Monday, April 25, 2016

Calm Winds and Steady Work

Well, I got here to Punta Arenas all in one piece without too much trouble. I absolutely hate flying and airports, but it was a cool experience. I traveled with Elder Nielson, who is also from St. George, the whole time and we had a good talk.

We got to Punta Arenas and took a bus to the Stake Center where we met up with a bunch of the other missionaries here in Punta Arenas and I met my companion Elder Herrera. He was born in Peru, but moved to Santiago when he was little so is technically a native Chilean. He just finished his training and is full of energy and a desire to talk with everyone. From the Stake Center, we went straight out to preach, taking 5 minutes to toss my bags in the front door of the house.

This weekend was Stake Conference so a few elders from an island called Porvenir came over to attend. Elder Cabrera, who was in Ancud with me, and Elder Woolley, who I replaced when I went to Ancud, have been staying with us for a couple days until they can get back to Porvenir because they have to take a boat and there isn’t one that goes everyday.

I have been preaching with Elder Cabrera for the past two days and I absolutely love the kid and I missed him when he left Ancud. He is super smooth and just has an attitude that attracts people to him, plus we make an awesome team. In like three hours we put 3 people with a baptismal date and talked with a million other people.

I haven’t been able to get ahold of another jacket, but to be honest it is not that cold. There are huge malls and outlets that I can go to if I really need something, but for now I am actually quite comfortable. The wind is what sometimes makes it miserable, but it has been really calm since I got here.

I really like my assignment as a district leader and thought I did all right leading my first district meeting. I only had a couple hours to prepare, but it went smooth and everyone told me they were excited to get out and teach.

I love you all,

Elder Rich

P.S. Have you been hating on my gorgeous vests? Shame! Those things are so cool. Don’t lie to yourself.

Saying goodbye to Marco and Yolanda before leaving Ancud.

Goodbye Elder Greenwood. How about one last photo shoot?

Carla made us some sick neck warmers.

We wanted to remember that we ate Monkey Balls cereal literally every single day!

Greenwood and I putting the "companion" in companionship.

Thanks for having my back.

Like a high end blender, Greenwood and I complete each other.


Welcome to Punta Arenas

My new companion Elder Herrera

New companion photo shoot

Goodnight Punta Arenas.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Proselyting Among the Penguins

I don't have much time this week so please forgive me.  So much happening at once! We had a conference with President Obeso [mission president] this week and I learned so much. He really went back to the basics and leaned into us in a healthy and productive way. He really focused on the Atonement and the ¨why¨ of missionary work. I was a little weirded out though because out of all the missionaries, he called on me so much. He would ask for general feedback, and then call on me by name and ask me for my opinion. I got the feeling he was testing me and wanted to see how I would respond.

He called me last night to let me know he had an assignment for me. I am getting on a plane to go to Punta Arenas in order to be a district leader. Punta Arenas is the southern-most inhabited part of the entire world and the most far-reaching area of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It's the farthest south you go on Earth without going to Antartica. It is apparently beautiful and I no longer have to freeze at night because the houses are gas powered. Thank goodness.

Honestly, I am pretty nervous. I don’t know if I can be humble and inspiring enough to lead other missionaries. I have seen how quickly a bad leader can hurt an area and the rhythm of the work. I am going to give it my all, I just don’t know if it will be enough.

I received the package you guys sent me and I loved it. I immediately gave one of the Book of Mormons to Carla and she loved it. I already finished the books you sent me and I really enjoyed both of them. I found especially interesting, “Screwtape Letters” and the part where Screwtape talks about how the devils have gotten us humans to look upon death with fear and hate so they can have more time to hurt us. How death is just a normal step and a part of the plan of God and should be more welcomed than shunned. I was able to share that with a woman in the streets this week and she cried and hugged me. Really cool insights. And I think it goes without saying that C.S. Lewis is an intellectual giant.

I love you,

Elder Rich

(Last week in a letter Elder Rich wrote to his dad about having his coat and winter clothes stolen from his apartment: Honestly, unless the winter gets a lot worse or if I get sent to Punta Arenas, I will be fine. I have a windbreaker that keeps me dry which is by far the most important thing. I still have a big wool sweater and some scarves. All is well in Zion. )

Monday, April 11, 2016

Classic Chile

¨They say the gospel is supposed to heal you, and its done much healing!¨  Totally had a moment like that this week. I started off a contact by testifying, and then looked at Greenwood to pass it to him. By the time I looked back, the door was closed. Classic Chile.

I really don’t know what to tell you about the week. We started chopping a lot of wood for people and have been stacking it a lot too. I am professional and all the members saw me stack it at our mamita’s house and now they all want me to do it. Both of our main investigators ended up in the hospital for different reasons so church was a bust, but we had a really nice sacrament meeting.

I love you all so much.

Elder Rich

Elder Rich and Elder Greenwood P-Day Photo Shoot. Apparently, Elder Rich has become a big fan of the vest. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Planting Seeds

The weather here is really nice. It is really hot during the day, hardly ever rains, and the salty breeze can always be felt and tasted coming off the ocean. It is going to be hard leaving this place and going back to the desert of St. George. This week was just kind of a regrouping week. Getting over sicknesses, doing without some things [Elder Rich’s apartment was robbed], and weeding out the people that don’t seem to be progressing right now.

We had a cool experience this last week. We were helping Carla with some stuff around the house because she just had a surgery to remove her appendix (Is that how its spelled? I have been speaking Spanish too long.) Her mom came home from work and asked us why we were even there and even bothered. 

*Back story: Carla´s mom used to listen to missionaries 20 years ago but hasn’t since then and has not been very supportive of Carla´s Mormon investigation. She got pregnant young, divorced young, and has not had an easy life. She has spoken maybe 4 words to me and avoids us.*

Anyway, I told her it was because we loved her daughter, but even more importantly, God loved her. She went upstairs and that was all she said too us. The next day we were picking up some stuff from the grocery store and someone tapped my shoulder. I turned around and it was Carla´s mom. She told me she had appreciated what I had said and done, and invited us to dinner. We went over and taught about the restoration and the love of Christ and it was so quiet you could hear the wood stove crackling the whole time. I just told them they were beautiful and that I loved them and that we were genuinely there for them and the atmosphere was so warm and spiritual.

Carla came to watch conference and her mom has invited us back, she isn’t "investigating", but she doesn’t hate us. I think they will both get baptized somewhere down the road, but I am happy with progress in the right direction. This is the first time in my mission I have sincerely understood the importance of planting seeds. I have taken myself out of the equation and it doesn’t matter to me who baptizes them, I just want them with me in the presence of God and I want them to know His love.

I love you.

Elder Rich

My first 'missionary photo' from Chile.

Still has some wrestling moves left in him.

Ancud, Chile. A view of the inland and Pacific Ocean at sunset.

"Don't tell the cat about my new friend."

It takes a lot to get me through studying.  Elder Greenwood says, 'Hello!'