Monday, December 5, 2011

December 5, 2011

Hola!!! From the land of sun and fruit! It isn´t even officially summer yet (Dec 22 is the first day of summer), but it is HOT! And everyone has started working in the "campo" (in the fields) harvesting fruit. It´s crazy hours to get the fruit at their best. Yesterday someone gave us some cherries from the campo. Holy Cow. They were the most beautiful, plump, delicious cherries I have EVER eaten. This part of Chile is like the heart of fruit. They export it everywhere, from the US to China.

And this past weekend was the Teleton! (That´s like tele-thon, like a television-thon..get it?) yeah anyway it's pretty cool. From Dec 2 to Dec 3, 24/7 on TV they show stories of people who need help, like children who are sick, people who are crippled, etc. They show these stories all day and all night and in between the stories they have games and random marketing stuff, but the purpose of all of it is to raise money for these people who need help. During these two days everyone goes to the nearest bank to donate money. Like all of Chile. Last year they raised about 16 000 000.000 CLP (Chilean Pesos) (which is about $32,000,000.00). Their goal this year was 18 000 000.000 and they reached 22 000 000.000 (that´s like $44,000,000.00!!!!!) I was astounded! That´s a lot of money that they gathered in just two days. The Teleton is HUGE here. That's all anyone did for two days. Of course we didn't watch it, but we heard about it!

And another random cultural tidbit. Before my mission I was really concerned about what kind of food I would be eating. The other day we were invited to a birthday dinner of one of our investigators. This is what we ate, it was SO Chilean. Bread, cut up tomatoes with salt and oil on them, avacado, crackers and this green sauce (that I know has lemon juice, cilantro, oil, salt, mayonaise, and peppers in it), and jugo natural (natural juice - which is fruit, in this case strawberries, blended with a little bit of sugar and water...SO delicious). And for the cake we ate a cake made of crushed up crackers and manjar with frosting on it. I like the food here, because it is simple, fresh, and delicious.

Most of the people here that we talk to are religious. In fact the grand majority are Catholic or Evangelical. As a missionary preaching the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, sometimes I find it hard, because these people already have faith in Jesus Christ, they already belived that Jesus is their Savior, for them they probably wonder what more we can give them. But this week realized why what we have to offer is unique. I learned this through talking with people and hearing their beliefs and views about religion. For some people it seems that their religion or their church is a way of worshipping God. They believe in Jesus and want to worship Him and so they find a church that they like where they can worship Him in the way the like. I am so impressed by these people, who actively seek ways to make church and Christ part of their lives. But what we as missionaries have to offer is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not another church to consider when choosing how to worship, rather this is THE Church of Jesus Christ, it is His church. He is at the head of this church, He directs this church. All we do in the church is in His name and under His guidance. The members of the church are not members because this is the way they choose to worship, rather they are members because they know that this is Church that Jesus Christ has organized in these latter days through a living prophet, the same church that Jesus Christ organized during His ministry on the earth. For me this is a huge difference. I hope I explained my thoughts clearly. When I thought of this it strengthened my testimony and desire to help others come to have this same realization.

I hope you are all getting excited for Christmas! I know I am!! Sadly transfers are on the 12th...just before Christmas:( I most likely will be staying, but I don´t know about my companion. We really want to be together for Christmas because we have some great plans for teaching, and giving gifts to our investigators, and for the ward Christmas activities! I´m having a little bit of a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit since it´s so hot, but once we put up some decorations and start singing Christmas songs, I think it'll feel a little more like Christmas:)

Thank you for your letters and e-mails and prayers!! Wishing you happy christmas preparations!
Hermana Bowns

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