Thursday, March 23, 2017

Two Baptisms This Week!

Baptism of Sabastian and Fabian Montecinos
Our two Sebastians were baptized! Happy day.

Sebastian Montecinos
Sebastian Montecinos and his 8 year-old brother, Fabian did not have baptismal clothes because the ward has lost track of the baptismal clothing they have loaned to other wards in the stake.  So the day prior to their baptism, we ran to Conce looking for whatever outfit would be appropriate for their big day.  And, well, my comp and I ended up purchasing white lab coats. They were long and white. What else is needed?  So Sebastian and 8 year-old Fabian were baptized in lab coats.

Sebastian Sandoval
Baptism of Sebastian Sandoval
Sebastian Sandoval almost did not make it to his baptism.  He ended up being three hours late because his futbol tournament went longer than expected and his ride home fell through.  So the guy ended up walking all the way home clear from the other side of town.

These two young men will be great missionaries to their families and really strong members.

Elder Jose Augusto Texeira
Visit from Area Authority, Elder Texeira
One of the pick-me-ups this week was a visit from the Area President, Elder Texeira.  He is from Villa Real, Portugal.  He's a fun guy. Knows five languages.  Loves a good story.

One of his focuses was empowering the missionaries to go out and Find new investigators by talking with anyone and everyone.  I have to be honest - I had stopped doing this - talking to everyone.

Seems I'm not the only one and that's why his remarks were geared to motivating us to open our mouths more.

I swear, if there is no one else who has been changed from this conference, I have.  I am not going to sit by and watch one of the major experiences of my life pass me by.  I felt like the Apostle Paul when the Lord told him:

"Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace."
Acts 18:9

Sun over the hills of Chiguayante
Well, transfer calls came, and my companion is being transferred, and I am staying in lovely Chiguayante with a Chilean companion - Elder Conteras.  I'll tell you more about him next time.

Now, we must find, find, find.  Pray that doors are opened for us.

Until next time, everyone!
Elder Connor Nef

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Comida Con Familia

Familia Rios Arroyo
All my pictures are with food this week because, well, we had a lot of really great dinner appointments. Let me introduce you to some of my Chilean families.

BBQing with Familia Rios Arroyo
The familia Rios Arollo threw us a Chilean BBQ. This family makes me feel like family.
I love meat!
Mati, the teenager, and Hermano Arrollo (guy with the mustache) come with us on visits all the time. Mati is my crazy bro and Arroyo is my crazy grandpa.

Tacos with Familia Seguel
Familia Seguel (another part of my Chilean Family) made us tacos. Believe it or not, tacos are not common here. Tortillas are a rarity. That's Sebas on the left. He likes rapping, and is pretty good, too.
Familia Seguel

Sebastian Sandoval
Sebastian Sandoval, our investigator who is getting baptized this Saturday, had us over to eat with his parents and sisters. He in the center giving the thumbs-up.
Familia Sandoval
Earlier that day we had helped the Sandovals paint their house.  They entrusted me with the electric spray paint gun and I think I painted my comp more than the house.

Sebastian is basically with us every day. Whether it's a church activity or a visit, he asks to tag along. And since he is such a great kid, we welcome the company. He told us that he is sharing the missionary messages and pamphlets with his friends.


Sebastian Montecino
Another Sebastian is scheduled to be baptized on Saturday. Sebastian Montecino.  We visited him a few times this week to prepare him thoroughly for his big day.

Sonia, another golden investigator set for baptism in 2 weeks, is doing well. Had a small scare on Sunday, though.

Sonia pulled us aside and said that she could not be baptized the 25th because her friends from another ward have their temple trip and won't make it back in time. So now she is getting baptized the 23rd! A Thursday.  Listo!

I've had a really difficult week in some aspects, but being around some good food with great families, well, there's the silver lining.  Looking forward to Saturday's baptisms.

Can I ask for your prayers this week?  Thank you.

Blessings to All,
Elder Connor Nef

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

In Between the Biobio and the Beach

Elder Portillo, a member, and me at the Biobio River
On a successful afternoon helping teach lessons in another district, Elder Portillo, a member, and I pass along the Biobio river. Let me tell you a bit about the Biobio.

Biobio River
The Biobio is not only Chile's widest river (the average width is 1/2 mile wide), it is one of country's longest.  This large beauty rises in the Andes and flows northwest 380km (236 miles) across the central fertile valley clear to the Pacific Ocean. 

Biobio was named from Mapudungun, the ancient language of the Chile's native people (the Mapuchen).  They considered it to be a river of life.

Waffles in Concepcion
Had to go to Concepcion to work out some matters and I found a street food cart selling waffles. Mmm. Whipped cream, bananas, and manjar in a waffle. Life is good.

Several days this week, we helped a member make journals for a few local schools - collating, punching, and binding.  My job was clipping the metal bindings.

Saturday our zone got together for a service project where we cleared out grass, weeded, filled holes, chopped foliage, and removed trees.  It was a blast.

Today for P-day, we took a hike to the beach where I found a purple crab and a starfish. Cool.

Sandwiched in between the Biobio and the beach, it was a pretty productive week.  A lot of teaching. Several service projects.  Moments of helping fellow missionaries. On top of that, we have an investigator, Sebastian, committed to baptism, and four investigators came to church on Sunday. 

What a blessing!

Wishing you all a blessed week,
Elder Connor Nef

Happy Birthday, Lauren!!!!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Ability Which God Giveth

From Zone conference a couple weeks back  (photo: mision chile concepcion blogpost)
A Good Week
Oh, sure, we had the ups and downs of scheduled and cancelled appointments, progressing and non-progressing investigators, energy ups and downs.  But by the end of the week, we added a numbers of new people to our teaching pool, we had investigators at church on Sunday, and one of our families set a date for baptism.

Tuesday, in particular, was a miraculous day, as far as missionary work goes. We found a handful of new people who are interested in our message, and we had nine lessons with a member present. That's a pretty great day.  We were even able to do a small service project - cleaning up the church grounds.
me, Elders Hershberger, Arismendiz, and Portillo ready for church clean-up (well, Hershberger will be ready in a minute)
The Ability Which God Giveth
Since Zone Conference, I have been thinking about the differences between the previous mission president and our current one, and how each had his own unique abilities he brought to this mission.
I've also thought of how each missionary carries his/her own set of talents and gifts we bring to this work.

When we are given a call to serve, God calls, not just the person to the work, he summons those gifts as well.
"If any man minister,
let him do it as of the ability which God giveth,
that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 4:11

When God gives an assignment, he also gives a skill "to every man according to his several ability" (Matt 25:15).  His intent is to use our experience and creativity and gifts and uniqueness - to share His Light. As He calls, He equips.  As He equips, He calls.

What are your abilities?  We all have something.  Look back over your life. What have you consistently done well?  What have you loved to do?  Stand at the junction of your affections and successes and - boom - find your uniqueness.  Don't worry about skills you don't have.  Don't covet strengths others do have.  Just bring out your own exclusively-you.

"Stir up the gift of God which is in thee."
2 Timothy 1:6
Stir it Up
What I've learned is this: When you magnify Christ with your strengths, when your contribution enriches God's Plan, your days grow suddenly sweet.  So let's stir it up!
I don't know why everyone gives the-thumbs-up when a picture is taken here.
Sorry, I got caught up.

Here's Wishing Us All a Sweet Week,
Elder Connor Nef