Happy Holidays to everyone! Things have been just great here in Chile! It is blazing hot. (not very “Christmassy”) But it is a lot better than freezing in the snow in Utah J.
I am so sore today! This week my companion and I did a lot of walking trying to find people. We had a little bit of success. So, here are few crazy stories. Last Tuesday, we had to go to the doctor because my companion has really bad skin. So we had to go outside of our mission to the “East Mission” where the hospitals are. The East Mission is the rich, nice area of Santiago. It is just like America. So here is the fun story. On the buses here, people get on with instruments and they play songs and try to get money from everyone. It is actually really impressive because the buses are always super crowded and it is hot and it feels like you’re on the “Indiana Jones Ride” at Disneyland. So anyways, this guy gets on with a bongo drum and starts rapping. He was insanely good. The cool thing was he rapped about me and my companion and Mormons. I didn’t really understand a lot of it because he rapped like the rapper in the song “Look At Me Now”. I totally forgot his name, but the point is he rapped super fast. It was so cool.
Also there have been little earthquakes everyday for the past week. Not very strong but you can notice them. One day there were 3 of them. It was crazy! This has led to a lot of talk about earthquakes. Here is the funniest story of the week. So we were talking with this member about earthquakes and she told us her beliefs regarding them. First of all, I have to say that she is an awesome lady and she is normal. So don’t think that she was on drugs or something when I tell you what her beliefs are. Her beliefs are actually very widely accepted in Chile. Many people believe in what she believes. So here is what a lot of Chileans believe about earthquakes. They believe that during WW2 there was a Russian scientist who built this machine that could generate earthquakes. The machine was called HARP and America bought this machine from Russia and placed it in Antarctica. Ever since then, the USA has used this machine to send earthquakes to countries around the world, especially Chile. So if you think I am just lying or joking, I am not. I was so confused at first and thought there is no way anyone could believe that. I thought I was having a serious “gringo” moment and did not understand what everyone was talking about because they honestly believe that a machine that can deliver earthquakes to Chile. So I checked this story out and asked some other people. It is true. A lot of people actually believe it. I have to respect it though and can’t laugh when people talk about it because it is their cultural belief. But I am just saying that it is the craziest “conspiracy theory” I have ever heard.
Another interesting cultural thing is “La Boca Chueca”. This translates as “the crooked mouth”. So this belief is that when you drink a hot drink and are inside then go outside into the cold, if you don’t cover your mouth from the cold air it will go crooked or your jaw will lock because of the change in air temperature. So don’t drink hot chocolate this Christmas season and then go outside and breath in a big breath of cold air! Your mouth will get messed up!
Some other funny things that happened… My companion got bit in the back of the leg really hard by this dog. My companion was bleeding. We saw a lady holding her “clothing free” daughter so that her daughter could relieve herself on the sidewalk. This is actually pretty common. Out in public, people will hold their little children up over the curb of the sidewalk so they can “use the bathroom”. It is very weird but super funny. There are more funny things that happened but I need to tell some spiritual stories so it seems like I am actually doing something worthwhile down here.
Here is the first cool spiritual story. There is this gas station in our sector where a man named Boris works. I can’t remember if I have explained who Boris is before so I will give a brief summary again. We met Boris a few weeks ago walking to an appointment. He flagged us down while we were walking past the gas station. He talked to us in English and told us how he lived in the USA for a number of years then went to jail for some pretty big crimes, then got deported back to Chile. He is an amazing guy. He is so nice and loves talking with us. So a couple days ago we saw Boris again. We started talking to him and he asked us what we did for Thanksgiving. We told him that we just do the same things everyday. He said he thought about us and the American traditions we celebrate on Thanksgiving. He said he watched the 49ers game and ate at a restaurant with his friend to celebrate. He really was interested in how we were doing away from home on a holiday like this. It was so amazing to see his friendliness and concern for us two gringo kids. It was also amazing to see how he has changed his life from a criminal to this great man. We are planning on trying to teach him this week about how he can be forgiven for all that he has done.
Here is another cool story. We experienced a miracle yesterday (Sunday). We really worked hard to try and get this one investigator to go to church, but we called him Saturday night and he said he had to work Sunday morning. We were so bummed. So we were walking to church on Sunday and as we were crossing the street and about half way to church we saw our investigator! We ran over to him and asked him what he was doing. He said he decided to come to church but didn’t know how to get there. He said he was praying for some directions and we just showed up. We took him to church and he had a great experience. He told us he wants to get baptized. So we set a date for his baptism on December 16. It was so amazing! Miracles like this happen to us all the time in the mission. God really does live and performs miracles everyday right before our eyes. We just don’t always recognize them. I have been growing so much and I am loving it here in Chile. Time is flying. Happy Holidays everybody! Chow!
So just another crazy week in Chile! It is starting to heat up here. In fact, it is getting hot! Supposedly it will get to about 35 degrees Celsius. I have no idea what that means but it is hot!!
I keep getting better and better at Spanish every week. It is mainly just a confidence thing. If I have the confidence to talk to someone then I can hold a pretty good conversation. I still have times where I look at Elder Evans and just copy his facial expressions and try to look like I know what I am doing. It is so fun!
The days fly by when we are working hard. I have been here in Chile for a month! How crazy is that? And three months now in the mission! So, here is a little about my week. We went to McDonalds last P-day. It was just like McDonalds in the USA. I never liked McDonalds before but it was so good to eat a hamburger and fries. It was amazing! I had a funny experience ordering the food though. They have all of the American names for the food so I ordered an Angus Deluxe burger. I said Angus Deluxe and the lady was so confused and said she did not understand what I was saying. So I had to try and say it with an accent. So in the end I figured out that you pronounce it (on-goose day-loox-ey). Super funny! So you have to pronounce it with a Spanish accent for people to understand what you are ordering. Another good meal I had this week was pizza! Real American like pizza! We had it at a member’s house for lunch. The member bought two large pizzas and I ate like 8 slices of pizza. The American style pizza is really expensive here though. For two large pizzas here it was 20 mil (or 40 bucks). We were so grateful and full afterwards!
There was a solar eclipse last Tuesday that my companion and me watched for a couple of minutes. Some people in the street stopped us and gave us special sunglasses so we could look at the sun and see it! It was super cool! Did you guys see it in the USA?
I have to tell you about a few other crazy experiences. When we were walking on this busy street the other day, there was this man walking in front of us. He then stopped and relieved himself, right there on the sidewalk next to the busy street. When he was finished he zipped his pants up and kept walking! It was so disgusting! Also, we taught some hippies who lived in this apartment in the block. They had nothing except some vegetables, a flute, some books, cigarettes, and paintbrushes. We sat cross-legged on the floor with them. It was really weird. One was smoking and looking out their window the whole time and the other guy was really interested but he was super “hippy”!
So here is a really cool story about miracles and how God blesses those who obey his commandments. A couple days ago we weren’t having any thing go our way. Then at 9 o’clock at night my companion was like “let’s go down to the blocks”. I said, “no way! They are far away and we have to be home by 10:30 at the latest.” It was also freezing and we would have to walk a long ways. But we went anyway. We went to try and see an investigator but they weren’t home. So then we decided to knock on a couple doors. We knocked on one with no success. The second door we knocked on a lady answered and let us in. We went into the living room and the whole family was there: 2 sisters, the husband, son and daughter. We started teaching them and they were so prepared and loved listening to our message. The lesson ended so great and they all want to get baptized! They were all super funny and had a strong family, which is very rare. It was such a miracle that we found this family. We were guided to meet them. So we got out of the lesson and it was 10:20. We were freaking out so we ran to the nearest bus stop. There was a bus but it was completely full so we couldn’t get on. Then as we were waiting, this taxi pulls up and the driver was yelling at us to get in. My comp and I looked at each other and said what the heck. We got in and the driver started driving. We talked to him and it turns out that he is a member of the church. He took us to our apartment. We got out and were about to pay him but he said no and that it was a service for the missionaries. Then he drove away. We made it into the house just in time! We would have been really late if we had to walk. We just experienced miracle after miracle that evening. I know that God will prepare the way for us if we follow what he asks us to do. We may think that things are impossible in the moment but the Lord always has a plan to help us complete what he asks us to do.
A really big thing that I have noticed since being here is the importance of reading the scriptures. We meet with so many inactive people and people who were recently baptized that are inactive. In every case, we find that they have not been reading the Book of Mormon and the scriptures for a while. The scriptures are the words of God that give us light and strength. The Book of Mormon is the light that separates the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from all other churches. The Book of Mormon contains the plain and precious truths lost during the apostasy. Through reading the Book of Mormon our eyes and hearts become open. We are no longer blinded by the evils of Satan. It frees us from the captivity and blindness of the world. Christ said “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The Book of Mormon is the truest of all the books on the earth. It will set us free and bring us so much happiness if we will just read it and ponder it and pray about it.
I miss you all so much! Chile is awesome. Being a missionary is awesome because you learn so much. Chow until next week!