Thank you for the pictures. I can hardly imagine how relaxing the trip up to the snow carving competition [United States Nationals Snow Sculpting Competition, Lake Geneva, WI] must have been. Gideon, I hope your ruptured ear drum [from an ear infection] is healing well and that it isn´t causing you too much pain.
Okay, my week. It has been a week of super hard work. Wednesday we had intercambios [exchanges, where the elders switch companions for a time] with our district leader. I had his companion with me in La Serena. Luckily, I know the area super well now so it wasn’t that big of a problem. We had several lessons. One of them was with a recent convert, but when we got there she was super sick but refused to get a blessing. So we talked for around 5 minutes and then left. She then passed out after we left and had to go to the hospital. Yeah, no good! I wish she had just accepted a blessing, she has several health problems, but every time we have given her a blessing she has felt better and not had to be hospitalized. Anyway, we also talked to an evangelical kid. He had so much truth; he had studied the scriptures so much, and then he wouldn’t open up his mind and his heart to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Such a bummer, but life goes on.
So Thursday, as we met up to switch companions back, Elder Wintz got sick and was throwing up blood; so he napped all morning while I studied. Then, we worked. All of our appointments fell through so we spent the day looking. Which was actually really cool. We found a guy, who in the end of our contact and short lesson said “I walk this street every day, and I have never seen you guys. I feel that God put you here today so that we could talk about this message and if I recieve an answer to my prayer, perhaps it will be a change for the better.” This pretty much left Elder Wintz, and I looking heavenward in absolute awe of the contact. There were two other decent contacts that day, but the rest of it was just hard work, knocking doors and stopping every person that we met in the street.
Friday was pretty much the same. We had some super good appointments fall through. However we found some other appointments. We met with the convert who had to go to the hospital and taught about the temple. She is going to start preparing for the temple. Then we met with an older man that was going to be baptized a couple of weeks ago but decided not to. In fact he did like a full 180 and didn’t want anything to do with the church. So we stopped, shared a quick message with him and then left. There is a lot more to that story coming up.
Saturday, a lot of looking again…and we found Gold. We found this family of three and started teaching them and they had so many incredible questions. We sat there and were teaching the plan of salvation because the mom started out with the question of how we knew there was life after death. So we talk about the need for repentance and she said “What do I have to do, to be clean from my sins?” This resulted in another look heavenward. So we taught baptism and the family agreed to baptism if they recieve an answer to their prayers. Hallelujah!!! Hallelujah!! Such a cool experience. We also are going to start work with another family close by, but we haven’t had any real religious talks with them. However I am excited to be working with families.
Sunday. An incredible day. We were still lacking in several of our goals for the week, as far as lessons went and a lot of our appointments were not really fixed to begin with. But we got to work right after church. One of our investigators who has a baptismal date for next week was there. So we taught him, with his new convert sister, and set up everything for his baptism!!!! I am so excited to have our first baptism coming up! Anyways, we then had lunch and then studied, so we didn’t get back out until about 6. We had a super great lesson with an inactive kid, who agreed to come to church next sunday. Then we headed to read some more in the Book of Mormon with Alvaro. However, en camino we ran into the girl. Her name is Romina. She was wearing headphones and on the phone as she walked by us. But she finished the call and took out her headphones and called out to us. “Hey, isn´t it hot out dressed like that?”. Chileans are nice, but they dont ask us questions that frequently, and they almost never even say Hola if they have headphones in, but she took out her headphones to ask us a silly question that allowed us to talk to her and to teach her when we wouldn’t have been able to before. That is called the Spirit, not niceness. So we talked to her, and she agreed to meet with us Saturday when she gets back into town from Santiago. She had all of these super great questions too. It was another one of those awesome contacts that was sent from above. We then met with Alvaro and just read the Book of Mormon, in the part about Aaron teaching the king Lamoni [he probably means Aaron teaching the king, the father of Lamoni, but he could mean Ammon teaching Lamoni]. At the end of the Lesson, he said that he felt the Book of Mormon was inspired words and an incredible book, that he wanted us to mark it, and that he wanted to be baptized. Just like that. Well, not just like that. There was a bit of conversation before it, but I don’t have a whole lot of time left to write. It was a testimony to me though, of the pure power of the Book of Mormon to change spirits. We thought it would be a super long process to even talk to him about baptism again. But instead he brought it up. Powerful, powerful stuff. So, if all continues to progress smoothly, he will be baptized the 19th.
The other big news. Two more missionaries are coming to the area, too our ward [a ward is a congregation; a branch is a small congregation] actually. We are going to have 6 missionaries, which means they are going to split Elder Wintz and I up most likely, so that one of the companions knows the area and the work can go on without a click. That is in a week though, and we don´t know for sure what is going to happen but we are looking for a house for six now, to move apartments. Anway. That is my week. The blessings of work were incredible. The fun goes on and I am happy to be here! I hope all is well. But I am out of time. Like 10 seconds
Les quiero, Ciaito
— Elder Tonkinson