Sunday, April 30, 2017

President and Sister Nelson Light a Fire

Progress on the temple in Concepcion Chile
The week started out good and just got better and better until the week ended with a SPIRITUAL EXPLOSION. I'll start at the beginning.

My companion and I had a few good lessons at the beginning of the week. I'll give you the highlights. First, we met with Angelica and her daughter.

God, Jesus, and Me in the Clouds Together
Let me tell you about Angelica:  a couple of weeks ago, my companion and I were passing by a gate she was coming out of. We both silently felt like we should talk with her, but didn't say anything right away. But after walking a few feet, I felt compelled to turn back. Talking with her, we found out she was a member, but had stopped attending at 18 years old. She has a family now, half of whom are not interested, but her young daughter turns 8 soon and is more enthusiastic.

Misspelled tag
We taught them about God's love for us and our families and a bit about prophets this week, and invited them to read the scriptures, pray, and come to church. At the end, the daughter gave me a card she made during the lesson that had God, Jesus, and me in the clouds together. Cute!

The zone leaders ordered these gold name tags for us missionaries (right). Cool idea.  Only, they spelled about 1/3 of our names wrong, including mine.

Prayer Works!
In our visit with Lizet this week, she told us that when we prayed for the safety of her family last time that the prayer worked -- her son was on his way home from work when two guys tried to rob him, but he got away untouched. Prayer works!

Event-wise, two big things happened this week.

Chilean Census - I'm Counted!
One, the Chilean Census was on Wednesday, the first census in which I was an active participant (and it's not even my native land). Because we were not allowed to leave the house until the Census guys came (we just had to answer a few questions), that day replaced our P-day, and we were able to watch some approved movies from a church list while we waited.

Second, we had a special mission conference on Friday - with President Russel M. Nelson!

Conference with President Russell M. Nelson
My companion and I were the first to shake hands with Elder Nelson, his wife Wendy, and other leaders. As you might have guessed, the conference was awesome. Some of my favorite parts:
  • Wendy Nelson talked about the story of Elisha and the young dude with the mountains full of the armies of God -- she applied it to family history. Let me 'splain: She said when we go out and talk with anyone, we should picture about 100 more people more with them. We should picture their ancestors. She came up with the idea that instead of praying to find the people who are ready, to pray for the people whose ancestors have already repented and accepted the gospel and want their family united from the other side of the veil. Dope!
  • Elder Nelson told stories about interacting with leaders of other faiths, talking about the Bible and Book of Mormon. But the best part was the promise he made at the end, an apostolic promise: he said that if I feast upon the words of Christ, apply what I learn, and am obedient to my Mission President, then I will have success and joy, learn from bad experiences, and I will be strong when I return home - following my faith, me and all my loved ones shall be healed. BOOM!
You can imagine that I left that conference on fire! Even over the past few days, I have continued to feel the Spirit the same way. During my studies, I absorbed more than ever before. Calling a million people to organize exchanges and lessons was like nothing.

Aftermath of Conference
The aftermath of conference has been miraculous, really.  Hermano Del Rio even came a half an hour by bus from Lorenzo Arenas to do 2 hours of work with me - he's the BEST! (He updated me on my old area too: Lorenzo Arenas is baptizing a ton right now, which makes me feel happy. Made me feel like I helped plant some seeds and prepare the way.) 
with Hermano Del Rio
And let me just say, over two days, we completed 12 lessons, four of which happened in a single hour! At the end of the day, I collapsed when I got back home and said a good 25 minute prayer of gratitude.

I feel amazing - I have not felt so full of the Savior's love since some of my time in Quillon. And this might even beat that. 

I demonstrated to the Lord that I was willing to give everything to be a worthy instrument in the hands of God. I know I fall short sometimes, but God makes up for what I lack when my heart is in the right place and I do my best. I love God and love this work. And I know that with God's help, great things are going to happen here.

Love you all,
Elder Connor Nef

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