Monday, March 2, 2015

Three cousins called to serve in Chile!

2 March 2015

I'm still so excited about Jacob's call. When Lauren and I were both called to Chile I thought about Parley P. Pratt as well. You have to find the Ensign with the article about the history of the church in Chile and read it with the VanCotts. Parley P. Pratt is famous here. More so than in Utah. Everyone talks about how he arrived here. There is a picture of him in the MTC outside my classroom. He sacrificed a lot to come, lost a child during his travels, and had zero success. No baptisms. He returned to Brigham Young and told him that they needed a translation of the Book of Mormon and other materials in Spanish if they were to have success. That is the quote you have to find in the article. I have it written in Spanish in my copy of Preach My Gospel and I use it with other missionaries to emphasize the importance of using the Book of Mormon in teaching. When I read it I thought about how Lauren and I, and now Jacob, are able to use the Book of Mormon in Spanish to preach in Chile. I am sure that Parley P. Pratt is aware of this and glad that his distant relatives are carrying on what he started but didn't have the tools to do. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and it is taking on new meaning as I read it with the eyes of a missionary. 

Our newly baptized investigator was confirmed yesterday! I'm just very pleased with her. She has visiting teachers and has been assigned to visit teach. I'm so proud of our branch and the visiting teaching coordinator. She's really starting to push visiting teaching which doesn't function in most wards in Chile, according to my companion.

I feel like we haven't been proselyting much because we've had meetings, meetings, meetings. Zone conference was focused on the same themes that the area is reinforcing (this affects Jacob's mission, P.S.) They are talking about the gathering of Israel and family history work. Jacob, learn how to do family history now. You'll be glad you did. They are focusing on baptizing, retaining new converts, and reactivating at the same time. I am learning how to work with our branch and the leaders better as we focus on these things. I've learned that I am not a super visiting teacher who is supposed to visit all of the less actives in my area. We don't have time for that. The ward or branch needs to choose who we work with because they know who will be receptive. They should be making visits (and in Llay Llay they are doing very well!) and then give us names and ask us to help them with a few people. We are full time missionaries with a schedule that allows us to teach a lot but we need the members who know the less actives and who can be friends with them and the recent converts when we are gone. Our new member has so many friends in the branch that we really don't have to work much with her now. She has someone to sit by, people who visit her, invitations to activities. We teach the lessons. I think that's how it should be. 

I'm learning a lot in my mission about real conversion, which means changing your heart and all of your desires. The zone leaders talked briefly in the zone conference about focus and asked a question that lingered with me. What is your secret motive for serving a mission? I admit that there are moments when I feel like I am here to get it over with. Heavenly Father told me to serve a mission so I will. But obedience isn't enough. If I am obedient and I work really hard, perhaps I can do some good and serve other people, but I won't be changed permanently. We are here to serve God with all our "heart, might, mind, and strength" as D&C 4:2 says. I need to make changes if I am to see fulfilled all of the things that my patriarchal blessing talks about. Sometimes I forget how excited I was to serve a mission and I need to remember and maintain those feelings. The good news is that the Atonement works for missionaries the same way it does for investigators. I'm happy with some of the things I have done, but lately I feel like I need to do a whole lot more and give all my heart, might, mind, and strength to this work. Sometimes all seems like a lot. But the blessings are worth it.

I'm learning how to really listen to people and respond to their needs. Hermana Santander gave me a Chilean phrase this week, " De la abundancia del corazon, habla la boca." People recognize us as representatives of Christ and when they want to talk about something, it's because it is important. It means that it is on their mind and in their heart even more frequently than in their conversations. By listening and praying, I hope to be able to understand people better and discern their needs.

Funny notes:

When Hermana Santander lost her nametag she kept saying that she felt like a mere mortal.

At lunch with a member I tried to make small talk with her five year old granddaughter. She gave me a blank stare and said, "I don't understand you because you're speaking another language." I tried...

The other day as we were proselyting Hermana Santander had a hang nail and was impressed when I whipped nail clippers out of my wallet. She said, "I've met crazy and then... there's you." I thought of Mom, who is always prepared with nail clippers, safety pins, etc. 

Love you! Have a great week!
Hermana Eva VanCott

Biking around Llay Llay

P-day activity with the sister training leaders

In 1851, Elder Parley P. Pratt (1807–1857) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles arrived in Valparaíso with the intention of establishing the Church. However, he and his companions did not speak Spanish, they had very few financial resources, and the country lacked religious freedom, so they were unable to establish the Church.

 Elder Pratt recommended to President Brigham Young (1801–77): “The Book of Mormon and some cheap publications should be translated into Spanish and printed, and then the key be turned to these nations while a living Priesthood is accompanied by something for them to read—even those writings which have the promises of God, the prayers and faith of the ancients, and the power and Spirit of God to work with them in restoring the house of Israel.”

Conversion and Change in Chile by Néstor Curbelo - Ensign Magazine, October 2014

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