Monday, August 13, 2012

"Camila got baptized yesterday!  Everything went perfectly, except for the fact that we forgot to turn off the water when we were filling up the font and it almost over flowed.  So like 10 minutes before, the poor elders were bailing out water with trash buckets.  It wouldn't be a baptism if there wasn't an adventure right?  But the rest was perfect.  Our ward mission leader didn't say anything weird, her family came, the Relief Society provided refreshmants, people from the ward came, it was great.

We took a ton of pictures but I forgot to bring my camera to send them :(  But I'll send them next week for sure.

And as for everyone else we're teaching, we have 4 other baptismal dates set so things are going well." 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"Things are going well.  Hermana Achucarro is still a little sick...but hopefully she´ll be able to get the medicine that will help her soon.  Just keep us in your prayers.
Things are going really well.  We have had a good week.  Camila is getting baptized this Sunday!  We´re so excited.  I´ll make sure to send pictures.
But other than that things are normal.  Time is flying by." 
"Its been an interesting and very long week. The beginning of the week started out great.  We had some great lessons and everything.  And on Thursday we had interviews with President.  It was wonderful.  He is an incredible man.  Very loving and kind.  What's nice and different is that he's a lot more accesible.  It was a great experience.

But right after our interviews with President, Hermana Achucarro came down with a stress headache and we had to go home.  And it just kept getting worse and worse until we ended up in the hospital on Friday.  It's been a roller coaster of a ride ever since.  We spent one day in the mission home with President and his wife and they took great care of her.  And I got to spend the day with them, which was super cool :)  After 6 days in bed, she's doing a lot better.  

As for me, I did go a little crazy being inside so much.  But I´m okay. I was able to make a lot of yummy things,  Apple Pie, Banana Bread, Sugar Cookies, and Cake Bites...  

But we´re good now, and do to the fact that we were inside the whole week, that's all I have to report.  But I love you all bunches and bunches."

"This week has been a little bit more stressful. But, the hardest times always come before the greatest blessings.  And on Sunday our big blessing came!

We had a lesson with Camila and President Wright in his house and it was amazing!  We talked about the Book of Mormon and the Spirit was so strong.  And at the end she asked to put a baptismal date!  So we set the date for the 12th of August!  We are SO happy!!!!  We have another appointment to teach her in the mission home this Wednesday.  

Our other investigators are doing well.  We're going to talk with Karen and her Mom tonight about her baptism.  Luis is still working on changing his work schedule so we'll see how it goes.

It's still pretty cold here.  It will stay cold until about September.  But it hasn't been as bad as last year, for which I'm grateful.   

We were supposed to go down to Puento Alto today to visit some of the families down there but our Zone Leaders forgot to ask permission.  So, we just lounged around all day.  It was nice to relax because we're going to have a busy week this week.  I can't believe we're already half way through this transfer...time is flying by.  We have interviews this week and I'm planning on begging President Wright to let me stay in this ward for the rest of my mission. Just two more transfers...oh boy."

"We had some great successes this week.  We were able to put two baptismal dates with Karen and Luis for the begginning of August. We´re super excited about it.  They both have a lot to overcome before thier dates, we have to talk to Karen´s mom, and Luis has to find a way to stop working on Sundays, but we have faith its all going to work out.

Church was a little lame yesterday because its the middle of winter break so everyone is out of town.  But Camilia was there.  We tried to put a date with her but she says she still feels like she's missing something.  We didn´t have much time to talk to her about it, but hopefully we´ll be able to work through her doubts this week and hopefully set the date, at least as a goal."

"We had changes and Hermana Achucarro and I stayed together in our sector!!!  We were super happy.

This week has been pretty chill.  My companion has been struggling with stomach pains and migraines so we lose a lot of time, but we´re going to see another doctor this week.  So hopefully things will get better.

All our investigators are doing great.  The usuals all came to church on Sunday except for Tomás, because he was with his mom.  But they are all progressing and doing great. We just need to get them all with a baptismal date.

Two cool things happend this week.  1.  On the way home one day we were riding the bus and a boy asked me if I knew where he could get a Bible.  I explained that I didn´t have any copies with me but that I did have a copy of the Book of Mormon that I could give him.  I presented the BofM and he was super interested.  We chatted a little bit more and I was able to get his information and set up an appointment.  The next day he called us to tell us he had been reading the Book of Mormon and that he loves it and is really interested in learning more.  It was a Saturday and I happened to mention church the next day and invited him to go.  And on Sunday when we got to the chapel there he was sitting waiting for us.  He stayed for all the meetings and is super excited to learn more.  His name is Daniel.  He's from Colombia and is here in Chile to study Piano preformance.  It was such a cool experience.  The only catch...he doesn´t live in our area.  He lives two streets outside of it.  I was so sad.  But today a really great Elder was transfered in so we´re going to pass along the reference.  

2.  Since the beginning of the change Hermana Achucarro and I had set the goal to have 100 people in Sacrament meeting.  The average is normally around 70.  So we´ve been working hard and the attendance has slowly been going up each week, but its never reached 100.  So this last week was our last week in the change and we prayed and prayed that we would be able to meet our goal and after Sacrament Meeting we went to talk to the ward secretary and......the assitance was 101!!!  We were so happy.  We have a lot of great goals for this next change as well.

I was thinking about it alot this week and talking about it with my companion, but I feel like although we´re working hard, I don´t feel like we´re working any harder than I have in my other areas.  But I feel like we are having SO much success and seeing so many miracles.  I just feel so blessed and so lucky.  Seriously, my mission and, let's face it, my life, have both been a breeze.  And success just seems to fall right into our laps.  All these blessings, all these miracles, and I feel like I haven´t done anything to deserve it.  It just helped me realize how much Heavenly Father loves us.  How merciful he is that gives us so many great blessings.  And that all of it is really His work,  it happens in Him timetable and we are just privledged to be apart of it and see it happen.   Its amazing."

Farewell Letter from President and Sister Laycock

Dear Family and Friends,
As the Santiago sun softly sets on our three-year service as Mission President and Companion of the Chile, Santiago East Mission, we stand hand in hand, gazing with awe and wonder at the breath-taking beauty that Heavenly Father’s love for His children is creating in this spectacular country of Chile (John 3:16-17).

We offer our sure witness of the remarkable miracles that have taken place in the Chile, Santiago East Mission during the past three years. We testify that the Lord has loved, inspired, and protected his Chilean children (including his missionaries) in miraculous ways, and we will always cherish the warmth and the sweetness of this country. We testify that the Lord has sent his chosen leaders, missionaries, and angels to minister to and guide his Chilean children, and we will never forget the miraculous love that we have felt for and from the people of Chile. We will treasure the relationships we have formed. And we will pray fervently for all who will serve here to be able to “establish the Church” and to help the Lord achieve the “real growth” that Chile so desperately needs.

Before our mission service began, we prayed fervently to know what the Lord would have us do. We attended the Temple. We fasted. We prayed. And we prayed some more. Each time, the answer we received was very simple: “Teach them that I love them.” “Teach them to love me.” We continually received the inspiration that Godly love should be our focus: “If you love me, keep my commandments,” always echoed in our hearts and minds. And the Savior’s words, “Lovest thou me?” and “Feed my sheep” were a continuous subject of ongoing revelation for us. We tirelessly invited others to demonstrate their love for God by keeping his commandments and feeding his sheep. 

When we first started our mission, we were extremely excited, and we wanted our mission to have the highest number of baptisms in all of Chile; we are competitive by nature. But the Lord had other plans, and we quickly learned that obeying his commandments means doing his work in his way. Real obedience creates so much more than mere numbers can ever show. With our limited view, we thought it was all about baptisms. Instead, the Lord had a better way, and we learned that it was not about numbers of baptisms alone. Instead, it was about ministering one by one and sharing his love by doing the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way so that he could provide the blessings that he desired to provide for our mission.

We soon discovered that our mission actually needed more worthy priesthood holders to love and care for the members we already had. We wanted every single member to be able to remain active, so we prayed fervently to know the Lord’s will, and he answered our prayers through His chosen servants.

Elder Holland has said, speaking of Preach My Gospel and the Lord’s plan for mission work: “You may think you have a better way. You really don’t.” We have come to know that this is true, and we found answers in Elder Holland’s wise counsel. We asked the Lord what we needed to do in order to better be able to do his work in his way.

We began to invite men (priest age and older) to eat with the missionaries in order to comply with the rule in the handbooks that states that missionaries should never be alone with a member of the opposite sex unless another responsible adult of his or her own sex is present. Immediately, our missionaries began teaching more men. Because of this, and other seemingly small acts of obedience coupled with the good efforts of many people, we saw our numbers of full-time missionaries leaving from our wards increase. We saw the miracle of many families becoming complete as we found men and families that we could teach and baptize. We saw the activity in our stakes begin to increase as we worked diligently to involve men in our teaching and in the time our missionaries spent in our members’ homes. We saw miracles because we did the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way. The Lord’s ways were not our ways. His ways were, of course, much better. We did his work in his way, and we receive the blessings that he wanted to give his mission. We are so thankful that the Lord helped us to know and understand his will. We are thankful that he taught us that it was not about us, nor was it about our limited understanding. Instead, it was (and always will be) all about his plan, his will, and his love.

It has become crystal clear to us that our assignment here has been to teach our missionaries and those within the boundaries of our mission, that there is no better way to do missionary work than to do it according to the Lord’s will, through the Lord’s love and in the Lord’s way, always obeying his guidelines.

Every time we taught the Plan of Salvation, we were reminded of how Satan heard Heavenly Father’s plan just as Jesus did, but that Satan wanted to do it in his own way. Satan thought he had a better way. He did not desire to do the Father’s work in the Father’s way. He was cast out, and he became miserable and bitter.

In contrast, our Savior did his Father’s work in his Father’s way, and he found true joy, satisfaction, and completion. He accomplished the Atonement and made it possible for all of us to gain eternal life and exaltation.

We have painstakingly and earnestly tried to do all that we have done here in the Lord’s way, following his guidelines, and using his tools. This endeavor, based upon our personal study and the Lord’s inspiration, has blessed our mission in remarkable and unusual ways. We have seen the miracle of his love and how it transforms his children. We know that he is the way, the truth, and the light.

This is his work. We know that we have been privileged to be his mouth and his hands during our mission service. We expect that we will experience a huge void in our hearts as we remove our missionary name tags on Friday, and our full-time mission service as President and companion ends, but through this remarkable experience, we have come to better know and understand our Heavenly Father’s love and his plan, and we promise to continue to share that love and that plan forever more.

We are eternally grateful for the blessings that have come because of our Santiago service. God’s love has colored our own lives with even more heartfelt devotion to our Savior.  God’s love has shone with brilliance upon our own family members, and we are thankful to each one of you for your support, your prayers, and your encouragement. We love you! God’s love has warmed and transformed our missionaries’ hearts. God’s love has showered glowing particles of faith in Jesus Christ over the lives of his Chilean sons and daughters. And it has been a privilege far beyond our greatest expectations for us to be a small part of the spectacular manifestation of Godly love that we have discovered in our missionary service. Every single day of our mission has been a sweet, personal tutorial in Godly love and the miraculous, transforming power that it offers the world through the eternal gift and power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

We understand that the majesty of the sunset that we are now experiencing immediately precedes the dawn of a new day for our missionaries, under the divine direction of the Lord through President and Sister Wright who are our successors. We offer our promise that during our three years here, we have done everything within our power to bring our mission into complete conformity with the inspired guide lines that we have found in Preach My Gospel, the Mission President’s Handbook, the Missionary Handbook, the scriptures, and the direction of our living prophets. We find great joy and satisfaction in knowing that we have done our very best to do our Father’s work in his way. We understand that he blesses us, his children, with what he wants to give us when we obediently and diligently strive to do his work in his way. His way is much more glorious and wonderful than we can ever imagine!

Con mucho amor y gratitud,
Presidente Larry R. Laycock y Hermana Lisa D. Laycock
La misión, Chile Santiago Este

"Today was really fun.  We were going to go to this cool museum with the Pino Family but when we got there it was closed.  So we went bowling instead.  And thus, the pictures.

It's been a great week.  Well, except for the fact that President and Sister Laycock left.  I was a wreck at their farewell.  But, I only cried a few other times during the week.  Mostly when I wrote in my journal about them or remembered they were leaving.

But we met President Wright and his wife.  We went on Saturday to meet them and then Hermana Wright actually went out with us to do some visits.  They are so nice and really fun.  We are so spoiled to have them in our ward.  We will be eating with them in their house every Thursday and they assist our ward!  We were so happy when they said they would be come to our ward.  It will be a great help to the families.  Actually, this last Sunday, I don´t know if it was because it was fast Sunday or because they were there but the Spirit was SO strong.

Things have gone really well with everyone this week.  Camilia fasted but we haven´t taught her yet, so I´m not sure where she's at.  Luis is doing great, he's starting to think about baptism.  He's going to try and talk with a friend at work so he can avoid working on Sundays and go to church.  Karen is doing great, we met her mom this week which is an answer to our prayers.  We´re hoping we can start teaching her whole family so we just don´t baptize her and leave her without support.  We haven´t seen Familia Catalan Zapata since our amazing lesson but we have an appointment with them this Thursday.  So I´ll let you know how it goes.

But things are going great.  Sorry I don´t have time to write more.  My fingers are frozen so it takes me longer to write my emails now."