AYOOOO. This past Saturday we had a branch activity that we prepared as a surprise for the members. We did a reenactment of the Iron Rod in the chapel and had a rope cord running through the hallways and then in the classrooms we had temptations. One of them was our second counselor eating doritos and watching Iron Man 3, another was Hermanos watching the World Cup, and another was Hna Garcia and I with two huge cakes. It was hilarious! We weren't positive if it was all going to work out, but it did! We got a ton of members to the cake. Hahah. At the end we decorated the room with a "Tree of Life" that was really just a fake Christmas tree with small yellow balloons all over it. We also had a plate of these white bon bons as their fruit.
It was so fun to see all the members go through. The Torres family went through all together and the mom, Rosa, kept stressing out that her whole family wasn't going to make it through to the end all together. Sadly, she lost her son Seba to the fútbol. I will send some of the pictures I took.
Also, one of our investigators told us that she thought mormons couldn't eat chocolate or drink soda along with the coffee, tea and alcohol and that it had been on her mind for a while but she was afraid to ask. Who knows how long that has been holding her back!
This Friday we have a huge conference in Los Angeles to say Goodbye to Presidente Martinez. It is so weird to think that he won't be our President after this week. But it has been really awesome to see our mission really dedicate ourselves to the work lately. We have been trying to focus on "changing the details." I have seen it make a huge difference. It is so true that the small acts and decisions determine the course of my mission. The simple, small thoughts, actions and words make up who we are. I am trying to better myself in that aspect. To change the details to be more focused and diligent in the work.
Hna Garcia and I have seen a lot of blessings with the branch and with our investigators lately and it is a testimony to me of the importance of the small and simple actions and thoughts. If we can just align our desires with those of the Lord then we will be so happy and succesful.
I love you guys!
Hna Chalmersmy companion, Hermana Garcia, with a cow
he zone activity we had today. we played soccer and volleyball and then...
...ate some peruvian food the elders made.
JUNE 2, 2014
Hey guys! I am praying for you all this week! I can't believe Cam is already heading out. Elder and Hermana Chalmers 2.0!
Yesterday at church we had all kinds of great experiences. One of our investigators, Cecilia finally came to church! We were so so happy. A member, Rita, went and practically pulled her out of bed and brought her breakfast on the go so they wouldn't be late. I am so grateful for that lady. Cecilia stayed for all three hours and during our gospel principles class we had a lesson on gifts of the Spirit and she came to the realization through a question she asked that what she had felt in her church wasn't really the spirit of God because she hadn't felt completely right about what they were doing and that she needed the correct authority in her baptism for it to be valid. It was amazing. The Spirit was testifying to her and teaching her as she asked and answered her own questions.
Also, in sacrament we went pianoless since we came a little late because we were getting an investigator and so the Hermana leading starting singing the song to the tune of a different hymn and the congregation got about halfway through the song before we all realized we were singing the wrong tune. The branch president had to get up and stop everyone so we could start over. There were even a couple Hermanas that shouted out what they thought the actual tune was from where they were sitting in the congregation for the director coupled with the other half of the members shushing all the kids that were laughing, it was hilarious. President Brand even explained that "hermanos y hermanas, we aren't professionals, we are all just trying to do our best" for all the non members so they wouldn't think the mormons are a hot mess. hahah. There is never a dull moment at church over here.
One of our favorite members, Hermano Rigoberto, is the older guy who has a lot of medical problems. He has to walk with this big cane and have someone help him, but he still walks to church every Sunday with his wife, Juana. He gives us lunch the day after he gets paid every month and tells us stories of when he was branch president back in the glory days and all kinds of hilarious and slightly innapproriate jokes. I think Dad is going to be like Hno Rigoberto when he is older. Anyway, he bore his testimony in church yesterday. It took him a couple minutes to walk up to the podium, with a bit of help from some Hermanos, but he was just smiling the whole time. As I was listening to him share his testimony and thought about how I have never once heard him complain. He has all the excuses in the world to be grumpy or irritated but he isn't at all. It makes me think of Elder Uchtdorf's talk about gratitude and choosing to be grateful IN our situations and circumstances. I have seen that it really is true this past week that our happiness is our choice. It can be independant of what is happening around us if we want it to be. We were put to the test this week on Wednesday when a huge thunder, wind, rain storm hit Arauco. I have never seen or felt rain that strong in my life! My umbrella was completely broken by the end of the night. There were mini lakes in all the streets. Hna Garcia and I just had to laugh about so many crazy things. Trucks splashing the crud out of us, our umbrellas turning inside out in front of a crowd of people and looking like hobos when we got into a house. Could've been the worst day ever, but it actually was pretty fun and definitely something I will always remember. That night was pretty wild, too. The wind and rain and thunder kept waking us up. Hermana Garcia said that in the middle of the night I frantically asked her if the power went out a few times, too. Haha. I dont remember.
Anyway, good luck this Wednesday! I love you guys! POY
Hey Team, MAY 26, 2014
I still can't believe Cam graduated this week. You are so old! Looks like you guys have just been partying it up.
My new companion, Hermana Garcia is awesome. She is 20 as well but is really short and tiny. Everyone thinks that she is a younger member that is out on splits with me. Haha. We get along well and I am learning a lot from her. She helps me out with Spanish and I help her out with English so it works out great.
This week we saw some pretty crazy stuff in Arauco. For example-
We taught a lesson to an investigator, Marisela, while her husband was giving a guy a tattoo in the same room!
We were on our way to a lesson with this couple who are very active evangelicals and had told us in the lesson before that they went to this one church, but didn't like the pastor so they decided to create their own group and hold services at their house (great apostasy, am I right?). So anyway, we were walking to their house and there was music playing really loudly that you could hear from down the street. Well, as we got closer, turns out it was their house and we had walked into their church services. Hna Garcia and I were standing their, jaws dropped, staring into the window where we could see a bunch of ladies singing, crying, dancing and yelling to the ceiling while their little children stood by looking pretty scared and to make matters worse, as we were standing their an inactive member that lived close by walked right on in to join! Never seen anything like it before.
We went out and worked with one of the youth in our branch, Sebastian, all afternoon on Saturday and turns out that nobody wanted anything to do with the missionaries that day. We couldn't get into any houses! But Seba stayed with us the whole time as we went through all the plans we had. It was really cool to see him working hard as well. We knocked on some doors and after the doors where no one answered he would casually leave a pass a long card on the doorstep. I love the members here. You guys should go out with the missionaries!
- Yesterday I gave a talk in sacrament about being spiritually prepared by doing the simple things- reading scriptures, praying and going to church every Sunday. I mentioned Cam and that he is leaving on his mission soon and it choked me up a little bit. I can't wait for him to get out there! The mission is not something I could have ever expected and it makes me really happy and proud to know that Cam gets to do the same thing at the same time.
Love you guys!
MegsAurora and Maxi - the branch president's kids
Sebastian (Seba), the member that went out with us all day Saturday, taking a breather.
my companion while we are emailing
MAY 19, 2014
We found out about transfers today! I am staying in Arauco and Hermana Henderson is going to Temuco Cautin! Where I started out! Hermana Garcia is coming here. I have never met her before but I am pretty sure she is from Guatemala. It is definitely going to be weird getting used to a different companion especially after being with Hna Henderson for a while and not living with anyone else but I am excited for something new!
This past week we focused a lot on finding new people to teach and it was a lot of fun. We found some really awesome people. One lady, Flor, was the craftiest Chilena I have ever met. Almost all of the decorations outside and inside her house were homemade. She had some hubcabs she had painted like flowers and wind chimes made out of keys and all kinds of cool stuff. We also met Marisela, a Colombian that moved here 2 years ago because she married a Chileno who we love. Oh! And we found Pamela, this lady who, when we met her, told us she had 3 sweet little daughters that she loves so much. Well, come to find out they are all dogs! It was hilarious.
This week we also took a trip to Concepcion because Hna Henderson had to get an xray of her heel and it was kind of a shock after living in Arauco and being so used to a small town. We were so overwhelmed with all the cars and people and noise.
Also, earlier this week we had a pretty crazy experience with some recent converts, V and M. They are a very interesting couple. They got married a little less than a year ago and it was both of their second marriages. V is in his 30s and M in her 50s. Anyway, we felt like we needed to stop by and visit them and when they opened the door we could tell they had been fighting or something. So we sat down and started to talk with them and they both just started arguing like crazy and about how hard it is to be married and all these things. Victor also told us that he had a dream about me and my companion that we were telling him to put on this metal armor so he could carry this heavy backpack he had (the Sunday before Hna Henderson and I taught gospel principles class in church and taught about Repentance. We used the example of the backpack full of heavy things and then taking them all out to show repentance and forgiveness). At many points during the time we were at their house I just had to pray that the Spirit would help me know what to say because I had no idea. After a bit they started to change and calm down and look more at the things they could improve on instead of all the negatives. It was interesting to see how it honestly didn't matter who was more right or who could prove their case better. I can see a lot clearer now how the gospel really is the solution for all of our problems, for M's and V's as well. When we put the gospel first everything else will work itself out.
Sometimes as missionaries I think we are put into situations that our past experiencies don't cover and we don't fully understand so we can learn how to rely on the Spirit to guide us to help others. I felt that with V and M because of course I have never been married or had problems like that. But it didn't matter because it isn't really me that is there to help them anyway. I need to do my best to let the Spirit work through me because that is what will really guide them to change in the end.
Love you guys!!