¡Hola Familia y Emery!
Yes, I just finalized the name for "the DAWG" (as Dad put it), so her name is officially Emery...Gabe and Ryah did good for once.
So cambios happened last night and continue today, we got the phone call at 12:15 this morning (kinda last night). And the verdict says...all 4 of the missionaries here in El Salto are staying put for another 6 weeks. Also none of the Zone Leaders or the Assistants to the President changed this transfer (probably because we met our goal of 120 baptisms in the mission for the month of November), so that was cool too...Elder Low said that has never happened with President May (the leadership not changing that is).
This month is already starting to look promising for my first baptism. We have 2 people with fecha for the 20th and hopefully we will know for sure this week that they are definitely going to be baptized. Unfortunately this Sunday is going to be super crazy as Chile has their elections (presidential). So, hopefully we find out soon how proselyting is going to work or if it is going to change at all for Sunday! We've only got sacrament meeting for church so we'll have a longer day than normal.
Good news!!! We only have a few more weeks until Christmas/Navidad, ojalá Viajito Pascuero will be able to find me here in Chile...LOL. And on Christmas day we get to talk to our family (that means ya'll). I'm going to give you a low down on how it is going to work, because preparations have to be made this week and next week (on my end and yours).
Christmas Calls: We get to talk for 40 minutes of Christmas day! So the time is going to fly, but it is because we have to be proselyting that afternoon at 4 pm. So we will be talking at 1:00 pm local time, which means 10:00 am Texas time. Things here work a little differently so I won't be calling. Rather I will be sending you the phone number of a member next Monday where I will be awaiting your phone call promptly at the appointed time...LOL. Within a couple days of getting the number Dad will need to call it to make sure it works and the connection is OK and then send me an e-mail to let me know. (I say Dad because the person needs to speak Spanish). Then on Christmas day ya'll will have to call the number again (at your expense, way easier than us having to hassle with calling cards or running up bills on members phones). ANY QUESTIONS?
Back to the work... We finally dropped our loco investigator who has armies that are ready to kill us at any moment...luckily he is protecting us. He was really sad when we told him we couldn't visit him anymore, but we have no reason since he doesn't need a baptism.
Our investigator, José Luis, is on fire!!! He has been to church twice, and yesterday he stayed to practice with the choir (which consists of all the youth, one YSA sister, the missionaries, and now him) and afterwards stayed for the baptism that the ward/other missionaries had. He absolutely loved it and he is really clinging to the gospel! So far he is on track for a baptism on the 20th and his wife has started to become interested in our message and actually sat in on part of our lesson the other day! YAY!!! Previously she has been really pesada and not really interested at all, but slowly she has been turning from her prior ways and started to look into what we share. He really wants her to open her mind and at least experiment with our message. We have the highest hopes for him and know that when he is baptized he will be a very strong member (and potentially a bishop by next year...LOL).
Alex, our other investigator with fecha for the 20th, is progressing rather slowly. He has had almost every lesson and knows that what we share is true, he is just rather slow to take the initiative! Fortunately his wife is a member and return missionary, so she has been a huge help in this process. And he has really come a long way from where he was, as he didn't even believe that there was a God several months back.
Work and work on the house sounds fun for everybody!!! I can't say that I miss that part of being at home, since I'm getting plenty of work here! Just keep your chins up...
I'm sad to here that Elder Nielsen is finally leaving Lufkin, but he'll do great wherever he goes! I feel bad for Lufkin too though, he has really brought about so good changes there it sounds like.
SNOW!!! IN LUFKIN!!! Apparently the world is freezing over or something (Chile unfortunately is not). Elder Low just told me that his sister said they got snow in Alberta in one day that was deeper than she is tall, which even for this time of the year is a little unusual...but not nearly as much as snow in East Texas. Is is 90 degrees outside again yet? Or is it looking more and more promising for a white Christmas? We get a green/brown Christmas here, all the trees are pretty but the dirt kinda gets a little boring (fortunately we have about 2 blocks with grass in our sector...we got lucky!).
All is well here, everyone is looking forward to the Christmas program/activity thing we have on the 24th. We will be in the mission home this year (in 2 groups as there are wayyyyy to many missionaries for 1)...so that will be cool. I've got Fase 2 training this Friday so keep an eye on the mission blog for the comments from missionaries and try to guess if one of them is mine!!! LOL...good luck.
I just want to end with my testimony of this great and marvellous work and the change that it has wrought in me. It is so great to be able to see someone change their life because of a message that is so simple to us yet at the same time so profound. I have really grown to love the place that I have in preaching this great gospel to the people here in Santiago. The simplicity of this message has given me a whole new perspective on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and his life. To see someone take this gospel and apply it in their lives to bring forth a mighty change is something that there are no words to describe. I love this work and this gospel with all my heart and would not trade this opportunity to be a missionary for the world! I encourage anyone who is looking for a change in their life or is searching for more direction to take the opportunity to listen to this unique message that we have (member or not) and to truly apply it in your life. The message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is truly our unique message to the world, it is from beyond the veil and has made a huge impact on my life and my entire outlook.
I love you all and look forward to hearing your voices on Christmas day!
¡Todo mi amor!
-- Elder Todd