Countryside of Los Andes coming home from Zone Conferences March 28, 2014
We just had Zone Conferences this whole week from Monday to Friday and it was nuts! I got to get to know the entire mission and it was pretty awesome. I had never gotten to know the country part of our mission (there are 9 zones and 2 are in the country)....wha da ya know I have served in all 7 zones in Santiago and never once in the country. The country was so sweet. I recorded all kinds if videos and took tons of pictures. On our way home and since we were in the truck and it was stick, Elder Rodriguez and I pulled off the side of the road in a little town called "Huertos" where Elder Rodriguez taught me how to drive stick. At first I struggled quite a bit hahahaha! I would kill it every time I tried to get it in first gear. I finally got the hang of it after about 15-20 minutes. Once I could get the truck in first gear, the rest was easy getting it into 2nd and 3rd and up to 5 th gear. When I finally had enough confidence in my driving we headed back home with me in the drivers seat (about a 30 minute drive back to the mission office from where we were). I drove pretty smooth all the way home, in traffic and everything (probably from the prayer I had in my heart...haha). I made it all the way to the office no prob! I was pretty proud of myself.....I'm still going to have to practice a lot so I can drive in busier places, but I got the hang of driving stick pretty quick.
The Zone Conferences were pretty awesome! President taught about the one word that he considers the thing that makes us more and more like Christ, repentance. President also taught about the importance of opening our mouths and how to find people to teach (Cap 9 in PMG). Elder Rodriguez and I taught about how to become ONE, the missionaries and members. We made a few changes to the Powerpoint I sent you two weeks ago and then knocked it out of the park! There's a sweet video that Elder Rodriguez and I showed in all the conferences as well that's called "We Are One". Here's the link: https://www.lds.org/training/wwlt/2013/hastening/members-and-missionaries#media= (It's the bottom left video). One of the Sister Training Leaders that's serving in Los Andes actually told us of an experience she had this past week applying this lesson to her current ward she's serving in. This Sister missionary had already listened to what Elder Rodriguez and I were going to teach since she is a leader and attended Leadership Council last week. This Sister said she had thought about our lesson, studied the talk given by President Eyring that's called SED UNO to get even more ideas and then in her missionary coordination meeting, the mission leader in her current ward asked her what she and her companion thought they could do to unite the ward more. This Sister missionary said she couldn't believe that the mission leader had asked her this and then took a few minutes to explain what Elder Rodriguez and I had taught as well as what she had studied and found in President Eyring's talk. I thought that was so cool that a missionary was already putting in practice our teachings and having success. That just makes you feel good!
The health video Elder Rodrigues and I put together was a huge hit! Everyone thought it was so funny. President was busting up more and more every conference it seemed like! Haha. It just doesn't get old!!
As dad probably knows, in a missionary's last Zone Conference he gives his testimony and is basically telling his mission goodbye. President let me choose which Zone Conference I wanted to do this in. I chose to do it in The Sanlen/San Pablo Zone Conference on Wednesday. I got pretty emotional as I testified of the huge change in my life the mission has had on me. I literally didn't know anything before my mission. I had no clue. I testified of the knowledge I've gained as a missionary and shared an experience I had in my third change about 5 months into my mission. I don't think any of you know this but I remember a really tough day out in the field after some really tough months as a missionary not being able to baptize even one person. The Zone Leaders were in my same branch and they were baptizing. My trainer and I weren't. On this particular day, every visit my trainer and I had planned fell through. I remember sitting on the ground with a scowl on my face just frustrated and angry because of the little "success" I was having on my mission. That night, those thoughts continued and even worse, I thought to myself, "What am I doing here? I can't baptize anyone anyway! Might as well go home!" A few days later, one of the biggest, if not THE biggest miracle happened in my entire mission. After another long day, it was 9:50pm and I was on my way to our house with my companion. My companion and I walked by a mother and son and said hi and kept walking. After we passed them about 50 feet, they hollered at my companion and I and told us to come back. We went back to them and they told us that they wanted to listen to our lessons. Kevin, Susana's 15 year old son, was baptized on my last Sunday in that sector. Kevin is now going to seminary every morning and preparing for a mission. I told everyone that The Lord has called us to have success on our missions. We can't give up! Success will come!
After Elder Rodriguez and I finished all of our Zone Conferences, we got a really awesome call from President. He called to tell Elder Rodriguez and I how grateful he was for us and our lessons we taught in each Zone Conference. President told us that he thought Zone Conference week was really a success and thanked us both for all of our hard work. Right before President hung up he said, " I love you both!" That was so awesome to hear. President Essig is really a special man and really does everything and anything to come closer to Jesus Christ. I love that.
Highlights/Thoughts of the week
Hearing from my family and friends. Thanks for your support and love.
You made a sweet choice with the hotel! It's right next to the airport and pretty close to all the sectors I've served in on my mission. I'm excited!
Map of Santiago with sectors I want to visit when I return. This is a photo I took off of google earth (benefit from being in the office is you can use google earth :) ) You can see ward limits and the hotel for our stay in Chile! I'm excited.
Seeing Los Andes. It was so fun. I loved it!
Driving home from a successful Zone Conference in Los Andes March 28, 2014. It's about a 1 hr and 15 min drive by car to go to downtown Los Andes from the mission home.
Mastering driving stick!
A sweet week of Zone Conferences!
Bearing my testimony
Well, I don't have any more time! I hope you all have a really great week! I think we're going to have P-day on Friday since it's General Conference on Saturday :) We'll see!