Missionary Work…When all of your investigators go out of town

I loved the pictures this week. they were fantastic. I don´t know what it was.  Although it would appear that Gideon is enjoying the soccer shorts that I left him 🙂 Glad they are getting lots of use.

Elder Tonkinson on the streets of La Serena. Maybe he is trying to stretch to reach six feet, since he stands about 5'11.5"

All of the items made it here just fine. The shirts are perfect; I like the tie. I enjoyed the letters. The shoes [his old indoor soccer shoes]….It was like putting on a pair of slippers, and I am excited for the day I get to play. We haven’t played recently. The pack [a hydropack]….is awesome! So, so, so much easier and more convenient then before.

Easter traditions here, are more or less Catholic traditions. There are some parades and less people then normal are willing to talk to us because more actually go to their Church. Anyway, it didn’t actually seem that it was that big of a deal. They have as a culture, the same as in the states, really missed the spirit of it. It is sad. We spent a lot of the week sharing about the atonement.

My health is alright, I included a picture of the what I eat most mornings.

The breakfast of champion missionaries 🙂

Musli in yogurt. It is better then I thought it was going to be. So physically I feel pretty good. My diet is, for the most part, healthy; and I do solid exercise when I am in good health. Everything seems to be in good order except that I have this cold. Anyway, it will pass, and I am sure I will be back to normal soon enough.

The work. Well, we had a baptism of a lady who has been investigating for about 3 years off and on.

Before the baptism

Success. Plus we are going to start teaching her niece and her husband so I guess that is a success. However… All of our other, major, progressing investigators, left town.  They went for all different sides; Santiago, Antofogasta, Lo que sea. They just left for a little while. So, we were suddenly left without the majority of our investigators. It was hard. We spent a lot of time trying to find new investigators and talking with people. In the end, it was just rough. We had days that where we only taught one lesson, and it was to an active member in the Church. That is a hard day to have. However, we plugged on and in the end had a relatively successful week. Quick story and lesson from the baptism. Rosalba was a little nervous for her baptism. She gets nervous in front of people, so she asked if it could just be her family. We of course said that, that would be fine and set a time to get started with the service, 4 o’clock on Friday. When that time came, she wasn’t there, neither was any of her family, nor the member of the bishopric [the bishop is the leader of a congregation or ward.  He has two counselors (assistants) who help him.  Together, they are called the bishopric] that was going to be there. So, just imagine two missionarys sitting out on a bench in the hallway looking puzzled and making all sorts of phone calls trying to figure out what was going on. That is us. Anyway, we couldn’t reach her but reached a member of the bishopric and one of them finally started heading towards the church. Then we decided to say a prayer. And what do you know but about halfway through the prayer Rosalba showed up. It was a good experience from then on out but super stressful for a couple minutes.

Other than that, English classes are slowly taking off and life is good. Elder Anderson and I are working hard and having a lot of fun. It is interesting as we run into all sorts of different kinds of people to try and apply the gospel to them. The thing is, the gospel is incredibly simple. It is made for even the simple minded, or rather, it is made for the simple minded and humble, its beauty lies in its simplicity rather then some incredible complexity. We have talked with everyone from atheists, to evangelicals, to members 25-years inactive. Every time, there has been a course to take with them, which has helped them to realize the blessing the gospel could be for them. It is really a blessing to do missionary work.

This week we have had several interesting experiences with drunks. One was a phone call. The guy wanted to thank us for being good people and for being nice and sang us a song. It was really funny, although I am thankful that I couldn´t smell his breath…He was most certainly way drunk. Another one stopped us in the street and started talking to us about his job and just going around in circles. When we asked him if there was something he would like to talk to us about he got confused and said ¨No, you all asked me how I was doing” . . . . We most certainly did not. It was funny though, and we got his address and are going to go work with his family.

We had a really good family home evening [a program of the Church where families set aside Monday night to spend together learning about the gospel and having fun] with a new family in the ward. They were fantastic, and we ended up leaving at like 9:50 and had to run all the way home. We arrived breathing really heavy, all sweaty with our ties over our shoulders at 9:59, at the pension. Oh what joys. I honestly think they helped us a lot more then we helped them out. The Hermano had a bunch of really great advice about loving people in general. It made the week end in a fantastic way to be able to go and share with them as a family.

There is this funny cultural habit in Chile. I don’t know what it stems from, however here it is. Frequently when we are in lunch, people start telling us all sorts of things about the United States, just whatever they think about the states. They tell us about our work habits and our pastimes. Whatever it is. Most of them have never been to and certainly never lived in the United States but like to tell us what it is like. However, when we try and tell them our experience there, they frequently say something like this “No Elder, you don´t understand. It is actually like this . . .” It has been interesting to hear and see the different view that other people have of the US.

Elder Tonkinson, a self protrait

Anyway, I love it here, I am doing good. The work is rolling forward and people are beginning to change their lives. I keep you all in my prayers. I hope that as spring takes off for you guys and I sink deeper into winter ( which I love btw, so much easier to stave off the cold then the heat) that all is well in life. Challenges are for growth, the gospel is for changing lives not for staying stagnant, the blessings most worth having take the most work, entonces work, because it is worth it.

Elder Caleb Tonkinson

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