Death. That's pretty much all I've thought about this week. We got a phone call a few weeks ago from a sister in the branch telling us that her daughter was in the hopital because her appendix burst and she had lost a ton of blood. She was visiting her mom (who lives in our branch) from Santiago when all of this happened. We had blood donations here in Lago Ranco to try and help but sadly, on Friday we got a phone call saying that she had passed away. As the branch president and first counsler, all priesthood responsibilites relied on us. We put together a short service on Saturday with the district president and the Relief Society President, who both spoke and sang hymns to help comfort the family. It was really depressing. There were a ton of people in the house of the hermana, and after we finished with the service, one of the ladies asked if we could keep singing. We sang so many hymns. It was a little awkward because we were all crammed into a room with the body in a coffin, but that's Chilean tradition. In good news, Corina and Valentina came to church on Sunday! Corina told us that even before we showed up at her door, she would tell her dad that one day she was going to be baptized Mormon. It was so great to have her in the branch. However, Mario didn't come which was a little sad - but next Sunday, we'll make sure he's there si or si. The funeral for the hermana was Sunday at 11. Which is when Sacrament meeting ended, naturally all the memebers wanted to go - so we voted - and all decided to go to the funeral. It was like an episode of The Office. So random, but it was the right thing to do. So together, with Corina and Valentina, we all drove to the next little town and went to the funeral. It was very depressing. I've never been to a funeral before. and the mom was so sad. I tried to imagine what it would be like to lose a loved one or a friend - but she lost her child. I can't even imagine her suffering. Elder Cayoja dedicated the grave, which I felt was really comforting and brought a lot of closure. Crazy week, right? But we're glad we were able to do our part and help this family in such a tragic moment of their lives. and we're really excited for Corina and Mario and their dedication to be baptized.
Last week I said how it wasn't so terribly cold, I cursed it - because this week was FREEZING. I've never been more cold in my entire life. Mitchell, I want to watch the Olympics so bad. There are posters all over of the Chileans who made it to the Games. Last week I got all of my mail for July in one sitting! So many letters! and I got the package with Elder Cayoja's watch and gifts (thanks mom!) and the Mamita was really greatful for her gift! She said no one has ever sent her anything!
I really love being a missionary. I'm grateful for the time I've been with Elder Cayoja, not because it's been easy - but because even though it's taken everything I have to be patient and kind, I've grown immensely and am a little bit closer to being the person the Lord needs me to be.
Thank you for all the photos! So many adventures. You guys are all so tan and summer looking. Bentley is so spoiled, how did he get so lucky. The Sniders all look very grown up! I'm glad everyone says they like Nick, I look forward to meeting him. Aleksi you look happier than ever. Cassie, that photo of Rita modelling - hahaha! Dad, you look more fit and mom, you look beautiful as always. I'm glad you all had a great vacation and found lots of lobsters. Mitchell, I'm glad your activity was successful. Those members really do love you. I love you a lot family.
No scar is too deep, no sorrow too painful, no wrong too darkened, that the merciful hand of the Savior cannot reach, comfort and heal.
Elder Poirier (Maxwell Poirier)
P.S. 2 Nephi 4:34 "Oh Señor, en ti he puesto mi confianza, y en ti confiaré para siempre"
Elliot. Your letters are hilarious. Weird to think that only a month ago you were here in the field.