Monday, April 26, 2010

Well, this was an interesting week. Thursday I completed one year in the mission. AHHHHHH!!!!!!! We bought a cake and last night we sang Happy One Year, burned ties, and ate some cake. It was fun, but the ties wouldn´t burn all the way even though they caused a lot of smoke. But here in Chile they don´t have that many fire alarms so we were okay.

Last Tuesday Elder Rasmussen got sick. He had bad diarrhea and threw up a lot, along with a lot of pain in his stomach. We ended up staying home the whole day. He slept, or at least tried, and I read the March and April Ensigns and some talks from the October Conference. I also cleaned a little and ate some. It was a really boring day. Wednesday he was a little better, and we left about 3, but then he kept having to stop to rest, and from 5-6 we went back to the house. After that he fully recovered and has been better since. It was quite the experience.

We´re a little low on investigators and are looking for more. Adela is progressing great. She went to church again yesterday and has been reading in the Book of Mormon (she´s in Jacob) and two Ensigns that we gave her from Conference last October and April. She also has been praying and has had her answer for awhile. She believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet and the Book of Mormon is true and that this is the true church. But she´s been having doubts. Every time we go, we see that she has a question. We always pray at least one out, but for awhile we´ve seen that there´s a big one that she won´t let out. Finally, the other day she did. She has an aunt that listened to missionaries before and mentioned to Adela that we don´t have contact with women. Here in Chile, the custom when greeting someone is to kiss them on the cheek. (not with men, they hug) Obviously, we as missionaries don´t do that. Adela had noticed that even before her aunt told her. She actually told us that she has had this doubt for awhile but didn´t want to tell us. She just wasn´t sure if it was something racist or about the church or what because she had also noticed that in the church the normal members do it, just the missionaries don´t. So we, relieved, explained to her why we don´t do it. We showed her the mission manual that has all our rules and explained everything. I was relieved that that was her big doubt.
She also has had doubts about getting baptized. But we committed her strongly to pray about being baptized. She later told us that the prayer went well. She is now very excited and ready to get baptized this Sunday!! Yeah!! We also took her to a FHE Saturday with another Sister that is an RM. We watched the Testaments and she liked it. She made really good friends with Katy, the sister. That helped us a lot.

Last Friday we had divisions, and Elder Rasmussen was here with our DL, Elder Mendoza from Honduras. They passed for someone that we have taught lesson one, the Restoration, and we haven´t seen for a couple weeks. The mom, Paola, lives with a boyfriend so can´t get baptized, but her 10 year-old-daughter, Katalina, accepted a baptismal date. She´s really interested, and we have the advantage that she hasn´t been baptized for any church. We´re going to work hard this week to take her to church and find her friends.

On divisions Friday I was with Elder Young. Guess where he´s from. Blackfoot, Idaho, Snake River High School!! And he knows Grace; he´s fished there before. It´s a small world!! And he went to BYU-Idaho and we have several friends in common. It was way fun to talk with him. We talked all day and into the night. And after praying, turning off the lights and getting in bed, we talked till pretty late in the night. It was awesome to be with someone who could relate to me so much and that has a ton of similar experiences. It´s awesome!

Wow, it is FREEZING COLD!!!! I am wearing my heavy coat right now and it´s still a bit chilly. The temperature drops even more in the night. I´ve been sleeping in thermals, socks, a hoodie, earmuffs, beany, and two blankets. Tonight I´m going to add a third blanket. But it doesn´t help. In the morning it´s always freezing. Our house is not the best, and it lets the cold in really easy. We´re searching for another one. Hopefully we can find a better one.

Well, that´s it for this week. One year done, and one more to go. I hope it can go slower than they say.

¡Hasta luego!

Elder Murdoch

(Note to friends who are reading from Maili: Please pray for them to find better housing soon. He hasn't felt good since he had the swine flu last year and is going into winter again. Thanks! Love you all!)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Well, I´ll be completing one year this Thursday. Crazy!! I´ve heard two things about the one year mark: 1)that it goes even faster after that, which is not what I want; 2)that the teaching gets better and there´s more success, which I believe will happen as I have a good grip on the language and the lessons.

Right now we are a little short on investigators. Evelyn, a Peruvian that was really interested, is going to move. Interestingly enough to CarriĆ³n, where I was before. So I´ll be sending the referral to the missionaries there and hope they can find her.

Adela went to church yesterday!! And even more, the other Elders in our ward had a baptism Saturday and she went!! Yesterday after church they had another, and she actually asked if she could stay for it. She really liked the baptisms and the church. Yea!!!! We also have given her a couple of General Conference Ensigns with selected talks to read. She afterwards said that they answered some doubts that she had been too ashamed to ask us about. She asked why we didn´t give them to her earlier. She is now in Jacob. She reads a lot, now that she isn´t working. She´s progressing great and should be baptized May 2. Last Monday we took her to a FHE with the single adults in our ward (there are a lot), and she enjoyed it a lot.

Last week we found a 40ish-year-old man named Cristian. He was in some sort of accident that gave him a minor case of schizophrenia, but he understands more than we thought at first. His grandpa told him that he helped form a bank here in Chile. If he can find enough evidence he could claim the family bank or something. Cristian at first wanted to see if our church could help him to do this. We told him no; he has to do it on his own. His mom says it´s a lie, but he believes his Grandpa but doesn´t have any evidence. But he is still interested and listening to us. He is a possibility for May.

Saturday we had a great experience--the baptism that Adela went to. It was from Dorsal 1, the other Elders in the ward. Elder Romero unfortunately left with transfers and wasn´t here for the baptism. He was really sad. The man that got baptized is 24ish. His name is Florian, but people call him Flo. He´s French but has lived here in Chile for awhile. The amazing thing is that he was atheist, but then they started teaching him and he read the Book of Mormon and gained his testimony first of the book then everything else. He was living with his girlfriend who is a member, which means he couldn´t get baptized. He´d have to get married or live somewhere else. Then all of a sudden when the missionaries taught the Law of Chastity and were talking about that, they told them that they had been married for more than a month but no one knew. Wow! So he could get baptized. But he and his wife are leaving for France this week, so he got baptized Saturday and confirmed Sunday as well as ordained to the priesthood as a priest. It was a small baptism, with about 10 people. Before it started, when we were waiting for a member of the bishopric to show up, the lights went out, not just in the church, but in all of our sector. But the bishop came with all sorts of candles, so we started lighting candles and putting them around the room, by the font, and even a few floating in the font. In the middle of the talk that a sister gave, the power came back on. So there was light for the baptism. It was a great experience for everyone. Afterwards Flo was tearing up. I can just imagine, going from Atheist to getting baptized. The spirit was really strong. Elder King baptized him and confirmed him Sunday. It was really great.

Well, I´m out of time. This week will be a cold one, as we are in the middle of autumn. It´s starting to be chilly during the day (chilly in Chile hahaha) and freezing in the night and morning. Here comes winter!!!


Elder Murdoch

P.S. I'm including a couple of pictures. One of last week's really short haircut and one of Elder Rasmussen without his disguise! haha!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Well, another transfer done. Nothing happened with us. I´m still here in Dorsal 2 with Elder Rasmussen. But one thing is different. Dorsal is one ward, but there are two sectors, and usually those two sectors, Dorsal 1 and 2 are a district. But not this transfer. Now we´re with another sector. So in the church Sunday there will still be four of us, but the other two aren´t from our district. Different. My new District Leader is Elder Mendoza from Honduras. He was actually in my last zone with me, and we both left that one and came here at the same time. His companion, Elder Young, is from Blackfoot Idaho, so we should have some fun times together. Way to go, Idaho!

Couple interesting experiences about the week. Last Monday I got a haircut cause my hair was getting long. I sat in the chair and told the lady to cut it short. So she took the big shaving machine thing and buzzed my whole head. She didn´t even use the scissors at all. Not quite what I expected, but I actually like it. If I rub my head right it´s like a hedgehog or porcupine. And it is really short, so I shouldn´t need another cut for awhile. Although my hair does grow pretty fast.

So the other day we had to go to the other side of our sector. It´s a small sector but pretty long. Fortunately, we have what´s called the metro, the underground subway. As we went down the stairs to get in the train, the light above the door beeped and the mechanical voice said (roughly translated) "Be careful with the closing of the doors." Elder Rasmussen ran and jumped in, but I was a few feet behind and didn´t make it before the doors closed. So we kinda smiled at each other as the train started slowly then faster moving away. He was on his way and I had to wait for the next train. Normally nothing bad. But I´m a missionary. So I just stood there waiting for about 3 minutes till the next train came. It felt weird!! I was without a comp, just on my own. I wonder if it´s that bad after the mission too. It was an interesting experience, but I wouldn´t like to repeat it.

We´re a little low on investigators. We have a few but not many. And none will go to church. Last week we found a 20-year-old Peruvian, Evelyn. She accepted baptism and has been reading and praying. On the second visit we asked her how her reading of 3 Nephi 11 went, and she gave us an overview of the chapter. "Oh, Christ visits the people in the Americas after his resurrection, calls a prophet, gives him the authority to baptize and teaches them how." Wow. She also has been praying but hasn´t received an answer yet. She was going to go to church yesterday, but Saturday at midnight texted us saying she couldn´t. But this next Sunday yes.

Our other good investigator is Adela. She´s like 38 and progressing well. After a month of reading she is almost done with 2 Nephi. She reads every day and has been praying. She says that when she does she feels good. She has received her answer but doesn´t realize it. She doesn´t know that she knows. We´ve been telling her that her answer can possibly come in the church, but she hasn´t been able to go because of work. But last Thursday she quit work (she didn´t like what she was doing) so now she has more time. She actually committed to go yesterday but then her mom, who is really sick, invited her to go see a statue of the virgin mary which is about 2 hours away. She didn´t want to go, she really wanted to go to church. But her mom is really sick, and she felt that she needed to go. But we were pretty frank and told her that she had to go this Sunday. Tonight we´re going to have a family home evening with her and some other single adults in the ward. It should be good to help her find friends. After that all she needs is assistance in the church.

Well, I´m out of time and need to go. This transfer´s going to be a great one, I´m really excited.


Elder Murdoch

Monday, April 5, 2010

Well, another fast week gone. It was also a short one. Monday we didn´t work cause it was the anniversary of some sort of battle that took place in Chile and could have been dangerous. On top of that, we didn´t do anything Saturday, and worked for 3hours Sunday, because of the conference. So with fewer hours, it went even faster than normal.

Oh man, last week of the transfer is already here! I feel like just a week ago I was getting here and meeting the members. Now we have transfers next week. Probably Elder Rasmussen and I will stay together one more transfer. But ya never know. Anything can and has happened with transfers. Last week, 3 nights, I had dreams about leaving to go to another sector. That means nothing, but I could. Elder Rasmussen once had a dream about being together with a missionary and then the next transfer he was with that missionary. So ya never know what´ll happen.

But what better way to end the transfer than with that wonderful General Conference that we had. What a wonderful opportunity to be able to listen to the voice of the Lord through way of his prophet, apostles, and other leaders of the church. What a Spirit we felt throughout the weekend. (Also a slight tremor during the Sunday morning session, which I didn´t feel. I was too busy taking notes of President Uchtdorf. He spoke so powerfully...) Seems like the conference was directed mainly to the families, parents, youth, etc. I was able to take advantage of it in two ways: 1) Take notes and save them for in the future when I´m a husband and father, and 2) apply it to the mission, with me as the father and the investigators as children. That really helped open my eyes to a lot of things, and it should help me to be a better missionary.

I was really grateful to be able to go to an upstairs room in the stake center and listen to the conference in English. It was a great experience to listen to the First Presidency and every one of the 12 apostles as well as the other leaders of the church.

Last night, shortly after climbing in bed a little early, I was starting to drift off to sleep. Weirdly, the walls starting creaking and the glass in the window rattled. After hearing, I then felt the shaking and sat up sharply. Elder Rasmussen was in the bathroom brushing his teeth, and he finished up and came in the room. We kinda sat there, waiting for it to get bigger. Then it settled down and slowly stopped. It was probably a 6.7ish. Nothing much. :)

Elder Rasmussen, with his old companion, knocked a building and found an inactive member. Cristian, about 40ish, got baptized at 8 but shortly after went inactive. We´ve started teaching him, and it´s basically like an investigator. He didn´t know very much but was really excited to share with us. Every time we go he learns more and more, and he´s told us that he feels better ever since we first passed. What´s more, his wife and 9-year-old son aren´t members. So we´re also going to start sharing with them, and see if we can baptize them. Or that is, see if HE can baptize them.

Well, that´s it for this week. I´d like to invite all to read the conference ensign when it comes, and really study it and see what you all can learn. Because there is always something that someone can take out of something somewhere. (um, what?!) I know that in everything that the prophet and apostles say, anyone, if really sincerely searching, can find something to apply to better their life.

Talk to ya next week!

Elder Murdoch