Sunday, April 11, 2010

More Wonderful Missionaries

In February and March, we received three different groups of new missionaries. Six were actually called to serve in our mission. Four were called to serve in the Concepcion Sur mission, but because of the earthquakes, they were not able to go to their own missions, so we welcomed them with open arms into our mission. We have grown to love them in the short time we have known them. This week we received word that they are now able to go to their own mission. We are reluctantly letting them go, and are sending them tonight (Sunday April 11) on a long bus ride to their own mission. We will miss them so much. We love them and will pray for them. We will always consider them to be our missionaries.
Elder Hooser and Elder Deaver arrived in March and will remain with us in Santiago. They are faithful missionaries, and we are so excited to serve with them.
Elder Kemp, Elder Lamb, Elder Meyr, and Elder Hickman will be serving in the Concepcion Sur Mission. It's difficult to let them go, but we know they are needed in their own mission now. We love them!!!
Elder Villagran, Elder Montecinos, Hermana Duncan, and Hermana Romagoza arrived in February and will be with us their entire mission. We love them dearly.

Earthquake Memories

Every missionary in the Chile, Santiago East Mission will eternally treasure our shared memories of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake on February 27, 2010. We will never forget the feelings we have had and the lessons we have learned. Because of this experience, will never be the same.

We now understand with even more clarity, the necessity of listening to and heeding the voices of warning which come to us in our lives through the Lord's chosen leaders.

We now give thanks with even more gratitude that the Lord's chosen leaders will always offer us His counsel that will lead us to safety.

We now believe with even more surety that the Holy Ghost will always whisper what our Father in Heaven wants us to know.

And finally, we now feel with even greater intensity the desire to act with diligence and speed, once we have received necessary life-warnings from the Lord's chosen messengers.

Because we possess the marvelous gift of agency, it is up to us to live so that we can hear the voices of warning which are available to all of us. What a miracle!
On the Friday before the Saturday quake, we visited our Elders in San Jose de Maipo and extended to them the invitation to "be prepared." They accepted, and report to us that they are prepared...both physically and spiritually. What a miracle!

Elder Osborne is prepared. He has chosen to accept the invitation of his leaders, and the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
His spiritual life is prepared and in order.
His "go-bag" is stocked with necessary items and rests by the front door of his pension. What a miracle!
Elder Afeaki has also accepted the invitation to "be prepared." He has his "go-bag" ready, and he has chosen to continue to live his life so that he will be prepared to meet God when that time comes. What a miracle!
(Ask your missionary to share with you the Elder Afeaki earthquake experience.
We love to hear him tell it! His experience brings a smile to all of our faces.)
One of my personal favorite earthquake memories will always be Elder Hansen with his Scout handbook. He came to the mission prepared. He had received special warnings before the mission that he would have "unique" experiences on his mission. He chose to heed those warnings. He brought his Scout handbook with him so that he would be able to serve others and help them in times of great need and in times of natural disaster. He has chosen to be all ways. What a miracle!

The boxes in the photo below are boxes filled with love. This is just one of the chapels in our Mission where so many donations have been collected for those in need of relief because of the earthquake. What a blessing for us to participate in and to be witness to this type of love. Many of those who have donated have so little in terms of worldly wealth, and yet they have accepted the invitation of our Savior to share whatever they have with their brothers and sisters who are in need. Truly, we will never be the same because of the miracles, large and small, that we have experienced. We could share picture after picture of earthquake memories that have strengthened our lives. Someone mentioned to me the other day that God must have been very angry to have caused this awful earthquake to happen here in Chile.

Through all of the destruction and tribulation, I can honestly testify that I have only felt His overwhelming love. I know He loves us. We are His children. He allows us to pass through sorrow so that we may know true joy. Through our greatest trials, He refines us and teaches us. Then He invites us to become more like His Son, Jesus Christ. What a miracle!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Gospel of Jesus Christ Changes Lives

Jorge's miraculous transformation into a disciple of Jesus Christ was an incrediblel journey. Our diligent missionaries found him one night when he was making fun of them. Instead of responding to his taunting, they loved him and taught him about Jesus Christ and the restoration of His Gospel. Then President Laycock was privileged to baptize him. We know that this baptism was a "team effort." We are sure that it is not just a coincidence that Jorge is an attorney, and that he and President Laycock have much in common. Jorge's life has changed in many ways as he has...

...come unto Jesus Christ
through faith, repentance, baptism,
receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost,
and enduring to the end.

As they entered the baptismal font, Jorge told President Laycock that he knows that some people get baptized and then do not stay true to the covenants they make. He said, "President, I will never do that. I promise I will remain true."

This is Jorge at his Sunday baptism.

We are hopeful that Jorge's parents will also choose to be baptized. They were thrilled with the change they have seen in their son. Jorge's mother showed me the scars from her recent heart surgery. Then she said, "I believe God preserved my life so that I could see Jorge make this change." I quickly responded, "Hermana, the Lord preserved your life, so that you and your husband can be baptized."
We will wait and see what happens. Please pray for Jorge's parents.

This is Jorge on the Friday before his baptism.
We KNOW that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a transforming influence for good
in the lives of all who accept the invitation to come unto Christ.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Our "Homes" are Our Sacred Stewardship

Our Sisters are filled with the Light of Christ.
We feel it every time we are with them.