Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 29, 2013

Happy Birthday dad!

I am glad that you liked the Fruit Ninja - it was fun.

That picture of me in the scarf and hat is actually on the sky drive so if you want it, you have it. The little girl looked at me, told me that I was cold, and then made me put that on.

The activity of Scripture Jeopardy turned out really good, eventhough it was rather small.

For news on transfers, you'll need to listen to my recording. (See audio summary.)

If time seems to be going quickly, think about these trunky mission facts:
  • In 13 weeks I will be in church at home
  • I will only tell you guys about one more transfer
  • The next time I talk to you it will not be over the computer
  • After General Conference I will be home in 16 days
I could keep going but for sake of my sanity I am not going to. I don't want my mission to end BTW, but I am looking forward to seeing you guys again.

Love Jord

Audio summary...

It is the end of one transfer and the start of another. I know what's on your mind. Everybody's wondering... what happened to Elder McCaskill? Where is he going? Where is his companion going? And... we got the transfer call about 1:30am Saturday evening/Sunday morning. We're both staying - no changes. There are only 5 transfers in the whole zone. Apparently 80 - 90% of the mission stayed the same. So, Elder Gillespie and I are both staying - it'll be a little weird as we're both close to the end of our missions. I'm almost positive one of us will leave next transfer, but we'll see. That will be the last transfer. I can't believe how fast my mission has gone and is still going.

This week we made empanadas with the kg and a half of cheese we bought. We didn't use much last week because everywhere we went people gave us food so we weren't hungry when we returned to the pension. We just made them up one day this week and as we wanted them, we fry them up. That actually worked great, a fantastic, little thing. So we've had a bunch of empanadas. This week we've tried to go a little more to the healthy side... we're going to make salad. We found dressings for salads which is weird because here in Chile they don't really use that. For a salad here they typically take a bit of tomato and onion, they cut it up and mix it together and put a bit of oil on it - not olive oil, just vegetable oil, squeeze a little lemon on it, sprinkle a little salt and that's considered a salad. It's not my favorite, but that's what they do. You don't get tossed salad like we're used to at home very often so we're going to make a real salad. We bought some lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, our dressing and some chicken and we're going to make a simple salad with chicken on it. It's going to be delicious.

A little bit of empanada left... hmmm!

There's a movie that missionaries use a lot here. It's called Together Forever and it has about 5 little stories of couples that had problems and how the gospel helped them resolve their problems. We watched it with the couple who are waiting to get married so his fiance can get baptized. His mother and her husband were also there - the husband isn't a member. I don't know exactly why, but he's a super nice guy, really receptive. I don't know if he'll get baptized, but he's a really nice guy... just a swell fellow!

This week we had rain one day, which is cool but it was the lead up that was really crazy. I was sitting here in the pension studying and I saw a flash of light from the window out of the corner of my eye. I didn't really think much of it, then about 15 seconds later there was an enormous crack of thunder. It was incredible. It shook the building - I was amazed and could hardly believe how loud it was. After that the sky just opened up for about 15 seconds and then it started raining for a bit and then a couple more times through the day. Actually the next day it was a lot warmer. I would have thought it would be colder, but apparently it always does this. It rains and then it gets warmer. Weird stuff!

One day when we were getting ready to leave the pension, my companion went into the bathroom and I hid underneath one of the beds. They're really low and I couldn't fit under one of them, but managed to shimmy under the other. He came out of the bathroom and I could see him walk around a little bit checking around and I heard him doing some stuff. Then he came into the bedroom and lifted up the bed beside me. He didn't lift up the bed I was under, but then he kneeled down and saw me. At first he was like ha, ha, and he was looking around and then he kind of starting getting worried because he couldn't find me. But we had a good laugh after - a little hide and go seek.

Yesterday we left one house and had walked about 3 blocks on our way to the church to meet a guy for another lesson. This guy called to us and asked us where we were going, so we told him the church and he said he'd take us. He wasn't a member or anything, but he was a cool guy, but he didn't take us to our church. He took us to another church, so we ended up having to walk to our church from there which ended up being a much longer walk. But nice guy, Edwardo, interesting and we got to talk to him for a little bit. It was fun.

We did our Scripture Jeopardy instead of the Talent Show. Jeopardy - whooaa! There were only about 15 people but it was fun and we had a fabulous time. Everybody who went loved it. The game turned really, really good. Someone actually took it afterwards to use it in seminary. I was surprised how good people did. One funny thing... one of the youth who was about 14 or 15 years old was up one time and the question was: What book in the Old Testament is made up of songs and poems? The guy who she was competing against said "Songs of Soloman", but I couldn't give him points for that. So she had the golden opportunity, a chance to take all the time she needed to answer and she blurted out "the hymn book". Everybody just died laughing. I gave her another chance and she got it right - Psalms. It was hilarious - everybody was laughing and laughing. We teased her a little because she yelled Hymn Book with such certainty and gusto, but no. There was another guy from here who's a return missionary from about 11 years ago. His name is Giermo. He was super amazing. He knew all the answers, even the scripture masteries - I was super impressed. It was completely amazing. It was sweet.

Jocelyn,the young woman who is a convert of about a year had a weird week. We stopped by on Tuesday and she was all down, crying, saying she didn't want to go to church anymore and stuff like that, but we encouraged her and told her she should go. Then we went back there on Thursday and she was all happy and smiling, reading the scriptures, asking about patriarchal blessings and all was great. Friday she came to the FHE Jeopardy activity, Saturday she went to a baptism that wasn't even in our ward and came to church on Sunday, even an hour early. We just didn't understand... but we keep going. (uh... teenage girl!)

Last week I mentioned the friend of one of the members who was at church. Her name is Mahoa. She came to church last week and then went to the baptism on Saturday and was going to come to church, but she didn't make it. She's from Antofagasta so we're going to try and send the reference there and maybe she'll get baptized there - she's super good. Her friend here is super, super strong so that's really good.

We met one lady from Columbia - Paola, a contact from the other missionaries on Monday evening and she told them to come back. We followed up and she was there and invited us in. From her accent I guessed that she was from Bogota, the capital of Columbia - and I was right. One of my companions, Elder Rodriguez was from Bogota and his accent was exactly the same. I noticed it right away.

Very serious... Elder McCaskill

That's the news from this week. I'll talk to you guys later.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

July 22, 2013

I am looking at the itinerary that you threw together and it looks fine, but don't book any flights after landing in La Serena until you want to leave Chile cause you don't need to. Most of the buses you can get through the night time so the travel won't cut out a ton of time, although you guys might be really tired. Anything outside of my mission you can figure out, but once we get into it, I know how to get around really well so don't worry about that. I might want to cut out some places to spend time in others, so we can just play that by ear and talk more when I get home. The buses are safe here.

I totally forgot about seeing Pat Oviatt in the MTC and saying hello, until you mentioned that, but it's true - I did that.

Look at those two "boys" playing more golf than they probably should (Dad and Jacek).

An English as a second language course might not be a bad idea when I get home.

Oh....I am missing Taste of Edmonton!

Love you guys,

This is the 3 months left in my mission mark - I can't believe it. This is getting really close, really fast! It felt like just yesterday that is was 4 months left. It is also Elder Gillespie's mom's birthday today.

Last week we did the zone attack after our P Day. I went out with Elder Rattel whose only been inn the mission for 10 weeks. He's really new, but also speaks very well. We were knocking doors and came up to a place with a really cool door. It was a metal door, but painted to look all medival with a big wooden door handle and big metal trim. I thought - I'm going to knock on this door, so I did. A guy answered and I was talking to him and I told him I thought his door was pretty cool. Then I looked inside and there was this large picture on the wall that was really cool as well so I told him so. He asked if we wanted to come in so we said sure... why not? It was a tatoo parlor, disguised as a house. That was officially the first time either Elder Rattel or myself had ever been in a tatoo parlor... and it was on our mission. That was a new experience for us. Good stuff. So we talked to the guys in there for a while - really nice. Then the 1 guy said, "Ok, whose next to get a tatoo?" So we said well, you guys are going to start so we'll just head out, but nice to meet you. Very interesting!

Another day we were knocking doors and went by a house where the lady was peering outside through her frosted window. She was looking at us so we thought we'd knock on her door. She was actually baptized a long time ago when she was about 12 years old. We shared a short message, but she told us she's living with a man and that's why she hasn't been active.

On Thursday we did an inter-cambio. I went with Elder O'Brien whose from Toronto, Canada. It was all  normal until we got to this one house. I'm not sure if they were less active or investigators, but they had a coconut and the young girl, about 9 or 10, wanted to open it. I really wanted to open that coconut too, but I didn't know if her mom would mind, plus I've never opened one before... although I had seen it on the Food Network and I really wanted to try it. Anyway, we shared a short message and the mom came out and Elder O'Brien asked if she know how to open the coconut and she said no, she'd tried but couldn't do it. So, I asked if I could try and she said go for it. I asked for a knife - that had a broad blade and was long. I flipped it to the non-sharp side and gave the coconut a few whacks and it opened... just like on the Food Network... it was fantastical. I don't know if you've ever opened a coconut, but it was a super awesome experience for us. Then we got to eat some fresh coconut. It tasted a bit like carrots to me.

On other fruit related news... this was a little bad, but funny. There's a little game on iPods called Fruit Ninja where little fruits fly across the screen and you swipe them with your finger. It was pretty popular before I left on my mission. I was in the kitchen and picked up a piece of fruit and mocked chopping it with a knife and my companion said "Fruit Ninja!". We decided we had to try that so we grabbed an orange and a French knife, somewhat dull and I went into the bathtub, so as not to make a mess everywhere. I tossed the fruit in the air and chopped it in half - it did take a few attempts. Perhaps not entirely appropriate, but it was hilarious and super fun. We videoed it.

We went to a lady's house this week and were talking about Jerusalem because one of the member's had gone there. I told her about meeting one of the miners who had been trapped in the mine for over 60 days - he had received a free trip to Jerusalem. When he was there they were baptizing people in the River Jordan and they asked him if he'd like to be baptized, but he said no, I'm Mormon, I was already baptized, but thanks. The sister said she totally would have gotten baptized again. Elder G and I looked at each other and said "What? It doesn't work like that." She said she'd love to get her sins forgiven again... it was a little odd, pretty funny.

We have an electric heater in the Pension. The church is always cold - they have gas heaters, but they don't work very well. So we decided to take it to our weekly planning meeting so we'd be warmer and it worked really well. Then we took it into our Gospel Principles class so it was pretty toasty. After that the women wanted to keep it for Relief Society - apparently everyone moved to that side of the room and gathered around it like a little fire.

At church on Sunday one of recent converts brought a friend which was great. She's leaving in August so we won't really get much of a chance to teach her, but that was still cool.

Two weeks ago they announced they were going to do an activity in the ward - another Talent Show. They do them all the time here, although they don't always get great response. Not many people were signing up so we decided we'd scrape that and do something else. We didn't on a ward Family Home Evening. That meant we (Elder Gillespie and I) needed to plan what we were going to do. This morning I woke up and was thinking about it and got an idea... Scripture Jeopardy! It should work out really good and we'll have lots of fun with it.

Today we're going to learn how to do Family Search so we can share how to do it with other people.

We found 4 investigators this week - 2 from the inter-cambio that I haven't met yet and 2 others that we hope aren't co-habiting although it's very possible. The first couple is good for sure as they are married.

We had a good lesson with Lorenza, Jocelyn's (recent convert) grandma. We've been encouraging her to get baptized, as missionaries do, but she's hesitant because she's already been baptized and she doesn't think she should have to do it again. We've been teaching her about it and have encouraged her to pray, and she did. She woke up the other day after a dream and she felt she needed to read Acts 1:5 - that's about being baptized of water and the Holy Ghost which confused her. We explained some things and shared some other scriptures and tried to make sure she understood. It was a really good discussion and then her son walked in and it kind of lost it's groove at that point. But, at least she got an answer and we can focus on that.

The couple who needs to get married still hasn't set their date. He wants to save some money towards their marriage first - I kind of understand, but it also sucks.

That's our week. Love you guys!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

July 15, 2013

Audio Summary...
We just got back from shopping. Last week we made hamburgers, which were awesome. This week we're going to make cheese empanadas... and we bought a lot of cheese. Usually when you go for cheese empanadas they're not very full of cheese and thought we'd get a ton of cheese and solve that problem. So... we bought 1 1/2 kilos. That's going to be fun!

The 2 zones here hooked up today to play soccer. We went but I didn't play because it's not my thing. Elder Hernandez, my companion when we were in Arica couldn't play because he really messed up his knee, so we hung out and talked. That was good.

We had our first conference and interviews with the new mission president. He did the conference in 2 parts. He talked, then did one zone's interviews, we switched for interviews and then did another conference bit. It was good... we got to know him a bit, but he definitely isn't as high energy as President Bruce, not surprisingly. I made a point of going into it with an open mind to be fair, as they would obviously be different. I have really enjoyed my interviews, but this one only took 2-3 minutes and seemed generic so it was a bit of a let down. The next one should be better as it will be my final interview and there should be a number of things to talk about.

Last Monday we went to Caldera - 1 hour to the West, on the coast, for a zone attack. I got to work with Elder Hernandez for 1/2 a day, my old companion, so that was cool!

We had a couple strange/good lunch experiences this week. On Saturday we went to Maria Aria's (sp?) and she cooked the best Chilean food I've had in my whole mission. It was a soup with veggies, beans and some other stuff she mentioned that I wasn't familiar with - it was amazing! I wanted a 2nd bowl and that never happens. Then she gave us fish and rice - it was also super good. I was really impressed! We also had lunch with one of the members who owns a huge restaurant and we went there. We went with him and his wife, his daughter and her husband and child and their son. It was a little awkward, but the food was good.

We had a really good meeting with our ward mission leader on Saturday and then he didn't show up for church on Sunday, so that was a little disappointing. Anyway, he teaches the Gospel Principles lesson so I had to give it at the last minute, but that was fun. I actually really enjoy teaching that class because the lessons are simple concepts and for many in the class it's new information. I taught a lesson on the priesthood. I could totally do that as a calling when I get home. 

We found a family this week but we can't teach them until August because they are going on vacation for 2 weeks. It's a mother and her 3 children. One of the sons was home with his sister and a friend - he let us in to share a message. His buddy is also dating one of his sisters and is a member, although we think he is less active, but he's still a member and did bear his testimony - impromptu lesson with a member present - cool! Then his mom showed up as we were finishing up and looked a little shocked and surprised. We started talking to her and she said this was the first time missionaries had been in her house so we should feel special. We talked to her for awhile about some random stuff and put her at ease and she gave us a return appointment. That was pretty cool.

There's a lady in our ward, Susanna, who has 3 daughter, 2 living with her, and a son, also living with her. She's the one we helped move the other week. She's got quite a bold personality and is quite interesting. We dropped by to share a message but she was in her house dress, doing chores and cleaning, but she invited us in anyway. She talked to us about a bunch of random things and it was a bit awkward so we asked if we should come back later..  she said sure and gave us a tube of Oreos as we left. It was a bit odd, but we went back about 3 hours later and had a good lesson, so that worked out alright.

We still haven't got that couple to set a date to get married yet. We're working on them and plan to pass by this week. Hopefully soon.

We're going to try and focus more on knocking on doors this week and not as much on less actives - we'll see what happens.

That's about it for this week. Love you guys...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

July 8, 2013

The city I'm in is Copiapo and the sector is Copayapu - similar but different.

I am really super short on time this week. The zone leaders are having us go to Caldera at 3 pm for a zone attack and we still haven't eaten. Caldera is a small city about an hour away by bus so we don't have much flexibility.

Investigator updates: The lady who hadn't been to church in years and is less active didn't go church despite our strong suggestion. The guy who showed up in the church by himself is really difficult because of his work schedule and he  couldn't go to church on Sunday. The couple planning to get  married hasn't set a date yet.

We never did get back into the house with that lady who changed her mind abruptly.

I am sorry about the really short e-mail but the recording is up and is 25 min long so that is kind of good.

Love you guys,

Summary of audio:
This week was pretty interesting. Tuesday was my 20 month milestone for my mission> I'm into the big 20's when people start calling you trunky, say you're not working anymore and stuff like that - whatever! 
We had an adventure trying to pay our water bill. We are supposed to pay the bill, send the receipt into the office and they credit us back on our credit card. We've been trying to pay it for 2 weeks now and in the meantime we got our electricity bill so we thought we'd pay that too. The first time we went to pay the water bill, the place was closed. Last Monday we went but there was a huge lineup and we didn't have time to wait. Then we tried going to the Unimarc, which is a supermarket here, where they have a machine you punch your acct # into and it spits out a receipt which you pay at the till. We thought perfect... we'll do that. We went to the closest Unimarc, but the machine didn't work so went on with our day, doing our shopping, etc. We went by another Unimarc so we thought we'd use their machine. We waited about 15 minutes in line, punched in our into and the machine was out of paper... no receipt. We had to wait in line another 10 minutes at the other machine and finally got our receipt. By this time the line at the till was super long so we decided not to wait. We thought we'd go the next morning as we didn't have any appointments. The next morning we went to the Unimarc by our Pension and they said we had to pay it at the same store we got the receipt at - annoying, but fair enough. We went back to the other one, got up to the till and our receipt was timed out. More waiting in lines, but we finally paid it. We figured we might as well take care of the electricity bill that morning and be done. We walked to the place, found the address... no line... perfect. We handed the lady our bill and she said there was no balance owing. Apparently there is automatic payment on it... I gave Elder Gillespe some grief because he's been in this sector for a couple of months and should know.

We celebrated July 3rd - a combination of July 1st Canada Day and July 4th Independence Day. We made hamburgers - bought meat, cheddar cheese and buns, all of which are expensive here, as well as tomatoes and stuff. We made them and they were really good. We also gave some to our mamita - she and her husband tried to eat them secretly, but the kids caught them and they had to share. She said they were fantastic so I did a good job making them.

That same day my companion got hit by a bike. We were walking on a main street and a buy came whipping around a blind corner from a side street. I saw him just in time to jump out of the way, but Elder Gillespie got nailed. It was kind of funny - we both laughed.

On Thursday we did inter-cambios (exchanges). I was the guide in our sector and got totally lost. I was trying to find 1 house that was tucked out of the way. I eventually found it and definitely know how to get there now, but I was really lost. We did set up service for the next day and also went by the Campos family home. We were outside and their son came out and invited us in, so we said sure and that we'd like to share a message. With the new ward/branch merging, he's the High Priest group leader so we wanted to meet  him. Their older daughter, who is married, was having her birthday and we walked in just before she arrived. There were waiting for her but told us to come in and we pretty much go mobbed by the whole family. They fed us and then I asked if we could share something. They gathered the whole family - about 10 of them, which was kind of cool. There was even a recent convert. We asked him what he wanted to talk about - he was getting the Aaronic priesthood soon so we shared a message about that and faith, so that was good.

The service we arranged was on Friday. We helped out a lady in the ward. I think she has the nicest house I've seen in my whole mission - it was big, well furnished, smelled good... but the most amazing thing was out back she had a patio and there was GRASS and TREES - it was amazing! Generally it is so dry and arid, things don't really grow so people don't have greenery. She had pruned all the trees way back (I'm wondering if they are going to grow back) and she wanted up to cut them into small pieces she could use for firewood. It might have been the greatest service project in my whole mission. I felt like I was in a green oasis. I wanted to do it longer, but we ran out of sticks. It as really quite amazing - I can't really express how happy I was doing that service. The next day she fed us. She made us something special because we helped her out - she made Alfredo and it was fantastic. Probably one of the best meals I've had with a member.

The sister missionaries had an activity to make sopipias (sp?) - like fry bread. They're pretty easy to make, but they're good. I used my bread/bun making skills to help them roll the dough into balls. They were very impressed - generally the men here don't cook and do stuff like that.

We went to the Ordiness family's house who are less active. We shared a lesson and told them they needed to go to church or basically they wouldn't be happy - a little gloom and doom, as that seems to be the most effective approach here. We didn't really expect to see them, but their son and daughter came to church so we were really happy.

There's a guy in the ward named Huberto who is a convert of about a year. He has some health issues and learning disabilities so he understands the gospel, but not perfectly. He's solid though and working to get the Melchizedek priesthood. There was some assessment made as to whether this was appropriate based on Huberto's understanding and they decided it was, which I agree with. He struggles abit with randon attacks, possibly like epilepsy, that cause him to fall over and stuff. We went to visit him and he was questioning if he should get the Melchizedek priesthood because of his condition. We took some time to explain a few things and I shared a story of a member in Calama who has epilepsy and is a return missionary and is now a member of the bishopric. We told him he should really tink about this because it would be a big blessing in his life and then we left. We got a call about 8pm from him and he asked us if we could go by his house, so we did. He had been thinking more and said he was going to go ahead. We were glad to hear that and encouraged him to talk to the bishop as well. Then he said he had been reading in the D&C and felt like he should go through with it - I just thought YES! We said that was great, that he should still talk to the bishop, but that was really good. That was just a cool experience when we could help someone. Huberto's really a cool guy and despite his challenges he is reading the Book of Mormon for the 3rd time and has also read the D&C and he's only been a member about a year. Cool stuff!

We also went to the house of the Pasten family - they're just a fun family. He's the first counsellor in the bishopric but is a bit inactive. We thought we'd go and give him a bit of a prod, but one of the recent converts was there so we figured we should take it easy. We were able to teach a good lesson. I also witnessed an amazing thing - people here don't use the shift key when they type. They use Caps Lock, type the letter and then hit Caps Lock again - 3 key strokes! My companion told me this about a week ago, but I didn't really believe him, but the daughter was typing and she really did it with Caps Lock. I watched it with my own eyes and I can still hardly believe it. That's one of the amazing things I learned this week... and now you know it too! While we were there I also had a funny incident with their cat. I'm not really fond of cats, but I do like to tease them a bit because they react funny. I was spinning my name tag in my hand which caught the cat's attention and she tried to attack it and bat it with her paws. Then she jumped up on the arm of the couch beside me - I looked at her... puffed up my cheeks with air... and blew in her face. She flipped backwards off the couch and flailed onto the floor - it was so funny. The family looked at me wondering what had happened but they all laughed so it was good.

Church was interesting this week. One of the investigators/recent converts brought her grandmother so that was great. The popita (mamita's husband) who has been the Elder's quorum president  was released and someone else called. The cool part was he got called as the Stake Executive Secretary so he's doing really well. He got baptised in 2008, was active for a year, got the Melchizedek priesthood then went inactive. The sister missionaries contacted him and got him active again a year ago April. In November he was sealed to his wife in the temple and shortly after that he was called as the Elder's quorum president. It is really cool to see his progression. It is a great example that when people become members and do the things they're counselled to do (ie. tithing, attending meeting, home/visiting teaching, etc), commit to their callings and are obedient, they progress and are really happy.

Julianna, a convert who got baptized last October got up and bore her testimony in church as well. She is only 14 years old and was super nervous but it was great - here we go!

Today we're going to Caldera, about an hour from here, for a zone attack. We'll probably go see the beach while we're there - it's world renown, very nice!



Saturday, July 6, 2013

July 1, 2013 - Canada Day!

You guys bought a new car and didn't even send me a picture... seriously!

That is interesting that you got sister missionaries in the ward now, but not really surprising given the huge influx of sister missionaries in the past few months.

Contacting new people is something that has been a weakness since we got here, but we are going to put a lot of effort this week into finding people. There is a story on the recording about one guy that we found.

Copiapo is pretty big in the mission, but not gigantic. It's just kind of an average sized city here. The ward is about 80 peple every week, but since the change (disbanding a branch in the Stake), it should go up to 120-130.

I really miss buffalo chicken wraps...even the homemade ones...

If you want to go to Machu Picchu when we come to Chile, I am all in. I have heard a lot about it and think that it would be pretty cool to see. The option could then be to go from Peru to Arica. I have been thinking off and on about some of the things that we could see in some places and really the only other thing would be San Pedro. The rest are in cities or are people to visit.

Love you guys,

Summary of audio...
It's Monday... Canada Day... one day before I hit 20 months in my mission... and we're shopping today. So today we did an activity... last week the armanas were complaining because they don't like that we play soccer every week on PDay, which I am in agreement with, but I didn't do anything about it. I just complained a bit. They set up an obstacle course and some activities - it was fun, I have to admit. Afterwards they played dodgeball with a soccer ball. I didn't really want to get hit with a soccer ball so I opted out. (Interesting from a guy who felt playing dodge shoe was a good idea in Young Men's.)

A lot of things happened this week... we were sitting in the house of one of our recent converts and her family who are investigators and I got cat called by a bird - that was pretty fantastic. Even funnier though, later that day we were walking around and saw someone coming towards us down the street. At first we thought it was a lady, then when they got closer it looked more like a man. Elder Gillespie decided to say hello and he got cat called by the guy. It was hilarious. Cross dressing is actually quite common here.

There's a lady here whose family are recent converts, they got baptized last October. She's been looking for a house and nothing has really happened, then all of a sudden on Friday, she saw us on the street and called us over and said, Hey... I need your help moving. We helped her pretty much all day except for stopping for lunch. She has so much stuff... mom, you would have hated it. Lots of random things... junk... All her cabinets had spider webs underneath and some live spiders which was kind of gross, but we got it done. In the evening we went to a talent show for the Stake. Talent shows are pretty popular here - they do them a ton. One of the recent converts of Elder Gillespie was playing the guitar in one of the acts so we went and watched.

President Bruce left this week so he's no longer in our mission - that's a little sad, but also exciting to see what the new mission president does. It will be interesting to see if we notice changes in the short time we have left. I'm not aware of any big changes right off, which is where we'd see a difference. We'll probably have 1 or 2 conferences and interviews and then our going home interview.

Wards here are called barrios. All of Copiapo has wards and then there's 1 branch. We're in Copiyapo - that's my sector. They actually disbanded the branch this week. We had a bunch of extra people at church and wondered if they were visitors, but we asked around and then they announced that they are closing the branch and having them join the ward, so we've grown a ton, just like that. It should be interesting.

This week was unique in that we gave 6 blessings, which is a lot. Typically we don't give that many - just 1 or 2 now and then. We got to the point we just alternating.

We went to see one family and were talking to them and the father asked us if we had any diamonds because he wanted one. We were a bit confused - he had been studying about the breastplate of Aaron and he wanted to get one of each of the types of stones on it. We asked him if he was making his own breastplate, then his wife came out of the kitchen and confirmed that her husband wasn't crazy... just so we knew. It was pretty funny... perhaps you had to be there. Chuckle...

We went to 1 less active lady's home to have a lesson. Generally I don't try and smooth talk anyone into coming to church, I like to use scriptures because I find that more effective. She hasn't gone to church in many years, but claimed she hadn't moved away from God. I said that can't be so and referred to the 10 commandments and some scriptures, then I just stared at her and said, "You need to go to church." She looked at my companion and then back at me and said, "It's like your eyes are looking right through me." It was a really serious moment, but it was kind of funny too.

We had a cool thing... we were singing the last hymn in church and this sister came up to us and asked us to follow her out. There was a guy in the foyer who had come to this ward about a year ago. He said he'd been here with some sister missionaries a long time ago and asked if we could start teaching him again. We said yes... obviously! This week we only had sacrament meeting and no classes due to elections being held (based on civil laws for meeting in groups during elections). SO, it was easy to get a member and we taught this guy and it was really good. We don't know when we'll see him again because of his work schedule, but it was cool... a small miracle.

Reading update... I'm still reading the Bible. I'm done the Old Testament and am reading in Matthew currently. I thought I should read it because I hadn't done so before.

We're teaching 2 people - 1 less active and 1 non-member, but they need to get married so we're encouraging them. They want to get married, but we have to keep pushing them to set a date. It's harder/different here in Chile because only the government can marry people. You can't get a bishop, clergy, etc to do it. It's easy if you just go there, but if you want someone to come to your wedding it takes about 2 months before you can get a date. It looks like they would like someone to come to their wedding so we're trying to get them to set it up. They are planning to do it, so that's good. So... in Canada (and probably most places, I think) you just go to the temple to get married and sealed, but here in Chile you actually have to get married by the Civille (gov't official) and then go to the temple within 7 days to be sealed - that's how it works. Different because of the laws here.

We're also working with another family but we need to get out and find more people for our teaching pool as it is still a bit small.

This week we didn't cook anything fancy, we just made subs. It looks like we're going to make hamburgers and do a little 1st/4th of July celebration in the Pension. We're going to get some ground beef and make fresh burgers - fantastical, magical goodness! 

That's our week. Love you all, Ciao!