This is one missionary's email for the week preceding March 10, 2010. It includes pictures which will be at the end. He is serving in Rancauga, Chile; currently in Chepica.
(Edited for grammar and privacy content)
- So this week was a bit different than the other weeks, you know with the town destroyed and all. This last week I was dressed in a tie for less then 6 hours the whole week. Lots of service. In the beginning of the week I was in Nancuaga, with other elders to pass the time together in a safer environment, but that felt like prison because we could not get out and help. No service. Nothing. So we got back to Chepica Tuesday, and our chapel was full of clothing and food, since the Catholics lost their church, they were using ours for a help organization. That was awesome and for two days we helped out with that; organizing clothes and food to distribute.
Here lots of houses need to be rebuilt, and to do that the families have to move everything out of the house, destroy what remains of the house, and then start rebuilding. They need tractors to destroy the houses and in small towns like here, they don´t have them. So that work is moving slow. Winter is going to come in a month or so. That’s the scary part, people left without homes for winter.
We have been working with one family whose house is destroyed, instead of waiting for a tractor, we used wheelbarrows and shovels and took out all the dirt so they could start rebuilding. Yesterday about 35 youth and adults came from a branch in San Fernando to help us out. We took them all to this house and finished removing the dirt quickly. So that was sweet. Got a picture of that.
We have also done a lot of inactive member visiting. Good news, not a single member lost their house or job, one sister got a bad black eye, buts that’s it.
The problem right now is more inside the branch. Our branch president, who was not the strongest type of member, got mad and inactivated himself. -So that’s bad. Only 8 members showed up to church yesterday. I thought the earthquake would wake people up to come closer to God, but that has yet to happen, but I still think it will.
So right now we are basically at ground zero, No branch president, like 6 good active members, no investigators, So we have a ton of work to do. But I am so freaking excited I am here in Chepica right now. I have felt such a strong sense of belonging here. I am so determined not to leave this place until there is the assistance of 30 active members. That is my dream. I am going to muster out all the faith I have, and hopefully Heavenly Father will bless Chepica.
My thought: I was reading in Alma 12 or 13, and it talked about those who harden their hearts receiving the smaller portion of the word, and those who soften their hearts receiving the greater portion. Those with little knowledge are extremely susceptible to the temptation of Satan. That would be why Adam and Eve fell, they had little knowledge. But it says they became like gods knowing good from evil. Knowledge is what prepares us. It's how we can overcome temptations, and a large part of our purpose, until we become like God.
For that reason, Personal scripture study is so important.
I love you mom and Dad, and family, thank you so much for your emails and letters. Dad, I have really loved your thoughts on following the example of God to lift others and tell them that you love them.
- Elder JW (name removed by administrator)
Here are the Pics he sent