The end draws nigh. I honestly don´t know the translation. But I do know that El fin se acerca makes sense in my head and is the name of a song in the Spanish hymnal. I say the end draws nigh because Saturday we will receive our changes and assuming nothing crazy happens, It is most likely that I leave La Serena. Now, that isn´t to say that it will happen. Pretty much all of the investigators, members and less actives with whom we work have told me that they feel that I am staying and that Elder Anderson will leave and finish his mission somewhere else. Anyway. for the least, the end is getting close for this change.
- How is your health? My health is good. I feel good and I have really worked on buying healthy and eating healthy in the Pension, which is the only place that I can really control it. I dress warm so that the cold doesn´t get to me, and I take vitamins as an extra precaution. I try to make sure that my health is never an issue with doing the work.
- Any more problems with the infection around your eye? It has almost completely gone away at this point. Chileans are really blunt about things though. “Hey elder what is that huge ugly thing next to your eye?”…”What thing? :)” Its fun though. They have called it a volcano, a self destruct button, my twin and my brain. Anyway, thats just a cultural thing and it really isn’t a big deal.
- How has teaching been? It has been good. We taught less this week though, less, but better lessons. I have felt recently a real increase in my ability to teach. I don´t honestly know where it has come from. Also, we have been working recently at getting more adult male investigators. They so frequently have a much harder time accepting the gospel, however we have seen an increase in the number of our investigators like this recently.
- Investigators at church? That has been the real problem, and a somewhat frustrating one. The last two weeks, we have had over 8 people each saturday tell us enthusiastically that they are going to be there on sunday and then not a single one of them has come. For two weeks straight there have been no investigators coming, which is a huge hangup to progression. However all of the converts are active
- What was the most funny thing that happened? We were doing contacts the other day and knocked a door. This guy came out and hesitated for a second and then started talking to us. The funny part came in the end. He said “Now, I normally come to the gate for things like this and start talking like this ‘hang syng, wan chi lang hung wooo..etc, etc’ and what would you all have done to that? you would have left right? Well, I was about to do that, but then I felt this sort of wall, and I couldn´t do it. So for something you came, and I needed to hear you. I am about to leave town, but in 15 days I will be back. Stop by then.” I just loved his method of answering the door. I want to apply it. Another experience that we have had recently was teaching these kids. Their mom wants them to learn more about God, but doesn´t like the Catholic church. Anyway we got talking and this little girl would say ” I want to answer the question, I do, I do” but when she finally got started to talking she just told us stories. It was way funny to see her parents shaking their heads at her.
- What was the most touching? Saturday we were teaching a mom, her son that has 18 years and her other son who is 12. The one that is twelve is much more quiet and sort of didn´t want to share anymore. However his 18 year old brother took his hand and spent about 15 minutes just talking to him. Explaining things and giving examples, just the whole time worried about his little brothers well being and his understanding. It was a huge display of love and a really cool thing to see
- When is the next cambrio? Monday. I am trying to not think about leaving. Easier to just focus that way.
Recent thoughts, reflections and other experiences.
- When the Chile national team plays. The best thing to do is just to sit down and take a break, because no one is going to come out and talk to you and if they do open the door, they are going to be frustrated. I took a video of the absolutly dead streets. It was almost ghostly
- John 9: 13 They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. 14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. 15 Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. 16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: 21 But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. 22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. 24 Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. 25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
- We gain testimonies as we like the blind man, suddenly are able to see. That is the function of the spirit, to open our eyes. I think the line caught my attention most of all because of the song “Amazing grace” and from having seen the movie. It is a great testimony though. “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”
- We had the sad opportunity to teach a lady the other day. I say sad, because her memory was a little bad. She loved our message but after we had shared it said this. “I am sure that it is a good message. I bet it would be nice in my life. But I won´t commit to anything. Honestly in an hour, I won´t remember much more then that two, good looking, good boys came to my house and talked to me nicely about God. I am sorry, I just can´t remember these things anymore.” It was sad to see. She was a really nice lady.
- The strongest testimonies against breaking the commandments are from those that are still stuck trying to get out of some bigger ones. A less active told me this saturday. “Elder, this is the big thing. Don´t ever, ever leave the path. Not if you think you need to try out the other things to understand if what you really have is right. Not if you think you are strong enough. Not if all the pressure in the world tells you that just a quick step to the side and then right back on. A quick step is never quick and you will not get back on. Don´t ever leave” It was strong and I loved the conviction behind it.
- Today we played volleyball as a zone and made milkshakes (The first I have had in Chile). It was satisfying to play and bond a little bit.
- Tomorrow is a mission conference so we have to get up early and travel about 40 minutes to another chapel. This conference is just for the northern part of the mission. Which is less then a fourth of the missionaries.
I love it here. It is the best experience ever and all that I really hope is that in the end I have changed enough that it is a real part of me and not just an incredible job that I did for two years.
My time is up. I love you all, May you always be able to feel it,
Elder Caleb Tonkinson