Monday, September 26, 2011

September 26, 2011

Whew!! I made it to Chile! That was the longest flight of my life! 13 hr flight and 24 hours of traveling total. and of course i had quite the adventure when i arrived (almost like what happened in paris my first night). We arrived after missing our last flight and met the mission president and assistants to the president. they took us to the mission office to be interviewed by the president and to get things ready for our visas. ugh i felt so gross. we left monday at 6am and arrived tuesday at 10am. i was also feeling really lightheaded. i wasn´t sure if it was from lack of sleep or what (i didn´t sleep much on the plane). Sister Humphrey said it was from the plane ride. being in the air for that long does weird things to you. anyway then we ate lunch and met our new trainers/companions. I LOVE MY COMPANION. she is so amazing. Her name is Hermana Lopez and she is from argentina. she has been in the mission 8 months. she speaks a little english so i teach her and she teaches me. she is so loving and i feel so comfortable with her. luckily my spanish is good enough that we can communicate.

My first day in Chile! With Hermana Lopez on the bus to Rauquen!
we had a little bit of training and then left to go to our areas. the mission office is in concepcion and my area is 6 hours away in curico (but the area i´m in is called rauquen). we got on a bus and i said bye to all my mtc friends. we rode the bus for about 4 hours. by then it was 9pm and for some reason there were no more buses going to curico. great. my companion and an elder from santiago frantically called people and talked to people in the station. i honestly have no idea what was going on but i knew that something would come up that would help us. finally we took a bus to a nearby city to spend the night with the hermanas there. we got there around 11pm and for the second time in my life i was lugging my luggage through a foreign town in the middle of the night.

My first night in Chile spending the night with some other sisters in another area.
but this time i wasn´t alone. we stayed the night at the hermanas house and woke up the next morning to catch a bus to our area. we arrived just in time (11a) for a meeting with our zone. then we headed to lunch at a members house. we then had an hour of language study and i unpacked my bags a little bit and then out the door again for work! we worked until 10p and FINALLY i was able to sleep. so that was the fiasco of arriving in chile. 3 days without a shower and maybe 8 hours sleep total in those 3 days. miraculously i was fine. and i´ve been fine. i am amazed at how well i´ve adjusted. the hardest thing is that i don´t understand everything. it is amazing how the Lord prepares us for certain experiences in our lives. being here is just like being in france only the people are SO much more friendly. they do the cheek kisses here too but you do them with everyone (well for us sister missionaries only with women) but we kiss people we meet in the street. and people you know give you a big hug too. also knocking doors and going into people´s houses is alot like what i did with flourishing families only now i´m praying with them and teaching them and asking for return appointements. (a note about knocking doors. everyone here has a locked fence around their house so you don´t knock you yell. yeah funny right. you stand at the gate and yell ALO and they come out. my second time i accidentally yelled hola. funny!)

Everyone is super nice. i live in a house with three other sisters. the four of us are assigned to one ward. my comp and i started from scratch, meaning we didn´t have any investigators so we had to find them! i introduced myself in the ward on sunday...kind of scary but it went ok. almost everyone that i meet that finds out i´ve been here for only 6 days is super impressed and tells me how well i speak spanish. they say things like, i can understand you, you don´t have a gringo accent, you use the verbs well. such nice things. they are so so so nice to me. even though i don´t say much or understand much. we had a meeting with our one investigator and she talked to us for like 30m about some dreams she had and the most i understood was that she had had dreams about people who had passed on. its good that i understand some but i´m starting to be frustrated with not understanding. with time i know it will get better, but its so weird, the words just float around my head and i don´t know what´s going on. but everyday i try to do a little better. the first day hermana lopez did all the talking. the second day i started trying to introduce us when we contacted people. the next day i tried to introduce ourselves more and gave some prayers. the next day i started inviting people to church when we would contact them. and yesterday hermana lopez said i was ready to teach and so she said when we are teaching we aren´t leaving the house until i say something, at least testify. so i did it!! i was terrified, but the Lord provided opportunities and words.

the food is here is much the same as in the states. the bread is really good! we eat a little bit for breakfast, a huge lunch with members and then nothing for dinner. my companion has already gained 30 pounds! sometimes the members give us normal portions but the biggest so far were one sister gave us scoops of mashed potatoes the size of grapefruits and two big pieces of meat. and one sister gave us soup and bread for an appetizer and then a full plate of pasta. when i say a full plate i mean to the rim, two inches high! i ate as much as i could, but holy cow. living here really reminds me of being in france. the house we live in is old and cold. there is no central heating. i am freezing. it is colder inside the house than outside. luckily summer is on the way. i´m not cold when i´m in my bed but i put on lots of layers during the day and we have a space heater to warm us up while we study. there are a lot of new things but i amhappy and healthy. without my companion i would be lost. i am learning and i know that in time i will feel competent. i´m still learning what my role is here as a missionary.

in the mission we look for small miracles because they are everywhere. one happened while we were knocking doors. no one was home. hermana lopez said what is the spirit telling us to do and i felt like we should go across the street and knock on two certain houses. we did. the first one a young girl came out and talking to us, we invited her to church. the second a man came out and talked to us for 20 minutes! yay! for me that was enough of a miracle, that we were able to teach a little bit. but then on sunday the girl came to church, and brought a friend!!!! wow. exciting.

one thing that i am noticing here in the mission is that although the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings great joy and happiness into our lives, it is not a Gospel of comfort or ease. i heard once that the Gospel comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. and it´s true. the Gospel is more than just saying you believe in Jesus and leaving it at that. His invitation to us is to follow Him and do as He did. that includes being baptized, but also everything else that He did. that includes teaching, preaching His word, helping, healing people, and inviting them to come unto Him. this is His call to his disciples to follow Him and do as He did. So as a disciple of Jesus Christ and as a missionary, i invite YOU to follow more in your life Jesus and find ways to do the things He did!

I love you all! Thank you for your love and prayers. If you want to pray for something specific for missionaries, pray for new missionaries to be able to understand the language!!! That would help me the most!


Hermana Bowns

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