This is kinda weird, I’m in Chile sitting in a small little room in the city of Santiago that is filled with computers, listening to a some funky 80’s music in english, writing home to a different country/continent. It’s gonna be difficult, but I’m gonna try and update you on as much as I possibly can.
So I wrote home the first day I got to Chile and the President and his wife said they would send it to you. I don’t know if you actually got it though?? Well anyways, we flew into Chile with a group of about 20 of us. President Laycock (a big jolly old fellow) and his wife (a really nice lady with long dark hair) were there waiting to pick us up with 2 missionaries who are almost finished with their missions. We went to the mission home, wrote letters, ate some pretty american snacks, and had a short interview with the president. The mission home is extremely nice and it feels like we never even left the states, but other parts of Santiago are a different story.
We got paired up with our Senior companions which was kinda nerve racking, not gonna lie. I hate to admit it, but there were quite a few Elders that I didn’t want to be paired up with. Some of them just had these smug looks, others looked a little crazy, i dunno... I probably shouldn’t have judged them though. One by one everyone was paired up, it was kind like picking teams in sports, one by one names were called and it was kinda intimidating. I was the second to last person to be called and I was paired up with eLdEr BlAnKeNfElD. He seemed pretty chill when I first met him, but little did I know.... (you should be getting a picture of him pretty soon too). Immediately after we were paired up we were on the mission. We had to just find our ways back to our Pensions with ALL our luggage. We had a lunch appointment that we had to get to so we took a taxi. It was crazy...
So Elder Blankenfeld actually turned out to be awesome. We’ve got plenty in common, he’s from Texas and likes similiar types of music, movies, and just stuff as I do. He was like the only member in his highschool so he was never very active in his teenage years, but his dad was bishop and told him to get ready to go on a mission so he did. Now he’s rockin’ the mission and doing a great job. He’s really really chill and is a great example to me when it comes to living by the schedule, teaching well, being a good companion, and enjoying your mission. He’s obedient, but has fun ya know? We are actually kinda part of a quad as well. Elder Blankenfeld and Elder Trovato are actually the zone leaders in our zone. They used to be companions and then they got split up to be our trainers, but are still the zone leaders as well. Things are kinda crazy sometimes cuz they have to teach or hold meeting or even do ¨divisons¨ which i’ll describe later as well. Elder Trovato and Elder Blankenfeld are both awesome guys though.
The first 2 days I did not understand a single word here in Chile, but now I can follow along and understand most of every conversation. Most people think I know spanish cause I’ve gotten pretty good at acting like i know what they’re saying. Smiling when my comp smiles, laughing when he laughs, and so on. I also have learned to say common things with a good Chilean accent. It’s insane that I’m starting to really learn spanish. I’m not very good, but after a month or so I can only imagine how much it’ll improve.
Oh yeah, the second night we were here in Chile Elder Trovato and Elder Blankenfeld had a meeting together so they left Elder Okleberry and I alone for 3 hours. Basically we wandered around neighborhoods and knocked doors. Can you imagine?? I was freaked out at first, not gonna lie. We would make a contact, talk about the church and our message, then the people would talk to us for like 2-5 minutes and we pretended like we understood. It was intense. We got a few contacts and referrals from it though.
K, so a few random facts..... Here in the mission we get up at 730 and go to bed at 1130, which I like a little better. We have personal study from 9-10, companion study from 10-11, and language study from 11-12. After studies we’re basically out and about until 10 at night. We eat lunch at about 1:30 with a member every day, which is a huge blessing. Also dinner is the biggest meal of the day here. The food is really good here. Really, it’s nothing that strange, but nothing like what we eat. I’ll have to describe the food better once I learn the names. There are some really poor people here and some pretty rich people here. Our sector is kinda a mix of both sides because we’re right in the middle of the mission almost. We have one of the greatest wards around supposedly. Plenty of members and plenty of help.
The other day i had to go on ¨divs¨ or divisions. Basically i pack up a day’s worth of stuff and go live with other Elders for a day and work with another Elder. I’m gonna have to do this alot since my comp is a zone leader. At first I dreaded the idea, but the Elders I div-ed with were really cool. One was from Argentina and we got along pretty well and I could almost fully hold long conversations with him in spanish. He knows like no english haha. He made me eggs and fried hotdogs for breakfast. It was crazy and fun. The comp i div-ed with was kinda lazy though. SO I saw what i needed to avoid being. We went to a Stake activity where they had different latin cultures displayed. Food, dancing, and little skits. I took some videos that i’ll send to you soon.
I’m out of time and I’ve written tons so I’m gonna wrap it up now. But just so you know, my first day here was probably one of the hardest days of my life. The apartment/pension seemed crumby, it was already kinda hot, i was exhausted, and I missed home. The first 2 days were so hard that I wanted to just lay down and cry. It’s still hard, but I’m getting the hang of it. I totally see how devoting yourself makes the mission worth it. Teaching people is the coolest feeling ever. We took Paulina, a recent convert to the temple who had lost her husband within the last year. She loved it and felt the spirit. We’re baptizing Tamara next week. She’s a 19 year old girl who wanted to change her life and actually approached the missionaries and basically asked them to teach her. There’s also a lady who says she believes it’s true, her daughter loves church, she has received every answer she asked for, but doesn’t want to change her life to become a member. My testimony is growing, I’m changing as a person, my Spanish skills are growing so fast, and I’m starting to like the mission.
I love you all and miss you. I hope you are safe and doing well!