Monday, February 20, 2017

A Barricade or A Bump in the Road?

Sporting matching ties:  Elder Portillo, Elder Arismendiz, Elder Hershberger, and me

Fun Facts
-  Elder Portillo knows how to make ties!  He made us matching ties for our missionary conference.
Our resident tailor, Elder Portillo making ties

-  The really ghetto names in Chile might surprise you. Names like:  Brian, Jonathan, Tiffany, Jason, Charles, Stephanie, Jefferson, Kimberly, and Jordan.

-  The Young Single Adults out here love the missionaries, and are enthusiastic to join us in our teaching appointments. We love it!

-  One of our members has a green thumb and her variety of house plants proves it, but I'm not so sure she realizes the extent of her garden.

-  Chiguayante has some gorgeous coastal redwood trees (like northern California, where I am from). The Redwoods thrive here because Chiguayante is prone to morning overcast. 3/4 of the year, am clouds roll in from the Biobio river and blanket these giant beauties with moisture that allows them to soak in water from both sky and ground.

-  Chileans love fruitcake. It's much like what we know in the states. My comp took this funky-filtered picture of me holding some fruitcake that was gifted to us.

A Barricade or a Bump in the Road?
Work is progressing, but we have somewhat of a barricade to maneuver around.  Four of the eight individuals we are teaching regularly are teenagers.  We love young adults and teenagers because they seem to be more enthusiastic, open, and fun.  But their parents are not completely okay with the idea

One set of parents is atheist, another set likes what we teach but squirms with the concept of baptism, and one grandmother is Catholic, but does not believe the bible to be scripture. There you have it!

But, as long as these youth want to hear about the gospel of Jesus Christ, our goal is to keep teaching them, while being careful to respect the adults in their lives. Because, we certainly don't want to cause a riff in family relationships. Our job is to unite families - not divide them.

Let's just hope that this barricade turns out to be only a bump in the road.

Elder Arismendiz with his camera on the Biobio river
Jot it Down and Pray
This week has been one of added meditation for me.  During moments of contemplation, I have found that many individuals from home keep popping into my mind. Individuals who do not have the gospel. And, what's weird is that their names don't just flash through my mind - they get stuck in my head.

So, what I've resolved to do is pray for them. In fact, there is now a designated section in my daily agenda to write the names of friends from home that I feel need my prayers.  The way I figure it is that I may be called to serve in Concepcion, Chile, but my influence is not limited to this South American country. I can reach out in other ways.

And, who knows - when I return home, I won't have a name badge, but I can do my best to continue to be a messenger of light and goodness.


Until next week, Friends,
Elder Connor Nef

Thursday, February 16, 2017

From Rock Crushing to Star Gazing

On a service project with the hermanas
Rock Crushers
Service projects are always a welcome activity, but when you get to smash things - it's the best!  We joined the Hermanas on a project to crush rocks and bricks into pebbles and powder, and we did it with hammers. I LOVED IT!!!

That night we joined the Young Men in a game of  fútbol, partly because their leader went to Cancún and put us missionaries in charge of the guys.  And, so after the game, with a captive audience, we shared a message on the Restoration. Three of the guys were non-members, and they seemed to be very interested in what he had to say. What made it even better was that the rest of the young men joined in the teaching and shared their testimonies.

I think it went well, because the next night, those non-member guys, along with half of the fútbol crew showed up to the Ward Family Home Evening. Everyone had a great time.

Grass Cutters
Another service project had us clearing 1/4 acre of solid grassland that I swear was as thick as the African Savanna. I got covered in dirt.

Star Gazers
That night as we were walking back to the house, I looked up at the night sky and realized how clear the stars are out here. Gorgeous.  The view brought my mind back to star gazing with my family and my sister Ashley explaining the constellations.

Ya, my family loves star-gazing.  Whenever a heavenly event was taking place with stars or planets or anything cosmic, my family would head for a dark open spot, where we'd throw quilts on the ground, lay down, and gaze up. We'd be there for a couple of hours, looking at the stars, telling stories, taking in the grandeur of it all, and appreciating how blessed we are.

I am blessed.

Speaking of blessed, Sunday we had four investigators come to church. Two of them were the youth from fútbol.

Have a good week, Friends,
Elder Connor Nef

Monday, February 6, 2017

Service Project in Hualqui

Hay, It's a Service Project!
Nearly half the mission showed up for the service project in Hualqui to move bails of hay to nearby farms.
Nearly 100 of us on our way to serve
The object was to unload the hay from huge trucks (in the background) and transfer them to smaller trucks for delivery to farm animals that had their food burned from the fires.

Here are pictures from the mission blogsite.
Mission President Catala and a special forces soldier

The fires have gone down, thank goodness.  All missionaries have returned to their sectors and the air is now clear of smoke. Prayers answered.

But the severely affected areas are now in the process of recuperating, and this service project was to help those farmland communities. We had a fun time.
I got covered in hay. Every layer of clothing was full of stuff.

But we cleaned up pretty good for District meeting.
with Elder Sowards, Elder Arismendiz, and Elder Baker
Pulling together for a common goal always feels good - especially when it helps some needy families.

Have a great week everyone! Adios,
Elder Connor Nef