Monday, May 31, 2010

Well, this last week was a little rough. We ended up dropping Catalina. She wasn’t progressing really well but was going to go to church yesterday. But when we passed by Saturday for a quick visit they had left for the North of Chile for two weeks. Yup. ¡Ciao! Hopefully later she can understand more the importance of baptism and can take that step. But for now we’ve done our part, and at least she has the Book of Mormon with a little knowledge we left.

We visited Solange a couple times this week. She said that she and her husband got into a heated discussion, which never happens, about us coming to visit her. We’re not too sure if he just doesn’t want us in the house or if he’s against her listening to us at all. She wanted to keep listening to us and hide it. She said that sometimes he leaves for a week for work, so she could go to church and he wouldn’t have to know. We explained that we’re happy she wants to keep listening, but that we respect her husband and don’t want to create problems. She’s going to talk to him and try and get permission to keep listening. We also gave her some pictures of Jesus Christ (Baptism, Atonement, Resurrection, etc.), which she loved. We really want to be able to get to know her husband and try to gain his confidence. But we’re a little afraid to pass by when he isn’t there and then having him show up and get mad. So we asked Adela if she could pass by to get to know Solange and invite her to a lesson in the house of Adela. Also, it is more ideal to take investigators to a member’s house. We’re hoping that it works and that we can talk with Solange’s husband.

Adela really is helping us a lot. We also had shared a little with her neighbor, Erika. But her husband, who works outside of Santiago (and is Yugoslavian--cool), came home for a week. He’s Catholic, and while he’s there we can’t share with her. So Adela invited her to church (she ended up not going) and also to a lesson at her house. The lesson went great, and we can see that Erika really wants to progress. The rest of her family are Evangelists, so she has husband pulling on one side, parents on another, and not wanting either one but not wanting problems either. We’re praying a lot for her to be able to make the right choice.

Last night we were walking to visit someone and passed a couple of women in the street hauling huge heavy garbage bags of cloth. Obviously we offered our help and, to our astonishment, they accepted!! No one ever accepts our help, no matter how hard the task. So we carried the bags for them and on the way talked with them. It was a mother, Leiry, and her daughter Jeagnelle. Yep, weird name. It’s pronounced like Jack-Nellie, and she’s about 30ish. They make fleece coats for work but sometimes carry the materials to a friend who helps them cut and sew because their department room is really small. Afterwards we went to their apartment/workshop with them and met Jeagnelle´s kids. Kirsti is 8, a boy whose name I don’t remember, is 5, and Ethan is 3 1/2. They are a great family. We sang for them and talked for awhile. They were really excited about the English classes we’re giving, especially to help Kirsti. She talked with me a lot about music because we had told them I play the piano. She also likes to sing and wants to learn piano or violin. Jeagnelle has a way crazy story. Aside from living in like 6 different houses in the same community, her husband drinks A LOT, and sometimes would get home and throw around chairs, plates, and sometimes hit her, whether she said or did anything or not. One time in the street he waited at a corner with a knife to kill her. (Actually not too far from where we live) But an old man who owns a small store close by (He always greets us. He’s way nice.) and a couple other people stopped him and he’s in jail now. The really sad thing is that this affected Ethan a lot, and he says to his mom "I’m going to kill my dad. He tried to kill you, but I’ll kill him." They said once he said to the mom and grandma, "You two don’t worry about anything. When my dad gets out of jail I’ll take care of him." HE´S THREE YEARS OLD!! It’s really sad, but Jeagnelle is taking him to a psychologist. We’re also hoping that as we teach them the Gospel an find him friends that he can forget about all that. They really are a great family and I’m looking forward to continuing with them. The grandma, Leiry, is separated from her husband, who is a member. She also works with a member who is actually part of a family that Elder King knows from his last sector. What a small world. We’ll be praying a lot for Jeagnelle and her family.

The other day Adela told us about a department that is up for rent close to her. Today we passed by to take a look. They weren’t there, but an old lady who supposedly is helping them took our names and number and is going to talk to the people. We might be getting a new place to live soon!! This is really good. It’s really freezing in the mornings. Not to mention that the toilet stopped working. We don’t know if it’s plugged up or if there’s another problem. When we flush it fills with water, which then leaves. But only the water leaves. Nothing else. So we try to use the bathroom in a store, the church, etc. But needless to say sometimes at night we just have to go. Without going into too much detail, the bathroom really smells bad. We’re going to try to find a plunger and hope that can fix it. Yummy.

Yesterday for combined 3rd hour the bishop showed a movie called The Butterfly Circus. The main actor is a guy who, in the movie and real life, has no legs or arms. It was a great movie. And the guy also gives motivational talks and everything. It was really cool.

Well, I’m out of time for this week. It was a rough week like I said. But we’ve changed some things, organized a lot, and this next week we’re really going to work hard. We have several people that we are teaching, and should have a lot of baptisms in June and July.

Well, have a great week!!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, May 24, 2010

San Pablo Zone - May 2010

Elder Rasmussen and I with Adela

Well, one more transfer done. I now am on my 9th, with 13 months in the mission. Crazy! It´s going by way too fast. Right now I´m with Elder King, from North Carolina. He has this transfer and half of the next, aka 2 months, till he finishes the mission. There´s a chance he might finish it with me. I really hope that we can have a lot of success so that he can finish on a good note. I heard that he is an athlete and big on sports, so we´ll probably be doing a lot of sports, which is okay with me. :)

Talking about sports, last Friday morning we played some basketball. Elder Nicholas, my second companion, and his companion Elder Jex, invited us and a couple other sectors to play in there church. Unfortunately, we boarded the wrong bus and got a little lost. We woke up at 5:30 but didn´t get to the church till 7:00. But we still got in some good playing time. We were tired the whole rest of the day, but it was worth it. It was really fun. Not my best game. I´ve really lost my talent. But I still enjoyed it.

Wednesday in Divisions with Elder Mendoza, we did a street contact with a member inactive. He was pretty excited to talk to us and we set up an appointment. He lives with his sister, who served her mission about 8 years ago. They´re both members since really young. He was preparing his papers for the mission but never went. But he´s only 22, so there´s still a chance. He seemed really excited to have us and interested in returning. He was going to come to church yesterday, but his girlfriend from Viña del Mar came so he couldn´t. But he still is really interested. His sister, Ingrid, unfortunately, doesn´t want anything. She straight out told us that she won´t read the Book of Mormon, pray, repent, or go to church. Seems like something pretty big happened, but we don´t know what. She said she wants to go slow for now. But German, the brother, should progress faster.

Last week we knocked the door of a woman named Solange. She seemed a little startled, but happy to see us, and invited us in. We didn´t have time before the next appointment, so we set up another time to pass by. We went by Saturday night. It was raining really hard, and she was really surprised when we showed up. She figured that no one would leave to preach the gospel in the rain, and was happy to see that we will. The lesson went great and the Spirit was really strong. Her 15 year old daughter, Javiera, also listened to us. When we were talking about the importance of prayer, she said "Oh yeah. I always pray. I talk with God, thank him for all that he gives me, and I close in the name of Jesus Christ." She later said, "I have a strong testimony that God answers prayers. He´s answered mine before, and I know that he is always listening." Well, I thought, we don´t have to focus too much on prayer. They both committed to read in the Book of Mormon-Moroni 10- and to pray. We´re going to pass tonight to see how it went. Her husband might present a problem. She said she doesn´t know if he´ll allow her and Javiera to keep listening to us or go to church. But we´ve been praying hard that he will let them. They should progress well.

Well, kind of short this week. Not much happened. We´re a little low on investigators, but working hard to find more. Thanks for all of your prayers.

Elder Murdoch

Monday, May 17, 2010

Man, the weeks just go faster and faster!! This last week was full of experiences.
Wednesday we had division with the Zone Leaders. Elder Rasmussen stayed here in the sector with Elder Caro from Columbia. Actually, Elder Caro trained Elder Rasmussen, so they both enjoyed it. They found 3 new investigators. One was a ten-year-old boy who since then we´ve lost because his parents don´t want anything. (His mom and grandparents are members but don´t want to go to church.) The other two were actually referrals that we had received from an inactive member. They´re friends that live close to each other--two women about 40ish. Erika lives right next to Adela, our recent convert, and Maria Eugenia lives a couple minutes away. The problem is that we haven´t been able to find them since then. They´re never home when we come. Well, a couple times there have been lights on at Erika´s, but no one comes to the door. We´ll keep trying to contact them, but we might drop them this week.

Adela´s progressing well. We´ve talked to her about the mission (which she´s thinking about, hmmmmm) and patriarchal blessings. She hasn´t shown much interest in the latter. But she did go to the temple to walk around the gardens. Unfortunately, she didn´t understand how to get there. She knew it´s in the corner of Procuro and Pedro de Valdivia, but what we hadn´t explained is that it´s not right on the corner; you have to turn and walk for two minutes. So she arrived at the church office building there and was really disappointed. But we explained better how to get there and she´s going to go back. She also went to institute all on her own! The one she went to was for people who have been in the church longer, so she didn´t understand much; but she´s going to go with a member to a different institute that she´ll understand. That´ll be great.

Catalina is progressing a little. She´s been reading and praying, but she still hasn´t been able to go to church. And the other day when we taught the Word of Wisdom she said she has a "problem" with tea. This "problem" is that she likes the taste even though her mom said she hardly ever, almost never, drinks it. Today I´m going to buy her some herbal tea and see if she can change. She´s ten-years-old. She shouldn´t have a problem with the Word of Wisdom!!!

It´s been getting really, really cold here, especially in the mornings. We have a little plug-in electric stove, but it doesn´t do much. Our house is so horrible! But we may be finding another one soon. Yesterday we had lunch with a family that lives in an apartment building. Funny enough, all that floor are members--them, her sister next door, a man that we´re teaching that was baptized at 8 but then immediately went inactive. And the fourth door is another family of inactives that are moving. They supposedly are leaving this Saturday, and they want to rent out the apartment! Tonight we´re going to stop by and talk to them about renting it. We hope that they will be okay with it, since we´re missionaries and they´ll know that we´ll take care of it and they´ll receive their money on time each week. Pray for us to be able to get it.

Have I mentioned how I´m starting to hate dogs? They´re all over the place.There are more dogs in the street than in the houses here. All sorts of strays all over. Sometimes they bark as we pass, very seldom coming after us, and even then they keep their distance. We just have to show that we will defend ourselves. But the other day the unexpected happened. We showed up at lunch with a sister in the ward, and Elder Rasmussen had to borrow her hose to wipe some dog crap off his shoe (another dog problem). As he finished and we were entering the house, the member´s dog came over. Apparently she likes to play, but when dogs play they use their teeth. So we kind of danced into the house, trying to avoid her mouth making contact with our legs. But I missed a step and she got me. Fortunately it wasn´t a horrible bite. But there is a nice little whole in my pants and my leg. It´s already starting to heal up, but I wanted to boot that dog hard.

Yesterday in church I was saying hello to some members, making my way to the piano to play some interlude when he bishop came over and asked me if I could give a short talk about missionary work right after the sacrament. So I had to prepare it during announcements, ward business, and the sacrament. I couldn´t during the hymns because I was playing. It was really rushed, but I felt really good about how it turned out. Several members told me that it was great, including one that said my accent sounded Chilean. I talked some about D&C 4 and then about member missionary work with the quote from David O. McKay "Every member a missionary." Then I talked about a book that I read called "Already to Harvest" by an old mission president in which he reads from D&C 33:8-10 about "Open your mouths and they shall be filled." He talks about 2 questions one can do while talking with a nonmember. These are: 1) Do you like to read? and 2) If I gave you a book about the story of Christ´s visit to the Americas, would you read it? He said that this has been tested to be 85% efficient. It´s a great idea, and I´m hoping that the members will agree and put it to the test.

Well, I´m out of time for this week. This is the last week of the transfer, so we´ll see where I am next week.
Hasta Luego!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, May 10, 2010

Well, another week has flown by. It´s amazing how fast the time goes. It seems like a month ago I got here to Chile and a couple days ago I completed a year. Now I lack a week to have 13 months. Crazy! But it´s been a great experience, and I keep learning more and more each day. Oh, and Adela got confirmed yesterday. Yeah!!! She´s great, and is really excited. We´ve taught everything, even the after baptism lessons already. She´s thought of going to the temple to get a tour around the gardens with a Sister missionary that works there. She´s going to progress quickly.

We had an interesting experience this past week. First off, our house is really horrible. We have no idea how sister missionaries used to live there. We live in a little shack above the garage. Below us is nothing, and the boards actually have little slits so we can see the light from below when it´s on. It had a balcony which they kinda boarded over with walls and a window. But it still has the slits between the little poles on the railing, so the cold air comes in really easily. It gets freezing, especially in the morning. But last Wednesday the owner, who lives in the house below--well, the house to the garage below--decided to fix our bathroom. He said that when we shower and get water on the floor (because the shower is small and the curtain´s horrible) it drips down into the garage. So he hired some guy to come in and fix it. Really all he did was put linoleum on the floor and wall with a bunch of strong rubber cement stuff. It looks a lot better now; but the rubber cement stuff he used smells really strong, and he was using a whole bucket. The smell got so strong that he almost passed out and had to leave halfway through the job.

Meanwhile, we´re out walking in the street, knocking doors, and Juana, the owner´s wife, calls us. She said that the smell was so strong the worker had to leave and she didn´t want us to sleep there cause she thought we´d die. Apparently it´s also really toxic. So we arranged to sleep with Elder King and Elder Mangels from Dorsal 1because they live close. (They´re the other Elders from our ward.) So we planned to go home about 9:30 to gather together stuff to go over there. But during one of our lessons with a recent convert it started to rain. Luckily he had two umbrellas that he let us use. So when we got to the house we threw some blankets and pillows in a suitcase and called Radiotaxi to send a taxi to pick us up at the corner. He told us someone would be there in 20 minutes. So 15 minutes later we showed up. We then waited about 15 minutes. When he didn´t show up we called again. They told us they´d send someone. After about 10 more minutes we got frustrated and decided to walk. So there we were, two gringos in our pj´s, walking down the street with a suitcase and umbrellas, drenched from the rain cause it was coming down HARD!! We arrived at the other Elders´ house about 15 minutes later, deciding we should have walked in the first place. But by the time we got there we were both drenched, despite rain coats and umbrellas. Then we opened the suitcase. My pillow, which was on top, was drenched, and the blankets were damp on the edges. It was pretty bad. Oh, and we had to sleep on the wood floor. Let´s just say that I did not sleep much that night. The next morning we showered at the house of a member, and also did our weekly planning there. The guy finished the bathroom during the day and we were fortunately able to sleep at home that night. It was quite an experience.

Friday we had a Zone Conference. It was really great, and I learned a lot from it. Afterwards they gave us injections to protect against N1H1, aka Swine Flu. I´ve already had it here, but I got the shot anyway just to make sure. You never know. While there I was able to see a lot of people that I´ve met on the mission, including a companion from the MTC. I also saw an Elder that is in my previous sector right now so I was able to talk to him. Sadly, I found out that most of my converts there are inactive. One visits somewhere else on weekends; another doesn´t go ever; another is inactive with her husband, who is a member and got active when she got baptized but now they´re both inactive; and the Elder doesn´t even know the other one. All the inactives are the females. The two men, Nicolas and Tomás are active. Tomás has the Aaronic Priesthood and has been blessing the sacrament. That´s good. But I´m really bummed that the others are inactive. I´m going to write to them and try to help them.

Well, that´s about it for this week. My mom sent me a message in today´s email that was really interesting. It talked about how mission preparation starts early. Every lesson in Primary, Sunday School, Seminary, etc. is preparing one for the mission. It is really true. And yet one arrives on the mission, completes a year, and keeps learning. It is an eternal proccess.


Elder Murdoch

Monday, May 3, 2010

¡¡TUVIMOS UN BAUTISMO!!!! Translated: WE HAD A BAPTISM!!!! Adela got baptized yesterday. It was a great experience. When we visited her in the evening, she told us that she felt wonderful. She said that church took forever to end. She even didn´t pay too much attention in Relief Society cause she was so anxious for it to get over. The baptism was great. Elder Rasmussen baptized her. But there was one problem. The water heater stopped working while the font was filling. We don´t know why. So the water was freezing. She came out a popsicle, but it´ll just help her remember the baptism even more. The spirit was really strong and we could tell that she really was ready for it. She was excited, and now she´s even more excited for the confirmation next Sunday. Yeah!! She really is amazing.

During Sacrament Meeting yesterday there was a tremor. It was during fast and testimony meeting. At first it was small, hardly noticeable. The music director, a young woman about my age, was sitting on the stand next to one of the counselors in the bishopric. She looked at him, at me, and at someone in the audience, then started moving her hand up and down as if to say "The earth´s moving" and pointed at the ceiling fans which were wiggling. Then it got a little bigger. There was a lot of rustling and some whispers, but no one left. The brother giving his testimony just kept talking, and the bishop on the stand motioned for everyone to stay still. The ward mission leader also helped calm people down. Finally it stopped about when the brother finished his testimony. The next brother went up and said "Don´t worry, the tremor passed." The counselor also gave his testimony, saying that as he was reading the scriptures before the meeting, he had a feeling to open the side door that leads from the chapel to outside. It was an interesting experience. We later learned it was a 6.0--I forgot where--and a 3.0 in Santiago. Nothing compared to an 8.5. :)

Saturday we started teaching English classes. It started out small with just a few members and Adela. But it went well; they all already know a lot. We´re hoping to get more people, especially non-members, to find a way to find new investigators. The bishop has a teaching manual thing on the computer in the church that we will be using. For now we´re going to be printing off and giving out the lesson for the following week. The nice thing is that there are 4 missionaries in the ward, so we´re thinking of having two teach a beginner class and the other two teach an advanced class. It should be good.

The bad thing about Saturday was that it was a holiday, "Day of the Worker." Here in Chile they have a lot of nonsense holidays, including another one called "Kid´s Day" when they don´t work. I find it kind of ironic having "Day of the Worker" and they don´t work that day. I do have to give it to them, they do work hard down here. Which is probably why they take advantage of any opportunity to not work. But during these holidays everyone gets high and/or drunk. It was hard working in the evening cause everybody was partying. Including the 19-year-old brother of Katalina, the little girl we´re teaching. We passed by for her, and he came to the door plastered. The second he opened the door we immediately smelled Marijuana and beer. He was so wasted, he had to lean against the door and almost fell. We thought he was going to throw up on us. He was in there enough to tell us that his mom and sister are in the north of Chile for the week. He then invited us in, but we declined. Rats, we´ll have a hard time visiting Katalina. Oh well, next week.

Well, that was my week. Not a whole lot happened, but it was still a good week.
Enjoy this week!

Elder Murdoch