This week was an exciting week because it was my companions birthday!!! I am now an expert at celebrating birthdays, I have celebrated almost everyone of my companions birthdays with them...that's 6 in total. So I sent a member to by the gift so it would be a surprise, made her a breakfast of crepes with manjar, and blew up balloons with a happy birthday sign!!! All in secret, which is no small feat when you have to be with someone 24/7.
Cultural Chilean Tidbits for this week:So in the states pink flamingos are common yard decorations right? Well here they are swans. Everyone has swans in their front yard. Usually it is some kind of plant pot shaped like a swan.
Cell phones are different here. Most people don't have a cell phone plan, they just pay as they need minutes but this means that there is an interesting phone culture. For example it is not uncommon to have someone call you from an unknown number (the phone of a friend) to tell you to call them at their phone number because they don't have minutes but they want to talk to you. Also when they talk on the phone they talk faster than normal to conserve time (a horrible thing for non-native spanish speakers). There is also a made-up word, "pinchar," which means to call but only let it ring once or twice before they answer as a way to say ´hey call me´. So people say "pinch me" (in Spanish, "me pinche"), which is really like saying page me. It took me a while to get the whole phone system:)
Perfume and cologne are more popular here. I have never before smelled so many great smelling perfumes or colognes walking around in the street. The best is when you salud someone with a kiss and a hug and their perfume lingers on you!
Tender MerciesWell with my firm declaration last week that I would be happy no matter what came a week of trial! The trial of my faith for sure. But amidst long days of not being able to teaching, God sent tender mercies.
I wanted to tell of one tender mercy. We were knocking on doors and we spoke with a woman who told us about how she is having a really hard time with her son. He is partying every night, not taking life very seriously and she kicked him out of the house and she just let him back home, but she is worried that it will be just the same. We testified about how the Gospel helps families more than anything else and she said we could come back another day. I really wanted to talk to the son, but she said he was sleeping.
Well we walk out of the street and hesitate trying to figure out where we have planned to go next when i see the son come out of the house and walk down the street toward us, so we linger a little longer to be able to talk to him. He is really nice and says that he'll be there when we go by to see his mom. I see this as a great step in a right direction, partier/rebelious college student agrees to talk to missionaries...could be good!
When we go back they are sleeping:( But we go back another day and the mom lets us in. The son didn't want to come out because he was mad with him mom, but I am determined to help the kid. It was a really special lesson because we were able to testify about how the Gospel heals and helps us, and how God wants us to be happy. She said that she felt something interesting: a desire to learn about what we were saying:) In the closing prayer, which she offered, she thanked God that we stopped by to see her.
After knocking on so many doors and having people repeatedly say NO they don't want the most precious message this world has to offer, it is a miracle and humbling experience to listen to a prayer of thanks like the one that this woman offered in our lesson. It was a tender mercy and reminded me of the great value of what we share and teach!
We have the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been restored, every precious doctrine, and is a fountain of joy for those who accept and live it!
With love, Hermana Bowns