Monday, September 27, 2010

Well, the transfer ended wonderfully, with Gustavo´s baptism Saturday and his and Noelia´s confirmation Sunday. Gustavo is really excited to continue in the church and should receive the priesthood in a couple weeks. He will be a great leader in the church. After the baptism and he had changed clothes and returned, his wife (who was inactive for 15 years and now is active) gave her testimony and made me cry a little. They have a baby of like 10 months, Zacharías, and she said to Gustavo, "I hope that you are able to baptize him." They are a wonderful family, and I´m grateful to have been able to teach them.

Noelia is also doing great. She got confirmed like I said and is learning a lot in Primary. She turns 12 in a week, so in January she´ll be in Young Women. Eduardo is progressing slow but steady. He´s slowly stopping smoking and the other day took out his earrings.
He showed up to church without them, but when we passed a few hours later he had put them back in. Slow and steady, little by little he´s getting there. He will be baptized in October.

We´ve started teaching a former investigator, Macarena. (Heeeyyyy, Macarena!!) Two years ago she listened to the missionaries in the house of her cousin. The cousin´s dad is bishop of their ward. Macarena told us that during that time her biggest dream was to get baptized. She even accompanied the missionaries! She basically was a dry member. (That´s what we say when someone is basically a member, they just haven´t been baptized.) The problem was that she lives here and was listening somewhere else. So the missionaries told her that she had to get baptized here not there. She then stopped going to church and the fire went out. The other day we visited her with an RM. She showed a lot of interest in baptism, and we asked her what would stop her from getting baptized. The only thing she has a problem with is going to church. If she can conquer that, the rest she´s okay with. We´ve worked a lot with that, and yesterday she went!! The fire is slowly building back up. She should also get baptized in October.

Well, I´m out of time, so I guess that´s all for this week. Things are going great here. In a sector that didn´t baptize in almost a year we´re having a ton of success. Really, it´s all just the faith and attitude of the missionaries. Like Elder Costa told us in a devotional, if we think we can baptize, we can. If not, we won´t. Any sector, any missionary can baptize.

Elder Murdoch

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Well, we´re now on the last week of the transfer. I don´t know where all the time went, but it´s gone. But we don´t think anything will happen with transfers. We´ll both probably stay here. This week was a great one, ending with Noelia´s baptism Sunday. It was a great experience. Everyone got emotional, even her aunt who is Catholic. The aunt actually now wants to come to church every week. Maybe we can teach her some. This family really has changed. We´ve been able to help them a lot. The younger, Antonia, will turn 8 in January and will be baptized. She´s really excited for it. Also, the dad, Ivan, is working with the oldest brother, Yahir, 19, to help him get the Priesthood and prepare for a mission. It really has been a blessing for them and us to see the changes happening.

Noelia´s other brother, Eduardo, 15, is having some difficulties. He wants to get baptized, but he has to stop smoking, and the Law of Chastity will be a problem for him. But he´s progressing well and will hopefully get baptized in October. We also had some problems with Noelia´s friend, Kati, 9. Her mom is an inactive and doesn´t want to go to church. She also thinks that Kati is too young to get baptized. She said that if Kati wants she can, but she doesn’t think she should. We´re going to pass tonight with the bishop so she can know him and maybe he can help her.

We had a miracle with Gustavo last week. He´s been having doubts, and we´ve been working a lot to help him. Last Monday we had not planned to visit him, having only 3 hours to work after P-Day. Half an hour before leaving, I felt really strongly that we needed to visit him. So we decided to go. Elder Webb brought his Preach My Gospel manual, and we read a quote about conversion. It says "When the Spirit touches the heart, hearts are changed." That really touched him (pun intended) as well as some other scriptures we shared. After a long pause he asked, "When do you have baptisms?" We said any day depending on the person but usually Sundays. He said, "I think I could do it the 26th... I don´t see why not to do it." Luckily his wife wasn´t there. He said that he wants it to be a secret for her. If she would have been there or if we would have passed the next day, he wouldn´t have said anything. Only the Lord could have inspired us to pass Monday night cause we had no idea that she wasn´t there or that he would say that.

Yesterday we found some great people. Mauricio is about 23 and accepted a baptismal date for October 24. We also found a family of five with three sons of 18, 15, and 9. They are great and can get baptized in October. Should be a pretty successful month.

Last week was Chile´s Independence Day. We went to the ward party at the church. It was really fun. We watched some people dance Cueca (the national dance of Chile) and ate a lot of food. It was great.

Well, I´m out of time, so I´ll finish more next week.
Have a great week!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wow, the weeks keep getting shorter and shorter. I know I say that every week, but it still feels like I only said it a couple days ago, and I´ll probably say it in a couple more. Time is passing way fast, too fast for me. But you know what they say: Time brings change. I feel that I have changed a lot, physically and spiritually. My testimony has never been so tried and tested, nor so strengthened. This really is an edifying experience, for me and those that I teach.

This week was a little tough. Let me back up a couple months and remind you about my elbow that I fractured. The past few weeks it has been hurting, and I can´t do pushups, lift heavy things, etc. So I talked with the doctor, and Thursday we went in to see what´s up. He had me take another X-Ray, and then comparing it with the one from 21/2 months ago said that the fracture, instead of getting better, is a little bit bigger. So he´s going to have me do therapy, which will probably be 10 visits he said. I´m still waiting for them to call me and say when to go. It´s a long trip there, actually out of the mission limits, so I´m really not wanting to do it. But I´m going to try and do everything they tell me so that I can get better and not have to go anymore. And so I can get back to doing pushups again.

Being at the doctor Thursday, we got home at 7:00 and had 3 hours to work. Short day. Plus we wasted a lot of time and money traveling. The good thing that came out of the trip was that I was able to eat Subway. Subway restaurants are few here, so I took advantage to grab a foot-long Italian BMT with cheddar, toasted, with lettuce, tomato, olives, mayo and mustard, on Italian herbs and cheese. Just like always. Mmmmmm!!! It was really good.

Saturday was another adventure. It was the 11th of September, anniversary of the World Trade Centers. Also anniversary of some revolution that took place here in Chile many years ago. As part of tradition, there are always demonstrations and violence. People do stuff like throw chains at light posts to cut the power, start bonfires in the street, walk around with guns, etc. In some parts not much happens, but in other parts it can be pretty dangerous. So President May told us to go to the house at 8 instead of 10, or earlier if necessary. We, fortunately, live in a new apartment complex, with a gate, wall, and guardhouse, so it´s pretty safe. But right in front there are block buildings, about 27, in a place called La Pucará, which is really dangerous. We ended up going home at 7.
Nothing happened to us, but we did hear gunshots and the next morning there were remnants of bonfires in a couple of streets. Pretty exciting.

This next Saturday is the 18th, which is Chile´s Independence Day, this year being the Bicentennial. Thursday, we´ll go to a ward activity in the church. The best part is the food. They have a lot of traditional foods here that are really good, so we´ll be eating a lot.
Well, not too much hopefully. :)

Talking about food, last week we were finally able to fix our stove, which didn´t have a tube to hook up to the propane. We bought one and a brother who lives close helped us attach it. So now I´m actually eating breakfast. For the past 7-8 months breakfast has been either cereal or nothing. Maybe an apple. Now I´ve been making fried eggs and toast, French toast, omelets, etc. I can finally eat a real breakfast. Plus last night I discovered the blender we have and made an orange-banana smoothie and this morning made one of strawberry-banana. Yummy.

Noelia is doing great. She´s way excited for her baptism this next Sunday. Her friend, Kati, should also get baptized; we just need to get permission from her parents and teach her a few more lessons. Noelia´s brother, Eduardo, will be a little tougher. He also wants to get baptized and has a date for the 26th. But he´s, well, gone a little out of the path. He has a couple of earrings and tattoos and is really rebellious. We´ve taught him the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity. He smokes but has already decided that he wants to quit, so we´ll be able to help him with that. But he goes to a lot of parties, some with dirty dancing, so he said the Law of Chastity will be hard. Yesterday, he mentioned how in the Gospel Principles class there are a lot of older people and asked if there´s someone his age(15). We said yes, there are a lot of teenagers his age, and he said "Yeah, I saw quite a bit of girls there." Lol. We said yep, there are a lot of young men, young women, and you can find a lot of friends there. He was pretty excited about that, and we´re hoping that he can find a lot of friends in the church that can help him, even without realizing, to live the Law of Chastity. Maybe he can trade his old partying friends for new friends in the church. That would be a big help.

Gustavo is okay. He still wants more time, but he´s starting to realize the importance of baptism. Last night we talked a little about it and he said "It´s like getting cleaned even though I shower every day. Haha. But it´s more of cleaning your spirit." So he´s understanding a little more that it´s something he needs to do. We´re praying and fasting a lot, and I think he´ll be able to get baptized the 26th.

Not to startle or anything, but the other day we heard some interesting news. Supposedly there are a lot of volcanoes in Chile, and several are active. One is becoming more and more active, and if it were to go off, it would cover all of Santiago. They´re studying it to see what´s going to happen, but as of now nothing much seems to be going on.

The weather´s getting warmer here. Yesterday and Friday it rained quite a bit and was kind of cold. But, aside from that, it´s getting real warm. We´ve started working in short-sleeved shirts without coats, and even then it´s warm. With an occasional breeze it feels really good, but the bad news is that in a month or two it´ll be really hot, and I´ll be wishing for winter. I guess that´s just the way it is. Freezing in winter and wanting summer, and sweating in summer while wishing for winter. Never happy. Why can´t there be just an intermediate?

Well, that´s it for this week. Now to start another short, fast week of work. Have a great one!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, September 6, 2010

Man, the time passes way too fast! I just barely got here and now the transfer´s half over! The good news is that it´s been a great time. I love it here and have really been enjoying the time. Yesterday Jeremias got confirmed. He´s really excited, and his mom´s happy too.
His dad, Gustavo, is doing okay too. He´s had some problems. Last week I mentioned that he was having a problem with the Word of Wisdom, not thinking that it´s too bad to drink a tiny bit of wine or beer every once in a while. The other day we passed and he hadn´t been reading in the Book of Mormon, so we read with him. He was on 1 Nephi 9, a short chapter when Nephi´s saying "I´m making two records with the plates, one for this reason, blah blah etc." At the very end he says "Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not. But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen." We explained that at times we don´t understand all things but the Lord does, and He knows why we have certain commandments. If we trust in him and have the faith to obey, we will receive the blessings and maybe even understand why, but not till "after the trial of our faith." That helped him a lot and he committed to drop 100% beer, wine, cigarettes, etc.

Noelia´s doing great too. This last week we finished teaching all the lessons. Now we just have to wait till the 19th. We were going to do it yesterday, but her mom wants us to wait. So it´ll be the 19th, along with her friend, Kati. We´ve also been talking with Noelia´s brother, Eduardo. He has a lot of problems in his life. Actually the whole family´s had problems. But we´ve already seen a lot of changes for the better. He´s a great teenager; he just needs more love in his life. He also is preparing for the 19th.

With Gustavo, Kati, Noelia and Eduardo, we have 4 sure baptisms this month. But we set the goal of 5, meaning we lack one. We have people that could do it, but they would have to go to church every week starting this next Sunday to meet the requirement of three times in the church. I´ve been kind of worried about it all, but I still have the faith that we can do it because we set the goal with fasting and prayer and it is what we felt. Last night I was praying and poured out my spirit to God, telling him that I know we can do it but not without him; we really need his help to do it. I felt a calming and felt a voice, that one we all know so well, say "Don´t worry. Patience, I´m working on it." I know where it came from and that He will help us reach our goal of 5 baptisms this month.

Well, that´s all for this week. My faith and testimony are really growing, and it´s been great to feel it. When I arrived at the MTC and later here in Chile, I had just a basic testimony. Now, after 16 months, I still have just a basic testimony. But it´s stronger and firmer than when I got here. It´s really been an edifying experience.
Have a great week!

Elder Murdoch