Monday, February 6, 2017

Jan 31, 2017- A week of miracles

Elder Birrell, Elder Dussan and Elder López
Whoa, I have 13 months as a missionary. I honestly don’t want this to ever end, but the month count becomes more and more frightening. We’re doing well, we’re happy, and we’re working hard here in Dorsal. I’d also like to recognize that not everyone has that same blessing right now in Chile- many are without houses due to the forest fires in the southern part of Chile. Please pray for these people, families, and communities, so they can make a fast recovery and that all these disasters can be for good in the end. Even here in Santiago (far from the fires) that’s all people talk about because pretty much everyone has a family member there. We don’t watch the news, but from what we’ve been told, it’s some serious stuff. (Funny story: the other day that really nice lady I talked about last week, offered us a TV for free so we could watch the news- she’s way too nice).

On Thursday this week, we found a lady who’s been a member of the church for 20 years now, but has been inactive for 3 years. She said she never thought she would ever become inactive. She had served in Young Women’s (in her ward and stake), she was a seminary teacher, she was faithful in paying her tithing and keeping the commandments. We asked her what’s the difference in her life between the time she was a faithful member of the church and these past 3 years. Before she could even respond, tears began rolling down her cheeks. She explained that she used to have peace of mind, like a true inner peace. She said that she was faithful with her tithing, down to the penny, and she never had any financial problems. Even though she’s a single mother, she never felt alone. Now, she said, she’s never at peace with herself, she’s always worried, and she (even though she works everyday) doesn’t even have enough money to buy candy. She says that when she drinks with her friends she has a great time, but in the end she just feels more alone. Above all, she feels empty, that’s the word that most provoked emotion in her- emptiness.  It was powerful hearing this from someone who has experienced both living the gospel faithfully and then ignoring what she knows to be true. The choice is clear.

The amount of people that we’re working with here that are trying to overcome smoking and drinking addictions is quite large and in these past two weeks we’ve seen insane progress. I think I’ve just gotten used to miracles such as these, but I got thinking how powerful the gospel really is in making these changes. Sometimes it’s good for me to sit back and appreciate the opportunity to witness these miracles.

These past two days we’ve had lessons with Graciela (the Peruvians) and the De La Cruz family that were both intensely spiritual. Both lessons have helped me realize how little we really do- we aren’t capable of making drastic changes in the lives of others. These lessons and the experiences they shared helped me see the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in a very real way. The feelings there were overwhelming powerful, moments I’ll never forget.

This Wednesday we had a Worldwide Conference for missionaries and I learned quite a bit, but what happened at the end is what the conference will be remembered for. Two things were changed: 1. our schedule and 2. The information we report. Basically, our schedule gives us more flexibility and we will report less information in hopes that the information we do report has more to do with the conversion of the investigators. All good things!

Have a great week!!

Love,
Elder Birrell

Elder Tolley
Colo Colo!!!

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