Monday, July 17, 2017

My Last Post

So this will be my last email home as a full-time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I still have all of this week to be a missionary but next Monday I will be with my family here in Chile, and I probably won't write home. 
I want to take this opportunity to reflect a bit on the past 2 1/2 years as a missionary, and also on how it has affected me. Ever since I was little, I dreamed of going on a mission without the slightest idea of what a mission really was. I learned really quickly when I arrived in the mission field in February 2015 that a mission is much more that a really long Youth Conference. After a long preparation at home I returned to the mission on December 2, 2015 ready to start again. 
The mission isn't easy. There were many times when I wanted to give up because no one wanted to listen to us, or because I couldn't speak Spanish, or like when my grandfather passed away suddenly. But from every one of those moments I learned something valuable. I feel very much like Ammon when he speaks about the trials and blessings he and his brothers had when they went to teach the Lamanites (Alma 26:27-30).
Even through all of the rough times I was able to see the hand of God work in the lives of the people like Claudia and Fernando from Linares, or like Loismar from Concepcion. I was able to make friends that I will remember for the rest of my life like Claudia and Javier from Concepcion. I can truly say  "...there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all powerall wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name." (Alma 26:35)
All of those experiences have helped me to learn who I really am and the grand plan that God has for every one of us. All of my companions, investigators, converts, members, and leaders have, in one way or another, helped me to understand that God is really our loving Heavenly Father and that he truly loves us. He has provided the way for us to achieve eternal happiness through his son Jesus Christ. The joy that I receive by sharing and teaching others about this plan is immense.
"know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and glory in it. do not glory of myself, but glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy. And behold, when see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me." (Alma 29:9-10)
Thank you to everyone who has supported me during these past years through your emails or through your prayers. See you soon!

Elder Evelo 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Wow Time is Flying by in Coelemu

We´re starting week 1 of my last cambio in the mission... I don't really like thinking about that.
We´re seeing a lot of success en Coelemu and we have quite a few people that we´re working with. Eduardo is a little boy of 11 years and he´s going to be baptized the 24th of this month. Even though he´s young he is super smart and he´s really good at futbol (soccer) haha. I´m really excited for family Zambrano which is a family of 5; Gabriela, Patricio, Patricia, Hector, and Catalina. They are all progressing well although at different rates. Patricio works out of town for 20 days and then stays home for 10, so it´s hard for him to stay in constant contact with us, but he loves going to church and he wants to quit drinking so he can be a better example to his kids. Gabriela is progressing the fastest and she has already received answers through the spirit that these things are true. She is planning on being baptized the 24th as well. Patricia and Hector are a little behind but also have desires to learn and they have a tentative date to be baptized the 8 of July. 
Jose is the dad of a semi-recent convert and he already has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, he just doesn't understand completely that there is only one church with the authority and this is that church. He´s  a really cool guys though and I think he just needs to make the decision to come to the church and he´ll be set. Cata is the granddaughter of a member and she told us that she wants to be baptized so we started to teach her right away. She has 10 years but she´s also, like Eduardo, suuuuper intelligent. A friend invited her to go play but she said, "no, I have to study for school". What? Since when does a kid say that? Hahaha! 
On Sunday a part-member family came to church. The dad is member but his wife and son aren't. But the son got up to bear his testimony and said that he knows that this is the true church! Wow! We´ve taught them and they are going to be baptized the 1st of July.
There is also an old man we are teaching that has no legs and partly blind, and his name is Brian. He listens to the Book of Mormon in audio everyday because he cant read. He is going to be baptized the 8th of July. 
It´s so awesome to have so many people that have been prepared to receive the gospel at this time. We´ve been so busy teaching these people that there hasn't been time to even think about other things like going home in 6 weeks...crap I thought about it again.
Anyways, I´m super happy doing what I´m doing :) All of my non-Mormon friends, go find those guys in white shirts and ties and really listen to them. What they teach you is true and it will change your lives. I´m so proud to be a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Oh PS, I´m going to be training a nuevo!!! Whooooooooo!!!
Have a great week!
Elder Evelo


Monday, April 24, 2017

A Visit with President Nelson

So on Friday was our conference with President Russell M Nelson. Everyone was really excited to have an apostle visit our mission and also to be with all the other missionaries of Concepcion Sur (the other mission below Concepcion). Right before the conference was about to start the church was packed full of missionaries and the sense of excitement was overwhelming. When President Nelson walked in the room everyone stood up. As he walked by us, he had a huge smile on his face as if he had been reunited with over 350 of his own children. Everyone had to opportunity to shake his hand along with Elder Teixeira (Area President) and Elder Packer and their wives. After the prayer, I went up with the choir of our mission to sing a special musical number and it was super awesome! We sung Jesus the Very Thought of Thee and it was suuuuuper spiritual. We heard from Hermana and Elder Packer, and then we heard from Hermana and Elder Teixeira, and then Hermana and President Nelson. When President Nelson began to speak he asked for 10 volunteers. He said, "To make it easier, I´m going to pick 10 volunteers from the beautiful choir...". Now there were only about 16 of us in the choir, so I was like "well shoot". So with 9 other people I went up front with President Nelson. He says, "Lets play ´Lets pretend´ and say that the Book of Mormon doesn't exist. Now each one of our volunteers has to say something that they don´t know because the Book of Mormon doesn't exist". I literally forgot what the Book of Mormon was in that moment haha I couldn't think of anything to say!! I finally thought of something right when the first volunteer started, but he said exactly what I was going to say! I thought "well great, I´m going to look like a noob in front of everyone". The second before in was my turn I thought about Alma 36 and how it teaches about the repentance process. So I say to about 350 missionaries "without the Book of Mormon I wouldn´t know about how to improve my life from all the sins that I´ve committed. There was about a 5 second pause and President Nelson, an apostle of Jesus Christ and most likely the next prophet of God, came up next to me and put his arm around me. I wanted to pee my pants in that moment. He commented on what I said and then said "thank you Elder", shook my sweaty, gross hand and I went to sit down.... IT WAS SO AWESOME!!! Hahaha! The whole conference was way cool and we learned a ton. It was focused a lot on Family History and the Book of Mormon. So then it´s obvious what we need to do. Do your family history so that you can go to the temple and do the work for your ancestors, and read the Book of Mormon every day!!

In the third picture below is Elder Burrows. He is a good friend of Elder Evelo and is serving in the Chile Concepcion Sur Mission. I wanted to added what he wrote about the conference with President Nelson.

And on Friday, we went up to Concepcion to... SEE PRESIDENT NELSON!!! My mission and Concepcion mission- about 400 of us. It was so great to see old mission friends, especially Elder Labra my mission mom. Then, out from the crowd, comes this handsome half Mexican guy running toward me!!! I was SO SO happy when Carlos (or Elder Evelo) came a hugged me! The weirdest part is that we greeted each other initially in Spanish without thinking, and it was so cool! Haha, the weirdest part is that his voice has dropped a ton! He talks lower that Max now! He has journeyed from boy to man :) Man it was great to see the guy, though oh too brief. Luckily, I had written him a 5 page note and handed it to him, warning him about not being married before I get off my mission and that the South will always be our home but that we will surely spend time together out west. How crazy it was to see him and talk Spanish with him!

And 30 minutes later, as we are quietly studying- the big man walks in :D We all stood up for him, and it was so cool to see President Nelson in person!!! 
A cool note- Carlos and a small group of missionaries sung a beautiful hymn. He was one of only 2 basses when there was like 8 on every other part, but that boy has learned to SING! His loud bass voice completely balanced with the other oversized voice parts! How cool!

Then after the Packers spoke (the son of the apostle!) and Sister Nelson spoke, he did. It was so cool! And so directed completely at us! He talked about us preparing the souls for those who enter into the under-construction temple. He talked a long time about what we would not have if we didn´t have the Book of Mormon. In fact, he picked 10 people from the choir (including Carlos!) to help him. He then told us to all imagine if the Book of Mormon didn´t exist. He then asked the 10 missionaries to tell of one thing that they would not know now. They all gave great responses (especially Carlos, the sharp kid), from the Plan of Salvation to the purpose of the Atonement to agency and faith/works and the judgement, etc. He after each would ask them a brilliant and rather tricky counter question, which would usually make them think, then give an even more complete answer often requiring them to use a scripture! It was amazing to think of all the things we would not have without the book, and how the world is not ready for the 2nd coming until the world all has this book. And after their response, Pres. Nelson would testify of what THEY had said! So basically shorter said, I saw Carlos´s own words testified of by President Nelson!

It was great to see your boy! He and Gaby are great friends."

Tuesday, April 11, 2017