Monday, October 16, 2017

Hey, Everyone!

I´m doing great! This week was a really good one. Last Monday night, we had interviews with President Ferreira, and then we had Zone conference and lunch with him on Tuesday. Also, In the night between Monady and Tuesday, there was an Earthquake here that was a 6.3 (That´s something super common and relatively small here.... but in any other part of the world, it makes the news! hahaha!) We just woke up, and then went back to sleep. We didn´t even get out of bed! hahaha! But the yellow building that you saw in the photo (last week) is right next to our apartment building. But It´s the exact same building model. Anyway, the rest of the week, we were visiting and trying to find investigators. We had four investigators that came to church (two of them came by themselves, without us inviting them!!!) There was a young man that came with several less active members, and a woman that was curiously looking outside of the church, and we invited her to come back when the meetings started. And she came!!! It was great! We alse had an amazing lesson with Raúl and Cristina yesterday (the bishop´s friends), and we taught the Plan of Salvation. We felt the Spirit really powerfully, as did they, and when we finished explaining, I asked them if they would like to have Eternal life, and they quickly said yes. We then asked them what they thought would be their first step towards Eternal Life. They quickly recognized this first step, or covenant for them to take, as baptism. They are progressing tons, and we´re working hard to help them, and find more interested and willing investigators. Today, we went to a place called the Morro de Arica, that´s like a big plateau at the bottom of the city, where Chile won a battle, and claimed the city from Perú. We also played Volleyball and Frisbee with the zone, and I got burried in the sand. hahaha!

I´m glad to hear that the family is doing well. I hope you all have a great week!


Monday, October 9, 2017

Hey, Everyone!

Sorry again for last week! But as for your questions, My companion, Elder Pasigan, speaks Spanish, English, Tagalog, and the native language of his specific island: hiligynon (I don´t know if that´s how you spell it).... But yeah!!! And the other two Elders in our apartment are both from the US. One is from Pleasantview, and the other one is from Florida. As for conference....we had a gringo room, which was great! I always like watching conference in English, because all the speakers are actually speaking my native language....

But as for the investigators that are progressing.... I had mentioned a little bit a 19 year-old girl named Belen. She previously didn´t believe in God at all, until bad things started happening, and she desperately wanted to know if He existed... so she prayed and felt that she had recieved a confirmation of His existence. She later came in contact with missionaries in Santiago, and when she moved to Arica, she put her own name in the church reference system, for the missionaries to visit her. She has progressed a ton, and this whole week we were preparing her to be ready to be baptized.... and so, on Sunday, she was able to make this sacred covenant with her Heavenly Father:

It was a good week, and we were able to see the fruits of our labors. We are now working with several other investigators that are also progressing rapidly toward baptism, such as a couple named Raúl and Cristina that are friends of the bishop and his wife, and have tons of desire to follow God and are willing to be baptized when they recieve their own answers through prayer.

Now, as for the photos that I took from leaving Calama and entering Arica... there are a lot. It was super sad to leave behind the Oasis ward, because I truly grew so close to them, and several of these families in the photos truly became my family while there...

Hope you enjoy the photos!!!

But I´m glad to hear that you guys are doing well! We´re just working hard to prepare the other investigators to be baptized. Hope you have another great week (and that I sent enough photos) ;)

Love, PJ


Monday, October 2, 2017

Hi there!  First off, yes... the trip to Arica was long.... but safe and without problems. My companion, Elder Pasigan has 14 months in the mission, and doesn`t have much of an accent, as he already spoke 3 languages before learning Spanish. And we also live with 2 other elders from the US.  

This first week in Arica has been a good one. Arica is really pretty, and we have several investigators that are progressing a lot, such as a man named Juan Pablo, who has been addicted to cigarettes for more than half of his life, but has put faith in the Lord this week, and has cut down from 20 cigarettes to 7 in a week! We also have an investigator named Belen, who is a 19 year-old girl who previously did not believe in God... but decided to do so after the occurance of several difficult situations in her life, and is now progressing tons, and is progressing toward baptism! The members that I`ve had the opportuniry to meet are also very good people, and willing to help the investigators progress.

As for General Conference... it was truly amazing!! I especially liked Elder Holland`s talk about trying to improve, but in constructive ways. It`s something important to always remember as a missionary, if I also want to influence others to feel the spirit and be happy. But to be honest there wasn`t a single talk that didn`t make me feel the Spirit strongly and recieve greater insight for myself and the investigators. I loved them all, and once again... it was too short ;) .

Anyway, I`m doing great, and I`m glad that you and the family are doing great as well! I`ll let you know how next week goes!  
Also, I`m really sorry, but I`m short on time again! I feel really bad, because that`s happened a few times. I promise I`ll write more next week, and send all the photos... 

Love you!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Hey Everyone!

First off, as you know... I got transfered, to Arica! It's Chile's northern most city. It is very pretty, and is right before crossing the border to Peru. I'm excited to get to know the area better. My new companion is Elder Pasigan from the Philipines. I´m glad to hear that you guys are doing great too! I´m really sorry, but because I was traveling all day yesterday, I don´t have much time now to write, but I´ll send you photos next week, and more info on how the sector is doing. Love you! Have a great week! (And sorry for such a short email).

This picture was sent to me by another ward member, before PJ left Calama.  :)

Monday, September 25, 2017

(From PJ's Mom): We didn't get a letter from PJ today, because he is getting transferred, but I got 2 notes from a couple members in the area that he served in. These ladies have sent us notes & pictures during the time PJ served there. I'm SO grateful for modern technology & communication, as well as google translate (so I can understand what they say, and can respond back to them!) Here is what they said:

I got this message from Sol Belen yesterday:
"Tomorrow is your son's last day in Calama and a family he teach cry to know the news. The City of eternal spring is going to Arica"

And I got this message from Mireya Vidal this morning... :) It made me cry & made my heart so happy! xoxox
"Our dear elder will write to you tomorrow for the changes...
He is super well and we love him so much! we will miss his big smile, his joy of working, and always willing to help others..
He leaves converts here who love him very much......
I had the blessing to be with him in two neighborhoods barrio Rio LOA and now in barrio oasis... Stacey has a great missionary and already soon to hug him."

These sweet messages totally made my day!!!  xoxox

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hey, Everyone!

This week has been great.  As I mentioned.... today is Chile`s ``Fiestas Patrias`` for September 18th, which is their independence day. That means, lots of barbecues, every house with a chilean flag (because it`s illegal to not have one).... and we went as the zone to a big fair they`re having for the 18th. There were lots of traditional Chilean games for independence day, such as trompos.... which are large wooden tops that you throw and spin with a string.... and they had lots of things to buy. I ended up buying a carved bull`s horn that says chile, that`s super cool:
This friday we`ll be having the ward party so I`ll make sure to take photos ;)

This week has been a good one as far as the missionary work as well. We`ve recently been working with several part member families that have children that aren`t members, but are super interested and excited to continue coming to church, and we are helping them prepare for baptism. These families are super great, and are really excited to be able to once again progress within the church.   Yesterday, we also had interviews with President Ferreira, which was great as well.  It's always nice to have the opportunity to talk with him.  Anyway, got to go!  Have another great week!

Love, PJ

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hi everyone!  I`m doing well, and this week was good!

Yeah, I heard about the hurricane in Florida, and the earthquake in Mexico.... but luckily nothing has happened here. In fact, people who live in the Atacama desert freak out with normal weather..... If it rains, if there`s wind, etc... But all has been well here in Calama :) The country is preparing for September 18th, which is like the Chilean independence day, and the ward is going to have a big party, so that should be fun!  And I think I`m going to take advantage one of these days and buy a chilean flag, so I have one before coming home!

And thanks Mom, for the comment you made about me being an example for you and for the family. I`m definitely not a perfect missionary, and there are still a million things that I need to improve, but I know that I have helped many people and have touched many lives and hearts during this year and a half that I`ve been in Chile. People say lots of things about the mission.... but one thing that I can definitely testify of, is that it has been the hardest two years of my life... And that I`ve experienced the extreme of every emotion while here. However, I also know that I`ve done more good here in my mission than I ever have before.

I`m glad to hear that the family is doing really well too! As for me, this week we`ve been working with an investigator named Andrea. I`ve met very few investigators with the interest and drive that she has to live the commandments and do everything possible to be baptized. We`ve also had several new investigators that are full of initiative and interest in the gospel, and we`re working on helping them to be baptized as well. Anyway, I hope you have another great week!

Also, we did service in a city park... picking up garbage, and painting benches. The majority of the ward participated, which was great!