What a nice surprise! I got a ton of birthday wishes from everyone!!! Thank you everyone! It meant a lot. I was having an “ehhh” day up until that so it really meant a lot! I’m going to try to respond back to everyone but I do not have a lot of time so if you don’t hear from me know that I really appreciated the birthday wishes. IT MADE MY DAY:) And just so you know the package has not arrived yet but I hope it’s not really what dad sent me a picture of ha-ha...but hopefully I’ll get it within the next month ;) We will see! Ten people in the branch (the whole branch basically) have all planned to do something for me on my birthday so it should be a fun day. Also 2 investigators found out it was my birthday also and we are going over there to have lunch and then teach ha-ha, good way to get a lesson in!! And Thursday night Elder Rasband is doing a capacitation (I don’t know the word in English) for all the leaders of the church in South America, so I’ll be watching it with our new Branch President. And that brings me to the news!!! Yesterday they called a new Branch President here in Calbuco!!! He’s a member of the ward that has been a member for 3 years. I’m so happy for him! He’s scared but he will do a great job. And I was called and interviewed and set apart yesterday as his First Counselor! He’s only going to be here 2 Sundays out of every month so it looks like I’ll be running things most Sundays ha-ha so that should be fun. And since I was actually set apart and everything by the Stake President it looks like I’ll be staying here in Calbuco for an exchange or 2, but I’m excited for the challenge! We are going to make this branch grow!! But it’s a bit scary because while President is gone I have to do all the interviews and tithing and everything. Let’s all pray that I don’t mess up anything ha-ha.
But hey other good news-- That family we found a little bit ago, the dad and son have set a baptismal date!! They should be getting baptized at the beginning of December and they’re both excited for it. So that’s good news! And man the work here in Calbuco is EXPLODING!!!!! We are leading the zone right now, but it has nothing to do with us. God has prepared these people in Calbuco. We literally just teach and teach and teach all day every day and we have no time to do like actual contacts. And when we do have time to contact we knock on one door and they’re interested and let us enter!!! I feel so blessed to be a part of this work that is hastening here in Calbuco.
Cool story from this week, we went to go find an old investigator and she wasn’t home. So we knocked on her neighbors door to ask if this person still lived there and she answered and was like, "Oh Elders! I haven’t seen you guys in a while." We were like, "Oh! You know the elders?? How long ago did they pass by???" She told us the elders had passed by like 7 years before. So she and her boyfriend let us in and we went in and started getting to know them. It turns out that she used to go to church and everything and had never gotten baptized. Then her Grandma died and she stopped going to church and was sure that God didn’t exist and now she was atheist. We decided to share a video with her that I personally love called "La Esperanza en nuestro padre celestial". After the movie we testified of the Plan of Salvation and the love that God has for us. By the end of the lesson she had felt and had the hope that God really does exist and loves her and she said she wants to feel that love more in her life and invited us to come back to help her. So we will definitely be going back to help her. It’s just interesting how everything works out! We went to go visit her neighbor but God directed us over there to not find her neighbor but instead to find her...really interesting. Sometimes God’s plan for us is a little different than what we have in mind.
We also had a council from President Isom this week and he really made a big point about teaching with clarity. It says it a lot in the scriptures that we need to teach, but clearly. And a lot of times us as missionaries try to cram all the knowledge we have into 1 lesson and the people just get confused, and we end up overstaying our visit. So we all practiced to really teach all the lessons in 10 minutes or so, really fast, not even explain everything, just enough for them to understand our message and that its important. They don’t need to know the specifics, the spirit testifies through plain and simple truths of the gospel. And wow I have seen the miracles from teaching like that! When we teach simply and not try to throw all of our knowledge at everyone, it’s a lot easier for the spirit to testify through you. So take a note that when the prophets give their testimonies at the end of their talks, it is simple, plain truths about the gospel, and we need to do the same. Take that example to not be afraid to teach our friends about the gospel but remember to do it clearly.
Love you all :)))
Elder Zachary Walden