Monday, March 30, 2015

Riots in Coronel, Brian's Baptism

Family and Friends,

This week felt like it flew by, I’m pretty sure it is because there were a lot of things that happened.  It was one of my most favorite weeks on my mission due to a lot of things that I experienced.  I will forever be grateful for the opportunity that I have to be here in Chile as a missionary, experiencing what I am. 

I am going to start with what happened at the start of this week.  So here in Coronel  there are really bad riots going on by the fishermen that live here.  Which included them piling huge rocks and burning tires in all the streets so that nobody can get anywhere.  They actually set a train and cars on fire which was huge and burned for a day and a half.  They attacked police officers who were trying to stop them and a police office was killed, it was crazy.  We were riding in a micro past one of the parts where a bigger riot had happened and I heard a lot of people start to cough in the micro.  At this place the police had used gas tear bombs to clear out the rioting and before I knew it my face felt like it was on fire.  Some of the gas had gotten into the bus and affected everyone.  It  killed me, my throat, eyes, nose and mouth were burning up and I couldn’t stop crying, sneezing and coughing, it was quite the experience!  All this actually happened to us two times during two separate micros rides.  I tried to be a little bit more prepared  the second time.  So Coronel has been a little crazy lately, but apparently this happens quite a lot because the fisherman always want more money.  Pretty crazy but cool to experience.

I went on an exchange with Elder Ruiz in Camilo which is a little city next to ours.  He is from California and has the same time as Elder Healey, a little bit more than a year.  His dad is Peruvian and his mom is Tongan, he’s a homie.  While we were on the intercambio, we found a lot of really cool people.  Whenever I find someone who is truly humble, I am so impressed with it.  Two things that I am trying to work on while I am here on my mission are charity and humility.  If there is anything I want to be in this life, it would be humble.  

The biggest and best thing that happened this week was that Brian got baptized!  He was honestly the most prepared person I have ever seen, and being part of that miracle was amazing.  He told us the day before that he felt very prepared and sure about what he was doing.  That guy really got an answer, so cool to see.  I wish there were more people like him.  The baptism went perfect!  His whole family, who have been supportive were able to come and see it as well.  He told us after that they really liked it.  Before the baptism my companion made cinnamon rolls and after the baptism all the Chileans were stunned by how good they were.  That’s one thing that Chile lacks, good desserts haha.  When Brian got to the church, he was dressed in a suit and tie.  He told us he was a little nervous, and it showed.  But after the baptism he told us how amazing and happy he felt.  He told us as soon as he came out of the water, he felt something different.  He has been telling us for the past week that there has just been an unexplainable joy in his life.  This Sunday I was able to confirm him a member of our church and give him the Holy Spirit and a blessing.  It was such an amazing experience.  The experiences that we have had with Brian, I will never forget.  

In addition to those things this week, we had a zone conference with President Bluth in Lebu.  I got to see a lot of friends and learn a lot.  We also looked at our Family Search and it was cool to see all the work my mom and family members have done.  

Also another cool experience that happened was we were walking home and it was pretty late and there was a guy in a wheel chair just chilling in the middle of the road.  We could see that he was struggling so we went to him and offered to help.  We pushed him for a very long time to his house.  I don’t know what he would have done if someone didn’t help him, it was a long way away.  What my dad has told me about how service will bring the greatest sense of joy is true.  All in all this week has been a very good week.  Hope all of you had a good week as well.  Love and miss you all.

Elder Clay

Monday, March 23, 2015

Baptism date set for Brian!

Well family and friends, this week not a lot happened, so this is probably going to be a short email home. Monday and Tuesday I finally got over  my sickness so we got to go out and get back to work. I still have congestion and a bit of a cough but I am doing a lot better than before.

Tuesday we had a zone conference where they introduced a new manner of teaching and plans to help our investigators progress faster and with greater efficiency. We have been using some of the tactics with Brian and it has helped a lot! Brian has progressed even more and he told us last night that after attending church yesterday, he is ready to be baptized and that he doesn't have any doubts anymore! It's been amazing to see his growth and how he is becoming blessed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. His baptism is going to be this Thursday and we are going to be working with him every day this week to make sure he is the most prepard he can be! So pretty much this last week has been working with Brian and contacting a lot.

We haven't been able to find many more people to teach but we are keeping our spirits up and we know that we will see the results of our work as long as we keep it up, we reap what we sow. Our English class we had this week was pretty crazy, we had a new person who has never come before, and it turned out that she is a member of our church who just moved her. She started to bring up tithing and really controversial religious topics during the middle of the class. I couldn't help but burst out laughing because she just kept it up. Pretty funny experience and hopefully the people return to our class after what happened this week hahaha.

As I said earlier, not a lot happened this week but we were able to do some service activities this week to help out some members and nonmembers. After doing service, there is a feeling of pure joy that comes, and its something that my Dad has taught me since I have been very young, that service is the greatest thing in the eyes of God.

To end the week, we had an activity in our branch, which had a pretty good turn out, quite a lot of people came and it was cool to see the members, less active members, and investigators all getting along and playing games, doing karaoke, and eating together. It's going to be weird going back to a ward that has 300 members when I return haha. But that's pretty much it for this week, I hope that everything is going well for everyone back home and hope that everyone has a good week!

Elder Clay

Monday, March 16, 2015

Meet my New Companion Elder Healey

This week was the first week in Coronel without Elder Knecht and I got to experience it with my new companion, Elder Healey. As I explained last week in the letter, He is from Kaysville and we have been able to spend some time talking about the same people, places, and things that we both know. It's pretty fun having someone who lived in Davis County as a companion. He has a little bit more than a year in the mission and is two years older than me. He also likes to be obedient and work hard so I got just the companion that I wanted!

This week has been pretty eventful so I will start form the beginning. Tuesday I spent in the Bus station waiting for Elder Healey to arrive. I spent the time talking to Elder Washburn, my homie from the CCM, Elder Casperson, my dad, and a bunch of new kids who are cool that I met. Its crazy how I can talk to so many missionaries and we can find at least one person in common we knew out side of the mission. But when Elder Healey got here, he had a lot of stuff with him, and it all was very heavy haha. Getting it to the micro stop, on and off the micro, and to our house was quite the fiasco but we managed to do it, in suits and in a million degree weather haha. I was dying.

This week with Elder Healey as far as working goes has just been a lot of contacting and trying to look for new investigators because we are a little short on those. Brian continues to progress every time that we pass by his house and teach him. He understands everything we teach him and he has desires to know that these things are true. He is doing the three things that we teach are required to receive an answer, reading and pondering the scriptures, praying, and attending the church. Yesterday he showed up all dressed up for church and stayed the whole 3 hours and a little bit after talking with the members! He is doing very well! We have a date for his baptism for the 28th of this month and hopefully we can help him feel ready for this date! If you guys could, please include him in your prayers, it would help a lot:)

As for other investigators, we don't have many but we have new people who we have found and we are continuing to search. A very cool experience that happened to us this week was one day we were walking and a guy stopped us and asked us if we could clear up a few questions and doubts that he had. He told us that he had stumbled upon a book of our religion that he said he loves. We thought he was talking about the Book of Mormon obviously, but we found out that it was actually Jesus the Christ. This was one of the most impressive guys that I have ever met, he was very smart and knew everything about our church. From the moment we started to talk to him to when we said goodbye, which was a LOT of time, he sounded like a really smart leader that would be in our church. We found out, however, that he is an Adventist but he has a history with many missionaries and knows mission presidents and stuff. We helped clear up some things and talked to him about a lot of stuff. I really liked his look on religion and how he thought. He talked about how in our life, there are 3 things that are really important and all we need to have, which were Charity, Acts, and Repentance. I have been studying a lot about what religion really is, its intrigued me, but really it is based around those 3 things. As far as what he talked about, he was right, but he had some other things lacking and confused about some other things. Unfortunately he lives in Santiago so I'll probably never see him again but it was a cool experience.

When I said this was an eventful week I don't know what I was thinking haha not a lot has happened. My parents last week asked me why I never had told them that I have been sick.  It is because I never have been, I told them that I had been pretty lucky and never had a serious sickness. Well, I forgot to knock on wood, Saturday I broke my 8 and a half month streak of leaving to work every single day. I woke up with pretty much every symptom of the flu. The symptoms have kept up but due to medicine and rest, I can feel myself getting better. I think I don't have anything serious, but it did prevent me from going out to work Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully I can regain all my strength and continue this week to serve the lord and work in his vineyard!

Love, Elder Clay

Monday, March 9, 2015

Zone Activity, Another miracle with Charlotte, New Companion from Davis High School

Sorry for not writing an email to everyone last week. I was really busy and we didn’t have a lot of time to write back home! I will try and fill you guys in with what’s happened in the past two weeks. Last week I did an exchange with Elder Lopez and I was in Arauco with him. It’s very beautiful there and I had a good time. I taught more that one day than I do in a week here in Coronel haha. Me and Elder Lopez killed it, we set 5 baptismal dates, found new people, contacted a ton, and taught more! Always cool working with other Elders and seeing how they teach, and their story. He is from Columbia and he has about a year in the mish. He teaches a lot like Elder Chumbe, who lives in my house, so I knew how he taught and we worked well together. We were able to see the fruits of our labor. That’s about the best thing/feeling in the mission. But other than that exchange, nothing happened last week. 
However, this week a bunch of things happened that were sweet. The first is we went to an underground mine called Chiflon de Diablo last p-day. It was pretty sweet, we went with the whole zone, and we had a lot of fun. There were some sketchy parts including where we went down in this mine shaft thing that took us down into the earth and another part where we had to crawl through this tiny passage to continue on. I took a lot of pics so I’ll send some. There was a point where we turned off our lights and no one made a sound and it was just pitch black peace. I loved it more than anything. It was a cool experience.

Later that day in the night I got a call. It was from my convert Charlotte! They were passing through Coronel because they are moving form Temuco to Santiago and they wanted to stop by and see me. We met them in the church in Cornel and it honestly was so amazing to see and talk with them. They are doing very well right now and they are going strong in the church since the baptism of Paula, the mom. And even better news that they told me is that the dad, Carlos, wants to get baptized as well now! I literally couldn’t believe my ears when they said that, he never wanted anything to do with the missionaries or church or anything. This man had a change of heart and it was due to his family and this church. I went from seeing him hardly ever smile in my time in Temuco to, when he was here, not drop his smile for even a second. He was a different man. He was so happy, it was so cool to see. Even more, they told me that, to everyone’s amazement and astonishment, he got up in front of everyone during fast and testimony meeting and gave his testimony! He said something like "I know that I don’t know a lot about doctrine or religious stuff but what I do know is that this church and gospel has changed my family’s life and my life also. I know I’m not a member yet, but I plan on finding the missionaries up in Santiago and being baptized into this church!" I had to hold back tears of joy when I heard all this. I couldn’t believe my ears. It made me so happy to hear. One of the best experiences in my mission.

Also something that happened this week that was pretty cool is we passed by one of the houses of one of the guys who comes to our English class regularly. His name is Brian and we actually set a baptismal date with him! He is very receptive and understands everything that we teach him.  He came to our church Thursday for English class, Friday for a young single adults activity, Saturday for a baptism that we had, and Sunday for church! 4 days in a row haha! He gets along with a bunch of young adults in our ward so he’s pretty much set! Pretty cool to see some success after a while. We also did a kind of open house thing at our church where we stood outside and invited people to come in. We gave tours of everything inside the church and taught a little bit about what we do and teach. It was pretty successful. A bunch of people entered and we were able to clear up questions and doubts that they had. This last Saturday was the baptism of two of the investigators that the other guys in our sector have been teaching, Dylan and Kelly. It was pretty cool to see them baptized and help out with all of it.

Well that’s pretty much all that has happened. This last week was my last week with Elder Knecht. It’s sad to see him go because we were such good homies but I’m sure I’ll see him in the future and we have plans to return to Chile together! But yep today is transfers and my new companion is going to be Elder Heely! I have met him once in the mission and he’s pretty cool! He went to Davis and knew my cousins so it should be a pretty good time! I’ll tell you how it goes next week! Love and miss you all!