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!