Hi guys, Elder Olson here. Trying to get my recording done nice and early here. Today is week 5? week 5 in transfer number 9. Wow! This transfer's really been flying by.
Well it's been a SUPER busy week...an incredibly busy week. We had meetings every day, except for...no Thursday we still had meetings. We've seriously had meetings every day this week...unless you count P-day. We started off last Tuesday, we had a meeting with the District to watch the General Women's Session of Conference. It was really good. I'll save all my sexist jokes, seeings as how I'm a representative of the church and all that, but... it was good. I learned a lot and I really enjoyed it.
Wednesday we had our zone conference. We talked A LOT about the Book of Mormon. It has really been a big focus in the mission recently, especially this transfer. We've been trying to find new ways to use the Book of Mormon, to use it more effectively, to use it better in our teaching, to use it to find people and really just take advantage of this tool that we have because more than once the prophets have told us that the most powerful tool, along with the Holy Ghost, that we have as missionaries, is to convert people through the Book of Mormon. That's true for a mountain of reasons...I guess that doesn't make sense anyway... but haha for a lot of reasons. But mainly because it's the key to our religion. It's a really powerful tool and we need to use it better. So that was good. We had that part of the zone conference...so that was with President and the Assistants. Then (with the zone) my companion and I we did a practice and a demonstration and we talked about how we could get people to better read because a lot of times we give people the book to read and they say they're gonna read it, but then they don't. So the trick is really verifying and making sure that they read. That went well. We were up LATE the night before practicing. Luckily the practice and everything went really well. My companion and I were really coordinated. It just went well overall.
Then Thursday we had almost a normal day. Well, we had a normal day but we had our mission leader coordination meeting with the ward mission leader that night, which was really good. Our ward mission leader here is FANTASTIC. He's probably the best mission leader I've had in my mission. He's the only one that I've had that actually coordinates the visits so members will be with us. So we can call him and be like, "hey, on Thursday we have this appointment with this person and we need a member to accompany us at that time...preferably an Hermana from the Relief Society or something like that." And he helps us out there and he's normally able to get the person in that time which is a huge help for use to not have to be calling a million people searching for somebody to do that. And that's really the mission leader's responsibility so it's good to have somebody who's actually doing what he's supposed to do.
And then on Friday we had what's called a capital abierta, which is an open chapel in Rengo, where my family's from. It was cool. It's a big ward. It's probably one of the bigger ones in the stake...if not the biggest it's one of the biggest. It came out really well despite the fact that we had a couple miscommunications about timing and about the number of missionaries that were going to be able to attend. We got together as almost the whole zone. We got everything set up on time. Then basically what it is , is like a tour of the Chapel. But at the same time it's more of talking about what we believe. The sister missionaries go through doing rounds of this tour with people coming in off the street. And they talk about first, our belief in Jesus Christ, and then they give like a super basic version of the missionary lessons and then there are a couple missionaries dressed in white in the baptismal font teaching about baptism and then the groups go through to each organization individually. The organization presents like two minutes about what the organization does. And then at the end we wait with Books of Mormon and pamphlets and we get references...or referrals...I guess is what they call them. My friend didn't know what references were the other day and I didn't know how to explain them. Referrals. Anyway, so that went really well. We brought in quite a few people off the street. I also thought it was a really good opportunity to show some of the newer missionaries how we should be talking with everybody. During the open chapel especially, if there was somebody riding their bike on the other side of the road, my companion or I would run over to the other side of the road and stop the guy on his bike and talk to him about the chapel and invite him in. I think that's something that's not super common to see in our mission culture and so it was really good for the newer people because we have a lot of trainees in our zone...to see that and see that example.
It was also kind of cool because I found out a couple things with my family. I met one of my Aunt Marianela's cousins, her name's Valeska. She was there working in the open chapel. I also found out one of my cousins had been on a date with the wife of our ward mission leader here in Baquedano. So that's kind of funny. Just the connection that my family has to this area is kind of cool.
Then Saturday and Sunday we had general conference, so we went to the stake center in the center of Rancagua to watch it. Which was cool. It was good to have the opportunity to get together with all the other gringo missionaries in Rancagua and talk about and watch the general conference together. A lot of themes really stood out to me. I had several questions that I went into the conference...well with three questions, looking specifically for those answers and I found probably more than ten answers for each one of those questions. Because they weren't just like yes or no questions, they were more in depth. But I found a lot of answers and a lot of things that will really help me.
So one of the themes from general conference that I noticed that I really liked was the importance of seeing the divine potential in ourselves and in others. In Women's conference that was especially a theme and I feel like it's always a theme in Women's Conference from what I've seen, but I felt like it was a theme in other sessions as well...that we need to recognize that we are children of God, that we have the potential to become like him, but I think at least as important is that we realize that others have that same potential. To think "how does God feel about the way I'm treating His children? Is he happy about the way I'm treating his children? And really loving them and seeing their potential even when they HAVE WEAKNESSES? It's okay because we all have weaknesses and they have just as much of a right to move on from those weaknesses as you or I do." So I really liked that theme. I also saw that more than once when talking about local leaders. Here in Chile in particular, a common problem that I notice is quite a few people that don't support their leaders. Who have a branch president or a bishop and say basically that they don't do anything or that they aren't fulfilling their calling. But even IF that is true, saying that about that person is not going to help. That's not sustaining your leaders, that's not really seeing them as children of God. And the only way that we're gonna help the situation is if we help sustain them, if we do what they ask, if we magnify our callings or our priesthood or family responsibilities to the max...as much as we can. So I really enjoyed that and I really hope that people, including myself, can take that to heart and be examples of that kind of charity...seeing other people as God sees them.
It's been a good week. It's been a busy week. With all these meetings, we had a total of probably a total of 8-10 hours to proselyte, which is basically one day of work. But it turned out well and it was definitely worth it to have all of these experiences this week.
I want to share a short testimony with you that I know that God leads this church through prophets, through Thomas S. Monson in our time, and through the apostles that are supporting him especially in this moment that he is passing through difficulties with his health. I know that they receive revelation and that they are called of God. If we apply what they teach us in our lives, then we will be happier and have more success in our lives, the kind of success that is lasting and a more eternal success.
Also with all the messages about the Book of Mormon, I would just like to share my testimony as well that the Book of Mormon is true and that if we read it every day and meditate and ponder its precepts, we WILL come closer to God. We will come closer to him by doing this than we could ever come by applying the principles in any other book. I know it's true. And it was a long process for me, even though it was quite a while ago before my mission, to find that out for myself that the Book of Mormon is true. But when I really put in my part, and was sincere, I got my answer. I know that that book is the word of God.
I want you guys to know that and that I love you guys. I hope everything is well back home. I hope nobody's died from Hurricanes or Korea because that's what everybody talks about down here. Take care, have a good week!