Sunday, January 15, 2012

September 5th

Well, I don't know how to feel right now. I am sitting in a internet cafe in another hemisphere writing my family on the other side of the World. The past year I have been in a foreign country, speaking a different language, working with people of different cultures, backgrounds, and faiths, some very different than my own. I have been talking to random people on the streets, going door to door, and visiting families to share the message of the restored gospel with anyone who will share just a few seconds with us. This has been the most memorable year of my life. I have learned a lot and I am so very grateful that the Lord chose me to take part in this work. I want to share a poem that I remember from years ago that explains an important principle I've learned in the mission.

The Lord works miracles
By using broken things.
The earth is broken by a plow,
And seeds are placed therein.
Rain is sent from broken clouds,
And crops begin to grow.
Grain is broken by a miller’s stone;
The flour is used in baking bread.
The covenants we have made,
We make again
When we partake of blessed
and broken bread.
Reminded, thus,
Of how our Lord was broken,
With broken hearts,
We show him we are His.
The Lord works miracles
By using broken things.

Karl Jackman

It might be hard to believe but I am not perfect (sorry for shattering your image of me, Mom). I have learned that sometimes we need to be humbled and every so-often we feel "broken down" or "used up". It is in those moments that the Lord can work the most incredible miracles through us. That is probably one of the most important things I've learned this last year and I am really excited to keep working in this marvelous for the rest of my time that I have left in this work. (If you didn't catch that, I will complete a year in Chile this week)
So I expected to hear unfortunate news about Grandma this week but I to a certain degree I'm relieved to know that she passed away peacefully and that there weren't any major complications. It is also great to know that the family was able to get together once again to celebrate the amazing woman who was so essential in bringing us into this world. I really hope that you will all of the chance to feel peace and tranquility in these next few weeks because from what I've heard in your emails, you haven't been able to relax in a very long time.
So as far as I'm doing. I'm doing great! We had a baptism (Andrea got baptised) this last weekend which was a great experience and we are going to have more in these next few weeks. This sector has had its ups and down but I love Lirquén and I will always keep it close to my heart. I am not sure how much time I will stay here for but I have a feeling that there will be some changes this next transfer and it is pretty possible that I will have to say goodbye to this wonderful place. Well, I have two more weeks before transfers so there is still a lot to do before I start thinking too much about that. An investigator, Ariel, told me that he is already making plans to prepare for a mission after he gets baptized which has probably been one of the highlights of my mission up to this point. Also his cousin, Hans, a recently reactivated member is preparing to baptism him and is also working on getting prepared for a mission. We are seeing miracles everyday. I am not perfect but the Lord really is blessing us with a lot of wonderful experiences and I would never pass up this opportunity for anything.
Mom, you sound like you are getting a little trunky. There is still plenty of time left for you to enjoy all the blessings of me being here in the mission. Take advantage of the chance to tell people how proud you are of your missionary son while you still have the chance. You wont be able to brag about your missionary grandchildren for many more years so these 10 months will be your last chance for about 20 years. I know how proud you are of your children and I am thankful to be one of them and I am especially grateful for everything you have done to get us to where we are in life. You are amazing Mom. I want you to know that.
I love you all a ton and I hope you all the best through all the challenges you have faced.
Elder McNeil

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