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)
ill have you know, while on the mission, sometimes we get SO TIRED. we get up, we do exercises, we study, go out and walk for like 8 hours on end every day. sometimes, i get SUPER loopy. i see like a broken shard of glass on the ground and i LOSE it. i laugh hysterically. when we were walking down the street, our cita fell and there was absolutely no body out and about because it gets so hot that people dont even leave their houses. longhurst and i saw a pigeon and i was like," what if pigeons evolved into something greater than they already are." my comp promptly responded with, "what if they grew gorilla arms and started running at you on all fours." not going to lie, i was on the ground crying from laughter, hence the title of this blog post. now yall are in on the inside joke! about every day its like that. longhurst and i are practically best friends and we go out and work so hard and laugh even harder!
this week was absolutely filled with miracles for the two of us. in this sector, its a little harder to find new people to teach and its a little harder for us to keep the people that we teach. for example, we find some one and then they completely disappear from the face of the planet. we call and text and go to their house and never again will we see Jared or Nancy or anyone. its a little hard, but its ok.
we were out contacting one day and literally 9 a clock at night. we were trying to find a reference that we received from the other part of the mission saying that there was a nice hatian girl looking for for an answer to her prayers. so when we were contacting, we found another hatian family in that same house this girl lived in. our reference wasnt there, but we were able to contact them and talk to them about our beliefs! we talked about the restoration on their doorstep, and they invited us in. fun fact they were all protestants but they were all soooo willing to listen. we got a return cita and when we came back, they all read their homework and prayed to find out if this is the true church! its going to be a fun ride with this family.
this week as well, we were able to put a baptismal fecha with one of our friends named Fabre. he is going to shoot to get baptized for the 27th of march, but the only thing that he is struggling with is getting to church and his work.....its a work in progress but igual.
another PSYCHO experience we had was when a member took us over to his friends house in our sector. he was feeling a little down and wanted to know how he could overcome his tribulations in this life. so, we went over and he told us a story about how his dad had passed away and he felt no remorse nor sadness when he left. he knew that he was somewhere waiting for something, but he didnt know for what reason...he also told us that when he got out of bed at like 2 in the morning, he saw his dad dressed in white laying next to him...when he described to us what he was wearing, he literally almost WORD FOR WORD described the sacred clothes that we use in the temples!! its was a CRAZY experience for longhurst and i, and it was amazing to know that the plan of salvation is SO true. when we left that cita, we were shook out of our minds. sadly, we had to send the reference to some elders in another mission because our members friend lives SUPER far away. we have hopes for him!
other than that, not much has happened....we got a reference to go and visit a crack house. that was fun. hope you guys have a good week though!!!! stay healthy and warm!! down here we are healthy and completely changing ethnicity with how tan we are getting!
i mean cmon guys give e a break i literally am running out of ideas to put as my subject titles. anyway.
so this was the first official week with elder longhurst and it has literally just been a blast!! we have been trying to find new people as of right now and its been eeehhhhh a challenge??? its freakishly hot here in santiago so everyone is either in their houses and dont want to open their doors OR there are out of santiago doing something or another. so its been a little difficult getting people to listen, but we work every single day!
one cool thing that happened this past week is that we put a fecha with Francia and we ar eliterally so excited!! we had the most AMAZING lesson with her about the book of mormon and it went SO GOOD. she was locked and loaded with a bunch of questions for us and was trying to process the resteration in her head and how it all connects. she understood everything, her only problem is that she isnt "a fast reader" and she is "affraid that she isnt going to finisht eh book of mormon before her baptsim". WHAT A GAL.
also one of our recent converts, at the end of our lesson with him, was like "hey dudes. so uh, what time do you guys normally leave for visists with people?"
"well we normally go out and start teaching at around 2 ish like 3 ish why."
"can i leave with you guys from 3 to 10:30"
i am not even kidding this recent convert of like 3 weeks went out and proselyted with us for the WHOLE DAY. he taught diezmo with us and taught el evangelio de jesucristo and everything. he used some scripture referances and wow! hes only 13 and is literally so amazing!
well i have to go now thouhg. my comp and i had a smol photo shoot in our room adn then the next day we went bowling with the zone. sop much fun! i am not good at all!!
ok i dont have a lot of time writing today but here are some of the things that had happened this past week here in departemental!
so carolina got baptized!!!!!!!! we had been teaching her for a moth straight and she progressed literally so fast that she got baptized this last week! the baptisms went super good too because there was a lot of support from the ward and a lot of her family came by and supported her in her baptism! now all we got to do is teach her all the lessons again so that she can be a full on recent convert!!
so i was on divs with elder curisinche this past week and it was super late at night. we went into this guys house who we though was sober but turns out he was literally in the most drunk state a man can even be without passing out. so what we did was teach him like half of lesson one cause he wasnt all there, and then we left the house. we went across the street to buy some food before we went home and this guy comes running out FULL SPEED and is like,"OYE. you guys gave me jesus christ, so i have to give you junk food" so this guy literally offers us about 6 mil (which is like 9 bucks) worth of food and we told him no cause he was drunk and we had money. he responds with "NO YOU GAVE ME JESUS AND NOW I MUST FEED YOU. KIND SIR GIVE THESE ANGELS WHATEVER THEY WANT" and the guy in the food truck just looked at us and so we bought like smol things so that wouldnt make too much of a dent in his wallet. we then got our food and he gave us both sloppy face kisses, which left alcohol ridden spit on our cheeks. then we came home and promptly boiled our faces to try and get rid of the acid saliva on our face. the food was tasty to say the least.
elder balcazar got a call from president that he had changes!!! so when we went to the change meeting, i was literally freaking out who was going to be my next comp. then when my name was announced, i got put with elder longhurst!! he is a little youngin in the mission (from kentucky) with about a year and he is the exact same person as me! he likes indie music and collecting records and polaroids and the whole shibang. its going to be a fun change this change i can totally feel it!
i gotta scram though. i love all of you guys so much!! just to let yall know, the postal service is kind of whack down here in chile, so if you guys want to send me letters youre going to have to do it now! or within this next month so i can get them before i go home!
love you all to bits!
hey all you people on the other side of the world!! this week was SO much better for elder balcazar and i. lemme explain.
so we had the chance to fast this week. when i started my fast, i really wanted to focus in on finding new people to teach in our area because these past weeks, we havent found a lot of people to teach....so i started, went through the whole day SUFFERING THE DEATH RAYS OF THE SUN, and then i ended the fast. THAT SAME DAY I ENDED THE FAST, we found three new people to teach! and it was the coolest thing in the whole world! they were all hatians sure, but they all speak incredible spanish and they all have such large desires to find the truth! their names are robinson, Francia and Caesar. they all live in different houses, but they are the coolest people. they all were like," ok i want to find the truth. i am going to read all my homeworks, i am going to come to church, and i am going to pray my brains out so that i can see if this is the true church or not!" we are literally so excited to work with them!
one of the funny things that happened this week was with the hermanas in our ward, we went to a blind guys house to help him clean a little around. he had blood in his fingers and his clothes were all stained and stuff, so he just didnt look that great an we wanted to help him a little. so we showed up to his house and we cut come trees in his front yard, we picked up all the trash that was around and then we were like "hey do you by chance have a broom and pan so we can sweep your front lawn?"
"ya sure come on in and look for it i dont know where i left it! haha!"
im not even kidding you it was a murder house in there. there were dead cats all over the floor, there was a mass of organic matter in the back room and it had maggots and flies and larva all in it, there were dead dogs and trash and fecal matter and oh my goodness. the hermanas ran out screaming, and i threw up outside on the side of the street. he was like "ya it smells kind of bad but thats why you are hear to clean! hahaha!" we told him straight up we were like,"um there is no way IN THIS LIFE we are cleaning that house of yours because if we do we are seriously going to get ebola or something" he got all mad at us because we said that we were going to clean for him and then rejected him but we told him again "we cant be breathing the black plague while we clean your house, so instead, we are going to call some people that are going to professionally clean this mess, and take care of you!" then we and the hermanas ran away as fast as we could. we felt bad afterwards, but i dont want to be breathing dead cat and fecal matter air, no sir!
well i have to go though. this next week, i will have four more months until i go home! thats literally so psycho i cant breathe!! so close until i come home! june 10th people...ill be flying in to John Wayne airport!
love all of you so much!
then hey yall! last week was a very large and crazy pday, but now i actually have time to write to you guys!
so what has happened in the past week??
NACHO GOT BAPTIZED WOOO!! he passed his interview a couple days prior, and he was so so so excited to be able to get baptized! im not even kidding this kid comes with us on lessons and because of him, we are teaching like 4 of his cousins. he is such a cool dude. the day of his baptism came along, and it was supposed to start at 6, right? we got a call from his grandma and she was like "hey we are having trouble getting the food all ready for the baptism...can we move it to 7?" we call bishop, he said it was ok, so we moved it to 7. people started showing up, it was 7:30 and nacho wasnt even there. we called the grandma: "um so where are you guys?"
"oh sorry, running late cause we are trying to get the food still. we are running!"
these honeys didnt show up until 8:30. the members were LIVID. imagine sitting in a non air conditioned chapel, 100 degrees outside for 2 hours. it was grand ill tell you what! he got confirmed that same day as, and when he went up to give his testimony, he started crying and you could really feel the spirit present in the room. it was so perfect!
other than the baptism, it has been a hard two weeks for us....we have been pimp slapped by our sector...our numbers weren't the greatest this week, and so we have been trying hard to figure out how we could better the numbers. our awesome zone leaders gave us a lesson on the power of prayer, and how you need to ask specific blessings in order to get them throughout the day. so, right before we left one morning, we said almost a 10 minute prayer, asking for all of our investigators to be in there houses, and for us to find the people that were ready to hear the restoration of the gospel. we went out, and EVERY single person was in there house! WHAT??!! we found three new friends to teach in one day! it was insane! if i can say anything, it is that the power of prayer is true. oh so so true! its our job to ask specifically for the things that need, and then, work towards the goals and meet god halfway in order to get those blessings.
other news thats happening, another one of our investigators is going to get baptized here in two weeks! pray for her please!!!! she is 9 years old and is the coolest little girl in the world. shes kind of scared tog et baptized, but her parents and us are trying our hardest to comfort her and get her all ready for the big day!
fetch i have to go though. i hope all of you have a good week this week! i hit 19 months recently too....YIKES QUE SCARY. my parents, and sis will be down here to pick me up in just about 4 months!
hey all you cool cats! dont have a lot of time to write this week, but here is an amazing story of what happened to elder balcazar and i!
so we got a reference from the hermanas about some less active guy they found sitting in his car all alone on the side of the road (why they contacted a guy in his car, i literally have no idea why, but it was a blessing!) he left the church around 6 years ago and didnt think that he was ever going to come back. he had a stroke and a heart attack at the same time, fell off a cliff and broke his femur, and survived somehow. he lost his ability to speak, and now cant even read because of the stroke he had. then he lived with his eldest son, turned alcoholic, and his son turned alcoholic from the stress of school. his eldest son then begin to be abusive to him, and almost threw him out into the street. he goes out to his car every day for a couple hours on end to just sit and try and run away from the pain...he said that he wants to come back to church because he knows that the trials that he has been facing have all been sent from god. he knows that god loves him, and he knows that he wants him to come back to church! he wants to come back to church so bad and take the santa cena, (sacrament)but he said that the feels like he cant for all the stuff that he has done in his life. we had an A W E S O M E lesson with him about the atonement and how coming to church is going to improve his lifestyle so much. he has came to church last week!!!! he cried while he listened to the talks and wow we are literally so excited to be working with him to bring him back to church! his name is manuel, and i can say that i love him so much.
now i have to scram though....i feel like these emails are getting shorter and shorter every week lololol. i have less than 5 months back until i get home...excited and sad and overwhelmed and all the feels.
see you guys in a hot second!
love you to the moon and back!
a smol hike this morning
a ward baptism this past week
thrift store shopping in the city
such a good vinyl find, and it's in english
hello you people on the other side of the world!! how are you guys doing???
this week i had the opportunity to go through changes and get the heck out of the office! woo!! blessed that i got to go through the office but also blessed that im never going back again lol. going into change meeting, i got put with elder balcazar from spain! he is 20 years old an just hit his little year mark on the mission. he is such a cool dude! a member from our ward showed up to come and grab my luggage while balcazar and i took the bus to get to our new sector. where i am now is the most north part of the mission, so its a cool little change from being in the south for so long! so we went to the house had a little planning and off to the sector. i have found that its majority bigger houses and like 4 or 5 apartment complexes, so its not the whole "mansion" idea that i had going on in my head. when i showed up though, balcazar told me that he was in a trio working two sectors at once due to special changes that happened in the mission, so he never really got to work in our sector that much before i showed up...we had like 3 investigators when i showed up, and one baptismal date to work with...looks like we have to do a little bit of reviving. through our efforts uring this week though, we found a super cool family that is super interested in what we teach! Nacho, nancy and caesar, a mom and dad with a son of 12 years! we havent put a fecha with them just yet just because we have only taught them once, but we have high hoped for these guys (the mom like has a tea addiction, but we think that we can fix that ;))
the ward that i am in as well, i share with hermanas. hermana warner and pulsipher are the coolest cats around! the ward is SUCH a strong ward too. when we went to church, there were 104 people that attended and you wanna know what they had to do? THEY HAD TO OPEN THE OVERFLOW IN THE CHAPEL FOR PEOPLE TO SIT. ARE YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW. OVERFLOW IN CHILE?????????? i was shocked completely. it was so cool! the members love teaching with the missionaries too, so they come to us and ask us when they can leave for visits with us! CRAZY.
i do have to go though....we are drowning in citas today haha. i love you all and hope that you guys have an amazing week!!! here are some pictures of my new area and house!
apartments behind my house
we have grapes in our back yard, which is cool!
my very luscious garden in the front yard
out back where we eat sometimes
apparently when we did our hike today there was an armed military dude ready to shoot anyone that touched the tower. turns out it was a cat
bye Hermana Knight, see you in a hot second. all of the sister missionaries who have been with me since the MTC we home this last transfer (girls only serve 18 months)
Elder Karson Wattles
Chile Santiago South Mission
apartado postal No. 544
San Bernardo, Chile