September 15, 2014 (Week 15)

I was super excited when I opened up the packages. I started yelling out all the Chilean slang I knew and showing them off to people, which admittedly was kind of weird. I also got Ethan´s hacky sack, which made me yell more slang, and the new tie, which was like Christmas. Because I have not yet had a baptism, getting stuff in the mail is probably the best part so far of a mission. I actually have some other people to thank, as well. Firstly, the Stanfords, who sent me cards and candy. Canadian candy. I felt very loved. The Gillis`s as well, who sent me a postcard from Victoria and words of encouragement. I was very happy to get that mail as well.

I actually do have some things to write today about spiritual experiences. We have two people committed to baptism, and we are reasonably confident that we will be able to pull at least one of them through, if not both. The first is named Juana. She has been investigating for quite some time. I think her first lesson was with the elder that Elder See replaced, so about 4 or 5 months. She is a nice old lady who lives with her husband and her ducks and her dogs and her 20 chickens. When we teach her, we do it outside of her house. I actually don´t know why, but it´s really not all that uncommon. Her problem, however, like many Chileans, is she is stubborn. She was baptized Catholic, and when we tried to explain to her that basically her baptism wasn´t sufficient or valid as nicely as we could, she wouldn´t listen to us. Well, there is a saying in Chile: “Dar palos.” It means “To give sticks”, and in Chile, it is basically to set straight, and maybe chew out a little. We find when a Chilean is being stubborn, it might be time to damos palos. As such, we taught her very straight about the gift of the Holy Ghost and that she needed it to achieve her salvation. It was a powerful lesson, and by the end of it she was actually crying, which is the first time I´ve seen that in my mission. Our problem was every time we would try to make an important point, or bare testimony in something, or do anything important and spiritual, her chickens would all start clucking. They have, like, 4 roosters, and every single one of them was squawking and crying, and all of her hens were going as well. It was awful. We would make our point, and subtly try to kick at the things to see if we could make at least the ones close of us be quiet. Nevertheless, by the end of our lesson she agreed to have a goal to be baptized by early October. Her only stipulation was she doesn´t want to do it alone. That means we are going to have to find her a friends to go to church with her, because her husband isn´t going to do that.

Our other one is a little complicated. We´ve taught him every lesson, and he believes everything we´ve taught him with all of his heart. He has a baptismal date, and all he needs to do is be able to answer the baptismal questions positively. Our problem is he needs to pray to receive a definite testimony of certain things that will hold him back from baptism, and he prays like an evangelico: lots of “amen”s and “Señor”s and addressed to Christ and absolutely no purpose to his prayers. He´ll never receive an answer that way. We don´t really know what to do, because every time we teach him how to pray, he immediately forgets, and we can´t give him an outline to read because he has terrible eyes and couldn´t read anything even if the letters were the size of stray dogs.

I´ve been super sick for the last couple of days. On Thursday, Elder See and Elder Cisneros were sick, but Elder Cisneros had a bad cold and Elder See´s symptoms looked more like food poisoning. But on Saturday, I woke up feeling kind of off and by 11 I was completely out of commission. I finally exploded with the most spectacular vomiting I´ve done for years around 3 and slept for the rest of the day, which ironically made it so I couldn´t sleep that night. I have no idea what hit me. It sucks a lot worse being sick when I am away from home because I start getting super deep, asking myself probing questions like “Why am I here?” and “Am I dying?” and there is literally nothing to do when you are sick on your mission.

I´m better now. I´m glad to see that you guys are getting snow in Calgary, because, let me tell you, it is getting hot here!

Elder Mathewson

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