Janelle's e-mails to her family

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hola familia!

Well, I can´t believe that I have been a missionary for 4 months. I cannot believe how fast time is flying by....que triste. So much to do and so little time!

I am trying to practice being bold without overbearing, but we are working with a lot of inactive people right now and they are inactive for reasons that are honestly kind of chistoso...the worst reason that we heard this week was a lady that had dogs that were dangerous and they needed to be watched carefully. I gained a strong testimony this week of the blessings that we receive when we attend church and take the ordinance of the Sacrament seriously. I think that if we understood how sacred this ordinance is and that we can literally start fresh and be perfectly clean every week, if we take it seriously with real intent...if we understood that we would crawl to the Church if we had to. It is very sad to me to see that there are such problems with inactivity here in Ancud. So many covenants are being broken. To paint a picture for you...There are 1,000-ish members in Ancud...enough to have a stake, and there are 50 ish members attending every week...enough to have a branch, no mas. It´s sad, but we are trying hard to help this branch out so that they can receive the blessings that come with the Gospel. We are praying that people´s hearts can be softened, and that they can understand the sacred and eternal things that they are sacrificing because they don´t want to walk to Church when it´s cold, because someone was mean to them 7 years ago, because their children don´t want to go with them, they don´t want to have a calling, they have to chop wood, or because they need the extra little bit of money that they could earn on Sundays....etc. This was the frustrating part of the week, if you couldn´t tell :) But I am happy to be trying to help. I know we have a lot of support in the Rama, and I am really grateful for that. The past few years have been very rough for this Branch. A lot of problems have happened, so right now we are in the healing process I believe.

Anyway, some good-ish news this week is that we are teaching our neighbor Paola and her son Pablo. I know the missionaries have been working with her for a long time, as we live next door to her. She is always super receptive, but she´s never really accepted any sort of date for baptism. The other day we felt that we should reteach baptism and set a date for her and her son (10 years old...he´s perfect!!!!) and as we were teaching her, she began to cry and then "confessed" that she was baptized when she was 18 years old. What! It was like a secret to her; she was so ashamed that she hadn´t been attending, and when she was married, her husband objected to the Church. Right now they are separated, and she wants to change. I hope that her heart can be softened through repentance and obedience. Her son is so great. Pablo came to church one week by himself, because he wanted to! He wants to be baptized, and we hope that his mom can help him make right choices and stay active in church. But she was so relieved after she told us "her secret" and she told us she needs and wants to change. So it turned out really well.

Also, happy 4th of July...one day late. Don´t worry, the other Elder gringo, and 2 sister missionaries (that finished their mission and were back visiting), and I all belted the National Anthem in the street outside one of the member´s house yesterday. Afterwards the member came out of their house and told us that they thought it was the Jehovah´s Witnesses singing outside their door…so funny. We are going to have a barbeque and make brownies today to celebrate (we are also celebrating for Argentina (mi compi) because their special day of the year is the 9th of July.) I can´t wait for Chile´s day (18th of September---shout out to Chelsea for your birthday :) I hear it´s a huge, huge deal...bigger than Christmas. Lots of meat :)

Well, that´s about all I have for this week. It was a very tiring week. I came home last night compeletly exhausted. Phewww. It´s nice to have this Pday, but we have a big week in front of us. Thank you for your prayers. I need them lots. And thank you all for your letters and emails. They are so great. This is why I love Pday! I get to hear from you all, so thank you muchisisismo. Also, thank you for the pictures everybody! (Mom, from the family reunion, and Jimmy for the pictures of Sean and Abby´s wedding!!!!!) Congrats Sean and Abby! Abby, your dress is beyond words gorgeous. :)

Love you guys.

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