This morning was cambios (transfers) and do you want to know something? I don´t like cambios at all. We knew nothing was going to happen to our companionship, since I am still in training and Hermana Bowns goes home after this cambio, but I was still sick to my stomach all morning waiting for the phone to ring. I am not looking forward to that happening every six weeks for the next 15 months. We didn´t get changed at all, as we thought, but we do have one change in our district. Hermana England, who lives in the house with us, is getting transferred to a different area in Chillan. She will be living with Hermana Frandsen and her companion, so I told her to get excited about that. In Hermana England´s place, we are getting an Hermana Leish, whom I have not yet met but who I am told is from Utah and is really sweet. So I am looking forward to meeting her.
I don´t really know what to say about this week. For some reason I can´t seem to remember very much of it.... But a few things of note did take place.
On Wednesday we had a Christmas Conference with half the mission. We rode a bus a couple of hours north to Talca for the conference and rather than being a full day of training, interviews, etc., we did a half-day with a Christmas devotional and a lunch afterward. On Sunday we got a call from the Assistants, asking Hermana Bowns and I if we would perform a musical number at the conference. The only problem was they were already using most of the Christmas hymns! We had a hard time finding something, and changed our minds several times, but in the end we used an arrangement of Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee with the words for Oh, Pueblecito de Belén (Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem). It was a little different, but we felt good about it, considering the fact that our resources were very limited and we put it together in just a couple of days. At the conference, there was one other musical number from people in the mission and musical numbers from the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. We also watched President Monson´s talk from the Christmas Devotional, but it was in Spanish so I didn´t understand it very well. President and Hermana Humphrey also spoke, and they gave really great talks. Hermana Humphrey always knows just what to say to get to me. This is going to be President and Hermana Humphrey´s last Christmas in the mission, since they go home in July.
For lunch at conferences, I am told they always serve the same thing. They cook up a bunch of whole chickens and then cut them in half and each person is supposed to eat half a chicken, along with rice, bread, a banana, and some kind of dessert (this time it was brownies). I have gotten pretty good at eating everything on my plate and I ate all the chicken and most of the rice. Who´s proud?
Two things great happened one morning this week. We went to find a reference in a part of our sector where neither of us had never been, and on the way there, we stopped to talk to a woman on the street and seriously did the best job of making a contact that we have ever done as a companionship! I even said some things besides, "somos misioneras por La Iglesia de Jesucristo." It was a singular event, as of yet. Usually I don´t know enough of what people are saying when we contact them to be able to say much, but contacting is something we have been trying to work on, so maybe this week we can have two or three that are thay good!
The other great thing that happened that morning was that when we went to the address for our reference, the house was clearly not occupied, so we started asking around at all the neighbors houses to see if maybe we had the address wrong or if they had moved. One woman came out and gave us some ideas for where else we could look, and then when we asked if we could share a Christmas song with her (this is one of the ways we have been trying to find people this month, offering to sing Christmas carols), she said she was the caretaker of a sick woman but she´d ask her if we could come in and sing and she said it was okay so we went in. The sick lady, Maria, loved our song and started crying because she loves music and misses it so much. We also made plans to stop by again to share a gospel message with her and her caretaker, Angelica. When we went back, Angelica wasn´t there, but Maria´s daughter, Maria Teresa, was. Apparently we had made an impression on her mother (who suffers from a little dementia, so I know it takes an impression for her to remember things) because Maria Teresa knew who we were and invited us in immediately, where we got to teach her and her mother a lesson. It was a blessing that only came to us because we were willing to share our musical talent. I am so grateful for that opportunity. I know that if nothing else comes from meeting them, we made Maria´s day when we sang to her that morning, and I know she felt the love of the Savior, and that is really why we´re here - to help people come closer to Christ.
Our investigator who was in church last week came again yesterday! And she came to two meetings instead of just one! Our district leader, Elder Aguirre, has been trying really hard to teach us the importance of verification and daily contact (we worry about bothering people). Last week we talked to or saw Paulina almost every day, and she came to church again! I know she didn´t really want to, since it´s so early in the morning, but she came! So we are learning that our district leader is inspired and we should probably try harder to make all the changes he suggests for us. Yesterday he challenged us to be more bold (sometimes we beat around the bush because we are afraid of people´s reactions), and we are really nervous about it. But I know if we learn to do it we will be blessed and so will our investigators.
To top off this week of music, last night we had a stake choir "competition" and Hermana Bowns and I participated in the choir from our ward because they needed her to play the piano. We sang Regocijad, Jesús Nacio (Joy to the World); Mira Maria (Shepherd´s Carol from the Children´s Songbook); and Jesús en Pesebre (Away in a Manger) as a choir. I also sang a duet version of He Sent His Son with one of the members of the ward. It was supposed to be an SAB arrangement, but for some reason no one ever learned the alto part so it was just me and Jorge. Musical talent isn´t widespread around here, but our ward has a few people in it that manage pretty well, and our performance went better than could have been anticipated, I think. The Sprirt was very strong especially when we sang Jesús en Pesebre, and that is really the most important thing!
Well, I´ve gotta go now. I love you all! Your commitment this week is to share your testimony of the birth of the Savior with someone who needs to feel His love. You can sing a song, read a scripture, share a story, or just bear testimony, but find a way to let someone know how much this holiday means and how much our Heavenly Father and the Savior love us and that that is why we celebrate Christmas.