So you're probably all wondering why I'm writing so late today. It's been an interesting few days, as we have spent the better part of our time yesterday and today saying goodbye to everyone here in Carahue. Well, I've been saying goodbye. That's right, my time has come. After five wonderful, fulfilling months, I'm leaving behind my first home in the mission and the first people I learned to love in Chile. But there's some very exciting news behind this sad goodbye.
Tomorrow, very early in the morning, Elder Ramirez and I head to Concepción to pick up our children. Yep, my son's going to have a son and a brother at the same time. It's going to be a great challenge for us both, as Elder Ramirez is still quite young (in the mission sense and in the age sense), and will have to feel the same weight of Carahue's future weighing upon his shoulders as I did when I began to train. A challenge for me as well, as I will be opening a sector with my kid, who very possibly could be a gringito that doesn't speak a lick of Spanish (oh, how the tables turn). The good news is that Elder Ramirez has a baptism coming up (Ana, if you remember) this Saturday, which will be a great start to the cambio and a great start to the mission for his companion. My comfort comes from the news that my new sector, Lagunillas, near Coronel, has a very strong ward as well as several returned missionaries who are very willing to do splits with the missionaries. Granted, I have very big shoes to fill, Lagunillas being the past sector of our now zone leader here in Temuco (I had a companionship exchange with him once...he's a machine.) Also, when the asistents called me they informed me that Lagunillas has a record of being one of the most successful sectores in the entire mission, but that lately they've been experiencing a little bit of a low, so they want me and my faith-filled-freshy to lift it up again. I am extremely excited/nervous/hopeful/anxious for the new adventure and to open a new chapter in my mission life, but very sad to be closing the first.
I love Carahue. I love my converts. I love my investigators. Having spent spent five months here, and it being my first sector in my mission, I've established some roots here, and I've felt very strange these past few days, knowing that there's a chance that I will never see these people again in my life. It's sadder than leaving home for two years. I told everybody that I've said goodbye to that my greatest joy, apart from the wonderful friendships I have made, has been sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and watching it change people's lives. I know I've left a mark in the lives of these people, and for that reason I feel a certain sense of importance. Not in the sense of pride, but in a very humbling way that I've never before experienced in my life. Like what I did here is the most important thing I've ever done for anybody anywhere. And I know that that's true. And truly, I don't say it to boast, but I say it out of gratitude for the beautiful experiences my Father in Heaven has given me, and because He has made me an instrument in His hands to bring the Restored Gospel to His children.
Well, the Ciber's closing and we have to go say goodbye to some other folks. I'll talk to you all VERY soon! Time really flies. I love you all dearly and can't wait to see your faces! Muchos saludos desde Carahue! Nos vemos en Lagunillas!