Wow this week went by so much faster than last week. I think I am finally getting the whole missionary life style down and I´m getting used to all the walking. My comp and I are in the city of Chillán Viejo in the ward Copihues. The ward is pretty great and everyone is pretty willing to help us since we have a goal of reaching assistance of 100 members by the end of this year and then we can get our own ward building that is closer to the people. My companion and I live with 2 other sisters in their area and so we have about a 15 min walk just to get to our area and then we still have to walk about 20 min or more to get to our appointments and what not. We take the micro (bus) or a collectivo (a car that goes the same route as the bus) sometimes, but it´s mainly just speed walking all day! Emotionally I am exhausted, but I love it at the same time. I just love all of these people sooo much and I want them to have the blessings of the gospel in their lives right now!
So the food here is actually quite good. We eat pan like there is no tomorrow haha, although the bread is so good. I never really liked to eat just bread until now, Chileans know what´s good in the bread factory. Churascos are the best. They are basically just mexican tortas with avocado and all. Dad, I have not gotten up the courage to eat a completo yet. They are just hot dogs smothered in mayonesa and what not, but I´m sure I´ll eat one soon.We eat lots of potatoes and chicken, but overall everything is pretty good. After every lunch that the members give us I wonder how in the world I got all that food down...haha. They give us so much! I guess it´s alright though because we don´t eat dinner at all. We have lunch at 1:30 and then we have language study after till 4 and then we are out all day until 10 pm when we come back. The missionary schedule here is changed. We get up at 7:30 am and then go to bed at 11:30, which is totally fine by me!
Sunday at church was great! We had 8 investigators there! It was a miracle and simply amazing. A mom, Julia, told us afterwards that she felt so welcome and warm being in church and she´ll for sure be back. She and two of her kids now have baptismal dates!
Francisco is getting baptized this Friday!!! He´s a stud and told us all in gospel doctrine class this week that he has no doubt that the church is true. He´s pretty gangster and is 19, but he´s awesome. Mariana sadly didn´t get baptized this week because she has some things in her past she needs to clear up, but she is still solid!
On Wednesday I got to do a mini cambio to the little town of Coihueco! (Pictures attached) My comp has to do a mini cambio every week as a leader, so it´s fun for me because I get to experience different areas every week. I realized just how grateful I am for my companion and our ward. It was so great and in a tiny little town, a 6 foot gringa is a sight to see for them. Boy did I get some interesting comments and weird looks. Not to mention the creepy old man with no teeth who kissed my hand after I rejected his cheek kiss... haha but whatcha gonna do.
Also Mom, you know how I was happy that I probably wouldn´t wear makeup for 18 months? Well I was wrong. I have to wear even more now so that it´s noticeable or else we look like Evangelicas. The Evangelicas wear skirts all the time, have long hair, and don´t wear make up...bad combo for me. Haha so the only way to really differentiate in the streets is to make it look like I wear make up. Am I sorta bummed? Yes, but I guess it´s better this way.
Hna Lovell and I have been working in sort of a new area recently and are trying to come up with new ways to find people since we know no one. Anyone have any good ideas??? This week we are going to try singing, service, less active list, FHE with members, and Saturday basketball night! I´m super pumped for the last one. There is a basketball court right in the middle of the area so we are going to play with members and hopefully get some more people to come out and play.
We got a reference this week (best thing ever!!) of a less active mom, Antioneta, and her non-member daughter, Vanessa(13). We went by to see them and at first Antioneta was very reluctant to let us in. We then told her that we knew her friend and then she decided to let us in. Within about 5 min she was in tears and telling us how much she has missed the gospel in her life. Her parents are members and she went to seminary and everything but she married a non-member who is very Catholic and doesn´t like our church too much so she stopped going to keep peace in the family. She told us that she felt the spirit so strong and I did too. She hugged me for a long time and whispered that our visit was exactly what she needed. She wants to come back and have her daughter baptized, but she has to work things out with her husband first. That lesson was just what I need too. That day had been freezing and raining outside and no one wanted to let us in until we came to Antonieta. It reminded me that we really do help people and that after we have the patience to endure trials, miracles come.
The mission is so great. My testimony grows everyday and there are constantly trials and miracles. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but mainly I am just amazed at how the Lord truly loves each and everyone of us. We have a perfect plan here for us on this earth complete with the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Many of these people live in the most humble of circumstances and are addicted to drugs or have horrible family situations and I just want so much to help each one of them. We truly are all sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father who wants the best for all of his children. I´ve been here for less than two weeks and I have already seen countless times how the message of the Restoration can change people´s lives. It´s frustrating at times when people don´t want to change or are just hopeless and think that they have no chance. I feel so privileged everyday to be a representative of Jesus Christ and spread the light of his love and Atonement. I love you all and share the gospel with whoever you can!!
Con mucho amor,
P.S. This week is the 18 of September which means Chilean Independence day!!! Everyone has been celebrating already and it´s gonna be crazy here. Our taxi driver last night was drunk and almost killed us...it´s pretty great. Only problem is everyone tells us to come back after the 18th because they are busy preparing and what not. Attached is what I like to call a Chilean Nativity scene. All the dolls are dressed up in the traditional Cueca dresses. At least they have national pride.