I took about 50 pictures to get all of Grandma and Grandpa´s emails, but it was worth it. They had a very exciting adventure. I think I want to get involved when I get back too. I heard Belizians speak funny Spanish, but I think even now I know enough I could help, so you can just imagine what I´ll be like when I get back.
Also, I have a new address for mailing if you want to spread it around. It´s basically the same, but now you don´t write in the postal code. Here is it exactly:
6824 Cristobal Colon
Las Condes, Santiago
ALSO, thank you for the candy! I saved it all the way until Halloween, and I shared it around. We actually went trick or treating as well, to one members house in our complex. I took a piece of cardboard and wrote “Jélder” and underneath wrote “Los Mormones”. I thought it was pretty funny, until we got to the member´s pension and saw him. He´s about 150 pounds overweight, and he was dressed as a woman. It was shocking.
Nobody was at church again. Not even Eliana. Yes, people are progressing, but no one we can put a baptismal date to. It´s a little frustrating. It feels like we take a step forward and a step back in this sector. We can never just improve. Of the two we really thought were going to get baptized, one refuses to show up for church, and the other dropped off the face of the planet and we can´t find her no matter how much we pass by. We might just actually walk to their houses on Sunday to see if we can wake them up and get them out, even though they live on the far end of El Castillo.
We´ve been working with a less active called Jaime for some time. He´s great, but it was obvious for a long time he was hiding something from us. He would always hint that there was something he regretted, but he wouldn´t tell us. He liked us, but he was always a little reserved and awkward with us. He went to church, but always just after the sacrament. He´s been called to almost every calling, but he always says no. We actually thought he might have a porn addiction, because he is unmarried and he spends all his time alone in the house with his computer. But he finally opened up to us the other day. He smokes. My gosh, you should have seen the relief on his face after he told us that. He looked like he was going to faint. He started offering to by us ties, and we talked addiction recovery. Hopefully he can find some help. I don´t know what he was worried about anyways. We weren´t going to condemn him. Almost everyone in Chile smokes, and most of it is marijuana or worse. I think he just feels very alone.
So, a while ago you asked about the commitments we give to our investigators, and I didn´t have too much to tell you. But now I do. This is more for less actives, but it has been pleasingly effective for them. What we do is when we visit with them, we teach a lesson, like obedience for example, which is a good one because it has so much to do with it and we focus on the blessings. We then basically say “Look, you know what you need to do. You know how you are doing well, and how you are lacking. We want to set some goals with you.” And then, with them, we brainstorm goals that they write on a piece of paper. We may suggest goals, but we never tell them what to to. We make them make their goals. We explain to them that the goals should be something that they aren´t doing, they should be measurable, but they should also be achievable, if not easy. In fact, it´s fine if they are easy, because we explain to them that these goals are meant to be the first step of a process which will help them improve their obedience and move them forward. It has worked for two families, one of which was so prideful that literally nothing we tried with them before worked with them, but now they are attending church together for two weeks in a row.
Halloween was also Evangelical day. We have the Evangelical equivalent of the CCM in our sector, so we have a LOT of Evangelicals out on a normal day, screaming and handing out peaces of offensive paper. But my gosh, did it get confusing that night. Among the evangelicals coming out and screaming “Hallelulia!” and “Amén!” and “Gloria a Dios!” there was also all the kids going out to trick or treat with their moms, so the streets were packed and noisy by about 8 or 9. They say “Dulces o trunques” hear, by the way. That literally means trick or treat. It was probably the safest night of the whole year, because nobody can rob you when there is 200 witnesses on the block.
We got to do more service today. It was putting a ceiling into a less actives kitchen. I have no idea where they got the money to do it. I mean, when we got here, they could only afford bread and salami from their shop under their house to eat, and now they are renovating. I mean, it´s just putting in a ceiling, but still, that´s rich person stuff. And no, I don´t think that they are being blessed for their obedience. You´d have to know them, but they aren´t exactly the most loyal of latter day saints. We´ll see.
Elder See and I have been working really hard to love the people more and to put our heads down and just work and not focus on the numbers. It´s been working pretty well. There are so many things I need and want to change, but I do find that one thing that has already changed is a deep love of studying the scriptures. Other than drawing, writing and getting letters, I think it has become one of the greatest sources of comfort for me here in Chile, and it´s become a place I go when things suck so bad I just want to lean against a wall and forget about it.