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 CarriĆ³n 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