Monday, 26 September 2011

SEMANA UNA EN EL CAMPO - 26TH SEPTEMBER 2011

Hola familia!!
 
I am here in Chile and I love it! It´s too bad that the phone was being stupid in the airport... and make sure to take my money to pay for it. That´s cool to hear that there´s a new playground!! It´ll be cool to see. Jakob already went on a canoe trip!? Awesome!!! You´re super lucky. And you have new piano teachers Charly and Jake. That´s awesome.
 
Alright!! So the mission field is basically the greatest thing ever. I was pretty choked that the phone crapped out on me in the airport, especially cause that one call cost at least 10 bucks but then you couldnt hear my voice. Right afterwards I had to board the plane and there was nothing I could do. There were 12 in my travel party all going to the same mission. First, we flew to LA from Salt Lake, then  to Lima, Peru, where we stayed on the plane, and then to Santiago. We thought we needed our bags to go through customs so we were looking for them forever but we were misinformed. Also, there was a screw up and we literally had no time to catch our plane to Concepción. Luckily we had someone from my branch in the MTC with us from Toronto who grew up speaking Spanish who helped a ton. Also, I left my journal behind at the MTC but Elder Hague luckily has it and is gonna send it to me. I gave out a pass along card and a mormon.org card to some people at the airport. It was super nerve-wracking haha cause I hadn´t done it before!
 
Finally we arrived in Concepción, met the Mission President and his wife, and went to the mission office. The President and Sister Humphrey are super nice and really cool. We went, they did stuff with our visas, went to a welcome meeting, and met our companions!! My companion is Elder Navarrette. He´s from Santiago, Chile and is super awesome. His English is good for a Spanish speaker but mostly we speak in Spanish. It was super tough at the beginning because my brain got zero down time, but  it´s good now. I can communicate most things to him. He´s a super good teacher and has 6  months here. I´m lucky to have him as a companion. Anyway we then took a 5 hour bus ride to Talca, which is north in the mission, while Concepción is in the south. I slept on the bus cause I was exhausted. Our sector is the Florida. Each sector has one companionship of missionaries.
 
So the people here speak super fast!! I could understand almost everything in the MTC, but this is completely different. They speak a million miles and hour and always drop s`s. It should be ¿comó está usted? but it sounds like ¿comó etá uted? It´s super hard but I love it. Everyone says I speak really well for being here only a few days but I think they´re lying and just trying to make me feel better about myself hahaha. I love it here though. When I arrived I couldnt stop smiling!! It´s super tough for me to teach because I only know so much of the language so can only say so much, we sometimes makes the lessons unsmooth. Also, it´s hard for me to address the needs of the investigators when I can´t understand them. I keep praying for the gift of tongues though and I´ve noticed a ton of improvement.
 
Ok about Chile, or about Talca anyway. For one, when we first arrived, some drunk  guy came and asked us for money which was funny. There are dogs EVERYWHERE!!! Seriously we see like 100 every day on the streets.  Elder Navarrette said he was attacked by a pitbull once which is crazy. On the way over here to where we use the internet we saw a dead cat too. Crazy stuff. Everyone knows I´m foreign hahaha. Sometimes kids say `hello` when we walk by instead of hola, and sometimes say hello gringo! It´s really funny. The people here are super nice. Almost everyone is super friendly with us when we go contacting. The houses here are really small which is really different. Our apartment is really trashy haha but its ok. Most places have a hot water thing that heats up the water as it flows through like we were looking for for the cabin. It works, but not great. It´s definitely not as nice as Calgary. Our schedule here is different than other schedules too. We wake up at 7:30 instead of 6:30 and go to bed at 11:30 instead of 10:30 because of the culture. Everyone stays up super late here its crazy. Also we have 4 hours of study everyday. 1 hour of personal, 2 hours of companion, and 1 hour of language. Elder Navarrette studies English. The meals here are different too. There´s tons of different kinds of cool food that I haven´t  tried yet. We have a small breakfast at around 8, eat a huge lunch at a members house everyday at 1:30, and have ´once´ which means eleven, at around 10 o clock at night. It`s really different.
 
The biggest problem here is getting people to go to church and follow through with their commitments. We have 5 people with baptismal dates right now, but only one is a progressing investigator. The problem with him, José Luiz, is that he doesnt have a testimony. He´s 18, and always wants to play Chilean monopoly with us instead of us teach him. We were more firm with him yesterday though. We asked him what he thought the Spirit was and he said money and cars and stuff. We have a lot of work to do hahaha. We´re trying to help him focus and get a testimony. The only reason he lets us teach  him  is because Elder Navarrette´s previous companion was American and I´m Canadian and he thinks that´s cool. We keep praying for hime though. On Wednesday, my first normal day, we found a mother and her mid twenties daughter. The daughter committed to be baptized that lesson, and both promised to go to church this week, but apparently the husband, who had just left them the day we found them, came back saturday night, and said they couldnt go. Interesting. Two nights ago we were teaching this awesome family that we found, and all the power went out. In Santiago too. It was cool. They had an emergency light  so we kept teaching and sang a hymn. I think they let us in because they want to find a man for their daughter, but we told them we can´t date, and they were super super receptive to our lesson! The husband prayed with us the way that we pray, and  was super awesome. I can´t wait to go back. There are a bunch of other investigators I could talk about but those are a few interesting ones.
 
Today we went and flew kites on a hill with our zone and another zone which was pretty cool and ate some chorrillanas which were super good.
 
The ward is awesome. There are about 80 members and it´s sweet. Everyone is super super nice and it´s great. They´re good at giving us references. One sister washes and irons our clothes for us every week. It´s super nice.
 
I´m gonna try and send pictures with this email if I can. Sorry I don´t have a ton yet, hopefully next week I´ll have more. It´s probably best if the family emails me now and not dear elders cause I  have as much time as I want on the computer here, and DearElders take forever apparently.  Unfortunately though, I can´t email friends.
 
Also if you could put some of my money in the bank so I can use it if i need to. I wanna buy some sweet leather scripture cases with pictures on them.
 
I´m so lucky to have my family. I had a letter that I almost finished in the MTC but couldnt finish it because we can only write on P-Days. I´m gonna try and finish it send it off soon. Thanks for always being so supportive of me and so helpful my whole life. I love you all so much!!
 
Really quick, I wanna  give you some high-horse preachy missionary wisdom hahaha. For Michael, know the scriptures really well and study preach my gospel. It´ll help a ton. Also, for everyone, open your mouth to everyone!! It was tough for me at first and still is cause I can´t speak Spanish, but really  we have nothing to lose. Helping others come unto Christ is the best thing ever, and talking to your friends about the church can help them sooo much. Also, when the missionaries ask you for references, if you can´t think of someone, just give them someone you know. And whenever you have someone that you think the missionaries need to visit, call them. I love it when that happens here.
 
I know the church is true. I have zero doubts. It just is! The Spirit has told me time and time again that it is, and I´m giving two years of my life for this. Jesus Christ really is our Savior and he loves us. We have the Book of Mormon, which is incredible. It really has the word of God! I wish I had studied it better before my mission. Joseph Smith was a prophet. It says in the scriptures, by your fruits you may know them. The Book of Mormon is the fruit, and it is true. There is nothing bad in the Book of Mormon, and I have a testimony that it´s true. We have living prophets today. That is incredible!! No one else believes what we do, and nobody else has such a happy message!! Sometimes we don´t know everything. And I think that´s great!!  If we knew everything, and if everything always made perfect sense, we would have people diving into the baptismal font, and we wouldn´t need faith. I know we have the full gospel of Jesus Christ. I know he died and suffered for us, and that we can truly repent and that He now lives!!
 
Adios familia, you´ll be getting a letter soon (well i dunno how soon). You´re the best.
 
Elder Blomfield