Monday, September 26, 2016

Keep Trucking on Everyone!

Hey what’s up everybody-

  It’s already week 6 of this cambio (exchange)...that’s crazy to me. That means this week we might find out the cambios and we will see if I’m leaving this area or staying. Crazy stuff!! This cambio FLEW BY!! It really feels like we just started it. The Mission President has been going around and interviewing every missionary in the mission. Saturday my companion and I got interviewed and it was really awesome. He’s a really great guy. He’s got some good ideas he wants to do with the mission. He told me and the le Sueur that "Big things are going to happen in this mission soon, I can really just feel it!" which is weird because President Obeso would say the same thing ha-ha. We will see what happens. It was weird doing the interview in English too not going to lie, it was a little hard to speak in straight English.  Literally half the time I speak killer Spanish and half the time just full Spanish ha-ha so it was impossible to go full English again. But yeah, he asked all of us missionaries this next fast Sunday to fast for all the missionaries in the mission and their health. We’ve had missionaries dropping out like flies due to health issues...eye infections, broken legs, ankles, falling down stairs and breaking their neck, and a girl that can’t walk and is in the hospital with no mobility in her legs and is like paralyzed now. I don’t know what’s happening but missionaries have been getting wrecked I invite all of you to join us in this fast if you guys want. It was cool because President Isom was telling me and the le Sueur that we are like one of his favorite companionships, he says we just look like we get along super well and are always just super happy all the time. This is true, we do get along great. He credits our recent success on that. It was good to hear.

Anyways, this week we did not have the most success in like getting lessons and the numbers and all that stuff but I would say we had a really successful week. We decided to focus a lot this week on the less actives in the ward and it was amazing just to see how happy they were to see us come over. It was great! A lot of them came to church for the first time in a long time. It was awesome!

So I always put like a miracles in the letter and this week we actually had another miracle! God is definitely working hard with us. So last Sunday the other missionaries left before church to go find one of their investigators. When they get back they come in with this random guy we had never seen before, so we started talking to him and he tells us that he was just out walking and the missionaries went and contacted him and found out he was already a member. He was baptized 4 years ago, but had left the church like 3 years ago so they told him to come to church and he decided to join them. So when talking to him we set a date to go by and visit him at his home. The next day we go and have a small lesson with him and he said that when he left the church he had gotten into some hard drugs and some really bad things. He actually got addicted to crack and had almost OD'd on pills like 5 times and had almost died. He said though that a couple nights ago he looked at his life and just saw how bad it was and how good it used to be, so the first time in years, he knelt down and just prayed and prayed hard for help, and the strength to turn himself around. That very next morning he was impressed to go out and just take a walk, which is when the other missionaries found him and contacted him and told him to go to church. He has such a strong testimony of prayer, and we just shared Ether 12 with him about faith and he was like crying of how happy he was to have our help back in his life. Now we are working with him every day to overcome his addiction. It will be a tough road but I know he can do if he just acts with faith. Just adds to my testimony so much more that God is really there to help us, he will always give us what we need. All we need is to take the first few steps and he will provide the way for us.

Also this weekend we had another baptism for a girl named Loreto and it was awesome! She was so ready and she has made huge changes in her life for the church and I’m so proud of all the progress she has made. I say she was our investigator because we found her, and the other missionaries were always busy so we always taught her and we arranged her baptism. It was awesome!! This sector is getting major blessings!! I just love the mission so much, it so great to see the differences the gospel makes in people’s lives. Oh and by the way, Pablo got the priesthood this last week and blessed the sacrament on Sunday. I was so happy for him!! I remember the first Sunday he ever came to church, and now he blesses the sacrament and also went and took it to someone after church that couldn’t come. It’s amazing to see all he has done too in his life for the gospel. I will always keep in contact with him. He calls me his Hijo Mayor which means older son.  Anyways keep trucking on everyone!!! Love you all!

Elder Zack Walden

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Another Amazing Week!

Sorry this is a day late --- It was a holiday on Sunday....biggest holiday in Chile actually and everyone was hung over or still partying on Monday so nothing was open.  So the mission gave permission to write today. So we took advantage of it and we went to the Saltos de Petrohue yesterday!! Oh my goodness it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my entire life. When we come back to Chile as a family we will definitely stop in the Saltos....its impressive! A guy from the ward drove us. We actually did a bunch yesterday! Go look up Lago llanquihue-- Because we drove literally around that entire lake looking at every cool sight we could find. I have a ton of photos! I hope my card works to send them, because my card has been dumb lately. We will see what happens though. It was so amazing!
Like I mentioned before it was the 18th this week and that is one of the biggest holidays in Chile. I have never eaten so many empanadas in my entire life!! And the biggest party in all of Osorno is RIGHT next to our house. Literally outside of our apartment window!! So it was really loud like all night. We couldn’t go, but it seemed pretty crazy! So yeah that happened. And people are still partying!! Apparently they all party till like next week. We’ve had some pretty funny experiences with drunken people this week ha-ha. We had some guy yesterday start walking with us and he just starts yelling at other people "Hey look!! I’m gringo!!!! Ha-ha", he was so happy to walk with us. We made friends with him and his name was Mundo. Apparently he’s the biggest drug dealer in Osorno and says he likes us and will have our backs if we ever get into trouble.  Interesting experience ha-ha one of the many this week.
 The ward also had their ward party this week, which was a blast! We all danced the cueca. It’s like the national dance ha-ha it was sick! And we dressed up as wasos. Chile pride is awesome! I’ll put like videos and stuff if I can at the end of the email.
 We also had another baptism this week!!! Erika got baptized!! It was awesome!! We found her like 4 weeks ago and now she’s already a confirmed member of the church. And I had the pleasure of doing the baptism:) Actually my first one ever! I was super nervous but it went super well.  And the new mission president showed up to it!!! Super random but the assistants like were in a meeting with him and said they needed to go to a baptism in the ward and he was like "No way! I want to go!" So it was the first baptism he had seen in Chile:)  We were the last baptism of President Obeso and the first of President Isom ha-ha that was legit! And he actually got up to share his testimony at the baptism and it was awesome. He was saying how like 4 days before he was in President Eyrings office and he was telling us how he knows for a fact that he is a man of God and is very inspired. Wow the spirit was so strong it just hit all of us like right in the heart! I was talking to him after and he seemed like really nervous...because he was told like at the beginning of September that he was going to be president so he had like no time to prepare. He was saying how he didn’t have enough money to come so he had to like sell everything in order to be able to come on such short notice. He seems like such a good man. I’m excited to have him as President.
I’m absolutely loving my mission!  I am sad though because it’s already week 5 of the cambio and odds are that I’ll be leaving this area....and I don’t want to!! I love this sector and the people here! I am finally turning into the Elder I want to be and I’m seeing the differences we make in people’s lives and it’s so great! It is crazy that it is already week 5 here---this cambio (transfer) has flown by. It is crazy! Before I know it, it will be October. On the 27th I will have been out for 8 months on my mission---it is going so fast!
Hope that everyone has a great week!
Elder Walden

Monday, September 12, 2016

One of the BEST weeks of my life!

Hey what’s up family and friends!

So I’m actually super excited to write this letter!! I have 2 MIRACLES to tell you guys! Okay sorry I’m just too excited! I’ll start off with this one...SO yesterday we were knocking doors, like always, and we have knocked on like every single door in this sector ha-ha. So we were looking for places that we had never been before. There’s this little place right in front of the church building with like 5 houses that we actually had never even seen before, so we decided to knock the first door. This guy who’s about 24 years old answered the door so I started to talk to him about the gospel and I was like “Hey actually our church is right there across the street!” He was like "No way! You guys have never knocked on my door?! I’ve always wanted to talk to someone from your church. I’m so glad you’re here. Come in!!!" We were like uh sweet! So we went in and start teaching him a little bit of the restoration and he was just saying that all of the stuff we were saying he feels like he knew all of it, but he didn’t know why, but all of it just like made sense! So at the end of the lesson we were asking him if he has any like questions or concerns and he said "Yeah, I have tried to pray a lot, but I’m convinced that God doesn’t answer me" so we taught him real quick how to pray and testified like crazy that God loves us and will always answer our prayers. So he said "Elders I don’t know if this is okay, but I really want to try this prayer right now, is that okay?" We were like "Please!! Let’s get on our knees right now and do it!!!" So we did. It was one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard and I felt the spirit so strong during it. After the prayer we all look up at each other just almost in tears. We ask him "How do you feel right now? He says with the biggest smile on his face "I feel so happy, I feel so warm, I feel like God heard me." and Elder Le Sueur says "My friend, that is the Holy Ghost." and he says "I think you are the people I have been waiting for." It was one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had, my heart was just pounding with the spirit just confirming to me too that this church is true and God really does love each and every one of us. Oh my goodness it was such an amazing experience! I LOVE this work, IT is TRULY the Lords work, I know that for a fact! I promise every single one of you right now that if you really REALLY want to know the truth and feel Gods love, get on your knees right now and ask him yourself, he is honestly waiting for you to do it, do not hesitate even a moment!

SO other news!!!! That even, in my head, TOPS THAT! And that’s hard to do. Well I’ll just say it right out. PABLO GOT BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND PRESIDENTE OBESO BAPTIZED HIM!!!! AND YOU DONT KNOW HOW HAPPY I WAS AND AM ABOUT THAT!!!!!!!! HES A BAPTIZED MEMBER OF THE CHURCH NOW!! That means in a year they can get sealed in the temple!!!!!! Oh my goodness I love that family so much. So Pablo was still waiting for his friend to baptize him, but his friend like didn’t want to go to church to get worthy so we thought of something. SO Pablo and President like know each other pretty well because we’ve done family home evenings at the Presidents home and what not. So we were thinking like hey it would be a cool experience for Pablo and President if President just baptized him, especially because President is leaving this week. So we went over to his house that night and just proposed the idea and he told us that he actually wanted that in the first place, but he just like didn’t know if it was allowed. SO WE GOT PRESIDENT TO BAPTIZE HIM HIS LAST WEEK IN THE MISSION!  Oh my goodness such a neat experience. Everyone was just so happy and they both bore their testimonies at the end and the spirit was so strong. So overall this was such a fantastic week, one of the best in my entire life! I LOVE YOU ALL! QUE ESTEN BIEN!!!!!!

Elder Zack Walden

Pictures from the baptism and the other one is of our apartment. Guess which window is ours:))

Monday, September 5, 2016

Sad Goodbyes

Hey it is starting to warm up here!! Which is like a good and bad thing.  I like the sun and I am used to it from being a life guard and all but the sun is different here in Osorno...there is a giant hole in the ozone right above the city (at least that is what the locals say) so the sun is like super strong and just burns everything it touches so it’s not too fun to be a missionary out in it. But it’s alright, at least we aren’t freezing to death! Only in the mornings…..

 As you guys could tell we did something yesterday called the capilla abierta. It’s just when we invite a ton of people to come into the church and we have all these different rooms set up and we just teach about what we do in the church and what not. I would say it was successful! It’s the second one they have ever done in South America. My companion and I were chosen to be the missionaries for the baptismal font so we taught about baptism to a bunch of people. It was awesome! Cool experience. It was cool because our ward has like 3 people with baptismal dates right now and they all actually helped and worked at the activity. It was a great experience to see all of them interacting with the ward and what not. It was like they were already members! It was a great event. 

So we got some bad news this week....we had a zone conference with President Obeso this week and we got told something pretty rough. President told us that in 2 weeks he will be going home from the mission. (He’s not supposed to end until next July) But he’s going home early because he has cancer and needs to be operated on...So in about 2 weeks he goes home and we will be getting a new president. It was some rough news; everyone just like instantly started crying. And I had never seen the President cry before this moment...but he shared us his testimony on missionary work and everything and it was so spiritual and awesome. Afterwards we had like a picture session and a goodbye session with him and actually the Hermana Obeso (his wife) told us to all go Dog pile on him! It was super weird. So we like went in to give him a group hug but the Hermana was like ¨No! I said dog pile!!¨ And she like legit PUSHED President down and all the missionaries started to get on top of him! Haha it may have been the weirdest thing I have ever done in all my life. I am going to get pictures of it from the Hermana later. It was hilarious! But after we sang the hymn “Para Siempre Dios Este Con Vos” which is “God be with you till we meet again” and it was so sad. I will miss him a lot but he lives in Mexicali which is way close to California so I’m going to try and visit with him after the mission. So yeah we will be getting a new President! The new president is from Wyoming and I am sure he will be great. It will be interesting.

Have a great week everyone!

Elder Zack Walden