Monday, June 29, 2015

In the service of others

Great to hear from Elder McAlister today.  He has one month left in his mission as of today, which is hard to believe.

It sounds like they are working hard and are finding some success, but have a lot of work to do with their ward members. The service he and Elder Chavez we able to give to the little old women he describes makes me happy he is in the service of the lord at this time.
Hey Guys,

What’s up my family! How are you guys all doing? I am so happy to hear everyone had a good week. Sounds like everyone had a pretty exciting week and I am happy to hear all is well. Sorry to hear about the van and are you guys thinking about buying a new car? Buy a jeep ;) I’m just kidding! It really sounds like it’s getting really hot over there and I’m over here freezing (HaHa), but all is well here!

Well this week was crazy and I really can’t believe how fast it went by! We are working a ton and I am trying to help Elder Chavez the best I can. Elder Chavez and I have been working with all of the organizations of our ward to help them progress. Our ward has dropped down to about 50 people going to church now, and we use to be around 100 people. A lot of the members are criticizing and just leaving the church and nobody wants to visit anyone. So we are working double time in that. Even though the attendance is bad, we are trying to bring it back up. All the leaders are struggling so we are working with them. 

Manuel we thought that we were going to kill him for about a week (mission wise), but he ended up calling us and we had a really good lesson with him and now he is going to be baptized this week if he can pass the baptism interview on Friday. We found out that he was scared that we wouldn’t be able to visit him after his baptism and that’s why he skipped the interview the last week. But he’s on track for the 4 of July. 

We also had a really good lesson with a young man called Leonardo, he is 19 years of age. He is really cool and he really wants to get closer to god. So we had a really good lesson and he left the week end, but he is willing to be baptized, it’s pretty cool. This week we really ended up walking quite a bit and our bodies are gone. We are so sore and tired, but we got to keep on pushing on through.  

This week something really got to me! We went to an area in our sector and we entered into a house of this little old women. Her house was made out of wood, and it was all bent and had holes in it. She has a dirt floor and just one sofa and a bowl of water and a little one stove cooking thing that we would use for camp outs and she was covered in dirt looked like she hasn't showered in a long time. We had the opportunity to serve her and help strengthen her house so it would not be as cold during the day and at night. I can’t really explain all that we did for her in an email, but I really just felt so grateful for all the things I have in this life and really I have gotten to see the changes that the gospel has made in the lives of other people! 

Today I got my flight schedule and that kind of scared me, and then dad mentioned it also. I really can’t believe that I am so old in the mission and that time really does fly by! You guys don't need to worry about me because we are really working hard here in Chillan! So i will be focused until the end of my mission!

I thought that I would share a scripture with you guys because this week I was reading Alma 37 and it by far one of the chapters that I like in the Book of Mormon. I would like you guys to read it. It really got to me and I love it. 
Well here we are almost in the month of July and I really don’t know how I feel about it. I will write you guys next week, and I can’t wait to hear from you. I hope that you have a good week and that all goes well and all is safe. I love you guys a ton!

Elder McAlister 

Spiritual thought time! This week comes for President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk "The Gift of Grace", from April 2015 Conference. He was talking of Christ Atonement when he said this:
"Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience; it is purchased by the blood of the Son of God."

"The Savior’s Atonement cannot become commonplace in our teaching, in our conversation, or in our hearts. It is sacred and holy, for it was through this “great and last sacrifice” that Jesus the Christ brought “salvation to all those who shall believe on his name.”

This is why in Jacob’s words, “Why not speak of the atonement of Christ, and attain to a perfect knowledge of him?” On Sean’s mission as he talks of Christ, … rejoices in Christ, … preaches of Christ” at every opportunity, he helps others to never lose our sense of awe and profound gratitude for the eternal sacrifice of the Son of God. It's a debt I in no way can fully comprehend, but am so thankful for.

Well that's another week passed, and here are a few pictures from Chillan to enjoy.  Looks like they are enjoying a little American food... 

Elder McAlister and Elder Miller

Elder Chavez enjoying some American food. Two burgers, two fries and two drinks each...these guys are hungry! They went to McDonalds when they were in Concepcion for a conference.

McElder McAlister

Elder McAlister is 11th on the list of the missionaries returning home on July 28th. He saw this at the "Trunky Training" conference all Elders in the Concepcion Mission go to during their last transfer.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Bienvenido Elder Chávez!

Great to hear from Elder McAlister this week.  Sad to hear the things with Manuel have hit a snag, but I have faith it will work out. Sean’s new companion, Elder Chavez, sounds like he is outgoing with lots of energy, which will help keep things going in this last transfer. Their house sounds interesting with five nationalities represented in the six Elders living there.
Glad to hear all went well this last week with you guys, and I am happy to hear that dad had a good Father’s Day. Sounds like everyone had a full week of work and also working around the house. Looks you guys all got new bikes and they are pretty awesome! I just wish I had a bike!!! (HaHa)
Well I am a father of 2 kids and I have a step son in the mission! So I got told happy Father’s Day from all my kids, it was kind of funny. My new companion is Elder Chavez, and he was born in Argentina, but lives in Utah in bountiful! So it’s been a fun week, he is by far one of the most crazy and outgoing companions that I have had since my dad Elder Donoso in the mission. But it’s been really fun and I really have seen how bad my English is now!!! I need to start to study on how to talk English. So far i feel like we are going to have a lot of success and we are looking for a good 5 weeks together. I went to Concepción to pick him up on Tuesday, and I left my house at 6:30 in the morning and we got back around 7:30 at night, so it was a long day. But just talking to Elder Chavez it sounds like I don’t remember anything from the United States! (HaHa) At times I feel like I’m not even from the states!
Well this week Manuel was doing really well until Saturday, he had an interview with our district leader and he didn't show up. Then he didn't show up on Sunday either. So we are not sure what’s really happening with him. We have been finding some new and we have pretty much killed off our old investigators, other than Francisco, who’s out of town. I know that Manuel is going to be baptized, but we feel like he still doesn't have a testimonio, but we are going to keep on working with him.

We watched the Copa America, which is so cool and i love it! We can only watch the games the Chile plays in, but it is so cool. Chile has been doing pretty good, but I’m not sure that they are going to win the cup here. It’s so much fun to be in Chile, and just listen and hear people shouting when Chile makes a goal. I think this week is going to be a lot crazier with the game on Wednesday!
This week we had a class of English, my companion and I taught it! It went well and we taught it very well. The problem was that the only guy in our class was a little drunk. But he was very excited and shouting out answers. It just made me laugh out loud at times!

Now in our house, we have a Chileno, un Argetino/gringo, un Colombiano y un Español and another from Colorado. The house is so much different now, and it’s a little bit crazier than before. Our house before was really calm and funny, but now they are just crazy and loud! It has been a big change in the house!
I did my package on Tuesday, when I went to pick up Elder Chavez, and I have eaten a little bit at a time. Thank you guys so much for the package and I really loved it. I think I ate the pudding right off the bat but it was really good and I really want to say thank you for that!
Well I really hope that you have a good week and I really love you guys! Miss you guys and ton and keep on being cool, love you a ton. I can’t wait for next week!
Love you guys!!!
Elder McAlister

Spiritual thought time! From some of the things Sean has shared about less actives being offended and not coming out to church, it made me look into this issue.  There is a great talk given by Elder David A. Bednar in the October 2006 General Conference called "And Nothing Shall Offend Them".  He said the following in that talk:
"To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else."

"You and I cannot control the intentions or behavior of other people. However, we do determine how we will act. Please remember that you and I are agents endowed with moral agency, and we can choose not to be offended."

"One of the greatest indicators of our own spiritual maturity is revealed in how we respond to the weaknesses, the inexperience, and the potentially offensive actions of others. A thing, an event, or an expression may be offensive, but you and I can choose not to be offended—and to say with Pahoran, “it mattereth not.”
Like Sean is seeing in Chile, I have seen too many people drift away from the church because they have been offended somehow. But as Elder Bednar teaches here, we choose to be offended, or choose how we react to being offended. As hard as it is sometimes, we need to be able to separate the people from the Gospel, because the actions of someone does not change the truthfulness of the gospel.  How to help people see this can be a challenge, but helping them understand this can have eternal implications.

Well that’s it for another week. Sean did send a few pictures this week, so enjoy them and have a great week!

Some of the Chillan Zone before the last transfers.
New companions Elder Chavez and Elder McAlister. Elder Chavez's first companion and Elder McAlister's last.
The birthday package finally got to Elder McAlister!

Sean needs a car when he gets home, but this might be too much of a fixer upper.

Elder Chavez....not sure what's happening here.

Chile vs. Mexico in the Copa America. The missionaries are allowed to watch the Chile matches, no work would really be possible anyway.

Not sure who this is with Elder McAlister

Monday, June 15, 2015

Elder Cortez returns with honor

As always it is exciting to hear from Elder McAlister, sounds like they had a great week and a strong finish to Elder Cortez’s mission.  Glad he had a nice birthday surprise, and that he will get his birthday package we sent tomorrow, even though it’s a couple days late. Sean finds out who his next, and last companion will be tomorrow!


 Well thank you guys for everything for my birthday it really means a lot to me even though I totally forgot and I remembered at 8:30 at night, but thank you guys! I really looks warm there and I kind of miss the heat (HaHa). Sabrina looks like a pro out there playing softball and I can’t believe that you and your team are doing so well. The windows sound like a really good idea and I really feel like the house looks a lot different now. Glad to hear that Jessica and Brooke are doing well. Happy anniversary parents, if that how you spell it! I hope you guys had a good day. Dad Happy Father’s day this next Sunday. I really hope you have a good day and I really want you to know that I love you guys! I hope you are feeling and doing well and I really want you to know that I miss you and I look up to you as an example, especially in my mission I have tried to be like you and follow all the things that you have taught me! Thank you dad for everything that you are and do! Love you

Well this week was a little crazy because it was the last week in the mission for my companion. It was a weird, but good week. Yesterday we spent the whole time running place to place trying to say goodbye to all the members and I don’t think we have run so much in our missions. I dropped Elder Cortez at the bus station at 6:30am today and he left and he will get home tomorrow morning! WEIRD! I found out what’s happening with me, and I am training again!!! I’m having another kid, so in other words I’m pregnant! I am pretty sure that I will have a gringo and I am interested in what will happen. I will find out tomorrow who he is, and where he is from! I am excited and tomorrow I will get my package YES!!!

Manuel finally came to church and right now he has fecha for the 27 of junio. So all seems really good right now, but he needs to keep on coming to church. He has all the teachings and he has progressed a ton. We are still working with Francisco who is doing really well also, but he couldn’t come to church and I don’t know why. We are also working with the family Soliz Moya and they are a little bit harder to teach. We are teaching some other families, but really we are more focused on helping some less active families and they are doing amazing. We are looking at a good week this week!
Everyone here is going really crazy about the American Copa, and I am hoping that Chile does well. I am really excited because tonight we get to watch the game. It will be Chile against Mexico and it will be crazy!
I really don’t know what to tell you guys, we had a good week and really my companion was just preparing to go home. I didn’t tell anyone about my birthday because I wanted people to focus more on my comp because it was his last week, but one family made me a cake and it was awesome and I really liked it!
Well I really don’t know what to tell you guys this week, sometimes when Monday gets here my mind plays the dumb game with me to make me forget everything. I did want you guys to know that I probably have had one of the most spiritual experiences in my mission this last week. We have taught a family of semi-active members whose family was completely crazy, the parents on the edge of separating, and the kids wanting to leave the house and get away from the parents. My comp and I helped them change the things around in their lives, and there is love in their house and there is a special unity in the house with them. I am really a witness of the gospel and how it can change anything. I saw a whole family crying out of gratitude this last Friday, giving thanks to us for helping them with their family! It got down to my soul in that moment! I just want you guys to know that this gospel can and does help us!!!
I really love you guys and I can’t wait for next week! Time is getting faster every day. Thank you for everything and I really love you, have a good and safe week!

Elder McAlister


Spiritual thought time! This week’s thought comes from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's testimony of the Book of Mormon from his October 2009 General Conference talk "Safety for the Soul". In the talk he said:
“No wicked man could write such a book as this; and no good man would write it, unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so...I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world, in the most straightforward language I could summon, that the Book of Mormon is true, that it came forth the way Joseph said it came forth and was given to bring happiness and hope to the faithful in the travail of the latter days.”
The Book of Mormon is such an important book, and really is the keystone to our religion. If it is true, and I testify that it is, then Joseph Smith was a prophet, which he was, and then the rest of the basic principles of the church are true, which they are. As Joseph Smith said, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book”.  This is true, and why it has been such a powerful tool for Sean on his mission.

Until next week enjoy a few birthday pictures, and Elder Cortez and Elder McAlister last picture together before Elder Cortez left for home…

A Chillan member family surprised Elder McAlister with a birthday cake!

Elder McAlister blowing out the candles on his cake.

Are they smiling for the camera, or because they are about to eat cake?

Elder McAlister and Elder Cortez at the bus station as Elder Cortez leaves for home.