked at me and said, "Did I just see what I thought I did?" It was amusing.

Elder Nicholas has been teaching me to juggle, and I´ve been practicing. At first I used mandarines, but after ruining like six or seven we made balls of paper and tape. I´m getting better but still have a ways to go. Saturday when we played soccer it was raining a little, so the court was wet and slick. It´s a type of cement that´s normally slick anyway, so it was interesting. Everyone was sliding and falling a lot. Then it stopped raining and the court dried. Then it started again, then stopped again. There were small puddles, and I ran into one at one point. I was running down the court then stopped to go the other direction. Unfortunately my right foot was in a puddle and kept going the original direction. I twisted the ankle, and had to leave the game for awhile. Hours later in the day it was hurting bad, and I couldn´t walk without limping and even then it hurt. So we had to buy some ice and go back to the pension to ice my ankle. We couldn´t leave at all that day to work. I felt bad, because we had a couple of really important appointments. But yesterday we could leave, and today I feel a lot better, even though my ankle´s still a little sore. I can walk normal, and run a little. So it´s all good.

We´re still working with Bastian, trying to get permission from his mom to baptize him, but it´s hard to find her. We also have a couple other people we´re teaching. Not many, but they´re good. Prisila is a friend of a member and is really good. She wants to be baptized, and we´ve taught her a couple times. The problem is that she´s separated from her husband but not divorced and living with someone else. So she has to get divorced and then married. The good thing is that she wants to do it and is in the middle of the divorce right now. The bad thing is that here in Chile it can take a while to get divorced. We´re hoping that the Lord will bless her for her desire and help speed things up so that she can be baptized.

While working with Permanaced, we found a less active and his wife/girlfriend. They´re not married but living together. They have a similar problem like Prisila. Victor is a member, but Ginette isn´t. She´s a single mother since they´re not married. They´re looking for a new house, and she can receive help from the government, being a single mother. So they´re waiting for this, then to buy the house, then they´re gonna get married so she can be baptized, which she wants to be baptized. We had a lesson with them that we talked about how we have to show faith in the Lord and do our part, and he´ll help us with the things we need. We shared 1 Nephi 3:7, 3 Nephi 13:31-33, and Proverbs 3:5-6, all really good scriptures. Then we challenged them to pray and ask if they should get married before buying a house, and promised that God will help them find a house if they have faith. Hopefully they can have the faith necessary to trust the Lord more than the government.

This last week we had interviews with President May. It was really great. The interviews are in English, and I really struggled. I never thought I´d struggle with English, but I could hardly talk. I made it through the interview, but barely. But it was a great interview. One thing that President May said that really made me happy was he told me that he hasn´t lost any confidence in me. That´s good. It´s great to be able to talk with President May. He´s wonderful.

Well, I think that´s about it for this week. Things are improving slowly. Until next week!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, August 31, 2009

Time keeps passing really fast,and it´s hard to tell if that´s good or bad. But things are going really great here. Elder Nicholas is getting better, so we were able to leave more this week. We had more lessons and a little success. A lot better than the last two weeks.

We had a zone conference that was really great. It is always great to hear from President and Sister May. They´re great. We learned a lot about a new thing we´re starting with less actives. The Presidency of the area of Chile wrote a letter named Permanaced, or Abide/Stay. It talks about the Holy Ghost, the problem of Sin, the solution of the Atonement and Baptism, the apostasy and restauration, and then the importance of Endure to the End. We´re starting to use it with less-actives, and there´s also a way to use it with non-members. It´s really amazing. We´ve already had a couple lessons with it and it works to get less actives to church or to teach non-members. I´m really excited to use it more.

We´ve started playing soccer every Saturday at 6 am. Included are some pictures of my sweet new shoes. This Saturday we were walking to the bus stop to go to the church and a van and car of carabiñeros (police) stopped us and asked where we came from. We said we came from our apartments and are going to play futbol (soccer) in our chapel. They looked at us weird for a minute and then left.

As of right now we don´t have too many people that we´re teaching. We have one person with a baptismal date, but we can only teach him Saturday nights, and when we went this Saturday he was busy and asked if we can do it this next Saturday.

We also have Bastian. I talked about him weeks ago. He´s a friend of a member, and was really great. But then we lost contact with him because he´s always playing soccer, so we dropped him. Then we were talking with the seminary teacher and she told us that he´s always at seminary and that he told her he´s getting baptized soon. Except he can´t cause we haven´t taught him all the lessons. So we made contact again, and taught him the Word of Wisdom. Later we talked to him to see if he still wants to be baptized. He said yes, and he´s pretty sure that his parents will let him. We have to talk to them to make sure, but hopefully that shouldn´t be a problem. He came to church yesterday and liked it, and is going to keep coming. He´s progressing pretty well and should be able to be baptized in 3-4 weeks.

That´s about it, though. We´re still trying to find more people. Basically we´re resurrecting our sector, but it´s slow gaining more life. We did find a less-active and his ¨girlfriend.¨ She´s not a member. The problem with setting her with a date is that they´re not married, and we can´t even set people with a baptismal date if they´re not married. She actually wants to be baptized, though. She has a baby, so is a single mother. They´re searching for a new house, and there´s a thing here in Chile that single mothers get some sort of financial help buying a house. So they´re waiting to find a house, then they´ll get married, then she can be baptized. Kinda lame, but hopefully they can have some help from above.

The language is getting a lot better. I´m starting to talk a little faster. Still having trouble with some things, but it´s coming. And I can understand better a little more each day. Still have a load of trouble with that, but it´s coming too.

Well, I think that´s about it. In closing I have an invitation for you all. Pray for people you know who aren´t members. Friends, family, companions at work, etc. Pray for them that they can receive the gospel and the missionaries. Then try to be in tune with the Spirit so that He can tell you when to visit these persons and invite them to hear more. Don´t be afraid to share the gospel. Remember that Mormon tells us that ¨Perfect love casteth out all fear.¨ And no one can have perfect love more than Jesus. Enough that he suffered all that he did for us. If we feel this love that he has for us and have this love for other people, then we shouldn´t have any worries or troubles sharing the gospel with them. Because we love them we want them to be able to receive their salvation, and the only way is through baptism. I know that this is true, and that God wants us all to be able to live with Him in His kingdom forever. And He will do whatever possible to make this possible. This is His only true church and we have the power and authority of Him to help him with this work. We should all heed to the words of President David O. McKay-"Every member a missionary." If we do, we will be blessed. Read Doctrine and Covenants 18:10;15-16.

Elder Murdoch

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wow! This week went by way fast! Probably the fastest yet! Hopefully it can slow down a little. It was also a way tough week. Elder Nicholas is still sick so we only left the house for zone class, lunch, and church. We did have divisions with a couple of priesthood holders in our ward, and I left for one hour. We didn´t get much done, but it was still nice to be able to leave for awhile.

In one of the contacts we did, we were standing in the door talking for over half an hour. There was a really small park nearby, and a man came and sat down about 30 yards away on a bench, smoking and drinking. After awhile he stood up and yelled, "Hey, I wanna talk to you!" Perfect english. We just ignored him, but then he came over. He greeted Brother Veas from our ward and the woman we were talking to. Then he gave me a big hug and said "He´s my brother. It´s nice to see you man." Then he looked at my tie and said, "Ooh, beautiful." I was like, um, thanks. The woman said "Estamos conversando. ¡Sale!" ("We´re talking, go away!) He looked at me and said, "I feel like a dog" and did a kicking motion, like kicking at the dog. Then he left back to his bench. A few minutes later he yelled "You don´t get me!" That was all. I´m pretty sure he´s American. He looks it and had a perfect gringo accent, even though he dídn´t say anything in Spanish. It was pretty amusing.

We´ve started playing soccer every Saturday at 6 in the morning. So today I bought some new soccer shoes, really cheap. I´m excited to use them this Saturday.

Today we went to the doctor and he told Elder Nicholas that he can start leaving. After lunch we have to rest for a couple hours then can leave. Finally! We´re tired of sleeping and studying and studying and talking all day. It´s been nice, but we´re ready to finally leave and start teaching. Soon I´ll be talking more about investigators.

It´s been a little depressing not being able to leave, and I´ve lost some of my ánimo (excitement). But now that we can leave things should be getting better.

Saturday we ate lasagna for lunch, a giant slice. It was way good. I was reminded a little of home for awhile. Yummy!

Thursday we had district divisions, and I went to the other sector in our district, José Miguel Infante, with Elder Huapaya from Peru. He´s really good, and I´ve learned a lot from him that I´m excited to use in Renca 1. We had 5 lessons with a member in one day! And set another person with a baptismal date. It was really good.

Well, that´s about it from here. Time to go for another week. Oh, one more thing. Saturday marked my 2 month mark here in Chile. Yeah!

Have a nice week!
Elder Murdoch

Iré, haré, seré
I will go, I will do, I will be

Monday, August 17, 2009

This week was pretty interesting. We had some fun playing soccer on Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday most of our appointments fell through. We did have a couple good ones, but not many. Thursday we had divisions, and I went to a different sector, José Miguel Infante, with Elder Huapaya from Lima. He´s a great missionary, and I learned a lot from him that I´m excited to use in Renca 1. Friday morning Elder Nicholas went to the doctor. He had gone the Friday before, and that´s when he found out that about 2 months ago he had Swine Flu. But he´s been feeling pretty bad, and this Friday when he went we found out he has bronchitis. He can´t leave to work, so we´ve only left the house for lunch, church, and today for email and shopping. Saturday I was able to leave for 2 hours with Elder Huapaya, while his companion went to their sector with a member, and a member of our ward stayed in our house with Elder Nicholas. It was good. We were able to find someone to set with a baptismal date. But it´s been boring staying in the house all day. Half-hour nap, study for 2-3 hours, eat, study, chill and talk. Tomorrow he goes to the doctor again, and hopefully we´ll be able to leave soon and actually work.

On Tuesday we were doing contacts in the street, and we started talking with one lady. We told her that we´re missionaries of Jesus Christ and that we have a message that His church is on the earth today...and she interrupted and said "Yeah, me too. I do the same thing as you." She was a missionary for Jehovah´s Witnesses. Hmmmmm, well, we wrapped that contact up quick.

Later that night we contacted a man in the street that was actually kinda weird. He spoke some English, talked about how he´s from the 80´s, and started to break dance for us. But at the end, he pulled out a beanie, pulled off a lapel pin of the flag of Chile, and gave it to me, "un regalo para tu." A gift for you. It´s really nice.

Also Tuesday night, we went to contact a reference we recieved from the office. We got to the house, and there were about 10 people outside the gate, including a carabeñero, or cop, with 15 more people and 2 cops inside the gate. I was thinking, "I´m not sure if we want to be here. We should leave." But Elder Nicholas didn´t seem to notice anything, so we just watched, waiting for I don´t know what. They opened the door to the house, turned on a light, and everyone started yelling and wailing. One lady came running out crying and yelled, "¡Alicia murió!" In English, "Alicia died!" Alicia was the name of our reference. Um, okay. Yeah. Elder, let´s go. We sped walked out of there.

So an interesting week, filled with death, free lapel pins, Jehovah´s Witness missionaries, and a sick companion.

We had a zone training on Wednesday, and learned more great things from President and Sister May and the assistants and our zone leaders. It was really great. During a break, I was able to talk to President for awhile. He asked how the sector is and I explained how it´s been pretty difficult. He was quiet for a couple seconds and then said, "Yo sé que hay personas preparadas por ustedes...sé que van a tener éxito en su sector." "I know that there are people prepared for you...I know that you´re going to have success in your sector." This helped me a lot, and I´ve had more hope since then even though my companion´s sick.

Well, I think that´s about it. Things are great here. The language keeps improving, little by little. And the food´s still great. :) And the weight´s dropping. I´ve lost 2 belt loops since arriving here 2 months ago. I´m really enjoying my time as a missionary.

Well, love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Murdoch
Iré, haré, seré.
I will go, I will do, I will be.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I think the past week was the fastest in all my mission. It seems like I just started working with Elder Nicholas and already we´ve been together for a week. How time flies! Unfortunately, it was a really tough week. Our numbers were the lowest of my whole mission, and we´re having a hard time with some things.

It´s really difficult to find people to teach. With Elder Rigby I knocked probably 85% or more of the streets here. With Elder Nicholas I´ve knocked maybe 5% more. We don´t have many more to knock. Everybody knows us, and either don´t answer or come out and say no. Actually, they don´t say no. They say something like "I´m Catholic/Evangelist etc." "I don´t have time/I´m busy" "I have visitors" etc. Or they say that they´re alone, but we can see someone in the window. No one wants to listen to us. They other day we knocked and a man opened the door and said "Nadie pasa. ¡Vayan a su país!" Or "No one comes in. Go to your country!" Or sometimes people will be like, "Oh, the Mormons" "The missionaries, dang it!" It´s really hard to find people to teach.

But we are praying, doing our best to be 100% obedient, and doing all we can, and leaving the rest in the Lord´s hands. We´re working a lot with the members, and this will help. We´ve been working with the leaders, with other members, leaving thank you notes after lunch, serving the members, etc, gaining their confidence. And praying a lot. Hopefully this next week can be a little better.

Another trial is that Elder Nicholas is a little sick. He was sick a couple transfers ago, and got better about six weeks ago. But ever since then he still has had phlegm in his chest and throat really bad. He went to the mission doctor while I was in my training Friday, and found out that when he was sick he had swine flu. So now he has some pills he has to take, and for the past few days we had to go home after lunch so he could rest from 3 till 6. So we only had four hours of work. That made it a little hard to get everything done that we needed to. But this week we should be able to work full-time and get more done.

We found Elva and Karla, investigators that we´ve dropped, but we still have problems teaching because her husband doesn´t like that we come in the house. We might have to drop them again. We´re trying to be able to talk to him, teach him, do something to help him feel the Spirit. We feel that if he can feel the Spirit, we can gain his confidence more and he´ll let us teach. But it´s hard, mainly because Elva doesn´t think that anything we do will help. We need her help, but she´s not willing to give it because "he doesn´t like religion and isn´t going to change." We´ll have to see what happens there.

We haven´t been able to teach Fabiola for almost two weeks. Elder Nicholas hasn´t even met her yet. The last visit we taught the Word of Wisdom because she smokes. The Spirit was really strong, we had the testimony of a member who smoked before she was baptized, and I had confidence that Fabiola can stop. But suddenly, we lost contact. Her grandma was sick, then she had work, and it´s looking like we might have to drop her. That would mean we´re starting basically from zero again. But we´ve been doing a lot of work with members and other things, and we think that this week will be better.

The food here is really great. With lunch there´s always a salad, sometimes tomatoes and lettuce on the table that we serve ourselves, or an actual put together salad that the member makes. Then the main course is always either rice or noodles. And there´s always meat, wheter it´s chicken, beef, hot dogs, whatever. Rice or noodles, and meat. And for dessert fruit, at times ice cream. I love the food.

And I´ve lost some weight too. I still haven´t been able to weigh myself, but the other day I was with my companion from the MTC, and he said that he can see in my face that I´ve lost a lot. When I get a chance to see exactly how much, I´ll be sure and let y´all know.

On Friday we had a training in the mission home with the assistants and President and Sister May. It was really great, and I learned a lot. And this Wednesday we have a zone conference with them. I love being able to hear from President and Sister May. They´re great, and I´ve learned a lot from them both.

The language is coming. I can speak really well, although Elder Nicholas still has to correct me a lot. And I´m understanding a little more. But there are still a lot of people that I can`t understand. Especially the teenagers. They talk super fast. But it´s getting better, and hopefully soon I´ll be able to understand more fully.

Well, I think that´s about it from here. I´m enjoying the mission, and trying to work as hard as I can. I definitely feel your prayers for me, and appreciate them greatly. Also, I would encourage all of you to pray for the missionaries in your ward. There´s a quote from President Hinckley that says "It will be a great day when our people not only pray for the missionaries throughout the world, but ask the Lord to help them to assist the missionaries who are laboring in their own ward." I invite you all to pray for this. I know that when members help the missionaries, the missionaries can be more successfull in this work of the Lord. I now have a strong testimony of this, as I have seen it in my mission. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, August 3, 2009

Well, the first transfer is done and over. That was quick, but I´ve heard it just gets faster from here. I guess that´s good and bad. Good cause I can´t wait to get home to my family, but bad because I want to work here as long as possible and don´t want it to get over soon. I´m still in Renca 1, the same sector. I was hoping Elder Rigby could stay with me, and he was pretty sure that we both were going to stay. But we got the call last night, and turns out that he left for a totally different zone (although the same one as one of my MTC companions) and I´m staying here with a new Elder. Elder Nicolas is from Texas, and I´m excited to work with him.

This week was mediocre. We dropped some more people, and found some, etc. We only have 2 with a baptismal date now, and one is sure. But I´m learning a lot, and we´ll see how it goes with Elder Nicolas. To be honest, when I first learned that Elder Rigby was leaving and me staying, I thought, "I can´t do this. I´m not ready to be the senior companion, there´s still so many things I need to know." But I know that it is a calling from the Lord, and if he wants me to do it, then he knows I can, and I too know that I can. It will be difficult, but it should help me to learn and grow more.

This week we visited a recent convert/less-active, named Jon Carlos. He is 12 years old and a little shy but very nice. The best thing for me about the visit was when Elder Rigby asked about the missionaries who taught and baptised him. His face lit up like Steven´s at Christmas as he exclaimed "Oh! Elder Moser! And Elder Rich!" He still remembers them. It made me remember something I learned in the MTC: The people I baptized will never forget me. It made me realiz that I´m not just teaching people the gospel; I´m helping them change their lives forever, for the best, and for this they´ll always remember me. It was kind of a stop-and-pause moment for me.

We found Elva and Karla. We had dropped them because they missed a few appointments. But the other day we stopped by because two other plans had failed. And they were there! They said that they had wanted to get ahold of us but didn´t have our phone number and didn´t know how else to contact us. That night we went to the church with them, and Karla, who is 16, participated in Mutual, and we taught Elva about the Book of Mormon, and gave her a copy. And they committed to church Sunday. But they weren´t there. So we stopped by their house last night. Turns out Saturday night Elva had been with her mom and got home late and in the morning had a huge headache and so couldn´t go. Karla had wanted to but not without her mom. We´re going to teach them tomorrow. There´s been a problem with Elva´s husband because he doesn´t want us to teach them. But we have a movie called Together Forever about eternal families. Last night we stopped by to watch it with them all, including the husband. But Elva didn´t think he would let us, so we gave it to her and she promised to watch it with him. Tomorrow we´re going to see how it went. We´re sure that if he watched it, he will have felt the Spirit and hopefully want to learn more. Or at least let Elva and Karla learn more. We´ll see how that goes.

Things are going great. I´m picking up on the language. I can speak really well, (Elder Nicolas was really surprised, he said he couldn´t speak this well for 3 transfers) and the understanding is getting better as well.

Well, I think that´s about it for this week. And I´m about out of time. Time to go shop for the week. Have a great week! Love you all!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wow! This is the last week of my first area! Crazy how time flies! But Elder Rigby thinks that we´ll both probably end up staying here in Renca 1 for another transfer. Which will make three for him, I think. I kinda hope I do stay. I´m just barely getting to know the ward, and we have a couple people close to baptism. It would be great to stay. There´s one person here that Elder Rigby was teaching before I got here. The only thing keeping her from baptism is that she´s con vive. This means that she´s living with someone but not married. They want to get married, but had planned on January, which is far away. But we learned the other day that they changed the date to September. Which means I´ll be here for her baptism. And after baptism, they have to wait a year to go to the temple. But I´ll be in Santiago for that, too.

Cristian Burgos is progressing and not progressing at the same time. He has been praying and reading. But he´s had doubts about continuing investigating our church. I think he has some fear of what other people will think. Plus it´s hard sometimes to teach him cause he works till night, sometimes till midnight. Last night we watched The Restoration with him and committed him to church. But he´s not 100% committed to church, only if he can. We might end up dropping him. He just needs some time. But it is good that he´s still reading and praying. We hope he can receive his answer soon.

Ursula and her family went on a trip this week, and tonight we´ll teach them for the first time in a week. We have been calling them every night. Ursula hasn´t been reading much, but Fabiola has been reading and praying every day. She´s progressing great. Tonight we´re gonna set her with a baptismal date.

We had interviews last Wednesday, and I learned something great from President May. In our mission, we have an analogy of a garden. We plant seeds, cultivate, and harvest. In the interview he taught me that if we have 14 seeds, and the wind and cold takes 5, we still have nine. If we lose 4 more, we still have 5 to harvest. But if we have 7, the wind takes 3, we have 4, and we lose 2 more, we only have two to work with. This is like investigators. The wind of course is Satan. He also did this with Elder Rigby, and we´re starting to try and find more people to "plant". Hopefully we can have more success with this.

Our Enlish class went great this week. We had 6 people, and 5 were new. We had a helper, too. Roxana is the daughter of our the second counselor to the bishop in our ward. She is in a university and has taken English classes. She can speak really great English. She helped us teach, and it went really great. I almost felt like I was learning English, too.

It´s pretty cold here now. During the day it´s not horrible, especially when the sun´s out. But at night and in the morning it´s freezing! That´s winter for ya. Except there´s no snow. When we take off our coats in appointments, and the people see me with a short sleeve shirt, they ask if I´m cold. I tell them that where I´m from it´s really cold, and I´m used to it. But in the night yes, I´m freezing.

The language is coming. Slowly, but coming. When people here me speak, and hear I´ve been here for a month, they´re impressed. I can speak pretty well. My accent needs a little work, but that´s coming too. The problem is understanding. There are some people that I can understand pretty well. But others I can´t. They talk so fast here! But I´m kinda getting used to it, and it´s improving.

Elder Rigby´s really great. I´ve learned a lot from him. He´s a hard worker, obedient in everything, and diligent. I´m grateful to have him for my first companion and my trainer. He´s great.

Well, I´m about out of time, and my hands are freezing. Gotta go warm up by playing some soccer. Yeah! I think that´s about it for this week. Adios!
Elder Murdoch

Monday, July 20, 2009

Well, I am now one month in Chile. And 3 months on the mission in total. Wow how time flies! It´s going so fast! And yet at the same time, it seems to go slow, too. I´m not sure which I want more: fast so I can get home to my family, or slow so I can be here in the work of the Lord for longer. It´s a wonderful work, and coming great.

The language is really coming. I can speak a lot better. Many people are surprised when they hear me talk, and later discover I only have a month here. I can talk, for the most part, really well. As always, understanding is something different. There are still many people that I can´t for the life of me understand no matter how hard I try. But there are many people that I can understand pretty well and answer back. It´s coming, but I still need more time and work.

I got a little sick this last week. At first it was just a little cough, then that got worse. I woke up one night coughing like crazy. I had to take some Dayquil at 2 in the morning. The next day I had a headache all day, worse in the night, and woke up again at 2 shivering and shaking. I couldn´t control it either. The next day I woke up with a migraine. But we had to go to a zone conference, so I took some Ibueprofen and didn´t say anything. It got a little better throughout the day. After that I just had headaches and coughs. And eventually it got better. I hope. I´m taking vitamins and hope it doesn´t come back.

This week was a little sad for one main reason. We had to drop Karla and Elva, because they weren´t keeping their commitments or appointments. And Cristian Catalan´s parents don´t want him talking with us. We´ve told him that it´s his decision and if he wants to learn more we could teach him somewhere else. If he really wanted to he could, but we don´t think he´s that dedicated. We dropped Jorge, too. A lot of people dropped. But we´re searching for the chosen and know that the Lord will help us with this.

This week we have found a couple more people. Cristian Borgus is 20-ish and works, I think, in a supermarket. He´s really great. We taught the Restoration and Book of Mormon. He´s prayed several times and has felt peace, which we tell him is the Spirit answering him. He also has read a little in the Book of Mormon. Tonight we´re going to watch a film with him called "By Small and Simple Things" and commit him to church. He has a date for Augost 16. He´s progressing really well. We also found a family. Soñia and her daughters Ursula and Fabiola. Ursula has a 2-year-old named Felipe. We call him Felipe Feliz because Feliz is Spanish for happy, and he is always smiling and laughing and happy. Fabiola has a 12-year-old daughter, Scarlet. Soñia never is interested in our lessons, and Scarlet kinda just listens. But Ursula and Fabiola have prayed and read the Book of Mormon, felt the Spirit, and this Sunday are commited to church. They´re progressing great, too.

I forgot to tell about P-Day two weeks ago. We went to a hill called Santa Lucia. It has some remnants of a castle from back in the days of the Spaniards, complete with towers, canons, and a statue of a founder of Santiago. It´s really cool. I sent some pictures home.

Thursday we had a zone conference with President May. It was really great. I learned a lot from him that I´m trying to apply in my mission and life. We also had lunch there. It was really good. There are a few older women and men, (4 I think) that help President and Sister May with the mission home, and with food and everything. We sang one verse of called to serve for them. One of the women was one of the first missionaries to serve from Chile. That´s way cool.
President and Sister May are wonderful. I love them! They really work hard in this work, and also for us. They´re great!

Our English class was great this Saturday. We started with three people, and about halfway through three more came, so we ended with six. (One, this is her 3rd week, and another this is his 2nd. Another already speaks really good English, just wants to practice.) We taught about presenting ourselves, as usual, a little, but they already knew that. Then we taught about asking and answering questions. They all caught on great. It´s fun hearing people who have lived in Chile their whole life and grown up speaking Spanish, speaking in English. It´s great.

Not much else happened this week. Still trying to find more people to teach and trying to get the language down. But things are going great. We had lasagna the other day, and it was good, but it made me miss mom´s lasagna, which is way better.
Well, I think that´s about it. Take care this week. Love you!
Elder Murdoch

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wow, it seems like just yesterday I was emailing home! The time really does fly! I´m almost three months into my mission already, including the MTC. And I´m loving it!

I had quite the week this week. Wow! Where to start? Last week I think I talked about Gustavo and Cristian. Great contacts with a baptismal date, but probably gonna be dropped. Gustavo´s daughter has cancer, and he´s living in the hospital with her, so we haven´t seen him since last Sunday. And Cristian´s parents don´t want us teaching him in the house. We can do it somewhere else easily, but he never answers his phone, (we think it´s lost or broken) and when we stop by he´s never home. So I´m not sure what´s gonna happen with him.

But we found more prepared souls this week. On Tuesday we had an appointment to teach the first lesson to some members-something we´ve started doing; afterwards we talk about the importance of sharing the gospel with others and ask for references. We got to the house about 20 minutes early, so we decided to knock another street nearby. The first house we knocked on they let us in. We got to know them a little-Elva is the mom, and her 17 year old daughter is Karla. Karla is studying accounting. Then we said a prayer and taught lesson 3 with a date. And they accepted. We stopped by the next day to just to say hi (we´re supposed to try to make contact with investigators daily), and Elva said she´d read the pamphlet we gave them right after we left the day before. She was waiting right by the door when we got there, she was so anxious. She told us she was alone, though, and we can´t be in the house with a solo female. So we told her we´d try to return with someone else. We asked the wife of the bishop, cause he wasn´t home, but she has little boys and couldn´t come. So we called several people, but no one could help. Then we asked the bishop´s wife if we could bring Elva to her house, but that wouldn´t work either. But in the 7-8 minutes we had been calling people, the bishop had come home, and he came with us. It was a really great lesson. We taught lesson one about the restoration, and the Spirit was really strong. The bishop was converted and baptized at 15, and his testimony is super strong. I decided afterwards that the reason we couldn´t find anyone to help was because he was supposed to be there. He is amazing! Karla appeared out of a back room. She was sad because she had gotten bad grades and her parents harassed her about it a little. The bishop shared a story from when he was 17 and had the same experience. He was able to comfort her a little. She´s doing a lot better now. Elva and Karla both attended church yesterday(only Sacrament Meeting), and tonight we will teach them the Book of Mormon and watch the Restoration movie. They are progressing really well, except they haven´t prayed about Joseph Smith yet. We´re going to hit that really hard tonight about the importance of knowing that he was a prophet and hope the movie helps.

We have a 14 year old boy that we´re teaching as well: Bastian. There´s a member of our ward who is preparing for a mission, Dennis, and he invited Bastian to church and to hear our message. We´ve taught him lesson one and he has a date, too. He has prayed about Joseph Smith and said that he had an answer and believes that it´s true. That´s great! We´re really excited to continue to teach him, too.

Friday I had a training. It was for all the missionaries who arrived with me, in the mission home. It was great to see them all again, especially Elder Andelin and Elder Christensen. Lunch was wonderful, and the training was great. We received a little training from one of the assistants and a lot from President May. It was wonderful!

We´re teaching an English class. The first week we had no one show up, the next week 1, and this past Saturday we had 2. Slowly climbing. It is fun to teach, and at times feels like I´m learning English, too. I have forgotten a lot. We start and end with a prayer in English, and when I gave it I had to think a lot about what´s next, and accidently threw in a couple spanish words. Oops! But I guess that´s a good sign that the language is coming.

Which is true, the language is coming. Elder Rigby says I can speak better now than he could at this time in his mission. And the other day we went on divisions (there are two companionships in our district), and my temporary companion said the first time I spoke he thought I´d had more training that I actually have. I definitely have improved, and I´m able to understand a little better, too. The problem is I´m not speaking Spanish. I´m speaking Chileno Spanish. Elder Valencia, my temporary companion in divisions, is from Ecuador and he said when he first arrived here he had to learn some things all over again because of the accent. It is way different than normal Spanish. But I´m slowly getting better day by day.

Well, yesterday I had my first bad experience with a dog. Actually, they´re all bad. The dogs down here are annoying-always barking, fighting with each other, and really noisy. I´ve decided that after my mission I want a cat, they´re quieter. Or maybe a fish. Anyway, we were at a house waiting for the person to come. Usually dogs in the gate will bark a little, then just sit there, sometimes stick their head out so we can pet them. This dog did that, but when I went to pet him he had tricked me and he bit me. Fortunately I had fast reflexes, and it wasn´t too bad. Took a small chunk of skin out of the knuckle on my middle finger. But it only bled a little and doesn´t hurt. But I´m definitely gonna be more careful with dogs now.

Well, I think that´s about it for my week. The language is improving, the work´s going great, and I´m enjoying my time here. Elder Rigby is really great, and I´ve learned a lot from him. The mission definitely is the best time of my life so far. I´m learning a ton. It´s a great experience.

Love you all!
Elder Murdoch