Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It's Cold in Parral, But the Work is Hot!

A view of the Andes from Parral, Chile
Well, I bid farewell to friends in Tierra Bella.  All the members were bummed about the area being closed to missionaries.  So was I.  Before I headed out on Tuesday, Hermano Del Rio came to the bus terminal to say goodbye and give me a sweet fur hat. Great guy.  Then I headed to my new area - Parral.  A quaint little town in the northern half of the mission.

Parral is riiiight there.
Other areas I have served are in red
Let Me Introduce You to Parral
Parral was founded in 1795 by the Viceroy of Peru, Ambrosio O'Higgins who originally named the town Villa Reina Luisa del Parral, in honor of the wife of Carlos IV, king of Spain.

Parral has some beautiful spots, but locals seem to be most proud of the fact that their little town is the birthplace of poet Pablo Neruda, winner of the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature.

The church is a branch here - one of several branches in the District. Attendance on Sunday was pretty good - 110. And, we have the absolute best mission leader.  Leandro.

Leandro - Convert Extraordinaire
Leandro, now secretary of the Concepcion Mission, is a recent convert.  When investigating the church for six months, he studied all books of scripture: Bible, Book of Mormon, D&C, Pearl of Great Price, and he began compiling a binder of reasons why the church is true. In the process of his conversion, a lot of really good sister missionaries taught him.  The guy is awesome and I am almost certain he knows more than I do about gospel doctrine.

Introducing Elder Garcia
When I first arrived in Parral, my companion was no where to be found.  After half an hour of waiting, he pops on over with Leandro.  Elder Garcia is his name. He's from Guatemala and we get along great. Pictures to come.

Anyway, they were late because a sister missionary had left on a different bus and was dropped off on the side of the highway instead of at the terminal.

Parral, birthplace of poet Pablo Neruda
The Work is Awesome!
That very evening we packed-in three lessons. Then we found an Adventist family. Who finds a family on their first day in a sector!?  In the follow-up appointment with this family, they had invited their priest to join in.  Made me a bit nervous because I didn't want to duke it out. We're just here to spread the Good News and good feelings. But it ended up going well.

Weekly District Class
This week's District Class was held with the entire Zone. The Zone is the biggest of the mission - 30 missionaries.  It's also the most animated, united, geographically largest, most baptizing, happiest zone in the mission.  I am one of six District leaders.

It's Cold Here
Did I mention that I am LOVING Parral? It is cold.  Been having some severe wind and rain storms, but luckily I have a working electric blanket in the house (makes for toasty nights), and we have good members to feed us and provide sanctuary from the storms. 

But what's really keeping me warm is the Spirit in the work here.  It may be overcast and rainy, but there is a definite brightness in Parral.  It's like someone turned on a switch and I am wanting to talk all day like I used to. It's freeing.  I feel like myself again: talking, laughing, teaching, eating, meeting people, sharing.  

Maybe there is something to the birthplace of Pablo Neruda. Already, it's poetry.

Blessings to All,
Elder Connor Nef

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