Monday, October 25, 2010

Well, now that I´m not going to therapy almost every day the time is starting to fly again. Maybe I should go back. Well, maybe not. I am glad to be done. Friday we went to the doctor who sent me to therapy for a check-up, and he said that my elbow is doing great and I don´t have to go back now. Actually, he really was surprised. He said that it got better a lot faster than normal. I know that there was a lot of heavenly help and prayers behind my fast recovery.

This last week was a good one and a difficult one. We found some great people. Sister Retamal, the psychologist, gave us a couple more referrals that we were able to contact. One, Alexi, is really humble and willing to learn. The other, Oscar, lives really close to us and lives alone. His wife left him a little more than a month ago and took the 2-year old daughter with her. He wants to change his life to be able to get them back. We haven´t shared much with the two men, but they both showed a lot of interest and we hope to help them with their problems.

Once again no one that we have been teaching went to church. But a family brought their neighbors with them. This family, Ramirez, is really great. They´re active in the church; he is in the Presidency of Elders Quorum. Their daughter, Constanza, is going to BYU to learn English next year. They have invited a family that lives in front of them to church and FHE a lot, but they´ve never been able to come. Yesterday they did. The mother is named Carolina, and she has 3 sons--Felipe, 18, Tom├ís, 10, and the third I don´t know the name. The sad part is that just last week the husband left them. The good part is that they loved the church and want to learn more. Tomorrow we´re going to visit them. Hopefully we can help them.

Eduardo is doing, well, okay. He didn´t go to church yesterday or last week because he slept through, even though the rest of the family went. But he is slowly stopping smoking. This past week we found an empty cigarette box on the ground (pretty common here) and filled it with homemade cigarettes, which is really a rolled up piece of paper with a scripture written on it. It´s been helping him. He has a new baptismal date for November 7. Two weeks. We´re praying a lot for him to be able to do it.

We have a few other people that we are teaching. We are preparing for November and should have a lot of success. And a lot of heat. Things are warming up here as we are entering summer, and I am really missing the coldness and the snow of Idaho. But next year I´ll be up there, so I just have to wait for now and deal with the heat.

Well, have a great week!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, October 18, 2010

What a strange week I just had. It seemed really long but passed really fast as well. Things are going great, but we are also having plenty of difficulties. For example, yesterday we had 8 investigators committed to go to church. Zero arrived. Not one. But it´s a good opportunity to see what we can do better this week to help them come next Sunday.

We are finding a lot of great people to teach. A couple weeks ago we passed for an inactive member and met her father-in-law, who is starting to live with her. We´ve taught a lot, and he accepts it all. He´s Catholic, but just because his parents were; and he easily understands that his baptism wasn´t valid. He has a baptismal date for November 7.

Paolo, the kid whose parents are inactive is doing great. They didn´t go to church yesterday but felt bad about it. His mom wants to go slowly, which is understandable. But she does want to be active in the church and baptize her son. That´s a great family.

Macarena was going to get baptized yesterday but hasn´t been progressing much, and it didn´t happen. She says she doesn´t feel ready. We´ve told her that the reason is because she´s not praying or reading the Book of Mormon. She didn´t even go to church yesterday. Tonight we´re going to go by and have a "frank lesson" and drop her. Sad.

Last week I talked about Sister Retamal, the psychologist who gave us a referral of a Peruvian family. They´re doing okay. Marley, the grandma, hasn´t been home a lot. But her daughter, Yasmina, and Yasmina´s niece, Cielo, have a baptismal date for November 14. And if they can make it, Yasmina´s 8-year-old daughter, Briza, will follow her.

Sister Retamal gave us another referral named Cristina. (Sister Retamal knows a ton of people and always gives us great referrals) She went with us to talk to Cristina, and it was a great lesson. Cristina has had a lot of problems. She was physically abused by her husband who then left her. Six of her seven children aren´t living with her--we still don´t understand the whole situation. And she´s also really sick. Sister Retamal told her that she needs to change her life and needs to start now, and we´re here to help. She accepted it as well as the invitation to go to church. But when Sister Retamal went to pick her up she was sick and couldn´t go. Well, we can´t do too much about her health, aside from a blessing; but we´re going to help her a lot with her spiritual problems.

Eduardo is still having some problems. He really does want to get baptized, but he has to change and doesn’t want to. We´ve done basically all we can. It´s all in his hands now.

Well, time up. That´s all for this week. As a last thing I want to share something I talked about with my mom. The mission starts out as a sacrifice both for the family and the missionary. But Elder King, my last companion who finished the mission, taught me something about that that I love. I don´t remember word for word, but basically he said that when a sacrifice helps someone in their life, it no longer is a sacrifice, but rather a blessing. That is roughly translated. I like it better in Spanish, but it is true. The mission starts out as a sacrifice, but as I help more and more people to change their lives, it becomes a blessing for them, me, and my family.

Have a great week!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, October 11, 2010

Well, this week was actually kind of slow. It seemed a lot longer. I guess that´s a good thing, right? Not really, because I think the reason it was so long was because of the elbow therapy every morning. But my elbow is feeling a little better, so this week should finish it up.

Things are going great here. Eduardo didn´t get baptized yesterday, but he will, don´t worry. He really wants to get baptized, but he´s not quite ready yet. He still has to stop smoking. Also, here in Chile there´s a type of music called Reggaeton, and the way to dance to it is not appropriate. And he likes to do it. Yesterday he told us that he thinks that it´s to do with this age (he´s 15) and that with time he´ll get bored with it. We read in Joshua 24:15 where it says to choose today whom ye will serve, and also Matthew 6:24 that says "No man can serve two masters..." We explained that he has to choose, and only he can do it. He has the power to change, and time won´t affect that. Time really has little to do with it. If he wants he can change tomorrow or in five years. I shared with him the example of writing in my journal saying that I´m busy, but later my activities will end and I´ll have more time to do it. Then the time passes, I have time, and I still don´t do it. The scripture in Joshua says "Choose ye THIS DAY.." He thought for a while and said that we´re right. So he´s hopefully going to work a little harder to make the necessary changes in his life. He really right now is in a tough situation. We´ve taught him everything, and he knows so much that if he doesn´t change, he´ll be condemned according to John 3:5. But if he does get baptized and continues with the same life, condemned. We´re doing all we can to help him realize this and change. He does want to get baptized, but it will probably be in November.

There is a Sister in the ward who works in a health center as a psychologist and thus knows a lot of people. The other day we visited her and she gave us a ton of referrals. Four of them are a family from Peru. They are really humble, as are the majority of the Peruvians here. The family consists of the grandma, Marley, her daughter, Yasmina, her daughter, Cielo (15), and Yasmina´s niece Briza (8). (Cielo is Spanish for heaven, or sky, and Briza is breeze. Pretty cool.) They are really great. They´re Catholics but, because of tradition--like most of Chile, they are really willing to learn and accept everything we teach. Yasmina has prayed about Joseph Smith and received an answer and believes he was a prophet, but she fears that she lacks the faith to follow the answer. We left her a scripture in the Book of Mormon to help with that. They’re a great family, and they can be baptized. Maybe on the 31st or in November.

We had another miracle yesterday. A little more than a month ago we were knocking an apartment building and talked with a woman named Patricia. She was really interested and told us to come back another day. But then she was never home and after several times of passing by and not finding her, we stopped going. Yesterday, about a month later, she showed up to church with her husband, Renzo, and son, Paolo. Turns out she and Renzo are inactive members, and Paolo isn´t baptized yet. We visited them after church and talked about baptism. Paolo wants to get baptized, and his parents also want him to. That right there is great, because if they didn´t, it would be harder. But they will be there to help him. He´s a great kid and will be baptized the 31st.

Last night we visited Gustavo and the family and they told us a great story that happened to them. Like I´ve said, he works in a mine. He´s not actually in the mine, rather drives trucks to different parts. BIG trucks. The other week they were short of trucks, so some workers got vacations and others, including Gustavo, would keep working, going home at night and back to work the next day. Which is different because he´s usually up there every day for a week, then home for a week. Then one day the boss came to him and said, "You´re going to be in the truck with me." A couple days later the boss invited Gustavo and the family over for dinner. When they got there they had a present for Gustavo´s son, Jeremias, (who got baptized a couple months ago) even though it was his second time even seeing the boss. It was a new computer, a really nice one that has the computer and monitor combined in one. Wow! Then more happened. Gustavo used to sing in a heavy metal band that later ended. In April, they did a gig that he never got paid for. Last week they paid him. They´re suddenly receiving so many blessings. And the best part: they give the credit to Gustavo´s baptism. They have a lot of faith and are great.

Well, that´s it for this week.

Elder Murdoch

Monday, October 4, 2010

Well, this was quite the week. It was great and not so great. It was a little tougher to work. I guess I´ll start with the face. As of last summer, I´ve been getting sunburned. Even when I put on sunscreen. But a couple weeks ago it suddenly started peeling, like real bad. I was given special permission to wear a hat, which is pretty sweet, but that helps more to prevent, not heal. So Thursday we went to a dermatologist. I had put on some lotion that Mom sent with me. We think that I had an allergic reaction to something in the lotion. So the dermatologist gave me another cream, and one more that she said started in the states and recently arrived here(called Eucerin, or Aquaphor), and one for my hands cause the knuckles are cracked, and a special sunscreen, and some pills. Wow. I´m now longer putting cream on my face than I am in the shower. But I´m already a lot better. The problem with that was that we had almost no time to work Thursday, being at the doctor all day. And Conference also cut into working time as well. So, basically, we didn´t have the best week number-wise. But it was still okay.

Also, the other day they finally, after more than 3 weeks, called me to go do therapy on my elbow. We went in this morning, which took a lot of time and travel. They did some stuff with me and said to come back tomorrow. Actually, I have 9 visits more, so I´ll be down there a lot. But it should hopefully help me, and hopefully that will be the end of my doctor trips. After having swine flu, pneumonia, fractured elbow, and peely face, I hope to pass the last 6-ish months of my mission without health problems.

We did get to see General Conference. I loved it. There were many great talks. As I said last October and again in April and will probably say next April, this was the best General Conference of my life. I loved the talk about pride by President Uchtdorf in Priesthood Meeting. It´s something I have to work on, so it helped me a lot. Also, Elder Kevin R. Duncan, who was sustained as 70 in April, was the mission president here in Chile Santiago North before President May. It was a great Conference, and I´m already excited for the next one. I can´t wait until the Liahona comes out to be able to read the talks and study them a little more.

Eduardo is doing great. His baptism should be this Sunday. His step-father has been a little worried, thinking that he just wants to be baptized because Noelia, his sister, did it, or because his parents are members, etc. So we promised him that we will really check up on Eduardo´s testimony. But we have seen many changes in Eduardo, and we feel that he is ready. He understands why baptism is important, and wants to do it. He has said that he knows this is the only church he wants to follow. Also, the other day he told us he´s received an answer about Joseph Smith. He said, "You guys said that an answer comes like something in your chest, right? Well, then I got it." When we asked him to explain more, he said, "The other night I was praying and my chest filled." It´s especially amazing because it´s been hard to get him to pray. But he´s now doing it, and it really helps. He is ready for Sunday.

Macarena should also get baptized the 17th. She has a few doubts but is progressing well. Also, her younger sister, Francisca, has shown interest. One day when we passed last week she was there and listened. She accepted baptism and has a date for the 31st. We couldn´t teach too much for lack of time, but she understood what we did teach; and we left her with a Book of Mormon and the promise to read and pray. Tonight we´ll go by and see how it went.

Well, that´s about all for now. We keep being blessed with more people. As those we have get baptized, we find more. I know that this is the work of the Lord, and His hand is always present in it.

Elder Murdoch

Noelia's Baptism

Gustavo's Baptism

Top of Cerro (hill) Renca