Monday, December 1, 2014

Las Tomillas Altas

Las Tomillas Altas 

1 December 2014 

Something almost funny:
We asked an investigator if she has been praying as we had invited her to. she proudly said yes. As we asked more about her experience praying we found out that she has an altar with candles, incense, and.... our pamphlets. She has booklets we gave her when we taught the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation which have pictures of Christ on the front cover. she prays to them.

I contacted a woman who said I have "cara santa," the face of a saint. She is Catholic and didn't want to hear our message, but thinks I'm a saint. I am. A latter-day saint. Hermana Nuñez and I joked that I could die here as a missionary sharing the gospel and they could make me a saint. We visited Santa Teresa last week and I remembered Hermana Dodds thinking that the humble nun who is now in the spirit world must be embarrassed by the people praying to her. The problem all of these saints face in the spirit world is that after taking vows of celibacy they don't have any posterity to do their temple work right now. Oh, how I would love to be able to. 

About every other day I want to stay in Calle Larga forever. On Tuesday when all of our appointments fell through I picked someone from the back of my planner in the investigators section.  We chose a name at the top of the list--a woman that that Hermana Dodds and I had taught two lessons to several months ago. She was interested but stressed about problems with her landlord and was frantically looking for a house to rent. She ended up living with her sister for two weeks but recently I ran into her and she told me she has a new house and I wrote down her address. Well when we went to visit Tuesday and found her house I was surprised to see a house I recognized. It was the house Hermana Dodds and I painted! FLASHBACK Hermana Dodds contacted a woman there who was really stressed about getting it painted so her mom, who owned it, could sell it. We changed into painting clothes and returned to help her and her husband with dementia paint the house. These people never became investigators and we assumed we were just doing service to serve. We didn't suggest the house to the woman we had taught, even though we thought about it, because she was looking to rent and not in a position to buy a house. Her aunt bought the house and now she is renting it from her aunt. So when we visited this week she didn't remember much so we started from the beginning, treating her as a new investigator. We started with the usual points. When we defined prophet and talked about priesthood she said, "Oh! Like John the Baptist?" Then she began asking questions about baptism and shared with us her opinion that people shouldn't baptize babies. She asked if she could be baptized at her age. Why of course! Then she asked us what she would have to do to be baptized. She wants us to teach her family as well. We just have to work with this perpetual problem in Chile called no one is legally married to the person they live with. We continued Lesson 1 up until Joseph Smith. She asked about what happened to Joseph Smith later, after the vision, and we talked about how some accepted his story and some did not believe him. "No. I believe," she assured us. We also talked about the persecution Joseph Smith suffered and how eventually he was martyred. "Like Jesus Christ," she whispered. She has real intent, folks.

Some good news is that my language ability is improving slowly but surely. I'm starting to feel very comfortable communicating in Spanish. During an intercambio I got to talk to several members who don't know how much time I have in the mission. Two different sisters asked if I was close to finishing my mission and were surprised to find out that I still have a year. 

In Zone Conference this week President Videla announced the worldwide initiative the church has for December called "He is the Gift." We will be focusing on Christ and Christmas as we make contacts and ask members for references. The church has a video to share and they are doing major advertising. On December 7th the church will be the only advertiser on YouTube's home page. There are billboards in Times Square in New York.

Hermana Nuñez and I left the conference inspired to share the gospel and excited to try out a new toy. President Videla gave every sector one of those handheld things that makes a high pitched sound to get rid of dogs. Hermana Nuñez was wishing we had one of those recently. Our leaders receive inspiration, no?

We explored Las Tomillas Altas, the far away hill where several contacts live. I had never been there before but had seen it from a distance when I explored Pocuro. I had longed to go there and visit the humblest houses on the hill, the houses that don't even have addresses. We taught one lesson there and it is one I will remember for a long time. We contacted a woman who has cancer and we listened to her complain and tell us she didn’t have energy to do anything. We finally got in the door when we offered to sing a song and pray for her. We sang "Where Can I Turn for Peace?" We got to know her and her husband, an older couple. Her husband before was abusive and she raised five children alone before she found her second husband, who she praises when she says he has never hit her. They both complained of their physical pains and illnesses. I testified of the Plan of Salvation and read to them from Alma 40. We talked about the resurrection, which I had studied that morning. She said toward the end that she felt as if something had entered her body and she wished that we could visit her forever. We explained that what she felt was the Holy Ghost and that it didn’t come from us. She felt it because of the message of Jesus Christ, not because we were there. When we left she hugged me so tightly and then when I pulled away she grabbed my hands and whispered that an angel had visited her. We biked home elated as we remembered the lesson and the spirit we had felt in their home.

On Sunday we were put in charge of teaching Primary because no one showed up. On top of that, they informed us that the Primary program is next week. There is one girl who is only nine years old but understands how the curriculum is formatted. She went by herself to the ward secretary and had him print the first page of every month from the Primary manual and pretty much put together the program herself. She told us there was a song they didn't know yet, "The Family is of God." There's no piano but I knew the tune from hearing my siblings sing it so we printed the words in Spanish and figured it out. There were only four kids in Primary yesterday and one of them was especially hard. Hermana Nuñez learned the phrase "spoiled brat" in language study after church and she said, in English, that when she has kids they will draw ecosystems in Sacrament meeting like Ian.

That's my week. I really appreciate your prayers and I am praying for you.
Hermana Eva VanCott

Hermana Stanger is going home in 2 weeks :(

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