First of all, millions of apologies that you had to wait two extra days for this email. On Monday, Hermana Phelps and I went to Conce to do some stuff in the office and get one of her prescriptions refilled and it turned out to be kind of a weird day and we didn´t get a chance to do internet before we got back to Chillán and it was time to go out and work. So we got permission from our zone leaders to do it this morning, because proselyting is a little bit slower in the mornings.
Even though it was kind of a different P-Day, it was still fun. I love being in the office because there´s just so much INFORMATION there. I took a picture of the transfer board so I could see where everyone´s at. The Misión Chile Concepción Sur mission office is right next door to ours and so we got to meet several of the missionaries from that mission as well as seeing most of our friends from our mission who are now working close enough to Conce to go in to the office on P-Days. I even got to see my friend Elder Kelly who was in my zone at the MTC but who is in the Sur mission. The Conce Sur mission already had their transfer which determines who will be moved into the new mission boundaries, so alongside our transfer board are their pictures, waiting to be put up when the boundaries change on July 1. It´s a very interesting time to be here, with the mission president changing right along with the mission boundaries.
The office elders showed us, along with two other Hermanas who were in Conce from the "outside" for the day, an awesome Peruvian restaurant which was delicious and very reasonably priced. It was this totally awesome combination of foods. There was like kind of a stir-fry type thing going on with meat and onions and tomatoes and they put that on top of thick-cut fries and there was a side of rice. It sounds weird (and super heavy in carbs, I know), but it was super delicious.
Anyway, so that is what I was up to on Monday and that´s why I wasn´t able to write.
Now, THANK YOU everyone for the birthday wishes!!!!!! I had a good day. Hermanas Lovell and Phelps conspired with some ward members to give me a little party which was disguised as a Noche de Hogar. The Familia Vergara hosted all four missionaries and our recent convert, Jorge, came along for the ride. The older daughter of the family, Mary Carmen, made the most delicious cake and then Hermano Vergara and the younger daughter, Laura, performed a traditional Chilean folk song. Hermano Vergara played a big drum and Laura played the guitar and they both sang and it was totally awesome!!!!!
Today is Hump Day. June 12. I entered the MTC exactly 9 months ago today. How weird is that? I read your emails and I can´t even believe that the things you all say are happening could possibly be real, because it seems like all that time can´t possibly have gone by. Like a whole entire school year? That´s insane! So anyway, halfway point. "It´s all downhill from here," as they say. And I hope it is. I hope I am able to just let go of the brakes and keep accelerating and improving and working harder and harder with more urgency and power and efficiency from this point on. That would be totally awesome.
Not too much more to report this week. Hermana Snyder and I are just working hard and trying to figure out our way around the sector (because sometimes we forget the maps...) and get to know the members and find the menos activos and those families who are waiting to hear this awesome gospel message!
I just remembered one cool experience we had this week. The Relief Society President, Hermana Caro, had asked us to go and visit Hermana Margarita, who had been less-active for some time and whom neither Hermana Snyder nor I had yet had the opportunity to meet. She lives in a street which we do not frequent and this happened to be one of the days when we forgot our map. But we went to where we were pretty sure that it was (There are seriously not enough street signs here and sometimes you just don´t know where you are!) and knocked on the house that had what we thought was her house number. And it was them! We went in and she talked to us for a while about her job and how many opportunities she has had to share the gospel with the people she works with and we were left in awe of how awesome this lady is. Basically she stopped coming to church out of sheer exhaustion from the hard manual labor she does every other day of the week. Anyway, we talked to her for a while and though we invited her to church, we weren´t sure if she was really committed to come. But she came! And she came to all three hours! And she is amazing! She has the calling to teach the Principles of the Gospel class, which is the one that all the investigators and recent converts attend, and though Hermanas Lovell and Phelps gave the lesson this Sunday, she attended and had so many awesome comments and so much to add to the class. We were totally stoked! She´s just amazing. And her husband came up to us in the hallway and thanked us for our visit because he felt it had made a difference in getting her to come to church that day. I think she just needed to be reminded, is all. I was so happy she was there I almost cried. You can tell that she really has a strong testimony and that she is an incredible person. She just got a little lost for a while. I feel so blessed to have met her and to have been led (truly, we were led without our maps and without being sure of the exact address) to her home to share with her that night. I pray that she will remain active and we look forward to having her take over the teaching of the class once again, as she will do an amazing job and will be such a great example and help for our investigators and recent converts. :)
So here´s your challenge: Remind your less-active friends that you love them and the Heavenly Father loves them too. There are a million and one reasons why someone may have stopped coming to church, but that shouldn´t really matter. What matters is that they, too, are children of God and they need to be able to fully participate in the blessings of heaven. Maybe they won´t come back right away, like Margarita did. But please, please take the opportunity to let them know that you love them and that you are there to serve them and help them in whatever way you can. I know they will be grateful that you did.
I LOVE you all SO MUCH. Have a great week and thanks so much for everything - your love, emails, thoughts, letters, support, and prayers! You are the best in the whole world!
Until next week.