Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 23, 2012

I am getting really tired of the weather here. You look at the temperature thing and see 20 degrees everyday and think that this is the greatest place in the world. I walk outside in 20 degrees in the place with the strongest sun in all the world and 20 degrees feels like 30 degrees and there is nothing but dirt. I need change...its always the same.

I don't really know what to say, so I´ll just start talking with my fingers and see what falls out. We are going to have three baptisms this week. One of them is the boyfriend of the daughter of the bishop. He's the one who has basically been in a holding pattern until he gets married on Friday and then baptized on Saturday. That is pretty much a guaranteed baptism in my opinion.

The other two are a girl and her brother. The biggest problem for the girl at this point is that she doesn't want to wear a skirt to church, but we are feeling pretty good about that. I think her brother  is a hundred percent onboard and loves the missionaries (me), so he is pretty good too. Their parents would probably be good to go as well, but they are living together and are not married, so they cant get baptized right now. However, the dad was at church this last week. These two are not actually from our sector. They're from the sector above us which also go to our capilla (chapel) and are without missionaries so we are working there because our sector is the smallest in the mission and we can get there really easy.

We are going to have a wedding in the sector this week which should be pretty interesting. I think that we are going that this week, at least for part of the time, to support him since he is the one getting baptized. I don't think this is a common thing here in the mission.

Oh... we get to talk on Mother's Day. You should get a webcam because we can use Skype and I think that would be better than talking by phone (personally). I think I am also going to try and send some photos using the Skydrive method. Tell me how that works in the next letter.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 16, 2012

That is good to hear that the missionaries are having success on the homefront and that they are getting good help from the ward. You would think that we would be able to get a lot of help here because people don't really have schedules, but it goes the other way. People are never in there house when you make plans to arrive at a specific time. That being said, it is looking like we are going to have either 3 or 5 baptisms on the 28th which is cool. You mentioned that the missionaries there are teaching only the mom in one family, but that is super common. It is good when they get baptized if they can stay strong, but we are really making a push on teaching families in the mission because they stay stronger most of the time.

That's good to hear that Spencer's going away stuff went well. It sucks that he is still having some issues with his visa and stuff. I know the song you referred to that Savannah and Carissa sang at Spence's farewell (In the Hollow of thy Hand). There is a CD called The Return Missionary Soundtrack and it is on there, but in rock form. Elder Lopez played it in Tocopilla all the time. That being said, I had never really listened closely to the lyrics, but they are super good.

The visa paperwork here for us is as follows: You get a visitor's permit to the country for 3 months when you arrive. Within that time you have to get your solicitud de residencia (application for residence) which lasts for 4 months. This paper is the middle step while they process your visa, which usually takes 3 months. They send your visa which gets stamped in your passport and you have 30 days to register your visa, because the Centre of Investigation and the government aren't joint. Then you go back to the government where they take pictures and send for your carnet (book) which comes about three weeks later and is like a drivers license that you must carry all the time. Right  now I am waiting on my visa and it should be ready by the end of the month.

I am going to be honest when I say that the P-days are kind of lame. All we do is play soccer and there are really no sightseeing opportunities except the Portada, which is a big rock in the sea with a hole through it.

I went for interviews with the President this week and asked him about using sky drive to upload photos and he said it was good, so once I figure it out (it is in Spanish), I will send you a load of pictures.

My current challenge in this sector is not that I don't meet people but that Elder Valle doesn't really tell me much about the people that we visit. So, I often have to figure out if the people are members, less active or investigators by what is being said, so I'm not contributing as much to the conversations. Also, the Latinos are super good at talking about anything for long periods. This is good if they are talking to you, but if they are talking to your Latino companion, then you pretty much can't say anything cause they dominate the conversation. However, I heard from a couple people that President Bruce is looking to transfer the mantel to the younger missionaries - it is sounding like most of my district, if not all, may become senior cmpanions. I feel really good about that because I feel like I need a challenge. As you know, I pretty much do just what I need to in order to succeed and I feel like I need some pressure to get me working harder.

Until next week, 
Brother Jordan

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9, 2012

The Chileans are pretty hardcore about their Semana Santa (Holy Week). They all got Friday off and we had an activity in the church to celebrate it. People kept asking if the Semana Santa was a big deal back home, but I really think most consider it an opportunity to have a day off and look for chocolate eggs (which I still want to do when I get back BTW). It does seem like most of the holidays here are either Catholic (not surprising because everyone is catholic here) or related to the family.

I have to say that I don't think I am going to be eating turkey for 2 years. We eat a lot of chicken here, but it is not the same. Also fish. I have had quite a bit of fish. It is really fresh and the people here generally cook really well, so right now I am really just maintaining my don't ask what it is policy and eating whatever they put in front of me. Except olives... the olives here are the most disgusting thing that I have ever tasted.

When they look at my pictures and see Austin (Jordan's cousin's 4 year old son) everyone asks if it is me and I tell them no, but that he is my little buddy and I miss him so much, so the feeling goes both ways.

I don't think I told you but our mamita here in Gabriela Mistral is the best in the whole mission. She cooks lunch for us and does our laundry like all the other mamitas, but she also gives us breakfast and once (like a small supper) of bread and Ecco which is like the fake coffee stuff you can buy in Canada, but its super popular here. I don't really like Ecco, but I found out that if you put some milk and enough sugar it starts to taste like hot chocolate so I'm really enjoying it now. Plus, I have my whole amount of money to basically buy junk food which is making me really happy.

The Earthquake a few weeks ago was in Conception which is way south and I didn't really hear much about it. I heard from Elder Revi told that it was an earthquake, but it was pretty small and one person died, but it was because he freaked out and crashed his car. But when I was in Tocopilla I felt a tremor and it was pretty cool and really weird. It was kind of like a train passing really close to your house and making everything shake a little.

That is interesting about the dump of snow you got. The weather here has been the same for 3 months...everyday...I miss seasons. All they have is summer which is hot and then winter which is like a cool summer. It's not the same.

Honestly, I am finding this sector kind of boring. This could be because the sector is small and all the places we go seem to be the same, but I think it might be a little bit of the fact that Elder Valle works pretty different than Elder Revi and I don't really like it as much, but we will see. The amount of people we are teaching is really small and I don't really feel like we have anyone solidly progressing, except for the boyfriend of the daughter of the bishop, Ishmael. He isn't really progressing, he is moreso just in a holding pattern. He gets married on the 28th, then baptized on the 29th and confirmed on the 30th.

The place where we live now is the upstairs floor of our momitas house and it is super good. It is smaller, but for 2 people we have plenty of space.

You can tell people that I am doing good. la idioma esta progressando y yo siento mucho mas mejor ahora. Tambien yo estoy trabajando mas ahora que antes para mejorar mi español. Antes yo no hice casi nada para aumentar mi habilidad de hablar pero ahora yo estudio como 1 hora el mejor parte de las dias y yo puedo ver la diferencia en mi habilidad de hablar. Pero es interesante que las cosas que estan mejorando no son las cosas que yo estoy estudiando. Tambien ésta semana dos personas me dijo que you estoy hablando muy bien si yo solamente tengo tres meses en Chile, pero you creo que eso es mas porque you practico mi pronunciacion cada dia para que las personas puedan entender las cosas que yo le digo. (Approximate translation: The language is progressing and I feel much better now. Also, I'm working more now than before to improve my Spanish. Before I didn't do much to improve my ability to speak, but now I study 1 hour a day. It's the best part of the day and I can see the difference in my ability to speak. It's interesting that the things that are improving are not the things I'm studying. This week two people told me that I am speaking very well for only being in Chile for 3 months. They think it's been longer because I practice my pronunciation every day so that people can understand the things I say.)

I have been really pitiful in taking pictures here, but will try and take more on my  next P-day so that you can have them. You should tell me any pictures that you want me to take so that I have an idea and maybe sort of a goal when I take them.

Oh I don't know if I told you this either, but Elder Wells and Elder Parker from the MTC are in my zone and Elder Parker is in my district, so P-days and zone meetings are super fun.

That's all I have for now, so till next week.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

April 2, 2012

This is a really interesting experience being here in a new place again. I am not really that surprised that I cried when I left Tocopilla because I am usually pretty emotional in things like that. The difference between leaving there and leaving home is that there is a good chance I may never see some of those people ever again. I should be able to talk with some of them again, but I may never meet them again.

I wouldn't say that I wasn't expecting the transfer, I just really wasn't all that worried about it. I am pretty much just going with the flow of all the changes and differences now. So far every change has been doable and I have not yet felt really overwhelmed. I am hoping that I can start understanding people better - it is really annoying hearing every word perfectly, understanding every word, and still not know what they are saying because the grammar doesn´t make sense. However, Elder Valle doesn't really speak much English so we will talk in Spanish most of the time.

It was confirmed to me that Gabriela Mistral is the smallest in the mission. If you want to look at the sector online here are the boundaries. Just find all these streets and they will make a long box at some point.
west- Heroes de la Concepcion
north- Juan Orione
south-Nicolas Tirado

There's a couple differences between Elder Revi and Elder Valle I've noticed so far. Elder Revi was almost fluent in English and Elder Valle isn't - that's OK. Elder Valle is really, really obedient in the morning and with the schedule so that is good for me. I will definitely learn a whole new set of things from Elder Valle.

Tell Spencer (reporting in April to the MTC and then to the Sophia Bulgaria mission) to speak his language even if he feels like an idiot doing it (like me). I didn't as much as I should have, and I wish I had.

Antofagasta supposedly has the best weather in the mission, so that is nice. There have been some days where the people here were really cold... so perfect shorts and T-shirt weather.

Here is my view on Conference. Before my mission, conference was something I watched on Sunday to get it out of the way so that I could do something else. I now view it as the missionary Super Bowl. It was really awesome. We are forced (light usage) to watch all 4 sessions and the priesthood session and I took like 13 pages of notes - stuff that was said and stuff that came to mind while watching it. I wish Conference was a week long so that I could just keep going. There was a room for us Gringos to watch in English. We just disfrutando (enjoyed) our little room with a big table and comfy chairs. It was probably a highlight of my mission so far. One unfortunate thing was that we thought they were going to announce the building of a Chile Antofagasta temple, but they didn't announce any temples.

I don't really need anymore pins or CTR rings because I am pretty lame at handing them out. I am also really lame at taking pictures so I don't have any new ones for you. Sorry.