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

Monday, July 6, 2009

First off, sorry for all my mistakes I make. It´s different typing in English after talking in Spanish for 2 weeks. Second off, somehow I just lost half an hour of typing, so I may not be able to tell all that I was going to today. You´ll have to wait till next week for more.

The language is coming great. I´m able to understand the Chilenos more and talk better as well.
With training from President May and Zone and District leaders we´ve started doing something different. In house contacts, instead of saying "we´re missionaries, we have a message...can we share more?" we bear testimony, then ask if we can say a prayer and say more. Then once inside we teach part of lesson 3 about the 5 steps of the Gospel- faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost, and Endure to the End-and commit to baptism right there. I was a little skeptical at first, but it works!

We found a golden investigator Saturday. Gustave is almost 80, and really great. He let us in and we shared our message. He was really into the lesson and asked questions. He accepted baptism right away, for August 2, and to go to church the next day. We told him that now Satan is going to try hard to stop him from being baptized and that obstacles will arise. Sure enough, when we met him to take him to church, he told us a family member was sick and needed his help. But he realized the importance of the sacrament and went with us to sacrament meeting then left. He´s really amazing. He is Catholic, but only by tradition and that won´t be a problem.

Sunday night we found Christian, 20. He´s studying to be an engineer and is really smart. And he knows a lot about prayer, Holy Ghost , Jesus Christ. He accepted baptism as well, August 2. If he serves a mission, he´s gonna be killer. He´s great.

After him, we found Vanessa. She accepted, but had a little trouble setting a definite date for the 2nd. We have a return visit tonight and think we´ll be able to get a more solid yes from her.
Well, I´m about out of time. I´ll try to tell more next week. Sorry.

Love you all!
Elder Murdoch