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!