This week has been productive, it´s just hard to work when people aren´t there for times you set up with them or just lie and not do things that they say. We invite so many investigators to church and a lot of them say yes. Out of all the people we invited only one showed up which makes things hard. And it also makes it hard when a lot of the members don´t help a lot. We had a meeting this week with every leader of the ward but only the ward mission leader showed up. I love the members in our ward and they are all really strong but it seems sometimes like they just don´t care. But don´t get me wrong I absolutely love the ward and the members! One big thing that I have learned on my mission is the members play a huge role in missionary work. Sometimes members don´t see it but member are the key to missionary work. Apostoles have also said, that members should be the ones finding and the missionaries are the ones who teach.
The only interesting thing that happened to me this week was my first intercambio, or when you change companions and sectors for the day. We do intercambios with the district leader and his companion. I went up to the district leaders sector and worked with him for 24 hours and his companion changed places with me and worked in my sector with Elder Villegas. But during this intercambio, with Elder Jensen (who is from Canada and is a great Elder), we were walking in the worst street of the sector. There was a guy who stopped us who was completely gone. He had a bucket full of pig blood as well, he was trying to get us to go with him to see him kill another pig. It was pretty crazy. He was also trying to speak English with us which was pretty funny. I get a ton of people trying to speak English with me, but the only thing that they know how to say is "Hello, how are you?" I have also taught some people things if they ask me haha. We also have another intercambio but this time it is with the zone leaders. It is our turn to do intercambios with the zone leaders. Intercambios happen every last week of the month with the district and the zone leaders do a rotation with everyone every month. But pdays are usually just going out and buying things or going and playing sports or going and checking things out around Antofagasta or sleeping. Like today we recieved our money for the month of March so we went to centro to get out money then went to the mall and then the store. Then after that we went home and had like an hour before we left to email which is what I´m doing right now. So honestly pday is whatever you and your companion want to do, like we could leave early and go on a hike with other missionaries or do whatever.
There are dogs here everywhere. On every single street there are some dogs. I feel bad for some of the dogs, Calvin definitely has it lucky. And it definitely makes me miss having Calvin. But people just buy puppies and when they grow up they put their dog out on the street and repeat. There are some dogs that have a ton of fleas and stuff and there are also some mean dogs. Not a lot of mean dogs but there are a couple.
I haven´t really seen any fleas, expect for on the dogs, but I know that there are some and my companion told me that the fleas are terrible in the winter time. But as far as spiders goes and other bugs they aren´t that bad. The only promient bug around are flies. There are soooooo many flies everywhere. The spiders here also aren´t that big or anything, but last night we actually had a pretty big one on the wall. But nothing really bigger than what there is in the States.
Spanish wise I feel like I´m getting a little more every single day. Still don´t understand a lot, I´ve been told that it takes about a month and a half to start understanding the concepts of what people are saying. It also depends a lot on who is talking. There some people who I can understand more than others. There are also some people who just sound like they are mumbling. My goal is to be good in Spanish in about 6 months, be able to understand what everyone says and be able to express myself how I want. I have heard a lot that it takes about 6 months to actually start feeling comfortable with Spanish and everything. It also depends on who is learning it too. So I guess I´ll find out when I acutally feel comfortable with Spanish. But for now still don´t understand a lot and don´t talk a whole lot.
Study is always great. I have been learning a lot from reading the Book of Mormon with one question. Through reading a lot of my answers have been about having faith. Always having the faith that everything will work out if we give all that we can give. As long as our lives are in harmony with the gospel and we are keeping the commandments God will help us. I also just started reading Jesus the Christ and it is such an amazing book. I´m only like 20 pages into it but it is soo great. If you want to learn more about Jesus Christ and a lot more I would read this book. Also another cool thing this week that happened last Wednesday is that we had the opportunity to listen to Elder Bednar. He talked with all the missionaries in the south of the South America. So Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. He talked to a total of 6000 missionaries, which is 8% of all the missionaries in the world. He talked a lot about faith and having the faith that everything will come with time. One thing that he said that I really liked was that the Lord hastens his work we don´t, so if we are doing all that we can and nothing is working out not to put our heads down. I have learned so much from being a missionary and my testimony has grown so much.
Yeah we had the Baptism this Saturday. It was a baptism of an 11 year old who my companion taught before I showed up. She was baptised by her Grandpa and now we get to reteach the lessons to her after the baptism which should be good! I´ll send some pictures of the baptism and everything. One crazy thing, a miracle, that happened is that the other ward had a baptism before us at 3 and our baptism was at 6. They told us that they would keep the water in the baptisimal font for us so we wouldn´t have to worry about it. So we showed up at 5:30 to set up things and what not and there wasn´t any water in the font. Normally it takes about 2-2 1/2 hours to fill the font. It was filled and ready to go in an hour. Was pretty crazy for us but everything worked out!
Still haven´t gotten your package yet, I expect to get it next Tuesday. So how mail works here is that we recieve mail every second Tuesday of the month. The zone leaders on Thursday of the first week go and get mail for us and when we have meetings with the zone, which is every second Tuesday, they give us the mail. This is how it works in Antofagasta, I don´t know how it works with other areas of the mission but I know that it works like this here in Antofagasta. I´ll figure out if it the same in other areas as well and let you know next week. But that´s how it works here!
Love you guys a lot!
|Elder Newkirk and his companion Elder Villegas|