Saturday, February 27, 2010

Just a quick post from Maili. We received a short email from Scott this morning following the 8.8 earthquake that hit Chile. They are without power, but a kind bishop let him use his laptop to contact us and tell us that he is ok. A few things fell off desks in his apartment, but he is fine and will give us more information on Monday. We are so grateful for the safety of all the Chilean missionaries and invite you to join us in adding the people of Chile to prayers. Much love to all!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wow, where did that transfer go? I swear it just started last week and now it´s over next week. Wow. Well, this could be the last email I send from Carrion. Next week I could be in a new sector, here with a new comp, or here with Elder Squire. I wouldn´t mind leaving, but I also want to stay to see Brenda get baptized.

It´s really surprising that we´ve been here so long. I´m finishing 6 months and Elder Squire 7 1/2 here in Carrion. A couple months ago I wrote home about having a conference with Elder Amado of the 70, Chile Area President. We´ve heard that at one point during the week he was here he asked President May how long a missionary is in a sector. President May told him about 3-4 months, to which Elder Amado said it needs to be more. He said on his mission he had the most success in sectors that he was in for 9 months. So it wouldn´t be too surprising to see Elder Squire stay one more transfer. I really hope I can stay with him.

Last week I talked about giving a blessing to a 1 month old who had fallen from the carraige onto concrete. The family lives in a ward of which the Elders are in my zone. They have told us that after several tests, the doctors found nothing wrong with the baby, that she is in great health. What´s more, the husband, inactive, went to church, and the wife, Evangelist, is listening to the Elders. I see a grand miracle waiting for this family.

The other day we were working with Permaneced (Abide;Stay), to find inactive members. We entered one house and talked to a English! We were searching for his mom, but she died like 14 years ago. He is Chilean, but at 20 years moved to the USA and has lived in California for 40 years. He´s visiting here for a couple of weeks. His brother, who does live here, is inactive, and the wife and kids aren´t members. So we´re going to be visiting them to activate him and baptize the rest of the family. It was fun talking to Jaime, the member from California. I was on divisions with Elder Brown, who is from California. The two of them had fun talking about Carlsbad (where I have a friend serving), Newport Beach, San Diego, etc. When the brother came we had to speak Spanish cause he doesn´t speak English, but Jaime sometimes slipped into English without realizing it. It was fun.

Sister Ruz, who´s husband, Francisco, died, has been a little low. She´s still going to church, but last Wednesday after lunch with her she told us that she´s been feeling that the Priesthood of the Church has let her down, not visiting much. Worse, she feels like we, the missionaries, have abandoned her. We felt really bad. Friday, with Elder Brown, we stopped by and sang "Abide With Me Tis Eventide" and said a prayer. She really appreciated it and has been doing better.

The other night we were knocking a little side street. It is right in front of an office of the Carabineros (police), so only the Carabineros live there. One house, number 13, I remembered knocking several months ago. The woman also remembered us, and invited us in. She is married, and has a son of 14 years, with a daughter on the way in May. We didn´t have much time to teach, so we did a prayer and left a pamphlet of the Restoration. When we returned Saturday, the husband was there too. Turns out he´s not really police (Carabinero), just a mechanic for them. Still pretty cool. He studied at Chile´s equivalent of Harvard, and is a really nice guy. They actually had a barbecue on and brought us both a huge steak! It was yummy! Unfortunately, after eating, we had to go so didn´t teach much. We passed again on Sunday, but the husband wasn´t there. We taught the Restoration and Book of Mormon to Teresa and José. It was really great, and they´re going to read the Book of Mormon. But when we talked about baptism they lost interest. José feels good about where he is now spiritually. Teresa told us that years ago she shared with sister missionaries and almost got baptized, but she has a fear of water so it never happened. But she also has some other doubts that she wouldn´t share with us. So we left our number and the invitation to the church. It was almost a cool experience in house number 13. (Note from Maili--Scott was born on Friday, the 13th so he considers 13 his lucky number.) :)

Tomás (Thomas) is doing great. They ended up never going on vacation so we´ve been able to teach more. He is really excited to get baptized this Sunday. His only problem is that he has health problems. His right leg/foot is smaller than the left, but he has special shoes so it doesn´t show. He also has had skizophrenia (I have no idea how to spell that) but has medication for that, and is still okay to be baptized. Because of this problem, he appears to be like 25, acts more like 14, but is actually 40. But he is wonderful and is really excited, not just to get baptized, but to be learning about the gospel. He loves it when we visit and really enjoys the classes in church. He always shares with us something new he learned that he didn´t know before. We´re really excited for him.

Nicolas blessed the sacrament yesterday! I was way overjoyed to see him do it. He´s really progressed in his two months in the church, and I can see him preparing for a mission. That would be way great.

Well, that´s about it for this week. I keep learning more and growing more. I recently have seen the importance of staying active in the church, and how a good visiting or home teacher can play an essential role in this.

Well, until next week!
Hasta Luego!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wow that week went by super fast! February is already half over! Where is the time going? Several things happened this week.

Tuesday we got back from a zone class and were preparing to go to lunch and afterwards work when the office called us. There’s a children’s hospital right outside of our sector, and they needed us to go give a blessing to a baby who had fallen out of the baby carriage. We showed up quick and met up with the hospital worker, who is a member. She took us to the room where the baby and mom were. Turns out the husband is an RM but inactive, and wasn’t there. He felt guilty like the accident was his fault. She told us that he at times gets mad and yells at the other kids that are from her other marriage. She’s been hoping that having a kid of his own will help, and maybe this incident can too. It was a really spiritual experience. The missionaries are going to visit them. Hopefully they can reactivate him and baptize her. (She’s Evangelist)

Wednesday, after playing soccer at six in the morning, we went to a nursing home and painted a few rooms with about 10 other missionaries. It was a good experience to help out, and I got plenty of paint on my hands and arms, but that’s it.

Friday we had a zone conference with President May. We learned a lot, but there were two experiences that stick out more in my mind:

During the opening song I felt a shake, and realized that there was a mini earthquake. Several other missionaries felt it, including President, but Elder Squire didn’t.

I got to see Elder Nicholas!! He was my second companion, the first after my trainer, and it’s been since September that I last saw him. It was great to swap stories, inside jokes, etc.

Last week I wrote about a family that was having problems. They don’t have a whole ton of money, and had some doubts with tithing. The husband had an interview with bishop but felt that the bishop, trying to help, delivered the message wrong. Also, the mom was sick, and now the 13 year old daughter is as well. They were really down. But they are doing a lot better now. I shared a story with the husband about a time I tried helping someone I love, but ended up doing more harm with the way I delivered it. We talked about how sometimes people try to help but it comes out wrong, and the bishop wasn’t trying to harm him. He realized this and is going to talk to the bishop again. And they’re going to start tithing again and make up for the month they missed. They really are a strong, faithful family.

I don’t remember if I’ve talked about Jorge and Brenda before. They actually aren’t married even though they have a son of 18 months. They’re from Peru, so they have to wait for some documentation before getting married. He’s a member, and was actually a bishop in Peru. But something happened with his previous (sealed) marriage, and he also has to wait for a divorce, which we don’t know if she knows or not. But she is excited to get baptized and the marriage. The other day in a visit she gave the closing prayer. In it she asked that her baptism arrive quickly. She’s amazing, basically a member, just not baptized. Things are going well with them.

Thomas, whose sister, mother, and grandmother are members, is also progressing great. There were going to go on vacations last week but ended up not going. We didn’t know until he showed up to church yesterday. He’s really excited to get baptized. In our mission, 3 times in sacrament meeting is required before baptism. He greeted us and said, "This is the third time, when’s the baptism?" Today they leave for vacations, and will get back next Wednesday. Fortunately, he has all the lessons. So Thursday we’re going to review everything, and Friday or Saturday have the interview. Then the baptism the 28th.

Ana Lopez should be getting baptized this Sunday, 21, or the next, 28. It all depends on her. She has everything; she just needs to decide when. She told us in February for sure, so we should have it soon.

Well, I think that’s about it. It’s great down here, even though it’s really hot. Soon enough I’ll be freezing and everyone at home will be hot. Fortunately, we have juice and coca cola to cool us off a little. The problem is, almost all we drink here is Coke. There’s a joke among the missionaries that if we ask for water, they give us juice; if we ask for juice, they give us Coke. If we really want water, we have to ask for water from the tap, specifically. I really miss good ol’ A&W Root Beer. But oh well. After.

Well, that’s it for this week. Until next week: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wow, that week went by fast! Time´s going by way too fast. I´m already at about 10 months in the mission! I wish time would slow down.

Well, we were going to have a baptism yesterday, but the investigator died. Literally. He was the husband of a member and, after years of not wanting to get baptized because of problems with tithing, he decided to get baptized. He was a heavy smoker, 20 a day, and for that he had cancer. He was getting worse every day, and we´re still not sure if he really wanted to get baptized or if it was more of "I´m gonna die, I´d better get baptized just to be sure." He had all the lessons, but not a testimony. We were working with that. Friday morning when we woke up, we had a voice message from the 2nd counselor in the bishopric that Francisco had passed away Thursday night. They had the funeral Friday night, and we passed by Saturday. The whole family is really sad, especially his wife. She is really faithful and strong, and came to church yesterday and gave her testimony. She´s the only member in the family. None of her daughters want to join the church, mainly because they smoke. She was excited that her husband was gonna get baptized, cause she´s felt lonely. We´re hoping that maybe now her daughters' hearts can open a little more.

Several weeks ago we got a notice that we owed the power bills for a ton of money. But the mission office pays the bills, so we talked to them. They got in contact with our department building's administration and solved everything. But someone didn´t hear about that, so they cut the power anyway. So we got home one night and had no power or light--nothing except water. It was an experience showering in the morning by flashlight. But the next day they turned in back on, so now everything´s okay.

About three months ago we found a woman who was really interested and accepted a baptismal date. (I don´t know if I´ve mentioned, but in our mission we´ve been directed to put them with a baptismal date in the first visit.) But afterward we couldn´t find her, so we dropped her. Later Elder Pititto and Elder Moore found her. She had read part of the Book of Mormon, believed that it´s true, and accepted baptism again. She also was going to go to church, but due to some miscommunication she wasn´t able to. They also had trouble finding her and dropped her. Last night we were there close and passed by and she was there! A third time accepted baptism, for March 7, her birthday, and wants to go to church Sunday. The Lord definitely wants her in the church. We´re going to work harder with her this time. Third time´s a charm!

The other day we did a contact in the street with a young woman who doesn´t live here but told us her sister would be interested. We passed by for the referal last night. Her sister´s name is Maria Jose (Mary Joseph?), and she does have interest. What´s more, Constanza, the girl we talked to in the street, her other brother, and the mom were also there. We started out with a prayer and were going to just set up another visit and leave. But then the mother, Ana, started telling us about a problem she´s been having with her bones. She has trouble walking but still has to work, and it´s hard for her. Elder Squire felt really impressed to talk about priesthood blessings. Usually we don´t offer because the whole point of blessings is the faith of the person who asks, but we both felt that it was better to offer, and she accepted. We gave her the blessing, and the Spirit filled the room. Afterward she told us of a dream she had. She was in a big shower, the kind that has glass doors instead of curtains, and was dressed all in white. Then there were some men dressed in white who put their hands on her head. When she left the shower she begain to fly/float off, like a dove. She´s certain it has to do with the blessing we gave her. Then we taught about the Restoration, and right after she told us that she´s a member! She got baptized about 30 years ago, and went inactive 3 years after. She still remembers the missionaries who taught her, and also that there wasn´t a temple here in Chile then. We talked some, and she´s gonna talk to the bishop this week and go to church next Sunday. The thing is, she doesn´t live in our sector, not even the zone. She´ll probably clear that all up with the bishop. We´re excited. I´m sure her son and daughter will get baptized in their ward, and Maria José here. It was a great lesson.

Well, gotta go. Hopefully this week passes a little slower! Hasta luego!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, February 1, 2010

This will be pretty quick as I´m almost out of time. Plus there´s not much to say.

It keeps being a furnace down here. High 90´s every day. Even at night I doubt it drops below 70-80ish. But the work still continues.
Yesterday we had two baptisms. Carol, 14 years old, and Pamela, like 30, wife of a member. He wanted to baptize her, but has been less active, and even though he has made goals with the bishop, was not able to baptize her. But he´s still happy that she got baptized.

We are having lots of luck working with part member families. We´ve had lots of lessons with members this week, and are completing a lot of families-brothers, husbands, etc.

This week we did a contact in pure English. We knocked a door and a couple answered. He´s Chilean, but she´s from London, and they have lived in England for years. They have about 18 months in Chile, and she can´t speak Spanish at all, so we talked only in English. Believe it or not, it was really hard for both me and Elder Squire. We almost couldn´t do it.

Well, I think that´s about it. Told ya it´d be short. Hope ya´ll have a great week!

Elder Murdoch