Hello family I hope you are all doing very well. Sounds like you all had a very busy week at home. This week was crazy! We are working super hard and there is never enough time to complete all of the work that we need to. I am writing in Arica right now. This morning at 1:00 am we got on a bus and now I am in Arica! This morning we had to take care of stuff for our visa. We got here at 6:30 and waited in this line and finished up about 4 hours later. We head back down to Iquique around 5 this afternoon. Here´s a run through of our week.
Monday night we spent talking with the bishop. We talked a lot about the plans for this ward and how we can strengthen it to be stronger for the baptisms that we are bringing in. We talked a bit about what we needed to do and how we need follow up. We have a great mission plan that our ward has structured but no one follows through. So I talked to the bishop about how we need to have some sort of follow up system that can help the people create habits to be better leaders.
Tuesday was chile´s national independence day. I thought that everyone would be outside celebrating with their families but they were actually inside watching movies and things with their family.
Wednesday was some sort of military holiday and our ward had a big celebration. There was some music and lots of food that we ate. I ate way too much food. We spent time talking with ward members and with our investigators.
Thursday the Assistants came in from Antofogasta. In our mission there are 6 assistants to the president. 2 of them travel throughout the whole mission and go on exchanges with the other missionaries, 2 are the office elders and 2 are hermanas. But the travelling assistants came to our sector to work with us for a day. I had Elder Kennedy with me and we worked together for the rest of Thursday.
We went to teach Mary and leninka later that night and while Elder Kennedy was with me we thought it would me much more effective if he could interview Mary for her baptismal interview. While he was doing the interview I began teaching Leninka. We were talking and she said that she had received an answer to her prayer and that she knew that she needed to be baptized. She then started to recognize the guilt from some of her past sins and it scared her a little bit. I helped her recognize that baptism is important for this reason. I was able to set a baptismal date with her for the 8th of October. She talked to me about how she feels that the events in her life have lead her to this point. That she didn't really know why she came to Iquique in the long run, and then i began to testify to her that it was because of this reason. To receive the gospel. Mary passed her interview and was cleared for baptism.
The end of the night I went with elder kennedy and he reviewed the day with me. He gave me some great comments and then some suggestions on how I could improve. He talked about how President has a lot of trust in our group of missionaries that came in together. He said that he thinks we have potential to be the greatest group he´s had. Ha ha it scared me a little bit that we have big expectations.
Saturday was an absolutely crazy day but it finished out great. Most of the day was spent preparing for Mary´s baptism. At lunch that day I had probably the weirdest food I have had in Chile. Fried Cauliflower. It was very weird. Many people came to Mary´s baptism and here is a crazy story. Right before the baptismal service I asked Mary what her complete name was. She said Mary Moreno Valdez. So when we went to do the baptism I baptized her in that name. After I had baptized her I turned on the drain so it could drain while we finishing the program. After the program I went to check if the font was draining and it wasn´t I was confused because it always works and I was wondering what the problem was but i left it and then we went with Mary to fill out the baptismal record because we didn't have time to fill it out before the service. As i begin to fill out the form she tells me her full complete name is Lucy Marixlo Moreno Valdez. I was in shock. I asked her why didn´t she tell me her full name earlier and she said she thought Mary was easier. Ha ha I was like ohhh great now what are we going to do. We talked to the 2nd counselor and decided that we needed to baptize her again. Here is the great blessing. The font had not drained. This was why the drain wasn´t working, because we needed to baptize her again. As soon as we discovered that her name was different I went to flip on the drain switch and it started to work. If the font had drained we would have had to wait to re do her baptism and it would have just created a huge mess. It was a miracle. I baptized her again and that time is was right.
Sunday was a great day as well. We had 5 investigators with 7 less actives. At church I was talking to Mary about her 2 kids in Bolivia. She had said that when she had felt that she needed to be baptized that she told her kids about the church. And now both of her 2 kids in Bolivia are now meeting with the missionaries. I was so happy and so excited. It is crazy how one little thought to go to a different street over a month ago has lead to all of this. This work is great. It is so amazing to see the change this gospel can have in the lives of people. It is incredible to see the light in people grow brighter. I know this church is true. I know that our savior died and atoned for our sins. I hope you all have a great week. Love you all.