Monday, February 28, 2011

Wow, what a week! One of the best of my mission! No kidding! We have had so many miracles, and I know that the Lord is blessing us a lot. For the third week in a row we did over 200 contacts, ending with 268 and 50 Permaneced visits. As we keep improving in these two key indicators, all our other numbers keep increasing as well. This last week we had a total of 10 lessons: 6 with members and 4 others; exactly what we had done the past three weeks of the transfer. We found six new investigators, and one went to church--the first investigator in church since our sector was opened. Let it be said that we have broken the curse of Putaendo!! We are now doing great!

We started something new this week. We have introduced some members to waffles, and they love them. They all ask to use our waffle maker, or better yet, for us to make them waffles. So we compromise. We set up a Family Home Evening saying that we will make waffles after--only if they bring an investigator. Sometimes they do the lesson, other times we do. It´s working. Last week we had a lesson with the Elders Quorum President and his family. His wife reactivated a few months ago, and the three daughters are inactive, although one is working on becoming active. He gave the lesson about the Beatitudes. They had brought a friend, Katalina who was really interested. We gave her a Book of Mormon, and she committed to read. We later found out that she loved the Family Home Evening. Tomorrow night we have another one with her and the member family. It will be great because if she starts going to church, the inactive daughters will have to go with her. So we will baptize and reactivate.

Last week I mentioned Jaime, a reference from the bishop. Well, the other day we kind of met him. Well, at least we tried; but he hid in his room. He apparently doesn´t want to listen; he just didn´t want to say no to the bishop. However, his daughters, Romina and Patricia and Patricia´s daughter, Akim, are really interested. Patricia went to church yesterday and she loved it as well as the baptism of the other Elders in the ward. Afterward, she committed to come to church next week and every Sunday. She has some great potential to progress well.

Now, to top all of this off, last night we had a miracle. And when I say miracle, I mean MIRACLE!! We had a Family Home Evening with a family that has both inactives and nonmembers. They called to tell us that they weren´t home, leaving us with nothing to do the rest of the night. On the other side of the street we noticed a couple of guys and a girl bringing some big heavy bags out of a house. So we went over and asked if we could help. The one, named Ruben, said "Yes you can. Do you have a book I can read?" So we gave him a Book of Mormon. Then we started to talk with them as we helped carry their stuff to the bus stop. The other guy, Manuel, knows a lot about the church. He started talking about the Doctrine and Covenants, the Liahona, angel Moroni, gold plates, teachings of the prophets, word of wisdom, etc. This guy knows a lot! But he´s not a member. YET. They actually asked, almost begged, us to visit them in their house. The problem is that they moved there last week and didn´t know how to tell us how to get there. So we offered to go with them, helping with the bags, to see how to get there. Let me say that they live IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE! And it´s a really small, humble house. But they are really great. They have a lot of desires to learn more. The girl, Jacqueline, was asking a lot of great questions. They all love to read, so we left each with their own Book of Mormon, and we´re thinking of giving them all the pamphlets of the lessons so they can read and learn on their own. They also committed to come to church on Sunday. They really are wonderful, and will make great progress.

The Lord is blessing us a lot, and we hope to keep working hard and have lots of success these next two (my last two) months. I´m really excited.

Elder Murdoch

Monday, February 21, 2011

San Felipe Area

Huge Spider we found in our house! Don't worry, we killed it!

Elders Squire and Murdoch - Zone Climbing Activity
Well, this last week, aside from once again going fast, was rather uneventful. We´re still working hard to find more investigators. We did receive a couple of great references this past week. One came from the Zone Leaders, who talked to a man named Carlos that said we could pass by. He´s really great. He lives in what´s called a pieza. I´ll do my best to explain. You enter the door from the street and find yourself in a long hallway/courtyard. On both sides are several doorways, each leading into a small house which basically consists of a small living room and a smaller bedroom. They share 2-3 bathrooms and a kitchen. Not the most comfortable situation, but better than nothing. Anyway, the good thing is that there are at least 20 other people there with whom we could share in the future. We just got to know Carlos and left him a pamphlet of the Restoration. We are going to return on Friday.

We also received a reference from the bishop. He was waiting for a bus and struck a conversation with a man. They talked about the church and the man, named Jaime, asked if someone from the church could visit his family. Of course we can!! The bishop sent us there. The problem is that he, like many Chileans, works a lot. Plus he´s been in Santiago a few days visiting a sick brother. So we haven´t met him, but we have talked with his wife and two daughters. They are all nice and really receptive. We hope that he gets back soon so that we can teach them all. There are at least six people in the house, possibly one or two more. That would be great! And they don´t live far from the church, so it wouldn´t be as hard to go.

So this last week they had some special transfers in our zone. There was an Elder, Elder Boyce, who had returned home a couple months ago for personal reasons. (side note: he´s from Malad) He returned last week, and they put him in our zone, replacing an Elder who went to another zone. That Elder who got changed was DL of the four sister missionaries so the leadership got changed as well. Elder Driscoll, the fourth missionary in our house and our ex-DL, is now DL of Elder Boyce and his companion. Meanwhile, I am DL of the sisters. Yea! I love being district leader of the sisters. They are way awesome. They work really hard and cook really well! :)

Well, I think that´s it for this week. Not a lot happened. But at least nothing bad happened. This next week should be better. We are starting to find people. Things are getting better.
Have a great week!!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wow, this last week went by really fast. But it was a good one. Not much happened, but we´re getting better. We haven´t had a lot of lessons, and we´re still searching for more investigators. But we´re working a lot with inactives. Actually, remember Permaneced, the program that the Chile Area came out with? It´s for working with inactive members. We have key indicators for it, and one is “Visits Made.” The "standard" is 10, with some sectors getting 4-5 and others making 12-15. Two weeks ago our whole zone, 12 sectors, did 119. This last week we did 51. We have also done a lot of contacts. The "standard" is 140, 20 every companionship every day. Recently, contacts have been dropping and companionships are doing 40-70. We did 200. We´ve had very few lessons, and have almost no investigators, but the only two indicators that we can control are Permaneced visits and contacts. We hope that with what we´ve done we can find more people to teach and eventually baptize.

One thing we´ve started doing to get so many contacts is sing on the bus. We have to take a bus for half an hour to get to our sector and again going home at night. So we take advantage and sing a few hymns. Some people listen, others don’t. Then we give the interested ones pass-along cards and do contacts. There´s a family that has been on the bus four times when we sing. One time the dad was on; the other times just the mom and the little son, David. They always enjoy it when we sing, and last night I talked with her to see if we could pass by some day. She said that she doesn’t have much time, just weekends. So I invited her to church. She seemed interested, and we´ll see if she comes.

Last week we got a reference from the Zone Leaders. It´s kind of an interesting situation. They were at a member´s house who had a friend, Rosa, visiting. She was interested, so they taught the Restoration. She accepted a baptismal date for March 6. They called and passed us the reference. We found the street she lives on, but they didn´t give us a number; just hints on how to arrive. We couldn´t find the house, and no one in the neighborhood knows her. So we have to wait for more information to be able to visit. Until then we have an investigator with a baptismal date that we don´t even know. :)

Today we had a zone activity, where we went to some hills in the middle of nowhere and climbed around in some rocks and had a picnic. It was really fun. I loved climbing the rocks and all. Next week I will send pictures of it. It was awesome!

So the weather here is really wacky now. Summer is ending, but it´s still really hot. This last week we had a couple of cooler days, and it even rained a couple of days. That is not normal for Chile. It is good, though, as they are in a water crisis. Besides the rain, there were a couple of small earthquakes as well. One day there was a 6.8 in ConcepciĆ³n where the big one last year was. It was smaller here, but they still scare me. My companion wants to have another one as he was not here for the last one and thinks it would be cool. As for me, one is enough. I´m not hoping for any more. It´s so crazy how fast time goes. In two weeks from yesterday we will complete one year since the earthquake. Wow!!

Well, that´s about it for now. We got home late from the zone activity, so there´s not much time. Have a great week!!

Elder Murdoch

Monday, February 7, 2011

Wow, this last week was a really interesting one--full of hornets, new houses, and a new zone with 5 missionaries from Idaho. REPRESENT!!!

Yeah, I guess I´d better explain about the hornets comment. Well, before that, let me describe our old house. We have had several problems with it--leaky bathroom, pealing paper on the shower wall, and ants are just a few of them. Hornets were the straw that broke the camel’s back. Last Tuesday, we had finished planning and were chilling in the living room, where we had moved the beds due the heat in the bedrooms. (We moved studies to the bedrooms.) Suddenly Elder Hendricks started screaming bloody murder because something bit him and it hurt. We realized it was a black hornet and killed it. Then another, and another, two more, four more. AHHHH!! Where were they coming from?!?! We realized that they were coming from a hole in the light fixture. I had the fly swatter, and Elder Hendricks grabbed the can of Raid. We killed about 20 of them, then they started coming out of the kitchen and the garage. Elder Hendricks plastered the light fixture with Raid, then we ran into the bedrooms where they weren´t so we were safe. The funny part is that Elders Driscoll and Dalton didn´t realize it was so serious at first. Elder Dalton was watching and eating popcorn, and Elder Driscoll was talking on the phone and laughing. Then they finally got scared and joined us in the back room. Now, in our house, the kitchen leads to the garage, which has been extended. There is a window, painted white, between the garage and our room. We could hear the hornets hitting the window and see their shadows. It seriously was like a horror movie. Imagine several dozen of those biting you! You could get sent to the hospital! We didn´t dare leave the room because they were in the garage, kitchen, and living room. We called the office, and the zone leaders decided that we had to get out of there. While deciding what to do, Elder Hendricks put on a sweater, long pants, hood, etc., for protection and ran out with his camera in one hand and the Raid in the other. I followed, carefully, also filming. He got out to the garage, didn´t see anything, then confusedly turned back to the kitchen and yelled. I followed. They were all dead, laying on the ground. Same with the ones in the garage. There were easily a thousand or maybe more. We figure that when Elder Hendricks sprayed the Raid they all got mad and left, then it affected their systems and they died. We called a member who took us to the house of some other elders where we slept that night. The next day we went back and found a couple of nests in the garage with another good bunch of hornets. But even though the nests were inside, the hornets were outside and didn´t bug us. We rested a little, then showered and left to work. Later in the day, the hornets were gone. But finally, after so many problems with that house, the office gave us permission to find a new one. Luckily, we found one right away where a member family used to live. Saturday we moved in, with help from a couple members, and we are now living there. It is a very nice house--better than the last one--and we´re really excited about it.

That was basically our week. Not much else happened. Thursday in division, Elder Hendricks and Elder Driscoll found a golden contact. A few appointments fell through, and they felt that they should go to a park close by. They talked to a woman named Noelia, who later told them that she never has time to go to the park but did that day. She has 6 kids, 5 older than 8 years, with 6 more family members next door. She is searching for peace and comfort in her life. She was really interested and almost begged to listen to us. Sadly, she wasn´t there when we passed; but we´re going to go back tomorrow and every day after until we find her. She has great potential to progress well, and that´s 12 possible baptisms.

That´s about all for this week. Got to go. Time´s up. Have a great week!

Elder Murdoch

A lot of dead hornets! (And a mom who is chagrined about the condition of the kitchen. Ewwww!)

2 hornets' nests