February 2, 2015 (Week 35)

Taking a youth member (Brian)  to the temple.

Taking a youth member (Brian) to the temple.

The dog at the church

The dog at the church

As an assignment from the zone leaders we live with, they asked us to read Moroni 7, which I did very thoroughly over 2 or 3 weeks. I got to the last few verses where Mormon is talking about charity and other Christ-like attributes. It occurred to me that as a member, I’m pretty far developed. I’m done most of the ordinances that I need to do to get into the highest level of the celestial kingdom, meaning that as long as I regularly take the sacrament, say my prayers and read the scriptures, there really isn’t anything stopping me from getting there. My subconscious question I had is what next? Obviously, I still have a way to go to finish all the ordinances, so what do I need to do until then, and what do I do after? Because I was pretty sure I couldn’t just coast for the rest of my life. I think I found my answer in my study of Moroni 7. Mormon lists and explains a few Christ-like attributes and says for every single one of them that you can not enter into the Kingdom of God if you do not possess them. So what’s next? Developing Christ-like attributes over the rest of my life. Learning to be more charitable most of all, as well as humble and patient, having hope and faith, and the rest. In fact, while I was thinking about it, I realized that these things might actually be more important than the ordinance. The ordinance saves you, but someone who is prideful could never receive a remission of their sins, and someone who never learned to have hope in this life won’t have enough to be baptized vicariously in the spirit world, and someone who doesn’t have charity can’t even approach the Throne of God.

Anyway, just food for thought. I’m fine. A little tired, even though for p-day I just took a two hour ciesta with the window open (que rica) and drew. It’s hot here, but that isn’t new. We aren’t having too much success with our investigators that I haven’t already told you about, and most of our success is still with the converts. We actually took one to the temple the other day. His name is Brian, and he got baptized in September last year, I think. He is a good kid. He’s really excited for missionary work. He goes with us to lessons a lot, and he wants to go on a mission in a few more years. (When we went to the temple, we bought him a bible to complete the set he got from the ward, and a “Futuro Misionaro” name tag, like the ones that you would put on your little, Spanish, mormon baby.)

We have a youth that is a pretty cool boy. His name is Simon. He got baptized when he was 8, but inactive the next week. His family moved from their ward in Las Condes in North Santiago after his mom got separated from her husband, and he is now rediscovering the church. In his own words (more or less because of translation) he says that the missionaries are changing his life. He has a goal to get the priesthood, and he is trying to leave behind some bad habits so he can do it. He also went to the youth conference a couple weeks ago, and he’s going to save up for EFY for next year. He goes out with us a ton, and even though he is pretty shy, he still does it and enjoys it. In fact, yesterday we went out with him to do some proselyting, and we had a weird experience. We went from his house to one of his neighbours, who is a less active that we have been trying to contact for some time. She came out, and it seemed like the normal introduction we do with people here, when suddenly she made us pause, saying she had a doubt. Then she launched into the LONGEST anti-mormon schpeel I have ever heard in my life. She talked for half an hour straight, attacking everything from polygamy to flowers in the temple (She says that the temple should have real flowers instead of fake ones because it is the house of the Lord and it should have living flowers in it.) I guess she noticed I got bored and a little annoyed, because he said “I know that these things annoy you because you are from the factory (Utah), but they have to be said.” I think that my whiteness may have caused the rant, even though when I introduced myself I said I was from Canada (according to her, it’s all the same.) I got a little mad and said something along the lines of, “I hope that someday you understand that the church will never lose the truth, but individual members will, and you have gone through your own personal apostasy,” but fortunately she didn’t understand me. Elder Granda did a lot better and set a date to come back this Friday, and hopefully we can have an actual conversation with her. What impressed me was Simon. I had been worried about him the whole time, because he is a member coming back to the church and I worried for the strength of his testimony, but he handled it super well. He knew it was all lies, and that the fundamental problem is that the lady had stopped reading the Book of Mormon, praying and attended church, and replaced it with surfing the internet. I really underestimated him, and I was impressed how cool of a head he kept.

Elder Mathewson

Pretty funny other story that I forgot to tell about. There was a dog in the chapel two Sundays ago. She was just there, lying on the ground, and every time we took her out, she came back. She was friendly, and she just wanted to lie on the cool tile and escape from the heat, but he scared the people, and I don’t think that we are allowed to have dog investigators, so we ended up having to shut all the doors to keep here out.

On Monday the next day, we were coming home, and we found her again, locked inside of the fence. Apparently, she slipped in during seminary for the youth, and no one noticed. We had to find someone with keys to let her out, because no one was going to come by until the next Sunday, so she would starve to death waiting. Pretty funny. She was sure glad to see us when we came.
Questions:
1. How is your diet? Are you able to get decent nutrition? Or do you find that difficult? I’ve been eating pure oatmeal in the mornings this whole change. I used to do it with apples, but our fridge stopped working and smells bitter, so now I just do it with sugar and syrup, like Buddy the Elf. Our lunches are healthy at least. Usually just rice with chicken and sauce, and salad. I can now eat tomatoes without gagging, thanks to my comp, who tells everyone I love tomatoes. I tell them he loves olives, which he hates, but he won’t let that one happen.

2. What is the funniest thing that happened to you this week? I wrote about it to mom, with that lady that we found, and we found a giant spider, which we put into a plastic bag and dropped out the window. It was about the size of a tennis ball.

3. Can you share with me a spiritual experience from this week? I have been doubting lately that I have the spirit with me, like how I think I should. I don’t know what triggered that, but it was a weird feeling I had. We found a drunk in the street, and he said that I didn’t have an aura around me like how other missionaries had, which shouldn’t have bothered me, but it did. It talked about it with my comp, and he said to just ignore it, because I totally did, but it didn’t help. It wasn’t until we started teaching Simon and his family that night that I felt the promptings and voices that had grown so familiar I was almost unaware of them. Kind of interesting. Turns out that having the spirit with your is like wearing clothes: you only know it’s there when you pay attention.

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