I have a somewhat funny story from a few weeks ago. This was in Javiera Carrera. Here in Chile, there are a lot of Haitians that are immigrating for work purposes. They are also some of the easiest to convert for the missionaries. The only problem is that they often come here only speaking French. This is obviously a problem, because very few people speak more than Spanish here, and those that are bilingual speak English, which the Haitians do not speak either. So you can imagine the problems with teaching. I have not yet gotten to teach a Haitian, but I did get to do a baptismal interview with one. All that I can say is that now I am regretting not taking my French class seriously enough in middle school. It was really hard. Between drawings and scriptures from a French Book of Mormon, I struggled to communicate the questions to the lady, but I had to go a little by the “spirit of the law” a little and give her a lot of benefit of the doubt, because I think that I did not get her to understand everything perfectly. I understand a little bit better how the Chileans must have felt when I first got here, which was not that different from how I felt as a new missionary. Man, do I want to learn French.
My new contact record is 17. I am going for 20, and I will see how many I can do by the end of my mission. We also finally have a new ward mission leader, and had our first missionary coordination meeting in months. He proposed a goal of 20 baptisms a year, but we shared with him our goal of 20 baptisms a week and he seemed impressed and said, “Yeah, why not?” He is a cool guy. He has had almost all of possible callings under the stake level, including stake president, and is really excited to work with us, with big plans for the ward.
The other baptismal date in this area fell due to the fear that Evelyn has of her catholic mother and her disapproval of her baptism. She has started avoiding us. There is now nobody in the ward with a baptismal date. Thus the focus on contacting.
The coolest thing that happened this week was a little unexpected find. We were contacting a lady, when another lady stopped in her car and waved us over. We finished the contact and came over to speak with her. She explained that she and family had recently moved from the north of Chile to Santiago and had been mistakenly attending the ward “Los Toros”, which is just beside us. She asked that we pass by her house to give her baby a blessing and explain where and at what time is the church. We set a time to pass by that night.
Her name is Andrea, and her husband David. They have 4 children, all girls, the youngest of which is 6 months old. Andrea has been a member all of her life and is currently active, and David is not a member, however has been investigating the church forever (about 8 years), however he too regularly attends church. David is in his second marriage. He is a philosophy professor in a high school, and his problem is that he basically thinks through things too much. Also, he doesn’t like tithing, and his lack of faith keeps him from being able to receive an answer. We had a very spiritual lesson that night (Andrea was giving us little thumbs up when David wasn’t looking) and yesterday, we had a family night with the Sandoval family, who is a very strong family with an ex-bishop head and children about the same age, and that lives within two houses of our new incomplete family.
Also, we had a special multi-stake conference for all of Chile with a broadcast from the conference center, presided by President Nelson. Did you know that he speaks Spanish? I did not, but it turns out that he lived in Chile for a few years when we worked at the Universidad Católica (I think) teaching doctor stuff. That is really cool.
Love you all.