Once again a pretty quiet week in my sector. I hardly had any time to
work in this week because of having to travel to our Christmas
Conference (which in total took up 2.5 days! Leaving Tuesday night,
Conference Wednesday, Then traveling back to my sector on Thursday!
One of the problems of living in a sector so isolated from the rest of
the mission...) with half the mission, then traveling back and forth
between District meetings and having to help the Hermanas in our
district with baptismal interviews and actually doing the ordinance of
baptism because there wasn´t enough priesthood present to do it. So
our numbers this week definitely suffered due to that and more
importantly our investigators. But Elder Weiss and I have rededicated
ourselves to working determined and diligently solely in our sector
this week, especially to start preparing it for this next cambio where
I´ll be put in the position of leadership -- Something that up until
now I haven´t really experienced at all... There´s a blessing and a
curse to being Comp meynor (I really don´t know how to say that
position in English haha -- young companion??) The blessing is that it
is a stress free life. I just wait for my oportunities to speak and
guide the lesson on to the next point where the other comp picks up
the ball and does the rest. But on the flip side to that I haven´t
learned how to BE the companion in charge. Which worries me for how
this next cambio will be when I´m put in that position. So we have
decided to start from today to give me the chance to do so, 2 days
this week, 3 the next, etc.
This week I had a mini-revelation of how the members can help in the
missionary work without even having to leave to go out on splits with
us! I was reading back through the BoM from what I have read up to
this point and seeing the way that the Lord blessed HIS PEOPLE. When
they were righteous and obedient to the commandments they were called
by the Lord, through the voice of the prophet, "The people of Christ"
or "Zion". They were "blessed abundantly" and many people entered the
waters of baptism. So the thought came to me, that why wouldn´t this
work today also? If the members in this little branch are obedient and
a righteous people, doing all that the Lord has asked of them -- Read,
Pray, Go to church -- why then wouldn´t God bless his work in this
sector upon seeing that his followers are preparing themselves
personally and also to recieve more of his children who are wondering.
If the members are obedient (the missionaries also) the work of
salvation should, and will, grow tremendously because of this promise.
"I the Lord am bound when ye do as I say, but if ye do not what I say,
ye have no promise." D&C 82:10. Sometimes these little things seem so
simple and unimportant, but I know that it is by small and simple
things that great things are brought to pass.
In the spirit of Christmas I would just like to send my best wishes to
everyone. I hope that you enjoy this time of the year to think about
the love of your families, charity for others, having fun with your
new stuff, but most importantly the love that Christ has for us that
came to the Earth and knowingly gave up his own life, suffering all
the pain, and all the criticisms, so that we could one day return with
him and our families if we exercise our faith in this life.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Hey friends and family,
Apparrently my mission president thought I needed to get in shape because the sector that I´m in now is pure HILLS! My legs are so HUUUUUUUGE hahaha, that my pants are starting to rip (and at least for now I´m gonna blame it on the walking and not that I´m getting fat). I wish I could tell you more about the place but I still can´t pronounce the name without stumbling over the letters -- Curanilahue. No, but the truth is that I´m really enjoying myself out here and see a lot of future potential work to be done here. And since I know that I´ll be here for AT LEAST another 5 months we´ve hit the ground running trying to find people to teach.
A little side note... I´ve already had to force myself to eat fish. My 3rd day in my new sector and we got a huge fish almuerzo. It was miserable
My new compañero is named Elder Weiss and is just 1 cambio away from finishing his mission -- I make sure to do a good job of reminding him about how bored he´s going to be in 5 weeks when he´s sitting at home doing nothing.
So I´m running out of time and can´t think of much to say at this point but I need to finish by talking about this family we´re teaching right now.
They´re PASTORS of an Evangelical church here that at first let us in because they wanted to know why everybody calls the Mormons a sect or cult. And after talking to us and answering the question(s) he had for us, he told us to come back another day to keep talking. So we did, and you need to know that this guy is super super animated, just happy and excited non-stop energy -- his kids too. And yesterday we had our 3rd visit with him and explained more about the church and it´s structure and where it comes from and he started using Bible scriptures to tell us how he felt the church of God should be... Turned out he came to the conclusion that everything we were telling him sounded more and more like something he believed to be true. This guy is a absolute stud when it comes to the Bible and absolutely loves reading the Book of Mormon whenever he can.
Bueno, can´t really think right now but just know that I´m doing good -- Still loving it here in Chile (Hills and all)
|We put up the Christmas tree in the house of my Chilean Abuela and I got to put on the star|
Today I got the miserable phone call that I´ll be leaving my favorite first sector - Victoria, Chile. It sucks a little bit just because its RIGHT before Christmas and I was looking forward to spending it with some of my converts, but I knew it was coming... So now I´ll have about 3 weeks to meet the members in my new city and hope that at least one of them has a computer with Skype, so that I can make my Christmas call. It´s hard to think that I´ve already got 5 months on the mission, but thats the way it is when you´re working hard right?! Tonight I´m having my farawell and it literally feels like I´m dying here or something because after making all the phone calls this morning to invite everyone to the Despidida, they all sounded so sad that their missionary is leaving the city. My next sector is another tiny city in the north -- RIGHT NEXT TO THE COAST!!! So I´m at least excited about that.
Elder Overson is also leaving Victoria in a move called a "WHITE WASH" where the sector gets 2 completely new missionaries and start from scratch with the investigators we left and what we have written in our records.
This week we had the best week of teaching lessons since I´ve been together with Elder Overson. We found a woman who mid-way through our first lesson was super excited and ready to be baptized. She believed absolutely everything that we were saying and wants to start coming to church wth her kids this next week (aaaaand I´m leaving today.... Crap! Haha)
I´m almost certain that I´m going to die in my new sector though, because if there´s anything that I absolutely hate with every ounce of passion of my soul IT´S FISH!!!!!! Can´t stand it. And where am I going? The coast of Chile.... So that´ll be pretty interesting.
Okay, so the story with "The Gringo". We started taking pictures outside when the owner came out and asked us if we wanted a drink inside. The place is a Bar so Elder Overson was really hesitent and didn´t want it, but I was like "Yeah sure, why not!" and walked inside. Then when we were in there, we got a bottle of Fanta (FOR FREE! Way Cool!) and started talking to the owner and his mom and these 2 drunk Mapuchi dudes (the native indian people here) and I was just joking up a storm with these guys until they asked us if we wanted to drink with them. We told them that we don´t and then I went into the whole missionary introduction mode and taught a lesson! Hahaha I taught a Word of Wisdom lesson in a bar in Chile! How´s that for life experiences?! :D
For those who don´t know what that is, the Word of Wisdom is the commandment that Mormons live to avoid using substances that damage or hinder our body´s normal capabilities -- like tobacco, alcohol, and yes also tea and coffee, for the purpose of showing respect for our bodies.
Love you guys!
|Navidad has hit Victoria and the family of our District President|
|Getting the blood pumping with one of our families in the park|
As always I hope all is well.
For whatever reason this week has been very interspective and contemplative... I´ve had some really profound thoughts this week, both spiritual and just thoughts in general.
For example I gave my second talk in sacrament meeting this last week and at the start of my talk there were laughs and the members whispering back and forth, but then there was a clear moment where it became dead silent. By the end of my talk there were members who had tears in there eyes and I am confident grew stronger in their faith and felt closer and more loved by their Savior.
I´ll be sure to do something crazy this next week to share something other just just a spiritual thought and don´t think I´ve gotten too missionary on you all ;) haha
Love you all,
Friday, November 22, 2013
|"Thug shots" with our Eagle|
It´s been a big week here since I last wrote! My name is getting more and more easy to pronounce for the people as more and more qualifying games are being played for the World Cup (Mundial) and Chile keeps kicking butt -- beating England this last Friday! Hahaha. At least 10 times this week when I introcuded myself in contacts the person calls me "Elder Mundial" and we start talking about soccer and how sad it is that Chile´s gonna lose to the United States in the World Cup. But hey, at least my name is helping out the mission work out here!
Also this Sunday was elections for the Presidency so all that has been going on is a BUNCH of fiestas in the streets and communities throughout the area. Trying to get a good night´s sleep with all that going on was pretty impossible...
BUT, on a related note, I had my first encounter with a Chilean dream revelation/interpretation! The other night I was sleeping and dreaming of mission stuff like being in the middle of a lesson and was sharing scriptures with the investigators and members in all my lessons one scripture in particular -- 4 Nephi 1:11. I have no clue why it was this scripture because I´m not even in that part of my scripture study nor ever used 4th Nefi in my lessons before... but none the less I just remembered this scripture standing out super clear in my mind during the whole night, and when I woke up first thing I did was go and find out what this scripture was that was so profoundly in my mind. You´ll need to look up the scripture to finish the story, I don´t have mine on me right now to write out what it says, but just trust me when I say it´s a pretty funny endiing.
|We came across this "American Truck" sitting outside of the house while we were contacting|
I HITCH-HIKED IN CHILE!!!!!!!!
(And not in that <----)
My comp and I also took another adventure out to the new sector that we´re opening and got so incredibly lost! This town isn´t even that big, but we started walking out to a reference house that we recieved who lives out in the couwn-tray! This dude had a road leading to his house that lasted an eternity, going through woods, farms, and just pure nothing. We had been walking for 30 minutes on this road trying to find it when a guy goes driving by in his car and we decided to give up and ask for a ride back into town. Later he told us that he knew the family we were looking for and that if we had kept walking it would have been another 45 minutes until we´d arrive at his house!
PLEASE SHOOT ME AN EMAIL THAT I CAN RESPOND TO!!!! Haha, I want to know whats going on with you all in Gringo-landia (and also who won the World Series)
Elder CJ Mundell
Monday, November 4, 2013
|Christmas time is hitting the missionaries|
|Teaching investigators got old, so I went for the celebrities! (:|
|Ran into this guy, my old comp from the MTC!|
I really hope all is good and well back home and in your mission fields. This week really took a turn for the better and I was able to have a bit more fun with my life out here in the middle of Chile.
But to start things off I want to share my spiritual thought and what little bit of "experience" I have to give as a missionary. The first thing is don´t take the scriptures or your testimony or most importantly your faith, actions, and example to others for granted. Before I started my mission I hadn´t fully read the scriptures (the thing that I will be spending the next 2 years teaching) and now I can hardly put them down or feel like I can´t find an answer to my own problems or the problems of others through inspired scripture verses. Since I have started reading I have found at least one scripture every day that I then can apply in a lesson or just in conversation with my companion or converts or even when contacting in front of someone´s house. The best way, and most effective way, to teach the gospel is through your testimony and relying on the spirit to soften the hearts of those you are speaking with to listen and believe the words we say. I can now say that I LOVE THE BOOK OF MORMON! It has helped me through lessons where I don´t know what to say except share a scripture that affected me and I feel will help the person with whom I´m talking and often helping through their own difficulties because I work A TON with menos activos and it is my job as a missionary to find out their doubts that are keeping them from keeping their covenants with the Lord, and what I have found the common theme to be is problems in the family, problems with the members, and the biggest threat -- a lack of knowledge and testimony of the Book of Mormon. This book cannot be taken lightly as just another thing that makes us different, it is the material for building our foundation on Christ, a foundation that "if centered on Christ man cannot fall."
|Asado = ENORMOUS BAR-B-QUE!!!!!!!|
But now the cool things that have happened!
Right now I´m in this really weird stage in my mission where I can´t really speak english OR spanish that great... So this has actually been happining a lot where I´ll be in the middle of a conversation or lesson with someone and I´ll be speaking spanish just fine and then all the sudden my mind just flips a switch and I start talking in english, words normally but sometimes complete sentences -- for a good minute before noticing or my comp gives me a nudge or the person looks completely lost haha
|Asado = ENORMOUS BAR-B-QUE!!!!!!!|
Also this past week we put together a big halloween party in our iglesia and part of it was a talent show so we missionaries wanted to do a dance as part of it. This dance eventually turned into this giant Zumba class that day and all of us had our shirts untucked, collars unbuttoned, and were totally exhausted as one of the members was teaching us our choreography to the music from the movie Rio.
And last but not least... I made it into the Chilean hospital for the first time. My blood pressure got really really low, I got light headed, and nearly passed out, with feelings of nausia and all that jazz. But on the bright side I had one of the little girls from the Primary say a prayer for me! The Padre Nuestro catholic prayer that she learned in her school hahaha
|And me in the hospital. (P.S. -- They gave me a freaking shot in the BUTT!!!! Seriously!) The doctor had worked in the hospital for 30 years and I was his first BUTT SHOT on a Gringo! Woo Hoo!|
Saturday, October 19, 2013
My companion and I have kind of slowed down on investigators... In fact its been a pretty rough stretch for me just because I haven´t been feeling like i´ve been working. Granted I´m a little harder on myself than I probably should be but still think that there´s so much more that I could be doing right. My language skills are still just barely on the verge of adequate and because of that I´m finding it harder to express my personality and act the way I normally would with people. I still can joke around and have fun in that sense, but I want to bring that same aspect of myself into my lessons and make them more interesting than always just talking in my "Spirit Voice"...
Although I really do have to admit that this Saturday I saw some huge mission miracles happen. I first went to a family that I just reactivated with my companion and shared a really great scripture/lesson with them and as we were leaving they offered us a freshly baked loaf of bread. But we couldn´t eat it because we were fasting, so we accepted it and put it in our backpack to save for after the fast. We then headed over to a lesson that we were supposed to have with another resent converso family that is struggling a little, but they had left for the campo and our back-up lesson for them wasn´t there either. So we were both like "Chuta, what are we going to do?" and decided to pass by a menos activo family that we´ve been working with for a long time and had never shown any desire to progress or assist the church, but none the less we decided that´s where we should go. When we got to the door we were welcomed inside and from the start of the lesson we both noticed that things had changed in the house and they were missing some big things like their TV (which everybody has cable here... it´s crazy), and also their couch. And we had passed by here husband earlier in the day and he had told us that he wasn´t staying in that house anymore. But anyway as we started the lesson, her 6 year old daughter kept saying all these little things that hinted at the fact that they were faulting, and innocently saying over and over "We have no money". At the end of sharing the scripture we felt like we needed to share the daughter asked her mom for food but they didn´t have any in the house, so we were able to say ¨Hey! We´ve got a gift for you!" And left the bread with them. The next day they came to church for the first time in over 8 months.
And on a related note of that, we are going to start reactivating a family that has been inactive for over 6 years and told us that same day that "OK. We´ll start coming back..." And they want to have almuerzos and family home evenings with us now!
If there´s one thing that I´ve learned since being out here is to always love the people and appreciate the little miracles, because they happen if we can recognize them.
There´s this restaurant in Traigen (The city next to Victoria that I went to on an intercambio) That makes these gigantic Churazco Sandwiches (a ton of steak, guacamole, tomatos, etc.)
The branch took a trip to the temple and I had to ask a member to buy me a bunch of gifts that I´ll be giving out to all my conversos and menos activo families that I reactivate
Monday, October 7, 2013
I had to get back to my roots this week... Fotos and Stories
Then this week we went contacting in the campo and found a few new investigators... The cows and horses.
So two weeks ago, after our crazy 18th party, I must have ate something bad because I got really sick. I was throwing up all night, and my laziness paired up with my sickness and I slept in the bathroom so that I wouldnt have to run downstairs to throw up. That night and the following day was miserable... And then I had my first experience in my life with laxatives too! Hahaha
Then like a week later a huge part of my tooth chipped and I had to go to the dentist to get it fixed. Thankfully the medical care here is suuuuper cheap but fairly good.
Ive also developed an obsession... Something that Im sure every missionary goes through, but Im hooked on ties. I cant stop collecting them. Haha
I know there has to be more but I really cant even think right now. Aaaaand I didnt restart my journal until last night so now I should be able to remember more or less whats been going on.
This week was also really weird because I was SO PUMPED for General Conference... The first time ever that Ive looked forward and anxiously taken notes and studied the conference talks. I was so excited and so nerdy at the same time. Even after the hymns it was like "Oh YEAH! BOOM, REVELATION!!!" hahaha, like I said dorky in every mormon/missionary sense of the word. And the older missionaries only told me that it gets worse over time.
On the more spiritual side of things, I honestly learned so much through conference this session. Not that so much of what they said was so profound but just the thoughts that came to mind and then wrote down were really surprising to me looking over my notes after it all. The messages have given me so much desire to find anything that I can improve first in myself, then do whatever I can to help the people I am sharing all this with.
Monday, September 30, 2013
To start things off, I need to brag about how awesome it is to be living, working, and serving here in Chile. Por lo menos, it´s at least 10x better than any other mission... granted there may be some biased in that judgement. I´ve got the greatest people and spiritually speaking, the most "prepared" sector in all of the mission. Everyone believes in God which saves me the confusion of trying to help people realize that there really is a god. But on top of that, there´s families galore in Victoria who have found faults and flaws in their churches beliefs and are looking for the truth. The only thing that I have to do is not have the fear to talk to everyone. Which more and more is becoming less and less of a problem. I´ve come to realize that if I truly love this work as much as I always say I do, there´s nothing more that I am asked to do and actually want to do than to share it. At times I feel lazy and tired and days where in all honesty I don´t want anything more than my watero (a little bed heater that uses boiled water) and sleep all day. But the more that I read the scriptures and then share what I learned from reading each day with our less active members, investigators, and contacts through testimony and simple gospel centered conversations the more I feel a pure love of this gospel and the people I have been called to share it with.
The truth is that before my mission I never read the Book of Mormon... I went to church and lived like a normal mormon is taught to live, but I never really put the thought into reading the one book that seperated me from everyone else. I´ve always wanted to serve a mission because well thats just what mormons do. I wish I would have done it sooner but since the beginning of my mission 3 months ago, I started reading and studying the Book of Mormon and my faith and testimony of its devine truth has grown immensely. I´m in the middle of Alma right now and hope to finish it by October 20th (the end of this next cambio, in English first before I finish it in Spanish by Christmas). But this growth in desire has opened up my mind to understanding and feeling more strongly than ever before in my life the influence of the Holy Ghost.
There´s not much more I want to say this week about my experiences here or the funny things that have happened, but rather use this weeks letter to encourage anyone who hasn´t or even those who have, to read the book of mormon and pray about it. I know that it will bless and change the life of anyone who reads it.
Con todo amor,
Friday, September 27, 2013
Hola! Familia y Amigos!
I´m beeming right now on my mission! Every day just gets more and more cheestoso and I´m having more and more success as missionary and with the members. I´m more confident and comfortable than ever with my abilities and they are still growing by leaps and bounds every few days. This week I dont have a whole lot to say other than I am truly finding my groove and what I want to be as a missionary. I feel so much love for the people and the Lord and want to share it with everybody here! Contacting is no longer a fear, but rather 2 hours of my day that I anticipate and look forward to eagerly every day. For the oportunity to share more and talk with the people of Victoria. Now begins the hunt for more investigators, and my companion and I have the faith that we will find them.
This week I had another and presumably my last baptismal "first"... This baptism marked my first converso that I had taught and prepared all the way from the first lesson to the end. She and her daughter were baptized in a rather odd, even gross way though... haha. The Wednesday before was that big Fiesta and apparently the Rama had used the baptismal font to thaw the frozen chicken. So we did our best to clean it out and still there was chicken grease when we filled the font. So the only solution we could come up with was to walk in first before our converts (Daisy y Javi) and splash around the water so that they couldn´t tell how gross the water was. They will never know! Muahaha
Also, our Zone of Victoria is also breaking records down here. This month we will have 18 baptisms -- The 3rd most in the history of the Chile Concepcion Sur Mision. Heyo! Granted, its not all about the baptisms and moreso the people making this great step in their life, but its still a pretty awesome mark.