Monday, December 27, 2010

Well, we had a wonderful Christmas and are now ending the year. Wow, 2010 went by really fast! Christmas was great. Thursday night we went to the mission home with a few other zones and had a dinner and show. The part that was most fun, aside from the mashed potatoes and turkey, was that they sent us to the subway station to sing for about half an hour. A lot of people stopped to listen and a few people recorded with their cell phones. It was fun. Also, I got to see a lot of missionaries that I haven´t seen for a while. And I had my picture taken with both assistants because one was my comp in the MTC and the other was my DL in Dorsal 2.

Friday we went to the Stake President´s house from 5:00 until 12:00. There´s a family from Utah, the Smith family, that are visiting them. So there were a lot of people in the house. It was way fun. Weird speaking in English, but oh well. For dinner we had twice baked potatoes, turkey, salad, and for dessert a type of melon with vanilla ice cream and grapes and sugar cookies. It was really good. Then the stake president took the kids to a park to see Santa while we put presents under the tree and in stockings, etc. Then we recorded as they walked in. It was a lot of fun. We also got a couple of presents: chocolate and socks--the first time I´m happy to get socks for Christmas. :) It was great.

My sector is great. Like I said last week, it´s a lot of country. Even more so than Grace. It´s great, but it´s really hot. One day last week it was 105 degrees, and we walked a lot. We carry around big water bottles, and I easily drink 4-5 liters every day. And everyone gives us fruit. There are a lot of orchards here: peach, apricot, orange, plums, etc. Needless to say, with so much fruit, water, and walking, I´m going to come home in good shape. I´ve already been losing weight. I´m down to 198 now, and I hope to get home at 190 or less.

Last week we found some new investigators--a woman named Isabel and her grandson, Valentin. They accepted a baptismal date for January 16th. They and another grandson, Benjamin, were going to go to church yesterday but didn´t. Tonight we´re going to see what happened. One problem in this sector for investigators is that to go to church they have to travel by bus, and it can cost a bit. It´s a sacrifice, but we have to help them do it.

Well, that´s all I have time for this week. It was a great one and hopefully it keeps up. I love my sector and my companion is great. Next week I´ll send pictures. Talk to you next week!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, December 20, 2010

Well, one more transfer done. Three more to go. This one passed really fast, and I´m afraid that the next three will as well. The good thing is that I´m sure that the next three will be great. Last night we got the transfer call. I was positive that both my companion and I were going to stay so I was surprised, sad, and upset when I got transferred. I´m bummed that I´ll miss the baptism of Carolina and her family, although I´ll count them as my converts. I also will not be able to spend Christmas with the family we had planned. But we will probably be with the Stake President, who lives in our ward and has an American family staying with him for a few weeks. So it will still be fun.

I am now in a zone called Los Andes (not to be confused with the mountain range, although it´s not too far away) in the ward San Felipe. The good part is that it´s all country, just like Idaho. I feel like I´ve already returned home. I love it here. Next week I´ll send a lot of pictures. My companion, Elder Hendricks, is from Boise, Idaho, and actually has family members in Malad. He´s great. He’s starting his third transfer so, once again, I´m with someone relatively new. It´ll be a great experience helping him learn, and I´m sure I´ll learn a lot from him.

Elder Hendricks tells me that we have one investigator, and she´s turning a little flakey. So we know have a great opportunity to show our faith and find more souls to teach and save. I´m really excited for this transfer.

Last week we went to the temple, and it was a great experience. I felt the Spirit really strong and left with a boost, a kind of Spiritual adrenaline, ready to work hard for the next four months. This week we´ll have an activity in the mission home, and the always long-anticipated call home. Oh, and Christmas.

Well, due to traveling 2 hours in a bus to the middle of nowhere, this email is not only late but short. I have no more time. So I will just end by wishing all a very merry Christmas and a Happy New year.

Elder Murdoch

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wow, last week went by really slow. Finally a slow week. The problem is that it was a tough one. We keep having trials, but as we teach, it is to help us grow. Last week we talked with Carolina and Luis a lot about trials, and after helping them so much, I have realized that I now need to apply the same lessons in my life.

Carolina and Luis are okay. They both went to church yesterday--her fourth time and his first, although he did wear a suit and tie. Looked good. She is slowly dropping tea and last week said that she doesn´t really feel the urgency to drink tea that she did before.
She has mentioned that she feels that she has some changes yet to make in her life. We told her that this is a life-long process. We always have changes to make in our life, whether we have several months or several decades in the church. We told her that she doesn´t need to be perfect before baptism, cause that will never happen. She is going to pray and meditate to see if she feels ready for this next Sunday. Luis, as well, committed to pray to know if the church is true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet. I believe that he will be baptized in January. Carolina has already received an answer and actually bore her testimony to us a couple of weeks ago. It was really great. They are a wonderful family. and we´ve learned a lot while teaching them.

This last week we had a zone training with President May. It was wonderful, and I learned a lot. But the best part wasn´t the training. Before it started, I had the opportunity to talk with one of the Elders who arrived at Dorsal 2, my last sector, as I left to come here. It was great talking with him about the sector, the members, and best of all, my converts. The sad part is that Patricio, 19, doesn´t go to church and now smokes and has a tattoo. That made me sad. But the good part is that my other converts there are active in the church. Eliana, who was the miracle we had right before transfers, is preparing to go to the temple for a tour and keeps progressing. That is wonderful!

Also, last night we went to visit a family and, much to our surprise, there were already two Elders there. One of them, Elder Boyce from Malad, Idaho, is finishing the mission and was visiting them. He has been is Carrion, another of my old sectors, and it was great talking to him about my converts there. Sadly again, there is a couple who aren’t going to church. But those that do go are really active. And I saw one this morning. We are downtown, which is actually close to Carrion. (I always hope to see someone that I know.) We were in a bus and I saw Nicol├ís outside in the street. I knocked on the window but he didn´t hear. By the time we got off the bus and started after him he was gone and I couldn´t find him. Rats! It would have been cool to talk to him, but it was at least nice to see him, especially knowing that he´s active in the church. He continues his studies in law, wanting to be a judge. Awesome!

Well, those are the highlights of the week. The weather has been really weird recently. We´re still not in the heart of summer, but getting close, so it should be really hot. I remember that last year at this time it was. But strangely enough it isn´t. It is pretty warm in the afternoon; but in the evening it cools down a lot, and at night and in the morning it´s really cold (considering that it´s summer). Really weird, but I´m not complaining.

Elder Murdoch

Monday, December 6, 2010

Well, this week was pretty tough. We have almost no one to teach, so we´re looking for more. But it´s been hard to find. We´re trying to work more with the members, and I´m sure that this will work out better than knocking doors.

Having said that, Carolina is doing great. She still isn´t sure when she wants to be baptized. But yesterday I asked her how she feels about baptism, and we realized that really her problem is the Word of Wisdom. She drinks a lot of tea, and it´s hard for her to stop. But she said that she´s already drinking less and starting to use herbal tea. That was her big problem, and if she can drop tea, she´ll be baptized soon. Hopefully this Sunday, but if not, maybe the 19. Nicolas as well wants to get baptized. And it gets better. Her husband, Luis, wasn´t living in the house for a while. He actually had left with another woman. But she left him and is now with another man, and Luis is trying to repent and return to the house. Well, really, he already has returned. The problem is that it´s hard for Carolina to forgive him for what he did. But they´re working on it and we´re helping them, and things are getting better there. He has shared a little with us, and we hope to help him get baptized as well. There really is a grand miracle waiting for that family.

Yesterday we had stake conference, and President and Sister May where there and both gave a talk. It was a great conference. The best happened at the end. A brother from Carrion, my other sector, who now is bishop, was there with his family. And they recognized me! It was great to talk with him for a little while. Sounds like the ward there is doing great as well.

I´ve had some great experiences as DL. I´ve been doing several baptismal interviews for the zone leaders and the sisters in my district. And I´ve learned a lot from the people that I interview. It´s been great seeing how they can change and develop a strong testimony. Saturday I interviewed a man who got baptized yesterday who before was addicted to cocaine and beer and smoked 40 cigarettes a day. And he dropped all of that and did a complete 180 in his life. We went to the baptism, and afterwards he gave his testimony. It was great, and the Spirit was there strong. It was a great experience.

Well, not having many investigators, I don´t have too much to say this week. Hope this week is better than the last one.

Have a great one!

Elder Murdoch