Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A week full of surprises

We’re doing well here in La Pincoya. We didn’t have a whole lot of time in our sector this week, but we were still able to see some cool miracles in the sector. We spent quite a bit of time with President this week and with some assignments he had for us. One day we got to his office and he said “Elders I’ve been asked to speak to the youth of a certain stake for an hour, but I just found out about it right now. You guys wouldn’t mind taking 15 minutes each would you? Perfect, they’re waiting for us, so let’s go.” So that’s just what we did. It was a 3 day conference and we went for the 2nd day. Later on that day, we taught President basically everything that goes on in the Mission Chile Santiago Norte and we then planned out the next 6 weeks with him. This week we’re going to start Zone conferences and then finish them up next week. He’s doing well, his family is doing well, he’s definitely an inspired man, they’re doing a fantastic job.

Over the years of religious teaching, President has compiled an incredible amount of quotes that amount to almost 100 pages, but he only has them in English. So, it’s been our job (and will continue being our job) to A) find professional translations of the quotes on the internet or B) do the translations ourselves. The task has our brains absolutely fried and makes it even more incredible to me that Joseph Smith translated The Book of Mormon in just 2 months. It has also been a learning experience for us to read all of those quotes he has from prophets and apostles. There’ve been a lot that I’ve liked quite a bit, so I’ll probably include one at the end of this letter.

On Sunday we had a special sacrament meeting on Missionary Work, so during the week we invited everyone that we could and it paid off. There were more people than I have ever seen at church since we got to Vespucio, including two people that I thought would never go to church: Rene and Humberto. Neither one is a member, but they both have a lot of family that are really active members of the church. Almost all of Rene’s daughters are sealed in the temple, but it’s been years since he’s been anywhere near the church. Humberto’s wife, Yolanda, has been an active member of the church for many years and her best friend, Ines, was recently baptized. In fact, we always teach her in the house of Humberto and Yolanda. Their daughter, Fabiola, is a recent convert (was baptized in Feb 2017) and is really active in the church. Humberto didn’t even go to church the day her daughter got baptized so that was almost a miracle that he went this past Sunday.

For the sacrament meeting, we created a 3 language choir with the first verse in Portuguese (my companion, ward mission leader and a Brazilian missionary from another ward) the second verse in English ( my and companion and I) and then the third verse in Spanish (all of us). The hymn was “Somos los Soldados” or “We are all Enlisted.”

Then we each had a talk (ward mission leader and us two). It was the first time I’m pretty sure in my life that I had ever prepared a talk before the day before. The song and talks were well received by everyone so hopefully we do it again soon.
Last night we were in the office until late and so we hurried to get home on time in order to deal with the p-day permissions. As we got out of the Metro Station (like a subway) we had to use an elevated bridge in order to cross the freeway and get to the apartment. By this point I was walking at approximately the speed of light, so when I approached a group of people blocking the way, they politely let us through and we continued on our way. As we started going down the bridge on the other side, my comp pulled out his phone and started dialing a number.
“Who are you calling?” I asked.
“The police.” He replied.
“What about?”
“That assault that we just walked through.”
I turned pale as I realized that without it even occurring to me, I walked right through an assault. I was too worried about my own task at hand (getting to the house on time) that I was completely oblivious to the far more serious needs of others around me. My comp said that one of the people looked at him with a face of complete desperation.
I think this very scene happens way too often in our lives – we are so caught up in our own problems and worries that we are unable to lend the needed hand in rescue. I don’t think that just assault should be worthy of our time and saving aid. If we truly pay attention to those around us, I’ll bet we find many opportunities every day to emulate the perfect example of the Savior and go about doing good (Acts 10:38).

I’ll finish with a quote from Ezra Taft Benson. “Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life.”

Have a great week!
Elder Birrell

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