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, September 29, 2014

Week 47: SPIDER!

On Friday, we were walking super quickly back to our house for the night, because we were late. We always try to talk with everyone, but it’s hard to speak to anybody when we are late. We almost didn’t talk to one girl (about 22 yrs old), but at the last second I decided to say something her. She almost immediately said she was so glad that we stopped. She told us that she is a member and that she and her family haven’t been to church for about six years. These past three weeks she has wanted to go back to church but hadn’t the courage to do so. We took her phone number and invited her to church and she said she would come. Lots of people tell us this and then don’t come, so by Sunday we had nearly forgotten about it. We were so surprised when she showed up and stayed all three hours. The members went out of their way to sit with her and help her feel comfortable. It was awesome!

On Tuesday I had a mini-transfer with Hermana Corbett, which went very well. It was fun to be with someone who could speak English for the day! :)

This week my companion, a member and I went to a house for an appointment that we had. Whenever we go to a house we always shout "Halo" instead of knocking, because there are always fences. As I went to halo, my face touched the fence and I felt something quickly touch the side of my face. I instantly thought “SPIDER”, but I couldn’t check because a man had come out of the house to tell us that our investigator was not home. I calmly replied, the whole while wondering what had touched my face. When he went back inside I immediately looked at the fence. It was too dark to see well, but I thought I saw legs sticking out of a hole in the fence. Some spiders here live in tunnels and jump out quickly to snatch their prey. I took out a pen and started touching the edge of the hole. Suddenly a HUGE black spider jumped out and attacked my pen! It was the biggest spider I’ve ever seen here. My companion screamed, which made me scream, and the man from the house looked out of his window all surprised. lt was pretty embarrassing and a little disconcerting. I shall not put my face on any more fences.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 46: Independence Day

This week Chileans celebrated Chile’s day of independence. The Chileans are very patriotic. All week we heard the Chilean music, saw people dressed in traditional clothing, saw people dancing cueca, and there were TONS of Chilean flags. We got to eat a lot of the traditional food of Chile, like empanadas, pajaritos, sopapillas, and a drink called Mote con Huesillos. It was fun to try all their foods! I like the sopaipillas and the Mote con huesillos the best.

We got to hear and see all the fun of the celebrations of the Chileans. There were giant bulls walking through the street that were used for bull riding competitions. We attended an activity on September 18th and we wore the traditional dress of Chile. I am in a dress called, "La vestida elegante" or the elegant dress. It’s also called "El vestida de los quicos", or the dress of the rich folk. My companions are wearing the fun, more common dresses, called "La Vestida China" which was the middle class dress historically. I bought some material, and a member kindly offered to make me a dress cheap. I’m excited to see how it turns out.

Since everyone was celebrating all week, we had very little success in finding people to teach. So we spent a lot of time this week just walking and walking and walking some more. My feet have hurt a lot this week. While we walked my companion and I got to talk a lot and get to know each other even better. We get along pretty well, with very little problems. :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 45: National Day of Service

Today we had a super fun zone activity at the beach here in Penco. We played volleyball and cooked and ate hamburgers. The elders hiked into the mountains and cut down some old dead trees. They dragged them two miles back to the beach so we could use them as supports for the net. They proudly displayed the battle wounds they received on their legs from the adventure. As we were playing volleyball, some other elders showed up with the stove from their apartment. They brought it to the beach so we could make hamburgers. Guys crack me up. We had a good time.

Friday was the National Day of Service here in Chile. We got to spend the morning cleaning up the graveyard of Concepcion with a ton of other missionaries and members. I love doing service projects, especially outside. It was interesting to see how different and less well kept the graveyard here is compared to ours in America. My companion told me that in Mexico on The Day of the Dead, many people spend the night praying to their loved ones at their graves. They put flowers and their dead ones favorite foods on the tombs so their spirits can enjoy those things.

This week we saw some good progress in some of our investigators and less active members. We had a lesson with one woman about the resurrection again, and she finally seems to understand it. She even bore a big testimony of how she believes in Christ! We still have a lot to help her with, but that was a big break through.

I learned to always follow through on righteous ideas, because they are often promptings of the Spirit. Many times this week I had felt the urge to call a member who was not at church last Sunday.  At first I forgot because of other things I was worrying about. When I finally remembered, I decided not to call because I reasoned that she had probably just been out of town. When we talked to her at church this Sunday, she told us how difficult this past week and a half had been for her.  I realized that I should have called her like I had felt. I am sure it was the Holy Ghost trying to guide me. Now I know if it’s a good thought, I should just act.

My thought of the week:
2 Nephi 2:25 says, "Adam fell that men might be" - He ate the fruit so that the rest of us could come to earth and receive bodies. "And men are, that they might have joy." - We all exist on the earth so that we can really experience what it means to have joy. We need to experience the difficult times to understand completely and be fully grateful of joy. We have this opportunity on the earth to gain joy for eternity. 

Cook Out

Helping Hands

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 44: Persuaded by the Spirit

A contact in the street told us that lots of people cross the street to avoid us. They are afraid if they listen they will be convinced that what we teach is true, because we talk so well. It’s funny that a bunch of quite untrained 18-21 year olds, many who can barely speak Spanish, scare people with their verbal abilities. All we do is share a little of what we believe, and invite people to pray and ask God if what we shared is true. It is actually the spirit of God that persuades them. Most people we meet know at least one or two people who joined the Church. I would think that it would make more people consider that maybe there is something to this religion that makes so many happy. 

On Saturday I got to watch the baptism of Javiera, an 11 yr old girl who started coming to church with her grandma. The elders have been teaching her and her family for the past few months. She originally had no belief in God and now she has a very strong testimony. It was great to hear from her mom too, who isn’t a member. She recognized that her daughter, who before was unhappy due to all of the problems in their family, was now a completely different and very happy child. She was super grateful to the church for the help it has given her daughter. It made me so happy. :)

Recently, my companion and I found a less-active member when we were contacting in the street, and she is fantastic! She has been inactive for eight years, but is completely ready to return to church. She has read everything we have given her for “homework” and asked for all of the class manuals from church so she can read those also. She came to the baptism and also to church on Sunday, and stayed the entire three hours. We are going to start having FHE with her and her three kids every week. I’m super excited for her! :D 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Week 43: Gospel Changes Lives

This week I’ve been adjusting to the changes of those living in our casa now, and my new companion. So far we have gotten along with each other fine and are able to teach well together. My new companion is from Mexico City. We both have some things we can talk about from there, because I lived in Mexico City for six weeks while in the CCM.

We found two new investigators who seem quite promising, so we are excited about that. Wednesday we got to play soccer with some investigators and members. We also went to a good-bye party for Elder Morgan, who has finished his mission.

This weekend we sang in the choir at stake conference and I think it went well. We had been practicing for the past month. There were three sessions of conference: one Saturday night and two on Sunday. Not everyone can afford to go to the stake center in Penco, so in the afternoon we traveled for Tome to sing and listen to the talks again. Elder Nuñez from the Quorum of the 70 spoke at every session. He gave a different talk at each one and had nothing but his scriptures with him for each talk. He was funny, and had lots of very spiritually uplifting words. I don’t know how some people are able to remember what they want to say, connect it all, and have it turn out well. I guess that would just be the gift of the spirit.

A recently returned missionary, who served in Argentina, also spoke at conference. He told a story about a 17-year-old young man, who had made it his goal to disassociate himself from the Church. He went out of his way to do the things that he was taught at church not to do. His parents tried to help him, but he didn’t want to have anything to do with it all. His dad challenged him to read the Book of Mormon all the way through, and because the young man had never done that before he decided to accept the challenge. As he read he found many answers to questions he had for a long time, and felt the spirit testify of the truthfulness of the gospel. He made big changes in his life, reactivated himself in the church, and then served a mission. The missionary then said that he was the young man in the story. He bore testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, and how grateful he was that his dad had challenged him to read the Book of Mormon. He said he loved his mission and he has been so happy. It made me happy to hear his story.