We received this letter dated Jan. 27 (it included an SD card with pictures some of which are here, we'll post more later):
|A two-foot long compleato (loaded hot dog)|
On Monday 1/13 we had a meeting for all of the missionaries getting transferred in the mission office in San Bernardo. After some words from President and Sister Cook, a slideshow was presented with all the changes. I have been transferred to the La Bandera Zone, Poeta Neruda Ward with a new companion, Elder Mateus of Columbia in another whitewash [area new to both missionaries]. Elder Mateus is small, not taller than 5’6” or heavier than 130 pounds but he walks amazingly fast. From the beginning I heard over and over that he is among the hardest workers in the mission and now, after seeing him in action myself, I can testify of that truth. He is a machine and I am grateful for his example.
Whitewashes are hard. We start with nothing apart from an outdated list of members with their addresses and a map. This time we didn’t even have desks, chairs, or a place to put our clothes in the beginning, we only had beds. We are in a very small house with two other missionaries, Elder Burt (from Massachusetts) who was in the training center with me and Elder Bezerra from Brazil. They are both great guys and great missionaries. The house consists of two rooms and a kitchen and a bathroom. The two rooms are each the size of a large bedroom in the States and the kitchen is about the size of an average bathroom. In fact, our bathroom is bigger than the kitchen.
Elder Matheus and I spend every day walking from lunchtime to bed time. It’s hot, and we’re always in dress clothes. Our feet always hurt, and some days we face rejection after rejection. But we try to follow the example of the great missionary Paul who wrote “Of the Jews five times I received forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep. In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weakness and painfulness, in watching often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness…If I must needs glory, I will glory in the things which concern my infirmities.” (2 Corinthians 11:24-27, 30) As a missionary, Paul suffered and endured far beyond what I have endured in the same calling, and probably beyond what I will ever endure, and yet he chose to glory in the affliction. Not only that, but he said “If I must needs glory,” which seems to express that he didn’t want glory. His desire to not glory is not because his afflictions were wearing him down, it is a result of his humility. This is the reason I believe that if he had to glory, he would choose to glory in the things which concern his infirmities. Our trials and infirmities are valuable opportunities to develop attributes such as faith, hope, patience, and humility – key attributes of Jesus Christ our Savior. I believe Paul recognized that truth and truly found joy in the fact that through his infirmities he became more like Jesus Christ. I hope we can all do the same.
Elder Mateus and I have done a lot of work. Hopefully next week I will be able to write about some successes. Until then, exito.
|Different day, different compleatos|
|We don't always eat compleatos|
|Don't bother me, I'm studying|