It has been a little bit of a rough transition, but I know that before no time I will feel right at home here. The ward members are really loving and accepting and I am jumping right in with teaching a weekly cooking workshop and a piano class to invite people to come get to know the church and it's members.
My new companion is from Chile and she is so loving and funny. She is teaching me how to really speak Chilean and how to understand jokes in spanish (which is the hardest for me, I usually just laugh without really getting the joke:)
Chilean cultural tidbits:Chileans aren't super into really sweet things. Most of the desserts that I make they like but always say they are too sweet. (like peach cobbler or muddy buddies). Their cakes here aren't very sweet (and to me compared to Betty Crocker they taste like cardboard). It also is not uncommon to find a cake made out of crackers! They'll crush up the crackers and mix it with Manjar (a sweet sticky substance) mold it and put frosting on it. It tastes good, but definitely something I had never seen before.
Their Independence Day is the 18th of September...but they prepare for it the whole month of September and take a week off to celebrate it. For 5 days there are parties, parades, barbeques, and people dressed up in the traditional Chilean cowboy attire. I am SO excited for the 18th! This will be my first 18 of Sept in Chile because last year I got here right after all the festivities.
ForgivenessI learned something in church yesterday! My companion and I taught the Sunday School lesson and the topic was Repentance. We reviewed the 7 principles of repentance which are:
- Recognize our sins
- Feel sorrow for what we have done
- Forsake or abandon the sinful behavior
- Confess the sin to God and those you have offended
- Make restitution for the damage you've done
- Forgive others
- Keep the commandments
The one that really caught my attention was number 6. It had never quite occurred to me that our own repentance process is not complete if we ourselves refuse to forgive others.
We read the scripture in 3 Nephi 13:14-15 which says ''For, if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you; But if ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.'' That really hit me for some reason. It is so important that we forgive others. Who are we to withhold forgiveness and healing to others? Our time on Earth is too short and our salvation is too precious to not forgive.
In a General Conference talk years ago, President Monson quoted George Herbert, an early 17th-century poet, who said: “He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven, for everyone has need of forgiveness.”(Hidden Wedges, April 2002) (For another good read look up the talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf called The Merciful Obtain Mercy from the April 2012 General Conference).
Prophets and Apostles have been counseling us for years to forgive others and to forgive ourselves, and I am starting to see how important and essential that really is. It has caused me to think and reflect upon my life and if I have any unhealed wounds, any lingering grudges or offenses, I hope you will do the same and if you find that there are still festering wounds that you will extend forgiveness to those who need it, or ask for forgiveness to those you have offended so that we can really benefit from the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The healing and happiness and hope that we need comes only from one source, Jesus Christ and His glorious Gospel.
With love, Hermana Bowns