Well another cambio has gone by, and just like every cambio, this one went by faster than the last. The mission really does fly. This cambio, though, there's some big news. I'm staying with Elder Perez to finish his training, but I'm now going to be a District Leader. I'm not really nervous, per se, just anxious. I feel like this asignment (like all callings and asignments in the Lord's Kingdom) is going to be a huge learning experience. It's going to be difficult, but worth it. I feel this past week I've started to pass through a new stage in my mission, so I guess it's good timing. I've really been trying to understand my purpose better as a missionary, to really internalize it, be obedient and follow the Spirit in everything I do. And I've already seen the blessings that come once we realize that (just like you said, Ashley), God blesses us. We don't bless ourselves. We alone are capable of nothing. Especially in missionary work. There are just too many factors that are beyond our control to leave things to chance and our own strength, so we have to put our trust in the Lord and work with the Spirit, because it does everything that we cannot. Like my wonderfully wise companion said, "we have to gain the trust of Him who gives the best references." If God knows that we're here for Him, and we're going to work hard, he'll lead us to the people He's preparing, and everything will be better.
But yeah, I'm really excited, and I pray I live up to the responsibility. Other cool news, my first-born son is also going to be a District Leader (Elder Ramirez), which is pretty crazy cause he's so young in the mission, but he is for sure a natural leader and I know he'll do great. My dad (Elder Salas) is still going to be Zone Leader, but this time in Lebu (the zone where he was born, so fun for him).
Other than that, things are going great here, and I'm very happy to be a missionary. Daniela did not get baptised this past weekend. It's been very hard to have time to meet with her, because she's been crazy busy with school, but luckily she's about to be done. We did have a lesson with her the other day, and we talked about her baptismal date. She looked uneasy, and we could not figure out what was holding her back, because she's super prepared and truly a "golden investigator." We talked about it a bit more and even tried to set back the date a little bit, but finally she asked us if she could be baptised on a weekday, or if it had to be Saturday. We said no, it can be whatever day. So she told us she wanted to be baptised on the 11th of july. We were a little puzzled and asked why a few times, because she didn't want to tell us. Finally she let us know that the 11th of july is when her dad passed away. She said, "that day changed my life. And I want it to be the day that changes my life again." It was a pretty powerful experience as we testified to her that her father would be smiling down on her from heaven on that day, and we ended the lesson with Daniela looking a lot more calm about her baptismal date. So that's her story.
This weekend, Lorena, however, will be baptised. Her story is pretty awesome too, but I'll have to tell it next week, as I'm running out of time. But she really has been converted, the look in her eyes and the new smile on her face is such a change from the somewhat depressed, overworked, and hopeless Lorena that we found in our first lesson with her. She's very much at calm now, and looking forward anxiously to the remission of her sins and a new life.
Well, time's up so I will leave you all now until next week. Thank you so much for writing. I love you all dearly and wish you the best always.
P.S. Anna: unfortunately, restaurants in Chile aren't really a thing here like they are in the States, so we rarely eat out. Well, I guess we did more in Carahue, but it's not really the same, I don't think. Also: I think about you a lot and think you're amazing. Thank you for always writing and being a support to me. I'm gonna get a letter out to you soon I promise! And you gotta send me some photos! Deal? Deal. :)
A panorama of the wasteland between two neighborhoods on the outskirts of our sector. They're still working on a direct route.
Again, with my lovely bike.
With Elder Perez in the Mission Office
Liliana Torres, and her granddaughter Antonela, I love this family tons (lots missing in this picture) and we're trying to help reactivate them and baptise the only remaining unbaptised child of Liliana
The chapel in Lagunillas
Lorena gave up cigarettes and she's getting baptized on Saturday!