So this week has basically been the best week of my life!! I LOVE San Javier, which is my new sector. It is close to the big city of Talca, but more in the campo, or countryside. We have bikes because it is GINORMOUS. We have about 17 poblaciones, and to put it into perspective, my last sector had 2 poblaciones... It is huge. My new companion Hna. Ribeiro doesn´t even know the whole area, so we get lost a lot and just end up contacting ;D It is awesome. She is from BRASIL!!! I have to say, she is my fourth companion from Brasil, and I have fallen in love with that country and I LOVE being companions with Brazilenians. They work super hard and are SUPER funny. Also, I am learning Portugese a little bit, and we have little conversations in Portugese now, like To com fome. That means I´m hungry ;D But don´t worry mom, we don´t get hungry a lot. They feed us well here. We just like to say things like that. However, I am seriously thinking of learning Portugese after the mission. Maybe uncle John can help me ;D
Anyway, I LOVED this week. I have a couple of stories to tell, so just hold on. First, we were contacting one day in the night because we had passed by everyone that was in our plans and we decided to just let the Lord take us where He wanted. So we contacted a couple of people, gave them some of the little cards that have the christmas video link and laughed a lot (because that is what me and Hna. Ribeiro do, we laugh and smile). Then, Hna. Ribeiro felt that we shouild talk to a joven of about 14 years, so we did! His name is Vicente and he had just come from a pool with his family, but had left before them to get home, and they were on the way. It was a normal contact, nothing too special. We gave him a Christmas video card and left, and saw his family on bikes as we were leaving. To not be awkward, we just waved and smiled at them, thinking in our heads we would just pass by another day. But THEN, we were eating lunch yesterday in the house of a member named Eduardo (his story I will tell after) and as we were finishing lunch, IN WALKS VICENTE!!!! I looks over at us and we at him and Hna. Ribeiro and I (both at the same time because we are connected already) say, Hey are you named Vicente. His grandpa, Eduardo looks at us and asks how we knew!!! We explained it all and in walks Vicente´s parents, Eduardo´s son and his wife. WE WERE SO BLOWN AWAY!! We talked a little bit and then they had to leave, but they said we would see them later!!! IT WAS A MIRACLE!! It is SO cool what happens when we follow the Spirit. The world is SO small. After that Eduardo told us that the mom of Vicente came to Eduardo´s baptism and said she felt like one day she would join the church. We feel now is her time!! But only the Lord knows. It was SO cool!!
Anyway, so Eduardo is about 70 years old and was baptized 2 years ago!! He is married to a SUPER Catholic woman, who is SUPER nice, but I think that fact that her husband changed religions made her be more catholic because there are SO many saints (they call them santitos) in her house!! As if to say to us, the missionaries, I am Catholic and won´t change, so don´t even try. But she is SUPER nice and makes lunch for us every Sunday, and she cooks SO good, and super healthy. It was so cool to talk to Eduardo about why he decided to get baptized. He got to the point in the catholic religion where he was going to be sacerdote, priest I think? But he said this religion really helped him come to know Jesus because the catholic church doesn´t force anyone to keep the commandments, so really anyone can be catholic. He loves the Book of Mormon and is truly converted. I love when we meet people like that :) I think that is what lacks a lot in a society where there are a lot of mormons, conversion. Where someone lives the religion because they have come to know Jesus, truly. If you haven´t found your conversion yet, I invite you to read the book of mormon, pray with your heart, and go to church to learn what God would have you change in your life, not to just listen and continue on with your life the rest of the week. It is SO cool what happens when we actually live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Everyday, I am trying to ask myself in my personal study, what would God have me learn here, or change, to become more like Him? Try it, it is SUPER cool what happens ;D
So, that was our week, I love serving here. It is a little branch where about 60 people come to church every week. And they are humble countryside people, which is even cooler, because God doesn´t judge us by the statuses of man, but by our potencial to become like Him. Our branch president has the biggest smile I´ve ever seen in my life. I think his face has frozen with that smile because he has it even when he is serious. I am excited to work here, and I actually am praying that I finish my mission here. I don´t want to go anywhere else, but I will go where the Lord sends me.
You all are super awesome. I hope you find someone to serve this Christmas season. Our branch president, on Sunday, talked about how we aren´t celebrating our birthday, we are celebrating the Savior´s birthday, and we need to find a worthy gift to give Him. In the Liahona for December, Pres. Monson talked about visiting people in hospitals, who (a lo mejor) wouldn´t recieve visits from their families. Find someone this week who needs to feel the Savior´s love, and pray to be the tool in His hands to uplift them and share the spirit of Christmas. It is SO amazing to give to others and know that He is proud of us when we serve our fellow men who truly need it. I love you guys so much. I can´t wait to talk to you guys this week! It will be awesome!