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