Monday, May 26, 2014

This last week and a half has stretched me a lot. I feel like I`ve been in Puerto Varas for so long, even though it`s been less than 2 weeks.

All the missionaries in Puerto Varas (my district and the zone leaders who are part of another district) are very faithful and hard working. Very interesting how one of the sisters’ sectors is just full of investigators with baptismal dates and lots of great appointments, the other sisters’ sector is kinda dead. They`re both wonderful sets of sister missionaries. It`s evidence of what PMG teaches about a successful missionary. It doesn`t have to do with the apparent results, it`s the determination to invite that matters.

I`m really happy with my district, and our own sector is starting to have more good investigators. On Monday, we contacted a reference. We`ve only gotten to teach them once because the wife is being hospitalized right now (something to do with her stomach). They´re a great family and they`ve been asking all the right questions. He has never been baptized and has said, "There are so many churches and people teaching different things, one doesn`t know who to believe." Exactly what the message of the Restauración del Evangelio de Jesucristo answers.

The members are eager to work, but they don`t have much time. Several of them work in a frutería (like a small grocery store that just has fruits and vegetables) and they work long hours 6 days a week. It`s hard because we want them to have opportunities to teach with us.

We had intercambios (exchanges) this week with the zone leaders. I was in Elder Jones´s sector and we taught lots of great people. There was one lesson where the people didn`t really understand our claim that this is Christ`s only true and living church. At the end of the lesson, I felt prompted to invite them to be baptized. I thought "But it`s too late. We`ve already been here for awhile and it`s  not good when the lessons drag out too long. She`ll probably say something like "I`ve already been baptized" so what good would that do?"
I did invite them. There was a pause. She said exactly what I feared. "I`ve already been baptized." I didn`t like responding to this before, because I don`t like offending people. The truth is that baptism is given by Christ, so it needs to be done in the way he taught by someone with the proper authority. That authority is only found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
She asked "Does that mean my baptism wasn´t valid?" It made me think of "The District" (a video they use to train missionaries that shows real missionaries teaching real investigators). In "The District" the missionary responded that although it was a great gesture that he wanted to serve God, it wasn`t exactly valid. The man being taught in "The District" got really offended and stopped investigating. We responded similarly (Elder Jones helped so much with this part). I showed her my priesthood line of authority. The lesson extended an extra 45 minutes, so we were in there almost 2 hours.
I apologized to Elder Jones after the lesson for having done the invitation, but he told me it was exactly what they needed. He said something along the lines of, "If you didn`t notice, she was really thinking about it, and she`ll be thinking about it the rest of the night. She`ll wonder if her baptism really was valid, and she has faith and real intent, she`ll discover the truth." It was a great learning experience for me. When in doubt if you should invite someone to be baptized, do it.

We had a stake priesthood meeting on Sunday. We`re part of the Puerto Montt stake, so we travelled there. It was cool because I got to see lot`s of friends from my first sector. Esteban Espinosa gave a great talk, along with my old bishop. An area seventy spoke and I ended up playing piano because the person who was going to do it didn`t show up. I could only play one of the 3 hymns the wanted me to play, so everyone sang acapela for the other 2 hymns. Max, if you want to prepare for your mission, learn hymns on the piano :) I can only play 4 hymns confidently (just enough for a sacrament meeting).

I love you all :D I had my first interview from the other side of the desk last week. (as a district leader I interview people who want to get baptized). I was pretty nervous about it. She`s called Veronica and she is really smart. She`s read a lot of the Book of Mormon and she want`s to get baptized even though she doesn`t have any support from her family (her sister is way against it). Keep Veronica in your prayers.

I love you all so much :D

-Elder Christopherson

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