Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012

It finally rained here!!!!! Last night I woke up because the rain was pounding so hard on the roof. It sounded like someone turned on a giant fan. It was the first time it really rained since I've been here. It has rained twice before, but nothing like this. I am SO happy. I love the rain. I don't know how much I'll like walking around in it all day, but I've been in summer mode for almost 10 months now (since I went straight from Utah summer to Chile summer) and so I am SO ready for the rain:)

Your Chilean cultural tidbits for the week:

Chileans are phobic about wearing shoes. Even babies have to wear shoes inside. It is extremely rare to see people in their house without shoes on. If not shoes, then slippers, but shoes are a big deal!

Chilean salad is really different from the salad that you and I are accustomed to. When I say salad, I imagine a bowl full of lettuce and tomatos, celery, carrots, etc. When Chileans say salad, they mean a bowl of cut up tomatos with a little bit of salt and oil. Or cut up celery with lemon juice. Or lettuce alone with lemon juice and salt. Salad refers to a cut up vegetable alone. Its simpler and actually quite delicious!

Chileans are also really big on hot drinks. Even if its 100 degrees outside it is still the norm to drink tea, mate (a hot herb drink), and this hot drink called Ecco. They drink more soda in the summer, but some type of hot drink is still a common option for what to drink even if it's hot outside. I think I have drunk more herbal tea in the past 6 months than I have in my whole life!

There are two phrases here that people use a lot when talking about doing something sincerely. They are 'me nazca' (Translation: It is born of me) and 'de corazon' (Translation: from the heart). People here really don't like doing things unless it comes from the heart, or is naturally born of them. In other words, they don't like feeling obligated or forced to do things, they like to do things when they feel like doing them. As missionaries we hear these phrases a lot because people use them a lot when talking about religion.

Crazy Week

This week has been so crazy and full! I'll give you the run down of what happened one day this week as an example:

One day I swear it was 100 degrees outside, so hot, and we just happened to have to walk all over the place to visit people. On our way we learned how to prepare olives from a member of the ward who has a bunch of huge barrels of unprepared olives in his drive way (random, but cool).

In the morning we taught a 75 year old man about prophets, and it was the neatest lesson! He seriously told us, 'Without a prophet, we don't have the Church of Jesus Christ'. I couldn't help but beam with excitement when we told him that there IS a prophet living today and that we DO have the Church of Jesus Christ again on the earth!!!!!

Then we went to lunch, which ended up being the biggest lunch I've been served yet. I am accustomed now to eating soup before the main dish, but in this house we ate 2 hamburger patties and a half a plate of home made fries first and then were served a mounding plate of spaghetti!!!

Normally after lunch we have time to return to the house for a few minutes before going back to work, that day we didn't have time. We went straight to an appointment, but with all that food in our stomachs and the incredible heat, we were both about ready to pass out. Then as we were walking a dog decided to try and bite my companion.

What?! It came out of nowhere. There are dogs everywhere, so we don't pay much attention to them, but all of a sudden my companion screamed and had a huge hole in her skirt. Luckily the dog didn't actually bit her, just ripped her skirt.

From there we went to a Family Home Evening with a family in the ward and a family we are teaching that has two little girls. We used puppets to help them stay focused during the lesson (which was a little crazy, but we had to do something to help keep the girls entertained!), what made it all the more exciting is that both the little girls have chicken pox!

And that was only one day! Needless to say it has been a week full of great things! People who are learning about and progressing in the Gospel,  but also a week full of really hilarious and random experiences.


This week I have also learned a lot about repentance. We are currently teaching a middle-aged man who has just gone through a life changing experience. He sought us out and is one of the most repentant people I have ever met in my life. He has told us that his whole life has changed. The things that were important to him before aren't anymore. He sees how he was blind before and now feels sorrow for the way that he acted and treated others before.

Every time we teach him I leave feeling so humbled, because he is so humble. My companion and I have also been talking a lot about repentance and what that means for everyone of us. Everyone has things they need to repent of. Some people have obvious sins to repent of (breaking the law of chastity, not living the word of wisdom) but some people have sins to repent of that are harder to identify (like judging others, being idle, pride, fear, being pessimistic) things that maybe don't even seem like something you need to repent of, but no unclean  thing can enter into the kingdom of God, and we are so imperfect.

For me repentance is less of just telling God the areas in which you are imperfect and asking forgiveness, and more identifying your faults and doing something to change. That's the part the is really hard for us, actually changing our behavior. For this reason I have been so impressed by this man we are teaching. I can see in him this process. As he has come closer to Christ and repented of his past sins, he has changed, his heart has changed, he sees with new eyes.

The power of the Atonement to heal and change us is real!

If we do our part and put in our efforts to humble ourselves and follow the example of Christ in all things we will experience a change of heart. That's really what this is all about - changing our hearts.

A couple days ago we taught this man in a classroom in the church. Right before we taught him, we were teaching another person (also in a classroom in the church). When we left the room where we were teaching the first person, we found the other man waiting for us. It was comical because it felt a little like a doctor's office, one patient leaves and the other enters. This man even made that comment. He said, 'Next. I'm your heart patient, here we go to the operating room!' All of us are heart patients and need the healing power of the Savior for the individual infirmities that we have!

Right now I'm trying to figure out what heart problem I have and how I can get the treatment I need through my own repentance and changing. I challenge you to go to the doctor! Seek out the Savior and let Him help you identify the parts of yourself that can be changed and perfected through your humility and obedience and the healing power He offers us! And then use the medication He gives you! This is the most important part. The medication He gives us is usually actions - things we can DO to bring about a change in ourselves.

I love you and hope all is well in your life rigth now. Remember to always trust in the Lord and live obedient to His commandements! Thank you for all your prayers and support.

Love, Hermana Bowns

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