The mom of Coni
Omar and Coni
Elder Kennedy and I...right before we changed companions
Elder Palacios and Me
Well changes hit Villa Sur II...I am no longer with Elder Kennedy. He went to be a Zone Leader for his last change. Neither of us were expecting it as it was his last change left on the mission. It was hard to say goodbye, because we grew pretty close over the past three months, but his replacement is a machine!!! My new companion is Elder Palacios from southern Argentina! He has a year and a half and is everything and more that I could hope for in a companion! He has strong desries to be exactly obedient and to serve with all his energy. I have no doubt that we will get along very well:))) Even more, I am sure that my spanish will improve exponentially!
This week went by really quickly. Unfortunately Willy, the paralyzed man who was planned to get baptized was in the hospital all week, so he couldn´t make it happen. We plan to have the service soon though.
Omar and Coni now have callings! Omar was called as the second counselor in the Young Mens, and Coni as a primary teacher! They are really progressing rapidly and becoming an integral part of our ward! They even brought Coni´s mom with them to church and gave us a reference to some friends across the street who we are now teaching! They are so powerful and inspire me every time I see their raw faith!
We had a meeting all together as a mission in which President anounced some pretty incredible things! As a preface, I wrote earlier that as a mission we were one of three missions chosen in the world to do something called Plan Piloto, which streamlines the missionary focus on three things: bautizar mas, retener mas, y reactivar mas. Prior to this plan which started about a year ago, our mission was one of the worst in all of south america, and my current stake was the lowest ratio to attendance in the world..and is still pretty bad. (As reference, we have 1,113 members on our ward list and had 75 in the Capilla on Sunday) Anyway, this plan, along with President´s vision for us has worked miracles. We are now leading all of Chile in terms of baptisms and effectiveness. President Nelson and Christoferson have decided to extend the plan to all of south america, and posibly the world. It is revolutionizing missionary work. I am so happy and can´t wait to see how it affects the Church!
It was powerful to see the effectiveness of members visiting those who are discouraged. We as misisonaries have been visting a family that is less active for some time, and have gotten them to come to church sparatically. However, we brought the president of Young womens with us to a lesson and she was incredible! She invited the two daughters to young womens, and they were mas o menos on coming but she was super persitent and passed by the next day to bring them. They both went and then one of the daughters went to church for the first time in two months! I have such a strong testimony of member missionary work. We as missionaries can only do so much, but when "real" members get involved it makes all the difference! Elder Palacios and I are going to put an emphasis in this area.
I hope that everyone is as excited for the Christmas season as I am! It is such a special time of year! I hope that we can all take time to ponder the true reason Christmas exists, and think about what we can do for our Savior! There is a great new video that came out from our church that can be watched at http://www.mormon.org/Christmas. I love this season and hope we remember our Savior!!
Love you all,