Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sept. 27, 2016- Prepare now for conference

Well this was a pretty good week all in all. We were able to teach a lot of lessons (more than I have ever taught in my mission) and we continued finding new people. But one of those lessons stands out as the most important, though. We had a lesson with Jacob and his family and it started off kind of weird (they went out to buy food for us) and so we didn't have the time to teach what we had planned. We began to talk about the reading that Jacob was able to do and he hadn't read a lot, but he had read a little bit of Alma 7 and so we began to talk about that. I began to explain some things and then Elder Langston bore a quick testimony and the whole environment changed. The spirit of God was there and Elder Langston began to get emotional because of it. I barely kept it together as I tried to add on but Jacob stopped me. He said "No se preocupen. Me voy a bautizar" or in English- Don't worry, I'm going to get baptized. Definitely a big step but there's more work to be done. I really feel he could get so much from going to General Conference with us. Pray for him so he can make the time to come with us.

Overall it was a really great week. The struggle continues getting people to come to church, but the two people who will be baptized next are both coming every week without fail, so that's been a huge blessing.

Overall the focus of this next week will be General Conference, I'm so excited personally but even more for all the people here that can benefit so much from this special opportunity. To all the people at home, go into this weekend with some questions written down. Either the speaker or the spirit will answer them. 

I hope you all have an amazing week. 

Elder Birrell

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sept. 20, 2016- Zone Activity with President V

Elder Birrell with his mission president and Elder Langston
Here's an explanation of the pictures I sent last week. The picture where I'm wearing the striped shirt is because there was  a huge ward activity and the bishop needed my white shirt for a dance he was in so we traded shirts for like 10 minutes hahaha.

The picture of the Chilean flag was because this weekend was the Chilean independence day (i say weekend because the celebration literally lasts a weekend) and there's a law in Chile that says that everyone has to have a flag up on the 18th at least and so it ends up looking really cool with everyone waving their flags.That picture was the flag on our house!
Some of my favorite scriptures. I encourage you to read them!
The chapel in Galverino
As far as our investigators: we have a lot of them now and we've consistently found 7 new investigators every week- some have no real desire to progress but some for sure do. The problem really is helping them to progress. Especially Jacob right now, he`s always saying the right things, but something is wrong. They didn't come to church on Sunday, but we`ll see. I made him a reading chart of like 12 or so of my favorite chapters/sections of the Book of Mormon with my testimony on the back so hopefully that helps. I still feel very strongly that they`ll be baptized but for some reason they need an extra push right now. We have another investigator that will be baptized pretty soon and another one that most likely will be baptized the next day and then a couple more are set for the end of this change (the 23rd of Oct). There should be many more to be baptized the following change. The one that we really just don't know for this change is Jacob and his family. Fast for them and I`ll do the same. I know he wants to but he`s afraid of something even he doesn't know what it is.

Yesterday we saw a bunch of guys more or less our age playing basketball and we asked if we could play with them a bit. We played a solid game with them and afterward got into a gospel conversation with them and it was really cool to see how people`s reactions change when they realize we are actually normal humans too. They all expressed a desire to learn more and to go to church.

I think that`s been the key to finding people recently for us. We show we`re humans and we show that this gospel is something that really affects us, it changes us and we know that it can make us all better and happier if we let it.


Elder Birrell

Celebrating Alice's 1st birthday
With Jacob at Alice's birthday party
At the zoo on P-day
Elder Birrell with his greenie. :)
Two cougars. Go BYU!
At a zone activity in Santiago
They have a pool!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sept. 13, 2016- Six more weeks!!

This week was a really good one, especially with the news that we´ll be staying here for another change together (six more weeks!). This change could be a really special one and we´ll do everything in our power to make that happen. 

On Thursday our zone won a day to basically hang out with our zone and with our mission president and wife for like 5 hours. We played basketball, volleyball, ping pong, and ate hamburgers and completos (hot dogs but better). 

Then on Saturday we had a birthday party for baby Alice. They didn't really celebrate her one year birthday so they celebrated the day that she would've been born if it had been a normal pregnancy. They invited a bunch of family members and us. It was amazing to see all the love that family has for Alice, really a special moment. 

On Sunday we couldn't even really work a whole lot because its the day people riot during the night so we had to go to the house early. 

Also, one of the Elders that´s become one of my better friends out here is Elder Johnson who´s been my zone leader for the last 3 changes. On Friday he called us to let us know he´d be leaving and we were all pretty bummed. We assumed he´d just be a zone leader somewhere else, in fact he told us what zone he was going to but I guess I forgot that´s the zone that the assistants were in. 

Yesterday we found out he`s the next assistant to the President. He still has 7 changes left in the mission which is crazy that he was made assistant so young, but it makes me feel old to be friends with the assistant haha.

The struggle continues trying to get people to keep their commitments, but we´ve also seen some people keep their commitments and it's amazing to see their progress. We`re really hoping to have a super successful (possibly) last change together here in Galvarino.

For now we´ll just do everything in our power to bring souls unto Christ.

Short thought
I was thinking about the two thousand stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon. Obviously we remember them for their strength and because not one of them died in battle and all of this is so true. I think most of us want to be like them in that respect.
We sometimes forget two things- they had a lot of help, and all of them were wounded. In our search to become better, to be more valiant, to be stronger in all aspects of life we need to remember that. Sometimes we need help, that´s ok. Everyone needs this help and the ones who become great are the ones that took advice along the way. We will also all be wounded along the way. Even for these amazing warriors they were all wounded. Everyone is struggling with something, even the great ones.

I have a bunch of photos that´ll send when I can. I also went to the zoo today so there's even more photos.


Elder Birrell

At the zoo in Santiago

Elder Birrell didn't explain why he's wearing this shirt. He looks confused about it too!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Missionary Work takes Patience

Well my week was good! Frustrating at times, but overall really good. We certainly don't lack people to teach, but at times it`s hard to help them to progress. A vital part of helping people to come unto Christ is to leave with them commitments-which could be anywhere from praying to coming to church. We could teach someone all day long but if they don't act on the message then if won 't have any effect. As of Saturday night we had 15 people committed to coming to church on Sunday, in fact we went to a few of their houses to bring them with us. Only 2 made it. 3 others came after the first meeting, but at times it is frustrating especially since I know that they will be so much happy if they just keep their word and do what they said they would do. I understand change is hard which keeps me from getting too discouraged, I know with time these people will realize that these commitments are just for their own benefit in every possible way. 

Jacob (Aguilar) and his family are doing really well. He, one daughter, and a neighbor girl all came to church late, but I can tell he really does want to get baptized. He and his family are working toward a date to get baptized but he still says there's a war in his head. For so much time he was far from God and I think he almost feels unworthy of this second chance. I have 100% faith that he and his family will be ready when the date comes. His 9 year old daughter, Leo, is SO smart. She always does the Book of Mormon reading assignments and understands everything. Also the baby, Alice, is doing really well.

Also some potential bad news with Nicolas. His mom wants him to live with her now and she has every legal right to take him. The problem is that she is often on drugs or selling drugs and everyone in the house does the same. Please pray for Nico so he can be watched over and hopefully be able to atleast keep coming to church with his grandparents.

Here are a few answers to your questions, mom. I haven't really had many scary experiences to be honest, usually the "scary" people are too drunk to even walk so it's not dangerous. Also the weirdest thing I`ve eaten is cow stomach (Watitas). 

Have a great week!

Elder Birrell

This was the sign on my door when I arrived at the MTC 8 months ago.