Monday, November 29, 2010

Wow, we´re already half way through the transfer. It´s been a pretty rough one, but things are going a little better. Carolina is doing well. We´ve had a lot of good experiences with her, and we know she´s received an answer about Joseph Smith. And she wants to get baptized. Nicolás, 10, also wants to get baptized and is helping a lot with his excitement. They have the goal for this next Sunday, and I think they´ll do it.

The problem is that after them we have no one else. But we have talked with a lot of good people and now just need to pass for them. Yesterday we had what´s called a sector attack. 4 companionships of missionaries came to our sector, and we gave them maps that I had prepared with the names and directions of some people to visit for two hours. No one could enter a house to teach but talked with other people and gave us several great referrals. So this week we´ll be passing for them to see if they´ll listen.

We also are working a lot with the members, which is really the best way. In our sector knocking doors doesn´t do much. But the members help us a lot, and we´re planning some activities with them. We hope to be able to find a lot more people and have more success.

Well, not much has happened so there´s not much to say. Hoping to have more to say next week. Have a great one!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, November 22, 2010

Well, this week was better than the last. And faster. I am now almost down to five months left and trying to work hard for all of it. Last week I got a big boost of energy to finish big. Thursday we had a zone conference with Elder Corbridge of the 70, who is in the Chile Area Presidency. It was obvious that he had no prepared talk. It was all based on our questions, comments, and the Spirit. But it was the best conference of my mission. He talked a lot about the importance of the Holy Ghost, which is the greatest thing that a man can have in this life. He said that the greatest trial in this life is when one does not have the Holy Ghost in his life, which happens when we sin. But thanks to Jesus Christ and his Atonement, we can be clean of our sins through faith, repentance, and baptism by immersion by someone who has the authority. This authority was lost after the death of Christ and his apostles but restored through a modern prophet. That´s a basic lesson outline that he gave us, and I´m excited to use it. I learned a lot from him, took a lot of notes, and it gave me one last boost of Spiritual energy to hopefully last through the rest of the mission.

And it only gets better. He was on what´s called a "Mission Tour" where he talks in several missions. As part of the tour during the conference, he picks several missionaries to interview afterwards. He picked, along with a few sisters, me and my companion. It made me nervous because the assistant, Elder Andelin (who was my comp in the MTC), came up to me afterward and said that President wanted to talk to me. I thought it was because we got there late, having gotten lost. But he didn´t even talk with me; just sent me to Elder Corbridge. He said there was no purpose of the interview, just to get to know me and talk for a few minutes. We talked a little about my plans after the mission and he gave a lot of advice. Afterwards he talked with my companion. Elder Corbridge, several years ago, was the mission president here in Santiago North, and it just so happens that my comp´s brother served under him. So my comp asked for a picture with Elder Corbridge, who was okay with that. Elder Corbridge then asked to take one with me. Just the two of us. Having arrived late to the conference we missed the big group picture with him, but that doesn´t even matter because we both got a personal picture with him. It was great.

Carolina is doing well. We´ve had some real great lessons with her and I´m sure that she feels that this is the true church. She wants to get baptized, but the other day mentioned that she´s afraid that there are some things she´ll have to change. I think she has heard of the Word of Wisdom before because she mentioned wanting to know "What I can and can´t eat." So what we did is we pulled out the six pamphlets of the lessons we teach before baptism. We showed her all and said "Look, you already have these 3, you just need these others." We gave her those three pamphlets and explained that we will be teaching her all of that before the baptism. Tonight we are going to teach the Word of Wisdom. We have seen coffee at her house before, so we bought some Ecco, which is a coffee here in Chile made of wheat, that is healthy and approved by the church. I don´t think she´ll have a problem with it. She should get baptized this next Sunday, along with Nicolás, who is 10. Felipe, 18, isn´t home as much and it´s harder to teach him. He also didn´t come to church yesterday. So we´ll end up baptizing him in December.

Time for the funny story. Well, not way funny for me, but a typical mission story. We were walking down the street the other day, my companion to my left, and on his left a car. Suddenly he started running, and I had no idea why. Then I first heard, and later saw the big German Shepard coming out from under the car. So I took off like a bullet. I ran for a while then looked behind to see where he was. He was inches from my back leg, so I pulled off my backpack and swung it at him. I´m sure that if I had looked back two seconds later or had not taken off my backpack, he would have gotten me. I got him just in time. Then he went after my comp, afraid of my backpack, getting between us. But my comp was too fast, so he came back to me. I squeezed between two cars and kept running. He finally decided that we weren´t going to bug him and let us go. But we kept running till we were sure he wasn´t following. My heart was racing and I had a huge adrenalin rush. It was quite the experience. One I wouldn´t want to relive but one that will be fun to tell in years to come.

Well, I´m out of time for now. This last week was a good one, and this next one shows hopes of being even better.

Elder Murdoch

Monday, November 15, 2010

This week was a good one. Passed really fast. Elder Ibarrola is great. We´ve had a couple of difficulties, but we keep working hard. Eduardo was confirmed yesterday. We´ve talked with him about the priesthood and hope he can receive it soon.

Gustavo is also interested in receiving the priesthood. They want to present (bless) their one-year-old son, and he would like to do it. Might need a little more time, but it would be great if he could.

Carolina is doing great. She and her sons traveled this weekend so they didn´t make it to church yesterday. But last week we went to the house of the Ramirez family and watched The Restoration with them. The spirit was really strong during it. Afterwards we read Galatians 5:22, which talks about the fruits of the Spirit. We asked her which of these fruits she felt during the movie and she responded, "All of them." She feels that this is true. Nicolás, who is 10, has shown a lot of interest and is excited to be baptized. He´s going to show an example for all of them. They are a great family. The sad part is that the dad left them. Yesterday he was there alone and we talked a lot with him. He had heard the message before and we talked a lot about the spirit and how he can know the truth. The Spirit was really strong and I know he felt something. We´ll see if anything happens with him.

We´re a little low on investigators right now. Working hard and trying to find more. We´re working a lot with the members and that should help a lot.

Well, that´s it for this week. It´s been a great experience being DL. I´m learning a lot from the sisters in my district. They´re really great. I love it.

Have a great week!
Elder Murdoch

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wow, that transfer just went flying by. But it was a good one. Tough, but good. And it ended with a great reward. Yesterday Eduardo was baptized!! Elder Webb did it, his last day in the sector. It was a great baptismal service. It´s been hard with him, but he finally did it. He stopped smoking and is really trying to change his life. He already has changed a lot, and I´m grateful to have stayed here this transfer to watch him continue.

Talking about transfers, I am now with my new companion. Elder Webb went to San Pablo, a zone where I have been before. He is training, opening the sector, and DL. I knew he was going to be training. Actually, the other day I even guessed that he was going to San Pablo. I called it!! I´m now with Elder Ibarrola. He´s from Paraguay and today starts his 4th transfer. More or less new, so I´ll be teaching him a lot; although he had a great trainer, so I´m sure he already knows a lot. I´m also District Leader over a companionship of sister missionaries. It´ll be a good transfer.

A couple months ago we had a training meeting with President May and the Assistants. (Side note: one assistant, Elder Andelin, was my companion in the MTC. Sweet!) They introduced us to a new activity that we are now doing with the families in the ward. It is based out of Jacob 5 about the olive grove (the longest chapter in the scriptures) and appropriately named The Lord´s Vineyard (La Viña del Señor). It is split into two lessons, one where we share a scripture about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and offer service. The next lesson we share a scripture about missionary work and a few select verses from Jacob 5. We then give them a special paper we have that has a place for the family name and a bunch of boxes, like an Excel page. We then have them write the names of all the people they know--neighbors, friends, relatives etc., regardless of if they´ve heard the missionaries or not. And really focusing that these are not referrals for us. Yet. After they get a list made, we invite them to pray as a family and pick one person with whom they, not us, can work. They can invite them to the church, FHE, give them a Book of Mormon, etc. and continue doing activities until they think that the family is ready to receive the missionaries. Then comes the cavalry. It works, too. I love it.

We did the Viña,(Vineyard) with an active family in the ward several weeks ago. I actually talked about them a couple weeks back, the Ramirez Family. I mentioned how they took a family with them to church. That family came from The Lord´s Vineyard. The mom is Carolina, with 3 sons--Felipe, 18, Nicolás, 10, and Andrés, 6. (Andrés is Spanish for Andrew, and it´s funny because he reminds me a lot of Andrew Simonson, just smaller.) They loved the church, and we´ve shared with them a couple times. Carolina and Felipe have a baptismal date for November 28. They have been reading a little in the Book of Mormon and progressing well. We are really excited to continue teaching them.

This last week I received a letter from a convert, Nicolás. He´s doing great--studying and working, (he studies laws) and always really busy. But he says that he always ends the day reading in the Book of Mormon. He has the Melchezidek Priesthood and is a counselor in the Quorum of Elders. His letter made me cry for joy, as he is staying really active in the church and progressing more and more. It made me real happy to hear from him.

Well, time´s up for this week. It was a great week and things should keep getting better from here.

Elder Murdoch

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Well, another week has ended and the last one of the transfer is now starting. This past week was really difficult. I don´t know why, but we passed through a lot of trials ranging from sickness to investigators not showing up to church to no one being home. It´s been tough, but we keep working and trying to keep up the faith and doing what we can with what we have.

A really big trial happened with Yasmina and Cielo, the referrals from a member. Cielo, 15, is niece of Yasmina, and they both are really interested and want to keep learning and get baptized. But we´ve had some problems with Marley, Yasmina´s mom. Last Sunday we visited them in the evening, and Marley had a friend over. Her name, or what she told us, is Maria Elena; and she´s Catholic. She told us that her dad´s Mormon even though she doesn´t know him. He served a mission and on the mission got her mom pregnant then left. She then said, "I think you guys do have a good time doing your thing, having kids, and leaving them." Another day Yasmina told us that that was a lie. Maria´s dad is not an RM, not even Mormon. During the whole lesson she was in the back with Marley. I knew they were talking bad about us, as they would look at us with not nice faces, laugh, etc. Neither one of us felt the spirit during the whole lesson, which was basically disastrous. The next day we visited Yasmina, but there wasn´t a man there so we couldn´t enter. We just talked at the door. She actually started crying and said she felt really bad for what had happened the night before. Thanks to the Catholic woman, Marley doesn´t want anything to do with the church and doesn´t want us to visit anymore. But Yasmina and Cielo do really bad. We´re trying to see if we can go with them to a member´s house, but it´s tough. Sister Retamal, the psychologist, was going to talk to Marley but hasn´t been able to yet. We talked with Yasmina a couple days later in the street and she said she´s tired of living with her mom, who doesn’t support her nor will she help with Yasmina´s little baby. Yasmina wants to find another house. That will make it easier for us to pass. Well, long story, but it´s been pretty rough on us and her. We´re praying lot to be able to visit her more.

But now let´s look on the bright side of things. This next Sunday, Eduardo will finally be baptized!!! He hasn´t smoked since Friday, and also took out his earrings. Yesterday we reviewed the questions for the baptismal interview, and he did well. He feels ready, and we feel that he is ready.

This morning, before starting P-Day we visited another referral from Sister Retamal who actually lives in the same apartment building as us. His name is Oscar, and he´s been having a hard time. A little more than a month ago his wife left him and took their 2-year old daughter with. He´s been having a tough time with it. He now lives alone, and this morning told us that he´s been feeling really alone and recently it´s hard to even get up in the morning. Unfortunately, we didn´t have much time; but we gave him a Book of Mormon with a couple paragraphs marked in the Introduction and also part of Alma 32, which compares faith to a seed. We promised him that this book can help him a lot in his life to be able to receive the comfort and the guidance he needs. He gave the closing prayer, kneeling, and it was touching. He thanked God for "these two people that are here to help me in my life" and the Spirit was really strong. We´re going to go by again tomorrow night. I´m really excited to be able to help him.

Well, that´s about it for this week, as time´s running out. Next week we have transfer´s and it´s really likely that my comp will leave. He was 4 transfers here, 6 months. The mission will receive 22 missionaries, but none leave so there will be a lot of opening sectors and trainers. Some think I will be one. We´ll have to see.

Elder Murdoch