Well, I am sorry that I forgot to tell you last week that i wouldnt be sending you a letter until Tuesday this week. We had a crazy, crazy week. So I mentioned that special mission conference that we were going to have. Well, we had it. We chartered a bus to take all of the missonaries from Curicó and Talca (47 in all) down to Concepcion becuase we were going to have a "special guest". We got on the bus a midnight, and started the five hour ride down. We slept on the bus and at 6.30 went into the stake center in Conce. The mission bought Dunkin Doughnuts for everyone and then we freshened up and sat anxiously in the chapel to see who would arrive. The doors opened and Elder Quentin L Cook and his wife walked in. He was with Elder Richards of the Area presidency, his wife and president Humphrey. I have never seen so many missionaries quickly brush off any lint and fix thier hair all at once. We wanted to look nice!
Elder Cook shook each of our hands and talked to us about many different things, but what really struck me the most was what he said about how missionaries are "Branch/Ward Builders". He told a story about an experience he had recently in Vietnam, where the church will have missionaries in the near future. When the Vietnamiese officials asked what the missionaries would do, Elder Cook said that their purpose is to "build branches" which then in turn bless the people around them. The officials where so struck with what he said that they said that they would love to have missionaries there in the thier furture. That really hit me. My sector here in Curicó is gigantic. There is actually a plot of land that the church has purchased in a part of the area for a chapel when there are enough members to split the unit. Right now we need to increase attendance in chruch from about 140 every sunday to about 250+ members to build that chapel and split the ward. I am working my heart out in that part of our sector because every time I walk past that plot of land, I see the chapel that will be built there one day. I see families walking to that chapel with thier children, the youth playing soccer, and the relief society carrying materials to can peaches and strawberries. I dont think I have ever had a vision so clear of what the outcome of my work can and should be. We are working really, really hard. We are find golden investigators. Heck, if they aren't golden, we arent teaching them! I really feel like I am putting my heart into this sector and the future I see is beautiful. It wont be easy but I want to do everything I can to be a "Ward Builder". Actually in this stake, in the past 10 months we have baptized what is equivalant to a ward of 135 or so people. We are also seeing a higher retention rate than anywhere else I've been in the mission. If the mission Chile Concepción has a city of Zion, I'm in it and it is beautiful.
Anyway, more about me personally. We had a wonderful baptism on sunday. Her name is Angie and she is 12. She lives with her Grandparents who were baptized in Santiago about 13 years ago. Her grandparents have been inactive for a few years but about 4 months ago they moved here to Curicó. Last month, we were doing some tracting and we saw two girls walking towards us. We stopped them to ask if they knew a less active family in that street. They didnt, but Angie told us that we needed to pass by her house and share with them. Since then, the grandpa has changed jobs so he can attend church more often, his wife is making many efforts to read the scriptures and pray and Angie has started become a key member of the Young womens program of the ward. Sunday just happened to be Stake Conference and President Humphrey came to speak in the meeting. He heard about our baptism and was really excited to see it. Our bishop acted particularly profession during the baptism and President then gave a special message afterward. It was amazing.
Monday (yesterday) we had interviews which was wonderful as well. There are many changes coming in the mission. In the next 4.5 months the amount of missionaries in the mission will increase by 30 or so. Our job right now is to prepare things for when those missionaries arrive. We have to prepare a lot of sectors that will be opening soon and taking some time to visit some pueblos and small cities to make lists of future investigators for when missionaries arrive. We have a lot of work to do but I find myself just smiling and loving it all. I was taught by my trainer that "in the mission, not everyday is going to be Christmas" which is a valid thought but that doesnt mean that I can't pretend it is.
So I got one of the packages that y'all sent. I was really grateful for the socks, and the face wash. As a side note, I bought some Dr Pepper this week and a supermarket here in Chile called Jumbo. Wow, I really forgot how good it is. We actually got together as a zone today and we made Dr Pepper Floats (there wasnt any Root beer left there so we went ahead with the best alternative). I really hope everything goes well this week and that you can prepare everything this week so you can all relax and enjoy your Thanksgiving. I love you all a ton.