This has been the best week that I've had in a long time! It is amazing to arrive to a sector and within a week see the changes that it an make in one's outlook. This has got to be one of my best wards by far and I'm really looking forward to getting to know more of the members here. I've also got an excellent companion, a little Utah-ish, but not too bad!
First things first! I hope you got my other e-mail about the Mother's Day phone calls, an Skype. It would be great to get to see ya'll too, just put Gabe to work on it on your end and I'll see what we can figure out today on mine. It isn't something set in stone since it has been fairly difficult trying to figure out where we can talk to our families anyways, but we're going to see if we can't make this thing happen too. And besides, there are lots of adavantages to Skype anyways, for example video chat, FREE, via the Internet, etc. Hopefully we can make it happen, the only thing that you have to be sure of is that you are connected at 4:00 (Santiago time) on Sunday and that you've got a webcam and microphone (good investments anyways, since I'll buy them from you when I get back to talk to people in Chile via Skype as well).
I've got to admit that Dorsa 1 is very different than being in the office. I'm very much enjoying the availability that we have to work, but the walking is wearing me out a little bit. We are averaging about 8 miles (or more) a day, Elder Brunt has a pedometer, and our sector is small! LOL. I've already gotten to know a lot of amazing people here! We had a confirmation yesterday of an investigator who was baptized in December, her mom thinks that I look like Mark Anthony! Also on Saturday we had a great lesson with two investigators, Matías (16) & Lucas (13), and they committed to baptism. Matías decided that he wanted to be baptized this coming Sunday, so we're super excited about that, but we are going to be trying to figure out the schedule for that and the phone calls too! Our problem that we are baptizing! And Matías is only going to be the first of at least 3 this month!!! We've got a couple that we are teaching, Mario & Marisol, who are getting married on the 28th and are going to be baptized on the 29th. Mario has been investigating the Church for about 2 years & Marisol for 15! It is going to be great to be a part of their conversion.
We've also got several recent converts in our sector who are on fire!!! Christian Ballesteros is in his 40's or so, single, and has only been a member for about 8 months. Recently he received the Melchizedek Priesthood and is very soon going to recieve a calling. And he is only one of many! We've also got a non-compliant heart patient as a recent convert, I love him, but sometimes I just want to slap him around... He's convinced that he's going to die soon, and he's probably right (but it hurts for me to realize that).
The average attendance in our ward is about 120 members, but we could easily have 150 or more. Yesterday we had a chance, as the 4 missionaries in the ward, to speak with the bishop and plan a little bit of how we can help the ward to grow. In the next 5 weeks we hope to see some big changes and hopefully a lot of success comes along with those. It is tough to see a young bishop so worried about the ward and trying to pull all of the weight almost entirely solo. The organizations in this ward don't function really well, but a major restructuring will be happening very soon, and yesterday we had a sneak peek! We are all very excited!
The work is continuing very well! I'm loving to opportunity to be a missionary, and for the first time in about 12 months I'm really, really excited to be working where I am! I love this work and the blessings that it brings in my life!
Love ya'll and miss ya'll, but at least I get to talk to you this next weekend! It's hard to believe that this is going to be another last, the last phone call home during my mission!
¡Todo mi amor y cariño!
-- Élder Todd