Monday, January 25, 2010

What a week! It´s really hot down here! The other day we say 40 degrees Celcius. According to the converter on the cell phone that´s 104 Fahrenheit. Wow! That was the worst day. The rest it´s about 95-98ish. Pretty hot. But I think in a couple of weeks it should start cooling down. I hope.

We had a couple of fun adventures last week.The other day we were coming home at night and saw an Elder playing soccer in front of our departments. Without a companion, after time to enter the house. What!? Turns out he finished his mission last Monday and his parents came down and were visiting his sectors with him. His dad actually served in Central America, and with his rusty Spanish did a contact, which we are going to end up teaching.

Last Monday night we had a FHE with a family and ended up leaving late, so we took a taxi. In the taxi Elder Squire took out his wallet to dig out some coins to help pay. Later, the next day, he realized that his wallet was not in his pocket. He had dropped it on the seat in the taxi. It had his mission credit card, driver´s license, and carnet, as well as his temple recommend. We called the office to tell them about it. Then, walking to lunch, someone called us over to their car. It was the bishop of a ward right next to ours. He said the Stake President knew something about the wallet of an Elder named Aaron. That is Elder Squire´s middle name. So we called the stake president, and he gave us the name and number of the woman that called him. Elder Squire called and talked with her. She actually lived in the ward next door, so after lunch we joined up with the missionaries there, (actually Elder Barney) and went to her house. She did have his wallet. What had happened was the taxi driver found the wallet and gave it to her and said to find the owner or throw it away. She looked at his carnet ID and looked him up on Facebook and found a number. We think it was of the mission office, who then told her to call Stake President Masbernat, or the bishop, or someone. It was a pretty crazy adventure. We called it a referal from the Lord.

The bishop, along with a lot of the ward, has been on vacation this week so the counselors took over. Last Wednesday in coordination, Brother Cataldo told us that they might need a talk in sacrament. So I prepared one, obviously Sunday morning :) about repentance. And I ended up giving it. I felt pretty good about it. Not many people said much afterward, which is okay. But one woman did say that it was really great and I didn´t mess up the language at all.

We should have a couple of baptisms this Sunday. Carol, the 14 year old teen is really excited. She´s been reading the Book of Mormon, all the pamplets, everything. She´s praying, and has a testimony. She´s really excited for her baptism Sunday.

Pamela also is excited to get baptized. Her husband´s a member, and is helping us a lot. The problem is that she wants it to be private. Us, Victor, and whoever does the baptism. Plus someone from the bishopric will have to be there. So we might do it Saturday in the afternoon.

Well, that´s about it for this week.

Elder Murdoch

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wow. The time is going by way too fast. I lack a little over two months to complete one year. It passes fast, and today marks the beginning of my 6th transfer here in Chile. And the 4th one with Elder Squire. Yep, we are still together here in Carrión. But now it´s back down to one sector instead of two. Elder Pititto finished his mission and tomorrow leaves for Argentina. Elder Moore went to San Pablo, another zone in the mission. I don´t think that happens much, someone leaving their first sector after one transfer. I feel bad for him because he and Elder Pititto had several good investigators. He was especially excited for Pamela, the wife of a member. She really wants to get baptized and is way excited. Actually, they tried putting the baptismal date for February 7, and she asked if they could do it Jan. 31 instead. She´s progressing great and excited for the baptism. I feel bad that Elder Moore won´t be here for it. It was a pretty interesting transfer. We just got like 10 investigators thrown at us. It´ll be different and difficult working with all of the ward limits instead of half. But it´ll be good too.

That´s the biggest news for this week. Not much else happened. The final round of presidential elections was yesterday. A month or so ago they had the first round and limited it down to two candidates. Yesterday they voted for these two. Piñera won, just so ya all know. The other guy, Frei, has already been president once. From what I´ve heard he made a bunch of promises and didn´t keep them so no one wanted him again. But it was actually a close vote. Piñera only had 51%. We´ll see what kind of changes he brings to the country.

Last week we had a great experience. We were knocking doors, and at one door Elder Squire said "We´re going to enter this door and teach." Sure enough, they let us in and we taught about baptism and the restoration. The woman isn´t married but lives with her boyfriend, ("convive" with her "pareja") so we can´t put her with a baptismal date. But there was another guy there that was interested. We taught him how to pray, and he gave the closing prayer. In the prayer, he asked to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and this message is true. After he said that he felt good and believes it was his answer. Wow! The problem is that he doesn´t live in our sector or even zone. We have to pass the reference, and hopefully he can get baptized eventually.
We set up an appointment to visit Jessica again with her "pareja," boyfriend. The thing is, he´s atheist. When he was younger, he went to a Catholic church, but just because his mom took him. He just believes in himself, nothing more. But he did have interest to know if there really is a God, if it will bring him happiness. We taught about God, bore testimony, and started into lesson 2, the Plan of Salvation. But then he asked us why there are so many churches in the world today, so we taught the Restoration. At the end he committed to pray, not only to see if God exists, but also to know if this message is true. We haven´t been able to pass since then, but we are going to go by and see how it went. It was an interesting lesson, and I know that the Spirit was definitely guiding me to be able to know what to say in order to help him.

We keep teaching the few investigators we have, and trying to find more. Yesterday we found out that Yesinia's mom came down from Peru, and the two of them left to live somewhere else. Bummer. But we´re still going to continue with Carol.

I think that´s about it for this week. Still suffering in the heat but enjoying the work. Missionary work really is ordained of God. In what other religion would a bunch of 19 year olds leave their family and their country to learn a new language and teach a message of Jesus Christ only to get doors slammed in their face and be ridiculed and laughed at? And yet, look at all the blessings that come as a result. More charity and love, patience, humility, faith, etc. (Christlike attributes, as found in Preach My Gospel chapter 6) I know that this is the only true church of Jesus Christ, and I´m proud to be a missionary to testify of this.

Elder Murdoch

Monday, January 11, 2010

Well, this was kind of a slow long week. Not much happened, but I do have a lot of fun little stories to tell. Hopefully this next week can be a little better as it is the last one of the transfer.

Last week we ate with a Peruvian family, the same one with which we ate chicken feet a couple months ago. This time we ate "pata de vaca", cow feet. Yummy. Actually, it´s very similar to cow stomach, and Elder Pititto told me that´s what it was. Then that night we visited the family and they told us no, it was feet. Great!

We got our shower fixed! I think I forgot to mention it was broken. Awhile back I talked about getting an electric shower, so we didn´t have to dump hot water on our heads out of a bowl. About a week before the 2 other Elders got here, it broke. The shower part worked, the electric no. Only cold water would leave. I had some of the fastest showers in my life, because it was freezing! It made me think of swimming in a lake in the mountains, whose water comes strictly from melted snow. But last Monday the guy came and fixed it, so now we have hot water! Woo hoo!!

The other day we knocked a door and the guy that came out couldn´t understand me. Fortunately, it wasn´t that my Spanish was bad. Unfortunately, it was that he´s deaf. He brought out some paper and we "wrote the contact." Turns out he´s a Jehovah's Witness but has friends who are Mormons, and he wanted to talk to us. We shared with him a couple scriptures that prove that Jehovah is Jesus, not God. In Psalms it says that Jehovah will judge. Then in John it says the father won´t judge, the son will. Who´s the son? Jesus Christ. He gave us a thumbs up, went inside and came back with a woman and a magazine. She explained to us that they are from Viña del Mar, and are going to get married soon. They gave us the magazine, which is one from the JWs. They were really nice people.

Later that same day we did a contact with a Catholic woman in the street who said that Christ came here to Chile in 2002, when the Pope came. She said when he came everyone was happy and all was great. Then he left and everything went downhill. Interesting.

The other day in divisions with Elder Pititto we knocked on a door and a 92-year-old woman let us in and gave us juice. The thing is, she´s so old she forgets stuff. She asked where I´m from about 5 times. And then everytime I´d answer she´d say, "Yes, but THE United States? English or German?" She also several times mentioned how I have the face of a foreigner. 3-4 times she told us that her parents were born in Bethlehem, and she´s been there and in South Africa. At the very end, after the prayer, she "blessed" us in some Middle East language. It was quite an experience.

Wednesday an appointment failed, and we decided to knock a department building. These building have five floors, with four departments on every floor. We decided to start at the top and work our way down. The very first door we knocked, they let us in. We ended up teaching two teenage girls. Yesenia is 19, and Carol 14. They´re cousins and both from Peru but have been here several years. Yesenia was meeting with missionaries before, and almost got baptized, but her parents said no, not until she´s older. (Like now) They were both really excited to go to the church yesterday. Unfortunately, Saturday night Yesenia got sick and couldn´t come. But Carol came and loved it. They both are reading in the BOM and praying. They both have their answers about Joseph Smith and the BOM and are both excited for their baptism on the 31st. They also have friends in the church, but we´re hoping to find them more. We also really want to help them strenthen their testimony, so that they get baptized for that, not for the cute American Gringo Elders. ;)

I´m really grateful to be here on my mission where almost everyone is receptive. There is the occasional "No! Go back to your country!" (In Spanish and English) But for the most part even those who don´t want anything at least are nice. A lot of the people even invite us in and give us juice or pop, even if they´re not interested in the message. I heard a story of an Elder, I think someone Elder Squire knows, somewhere in Europe who after 9 months in the mission entered the first house to teach a lesson. I have 9 months in the mission and I couldn´t count how many houses I´ve entered. I´m glad I´m here.

Good news! Nicolas received the priesthood yesterday!!!!! It was a surprise for us. Thursday we knew he went in to talk to the bishop. Friday we visited Nicolas and he told us about it, that they talked about a lot of stuff. But he didn´t say anything about getting the priesthood! But they sustained him in sacrament meeting and then ordained him in opening excercises of priesthood. I started tearing up during the ordination. It was a happy experience for me. I really hope he serves a mission. He could be a killer missionary. (Figuratively or literally, he´s HUGE!!!)

Well, I think that´s about it this week. Next week I´ll possibly be with a new companion, maybe in a new sector. We´ll just have to wait and see. Ciao!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, January 4, 2010

Well, this was a pretty boring week. Not a whole ton happened. Still recovering from the swine flu, but getting better, slowly.

Last Thursday, as a birthday present for Sister May, we had a sports morning. All of the zones got together in groups, two zones in one group, and played sports. They had ultimate frisbee, basketball, and the ones I played, football and soccer. It was way fun. We played for 3 hours, and I had forgotten sunscreen so I got pretty burned. But it was a great morning. While there an Elder Snider stopped me on the soccer field to find out where he recognized me from. Turns out we were in a Book of Mormon class together with Brother Gary Purse at BYU-Idaho. After we realized it, I actually recognized him too.

Saturday we had divisions, and I went with Elder Moore to his sector, Carrión 2. He´s just completing one month in Chile but speaks really good Spanish. In a contact we did, the guy came out and asked if we were Communist or from Obama. I told him we´re not Communist so he said we must be from Obama. I replied that he actually doesn´t know us let alone know that we´re here. He didn´t send us, God did. He didn´t buy it. He said "Are you Communists or from Obama?" Again I said neither. He then said "Well then, we´re bad here, cause I´m communist." So we ended the contact, and as we walked away he added "Why are you here anyway? Go back to your country." I told him that in one year and three months I will. But he wanted me to go back RIGHT NOW! It was pretty amusing.

Interesting side note for anyone who has seen the movie "Rain Man" with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. Kim Peek, the man who inspired that movie, died a few days ago at the age of 58. The bishop´s wife gave us a news article that talked about it. It said that at the age of 6, he had memorized 8 volumes of encyclopedias. Pretty interesting.

We´re working with a man right now named Jose who is pretty interesting. He used to be with Jehovah´s Witnesses. He actually was a missionary and later a pastor for them. Then he realized that they really don´t follow Jesus much so he left. He since then has shared with the Community of Christ and now with us. He has the Bible that we use, the Book of Mormon, the New World Bible from JW, and Doctrine and Pacts, the JW version of Doctrine and Covenants. He already believes in Joseph Smith. Actually, when we showed up for the lesson last week he was on You Tube listening to "Praise to the Man" while watching a slide show with pictures of the First Vision. The problem is that he believes that all churches are right and all have lies. There isn´t one church that is the only right one. So we´ll have to help him out there. But he is really great and already believes in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

Aside from playing sports in the morning, we passed the 31st like any normal day. They did have fireworks at night in Cerro (Hill) Renca, which we can see perfectly from our window. They started at midnight and went for 15 minutes. But we got to bed at 11:30. I was out cold, and wanted to stay that way, but the fireworks woke all of us up so we watched them. They were pretty fun. Then the 1st was also a normal day, even though not for anyone else. There was almost no one in the streets, cars or people. And not many people were home, either. But we worked anyway. Interesting way to pass the new year.

Well, I think that´s about it for this week. Next week will be the last one of the transfer, so hopefully I´ll have something more to say. But until then......ciao!

Elder Murdoch