Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lourdes Got Baptized!

"The biggest news of this week is that Lourdes got baptized! Finally! But, oh was it an adventure! The baptism was Friday morning. Lourdes didn´t want to use a normal baptismal tunica, because she wanted something special and pretty that she could keep. So we bought her a temple dress and made this cute sash with a little flower to wear. Well, the night before we decided to test it to make sure it wasn´t going to be transparent when it got wet. But it was....completely transparent, like saran wrap. So we began calling every missionary in the zone trying to find a tunica for her to wear. We found a couple, but Lourdes didn´t want to wear anything but the dress we had put together.
Anyways...her baptism was at 11 in the morning, so we planned on waking up at 5:30am to be at the capilla by 6, so we could fill the font because it takes about 4 hours to fill it up. Our alarm didn´t go off, so we woke up late. So, we scramble over there and start filling up the font, but there´s no hot water. In fact the water is ice cold. So, we make a million phone calls and the maintence guy comes over to look at it. It turns out there is no gas in the entire capilla and therefore no hot water. They call a gas maintence guy and he comes over and fixes it. But by the time we have the gas for the hot water, the pila is already full with icy water and its 9:30. We know Lourdes will not want to get baptized in the cold water, so we drain it and start to fill it with warm water. But its 9:30, it takes 4 hours to fill up, and our baptism is at 11:00.
Also, we had Stake Conference last Sunday and nobody has cleaned the capilla since and it was filthy. So, in our skirts and heals we vaccumed, mopped, and I cleaned urinals...yes...urinals.
Finally at 11:00 people start showing up. But, the font was only about to a person's ankles, so we stall. We take pictures, we introduce every single person in the room to Lourdes and her kids. And then at about 11:30 we start. We asked one of the elders to direct the meeting and tell him to stall. So we had the program, and then Elder Daines gave an impromptu talk and bore his testimony about 3 times. Lourdes had asked us to do a muscial number, so we sang, but because I was singing we asked a young woman in the ward to play the piano. But what we didn´t realize, is that she played from the simplified hymn book which means the song was about 5 keys higher. It was awful, we were skreeching. It was the worst muscial number in the history of baptisms, I´m sure.
Finally at 12:00 we can´t stall any longer and we all head over to the font. The elder that is going to baptize and Lourdes go down into the font, and the water reaches barely above their knees! But they did the baptism, and it worked. And Lourdes wore a white t-shirt under her dress so it wasn´t too horribly see through.
Hermana Windous and I bore our testimonies afterwards, and then Lourdes bore her testimony. It all worked out. It" was crazy, but it all worked out!

Friday, November 25, 2011

50th Anniversary of the First Chilean Mission

From Sister Laycock: "We enjoyed the week-long celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the first Chilean Mission of the Church in Chile from October 8th-15th. We wish every one of you could have been here with us to enjoy the festivities and participate in the amazing activities. It was in every way, spectacular. On October 8, we enjoyed a fireside at the Lynch Norte Chapel which was broadcast to many Stake Centers throughout Chile. We learned about the past 50 years of the Church in Chile. Then Elder Zeballos of the Area Presidency asked us what will happen in the next 50 years of the Church in Chile. It was absolutely beautiful. During the week, we had visitors and investigators who wanted to learn and discover who we are and what we know and believe. It was wonderful!

On October 15th, more than 22,000 people gathered in a beautiful open-air Santiago Stadium just as the sun was setting on Santiago. It had been rainy and cold all week, and we prayed for good weather. It was perfect... no rain at all, just clear skies and fresh, cool, clean air!

First, we were privileged to hear from Elder Richards, Elder Zeballos, and Elder Corbridge (our Area Presidency) in a fireside setting which was perfect. Then we were entertained and taught through an elaborate and beautiful presentation which included nearly 3,000 youth from throughout the Country of Chile and many others. The dancing and music and costumes were colorful and artistically designed and created. We were thoroughly overcome with gratitude and love for our Chilean Brothers and Sisters and their overwhelming National Pride. The giant jumbo trons featured none other than a video of several of our missionaries teaching and preaching the Gospel and serving their Chilean Brothers and Sisters.

Our Missionaries were part of the program. Along with the missionaries from the North, West, East, andRancagua Missions, they were seated in the stands near the stage. A touching scene portraying a beautiful, faithful family saying good-bye to their son as he left to serve his mission brought tears to our eyes and filled us with gratitude for the Missionary Program of the Church. Then the spotlights flooded in upon the gigantic force of Missionaries wearing beautiful white shirts and huge sparkling smiles. In powerful, faithful voices, they sang, "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go." It was spectacular! We felt such an outpouring of the Spirit. I don't think there was a dry eye in the entire stadium as the missionary on the stage, lovingly left his family and walked quietly across the stadium field pulling his suitcase behind him. Accompanied by the beautiful voices of our missionaries singing, it was a heart-warming setting and scene, and we were filled with the spirit of missionary work and its importance in our lives. Every person in the stands felt incredible gratitude for missionaries and the missionary program of the Church because of course, they were all brought to the true and restored Gospel by their own set of missionaries. They reverence and pay homage to all missionaries because they are so very grateful that some missionaries found and taught and baptized them. They know that without missionaries and the sacrifices they make, they themselves would not be members of the true and living Church. It was so powerful and so very beautiful.

The presentation depicted different historical episodes of the Americas along with the development of the Church in Chile. Music and dances from three continents were included with spectacular, gorgeous costumes designed and made by parents and volunteers.

We are constantly amazed at the talents and abilities that make possible these presentations. We know that without the help of the Lord, none of this would be possible here in Santiago. This was clearly a labor of love that has had remarkable influence here. Many people are wanting to know more about the Church because of this activity. We know that the positive effects of this celebration will be felt for years to come. We are so thankful to have been a small part of it all."

Pictures from the October Mission Activity

President and Sister Laycock
October Mission Activity

"A tine miracle in the very last house"

Mattias is doing great! We had another lesson with him yesterday. Hes been reading the Book of Mormon and praying, and he´s already noticed an added peace to his life and changes in himself. Its amazing. We set a fecha (baptismal date) with him last night. He is such an awesome guy. I don´t know if I told you this last time, but I feel like I´ve met him before. I know that sounds so cliche, but it is such a strong feeling. Hes come to church two weeks in a row now and is progressing like wildfire.

"We had a cool experience this week. We had a day where we weren´t having much success. None of the investigators or menos activos that we passed for were home. So we ran through our plans and backup plans really fast. We tried knocking for a bit but we weren´t having much success with that either. So, we decided to go visit a menos activo who lived a little bit farther south. So as we were walking we walked by this short little street and I said, "¿Piensa que deberíamos tocar esta calle?" And my companion said, "Sí" So, we said a little prayer that we would find at least one person knocking this street and started. We talked to a few wishy-washy people who were like, "Well maybe you can pass by another day. I´m not home all the time...but sure" but we kept knocking. We knocked one whole side of the street and then the whole other side and we weren´t coming up with anything solid. Finally we reached the last house and there was this cute lady watering her garden. We said hola, and she turned off the water and came over and talked to us. We explained that we had a message about Jesus Christ and she agreed to listen to us. Her name is Monica. So, right there at her gate we taught her the first lesson and gave her a Book of Mormon. She had great questions throughout the lesson and was excited to read the Book of Mormon. It was so cool. Such a tiny little miracle. In the very last house. But our prayer was answered and we have an appointment with her tomorrow night."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"There is a boy in our ward, who reminds me SO much of Carter. His name is Filipe and he just got his mission call to Argentina, so last Sunday we talked to him about doing a Noche de Hogar (FHE) with his family to talk about Argentina and the mission. Well, he called us Saturday morning and asked us to come over that night. We thought it was for the NDH, but when we got there it was actually to teach his friend Mattias. We didn´t have anything prepared, but it was an awesome lesson. We taught about the restoration and he accepted an invitation to be baptized! He is super receptive and just awesome! He has had a rough life, but he has a sincere desire to repent and change. Its amazing. He came to church yesterday too! And we have an appointment with him tonight."

"God has a funny sense of humor, but he does answer prayers!"

"Wednesday was really, really hard. We worked all day, knocking and trying to visit menos activos but nobody would let us in. A few menos activios lied to us and told us that the people we were looking for had moved when it was actually them. I was feeling really lame. We hadn´t taught a single lesson all day. We had a choir practice at the end of the day, so we were walking towards the capilla (church.) We were at the end of our day and I was just praying, praying, praying that we could find somebody, anybody, who wanted to talk to us. As I finished my prayer, we were standing at a stop light waiting for it to change, and as soon as I said "amen" in my head, the guy standing next to me turned around, read my name tag and said, "Ohhhhhh....your Mormons...." in English. Lets just say God has a funny sense of humor, but he does answer prayers. It turns out this man and his wife are here in Chile as missionaries for an Evangelical church and they live on the same street as us. So we walked with them for a little bit and he told me how it was such a shame that we believe in the Angel Moroni more that Christ and all this stuff and he wasn´t very willing to be corrected. But, he lives in this house owned by the oragnization that he works for where young adults come from all over the world to have an "intense training program to come closer to God" and he invited us to come and teach everybody what we really believe. So we´re hoping to go sometime this week. From then on, everything has gotten progressively better. On Thursday we had a cita (appointment) every hour all day long! We´re teaching some people who seem to have a lot of promise. We´re excited."

Jonathan got baptized!

Jonathon got baptized on Sunday!!!!!! It was so amazing. I bawled. President Laycock came and spoke and it was amazing. Lourdes is getting baptized this next Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

First Week of Training

Well I´ve survived a week of training. My companion is named Hermana Loza, and she is from Argentina. She is very sweet and we get a long very well. She has this cute Argentina accent that I just love and I actually enjoy speaking in Spanish all day.
But, I have never been so tired. I think speaking in Spanish all day wears my brain out and being in charge of everything and always having to be on my toes keeps me on edge all day. So when I get home I´m just about dead. I feel like I go to bed exhausted and wake up even more exhausted. BUT, things are good.
Hermana Loza and I get along so well, and shes so excited to be here. Its such a help that she already speaks Spanish. She is willing to be involved and help with everything and she is so patient with me. On our first day after about an hour I gave up trying to pretend like I knew what I was doing and I told her that I didn´t have a clue and that I was so sorry because I know thats the last thing that you want to hear from your trainer. But I told her I had a testimony that I knew we were supposed to be together and that I would try to do everything I could to make this a special experience for her. She was so understanding and supportive and we´ve already become good friends.
Actually a cool thing happened on Tuesday when I went to pick her up. I was still totally stressed about training so I asked President to give me a blessing. He gave me a beautiful blessing where he blessed me with strength and peace of mind. But what was cool is what he said afterwards. Afterwards he said ¨I will promise you, that you and Hermana Loza will be eternal friends¨ It was the coolest thing, because I don´t know if you remember, but when I got set apart as a missionary, in my blessing, President Reeder blessed me with the gift of tounges and that I would make eternal friends on my mission. Cool huh?

Packages From Home!

Using and Developing Her Talents

Sundays in the mission are nuts. You spend the whole day running around. Everyone wants to talk to you and you are just so busy. Last week we got to church a few minutes early because as missionaries we were doing a musical number in Sacrament Meeting. I was playing the piano and it was a pretty difficult song so I was kind of stressed about it. So we practiced a little bit and 5 minutes before the meeting started the 1st counselor in the bishopbric asked me to give a 15 minute talk because their speaker was sick. It was nuts. So all in one Sacrament meeting I gave a talk and then got down from the pulpit and walked over to the piano and we did the musical number. I have now been called to play the piano in the Primary, specifically for the Primary program in 2 weeks.
We also have a special fireside this Saturday with an APOSTLE!!! We´re so excited. But I´ve been asked to play the prelude and the numbers for the fireside. So this Saturday I will be playing the piano for an Apostle. Then we are doing a special musical number at the beginning of December for a Fireside with our President and Hermana Windous and I are in charge of it and I´m playing the piano for that too. My poor new companion will be spending a lot of time listening to me practice for her first change. Poor thing.


We had changes. I´m still in Nunoa 1 and Hermana Windous is still here too. But they have split us up. Now would be a could time to sit down... because you´re never going to belive this....we´re both...training.
Yes, you read that correctly. I, having only 4 months in Chile and 6 months as a missionary, am training a brand new impressionable missionary straight from the MTC. I almost threw up when they annouced it this morning. I´m scared out of my mind. I have no idea what I´m doing and I´m pretty sure I´m going to ruin this poor girls life. If you haven´t been praying for me up to this point, I could really use your prayers for these next few weeks. And any advice from you return missionaries would be great.

Visiting Little Old Ladies

This week has been good. Lourdes is doing great. She fed us lunch this week and it was SO good. We´ve started looking for a dress for her baptism so it should happen in the next couple weeks.

I also have great news! I don´t know if you remember Jonathan? The boyfriend of a member in our ward who dropped off the face of the earth? Well the other Hermanas found him again, have been teaching him, and hes getting baptized this Sunday! I´m so excited! Hopefully Hermana Hudson and I will be able to go.

One thing that I´ve learned that I LOVE to do is visit little old ladies in the ward who live all alone. In Nunoa 2 it was Hermana Arranda. Here in Nunoa 1 her name is Hilda and she is a Hoot! She is around 75 and shes this little round woman and she doesn´t have a single tooth! I´ll have to send you a picture. She is the cutest, sweetest thing in the entire world. She can´t see very well and she can´t hear worth a darn, but she has the cutest funniest personality.. We visit her a couple times a week because shes lonely. This week we went over and helped her shell peas and change the sheets on her bed. Her bed was piled with clothes so as we took the clothes off to change the sheets we found her teeth. Actually several pairs. I don´t know why she doesn´t wear them, but I´m glad she doesn´t, not even to church.