HELLO my beloved brethren (and mom) :) I hope everyone is doing well. I am sitting in an internet cafe thing in Concepciòn Chile right now. I have been assigned to work in the city of Talcahuano. Its about a 30 minute bus ride from Conce. It is such a cool city seriously! Its right next to the ocean, which kind of looks like a lake because we are on the edge of this huge bay that opens into the Pacific Ocean. Our apartment is on the second floor and has an ocean view! sweet right?
So when I wrote you last I was in the mission office in Conce (concepciòn) and we were having training meetings and stuff. I met with President Arrington, and he is super cool. Then we had the assignment of our areas and companions. My trainer is Elder Lucas Catròn. He is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He looks like a gringo, but is a latin. He speaks pretty good english although he has a thick accent its kind of funny. His english is hard to understand sometimes... and dont even get me started on his Spanish! He is 20 years old, and this is his last 12 weeks of his mission. He goes home at the end of December. Literally everyone has told me what an awesome trainer and missionary he is. Elder Kauer (one of the couple missionaries here) kept telling me that Elder Catròn is literally THE BEST they have in this mission! IT doesnt get any better! haha I am seriously so honored to have a veteran companion who is one of the hardest workers in the mission! I know that there will be GREAT things I can learn from Elder Catròn, and that the Lord has me working with him and in this certain area for very specific reasons. I obviously dont know them now... but I have great Trust in the mission presidents ability to receive revelation for me and him, and put us where the Lord wants us! Sister Arrington told me that I better be prepared to WORK HARD, because thats what my trainer does. And we have been working way hard these last few days!!!
so... the first thing I learned this week, is that Chileans DO NOT speak spanish. Im not even kidding... I could understand all the mexicans in the CCM pretty well, but chileans speak WAY differently than they do. Talk about culture shock! They dont say the letter s really. Its CRAZY! and that sounds simple enough but no. haha luckily my comp speaks english pretty well, but he did most of the talking the first day. But after that I was forced to say thing, and just do my best! So we live in an apartment with 4 elders. Elder Ospina from Colombia, Elder Jensen from Texas, and us.
Our schedule is up at 7, exercise, shower, study until about 11 ish, and out the door working ator . we just street contact, and knock doors trying to find people to teach for a couple hours until lunch at . ANd thats the only meal of the day we eat. yeah I know CRAZY! we usually have a banana or a small bowl of cereal (something tiny) for breakfast and then we eat a HUGE lunch every day at a members. Its a massive meal seriously. They usually consist of a salad plate or bowl of soup to start. Then a big main course of rice or meat, or casserole, or really anything. And then after that a big dessert! And they always have coke or juice for us too. After we eat we go back home and have language study for an hour and a half, and then get back to work from . That is the longest part of the day! Because since we are opening this area (meaning neither me or my companion have been here before, we are both knew here) which makes it even harder too. So we did not know any of the members, and we had to basically start from scratch trying to find people to teach.
so... Elder Catròn walks freaking fast and doesnt stop working for anything! haha he just goes and goes and goes. Its awesome because I know that I am being trained well, but its awfully exhausting. Mostly because this sector has so many hills! I dont know if you can see a topography map on google earth or something but its crazy how much we walk and how much of it are on the super steep hills. Remember those super narrow steep streets in Cusco? yeah its just like that... but STEEPER! My legs are going to be HUGE by the time I finish in this area.
So after we email we are going to get my first cumpleto (huge hot dog with tomatoes and guacamole and stuff for those of you who dont know) I am way excited. I hear they are legendary :) haha
So at church yesterday there were only about 40 people in the whole ward. It seems more like a branch. But the bishop is really nice, and they had the 3 new missionaries to the aresa (not elder jensen) introduce and bare our testimonies in sacrament meeting. A couple ladies in the congregation were asking me where I learned spanish, and if one of my parents were latin or something because they said I talked so fluently. I think they were just being nice... but I do feel like I am going to pick the language up quickly! Its obviously going to be hard the first few months, but I think I will be blessed to pick it up quickly because I need to in order to teach more effectively and fulfill my purpose. Find, Teach, and Baptize.
There are hundreds of stray dogs here in the streets, and everyone here is either Catholic, Evangelist, or maybe baptist. Its frustrating because most people say they respect all religions and believe in god and christ but are not going to change religions. We try our best to teach them that they need to be baptized by the right authority and everything, but its tough. We have talked to hundreds and hundreds of people in just like 5 days of working, and very few have listened and allowed us to teach them. We have taught maybe 9 or 10 lessons, and of all those people we have scheduled a follow up visit, and invited them to come to church. They all agreed, but NO ONE came to church yesterday and they are always gone when we show up for the second visit. Its kind of frusterating... But I am not letting it get me down. Thats what life is going to be like, tons of people that dont want to listen, or are not commited, we just have to find the ones that are. Heavenly Father has children here that are erneastly seeking to find the truth, and we just have to pray for the spirit to guide us to them! I love this work. Yes it is super difficult and physically demanding, but the greatest things in life dont come easy right?? :)
I am doing great, and Im sure there are things I have forgotten to tell you... but hopefully you can get a good idea of how the first week went! Ask whatever questions you have or anything and I will write you back! I love all of you and thanks for your prayers and everything! I know I will be blessed to EVENTUALLY understand these people and be able to accomplish all that heavenly father has in store for me!
Love you All! ... until next week :)