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!