Hey family! It´s still hot here. Nothing much has changed with that. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I sure did! With my rare meal of rice and chicken. I was quite scrumptious! 4 really neat things happened this week. 1. For our district meeting on Wednesday we had a really nice surprise that no one knew about. The surprise was President Känhlein! He showed up unexpected and suddenly the room got all tense, yet more spiritual. It´s funny how quickly the feeling of a room can change. But it was a great meeting. We discussed the investigators in each area throughout the meeting. Elder King and I started telling everyone about Patricia, a woman that has a lot of trouble with the Law of Chastity. We began explaining how nothing has been going well with her and then President Kähnlein stopped us. He told us that if we showed her the ¨The Family: A Proclamation to the World¨ then she would get baptized. Just like that. What a man! We are going to follow his guidance this week and teach it to her. We really have faith that the President´s words can be fulfilled but we know that it is only through our own actions and faith. We are really going prepare for this appointment with Patricia. 2. On Friday of this past week, we were at the church preparing for an activity and a baptism. (I will explain about both further on) While we were preparing, we started smelling smoke and ran outside to see what was up. We saw a cloud of smoke right behind the fence of our church building, so we quickly grabbed a shovel and hurried to the fire. It seems like we got there just in time because it was starting to spread pretty fast. We used the shovel to put dirt over the flames and we saved the day. If we hadn´t have been there, the church building might have burnt down! Not really, but I like to think that. There´s a homeless man that lives on a mattress right behind our chapel and we think that he started the fire trying to burn his trash. 3. We had an activity Friday night called ¨Yo Soy¨. I got permission to dance to ¨Staying Alive.¨ by the Bee Gees. Nice missionary appropriate missionary dance moves. The branch loved it! They all asked me if I could teach them some dance moves and I told them I would only if they brought their non member friends. Who knew that dancing could be a way to find. Elder King played trombone. We are very musically talented. 4. Just yesterday was the baptism of Gerardo! What a conversion story. He´s an amazing example for me. He started taking lessons because of his girlfriend but overtime he began to have a desire to know for himself. I don´t know if I already talked about him or not. Yeah I did last week. All the missionaries of the zone were able to make it to his baptism. We sang ¨Come Thou Fount¨ and this brought tears to his eyes. He´s never been the emotional type, but yesterday that changed. Elder King baptized him but I was glad that I was able to observe and see how much this baptism meant to Gerardo. Once he came out of the water, his face was shining. I could tell that he understand the amazing step that he had just taken in his life. He was crying then as well. Tears of joy. After he changed, Gerardo agreed to share his testimony for the first time. What an amazing testimony. His love for God is tan fuerte. He said that the time when Elder King and I came over the weekend of conference was the turning point for him. He said that our scriptures we shared were exactly what he needed. He knew that Heavenly Father was aware of him at that time. These experiences are the reason I´m here. The conversion that I saw in Gerardo was amazing. And it isn´t over yet. He will always be converting as long as his testimony is growing. SO I realized that I haven´t ever told you about my area or companion. Or dad helped me realize. My companion´s name is Elder King. He is from Salt Lake City. He just told me that a Elder Mackillop at steak at his parents house the other day. Richard Mackillop! Anyways, Elder King has been out for around a year and a half. Since next week is a new change, we both think that he´ll be transferred. He´s been in Limarí for 6 months now. The zone I´m in is called Ovalle, and the area we cover is called Limarí. It is divided into 5 different sections and has many hills... It´s a huge area but the chapel is in the middle which is very nice because we have to make bathroom stops many times during the day. The food does a number on our American stomachs. We share a house with another companionship who covers an area called Canihuante. All the school kids just started summer this past week so we get hollered at alot. They always say ¨hello, what´s your name¨ in a really thick accent. We ignore them since all they want is trouble. I´m jealous of the snow that everyone except the Texans are getting! I pray for you all. Elder Weidman
It´s getting to become summer here so the days are getting hotter and hotter. Especially between 3-5 which is when we are always working. Out in the streets. With a stomach full of food. And usually no one is home at this time. But we keep on working! I want to tell you about two crazy experiences that happened this week.
1. While walking on the street one day, a man ran up to us and told us he was a member of the church. He really wanted us to pass by his house, therefore we wrote down his address and then were on our way. We thought nothing of it once we´d left. The day comes that we had the appointment with Reuben (the man). He lived on practically the outer edge of our area which meant that we had to climb up and down a few hills to get to his house. When we arrived in his neighborhood, we tried finding his house but became lost. Then when saw a man running to us. It was Reuben and he had been worried about us because we were a few minutes late. It´s a good thing he ran out to us or we would never have found his house. We entered his house and he offered us some food. Guess what it was! Bread... Delicious but soooo addicting. Anyway, he started telling us about himself. Let me tell you what he told us. He used to be in the Chile National Guard (pretty much the FBI of Chile). He told us these crazy stories about how he had been shot by a priest who had been stealing drugs, or how he had to sneak some priests across town because they were drunk and they didn´t want the public seeing them. He´s pretty much the Jack Bauer of Chile!! He told about his conversion story, which is awesome. At his old work, they were only allowed to be Catholic or Atheist. He was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints along with his friend from work. Neither of them told anyone at work about their baptisms. One day, one of his officers found a Book of Mormon in Reuben´s locker. Reuben told us that this officer ripped up the book and then punished Reuben. He didn´t go into detail about the punishment, but I´m sure it wasn´t pleasant. At all. Since that day Reuben hasn´t been able to attend church because he wasn´t allowed to. Due to his scars from being shot, Reuben was let go from his job in the National Guard. They told him that he shouldn´t have a job the rest of his life due to his scars, but that didn´t stop him. Right now he is a bus driver that has a shift of 20 days driving to 5 days resting at home. He told us that he is quitting this job in the next few months. Ok enough about his past. While we were there, we discussed The Restoration with him. He remembered everything about it. He also told us about his partner from work that I mentioned earlier (the one who was baptized too). His partner had drowned while working on an assignment in a well. We had a really spiritual moment when he told us this because we felt prompted to tell him about the temple work that he could do for his friend. That he would be able to see his friend again. Tears came to Reuben´s eyes when we told him this and a huge smile came across his face. He really wants to come back to the church, but he has to wait till he quits his job. What a great example he is for me. I know that the Lord has a lot in store for Reuben. He will impact many in the future.
2. The second experience is about Gerardo, a man who started taking discussions because his polola (girlfriend), who is the daughter of the president of our branch, wanted him to. At first he only took the lessons for her, but overtime he started really wanting to know if the church was true. The missionaries had been working with Gerardo many months before I came to Limarí. He has come to church every Sunday that I´ve been here, but has always been unsure about baptism. Two Saturdays ago was district conference (the same as stake conference). We stopped by the house of our president the night of the adult session. We had no idea why we were going there, but we felt like we needed to go. When we were let in, we saw that it was only Nicole (the girlfriend) and Gerardo. The air in the room seemed tense and we could tell that Nicole had been crying. We walked in and asked how they were doing. We weren´t getting much out of either of them, but we decided to share a few scriptures of comfort. I read a scripture in Ether 12 about how if you turn to Christ with your weakness´, he will turn them into strengths. Gerardo seemed really interested in this scripture. We invited him to church that would happen the next morning, but he told us no because he didn´t want to go.... We offered a prayer of comfort and then left. The next morning we saw Gerardo and Nicole at the church meeting. They looked completely different than they did the night before. Happy and cheerful. He came over to us and told us that our visit had changed everything. That we were the reason he came to church that morning. We didn´t see Gerardo again until just two days ago. We had an appointment with him and Nicole and during the lesson he said ¨Quiero bautizarme¨. Ï want to be baptized!¨He told us that our visit had really helped him find the urge to see if the church was true or not. He had been diligently praying and reading the Book of Mormon during the week, and had received an answer that he needed to be baptized. That the church was true. WOW! He is going to be baptized this coming Sunday. Not because we convinced him to be. Not because his girlfriend wants him to be. Because he diligently sought the truth, and the Spirit confirmed to him that this church is the true church of Jesus Christ. I love how he made it his own responsibility to find out if the church was true. I´m so excited for him.
There are the highlights of the week for you all! Sorry if my English is starting to become sloppy. I´ve realized that the more I speak Spanish, the less English I remember. Especially grammar wise. These two languages are SO different. Have a great Thanksgiving this week! I´m thankful for all of you! Even if it didn´t seem like it when I was younger.... Especially with Danny. I couldn´t ask for better parents, brothers, sister, sister in law, soon to be sister in law, nieces, nephew, and little unknown baby.I pray for each of you everyday. Including you Sam.
Hey family! This week has been a rough one. Most of the people we set up appointments weren´t home and we lost two of the baptismal dates that we had set with La Familia Tello. Since they have so many people in their family, La Familia Tello is only available on saturdays for us to come teach them. This past Saturday we found out that one of the hermanas that had a date left to work for a whole month. She´ll come back and we can start back up again with her then. The other date we lost was with another hermana. She is living with one of the hermanos in the house, but they aren´t married... We´re going to have to work a bit harder with her. At times it can be a bit challenging to teach this family because there are so many people and we have to focus on each one of them. Focus on each of their needs. We´ll probably have to move the dates back with the other 3, but that´s fine. It´s better that they´re fully prepared to make this covenant with God. I´ve learned to be a lot more patient with this family. I love them to death, and I want what´s best for them. And that is why I´m here. I know that the Lord places challenges in front of us so that we grow from them. We must figure out how we can learn from these challenges. I had an intercambio this week in Ovalle Sur. My companion for the day was Elder Rodriguez, a hilarious missionary from Mexico. By the evening, we had had no success that day. All our appointments had fell through, and our legs were killing us. But we didn´t stop working. We were passing by a little park, and I saw a girl sitting on a bench. At first I was prompted to go talk to her, but I decided not to. For one, we had an appointment to be at, and two, I am still nervous to talk to random people. Especially in Spanish. And especially girls. 3 seconds later I got the impression again to talk to her. This time I knew that I needed to do this. I turned around, walked up to her, and started introducing myself. In Spanish. Elder Rodriguez hadn´t seen me turn around so he kept walking for a few more seconds until he realized I wasn´t there. He came running up next to me and we started discussing The Gospel with her. She was a 15 year old girl who studyed at a Catholic School. When we introduced the Book of Mormon, she got super excited. We left her with a chapter to read and arranged an appointment for us to come back to teach her. The best thing about this experience was the second we started walking away, she started reading the chapter we left her. WOW! Elder Rodriguez was so pumped after that. He said that he had been marking this day as a failure because all of our appointments had fallen through, but my act to follow the Spirit had improved his day tremendously. I told him that our day hadn´t been a failure. Even though we had not taught anyone, we had worked our hardest and that is all the Lord asks of us. To work our hardest and be aware of the Spirit. The Lord places challenges in front of us for our own benefit. We need to face them with hope and courage in order to grow from them. Sorry this letter isn´t too long. Like I said at the beginning, most of our appointments fell through this week, but I did learn a valuable lesson. Continue working and the Lord will provide the way for you. I´m really beginning to understand the Spanish here. I still have a lot of trouble speaking, but at least I´m trying! I love and pray for you all! Elder Weidman
Hey family! What an awesome week it has been here. A crazy but spiritually filled week. I had two inter changes this week. My first one was on Wednesday, to a place called Monte Patria. It took a good 45 minute bus ride through the mountains to get there. The ride reminded me of driving through the mountains of Utah. Not to mention that there was English music playing the whole time on the bus.... My companion for the day was Elder Honor. He is from Paraguay and does not speak a lick of English. But we were able to have normal conversations. Crazy, I know! Monte Patria is a small town. The branch has twenty members in it, verrrry small. At night, we visited a family of investigators. Since it was Halloween, little niños dressed up as witches and ghosts were crowding the streets. Actually it was nothing compared to the United States, but it was still a surprise to me how many people celebrated it. The family we were with did not celebrate it because they believed that Halloween was of the devil... Everyone has there beliefs. My face was a little sun burnt and the mom of the family ragged on me for not wearing enough sunscreen. Reminded me of someone :) They were a great family and I enjoyed getting to know them. Every night in this town, birds sleep on the electricity lines. While walking home, there were thousands above us all asleep. I was scared. Walking under beds never ends well. But this night it did. The next morning I wanted to scream at those birds. I never realized until then how LOUD birds can be. Especially in the morning. At 5 A.M. Right outside your window. But overall it was a great inter cambio. On Friday, I had the second inter cambio of the week with Elder Gasik. He is a legit skier from Utah and he looks like Job Bluth. At the beginning of this change, I was nervous because it was in Limari, where I live, therefore I was in charge of getting to places... Lets just say we got lost a few times that day. BUT the night was AWESOME! We had an appointment with La Familia Tello, who are a part member familia. All 12 of them living in there small house are from Peru. I love that family. They really helped me become adjusted here and they are family to me now. Back to the story. We were planning on teaching the first lesson, about the Restoration and all. We started the lesson and the Spirit led us the rest of the time. It was amazing. We totally went of course from the lesson, but it was what we needed to do. We started by talking about how God is our Heavenly Father and wants the best for us. Somehow this led to the Holy Ghost and the example that Jesus Christ set for us. I have no idea how, other than that it was all by the Spirit. We focused most of the lesson on 2 Nephi 31. (The appointment before, we had invited them to read 2 Nephi Chapter 31 before we returned for the next appointment. ) They had all read the chapter and really enjoyed it. I mean how could you not. A chapter all about baptism and The Doctrine of Christ! One hermana asked if she had the Holy Ghost and if her baptism was valid. This is the question that all missionaries dread, but luckily we didnt have to answer it. The member of the family straight up answered her and told her the absolute truth. A look of concern came on her face and she asked how she could get it. PERFECT QUESTION! We told her that through baptism they could all receive this direction in their lives. That they could all receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. We told her that this is the perfect way to follow Christ, to be baptized as He was. Then we invited all 5 of them to be baptized. (Only 5 were there that werent members. There were 2 that were inactive members and a family of 3 who were members.) All 5 of them accepted the date of the 24th of this month! What an awesome experience. I was so excited afterwards. Not because I had gotten 5 baptismal dates, but because this family who I love committed to being baptized. To coming closer to Christ. What a great work this is. This joy I felt is the reason I am here. So that I can help others come unto Christ. Last P Day I cut a pineapple into little pieces and made guacamole. It was a really big accomplishment for me and I felt inclined to share this. I was very proud of myself. And it tasted delicious. This morning we played basketball at the church and I went all Jimmer on them. It was great! I pray for each of you every day! Elder Weidman