Monday, January 30, 2017

One Year!!

Hello Everyone-

I have to be like really fast because we had a zone activity today which was super fun! We went to like this giant house of one of the members and played like volleyball and soccer and we had water balloons and ate and it was super fun.  Good job zone leaders! So we have no time because we still have an hour bus ride back to the sector. So anyways a lot happened this week. SO first-- I turned a year in the mission! I burned a shirt for it and then we made s’mores over the burnt shirt, which stunk because it was like 10000 degrees in the house and then even worse with the fire ha-ha! Anyways we did it with like sad music and what not, it was like a whole ceremony, but other than that, what else did I do that day? Oh yeah, I LISTENED AND GOT SPIRITUALLY UPLIFTED BY AN APOSTLE!  (Unfortunately he did not include which apostle:/) It was awesome! I got to shake his hand and everything.  He bore such a powerful testimony at the end, there was not a dry eye in that room. Even he was balling his eyes as he shared it with us. It was amazing! He even left a blessing with us and told us it was as if he had his hands on each one of our heads to give us this blessing and man I felt the spirit so strong. Probably the strongest I have ever felt in my entire life to be honest. It was great!
Let’s see, some kids from Punta Arenas came to stay with us the night before which was awesome because the kid had been in Calbuco before.  Yesterday in church two of the talks didn’t show up so I just had to go up and give an improvised talk for 20 minutes, and I filled the time pretty dang well.  Because it was the 5th Sunday the presidency has to do the 3rd hour...and President told us he didn’t prepare anything so he just made us do it, so Elder Shum and I had to improvise that too! But actually both improvised things went pretty well if you ask me.  There is never a relaxing Sunday in this branch for us ha-ha I've gotten good at just like getting up and teaching on the fly.  I am so grateful for the experience!
 Anyways, OH remember those 3 drunk guys I told you about last week? Well little miracle happened there. We went by and one of them was there and he’s without a job right now, his mom recently died, and he feels like he is a failure with life. We talked to him about starting over in Christ and about the role Christ plays in our life. He has a real desire to change his life. He said he’s willing to do anything in order to be just a good person and he wants us to help him and he knows that Mormons are good people. Like I don’t think it was a coincidence at all that we found him that day and that he took us to his house or anything, I really think it’s his time to change in his life and he’s ready to do it. That’s why the Lord directed us to him. I’m super excited about it and I’m excited to really help this guy out. Anyways, I have a ton of pictures but no time to send any of them. You will just have to wait until next week!

Love you all!
Elder Zack Walden

Monday, January 23, 2017

Clams, Clams, Clams!

Hope you’re happy I sent some pictures this week :) So yeah I turn a year this week, and other missionaries are staying at our house that day and we’re seeing an apostle, so it’ll be quite the party. Anyways, you’ll hear all about that next week!
This week was awesome! We taught like A TON this week but we are still working hard to get them to understand baptism and everything. It’s frustrating because everyone in Calbuco has like 90 friends that are Mormon but don’t go to church or anything so everyone is afraid of baptism because of’s so frustrating. Anyways yesterday was something called the "Curanto Gigante" and man it was gigante ha-ha. Literally everyone that lives anywhere near Puerto Montt comes to Calbuco and they go into the campo and cook curantos and what not. We can’t go though because it’s on Sunday and everything costs and what not but like NO ONE is home. First of all, what’s a curanto? Let me tell you! A curanto is legit how Chileans used to cook stuff in the olden days. So what they do is they dig a hole and put rocks in it. Then they light wood on fire above it until the rocks get super-hot. Then once the rocks are really hot they start piling a ton of stuff on it (clams, different types of sea food, fish, chicken, sausage, potato stuff and this stuff called chaperelles). They put the sea food stuff on first and then cover it with giant leaves and then put all the other stuff on and cover it with more leaves and then they cover the entire thing with a giant tarp and then you wait an hour and it all cooks and stuff! It’s awesome! It only gets done here in the south of Chile! It is so good!!
So we had no work yesterday but one of our investigators invited us over because he was doing one in his house with his family and he always tells us we’re part of the family ha-ha. So we went and it was really cool! I added some pictures of it! It was awesome! I’ve never eaten so many clams in my entire life. I’m actually a really big fan of them! It was really interesting ha-ha we’re so trying it in California some day!
When we were waiting for it to cook we decided to go out and go contacting and ran into a man that was crying. He was super drunk when we found him and he was saying how his wife left him and he lost his job and they just kicked him out of the place he was living in. Then randomly this guy walked up that ended being his cousin and he just told us to take him to his house and that he would be there in a second. So we go into his house with this drunk guy and his friend is there and just looks at us when we come in and said "Why’d you bring the Jehovah Witnesses?" ha-ha. He was so confused. but we ended up like talking to them for a little bit (which is really funny because they were super drunk so Elder Shumway didn’t understand a thing ha-ha.) But we ended up doing a prayer with them and setting up a return appointment. They really liked us so before we left they all took selfies with us, it was super funny. Then the guy took us to his apple tree and had us take one and then we went back to the curanto. It was an interesting experience, you never know what’s going to happen in the south of Chile ha-ha. Anyways that’s my experience for the week! Btw I finally bought a suit today, I’ve been without one for like 3 weeks now ha-ha but a got a good one for cheap! Hope you’re enjoying your week! Chao!
Elder Walden

Monday, January 9, 2017

Home & Visiting Teaching Rocks!

Hello Everybody-

I love this branch that I am serving in! I’m definitely going to miss this branch, as hard as it is, I know I will miss it when I don’t have it. Speaking of that, this Sunday was our numbers have been dwindling in the branch...we legitimately started Sunday with 4, my companion, the President, and his daughter. People ended up filtering in after a while but our numbers are still majorly dwindling. The President leaves this week to go work in Punta Arenas for 15-20 days...that’s 3 I’ll be in charge. I’ll be a very busy person, so just know I’m never not doing anything. I’ll be really on my game the next couple of weeks, should be interesting. We are really starting to put a real focus on the menos activos (less active members), which is hard because we are teaching a ton of people but we have had to really organize our time really well lately to get done everything we have to do. The menos active (less active) work needs to be done so we have a lot of appointments set up this week. I’m excited to start working with them and I’m hoping as a result, they start doing their visits and start coming to lessons with investigators with us and it’s like a snowball effect. It might be a small effect but I’m excited to see what happens!
We’ve been having some bomb lessons this week! It’s sad because everyone we had been teaching who was going to get baptized like moved...but we have some other super solid investigators, who are ready, so we will be working like crazy with them too! I want to see some progress in this branch!!!!!! My companion and I though have done some really spiritual original lessons this last week. Today we created this entire lesson plan using all the images in the image pack and the entire lesson plan comes from "The Living Christ" so after the whole lesson we are just going to gift them the images and the Living Christ. Pretty smart idea if you ask me ;) It’ll be awesome because we get a super good spirit and point across and then they have a ton of reminders after of what we taught and why we are here as missionaries!! If anyone has not read The Living Christ, READ IT! PRAY! READ IT and then PRAY AGAIN!! There is no doubt in my mind that if you do this you will feel so much love in your heart!! The love of God in your heart and soul!!! IT’S AMAZING!!! And if you don’t know where to find it, ask your nearest Mormon:)
With all this stuff we’ve been going through in the branch I have really come to understand the importance of VISITING TEACHING and HOME TEACHING. It’s important to not base your testimony on the members but in Christ but also it’s a good opportunity to share the light of Christ with others and create a real feeling of a support system in the church and so everyone can continue learning and progressing. IT’S SO IMPORTANT AND SUCH AN INSPIRED THING!!! DO YOUR VISITS with that purpose in share the light of Christ and to strengthen others in their own faith in Christ. If everyone does their visits every month or even every week the church will be so amazingly strong and it will legitimately be hard to fall away from the church. It will make it difficult because everyone’s testimony will just be constantly growing!!! IT’S SO IMPORTANT--- JUST DO IT!! So yeah that’s just some stuff that have really been on my mind this week:) Hope you all have a great week!! Chao chao!!

Elder Zack Walden

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Years from Chile!

Hey what’s up!

  Our week went well! This week was a little slower because of New Years and everything but we were still like super busy this entire week. We are still teaching a lot and still working like crazy towards those baptismal dates. Doesn’t look like they’re going to happen this week because of difficulties but we are still working hard towards them. Actually it’s sick because we’ve been taking a boat to this island recently that’s called Peluqui because we have had some references out there. Every single house we knock there on that island they’re just like "Hey come in! Who are you? Teach us!" It’s awesome haha literally every house! I love farmers! But it just added a whole new place to our already huge sector but it’s alright.  We’re pretty good at planning and setting up appointments to get around to everyone. It’s awesome!
       So the New Years was pretty fun. Sadly we only had permission to stay out until 10pm but it was still fun. We ate lunch with the Hermana Silvia and then with the Papitoss for dinner. It was a blast! We actually started kicking the ball around a bit and Elder Shum’s like nailed a post with his head ha-ha it was one of the funniest moments of my life:)  He is alright, don’t worry. People told us to make sure and look outside at midnight to see all the crazy Chileans celebrating New Years. So at midnight  we did and man I have never seen so many flares going off in the sky! Apparently every Chilean owns like 15 flares. It was interesting. But it was a fun night ha-ha we fell asleep at 12:02. 
       Yesterday we went to an investigators house and roasted a lamb.  It was so sick! It was good bro time with Jose. Just sitting with him over a roasting lamb and he like taught us how to do it and everything. It was so good, the best I’ve ever tasted! But yeah the week was pretty low key, not much happened because it was the holiday and what not...hope you all had a great week!!

Happy New Year!

---Elder Zack Walden