19 January 2015
We started our P-day by taking a Book of Mormon to distant relations of Hermana Santander in Catemu. Her grandmother sent her the address and phone number of one of her cousins who lives in our branch boundaries and a member offered to take us in her car to find them. We visited and Hermana Santander was able to write down some names for family history and see pictures that her mother's cousin had at his house too. He directed us to another relative and we were able to share with her a little bit about family history.
We visited the Hare Krishnas in Catemu! It's part of our branch where the Elders are working. I had heard about the Hare Krishnas from Jaylen and from a family of Hare Krishnas that I taught in San Felipe with Hermana Clark one time months ago and I have been hoping to go since then. It's nothing as big as the temple in Spanish Fork with hippie ex-Mormons. It is a group of buildings where people literally live celibate lives, plant their own food, practice yoga, and bathe statues of the gods they worship.
A young man in Indian pants and an orange t-shirt (Adria style pajamas) gave us an informal tour and explained to us what they believed. Because of my world religions class I was able to understand some of his Hare Krishna vocabulary, which is weird to hear in a Chilean accent. I was proud to tell him that I had read parts of their religious texts in English.
They have a system of volunteers that stay in houses there and work with them. I decided I'm going to live there after my mission. For about four dollars a day and four hours of work in their garden or vegetarian kitchen I can have a place to stay and three meals a day. I think it's a good deal. I can go to church in Llay Llay on Sundays and live in Chile.
The young mother from my last letter came to church again and felt okay about leaving her daughter in nursery so she could go to the other classes. I sat between her and another young woman, and investigator from Catemu, during Relief Society and felt so content to hear them both talking about their upcoming baptisms. The investigator from Catemu will be baptized this week and our investigator has a date for the 22nd of February. She said something about how it seems far away and the sister from Catemu said, "The time goes so fast, you'll see." This Saturday we are going to visit the temple grounds with our investigator while the branch members visit to do an endowment session. We are going to teach her about family history and temple work today and then she will be able to have a tour on Saturday.
On Tuesday we taught her Lesson 3. She always has lots of questions. During this lesson she asked about why everyone at church uses long sleeves and mentioned that she saw white clothing underneath a sister's sweater sleeve and wondered what it was. Hermana Santander quoted the "line upon line" scripture and said we would explain that later as part of a different lesson in due time. I wanted to explain more but I didn't want to contradict my companion. As we left I was meditating over what I should have said and wished I had answered her question directly and clearly. I was worried about her asking her less active grandmother or turning to the internet after the sister missionaries had failed to answer her sincere question. I want her to trust us and I want her to ask us questions. I guess I was pretty silent because Hermana Santander asked me, "What are you thinking?" "That I want to go back and teach her about temples," I responded. One thing I love about Hermana Santander is that she takes my suggestions and ideas seriously. "Why didn't you say so before?" she asked. Even though we were on our way to another appointment, we turned around, walked back to the sister's house, knocked her door, and taught her a second lesson. We explained temples and that we use ceremonial clothing. We based what we said on the new video the church has released. Hermana Santander had seen it and Mom had written me about it before. I felt good about what we said and our investigator seemed satisfied.
I had an exchange with Hermana Kingsbury. She is from Washington and this is her first transfer, so she is in the process of learning Spanish and is doing really well. Our first lesson of the day was with a less active woman. She has been a member for decades and has been through the temple but had some conflicts with local church leaders and left the church for five months. Recently she started to attend in Primer Crucero, which is interesting because Primer Crucero is not free of conflicts either. When we showed up at her house she wanted to show us some anti-Mormon literature someone in her family had given her. It was very offensive and she was concerned about it. I had the feeling that she thought we didn't know such things existed and that she wanted us to do something about it, fight against it, refute it. I spoke a little bit about Moroni's prophesy of opposition. Hermana Kingsbury doesn't understand everything in the lessons but she has the gift of testimony. She just started to testify and the room was filled with the Spirit. After that, all I had to do was confirm what she had said and ask our less active member two questions. "Do you feel that same Spirit when you read the scriptures?" Yes. "Do you feel that Spirit when you read the pamphlet you have in your hand?" No. "Okay, then. Can we throw away the pamphlet?" She smiled and began to tear it to pieces.
We've recently had more anti-Mormon comments in the street, as well. One man approached us to "warn" us and "help" us realize the "truth". He spoke to us about Joseph Smith and multiple wives as if maybe we hadn't heard that before. What does he expect? That we didn't know but that now that he's told us we're going to take off the nametags and go home? Hello?
We had interviews with President Videla. He doesn't ask very many questions. He mostly just listens and then responds. I talked to him about my concern for the recent converts who aren't attending church in Llay Llay. He gave me some good advice about how to use family history and also offered to arrange for the missionaries who baptized the converts to visit them. I don't feel like President Videla really knows me, which is understandable with so many missionaries, but I do know that he receives revelation from Heavenly Father who knows me perfectly. Every time I have prayed for something specific before a transfer it has worked out exactly as it should. I know it's because President receives revelation.
That's my week. Love you all!
Hermana Eva VanCott