Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What an amazing week!!

We had the opportunity to meet and spend time with Elder Bragg from the Quorum of the Seventy
Hey Family!

So this week was a special one for me. You may have already seen the picture, but on Sunday we had the opportunity to meet two members of the Quorum of the Seventy. Elder Sanhueza and Elder Bragg. We were able to meet and talk to Elder Bragg. They were here to reorganize the stake presidency in our area and everyone is pretty excited here. I don’t know the new stake president, but I know his counselors and they are both incredible. Everyone is really excited for the future of the stake. After serving in this area at the beginning of my mission and then coming back now, it’s crazy to see the difference in the strength of the wards, especially Rosende. The attendance used to be 50 and now the attendance is more in the 70-90 range. Now we need to help Vespucio get to that same place and beyond!

New stake presidency in the Zapadores Stake
Getting to know Elder Bragg was a really cool experience and in meeting him I thought of two things:

 1.  He is so good. He really is a representative of Jesus Christ here on the earth, a man of God.
 2.  From just listening to his talk, seeing the way he looks, talks, and treats people, I automatically   wanted to be better. I felt a deep need to just be better.

How cool would it be to become like that: in just a few minutes to be able to influence so many people for good by just living the way you should, for just being you. Someday I want to be like that.

Another cool thing is that both of these incredible men are converts to the church. Elder Sanhueza was baptized when he was 25 and Elder Bragg when he was 14. Elder Sanhueza didn’t even believe in God, but he began to take interest in a certain young lady that happened to be an active member of the church. He did notice that she always seemed to be happy, but he didn’t really find it attractive that she was Mormon and she didn’t find it very attractive that he didn’t believe in God, but they decided to go out once just to see if it could work out. The plan was to go to the beach, but as they were getting close to the beach she started slowing down, bringing the car to a stop. She said it was still too cold to go out, so they should stay in the car for a bit. “I got excited”, said Elder Sanhueza. “I, being a man of the world still thought to myself- This Mormon girl isn’t so Mormon.” In this moment of not so innocent intentions of Elder Sanhueza, the girl took out a Book of Mormon and began reading the First Vision. Elder Sanhueza, at first confused, then interested, then intrigued began listening and feeling what he now knows to be the spirit. His mind was opened and understood everything. In two weeks he started and finished the Book of Mormon.

Elder Bragg talked to us about the importance of us as members, praying to know who we should share the gospel with. When he was 14 some friends of his he met through baseball did just that and thought of him. It was really special hearing the two conversion stories of these General Authorities.

Today was awesome, even though we lost our P-day, we were able to be with the new missionaries all day long which is always fun. After training for such a long time in my mission I´ll never doubt the power of a new missionary. This mission was in a bad place not too long ago but with every new group the mission keeps getting better and better. This group that came is amazing and I could see that they are super prepared to help this mission reach new levels of success. Yesterday we helped with all the changes and then were with the missionaries that finished the mission. I got to talk with Elder Heaps in some of his final moments as a missionary here in Chile. He finished well with 4 more baptisms this past weekend. I´ll miss the guy.
Saying goodbye to Elder Heaps
 On Saturday we were invited to a huge Primary activity in the Huelén Stake (the stake of Galvarino my second sector). It was a Mission training center type of activity. They were divided into countries, given some basic training and then we went out with them to go proselyting. The group that went with me was Hermano Villalobos from Galvarino, and 4 kids. Two 9-year-old kids, a 6-year-old kid, and by pure luck, Nicolás Marabolí one of my converts from Galvarino. What most amazed me was that the kids weren’t afraid of anything, they just talked to the people. They had no clue exactly what to say, they just opened their mouths. I felt kind of ashamed knowing that I DO know what to say but still sometimes I hesitate to talk to people. The 6-year-old kid was the most fearless from the start but after a while got kind of frustrated. The other kids had all given away at least 1 BoM each and he hadn’t. As the time was just about over and we were almost back to the stake center we decided to talk to one more person. The kid approached the owners of a pet food shop. He fearlessly talked to them about the blessings of the Book and that it would help them come closer to God and the owner promised she would read it. Over all this was the best contact of the kids in those 30 or 40 minutes. It was a good lesson for us to always keep the same excitement even if things don’t go exactly how we foresaw them. If the kid had given up, we probably would have just returned to the church early.
Nicolas and the Munoz family
 I was able to talk to Nicolas and his grandma who got married to Oscar like 3 weeks ago. Everyone was super happy. I actually was able to see a lot of friend´s from Galvarino. I saw three investigators we had that got baptized a few weeks after we left and also the wife of Jesus (convert) and we got to meet his little recently born baby. He received the Melquesidec priesthood a couple weeks ago and last week he taught a class in Priesthood. Sounds like everyone is good.

Have a great week!!

Elder Birrell

Our district
Elder Santos
Elder Rusick
Costanera Center on a special assignement in the mission Santiago Este

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