Monday, December 28, 2009

Lo Ovalle 1 - Week #2

¡Hola Familia!

So, it was really good to get to talk to all of you on Christmas Day. Dad is right, it sounded like I was in the next room rather than however many thousands of miles away. It didn't feel like Christmas this year, in the mission it seems like holidays and birthdays just don't exist because the family is such an integral part in all of it. Eventhough everyone down here spends the holidays with family it doesn't feel the same as being with your own family.

It was so hard to speak English on the phone for the first couple of minutes. It was actually kind of ironic because I had just got done making fun of my companion for the same reason. And then after the phone call and all the next day it was hard to get back to speaking Spanish again (at least with any clarity). I kinda envy the Latinos in this mission that didn't have to switch languages, but I like being almost bilingual... :D

Saturday we found our first success in this sector...Woot! We taught a lesson to a mother and daughter (Maricel y Ivy) and put them with a baptismal date for the 24th of January. The mom has had the missionary lessons before but it was about 20+ years ago and was almost baptized wasn't her time apparently, but it is now! Other than that we've done alot of getting to know the ward because nobody wants to let us into their house to teach a lesson. Eventhough the holidays are the best time to find people in their homes they are also really hard because of the importance of the family in the Latino culture...nobody wants to interrupt their time with their family (and I don't blame them).

This past week has been a real learning experience working in a new sector, with a new companion. Until you are with someone who has barely more time than yourself in Chile it is impossible to know what it is like to rely on the Spirit in EVERYTHING! We should know what it is like before-hand but unfortunately missionaries are still people, and people rely on themselves alot more than they should... But Elder Davenport is great, he's got a really strong Spirit and a great command of the Gospel. We are going to have some tremendous success here, I just know it!

As always, new sectors are full of interesting we can see with Ernesto in my previous sector. Well here these new experiences are called Haitianos (Haitians). Wow!!! They are great people but alot of them don't speak very much Spanish or English nor do they have much time in Chile. Yes they are trying to learn like us but don't have the gift of tongues on their side. We are going to be experiencing the process of teaching through a translator tonight at 9:00 pm. Our translator is named Riki. He is a return missionary from Haiti that has been in Chile for 2 months and only speaks decent Spanish. Apparently we tell him a concept to teach and he goes at it, teaching, asking questions, resolving doubts, etc., etc. We however can't understand any of the conversation so he has to translate some stuff back to us...luckily not all...from the Haitian Creole-French language (más o menos). Sounds like fun doesn't it???

Sunday in our ward we had 171 people present and only 2 of all of those were investigators. We meet at 10:30 in the morning because there is another ward that meets at 8:30 (yuck!). Every ward in this stake, there are 5, has 4 missionaries and alot of active members...definitely a change from my last area, and from home. The leadership here is great and really welcoming, as was obvious by the fact that Elder Davenport and I had to share our testimonies and introduce ourselves in sacrament meeting. The best part was that directly afterwards the bishop spoke and told the congregation again how much time we had in Chile and that the only reason we could speak as well as we do is because the Lord works true that the Lord does work miracles, but I like to think that I've put alot of work into speaking Spanish as well. LOL...

Christmas sounds like it went well for everybody! And good to hear that Lufkin is still mostly okay after the F-3 tornado. I'm glad the only thing significant natural disaster wise that we get in Chile is teremotos (earthquakes) and those are very few and far between...("knock on wood").

Random funny...last Thursday we had all day as P-day because of Christmas and our companionship with 4 other elders and 2 sisters in our zone went into the central to the feria at Santa Lucia. It is a big open market with a bunch of souveneirs and nothing else. One of the elders with us, Elder Morrison, is leaving on the 17th of January to return home at the end of his mission and thus spent nearly $200 (American dollars) in the feria on souveneirs for his family to carry home with him...INSANE...

I'm scared I've lost my Texas accent for now and that I'll have to re-learn it when I get home. The only downside with that is that if I end my mission with a Chilean accent I'll end up losing it within a couple weeks after I return to the states. Either way, I lose...

Once again it was good to talk to everyone on Christmas and take a break from knocking every door in Lo Ovalle. But, I have a goal to knock every street in this sector before I get transferred, so I'm counting on not leaving in January changes...

Hope everyone has a great New Year, party it up for me!!! I'll just be hear losing sleep because everyone else will be partying!

Love you all and talk to you again soon...

¡Todo mi amor y cariño!

-- Elder Todd

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