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