Monday, April 27, 2015

What do you do with 15 lbs of Play dough?

Well another week has flown by!

We had a bunch of exchanges, zone meetings, interviews, and just lots of stuff to do. The weirdest thing was for the zone meeting, we wanted to do a game with play dough, so we decided that we were going to make ourselves some playdough for the game. Last P-day we decided to get started and it wasn't too hard, and it didn't take too much time, but by the end, we had about 10-15 pounds of playdough. We ended up making a life sized toddler, just because we could. But we used the playdough to demonstrate an aspect of the atonement. In the end, the spirit was strong, and we were all uplifted, but man, it really was a lot of play dough.

We are doing well, but its hard to find people to teach right now. I don't even know why, but it’s just what we are going through. We have a few investigators, but not a lot are actually progressing, and so we are having difficulties filling up our days with things to do. Let’s just say, we've knocked on a lot of doors. Luckily we live in a great ward, and they are all praying and helping us with referrals. Honestly, Alejandro Korn has the best members in the world! Every week we have a Family Night in the Church for new converts, less actives, and investigators. A recent convert family always comes, and their 9 year old daughter invited her friend at school to come to the Family Night. They had a fun time, and we will pass by their home this week.

We have also been visiting an inactive this week. When I first came here, this member was super faithful and active. But through a course of events, he fell into inactivity. Last tuesday we visited and he said that he didn't want anything to do with the church, he was never coming back. We prayed hard, and not only asked for the spirit, but really looked for how to help this member. It was exhausting, but by the end, we were able to help him understand repentance and the atonement. At the end of the lesson he said he was coming back! But when we passed by yesterday, he was again saying that he doesn't want to come back, its too late, he just can´t believe in forgiveness. It made me think a little bit about the balance of light and darkness in our lives.

The obvious truth is that light and darkness cannot be in the same place in the same time. If we listen to the spirit, and invite the spirit into our lives, we are filled with light, when we listen to the adversary and not do what we are supposed to , we are filled with darkness. This hermano, after our lesson, felt the spirit and was filled with light. But as we left, he didn't do anything to keep this light in his life, he didn´t read the scriptures, or pray, or sing hymns, or serve others, or even have a good conversation with another person. His light, left. Now when we left yesterday, he again wanted to come back to church activity, but this time with a fervent commitment to read, and pray, and do what he was supposed to do to keep this light in his live.

So if we feel sad, or depressed, or if our light is filled with darkness, the best thing to do is bring light into our lives. Something so simple can make a big difference.

Lately, I find myself sitting back and just trying to soak in the Argentine scenes It’s weird that there is a chance that I will never be back, but it’s the reality of these things. I just hope I can remember what it’s like here.

You only have to write me two more times, so that will be nice! I am still calling on Mother´s Day! They gave me four calls on my mission so I´m using every one of those calls! Haha!

Anyway, thanks for all your prayers and support, I love you guys and miss you all.

Have a good week!

Elder Chipman

Monday, April 20, 2015

3 Hard and 3 Best Parts of Serving a Mission for Me

How´s it going everybody!

It's been another good week in Alejandro Korn. Actually, honestly, the beginning of the week started off pretty slow. Last week we had to drop practically every single one of our investigators, so this week our teaching pool was very limited. We spent a lot of time knocking on doors and doing contacts in the streets. We found a little bit of success, but its difficult to find people to teach that way. All of that prepared us for a miracle that happened on Saturday. We went to contact one of the people we talked to in the street a few weeks ago. He was still friendly and so we set an appointment on Saturday. We dropped by for the appointment and he let us in. His name is Mariano and we talked about the apostasy and the restoration, and why it was important to him. It was a good lesson, and we invited him to be baptized the 24th of May. The next day, in church, I was getting ready to give a talk, when he walked in with his two daughters. They stayed the whole time, and at the end, his daughters came running up to him with the pictures they colored in Primary. They all loved church. It was a great day.

I´m grateful to be a missionary, it has been the best decision that I have made. I love being a member of this church, and I love sharing what I know to be true with others. Despite all the challenges I can't think of another place where I would rather be.
So this week I've had a little bit of time to think about what the hardest and best parts of the mission are for me.  The main answer is that every missionary has his own challenges that are unique to him and his mission where he is serving. Everybody has a different mission, the Lord knows us personally, and so He gives us challenges and blessings that are very personal to our own lives. The following is some insight into my mission:
3 most difficult things about the mission:
1. It’s exhausting! You work 16 hours a day, and the 8 hours of sleep you do get doesn't seem to be quite be enough. You walk or bike all day, in the sun, heat, rain, snow, cold, and you have to keep doing something. So it’s very physically, mentally, spiritually exhausting.
2. There are more disappointments in the mission than moments of joy. While the moments of joy make the disappointments worth it, they are separated by people not showing up to appointments, not completing commitments, not coming to church, not reading, or just deciding that they don't want to follow Christ. It makes you tired, and really sad at times.
3. Just getting started. The start of the mission is hard. It’s a whole new life style, schedule, wardrobe, and way of life. You miss your family, friends, and if you are learning a language, you can't even communicate with the dogs. I look at the beginning as the hardest part, but that is where I learned the most.
3 Things that make the mission great!
1. You can actually see the gospel work. While there are many disappointments, when people do follow the gospel, you see them change. You can see the evidences of the gospel as they read, pray, and grow. You help them be happy and in turn, it makes you feel incredible. As their testimony grows, yours does too. It makes all the disappointments worth it.
2. You learn so much. I have learned so much about our Father in Heaven, about Christ, about the Gospel. I have learned about the world, and why the commandments are important. I've learned about faith, virtue, hope, and numerous other things. You can learn things in the mission that are impossible to learn at home.
3. It’s just a great experience. Now that I'm near the end, I can speak a new language, I know a new culture, I understand others better, I have  friends from Spain, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, and other countries. Its just a great feeling to be a missionary.
I Hope this helps, it’s hard to explain why its so great and awesome to serve a mission, because It’s just a feeling that I have. Like I said, its really personal, but I know that every missionary is going to have hard things, and awesome things. It’s just part of the package!
Thanks for everything, and for all of your support!


Elder Chipman

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fall Colors!

Hows it going everybody?

It’s getting a little colder, but still some days I sweat like a pig. I like it here because they still have seasons in Argentina. There is a park in the center of Alejandro Korn, and all the trees are that golden fall color which is really nice.

My new companion is great. He likes to cook, which I like, and he works really hard, which I like as well. We will get a lot of work done this transfer. We run every morning. We don’t go very fast, but its something so I am happy and grateful.

We had a very successful week in Alejandro Korn! While we have been dropping a lot of investigators due to their lack of progression, we have also been able to find many new ones to teach. Including a big family that we were able to contact on Thursday. There is also a young couple, and a cousin of a member who was just passing by one day.  We were also able to talk with Sebastian again and get him going. He needs just a push, and he will be a very good member. But its just that little push that he lacks right now.

I love teaching the first missionary lesson, and I think it’s my favorite one by far. It’s when we teach about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes Prophets, Christ´s Church, the Great Apostasy, and the First Vision. It’s really cool to be able to testify of the Book of Mormon everyday. It’s probably one of the best parts of my calling that I enjoy.

We taught the Restoration a lot this week, that´s why its been on my mind. We were also able to see Gabriel´s confirmation this week in church. After the meeting I asked him how he felt, and we was just smiling. He said that he felt like Superman. That made me laugh but it also helped me understand the role that the Holy Ghost plays in my life. While it doesn't exactly make me physically like Superman, it’s a quiet gift that has taught me, guided me, and blessed me many times since my conversion. I am grateful to have the gift of the Holy Ghost in my life, especially now more than ever.

I think that Allie is doing fantastic with her running for this early in the season. Honestly, she only has about 4 more meets before State, so she is exactly where she wants to be. I hope she does well at the KU relays this week.

Megan told me a bit about her job & it sounds pretty Epic! hehehehe (Megan got a job with Epic software in Madison, WI).  I know nothing about Madison, but I bet it will be a fun adventure with lots of Cheese and stuff that Wisconsin has. That will be a lot of fun for her, and now she can see what her future has in store for her.

I´m doing really well. I'm getting excited to come home but it really doesn't seem like I am that close to finishing. I don't think I truly understand what's actually going to happen when I finish things up these next few weeks. Being a missionary is just part of my life right now. I am okay, and happy, and working hard.

Thanks for all of the support and love, I love you guys and hope that you have a great week!

Elder Chipman

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Starting my Last Transfer

How´s it going?

Well, I'm starting the final transfer of my mission, and I can already tell its going to be a good one. My new companion is Elder Olsen from Utah. He was in my district in La Plata, and he is a work horse, so I know that we will be getting a lot done these next few weeks. I will still be here in Alejandro Korn.

Honestly, I have a lot of mixed emotions right now. I am really sad that Elder Flinders had to leave. He was a great companion, and I´ll miss him. But at least he´s going to BYU and we already have some basketball pick-up games planned. I´m also really excited for my new companion, Elder Olsen. I´m excited to see you guys again, but then today, I had to say goodbye to some friends in the mission that I will never see again. It’s just a field of mixed emotions, but It’s all good in the end.

That being said, we enjoyed a great weekend of General Conference. We watch it in English because they have a room set up just for us. It’s nice. But when the speakers speak in Spanish, we would change the channel to Spanish so we could listen to their voices. I guess it’s the translators that drive us crazy. But I loved the conference. Every Talk seemed to teach me something that I needed to know, or answered questions that I have had. One of my greatest testimonies of conference comes from the fact that even though the talks are for the whole world, they touch and guide the individual soul. But in the end, if we do not apply what we have learned, repent and do better of the things that we have realized we need to do better on, we are not taking advantage of the Conference. When we don´t apply the teachings of the prophets, can we really sustain them in their callings? I know that the church of Jesus Christ has been restored, and that He is at the head of his church, but it is under the restored organization of a Prophet and Apostles can the Lord let us know as a whole what we need to do.

I love all you guys, thanks for your support and prayers. I hope that you're happy and healthy. Have a good week!

Elder Chipman