Monday, November 3, 2014

Finally a Normal Week (As normal as it gets, I guess)

First full week in Entre Lagos in the record books.  We have had lots of tiny miracles happen that are starting to lead to bigger and bigger miracles.  Quote of the week: "God is pretty good at being God." -Aidan Rich

Let´s start with a few crazy things and answering a few questions. Elder Petrovelli is fine and is still with Elder Perkins. They are now in Puerto Montt I believe. There are four new Elders in Rio Negro. Chileans know about Halloween, but it is pretty lame here. Mostly egging houses. We also watched our little guardian dog ´Gus´get hit by a bus while protecting us. Worst. Day. Of. My. Life. However, I built him a bed under a tree and we visit him and feed him daily. Such a good dog. And now for the rest of the week:

First off, it is so freaking hard to preach in an area you know absolutely nothing about where you are literally just dropped off with a list of names who are ¨a good idea to visit¨ and then just let loose to go find and teach them all. However, this is where the miracles start coming in. One of the guys in our ward drives us back and forth for lunch every day because it is so far to our mamita´s house. Out of no where he decides to introduce us to this less active family and one week later we are teaching their son who is not a member, is progressing rapidly, and already had a testimony of the Book of Mormon when we found him. Yeah. Miracle.

We also had another miracle Saturday that led to several more. The streets here are super confusing and the numbering is not in any order, so it has been almost impossible to find people. We were getting ready to leave the house as usual when all of the sudden Holt called for an audible in our plans. We canceled our first two goals for the day and headed for the cemetary. It was the national day of the dead and he figured we could go and talk to people about the plan of salvation as they mourn their dead family members. We didn´t have much luck and most people just yelled at us or gave us dirty looks for being their or sent the drunk guys to hassle us. (Their favorite thing. They think it is so funny)

We were about to leave when I all of the sudden had the urge to talk to this guy. He was huge, both ways, had long dreads, headphones, and looked so freaking scary and intimidating. I pointed him out to Holt who was hesitant as well, but we just figured God knew best and went for it. He smiled and hugged us as soon as we got to him and said ¨I was wondering when you would talk to me!¨ He has been good friends with all the missionaries and told us to come over about 4 days later. The next day we were walking around aimlessly trying to talk to people and find houses when we heard a whistle. It was Gustavo, who invited us into his house to meet his super sweet wife and daughter. We talked for a while and it turns out he knows all the people the previous missionaries were teaching and planning on teaching, where they live, and the plans the elders had for them. Yeah. Miracle.

He helped us find all of them and we now have a small teaching pool. He has also accepted to take us to his church, as he is not of our faith, so we can learn about and understand other religions. He is also letting us teach him and his only condition is we have to have a family home evening with him once a week to play ping pong, talk religion, play guitar, and watch the Chile games. All of which we have permission to do. Yeah. Miracle.

That is my challenge for all of us this week. Let us try to be more like Gustavo. Let us not look at people as Mormon and non-Mormon, black or white, good or bad. Let us instead look at everyone as brothers and sisters in Christ, united in the same pursuit: Eternal happiness through salvation. So if the Jehovah´s witnesses come by, invite them in. Love them and talk to them. Learn about them and understand them. If everyone was like Gustavo, who again IS NOT OF OUR FAITH yet IS HELPING THE MORMON MISSIONARIES to spread happiness, the world would be near perfect. No contention. No misunderstanding. No unhappiness. Let us be better as a whole.

I love you all. So very much. Each one of you.

Elder Rich

¨I may not be my brother´s keeper, but I am my brother´s brother.¨ 
-Elder Jeffery R. Holland

¨With all that we have heard, with all that we now have, with all righteousness, with all diligence, let us be better than before.¨ 
-President Thomas S. Monson

First view of Entre Lagos
We serve until we bleed.  That's just how it is.
Service project working in the garden.
(As Elder Rich's mother, I want you to know I sent that kid with work gloves!)
Some guy washing his car in the rain.  Only in Chile.
Three months in the field.  The St. George Temple just happened to be the temple on our calendar for this month.
It made me a little homesick...well maybe more than a little.
MonkeyBalls.  Chileans love their MonkeyBalls!
Gustavo and his wife.
We live with a member and this is her little baby boy.  He is so dang cute and always happy.  I made those little angel wings for him.
Elder Holt snagged a pic of my studying.
This is a huge slide that we found and tried out today.
There's no sense in waiting to try it out until it stops raining.  It never stops raining.
Beautiful Lake Puyehue

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