July 5, 2010

I am convinced that I am the luckiest man on the earth -- even though I'm near the bottom of it here in Chile. I love you guys so much. So much. I love grandpa and grandma. I miss them. I'm so happy that Vince got a job at the MTC. I would love to work there, but it is really hard to get a job there.

My companion is Andrés Mauricio Valderrutén Ramirez - or Elder Valderrutén. From Colombia - Cali

Querida Familia... I love the mission. It is such a blessing to be here. I love it. It has rained a lot of times, yesterday morning it rained very, very hard. We actually had an assistance of 40 people in the church. The normal is around 80... so yea... Only 5 investigators came, but we were actually the only companionship in the district that had investigators in the church. We ended up giving the priesthood lesson again because people didn't show up. There was only 6 of us. (2 investigators) it was a neat lesson. After that, we did the 2nd hour class with the investigators and 2 members. It was about baptism chapter 20. It went well. I really like teaching, but I'm not a great teacher yet. I'm trying to do better though.

On Tuesday We did a mini cambio - a division with a different companionship. I went to the sector and spent the day and the night with Elder Michie from Moroni, Utah. He knows the Poulsons. I don't think he knows Brady, but he does know Amanda, Brady’s cousin. He is new to the mission field. He got here 2 weeks ago. We were able to teach some good lessons and hopefully they will be able to keep teaching the people so they progress. It was neat to have a day with Elder Michie.

The Oportu Solar family is progressing little by little. Matilde is ready. She doesn’t understand everything, and she says that, but she says she has felt the spirit and that’s all she needs. She knows the rest will come. Claudia is very, very close. Claudia believes what we say, but she doubts too. She believes it but she doesn't admit that and she is in a fight with herself. Jose Luis does not want to accept the Book of Mormon. I think that there is something behind him not wanting to accept it, but he is not even giving it a chance in this moment. We had a neat experience the other day in their house. We went with Sister Mabel who is just awesome. We shared testimonies, and then we asked Matilde to share her testimony. She said a lot of things, but something I really liked is how she started it all... she said 'When Elder Pitcher and Elder Keller got here, I basically told them that we are Evangelic. We have been for all our life, and we will be forever..... But I don't know why, after listening to them, I accepted the Book of Mormon and I started reading it (she likes to read) and I feel that it is the word of God. I don’t know why I gave room for it in my heart, but I did, and I have felt that it is something very good'. When that happened I just was hit with the importance of testimonies. I said to Claudia. 'You have already heard my testimony, you have the testimony of my companion, the testimony of Mabel. If you don’t want to accept ours, or you don’t feel sure, listen to the testimony of your mom.' Claudia started crying, it kind of hit her, but it didn’t have a lot of effect on Jose Luis.

President Humphrey is a good guy. He likes to laugh a lot. He speaks Spanish, but by no means speaks it perfectly right now (shoot, he hasn’t spoken it in 20 years) he will speak perfectly in about 2 months. His wife doesn’t speak much, but I know she will learn too. I loved President Chavez because he was, BAM, right to the point...all about business. President Humphrey is different, but I know he has been called by God. We will be implementing a new program with him. There will be a lot of changes. It is something that will be happening to all the missions in the next year, but it has been started with the new presidents that went out this year (a week ago). The First Presidency has done something to help missionaries teach better because missionaries don’t teach well. I remember I heard Elder Holland say that when we were in the MTC. I didn’t believe it then, but I affirm that it’s true now. Missionaries don’t teach that well. Because of that, The Prophet and the Apostles have done some things. It will be interesting to see what happens. We have interviews on Wednesday. I'll keep you updated.

I realized again how important it is to have the spirit with you always. I realized how important it is to never do anything that doesn’t invite the spirit. That is the hard part because many times we don’t do bad things, but they are things that don’t invite the spirit, and because of that, they are bad things.

I love you all. Thanks for everything.