Sept 20, 2010

So we just passed the independence day here in Chile. Independence Day is bigger than Christmas I think. They have given them 4 days off from work and school, and they just love it. The holiday was special this year because they are celebrating the 200 year anniversary. The 18 of September is the day, but we had a big party as a ward on Friday the 17th. It was a big party. It started at 10 and the last people left at 11 at night. We got there at about 12 and left at 9:30 (we left a couple times in between to get investigators) There were games and there was food. Lots of food. Empanadas, Cazuela (its like a soup with chicken and potatoes, very Chilean) and barbecue.  One of the highlights of the night was when a group of teenage girls and boys came and danced the Cueca, the national dance of Chile. It is very neat, and when you understand the history of it, it is neat to watch the dance and understand what is happening. It is very cowboyish. Chile has a cowboy past, and it's almost all gone now, but they LOVE dressing up like Chilean cowboys and celebrating their independence. Chile is very different from all other Latin America countries in many aspects, and the national dance is very different too. I always thought about dances like the Salsa and Flamenco, But I found out it's not like that here. They dance a lot of Salsa in Columbia and the Samba from Brasil is very fast and hipmoving, but the Cueca is nothing like that. I know I will be finding a way to get down here with my future wife for a 18 de Septriembre and we will be dancing the Cueca together. I know, I cant believe I said I'll be learning a dance, but I really want to. I would also love to learn the Salsa that they dance in Colombia, The only thing is, that takes moves, and moves are what I don't have, but Elder Valderruten told me he will be teaching me the Salsa.

Saturday was a very tough day for the work because it was the 18 and everyone was with their families and a lot of them were drunk, but we still got some things done. In the night time we went to bed at 11 (regular time) and the house behind us had a couple people in the back yard. They were having some drinks and talking and just being happy. There were about 5 of them. However, at 1:30 in the morning I kind of was awakened by their music, but it wasn't that bad, I just went back to sleep. But then at 3:30 they must have turned their music up. I looked out from our second story bedroom and saw like 30 people back there. I woke up to a song by Shakira and I woke up thinking about Elder Jake Perry. Why? Because the song they were cranking so loud was the theme song for the Spanish world for the World Cup. Now I know that in the states, the World cup isn't that big, but here it is HUGE.. Bigger than big, and everyone and their dog was listening to that Shakira song talking about Africa. Naturally, every time I here the world Africa I think about my dear, dear friend.  And so when I heard this song at 3:30, Elder P was in my mind. I love him. Please give him a big shout out for me.

 Yesterday we taught some great lessons. We did a lot of door knocking and talked with a lot of people in the street. We got rejected a lot of times. Some people wouldn't shake our hands or talk to us, but we kept on going and we didn't get down. One of the last lessons we taught was one of the best lessons we've had in a long time. We walked past a house with a little girl jumping up and down and yelling. She was about 11 and she wasn't yelling because she was mad, just because she was having fun. We passed the house and my companion told me 'It looks like they are having a fun family night'.  He said it as a joke, but I said 'Lets talk to them!' and so we went back and we talked. To make a long story short, we got into the house. The man was drunk, but by some miracle he left after saying some choice words to us. The 11 year old girl was actually 10 and she is probably the smartest I've met here in Chile. She literally was finishing our sentences when we were teaching the restoration. After teaching about the First vision she said 'And after that he was called to be the prophet to make the church again. The only true church that has the power to baptize'. We invited them to baptism and the daughter of 14 was nervous, the mom was nervous, but the girl of 10 was like, 'obviously I need to get baptized in that church, and I don't care what my grandpa or dad tell me because I am going to choose this church because its true." (The grandpa goes to a different church and dad doesn't believe much in God). We invited them to a Family Night we are doing here tonight. I hope it all goes well.

I have to go get something to eat.

I love you all.

Sept 13, 2010

The foto is of my zone.
Answers to some questions.

Which area was it hardest to leave - Chillan or Tome?
I don't know what was harder. I honestly couldn't tell you. I love the way the people in Tome are. I love how loving they are. I also loved Chillan. I loved that sector. I can't give you an answer :)

What has been your biggest surprise about Chile?
How American it is.

What is your favorite scripture and has it changed from the beginning of your mission?
I can't pick a favorite scripture... One that always comes to my mind 'If you love me, keep my commandments'.... Elder Law always talked about that one. Wow, Elder Law is such a neat guy. Such a great missionary. I hope you meet him soon.

Are you compiling recipes so you can cook us a good Chilean meal some day?
Honestly... no... I might have just forgotten everything, but I swear a lot of the food is the same as the states... ha ha I just asked my companion and elder nelson if the food here is like the food in the states. They jumped all over me. NO. They said no its not. They then said Chilean food is like poorly made American food... don't worry, Ill get some recipes.

Ok... so some things that I just have to tell you. Mom, you are so cool. I was sitting in lunch yesterday eating a big salad when the the song LET IT BE came on the radio. Now, as missionaries, we don't listen to music, but the mom of this family was listening to it in the kitchen, and she cranked the volume. All I could think about was being with you, mom, with you driving way too fast, and the classic rock just playing and us just singing. You don't know how much I love you.

 Yesterday we spent the entire day in the sector of Piduco. That is the sector of Elder Pierce and Elder Kuykendall. We worked all of the afternoon with them. We were knocking doors in a very nice neighborhood and entered into a house and taught a man named Victor. He is such a neat guy. We could tell he had been having a hard time. He had some great questions about God. We taught a neat lesson. We taught about the power and gift of the Holy Ghost and what he needed to do to get it in his life. We testified that Jesus Christ gave his life to give him the chance to repent and be baptized for the remission of his sins. He talked about how little faith he has in Christ - how his faith has died. We taught him what he would need to do to increase his faith, and we taught him to pray. We then invited him to say a prayer. We knelt down and he said a prayer. I remember asking him what he felt. He said 'I have felt two things. I have felt a peace enter into me, but I also feel pain for all of the sins I have committed.' After his prayer, he stood up and he said ' its something so simple, but it helps so much.'

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He is our Lord and God. I believe that as we gain more faith in him and as we understand what he did for us and why he did it, sin becomes something that disgusts us. He has the power to forgive us of our sins, but he also has the power to change the deepest desires of our hearts, so we no longer have the desire to sin. We just have to let him.
I feel like I have gained a greater testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. I have been able to recognize what he has done in my life. I believe in Him. I love the line of the hymn.... 'I believe in Christ, so come what may.' Lets remember that always.

Love you all
Elder Pitcher

Sept 7, 2010

Hey everybody.
It's a beautiful day here in Talca. We got up early and went to the church to check out the cambios and let our zones know what was happening. I made it through the cambio. We were all pretty nervous because I actually could have left, but now I'll be here for at least two more cambios because this is my companion's last cambio. From the church we went home and then we went to play soccer at a complex that is close by and now I'm writing you. (I'm bad at soccer)
Ok. so it was a great week. Lots of stuff, like always, but it was good.

All the way back on Tuesday we taught some good lessons and it went well. We then had a meeting (the four zone leaders of all of Talca) with the stake president. He told us about some problems the members have with missionaries and what the stake expects of us missionaries, and then we basically did the same to him. It was a great meeting. We have a great stake president, Presidente Salazar.

On Wednesday Elder Irigoyen and I took the morning to prepare a power point that we presented to all the Mission Leaders of the stake, I ended up eating lunch with Elder Irigoyen in my sector and my companion was with his companion. From there, we stayed in the mini cambio for the entire day because I had some lessons to teach with him in his sector. We then went to the stake center and presented the slideshow and tried to help everyone out. It went well... little by little we are progressing.

Thursday we were in a mini-cambio with the sector of Cancha Rayada (that means Scratched Field) because my companion had some interviews to do up there..

Friday we went to San Javier and worked with the Hermanas all day long. It was good. They are great hermanas and they teach well. At the end we were waiting for the others to meet up with us. (we went out in groups of 4, me, a priest, and 2 sisters) While we were waiting for the bus I  thought we should go back out again on Sunday and just work all day... we talked and prayed and on Saturday we told them we would be going back out the next day.

Saturday. Was another great day. In the morning we taught a less active who has basically lost his faith in God. I love him so much. He is so awesome. He was a missionary in Colombia.  We started teaching and by the end of the lesson we were just testifying of the Book of Mormon and helping him understand how it could be the pillar of his testimony. When someone says what they truly feel and know and when someone listens, with an open heart, it's amazing the power a sentence or two can have.

We taught a new convert that is 16 years old. He was baptized 2 weeks before I got here. He has been passing through some hard times and at the end of the lesson he said. 'How can I forgive someone that has done something bad to me?' It was such a strong question. He went on saying how he could find the strength in him to forgive this person.... The Spirit directed by mind instantly to the Atonement. We talked and we read...

9 And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.

We talked about what happened before His crucifixion, and what it must have been like being nailed to the cross. We asked him if he remembered what Christ said while He was on the cross. Half smiling, with a few small tears filling his eyes he said ' I remember, Forgive them father, for they know not what they do'
I don't know how He did it. He was beaten physically, He was mocked and humiliated mentally, but He never got mad at those  that did Him wrong. He just loved them. He loved them and He did not hold any anger against them. When we believe that someone has done us wrong in our live, I hope we look to the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. I hope we realize that it is just an opportunity to forgive, and become a little more like Him.

It hit me evening harder this week how lucky I am to be here. How lucky I am to have all my time to dedicate to the Lord. This week I had the strong feeling that I know I am supposed to be here in Chile building up the Kingdom of our God. In this specific part. I know it. It will be a life- long goal to help build up the church here in Chile, but not only here in Chile, but everywhere.

I would invite you to read this talk Bruce R McKonkie - Obedience, Consecration and Sacrifice

I love you all so much.
Elder Pitcher