Thursday, November 3, 2016

New Area- Dorsal

Elder Ortiz and Elder Birrell in their Halloween costumes. ;)

*The last few weeks Seth has written his letters on journal paper and then sent a picture of his letter when he emailed us.  We love that he has more time to write and give us more details about his week.

So I think I’ll do my general letter this way while I’m here so I won’t be in such a rush as I write, plus I’ll be able to send pictures every week while I’m here.

I’m with Elder Ortiz who was born in Mexico but has lived most his life in San Diego. He didn’t really know Spanish until the mission. He seems like a really good missionary already and he started the same time as Elder Langston. The sector I’m working in now is Dorsal. It’s a lot nicer and safer than my previous sectors so you can take a big deep breath haha. Also, I gave a talk this Sunday on the spot!

Right now I’m exhausted, but also really happy and grateful. We don’t really have a lot of investigators, neither do we have many people to teach but we’re working hard to change that. This experience reminds me of when I first got to my last sector. We didn’t have investigators and I didn’t know anything about the sector, but we followed the pattern of Ether 12:27, recognizing our weaknesses and humbly looking for strength in Christ. From my experience in Galvarino I learned to trust in this promise and to put my trust in Christ, so that’s exactly what we are and will be doing in Dorsal.

Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

This past week we pretty much talked to everyone in our path and we are already seeing the fruits of that work. This has mostly come from foreigners- Venezuelans, Colombians, Peruvians and Haitians, but every once in a while Chileans too. J This week we hope to see some progress with these people and to continue meeting more.

They did have one really cool investigator before I got here and his name is Cristian. He’s been investigating for about 5 months now and he’s loved everything he’s learned. He got in contact with the missionaries through his girlfriend (now wife as of 2 weeks), who’s been a member for 3 years, but hadn’t been active in the church (she now is very active). Cristian’s a funny dude and he’s usually making a joke about something, but when the time comes to talk about the gospel he talks as if he’d been a member for years. Some people just get it and he’s one of them. His work has prevented him from coming to church very much, but he’ll be getting a new contract on Thursday, so we’re all hoping and praying it includes Sundays off.

His wife is another person that spiritually gets it and she shared a cool story of something that happened to her brother just last week. So in their family, only she, her mom, and her brother are members. Just a week or so ago her brother had a vivid dream in which his aunt came to him and pleaded with him, saying something along the lines of “help me, I cannot progress, you’re the only one who can help me. I can’t do this by myself.” He later realized that just that week she had completed the one year of being passed away and needed to do baptisms for the dead in the temple. He immediately did all the preparations needed to do this saving work for his aunt. Just as described in the last verse of the Old Testament- “he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” People (many of whom are our very own ancestors) are waiting for us, who still have bodies, to help them do what they didn’t have the opportunity to do in their mortal experience here on earth. This story helped me to realize how personal the service offered in the temple truly is, these aren’t just names on a piece of paper, these are souls that can’t progress without our help.

A few days ago we ate lunch with a lady from Costa Rica and her Chilean husband. It was easy to see a couple of challenges this lady was facing- 1. Chile was a long way from home and the culture isn’t very similar to the one she grew up in. 2. Her husband now can’t walk and can barely speak due to an accident he had pretty recently. He now only vaguely resembles the man she married 5 years ago. Yet she might be one of the happiest people I’ve ever met. We shared a scripture with her as we tend to do when we eat lunch with people, but what she shared with us was of far greater significance. I don’t remember most of what she said, but as she talked about the gospel her eyes lit up and exuded joy and gratitude. She admitted these past years haven’t been easy, but she said she couldn’t imagine how hard they would’ve been without the gospel.

We’ve also recently started working with a Peruvian family who lives at a member’s house. Last night we had a Family Home Evening with those two families and recently married couple in the ward. We watched the Lamb of God which shows the final week of the Savior’s life including His atoning sacrifice and resurrection. The spirit was so powerful that I think everyone got a little emotional.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!!

Elder Birrell

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