hey all you cool cats!! there isn't a lot of time, but this email is going to be about something that isn't really talked about while out here on the mission field! and thats the LGBT community and the gospel.
sometimes there is a large taboo about whether or not LGBT people can be in the gospel or whether or not they can participate in church services or the sacrament. when i came out on the mission, i knew very few LGBT members of the church. Some have gone on missions some have received there endowment. Some struggle, and are maybe less active...but are you ready for this? you guys......
GOD LOVES ALL OF HIS CREATIONS AND HE WANTS EVERYONE TO COME BACK TO HIS PRESENCE......NO MATTER WHAT!! HE LOVES EVERYONE!! (and the really cool thing...he DOESNT judge anyone!)
why am i reminding you all of this?? well, we actually had an experience with a trans gender in our sector who has desires to come to church ! we have a list of people who are less active and inactive in our ward. basically there is a total of 800 members that live in our sector, but only 130 of them go to church activity. when we were looking through the list, we found this girl on the literal BOTTOM RIGHT corner of our sector. we thought that it would be a cool idea to try and go visit her. when we showed up to her little humble house, a man opened the door. we asked for an anna, and the guy responded with,"that was my previous name. my name now is Geraldo". longhurst and i were in shock! we have never really interacted with the trans communits before the mission, so we asked about Geraldos story to see what happened. basically, when he was a girl, she was abused by her husband to get baptized. she got baptized, was about to get sealed to this guy, and the husband fell off the face of the planet. then anna (geraldo) became a drug trafficker to try and support her fam, when she also realized that she felt weird about her gender and decided to make the switch, and ended up leaving that old life behind. ok, fast forward to current day..... he literally reads the book of mormon every single day and knows the truthfulness of the book! the only reason why he doesnt go to church is because of fear of being judged, but he has the desires to go! we were in shock! we asked out bishop about it and he literally responded with "god loves all of his children and there is no way in heck that this child of god can find happiness if they dont come to church and receive the fullness of the gospel. i want to meet this guy! ill set up an interview with him right now so i can get to know him! there is also an asexual member in the ward that you can take with you on the lessons with this member." wow!!!
it really opened my eyes on how much god literally loves all of his children. he sent his begotten son to die for literally EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the history of existence, and he wants all of his children to come back to his presence! ah! i love the gospel too much!
i have to RUN now, but i hope that you guys can find a way to feel how much god loves every single one of you this week! look for those small blessings that you receive on a daily basis!
ok here is a small list on what has happened to longhurst and i this week in departemental!
1) i got DEATH sick this past week. i had like a 101 fever for like two days straight and every day we had citas from 4 to 9 in the afternoon, which is a lot! so i slept through studies and slept through lunch, went to some citas in the afternoon, popped some nyquiol and then slept for like 12 hours straight, and then repeated it again the next day cause the fever didnt go away...it was pretty not fun. but i got better and now i just have nasal congestion! so we are alive and like half breathing!
2) it has been kind of hard trying to get people to come to church for the past couple of weeks, and longhurst and i had been trying to see how we could bring our friends to church. so, what we had to was talk a little bit more why we even have to come to church, and then run ALL OVER our sector to try and find some people to take them to church. we literally RAN after ward counsel in the morning to the bottom right corner of our sector to look for one of our friends and then walk like 15 minutes with him to church. BUT! ivan brought his WHOLE fam with him. his dad is not a member and the mom is a SUPER less active, but they all came! he also brought his cousin who lives in our sector! so now we are starting to teach him!
3) speaking of ivan, he passed his interview and now he is going to get baptized here on the 30th of march!
4) also saskia is going to get baptized on the 23rd! we are literally so so so excited!
have to scram though! love all of you so much! see you on the flip side!
this week was literally FILLED with some crazy miracles in departemental. i can not begin to explain how much i literally love this ward!! we got some references that we had been trying to find for the whole change, and we were sooo fed up with the "they arent in their apartment you are going to have to come back another day" business. so we thought we would try this guy named diojenes one more time and OH MY GOSH it was the best first lesson i think i have had on the mission! this guy was astounded as to why we are always so happy. he was asking us questions about why christs death made us happy and how we can even live with all the maldad that you find in the world. we talked to him about the book of mormon and i kid you not, he is progressing SO FAST. its crazy. we have just been finding so many new people to teach, extending baptismal dates with all of them, and we have been seeing such a huge progress here in the sector.
we also have been teaching this girl named Saskia, and she is the coolest hatian girl in the world!! some hermanas have been teaching her literally all the lessons in the other side of the mission, and she her mom lives in our secotr. she was on vacations for SO LONG on the other side of the mission, but she just recently came back home and now she has a baptismal date for the 16th of March! we recently went by her house to finish all the lessons with her and i am so so so so excited for her to get baptized here soon!
i have to scram though...ugh where does the time go now?? i literally have no idea. love my comp, love the sector, love the mission SO MUCH! (whats left of it to say the least haha). so torn between leaving this amazing mission and amazing country, and seeing all of you again! i will be cruising back to john wayne airport on june 18th (everyone is invited, stand by for flight times)
Elder Karson Wattles
Chile Santiago South Mission
apartado postal No. 544
San Bernardo, Chile