hey all you people on the other side of the world....this is going to be a a little bit more of a sadder entry because, alas, it is my last one that i am going to be making here in the Chile Santiago south mission. believe me. a lot of you have been asking me if i am nervous or if i am excited to go home or if i am ready to take on the world, and in reality, i am DEATH scared. now i have to stop contacting people and teaching people regularly and scheduling citas and putting baptismal dates with people and WORK IN THE REAL WORLD. TAXES? WHAT THE HECK ARE THOSE THINGS?? its goin to be a ride that is goin to be necessary after the mission. still scared though haha.
the mission in of itself is a time for people to find themselves, i have found. it is a duty, as men, to go on the mission and serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. obviously, i wanted to go on the mission in the beginning!! there was a very large rough spot in my life right before coming out where i thought that the mission wasnt even worth it, and that there was no point in going to another part of the world and teaching about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. i honestly thought that it would have been better for me to stay home and study and not even try to go out and serve. with the help of some amazing friends that i had previous to the mission, as well as some leaders that helped inspire me to open my mission papers, i decided to serve! fun fact, i decided to serve a mission at about 16 years old.
you would think that before coming out to eh mission, you would have literally so many baptisms that you couldnt count. you would think that people would politely tell you no thank you and say goodbye to you nicely to reject the message that you teach. you would also think that the majority of people would listen to you when you start a contact. thats how i thought at least. i was so excited to get 100 baptisms in my mission!!
when i first got to the field, i was in emotional distraught. i didnt even know how to speak language, the way chileans speak is SUPER different from literally the rest of the world, and i had no idea about the culture. when i looked up santiago, i thought i was going to be serving in a part where it was comparable to new york, with tall buildings and a lot of people and commotion and fashion and museums and art. all that is part of the central part of santiago. you should have seen the look on my face when i got put in my first area!! i got put in one of the worst neighborhoods in the mission, where there were 2 roomed shacks on the side of the road and innumerable amounts of drug deals everywhere. it wasnt a poor part of santiago tampoco, but it was bad enough to shake my perspective on what my mission was goin to be like. i was spat on, people threw rocks at us, discriminated us for being foreigners, pastors attempted to fight with us to prove that their church was right, cursed at, given the finger, etc. i was not in the mission that i created in my head. rejection was a common theme and even when i tried to ask them what their favorite food, they always had a confused look on their face because they couldnt understand my SUPER bad gringo accent. it was awful at the beginning!
while serving here in santiago, it was SUPER hard for me to really understand the reality of what it meant to be a missionary and to get around all the bullying that people would do us! the thing that i had to learn quickly was that even though in the face of these trials in the mission, god is always goin got be with you and will always be pendent of what is going on. it was hard for me to accept this helping hand. a lot of the time i rejected it and thought that i could get a better accent myself. i also thought that i could have done contacts by myself, (obviously with my companion, but i i thought about the best way to say something them to them without the help of the spirit, which is a super bad no no) or could get the goal of 100 baptisms myself. THIS IS FALSE DOCTRINE AND I CAN PROMISE ALL OF YOU READERS OUT THERE THAT GOD IS THE ONLY WAY THAT WE CAN BE SUCESSFUL IN THIS LIFE. i was quickly humbled at the beginning of my mission and i later then realized that in this life, if i, or you dear reader, want to be a successful later day saint, if you want to be able to be changed just a smidge to be in the lords path, if you want to be at least a missionary that can extend baptismal invitations at the right time and have the gift of discernment, then you have to be humble enough to accept that type of help and literally let go of what you want to do. it doesnt matter what you want to do. it sounds really brutal when i type this to all of you, but its true! obviously you can have likes and hobbies and things to have fun during this life. god didnt set man on earth to be miserable obviously. however, when we do what god wants us to do, we will then be even happier. you wanna know why though? its cause he knows better than we do, so whatever revelation he gives us on what we should do with our lives and whatever commandment has been placed in our life, we have to do it, because he knows our spirits better than what we know. the concept of change in general is a super crazy concept. biologically, us as humans have to change and adapt to situations and have cell deaths in our body because cells get old and they die. if we literally sat in one place for he rest of our life, we would die. if our cells didnt reproduce in the right way, or kill off cancerous cells, we would die. we have to change to survive biologically! jesus christ is the only way that we can change spiritually in this life. without him, we cannot experience those drastic changes in ourselves that we so desperately want. without the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, you and i literally cant do the little things in order for great things to pass. without Jesus Christ, being the head of this wonderful church, you and i would be left in the dirt for the jaws of hell to swallow us up. i am so grateful to have served a mission, especially this part of the world, where i could change. i am not saying that i have changed my way of being tampoco. i still love photography, i still love music and math and science and dressing like im from the 90s and whatever. i still love to look at the cotton candy pink skies and think that i am in a music video, i still love cooking and love studying about how to do derivatives and titration reactions (no, i didnt ever touch that type of material on the mission, but i still love it nonetheless) and acquiring new traits! i did, however, change on a level more drastic than what i ever could have thought of.
i have become more dependent on the spirit. i developed a profound love for the scriptures and have seen the power they have in order to change lives. i have grown in my testimony about the church as a whole and about how Joseph Smith was the prophet of the restoration. i now know with a surety that the sealing ordinances of the temple are true and they are powerful. i know that i will see my family in the life to come if i am obedient to the commandments and if i follow my savior. i have learned how to use the atonement in my life on a daily basis and have seen the power of Christs descent and partaking of all the sicknesses and temptations and sins of the world. i know with a surety that this is the only true church on the earth. i know that this is the church that not only saves lives, but changes them in a way so perfectly that makes us like our savior, but not like the same average joe person. i know that this is the only church with a diversity that is shown through the many wonderful talents that we can acquire with the spirit. i know that this is the only church where god can show his love fully. i know that this wonderful church is true.
now, for all of you that want to serve missions, and want are thinking about if you want to serve. im not goin to sugar coat is, its hard. it is not for a person that doesnt have a testimony of the church already. if you come out on the mission without a testimony of the book of mormon, its going to be way harder to tell people that you know that the church is true. find a love for the book of mormon because in reality, that tool that god has given us is the only way that we are going to be to saved in this life. learn how to have a daily scripture feast. (my president would always say that you have to have a scripture feast because if you just read the book of mormon and dont take anything from the chapter you have read, then why the heck are you reading the book of mormon. you need to feast on the words of christ and take something out of it to build your testimony).
this is it kids, for the last time, BUT i hope to see all of you when i get home so i can hug you and talk to you face to face!!! excited for the next adventure!!
OH MY GOSH. i feel like all yoiu guys ar kid of sick about the fact that i keep saying that there are so many miracles that are happening in the sector, but i am not even kidding, they are just fludding in this sector as of right now and i am literlaly so sad that i am going to be gone to not see all these people get baptised down here! UGH. here let me explain.
so a little while ago, we got a reference from some missionaries in the mission above us, saying that there was a girl that wanted to listen to us. on the little message they sent us, they said that it was urgent. so, we got a cita with her in the chapel and i kid you not, this girl was like trotting over to us. her name is patricia and she is about 40 years old. she shakes our hands VIOLENTLY and we let her inside the church. we sit her down and im not even kidding, she UNLOADS to us about how she wants to get baptized. oldham and i were shook! we asked her why she had so many deseos to get baptized and she said that,"I have knocked too many doors to churches and every time i have gone in them, i hate the doctrine, but when i learned more about this church, i was able to really feel that this is the place that i need to be. i really feel like i can learn and have an eternal family here." so now she is going to get baptized the 22 of june!!
also to let you guys know, rodrigo is going to get baptized here on the 15th of june, two days before i go home!! its going to be a wild next couple of weeks here kids, but i am utterly so thankful for these blessings that this sector has been getting for these last couple of weeks. (like literally couple cause i leave in like 2.5 weeks oops).
love all of you guys so much! please send me some prayers cause im terrified to go home hhaaha!
hey all you guys on the other side of the world!!!
this week was kind of hectic with us. i had to go to a meeting at the mission office that talked about how we are supposed to finish our missions as strong as we can. the coolest quote that i could get from that slideshow pres made us was "you started a mission to finish it. keep going until to the end". the time is coming up here soon, but we are trying so bad to get as many amigos as we can to teach! HOWEVER A HUGE MIRACLE HAPPENED WHILE WE WERE IN LUNCH.
so get this. we are sitting down in a lunch with a member. i got a call from some random number on our phone. i went outside to answer it and i hear the voice of some random dude. he is like "are these the elders of departemental?" i answered yes and he said that he was an amigo from the santiago north mission. he moved to our sector like a week ago and he wanted us to pass by THAT day. we told him we couldnt because we had literally every spot on our agendas filled to the brim with stuff to do. he responded with "ah ya the thing is that i want to get baptized in a couple weeks. can you make that happen?"
we passed by his house literally at 9:45 at night, like 20 minutes before we are supposed to be home and everything. he IS LITERALLY A GOLDEN INVESTIGATOR. his name is rodrigo and he is a totally hipster nurse. he loves indie music and he literally stopped drinking coffee and smoking and alcohol 6 months ago. he accepted a bap date for the 15th of june!!!! HE IS SO COOL. his girlfriend is helping us so much with teaching him and bearing her testimony and its amazing!
a lot of the members are down my throat about how much little time i have left and its stressing me out!! "so tell us the colors of the wedding. tell us WHAT COLOR YOUR PHONE IS GOING TO BE. WHAT IS THE FIRST FOOD YOU ARE GOING TO EAT WHEN YOU GET THERE OH MY LANTA" its awful. im surviving though. 3.5 more weeks to go!
love all of you guys so much!
hey guys! this week we had the largest miracle we have ever seen here in departemental! cachen...
so oldham and i had literally everything fall all at once. we had a cita with one of our friends named Horacio and his family at 8, so we thought that we would do some contacting before the cita. no one even looked at us nor wanted to talk to us, rip. so we went to the cita with horacio and get this. we get there at 7 ish. he tells us, in english, that he wanted us to eat DINNER WITH HIM. DINNER DOESNT EXISTS HERE IN CHILE MIND YOU. he said,"ah ya we are going to make some stake tacos and i am going to have my venezuelan friends cook us the meat and make the tacos" OOOHH MY GOSH. IT WAS PROBABLY THE BEST FOOD I THINK I HAVE HAD IN MY TIME HERE IN CHILE. while in the kitchen, horacio had to go to the hospital to pick up his fiance because she got her finger smashed and they needed to operate on it (or something like that). so, while he left to grab his wife, we talked to his venezuelan friends whose names are Walter, Franmier, and Alejandra. they all live in Horacios house and they only had about 3 days in chile when we talked to them. Horacio was literally trying to find his wife in the hospital for like an hour and a half, so we got to know his friends super good! (i was really anxious because being in a house for more than an hour is kind of a no no, but we couldnt let this opportunity slip). we found out that they literally left everything they had in venezuela and sold their house/cars/food/clothes/phones to try and come to chile so they could have a better life. we invited them to sit on the lesson that we were going to be teachign horacio and his fiance, so they all came in and we taught about 6 people all at once the restoration. I FELT LIKE AN APOSTLE TEACHING SO MANY PEOPLE ALL AT ONCE. but everyone absolutely loved the restoration and horacio actually helped us teach it to his family members!! it was so cool! they said that they are all going to come to church this next week, and we are literally so so so so excited for them!!! ahh!!
a lot of you have been asking me how i am feeling while i am finishing the mission and i can honestly say that im scared and sad and excited and happy and anxious and literally every single emotion that you can think of. i LOVE the mission with all my heart and i love being able to pass by for all of my friends and help them understand the power of the gospel, but i also am literally so exhausted and almost cant move my legs anymore lol. to give you a concrete response, i am sad that i am going to end this chapter in my life but excited to see what the future has in store for me!
lvoe you guys so much!
countdown: 4.5 weeks
this past week we saw a stupid psycho miracle!!! so get this. its about 8 at night, its starting to get death cold, and i woke up kind of sick. we went out and tried to get to all the citas that we had, but all of them fell. my comp and i though that it would be a good idea to try and contact some more around the block before we went to the last cita at 9 (which by the way, also fell). we had a future named Horacio that was contacted around a year ago, and we thought that we would try it for a hot second. so we went to this house and we knocked like twice. i was annoyed a little, so i grabbed a rock and started pounding the metal gate to make a super loud clanging noise, and out came a Venezuelan lady. we asked her for horacio, and out from the back came the man himself! he started "speaking to us in english" and i was kind of doubtful in the beginning just because every chilean tries to show off there mad english skills to only mess with us, but after caving into the bait he threw us, he then started speaking perfect english. I WAS SHOOK. apparently, he lived in the states for like 9 years and canada for like 5. he has a company selling wifi routers in his house and he imports them from china. he also makes houses for the venezuelan immigrants that come here to chile so they can have a place to stay while they are looking for jobs. hes literally the coolest guy ever!! and hes a member!! his wife isnt and none of the people in his houses arent. he says he gives out books of mormons to the people that help him build houses, and he says that he wants to come back to church and baptize his wife!!! AAH!!! sad that i might not be here for when his wife get baptized, but i am so grateful that we found these people! other than that, we are super excited to skype our moms this mothers day!
i have to scram right now though....we got this though guys! 5.5 more weeks for me to live in the the coolest city in Chile and be with the coolest people in santiago. so sad to be going here soon, but so fricken gratful that im here still!
hey all you people on the other side of the world !! this is the last week of the change, and we are coming to a close here in Departemental to start a new change here soon ! President already told me that i am goin to be staying here and finishing my mission in departemental, and i could not be any more excited to finish my mission in such an amazing ward! literally i could have gone to some struggling ward in some corner of the mission and be forgotten, but i am tremendously blessed to be here in this part of the lords viñard. what happened this week was kind of psycho to be honest.
so we being district leaders are always in charge of doing some small services for the people that are in our district. if they need a blessing, we go to their house and give them a little health blessing or a blessing of comfort. we have to answer harder questions from the people in our district and we have to be constantly running from our sector to other parts of the zone (in other missions, that is like a three and a half hour drive, but in my mission its like a 15 minute bus ride to hop clear across the zone lol). this week, we went to our districts and helped contact people so that we could have more new people to be teaching. we had to do inspections of houses, we had to go to the stake center and teach a class, and oldham and i have been feeling like we have been out of our sector a little more time than we have been in our sector ! at least we are helping our peeps out lol.
in the time that we have been in our sector though, we are teaching a guy named rodrigo right now and he is literally one of the coolest investigators! he i dating the mom of a recent convert we have and he said to us, word for word,"the only reason that i want to become converted to this belief is for the sheer knowledge that i can be with my wife for all time and eternity. where do i sign up?" DOWN. so we taught him about the plan of salvation and he said he fell in love with the idea that we wan be just like our heavenly father and be able to be with him after this life. we are goin to put a fecha with him after here tomorrow afternoon, so if you could send some prayers towards are friend so that he can have an open enough heart to accept this fecha with confidence, that would be awesome !
also i dont know if you guys are aware, but sometimes when you have to stop passing by people, it is literally the saddest thing in the whole world. literally, you love all of the people that you pass by for, you literally can already see them in white and you can already see them progress in such a large level that you know that they are going to understand everything that you teach them ! well, this week we had to stop passing by Acefie because of an ugly lesson we had with her. basically, when we first were teaching her, she was so down to keep learning and to study the book of Mormon. when we passed by her with one of our hatian friends to translate for us, she said that the book of Mormon was just a book written about Christ and that it shouldnt be considered scripture. she got into a HUGE fight with ou hatian convert who was translating for us and it was honestly just an ugly scene. oldham and i were kind of sitting back while they were cursing each other out in creole. i understood a little bit of the conversation just enough to pick out that acefie in reality was not ready to continue listening to us (in this fight she was arguing with out convert that we were trying to brain wash her and trying to take her money from her. she also said that we were the church of the devil and that we should be condemned to hell for our actions...yikers...) so, what we told her was,"welp. if you still wanna know then we can totally pass by when you arent angry and whatever." she told us to get out of her house and that was the end of that. any other normal person would just say,[ya im over it lets keep going[ but i was literally so distraught!! i almost started crying because she was getting closer to getting baptized, then fell off the deep end! i know god prepares his children in his own time. we as missionaries have to be constantly looking out for people to see which people are being prepared for us to teach them. throughout my mission, i have seen people that have been so prepared it hurts almost, and i have seen people begin the process of being prepared. what oldham and i realized after a little comp study in the street after the lesson was that acefie was being slightly prepared in the moment, but that it wasnt exactly her time to be able to come to the right church. we brushed the dust off our pants and got up and went out contacting again (we dont have a lot of people that we are teaching right now tmapoco, so we have been doin that a lot lately lol) so that we can find the people that need our message right now. its been good so far, we have been finding a lot of great new people and our agendas are getting a little more full of futures and citas with some cool jovenes that we found from our soccer nights we have on Saturday, and we are so excited to take this next change by the throat and just go ham!
i gotta scram right now though. we hiked a hill today because it wast he last pday of my comp eldr rigby and so now we gotta go and shower lol. see you guys in a hot second!
Countdown 6.5 weeks left
ok so i have to make this super breve for all yall guys this time, but i had a super cool study that i thought i would share with you guys!! it is about agency and how we can use it.
so when we talk to people about what agency is, they always respond with "the ability to chose". which is totally true. with agency, we are allowed to choose the good things in life and the things of god to be blessed.
what does it mean to really apply your agency with the will of god? i mean, you can choose to go to church, you can choose to read your scriptures, you can choose to pay your tithing, but how much WANT do you put into that decision you make? you see, while i have been on the mission, i have seen a lot of members and friends and less actives choose the right, but they always mumble under their breath when they give their tithing. they always kinda of sort of wish that their fast would end a little faster so they can go home and eat some salad. they always walk to the church angry because of the cold and begrudgingly take the sacrament because they are missing their soccer game on the tv.
my point is, with agency, we must not only choose to do the right, we must WANT to do the right. we as a human race want to get closer to god in some way shape or form. we will "do" what he says, but do we really "want to do what he says". we want blessings from god and we want to be changed and we want to have strength and we want to have a good job and we want to have a stronger testimony, but when we are told that we have to go to mutual or when we are told that we have to go to ward counsel in the morning, what is our response? for me, before the mission, it was always the normal groan of complaint mixed with some irrelevant excuse so that i wouldnt have to do the tasks asked of me from my church leaders. being on the mission though, i have learned that not only must i do whats right, i must have the right attitude about it!! how is it that we are going to tell god that we are ready for his blessings when we tell our parents that we really dont want to go to the temple because you would rather go to the beach?? we must be willing to submit ourselves to gods will so that we can be a worthy vessel of the blessings that he wants to give us ever so fervently! i have to scram right this instant, but i know that if yall want help, you gotta be ready to make some changes in your life so that you can get it fast!! ive seen it happen in my mission, and i testify that it is true!
love you guys to the moon and back!
the past couple of days have been some major emotional rollercoasters for us over here in departemental!! longhurst and i had the opportunity to have an interview with our president in our house the other day, and he sat me down first and we started talking.
"so elder wattles i want your companion to go to the office in three days and i want you to finish your mission greenie breaking here in departemental. how does that sound?
i cried almost! it was so sad to know that my comp was going to be in the literal same position that i served in the office! and i was sad to know that elder oldham, the guy that im greenie breaking, is going to be my last comp here on the mission. on top of that, this is literally my last sector in my whole mission!! yikes!! we did some despedidas with some of our friends here in departemental and then the office came by to snatch my comp away. him and i hugged for a good 2 minutes straight and i was seriously holding back tears cause i loved him as a comp and one of my best friends so much! then i got to meet elder oldham, my greenie!!!! he has about 5 months on the mission and loves hunting and fishing and working out. he is probably the complete opposite of my personality , but we get along super good! literally no complaining about him killing me! here in departemental, a lot of our friends have fallen off the grid and we have lost a lot of people to be teaching here in the past couple of days, but we are trying our hardest to find some more people to teach. as of right now it has been a lot of member visits and trying to help out our less active friends. its been going good, but just pray for us over here! we need some miracles!
love you guys literally so much. hope you guys have a good week! i have 8 more weeks until i can hug all of you guys!
HA the titles of the emails are getting a little better!! hopefully i got your guys attention for a split second! here ill explain.
so we had to go to lunch on the literal opposite side of our sector. in our mission, unless you work in the office, you have to walk to every single meeting, every single cita, every single interview with the pres, etc. SO when i was walking up the street to go to lunch, we were nonchalantly walking across the street, when a blue chevy is comin at us from down the street. we THOUGHT that this chick was going to stop and let us finish crossing the cross walk, but she stopped literally 6 inches from me, anD THEN PROCEEDS TO CONTINUE DRIVING HER CAR. so, i got propped up on the hood of her car and as she then realized that there was a six foot three man on the hood of her car 3 SECONDS AFTER SHE HIT ME, she slammed on the breaks and i struck a landing on my feet in the middle of the intersection. i ran back to my comp, who was also awe stricken, and we continued on our way to lunch while this old women drove her blue chevy off into the distance. it was a SHOW.
but anyway, we had some sick baptisms this past week! saskias baptism was really cool! the d part was that only about 6 people showed up for the baptism, 4 of which were us and the other sisters who had been teaching her...but she was in love! i had the AMAZING opportunity to baptize her and it was such a spiritual experience! she started crying right after the baptism as she was getting out of the water!!! she was literally so prepared to get baptized its insane. the cool thing is, is that she wants to serve a mission too, so we have been taking her to the citas with our hatian friends that dot speak a lot of spanish as a translater!!! its been so awesome! saskia for mvp!!
ivan also got baptized this past week! our ward had a little difficulty trying to get the baptism too, just because there were so many other activities going on at the same time, so there werent that many people over there when ivan got baptized, but my comp got to baptize ad i got to confirm him! it was so awesome! you know, i a, literally going to miss this so much....i go home in about two months here soon, and i can honestly say that i love this mission so much making so many connections with people and being able to help others in their path to finding god and happiness. its going to be a fun next two months to say the least!
gotta scram! love all of you so so so so much!
Elder Karson Wattles
Chile Santiago South Mission
apartado postal No. 544
San Bernardo, Chile