Sunday, November 21, 2010

What Elder McNeil wakes up to every day!

Dog biting Elder McNeil

November 15th

To answer your question, fasting in 95 degree weather and not drinking water and walking around outside in a place where air conditioning doesn't exsist makes fasting hard during the summer here.
This week was interesting. Two of our best investigators surprised us by moving, one to Talca where the Stake center is, and the other to Santiago. Basically, we are still stuck in what I am going to call the PFV (Purpetual Finding Vortex) because that is still the only thing we can do. Well we do have one progressing investigator who should be getting baptized in a week or two but we need to find a lot more people to teach which is hard in San Clemente because everyone leaves for the summer to work so about 1 in every 8 houses still has people living in them during this time of year. Yeah, but things are going well, My companion and I are getting along (we probably don't have much more time together so we are trying to make this time count) and I have a special "new missionary training" in Concepcion Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday which I find interesting. I can actually get to know a little bit of Conce for the first time since I`ve gotten here. Oh I also got my visa so I am legal here in Chile (not that I wasn't before, but I now have the piece of paper that says I can be here)
So I started teaching English which is a lot of fun and we already have about 16 students. We were also invited to a meeting of the Jehovah`s Witnesses and Elder Quiñones sat in on a meeting for about 30 minutes which was definitely interesting. They are easily some of the most avid bible scholars out there and it was actually a cool experience. Also this week, we witnessed an ice cream fight in the home of a member. This woman was letting her 6 year old daughter eat from the ice cream tub and out of nowhere, she just shoved her daughter`s face into the ice cream and it continued from that until the entire family had chocolate ice cream covering their faces. So that was my week. I hope y`all enjoy the new Harry Potter movie and enjoy everything.

Elder McNeil

November 8th

THE GIANTS WON THE WORLD SERIES!!!! Wow, that just made my week!! Well, that isn´t entirely true. What made my week is we now have progressing investigators for the first time in almost a month. That is what really made my week rock but really things were just great this week. We are still focusing in finding but we are actually finding some really great people (not that the people we were finding before weren´t great, they just dont want to actually do anything). We now have a pool of people that actually want to progress which is great, but because it rained on sunday we still need to wait like a month before we can get any baptisms out of our efforts (Chileans don´t go to church if its raining). And Mom to answer your concern, yes things are hard, but I am a missionary, that really isn´t surprising that things are hard.
Also thank you for letting me know how Grandma and Grandpa are doing. I pray for them a lot and it is nice knowing that they are being taken care of.  
Finally, I would like dad to change a few things about my facebook because there are members and investigators who want to add me as a friend but cant becasue of the rules i set.
So things are going well. I am happy and healthy and people like me. We actually did a minicambio this week and I was put in a sector with a true greeny (he only has 3ish weeks and very little spanish). That is a testament to how well i´m speaking spanish now. Well, I still have a lot to learn but I am doing very well for myself here in Chile. 
Oh also, fasting during the summer in Chile is hard and very humbling. It made me think about what it means to really sacrifice something. I read a quote I loved once that said "The law of sacrifice was never about taking an animal and sacrificing it on the alter to be burned, but to take the animal in ourself, putting it on the alter, and letting the flames consume it." That is one thing i am still working on but I can feel the changes in me every day. It is a beautifly difficult thing to do, but its a part of being a servant of Christ.

Your littlest Elder,
Elder McNeil

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1st --> Freinds and Letters

I got letters from Brianne, Sarah, and a few others and I will be writing y´all soon, it just takes a long time for me to get mail and I haven´t forgot about y´all.

Well, I hope the Pasta dinner was fun for y´all and it is awesome that Josh is going to Mozambique and Evan to Colombia. And I have to point out THE GIANTS ARE ONE GAME AWAY FROM WINNING THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!! Keep me updated on that please. That would be so awesome if they won. Also let Ken and Laura know that I absolutely approve of the name and am really excited to have a nephew soon. I hope things go well with the land but it looks like things are promising for the site and I am excited to see what you will do with the land. Feel free to send some pictures of the land so I can see what it is like. Also Josh and Brian are getting home from their missions? By the time I get home they are going to be married with three kids each! Let everyone out there know that I love them and that I hope things are going really well for them.
So I got your package this week. It took a really long time because I am 4 hours away from the mission office so we really only get mail when they bring it to us for conferences or big events. This week we had a special mission conference with Elder Zaballos who is in the area presidency of Chile and was the first Chilean General Authority. That was a lot of fun. So if you send me a package for Christmas, there are a few things I would like to ask for. First, I have been teaching myself piano but a basic piano book or two would be awesome. Second, a simplified hymns hymnbook which you can get at the distribution center would be great. Also chocolate would make me happy because the chocolate here is a little depressing. Also thanks a ton for the cd player and speakers. It is awesome listening to some new music. With you next package feel free to put together cds of anything uplifting, inspirational, or that you feel is missionary appropriate (A little bit of instrumental music would be nice).
So Today is the day of the dead here in Chile but it is nothing like the day of the dead of Mexico. It is very quite and reverent. It is actually quite nice and I like it. This past week we have had few investigators, and even few who want to progress, but lots of good experiences with recent converts so it was still an improvement. I still really want progressing investigators though. We had a lot of rain this week which made the days a lot colder and the work harder but our broken water-heater (Califont) magically started to work so we can now take hot showers. I will admit, I thought I loved the people, my companion, and the work before things got hard but now that things are harder, I have learned that I really need to do a lot more to develop more love to carry me through. Well, things will improve eventually, I just have to keep working at it.
I´m glad things are going well for yall and I hope things are always as great.
Elder McNeil

October 25th

So, primero, we found a lot of people to teaching this week. Sadly, none of them went to church so we still don´t having anyone really "progressing". Hopefully that will change with time and I will absolutely keep you updated when that changes. As far as the cambio we had last week, basically half of our zone is training/ a greeny. We got 4 new missionaries and Elder Quiñones is still the only latino. I thought that was funny. I think this is his last cambio here in San Clemente and if he leaves, we might not have any latinos in the zone of Talca which would be sad. San Clemente (my sector) always has a latino so if he leaves and I get a gringo companion, it will be the first time in like 4 years that there will be two gringos together. Also, I have really seen a lot of people eager for me to teach english and I think I will start in a few weeks but Elder Quiñones will feel a left out a bit but it would be a great way to help us find... meh, we will see.
I am really, really excited for Ken and Laura. The members always ask us how our families are and I always tell them that I am going to be an uncle soon and they get really excited. I am hoping for a boy too but I´ll be super happy either way. I love how Mom is always doing something for the ward. Mom you have got some arts and craft skills out the whazoo. I think you should meet some of the Soc-Soc (this is the abreviation for Sociedad de Socorro, which is the relief society) sisters from San Clemente. Also, THE GIANTS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!!!!! ARE YOU SERIOUS!!! GO GIANTS!!!!
Oh I also heard a rumor that there is an apostle here in South America which hopefully means the groundbreaking for the Concepcion temple, and we have a mission conference this week so... I´ll keep y´all updated.
Elder McNeil

October 17th

Have fun at the pasta dinner in a few weeks. I got an email from Kathy and she and Jack are getting ready for the big night. That made me happy to hear from them. Also I got an email from Ken and Laura and saw the pictures of the house which is (to take a word from Mom´s vocabulary) adorable, and the other big news they had was really exciting too!!!! So you are going to be in a little branch in this new house? Thats actually really cool. It will be nice to get to know everyone really well.
I just completed my first cambio (transfer) and Elder Quiñones and I are still here in San Clemente. Because you asked, the language is coming along really well. Now when I get frustrated when I speak with people, it is because I understand what they are saying. Actaully, that probably sounded dramatic, I really haven´t been frustrated too badly since I´ve been here and when I do, it is usually because I feel like my companion is trying to help too much. He is a great Elder and has really taught me a lot. Actually I lot of our members and investigators want me to start teaching english classes, and I really want to, but I´m a little hesitant because Elder Q doesn´t speak english and I don´t want him to feel left out.
So we where able to get some investigators to Church but only a few. We went from having a really strong teaching pool to an almost non-existant overnight and we have a lot of work to do here in San Clemente. Hopefully we can baptize the daughter of a recent convert this next week or two but everyone else who we had had progressing stopped so we have to get the ball rolling again. We did have an interesting moment when we found out that one of our investigators who actually was progressing really well, was actually an inactive member than lost the memory of her baptism when she got really sick as a teenager. Yeah, we have a lot of work to do but things are going well and I am going to have another 6 weeks with a native spanish speaker which means I am going to have even better spanish before the next transfer ends. Well that is basically my week.
Con Amor,
Elder McNeil

October 10

I am avoiding dogs and if I feel a small earthquake, I always check nearby to see if there are any animals that are a little overly-excited. So I have a lot more to learn here in Chile but I have lots of help from my companions and leaders but if I need to go to the hospital again, I at least know how to get there.
So this past weekend was stake conference which was fun but two weeks in a row that we couldn't get investigators to Church because they couldn't travel the 45 minutes to Talca to get to the stake center. Also today is a holiday so there are a lot of people out of town. So to be completely honest, this past week was a little fome (a spanish word for lame) So basically all of the investigator pool we had when I arrived has been baptized. The other investigators who were progressing have all fallen through so we have been trying to find like crazy. Hopefully this Sunday, we will have some good attendance at church and finally get some of our investigators progressing. We also have a problem with our investigators leaving for months at a time to find work in Santiago or other cities around Chile. Oh, also, one of our investigators ran away from home and we now know who she is living with but cant find the house. That is a really complicated situation and we still arent entirely sure what is going on. Yeah, I heard that BYU was having an off-year and i actually kind of expected UT to be a little off too. It is great to hear that the Giants are doing pretty well.
What has been pretty exciting is the story of the miners here in CHile that should be saved in these next few days. Everyone here is really excited and they are already talking about all the money they are going to make off the movie they are going to make about the story. And i thought you would like the picture of my companion with the ax, and I think that was a one time event but we can never be sure with elder quiñones. Anyway, that was my week.
Love ,
Elder McNeil