Monday, January 3, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! Hope it´s a great one!!
Wow, last week went by really fast. Seems like a couple days ago was Christmas and now we´re in January. It was also a fast year. We´re already in 2011!! Is that crazy or what!?!?

Last week was a tough one. We have several problems with our sector. There haven´t been missionaries here for five years. My companion is on his 3rd transfer now, and he and his trainer opened the sector. And to explain better, our sector isn´t in the small city of San Felipe. Rather, it consists of a smaller town called Putaendo and smaller surrounding villages. It´s usually a good 20-30 minutes between villages by bus. It´s very spread out. Our sector borders Argentina on the north and Viña del Mar, a big tourist city, on the west. Our sector is one of the biggest in the mission and is the farthest north. My comp, having opened this huge sector, is still getting to know it, and I know even less than he. Also, being five years since there were missionaries, we do not have a house here. We are living in a house with two other Elders in our ward and have to take a bus 30 minutes to the limit of our sector. All this together means a number of things. 1)We can do few things in one day due to traveling so much. 2)We have to be sure that Plan A is going to be home. Plan B can´t be knocking doors cause it´s like one house every 1/2 mile. 3)We waste a lot of money taking buses every day. Just to name a few. But we are getting to know the sector and learning about how to work in it, mostly with members and a lot of inactives, so things should improve.

Having said that, we do have a few investigators. Last week I mentioned Isabel and her grandson, Valentin. They live in really poor circumstances. Actually, they don´t even have a bathroom. Our first visit there, when I asked to use the bathroom, she took me out back to the outhouse! The first time in over two years that I´ve used an outhouse!! I never thought I´d see one on my mission. They were going to go to church yesterday but didn´t make it. Today we´re going to visit them and see why. They want to get baptized. Actually, when we extended a baptismal date, Isabel accepted excitedly. Then Valentin said, "Me too! I want to get baptized too!" Now we have to help them gain a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

We are also teaching man named Juan, who I guess is in his 50´s. He and his "señora" (wife) aren´t married, which means he can´t get baptized. But he wants to. The other day we did a practice baptismal interview with him and he answered all the questions well. I felt that he is ready. When we asked if he believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet he said "Oh, I have no doubt of that. I know he was." Wow. The problem is that with the holidays it´s been hard for them to get a date to get married. But today they went and should be able to get one. Hopefully this week, but the next at the latest. And he should be able to be baptized in January.

Good news! I´ve been losing weight! A couple weeks ago I was at 198 lbs. Thanks to Christmas and New Years I´ve climbed to 205. But I´ve maintained that for a good week, and now am going to buckle down, or "put in the batteries" as they say in Chile and do a lot of exercises. We are also playing a lot more soccer and basketball now and that, together with walking and hopefully bikes soon and lots of fruit, should help. I hope to return in four months at 190, maybe less. Which would be quite the achievement, for when I left the MTC I was 215.

Well, that´s all for this week. Happy New Years and hope it´s a good one!

Elder Murdoch

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