Monday, November 24, 2008

Semana 5 en Los Arcos

Spanish words of the week:

La Mirada = the glance

Granada = pomegranate or grenade (nice)

Fome = lame (Elder C's response to BYU's embarrassing loss to Utah this weekend)

"So today is my first official day as a non-greeny. The greeny-ness only lasts for 2 cambios (changes) and my second change ended yesterday. Elder Becerra and I do not have changes, so we will be here together for 6 more weeks.

"I am choosing to ignore the news about losing to Utah. Next year!

"So yesterday we had the baptismal interview for Lidia and it was quite the fiasco. We talked with the bishop of Lo Ovalle in sacrament meeting and told him that we were going to come by his house at 4 or 4:30 to get the keys to the chapel, since the interviews have to be done in the chapel. He said yeah sounds good. So at 4 we went to Lidia's house then went to the bishop but he definitely was not in his house. To give some context to the story, Lidia is 74 years old, and she cannot walk very fast. It was also about 90 degrees outside. Good times. So we went to visit the second counselor of Lo Ovalle but he didnt have keys, then we went by the house of the ward secretary and he wasnt home. It turns out that the bishop from Lo Ovalle was in Los Arcos (the stake center) practicing singing in the choir. nice. So we called the Muños family from Los Arcos to come pick up Lidia and take her with Elder Skinner (our district leader; district leaders or zone leaders have to do the baptismal interviews) and his companion Elder Sanchez to Los Arcos to do the interview there. It was good times. Haha it was fun to have a challenge it makes the experience more worth it, right? Lidia is very excited for her baptism and so is her son, Raul. He will do the baptism, which will be a great experience for him. Her baptism will be the 29th of November, which is also her son's birthday. His birthday present will be pretty great, I would say.

"We did the English class again Saturday but only one person came. We need to anounce it better so that more people come. But Ignacio and his family are doing well. Nacho (the nickname for Ignacio) came to Mutual this Thursday to play soccer with the youth and there was another activity Saturday morning and he came to that too. He and his family couldn't come to church though because he had a soccer match in the morning, and they went out of Santiago in the afternoon so we could not go by and teach them, which was kind of sad but we have another appointment with them next Sunday so we will see what happens."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Semana 4 en Los Arcos

"I will start by answering some of the questions from the letters: Yes they do talk faster in Santiago and a lot of the people are hard to understand but for the most part I can understand what we are talking about in most situations and I am able to respond. My Spanish has been getting better since I pretty much don`t speak English anymore. But yeah the Chilean accent is interesting. I am not sure if I would call it beautiful... haha I think it is actually kind of funny. The way that most people talk here is flaite (fly-tay) which basically means gangster talk / ghetto. Both sectors I have been in are pretty flaite but they are not dangerous, it is just the way the people talk. I am not sure if I have told you, but here they say `po`a lot. It does not mean anything, but people just say it. I don`t know why. For example, if you ask me if I am having a good day, I could say `sì` or I could say `sìpo` and it basically means the same thing, I think the po just adds more emphasis. You can also say no or nopo, basically just through it onto the last word in the sentence and you will sound like a Chilenopo. So that is our Spanish lesson of the day!

"I have not gone to the temple yet but I will sure let you know when I do. I saw only the back of it when we got to Chile in September (the pic of me and Elder Butterfield and President and Sister Jones was taken behind the temple). I have heard that we go once a year usually and also we get to go if one of our converts receives their endowment or gets sealed, so I am hoping I will have that opportunity some day, maybe with the familia Correa.

"About the old buildings there was one we went to in my old sector called estaciòn central (central station) we went there every monday to do email, but I never got a picture there. I think you can see it on wikipedia. We also went to the post office in central station. It is called correos chile. They are pretty much like ours.

"I believe I am actually farther from the ocean now, but we can still see the mountain range through the lovely Chilean smog. I wouldn`t exactly call the sector pretty... I have often thought that Cara would have a heart attack if she were to see the state of the interior design of some of the houses here. We do not do service on pday we usually do service in the morning before we eat lunch. We are very close to the grocery store in our sector, it is called santa isabel. And the members still feed us and do our laundry.

"And yes President does give us hugs when we see him haha. The way of greeting is really cool here, I think. When two men great each other that are friends they first shake hands, hug, then shake hands again. When a man and a woman greet or two women greet they first shake hands then kiss each other on the cheek. Obviously as missionaries it is not the best idea for us to be kissing girls on the cheek, so we just shake the girls' hands haha. So yeah just get used to that idea so you dont get surprised when you come to Chile. A lot of times the women don`t know that we elders don`t give `besitos` (little kisses) on the cheek and they try to do it and we have to take evasive action. haha then we have to awkwardly explain that we dont do that and they always get really embarrassed. good times.

"So this week we had some good things happen! yay! I told you before about the ward mission leader`s mom, right? We started teaching her this week. We taught her all of the first three lessons and now she has a date for a baptism! she came to church for the third time in a row yesterday and her date for her baptism is the 29 of november. She is very receptive and understands very well. She is a very strong christian (which usually makes people not want to listen to us) she used to think that we worshipped joseph smith in place of jesus, but know she understands that we worship the same christ as her and that Joseph Smith was just a man. A prophet, but still a man and we do not worship him. So yes we are excited about that.

"I also believe I told you about the family that we met last week? when all of the families were at their moms house for Sunday dinner? Yesterday we went to the house of one of the families. The dad, Hèctor, is an inactive member who got baptized when he was 13 but stopped going to shurch about 3 years later. I helped his son Ignacio study for an English test on tuesday and he came to the English class on Saturday too. Yesterday we went to their house and taught the plan of salvation and it was pretty much awesome. The only downside is that we can`t teach them again until next Sunday becasue they are so busy during the week. I don`t want to get my hopes up too much because we have a lot of great first lessons and then nothing happens after a lot of the time, but it was just cool to teach a whole family again.

"So that was my week! Thanks for the emails I will try writing letters today since we should have time. Love you all talk to you soon (Christmas is only 1.5 months away! yay christmas!) and tell the Dickens family congrats, tell Nicholas hi and also let me know what happens with the fires. I am glad to hear that everyone is okay."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Semana 3 en Los Arcos

"My week was good, I feel like things are getting better here. Katy is still taking the lessons and coming to church, but we can only teach her once a week (Monday nights) because we have to teach her in her future-husband's house. It will take a while to teach her all she needs to know, but that is okay because she can't get baptized until she gets married, which they are apparently going to do in January, so she will be prepared by then. They have a ten month old baby, Tómas, who is also taking the discussions, although he doesnt understand anything ;).

"The Spanish is steadily improving, which is great. Now I can focus on learning how to be a missionary haha.

"My companion has 3 siblings and they and his parents are all members for about 7 years now I believe.

"We had our mission conference this week in Rivas Vicuña and it was really weird to be back there and see Elder Butterfield again. He gave me a letter that Alfredo (from fam. Correa) wrote me, it was a really great letter.

"The other day we contacted this man from Spain. He had a Spanish accent, apparently. But I couldnt really tell. He did say "vosotros" a couple of times, which is the modern equevalent of "thou" but plural. That is how they talk in Spain. Crazy Spaniards. But yeah we talked to him about the church and he told us that he was a free mason, like the secret society from National Treasure! haha that was the first thing I thought of when he told me that. But yeah we showed him the pictures in the intro to theBOM and when he saw Moroni burying the plates he told us to wait a second and went into his house. He is an artist, and he came out with a drawing he had made a few weeks ago. It looked a lot like the painging of Moroni. It was a warrior kneeling, holding a sword in one hand and a book in the other. Pretty interesting.

"Yesterday for the first time we finally got into someone`s house. It was the first time that we have found new people to teach since I got here. yay! haha it felt good to have someone finally let us into their home. It turns out that a few of them were members but havent gone to church in a while. But we set up an appointment to teach one of the families this Saturday (there were about four families there, kind of like when we have Easter dinner at grandma`s house) the grandma is a member and all four of her kids, but the spouses of her kids and her grandkids are not members. We did a review of lesson 1, the restoration, with two of her sons that are members. So we will see what happens with that.

"For Christmas I honestly dont know what I want still. Maybe one more short sleeve shirt would be good it is really hot here now and I wear short sleeves every day but Sunday (I still refuse to wear a short sleeve shirt with a suit haha I hope my sisters will be proud of me (we are)).

"Mi compañero está molestandome tengo que ir. Haha my comp wants to go our time to email is up talk to you later"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Semana 2 in Los Arcos

"So our new area is really big, since there are two wards. Yesterday we went to Los Arcos for sacrament meeting then to Lo Ovalle for Sunday School. They are pretty far apart from each other, about a 20 minute walk. We heard that a couple of investigators bore their testimonies in Lo Ovalle, which is pretty great I would say. We have found that there are a lot of investigators that were being taught by the previous elders, but we are having trouble finding new people. I know I need to have faith and be patient and keep working hard, but yeah it has been kind of dificult.

"We live in an apartment above Pizza Hut and there are two other elders in our zone that live in the pension above us. Apparently we are right next to the zone that Elder Krainik is in. This Thursday we will have Zone Conference with half of the mission in the Rivas Vicuña chapel.

"We have some really great investigators in Los Arcos, but the only problem with them is that they don't live within the ward boundaries. One of them, Patricio, came to church yesterday and he was fasting (no one told him he had to) he also brought his aunt to church and I think she is going to start taking the lessons from the missionaries too. But he lives in La Blanca, another sector within our zone. I don't think he can be baptized in our sector so I think we have to tell him to go to La Blanca. We also are going to teach tonight (hopefully) an investigator from Lo Ovalle (and yes she does live in the ward boundaries of Lo Ovalle woohoo!) Her name is Katy and she is 16. She has a baby and the father of the baby, Erick, is a member of the church, and his sister, Rebecca, is the president of Relief Society in Lo Ovalle (here Relief Society is Sociedad de Socorro, or Soc Soc for short. haha) But Erick has recently become active in the church again and we heard that Katy bore her testimony in church yesterday. They have to get married before she can get baptized though. Also the mother of the ward mission leader in Lo Ovalle came to church yesterday and bore her testimony and we are going to try teaching her this week too. So yeah we have some potentials we just have to wait and see what happens!

"I still have district meetings every Wednesday, and we still have lunch with the members every day except for pday, we make our own or buy fast food. We live in an apartment that is directly on top of a Pizza Hut, and there is also a McDonalds down the street. I am in a new zone now too, it is called La Cisterna.

"We got a little pushed back today because we went to the MIM, the interactive museum in Santiago, again. I went with my old zone about 4 weeks ago I believe, but we went today with La Cisterna. It was fun.
I would love to have some brownie and pudding mixes. We can cook the brownies to use in family home evenings with investigators everyone here loves brownies. They didn't exist here before the gringos brought them and everyone calls them brownies in their funny Chileno accents.

"Thanks for the package and letters and emails! I gave some dum dums out on Halloween to all of the little trick or treating kids. They stole the holiday from the U.S. about 4 years ago haha."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Transfer to Los Arcos! & Semana 1 there

So interesting stuff happened this week. On Thursday we were supposed to have divisions with the zone leaders, I was going to stay in Rivas Vicuna with Elder Claros and Elder Butterfield was going to go to the sector of the zone leaders with Elder Wilke. But Thursday morning we had our interviews with President Jones, which we have every change. President pulled me and Elder Butterfield aside and told us he had to talk to us. He said we would have special changes and that I was leaving Rivas Vicuna and Elder Butterfield would stay. He told us at about 11 in the morning, and said I needed to be ready to leave by 3 in the afternoon.

"I talked with him about it in the interview. He said that being a misionary is like being a surgeon´s knife. To be useful, the knife has to be sharp and clean. The knife is the one that has to get dirty and messy, and when all is said and done nobody tells the knife that it did a good job on the surgery. Obviously the knife really didn't do anything, but was just an instrument in the surgeon's hand. The surgeon, of course, being Jesus Christ, since He is the one that is guiding this work. President also told me it was really important that I place my faith in the Lord and not in my own talents or abilities. He is really a great man and always knows the right things to say. So Thursday we went to visit people to say bye after I packed up. We went to see the Correa family and it was really hard to say bye to them. They made me and Elder Butterfield a dvd slide show of pictures and it was really cool. We also went by Cristian and Javiera's, but Javi wasn't there because she was with Vicente doing doctor checkups. It was really hard to leave. It is amazing how close I got with all of the poeple there in just 7 weeks.

"President told me the work in Los Arcos would be really slow and I would have to be really patient. He was definitely right. For the first time in the mission (which I admit has not been that long) we had zeroes across the board for our weekly numbers. I know that numbers do not matter but they are still a good indicator of how the work is progressing; they are called the key indicators for a reason. My new companion is Elder Becerra. He is from southern Chile. He has about 1 year 5 months in the mission. He does not speak English. So yeah i am speaking a lot of Spanish but that is definitely the best way to learn. We have two wards in our sector, Los Arcos and Lo Ovalle, and we have a lot of ground to cover. Elder Beckstead was here with Elder Becerra, I switched with him and now Elder Beckstead is in Rivas Vicuna with Elder Butterfield. Elder Butterfield said that there is always a reason for special changes, thus they are called special changes. But I have no idea what it was, and I know it doesn't matter. I am here now and this is where the Lord needs me. So I will write more about my new sector next week.

"I love you all, thank you for your prayers and support. I think I need them now a little more than I did before in Rivas Vicuña."