Well, it has just been great here in Chile. The weather is amazing. The food at times is weird but for the most part it is good. (I drank fungus juice this week, which is supposed to be healthy???) It was disgusting. But the members are great and feed us well!
This week was a lot of hard work. We are in a new area so we had to find every member and the church building and our way around and the investigators. We are dead tired every night. It is awesome though because we get to contact a lot of people and I have some great stories. I will sprinkle these in my email.
My area that I am in right now is very comparable to a really rundown suburb of LA but everybody speaks Spanish. It is pretty awesome. It is super loud though in the streets just like the inner city of Los Angeles: dogs barking, cars and buses flying by and honking, police sirens, people everywhere. The experiences are that much better when we have the opportunity to talk and teach people. There are so many distractions and craziness and chaos, but the gospel and knowledge we have makes us feel peaceful and brings others so much peace.
People in the street heckle us from time to time. It is super funny because they try and make fun of us in English. They come up and say: “Hello, how are you?” but in a really funny accent. They then sometimes say bad things in Spanish. It is so funny.
So I want to share with you what happened while we taught a lesson. We were walking to a member home and we saw a lady with her three kids struggling to get them up the stairs to the house. We ran over and helped her take her three kids up to their apartment on the fifth floor of this block (apartment complex). It would have been impossible for her to do that without our help. It was like we were supposed to be there because her kids had bikes and toys and they couldn’t carry them up stairs. So, anyways, we got to her apartment and met her husband and talked to the family and started to tell them our message. The lesson was amazing. They were so interested and I felt that the Gospel could really make a difference in their lives. It was so peaceful and the spirit was so strong. The crazy thing though is how abnormal and weird the situation was. It is interesting how the spirit can work anywhere as long as we meet the conditions of being reverent and clean. So these are some of the weird things that happened during the lesson. First, we were sitting on the floor of their apartment. It was small. It had a small living room area with a couch and table, a kitchen, bathroom and 3 small rooms. It was dirty and had purple walls. So as we were teaching, the boys were crawling all over me. They had one boy who was blind and took his pants off. Then about half way through the lesson, the mom just started breast-feeding her smallest child. Apparently, 3 families live in this small room so people kept coming in throughout the lesson, and the dad apparently was from Bolivia but looked like a native Chinese. It was so weird when I look back on it but I felt peaceful and normal in the moment.
At the end of the lesson, things calmed down and the spirit was strong. That’s kind of how I feel most of the time. I love it here and have so many amazing spiritual experiences and a good time, but when I look back there are so many crazy weird things that happen that I wasn’t fully aware of at the time!
It is really cool to write in my journal at night. I have so much to say and so many cool experiences but no time on the computer to tell all of them. So here are some more things I have learned: the person who you are before your mission is the person you will be on your mission and sometimes you just have to smile and act like you know what you are doing, because sometimes I have no idea what is being said in meetings or when we meet people on the street! I do know that our message can help others though so I just smile and when my companion looks at me I just bear my testimony that I know the gospel is true. Also I have learned that dogs turn evil when you become a missionary, and I have also learned that God will guide us if only we will ask him.
One last story. Yesterday, I contacted a man on the street and I had no idea what he was saying. The only thing I understood was that he kept saying Jesus and showing me his Jesus necklace. I thought that maybe he was saying he was Catholic and didn’t want to listen to us, which happens a lot. So I just kept agreeing with him and gave him a pass along card with our number and said we would love to come to his house and teach him more. After we parted, it turned out that he was saying Jesus was a “communist”. My companion was mad at first because he couldn’t understand why I was agreeing that Jesus was a communist. I said I had no idea what he was saying! Then my companion died laughing and it was really funny. Jesus is not a communist, and it was bad what the guy was saying but a funny experience nonetheless. I miss all of you a ton. I love all of you. Chile is awesome, the people are super nice. I am not sick in any way, and missionary work is going great. Email is the best way to talk because mail can take a while. That’s all until next week!
Love, Elder Neser