Letter received 9/6/2010
The subject line comes from "Permaneced," a letter that the Area Presidency wrote to less-active members here in Chile. I studied it this morning and I just LOVE everything is says, really. It´s so true that having the power of God in our lives, by way of the Holy Ghost, will make everything better, and that all real happiness comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ.
That being said, I love my mission more and more every week.
This week we were celestial once again, thank goodness. I felt soooo awful last week, being in level 1 with the zone in level 0, but we were much more motivated this week and worked a heck of a lot harder. And we did it! The other Hermanas too. They were coming back to the house at 9:25, and we saw them a little way up the road, so we went to talk to them and asked them how their day was. They said it was really good, but they didn´t complete the goals for only ONE lesson. I told them that they had to find someone to teach in that instant, and there was a group of being coming up from behind us, so I told them to invite them to listen, ask for 2 minutes, and teach the lesson "si o si" (how we say no matter what in Spanish). We then fled the scene, but watched from our door what happened. They started talking to the big group, but they all kept walking, but one woman stayed behind, and they talked to her for about 5 minutes, wrote something in their agendas, and left. She was super interested, they taught the 3rd lesson (the easiest to teach super fast), and took down her address for the Elders in Copiapo to visit her. Soooo, we both were celestial.
The zone as a whole reached level 2, which is a whoooole lot better, and we were actually only a few contacts and new investigators short of being level 3. Not doing enough contacts kind of makes me mad, because that´s really the only thing that depends completely on us. We can always talk to more people in the street. And I´m surprised about not having enough new investigators (Elder Thomas, one of our zone leaders, calls them "new ones," because in Spanish we just say "nuevos." Ridiculous), because we found 15. But, we have big goals for this week. As a companionship, we actually only needed 4 more member-present lessons to be City of Enoch, so we are going to pray a lot and work a lot and do everything we can this week to do it and be translated to the City of Enoch!
We are super motivated lately because we had an awesome zone conference on Friday. It´s been about a million years since we´ve had zone conference, and it was great. By the way, I don´t think I ever told you before, but transfers are still every 6 weeks. They gave us some incorrect information before, but President Bruce explained it all to us and we´re still having missionary transfers every 6 weeks, but everything else is on a monthly schedule. All our goals, etc., should be monthly (well, for baptisms and stuff, we´ll still have weekly goals of course), and we´ll only have zone conference and interviews every 3 months. The mission president is to spend the majority of his time working with the missionaries. Sweet. Anyway, big changes are going on, and they´re coming from Salt Lake, but everything seems really awesome and I´m really excited to work with our goals and our "simplified curriculum," which are the most important points of Preach My Gospel that they´ve narrowed down. Okay, that was a whole lot of missionary stuff that probably doesn´t interest you guys much, but welcome to my life right now, right? So we spent a lot of our zone conference talking about that but there was also a good amount of time left for embarrassing me.
We had zone conference with 3 zones: Copiapo North, which is ours, Copiapo South, which is the same city but with infinitely better numbers, and Vallenar, which is a tiny town about 2 hours south of Copiapo. Us 4 Hermanas in Caldera are the only ones in all three zones, so we were kind of notable. They always tell us we have to come to zone conferences with really bright colors, which is kind of hard since we only have really ugly missionary clothes. Anyway, last week we were passing a thrift shop and the woman came out and stopped us to tell us that skirts came in "for us," aka (I assumed) long and ugly. But they were actually cute so I bought a yellow one with a little bow at the bottom of the back. Anyway, we arrive at the conference as I´m the only gringa in the conference, supposedly the only one who knows anything about music (not that what I know about music is a lot), they ask me to lead the music. Unfortunately, the song is Brightly Beams Our Father´s Mercy, but in Spanish. Does ANYONE know how to lead that song? It says it´s 3/2, but the notes and the words have NOTHING to do with 3/2! So I´m standing up there like an idiot, trying to lead the music and failing miserably, and a whole bunch of little with very little musical experience and knowledge are singing along. Anyway, we get through that experience, but then we eat lunch and it´s pizza and I spill some on my skirt, right on my lap where it will be SUPER visible when I have to get up to lead the music again. So we go into the bathroom and this senior missionary, Hermana Dinamarca, counsels me to switch the skirt so the bow is in the front and no one will see the stain. Unfortunately, it´s still there, just hanging out in the back. So we sit through the rest of the conference and I get up to direct the hymn, which really unfortunately is the SAME hymn, but in English (it´s a tradition to give talks, pray, and sing in English at zone conferences). So I have to really awkwardly stand up and turn around immediately so the whole group of Elders doesn´t have their attention drawn to the pizza stain on my butt, and lead the same hymn horribly. Then, they also assigned me to give the closing prayer, so I have to really awkwardly back up to the pulpit to say the prayer without turning around once again. I think I was more or less successful, but definitely really embarrassed.
Another highlight of the zone conference is that the zone leaders from Copiapo South have 19 baptismal dates. We all thought this was something super impossible in our mission, because the goal is to baptize once a month. But we practiced setting baptismal dates a lot, and we are all SUPER excited to go out and do it. Seriously, once we know something is possible, we just have to do it, right? We saw a lot of miracles this week from applying the things that we learned, and I really wish I could share them all with you, but we are REALLY out of time.
But next week I will share with you all the miracles that occurred that lead us to being missionaries in the CITY OF ENOCH. "Querer es poder," as they say here, which means more or less that wanting means being able to do it. So, we´re going to do it. And we´re going to have 4 baptisms on September 25. And we´re going to remember our purpose the whole time, which is inviting others to come unto Christ.
I really, really love my mission, and I want you to know that I am 100% happy. I thank you all for your support, and know that I am praying for you guys too. Have a great week!