So yesterday was the day of the Chilean Presidential elections. Here politics is a lot differente. Instead of just two big parties they have seven. And there were 4 presidential candidates. But in order for one of them to win, one person had to get over 50% of the vote. No one did, so they took the top two candidates and there will be a second election in January. Sadly there were 3 investigators that commited to come to church but then didn`t because they went to vote instead. But they will come next week! I`ve learned to be patient with things like this. All that matters is that people accept the gospel. If they do it after I leave the sector, it doesn`t matter. So I decided that this week, due to a time scarcity, I will share my funny stories with the whole family. So there are two new missionaries that we live with, Elder Johnston (from new york, he has two weeks left in the mission), Elder Urbina (from Honduras, he has about 8 months in the mission), and my new companion is Elder Marìn from Colombia. We are both staying here in Talagante. He got to the mission the same time as Elder Krainik, Elder Mawhinney and I. He lived with Elder Mawhinney on the coast for our first 6 months in Chile. He is a great missionary and works very hard. I think we will get along just fine. So yesterday, due to the elections, there is a law about public buildings not being in use for more than one hour, so that everyone can vote. So we had a big combined Sacrament meeting with our branch (Talagante) and the other branch that uses our chapel (Cordillera). So the two new elders, my new companion, and the two sister missionaries that just got here (5 missionaries in total) were asked to introduce themselves in the Sacrament meeting. So the two new elders went first, and after they finished, this little old man walked up to the stand, and stood up to go share his testimony. It was really sweet because he thought we were just doing a testimony meeting and wanted to share his testimony! So he stood up but the branch president explained that it wasn't a testimony meeting. So the other three missionaries introduced themselves, and they let the little old man share his testimony with us. Later on in the sacrament meeting, one of the sisters was giving her talk. There were 3 people that had been assigned talks, but due to the 5 missionary introductions, plus the little old man`s testimony, time was pretty short. And the hermana talked for a long time! So the branch president passed her a little paper, which we all know said something like "your time is up, please finish your talk." but the hermana just kept talking and said "the little paper they just passed me said "your doing a great job with your talk!
keep it up!"" We all laughed pretty hard. When she finished her talk, the sacrament meeting ended and the other two people that had prepared talks didn`t give them. Next week! Also, after the sacrament meeting Ana had her baptismal interview. and passed! So that`s good news. Màximo now comes to church in a suit that one of the members gave to him. Yesterday he was sustained to receive the Aaronic priesthood in the office of a priest, but he will have to be set apart next week. We found out that his grandma was a member. Rafael came to church too, the third time in a row. but his mom went to vote and Daniela was sick.
So being a zone leader is a lot different from being a district leader. In some ways it is easier, but in other ways it is harder. The good side is that my companion and I are both zone leaders, and we both have almost a year and a half in the mission, so any challenges we have we can face them together. In our zone there are two districts, one has 4 companionships and the other has 5. The district leaders do the interviews for the investigators of the companionships in their district, and we interview the investigators of the district leaders, since they can`t interview their own investigators. Instead of doing district meetings every week, we only have to plan one zone meeting every 6 weeks. We also have to plan with the district leaders, the iniciatives of every change. There are usually three iniciatives each change, which are all like fun little plans to help the missionaries improve and learn how to do the work better. On the first Friday of every change we have a meeting called "concilio" where all of the zone leaders (about 18 in total) go to the mission home and we talk with President Jones and he tells us about the vision that he has for the next change and what we wants the missionaries to focus on the next 6 weeks, and he asks for ideas from all of us. We had the meeting this past Thursday in Santiago. It is from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and we eat breakfast and lunch in the mission home. The weird thing about the meeting this Thursday was that President Jones never took time to just talk to all of us. He made most of us talk about how to make the mission better. He usually takes the last half hour of zone conferences and concilio to give one last super spiritual class and then finish with his testimony, but he did it differently this time. He stood up and said "I want all of you to think about who Jesus Christ is and pick the scripture that the spirit indicates to you." and so we all picked a scripture and read them one by one. here is a list of the scriptures that we read:
Nephi 21:14, 16 (my favorite scripture in the Book of Mormon, but nobody read it during the concilio, I put it in after). It was a very spiritual meeting. I have come to realize early in my mission, that the only reason that this work even exists is because of Jesus Christ. And the only thing that can truly motivate us to participate in His work is Love. Nothing else is a strong enough motivation to keep working as a missionary for 2 years. I know that He is sustaining me in every step that I take. President said in his closing testimony that day: "I am here so that I can use every last bit of energy that I have in the service of my Saviour Jesus Christ. Every time I think that I can`t go any farther, that my energy has all run out, He gives me more energy, He makes me stronger and helps me keep going." I know that this is true. I hope you all have a great Christmas and can feel the love of the Saviour and help bring that love to other people, as you have already done to me. I love you!!!