Monday, July 6, 2009

Flower Arranging


I just finished writing to Ben. I thought you would like to know that I am writing to him in Spanish now. This week I came up with a metaphor for my quest to learn Spanish. I feel like when I walked off the plane into the Santiago airport I walked into a very deep hole, the dark and deep hole of Spanish. I am slowly climbing my way out. During my first weeks in Los Mares I could not see the light from above. Toward the end of the transfer I was feeling like, yeah I can’t see the end but I think it is coming. Now I can see the light and wow it is far away. Who knew there were so many words in a language? I think I am about five feet off the ground of the hole at this point. I am going to keep taking each handhold one at a time because I know eventually I am going to reach the top and I can’t wait to do the part I enjoy- RAPELLING!

Crazy, loco story for the week. We had lunch with members as usual and this particular day happened to be with the family of the first councilor in the bishopric. Ricardo Arancibia. He has not been to church in four months I think. Yeah so anyway he was talking about his mission and crazy stories from his mission. He served in my mission and I thought he looked about the age of Chris Boutelle so I said, "¿Conoce un Elder Boutelle, el servio en esta mision tambien?" He said, "Yes, he was my companion and he baptized thirty people a week when he was zone leader!" I told him that he is my neighbor in the United States. He kept saying how nice Chris is and how he was a great missionary. I told him about their visit down here and he wants to get back in contact with Chris. His email is, could you please forward this information to Chris. Crazy!

We had a training conference with other zones in Santiago last week. It was nice to travel to Santiago and see old friends. But on the days that we have to travel to Santiago we have to get up at 5 and that is not fun. Anyway I am telling you this because while we had a lot of time before the conference started and while I was studying I noticed how horrible the flower arrangement was at the front of the chapel. Seriously a super random mixture of color and flowers, and all thrown in the vase. So what did I do? Yep. I rearranged it. When I finished it looked so much better, the colors are still pretty random, but it is way better now. It is funny because just the day before I had told Hermana Spielmann how much I miss my work and then wham the next day I have the opportunity to do my favorite thing! Blessings always.

Food. I have a lot to say about food. First the food is amazing here. I love Manjar and Alfi´s. You can probably google them and find pictures. The cookies are really cheap here and there are lots of different kinds, this is the reason I have become gordita and am on a diet with my companion. A healthy diet of course, no abstaining from food just eating only fruits and vegetables. Here they have what is called "Once" it is like having a time for tea after dinner. We are not allowed to partake of once but we still drink coffee often during lunch. They drink Ecco here, a coffee that is decaffeinated and I don’t particularly love, but am getting used to. Avocados are used a lot here. They have what are called "completos", which are hot dogs with mashed up avocados and tomatoes on them. Super rico! ¿Que mas? Salads. Lots and lots of salad here, with no dressing. It is chopped up lettuce with salt and lemon juice, really tasty, I love it and don’t think I will go back to dressing when I come home. We don’t have fruit with the meal here, fruit is dessert. A fruit salad, a sliced banana with a chocolate or marmelade sauce, or simply a pear. Interesting huh? The cake is way better here than at home.

I got an email from Hermana Cuevas today. Claudio was indeed baptized last week and Patricio yesterday! Yay! I am really sad that I wasn’t present for their baptisms, but the important thing is that they were baptized and have experienced a lot of change in their lives. I hope Hermana Cuevas will send me pictures and then I will forward them to you.

Juan was supposed to baptized on Sunday. It didn’t happen because he went out of town. I think he went out of town because he feels like he isn’t ready. I think he is ready, but he wants to have more knowledge before he is baptized. He is always telling us that we have a lot of knowledge about the things of God for our young age. I have never thought about this and it is a good point. We tell him that it is by means of the Spirit and the scriptures that we have obtained our knowledge. He has all of the lessons and answered all of the baptismal questions perfectly last week when we practiced with him. Have I told you much about Juan, his background? He is 61 and has three boys all grown up, the one that is 25 lives with him and never wants to meet with us. We did visit with him shortly last week when we came to visit Juan and he wasn’t there. We gave him a picture of Christ and prayed with him. He doesn’t want to be taught right now, but I could see in his eyes that he is not opposed to our message; he is just not ready right now. Ok, back to Juan, he has been an investigator for three weeks now. We meet with him almost every night and he keeps all of his commitments. This week we hope to help him come to the conclusion that he can’t have all knowledge right now. He has received an answer of the will of our Heavenly Father for him and needs to act on it. He really is such a good person and I know he will be baptized it is just a matter of when.

Yesterday we had an interesting class in Church with Cristian and Italo; they are both recent converts and have problems with addictions to smoking and marijuana. Cristian is in his thirties I think and has a family. Over a year ago he had an accident at work and something happened in his brain so he can’t talk anymore. He can make the sound "tu" and acts out what he is trying to say. Yesterday in testimony meeting he bore his testimony. It was incredible. He asked for the help of the chorister and she stood at the pulpit and explained in words what he was acting out. The spirit helped us to understand what he wanted to say and it was really special. From now on when I am frustrated with my lack of Spanish I can think of Cristian and how he has to struggle every day in every moment with having people understand him. The good news is that we think his speech will come back. Hermana Spielmann says he has made progress since she arrived here in March.

I have a question for Ben and Jonathan. My mission leader has an external hard drive with two plugs for two usb ports. He has used it by just using one of the plugs and it works fine. He is wondering why there are two plugs? He had me read the manual in English, but it didn’t contain the answer. I said, "If you can wait a week I can ask my computer genius brothers."

Ok, time to wrap up. I am super jealous about Florida. I want to scuba dive and enjoy some sun. I have had no problems with the cold this week; thanks for your prayers, Dad. When I was younger I would always wonder why Mom would talk about the mountains so often. Things like look at the mountains aren’t they beautiful today? I always thought, "Mom, they are the same today as they were yesterday, why are you so fascinated with them?" Now I am experiencing this enthusiasm here being at the foot of the Andes Mountains. They are so beautiful and I stare in awe at them each day.

Have a super fantastic week,

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