Friday, October 17, 2014

Miracles and the Murder Field

Elder Colvin at the Santiago Chile Temple
October 8, 2014

      Today we went to the temple which was another thing that was way harder in Spanish than English.  I am glad that I spent so much time in the temple before my mission so that at least I knew what was going on. The temple was really nice and I realize that I am very lucky to be able to go while on my mission.  Neither one of my missionary siblings in Brazil have been able to go to the temple during their missions.  I am grateful every day for the awesome mission that I get to serve in.

Elder Colvin, Elder Soulier
     Other than the temple, we kind-of squandered our p-day with shopping and eating, which was fun for me.  I got some cool incense stuff and a mate bowl. Other than that, we had an extremely uneventful day teaching just 1 lesson and not contacting very many people.

My personalized mate bowl

October 9, 2014
     This morning was interesting!  We had a cita at 10:00 and on the way there we saw a drunk man relieving himself on the side of a major road.  I am sure that happens in major U.S. cities all the time, but not in Spokane. When we got to the cita it turned out that our investigator had been in an accident that left him with severe amnesia and short term memory loss. Things just continued along those lines until at the end of a long day, my companion suggested that we should make a list of miracles that have happened in the first 17 days of my mission (my own personal 17 miracles):

1.  Finding inactive member who wants to quit smoking and return to church.
2.  Having a young woman stop us and ask us for help, giving us a golden service opportunity.
3.  Knocking doors and actually finding an entire family to teach.
4.  Coming across a member who was in need of a blessing.
5.  Getting record attendance the first Sunday of my mission (106).
6.  Holding a successful Capilla Abierta (open house) with 45 nonmembers.
7.  Finding a man who wants to hear the lessons, is willing to change, and watching him change every day for the better.
8.  Having three investigators go to General Conference.
9.  Running out to find an old woman on the street needing words of comfort.
10. A member came up to us and asked up to contact a relative who was asking to be baptized.
11. A woman in need of help was receptive to our message.
12. An investigator from 5 years ago, wants to take the lessons again.
13. When we went shopping yesterday, we found less active members to work with.
14.  We talked to a member who had extra diapers, which one of our investigators desperately needs.
15.  We found another family ready to receive the gospel message.
16.  Meeting one of our new investigators at the burned out chapel by chance.
17.  Getting a great referral at lunch for a woman.

October 10, 2014

     I’ve decided to look for at least 1 miracle a day to help me have a positive outlook on my service and so far it has really helped!  This morning, we painted with a really terrible quality paint. it should have been frustrating, but it was actually fun!  After doing service, we studied for a while, had lunch, and then went to a lesson with my miracle of the day: 

     Miracle #18 -We had a lesson with M., and she accepted our invitation to be baptized.

We also taught our progressing inactive family and they really are doing great.  They committed to come to church this weekend.
October 11, 2014

     Today was really tough with lots of failed citas and rejection, but for some reason it didn’t bother me.  We went on splits with the youth of the ward because they were having a mini CCM activity.  A young 12 year old girl (who looked 17) went teaching and contacting with us.  I guess that is common here in Chile to mature quickly.  They attribute it to what they call “superpollo” which is chickens that have been fed growth hormones. I don’t know if that is true and actually causes early development or not, but it makes for an interesting story. Another interesting story is that I found this killer speaker (for $5.00) that can play off of a thumb drive and is really good.  I am so excited about this find! My miracle for the day:

Miracle #19 - A man on the street walked up to us and GAVE us his phone number and asked us to call him to set up an appointment so that we could teach him the gospel.

October 12, 2014

     Today was a slow day.  Church in Spanish is hard for me.  When I am teaching or contacting, I can understand about 80% of what is said. But, I am much more lost in church.  Most of our appointments fell through today...again.

     Miracle #20 - Three of our investigators came to church as they said they would and they stayed for all three hours.

October 13, 2014
     Today was zone conference.  My companion was very excited and enthusiastic about going to this meeting, but his enthusiasm was not contagious.  I am sure that I will have less disdain for meetings once I can understand the language better.  Something that is bugging me is the fact that I have been in the field for 3 weeks and we still don’t have a phone as a companionship. Elder S. keeps saying that it is a blessing, but I am pretty sure it just plain sucks.  We can never verify our citas and they fall through all the time.  It just seems so inefficient to me.

      We had a lesson with a really cool 14 year old kid today.  He was my first door contact that actually resulted in a successful followup cita!  The funniest thing that happened today was that during this lesson, my companion looked at me with a weird expression and realized that I was missing something really important….not my nametag, not my bag…I was missing my tie!  I don’t know if our investigator noticed, but man was I embarrassed! The rest of the day we had really good contacting opportunities.

      My miracle today has to do with service opportunities.  We are always asking people if we can serve them in any way and no one ever gives us anything to do. Those of you who know me, know that I can't stand having nothing to do. But today:

      Miracle #21 – We knocked on a random door and it happened to be the president of the home owner's association in a nice neighborhood here and he had service work for us to do!

 October 14, 2014
     Today was a very weird day.  Something really crazy happened at the bus stop today during our morning contacts (almost my miracle for the day.) I was looking for a word in the Book of Mormon and I dropped a restoration pamphlet on the ground. A teenaged boy just straight up asked us if he could have the pamphlet to read.

     After our morning contacts, we had our study time, which was really good today. Then we went out to teach some more.  Our lesson with M. was very focused in on her needs so it turned out to be one of our better lessons.  We then had a few lessons and references fall through before going to teach H. the word of wisdom.  I am not sure how much he understood so we will probably have to reteach that lesson.  We then had a really cool night of contacts and just chance meetings that led to my miracle of the day.  
      So to put this in context, there is a field here that is pretty sketchy at night.  There is a fairly decent risk of being robbed, and I have been told that people have been killed there. I started calling it “murder field” and the name stuck. So we were cutting through murder field when we saw a pretty sketchy looking man walking towards us.  I got all set up for a showdown and as he got closer to us he whipped out his hand, and for a second I thought he must have had a knife or something. I went to smack his hand (TKD style) when I realized he was just holding out his hand to shake.  We started to talk to him and he told us that he had been taking the discussions but had to stop when he got really sick from ecoli.  His name was O. and at first we were all confused by what he was saying to us until we realized that he was speaking English. He lived in Canada for a while because his father is a gringo. He speaks English about as well as I speak Spanish.  Actually, I am feeling much better about my Spanish.  I am able to hold a basic conversation with just about anyone now. 

     Miracle #22 – Not getting robbed in murder field and instead getting a solid contact.  

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