HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY! This is a holiday that does not exist in Chile. But I am still wearing my green shirt in remembrance. :) And wishing that I wasn't lactose intolerant so that I could drink green milk. lol.
We have a detector in our house for smoke of different types. I'm pretty sure that it detects for carbon monoxide. But yesterday when they finished installing the fire stove we called the secretary of the mission, and he told us that we should check out the pipes and everything to make sure it looks good...I don't have any idea what looks good and what doesn't, so I think we will ask one of the senior couples of missionaries to come by and look at it to make sure that everything is safe. oh, the things that we worry about as missionaries in southern Chile...these past weeks Hermana Núñez and I have become meat for fleas. So every few days I change my sheets, spray down my mattress with bug spray, and shake out my blankets, and the other day I put the flea collar at the foot of the bed. Today I'm going to buy a good flea killing spray. Since I started really treating my bed things have been better, so that's good. Flea bites are really no fun. The cold and rain are starting, and people have been telling me that it's somewhat like winter. We still have some good days (today it's really nice out), but I think pretty soon we'll be in winter. I pulled out all of the winter stuff from my suitcase, and now it's cool enough that I can wear my scarves! :)
So the theme this week is "cosas pequeñas y sencillas." It comes from one of my favorite scriptures, in Alma 37:6 & 7, where Alma teaches us that by small and simple things (cosas pequeñas y sencillas) are great things brought to pass. Yesterday in sacrament meeting, one of the talks was based on this scripture. It hit me in a different way than it has in other moments when I have studied it, because I applied it to missionary work and to the Atonement. At the end of the verse, it talks about how by these small and simple means, the Lord brings to pass salvation of souls. The missionary stories that we always hear are the kind that you read in Church magazines, or the kind that people tell in General Conference talks, and I think that subconsciously we start to think that missionary work should bring about results like those, or that the Lord always works in incredible, powerful ways. But I believe that sometimes the ways that we see the incredible power of the Lord are in the simple, sweet moments. The salvation of souls is achieved by a long journey of small and simple things. Now to compare it with the Atonement...the Lord gives us a new day every single day. And with each new day, we have a new chance to be a better person, a better friend, or in my case, a better missionary. It is by these small and simple things that we can bless the lives of others!
This week the small and simple thing that Hermana Núñez and I have been doing is contacts. We have really been making an effort to talk with every single person that we can, to share our voices with the people here. And we have discovered that we LOVE contacting! As we talk to people in the street, we really get to know and love the people of Rio Bueno. We have talked to so many fabulous people, and some are really, honestly interested in learning more. I believe that one simple contact can be the start of their process to salvation.
I find myself loving the people of southern Chile more and more as I am here for more time. I find myself thinking, "I love little old people (Amo a viejitos)." "I love little kids." "I love talking to people my age." "I love young families." And I realize that the Lord is teaching me charity. He is teaching me to love all people, and to really care about how I can help them. Here in Chile there are a huge number of less actives. In every sector, we have a list of all of the less actives that need visits. At the beginning of the mission, I wasn't excited to visit less actives. I just felt like if they had the gospel and let it go, that was their agency. But I have learned that it is so important to serve all people. I was called here to invite others to come unto Christ, and that includes the less actives! Christ is a good shepherd, and He goes searching for His lost ones. And as a representative of Him, I must search for His lost ones and strive to bring them back to the fold. Now I love visiting less actives.
I love you all so much! Mama, I wish there was a way that I could hug you for real! I miss you so much too! Being a missionary is a really interesting phenomenon. At the same time as you love the work, you also miss things about your old life. I really feel like I live in a different world. My brain is so confused. I have dreams about people from all different phases of my life....I think my brain is trying to make a connection with this life and everything else that I have lived when there really isn't one. Haha the other day I had a dream that Tyler from elementary school was serving as a missionary in Chile. I really appreciate the love that you share with me. It helps me to remember where I come from and that I really am a normal person, and there is a land far away that I call home! I hope that everything goes fantastic with the 50th anniversary and visit from Jeff!
Love you so much, Hermana Latham