What? & Why?

Sydney is serving a year and a half for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Chile Concepcion Mission from November 2013 - May 2015.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Week 29: The Witch

It’s weird that I am starting to be used to the mission life now! It’s so completely different from the way we normally live since we learn a new language, new culture, but also because we give up soooo many things while we’re here! Like I can hear your voices but two times in the year, I can’t just call you all up. We don’t watch movies or listen to music, unless they are focused on the Gospel and Jesus Christ, and we don’t visit Facebook or read whatever fun book we want. I thought it would be really hard, and it was for quite awhile, but I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with it all now.

This is random - I am starting to recognize different accents in Spanish. Also random - my Spanish friends say they can’t really hear a difference between our English, and that of Great Britain. Weird huh?

We had lots of little miracles that made our week a good and successful one. We found some 
promising nuevos investigadores, and completed our 140 contacts. We even contacted five extra. The last day of the week we were having a hard time trying to get in our last 20 contacts, since we 
had a lot of citas (appointments) and there weren't many people in the street. At the end of the day
we had 30 minutes left before we had to be home, and we were determined to reach our goal! We tried to find people, but there was hardly anyone in the streets. We contacted everyone we could on our way home, then we made an extra effort to go out of our way and contact a person walking on a bridge. This ended up leading to our little miracle. As we contacted the person, another showed up, then another couple, then another group! In 5-10 minutes, we ended up getting 10-15 contacts! Some of them even gave us their addresses and were very nice. We were so excited! :)

On Monday we were out walking on the street, and I saw a lady walking towards us. She slowed down, almost like she wanted to talk to us. I went to contact her and introduce the gospel to her. She started saying something to me really fast. I couldn’t understand and my companion was talking on the phone, so she couldn’t really help much. Then the woman turned around, pointed to her backpack and asked if I could take something out for her. I didn’t really understand, so I didn’t want to just start digging in her backpack without knowing what I was doing. I tried to ask my companion what she was saying. She was still on the phone, but she told me that the woman needed money. Then the lady said it was in the outermost pocket. I found something that felt kind of like money and pulled it out. It turned out to be just little coins attached to a crocheted net. It was like one of those gypsy skirts. Then she said, “ah yes, that. Thanks!” She pulled off three little coins and gave them to me, said some more stuff I didn’t understand (she sounded like she was speaking another language), then said she knew Hermana De Leon (one of the other hermanas here in my sector). It was a bit odd. I offered one of the fun coins to my companion, since she had finally finished her phone call. She backed away saying, “no no no no no, don’t touch me! Throw those in the garbage!” Then she explained that the woman was a witch, and that she gave me the coins so she could work her black magic or what not. My companion said that her sister’s husband had supposedly touched one of those things and afterwards couldn’t walk for years (which I think is very likely just coincidence). Later, we talked to Hermana De Leon, and she was freaked out because she had only spoken to the lady once for a moment. Then one time shortly after she had seen the witch lady again, and the lady randomly started shouting some weird chant and lots of bad words at her for no apparent reason. That was a month or two ago, and yet she still remembered her name. It was quite a strange experience. I threw out the coins for good measure then washed my hands well after, because I was afraid she may have put some poison on the coins to make it appear to be black magic. But tis all good. Plus, we all know the Lord is more powerful than any supposed witch could be.

Wednesday, we visited the recent convert Hector and he showed us his record player and collection of old records. That was neat to see - he has quite a collection! He told us that he had the missionaries over for a FHE in the house of his family, which is in another city. During the FHE the elders taught his 6 yr old brother how to pray - like how to start, ask god for things you want, things your thankful for, etc. Then when his brother gave the prayer, he asked for a Playstation 4. lol! How funny little kids are. :P

Monday, May 19, 2014

Week 28: Weekly Update


We got to do service this week for a member. We painted her kitchen. The week before we got to help her clean and prepare the kitchen to be painted. We love painting! Although we all felt a little dizzy by the time we finished because the odor of the paint was so strong. :P

Friday went to find an investigator of ours, but he wasn’t home and his elderly mom came out of the house. She shouted out at us from her door (and we were a ways away at the fence) that he wasn’t home and then asked if we were Mormons. When we said yes, she began asking some of the typical questions (or more of sayings- people don’t ask, they like to tell us what we believe), such as "you guys don’t believe in the Bible or Jesus Christ.” When we tried to politely say that we do, she would freak out a little and say that she is Evangelical and we Mormons are all big liars and can’t convince her. We just listened calmly and patiently, and tried to talk a little with her. Then she calmed down and started to tell us more about herself, and her life, and why she believes in God - talking quieter and quieter. Towards the end, it was seriously almost impossible to hear her and we were just trying to respond well so she wouldn’t be angry again. In the end, we left off on a good note! She even threw a kiss and wished us blessings! :D  I’m glad we were able to help her reaffirm her faith in Christ and leave a better impression of us missionaries.

That night we had a stake activity that we brought some investigators to. It was called, "Mi Nombre Es", which is a popular show down here where people try to sing as popular artists do. It’s basically a talent show. It was pretty fun to watch. I didn’t know many of the songs, and the couple that were in English didn’t really sound like English. A lot of them could sing quite well, and it was fun to see the members dressed up and so excited. :)

Today, I started off my p-day well by watching some of the fun cartoon Book of Mormon stories with my companion in Spanish, as we ate our breakfast. I also took a nap, so I feel very rejuvenated. As I was sleeping, I dreamed that it was p-day and that my companion cleaned our apartment really well, and then dad came in an old beat up car to take us to the beach. When I woke up, I realized it was still p-day and my companion really had cleaned the whole apartment. lol! Although dad didn’t come to take us to the beach. :(

Monday, May 12, 2014

Week 27: Sandcastles


It was super fun to Skype you guys yesterday! :D :D I love being able to actually hear and see you guys! I hope that you all enjoyed talking with my companion and me too. Especially our songs! We worked hard to memorize them. Haha!

Today we went to the beach in Penco as a zone for P-day!! We all made sand castles as companions to have a competition! We made a very perfect-sided pyramid! :) Ours was the coolest, I think. lol! Then we all played soccer together, the hermanas against the elders. We lost big time, then we changed out three elders for three hermanas and we started making some goals. It made me very happy to play a sport and run and actually get some exercise again.

Now some spiritual stuff. I have a stronger testimony now, and I know this church really is completely true! I know because I asked God whether it was all true and asked that he would help me know it in a way that I couldn’t blow off as psychological, and He responded! I know that it is hard to be faithful, and believe in so many things that we can’t see, but I know if we continue faithful and if we ask God to help us with our faith, He will guide us. Even though the mission is definitely hard, there are also lots of great things about a mission. I’ve gotten to the point where I am enjoying it a lot more now, since I can finally understand everyone better. Haha! Plus, I have the reassurance that what I am doing really is true, which helps tremendously! I know that if you guys have any doubts about the church, you just need to have faith, demonstrate your faith by praying sincerely for an answer, reading scriptures, and going to church, and waiting patiently to receive an answer, and God will help you!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Week 26: The Rest of the Story

To continue about my story from last week, its not going to be as dramatic as you probably are all thinking. Haha! Sorry for the worry. It wasn’t too bad, especially since his mom and siblings were in the house too. It was weird, because he seems very innocent and childlike, but yet I just felt from the beginning there was something about him. We were talking to him and he said often that "he’s a good person" and that he likes to visit churches. When we were finishing up, he started to talk about how he has many dreams that involve Satan and demons. He said almost every night he has bad dreams. Then he asked us if we know people who play satanic games and call up demons and things like that. When he started talking about that stuff, I felt extremely uncomfortable - I felt like I was talking with a different person. It was weird. Sometimes when we talk with him, he looks normal and innocent, and other times there’s this look in his eye, and he seems like another person. I was very tired when we finally finished the lesson.  So was my companion. She said she felt the same way as me, and felt there must be something that happened in his life.

To make a long story short, we ended up finding out later that he had been recently released from jail. He had been in jail for five years, which explains why he probably was so fidgety. Being stuck in small spaces with lots of horribly mean people for five years would probably do a lot to a person. We also found out he used to be completely normal, but now is changed because of drugs, and who knows what else happened to the poor guy in jail. We have been teaching him and his mom more frequently, and we really want to help them. They are both sweet, and he has been getting better at listening each time. This Sunday he came to church too! His mom really wants him to be baptized (she is a menos activo - less active member) but he doesn’t want to. I think he’s afraid. I feel very sad for him, because he has desires to be a good person, but we can’t help him if he isn’t willing to really change or progress.