Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Short & Sweet

This week was great. My new companion seems fun. We met a new family and they are actually a family. Its a couple with their three daughters. We met them in the park and then were able to go to their home and share the restoration. It was really fun teaching them all together. We have an appointment for Tuesday, and are constantly praying for them. 
"M" went to church again this week and to our branch family home evening yesterday. She is excited for her baptism on the 16th and is even sharing her excitement with the members. That is great because it means that she is commited to getting baptized. She shared her testimony again during the family home evening and is doing really great in her progress. This week we are really going to focus on getting some fellowshipping done so that she has more friends in the church.
This week we have a lot of contacts to check up with and some old investigators that we are going to try to get a hold of and see if they are more prepared now to accept the gospel. I love you guys have a great week!

Hna BIggs

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A New Companion

This week went by really quickly here in the mission. On Friday us missionaries of Chañaral travelled to Antofagasta to watch a conference with Elder Oaks. He was in Santiago and wanted to do a conference with just missionaries. His words were really uplifting about our purpose as missionaires and how we need to be teaching the basics to our investigators instead of assuming that they know things like who is Christ and what our church services are like and even how to pray. It was a great reminder, because my faith and knowledge as a missionary is growing so much each day that sometimes its hard to remember that others dont even know the basics. We have to start with some at step one. After the conference we were able to run downtown to see some shops and stuff. Now that Chañarals downtown got washed away, theres no hope of shopping lol. It was fun, but I learned that I have really become accustomed to the little town of Chañaral. There were people everywhere. The buses were crowded and walking in a straight line at misisonary pace was impossible. We were dodging and weaving everywhere. I don't think I'm made for living in big cities anymore. hahaha. Well, I am sure that I could get used to it again lol.

Yesterday were transfers and I got a new companion. Her name is Hna Rivera and she is from Lima Peru just like Hna Arenas. She seems really fun and full of energy. The change up is nice, and hopefully we will continue to see miracles here in Chañaral. We have officially left our little house on the hill, where we were living with a family. It was sad to be leaving them, but they said that we have to return everyday for lunch. They are so cute. I am really grateful for their love and service these past few weeks. They have been so good to us. 

Well, I guess not too much more has happened. "M" couldnt come to church on Sunday. "J" is still a great convert and so glued to the gospel. It was hard for Hna Arenas to say goodbye and I dont want to imagine how it is going to be for me. We were unable to find "P" this week, but are hoping that we can still go forward with her and help her be baptized. There is a lot of work to be doing and so little time. Sometimes, I wish the days were longer so that we could be with more people, but we just have to pray that the time allows for everything. 

I love you guys so much. Have a great week!

Hna Biggs

Monday, April 13, 2015

Golden Missionary Opportunities

This week passed by so quickly. We helped a little more with the clean up of some of the members shops, but almost the whole week we were doing normal visits. We finally got to talk to some future investigators that we had met a few weeks ago. Luckily with all of the chaos a lot of people are at home with the families. Golden missionary opportunities! We were surprised to learn that the mom of this new family is the daughter of a less active, a less active that has become more receptive due to the disaster. Another golden opportunity! Hopefully we can get a two in one here. Reactivate a member and baptize a family. 

Some more great news is that "M" went to church yesterday for the first time! We were so happy! When we went to her house, she was still in her jammies, but she was able to get all ready to go and leave with us. She stayed for all three hours and really liked relief society. She wants to come to the weekly relief society meeting on Thursday:)

"J" has aso been accompanying us to our lessons on Saturdays. Its a lot of fun and she has a great testimony and story of conversion. This Sunday, she shared her testimony during the testimony meeting. How awesome. She talked about how three weeks before hand she had missed church because she was offered extra hours and went to work on Sunday. She said that she felt awful because she knew that she had made a commitment with Heavenly Father to be at church on Sunday. Hna Arenas and I were silently happy that she felt so bad (hahaha) and glad that she learned with certainity where she needs to be on Sunday. 

Besides all of that good news, many families are deserting Chañaral for the time being and also forever because of lack of work and problems with school for the kids and pollution. But still we are going strong! I love you guys. Have a great week:)

Hna Biggs 

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Music of The Gospel

We had a lot of fun here in Chañaral for Easter. We are still staying with a family for the time being, so I bought some Kinder Suprise eggs. They are chocolate eggs filled with toys. Considering the couple we are staying with is a little eldery, I didnt think it would be some big deal, but man they were super happy and entertained with their little gifts. It was a lot of fun. 

We did get to watch conference here. The only glitch was that the eletricity got cut just in time for the Sunday morning session, so we missed all of that, but the other sessions went really well. A lot of the talks focused on the family and marriage, which is always fun being missionary. However, I feel like again a new perspective on the sanctity of marriage I liked how many of the speakers explained their own reltionships and the importance of being married. My favorite talk was.... well I have a couple. I liked Wilford 
Andersen's talk about listening to the music of the gospel and his advice on how we can make that music sound in our homes so that everyone can learn to hear it. I thought the simile was powerful and creative. I also liked Dale Renlunds talk abut beng "latter day saints" not "latter day quitters or hypocrits or sinners". Another great talk about enduring to the end and living what we believe. The women's session was also really great. "J" loved that session as well and it was exciting to see her enjoy the talks. She saw all of the Saturday sessions, and is becoming a greater and greater member. It was a great conference and hopefuly I can listen to the session that I missed this week. 

Things are getting cleared up here in Chañaral. About half the week we were doing service and the other half we were doing our regular visits. The grocery stores have products again and every sector has electricity. There is a large part that still doesnt have running water and the sewers have gotten backed up due to the river, but besides that things are a little calm. School appears that it will be out of seesion for at least another month since several schools were affected with the mud and the others are being used as refuges and such. 

Just about all of the active members of the branch lost their jobs either because their shops were washed away or where they work was washed away. Last Sunday, the church meeting was a little sad. The members by then had settled emotions with what had happened, but still it is going to be a challenge to restart for them. Luckily, they are really supportive of one another, so I am sure that they will all get through this well. 

One of the many houses showing their support for Chañaral

I love you guys. 

Hna Biggs

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fuerza Chanaral

Hola from Chañaral. It appears that you may not know too much, but we had some great rain and flooding here in Chañaral this week. The whole downtown area and highway got washed away in the ocean. Also, several homes were demolished in the water. Luckily, none of the missionaries or the members were too affected, but yes lots of businesses of the members were destroyed.

At first, there was a lot of chaos and prices went crazy for food. However, things have become more tranquil and lots of help is arriving from the government and other people. The church as well has also sent a ton of stuff and so we are constantly putting together care packages and sending them out to people. It has been a little crazy, but definietly an unforgettable experience.

For the time being we are staying with a family of members to avoid the chaos. We have been there about a week now, and are super happy. We are still able to leave and do some visits when we arent helping members try to recuperate things from their business. There is a ton of mud and agua everywhere, but tractors are helping to solve the problems. There are also many people that have disappeared, which now means that lots of bodies are being found in the ocean and in the mud that the tractors are moving. 

Its going to take a lot of work to get things going normally again in the city, but at least the people are a little more tranquil. I think that this is one of the many experiences that help people become prepared to accept the gospel. Many are going to have to restart their lives, but its just one of the tests that we all pass here in this life. 

I feel blessed to be able to serve here in this way now. We are continuing onward, and are going to find many people ready to recieve us.

If you want to you can find tons of video and news reports online. Just know that I am safe and not in danger.

Before the flooding. 
After the flooding. The boats there in the ocean are military. They are now in charge of the city and we
even have a curfew at 9pm for the all of the robbers that are entering in the abandoned homes. Thankfully, we have electricity again now for the past 3 days and the water never got shut off. 

Helicopter rescue!
This area was once the highway 
Helping memebrs clean up the stuff from their businesses
Some of the homes that were in the path of the great river
Everyone has written fuerza chanaral on their homes and cars meaning "Strength Chanaral"
The downtown area. Tractors have been working for 3 three days to take out all of the mud. The line across the buildings is how high it was with mud!
I love you guys a ton. Keep chanral in your prayers. Fuerza Chañaral!

Hna BIggs