Monday, August 6, 2012

Hermana Mercado's First Letter from Chile

Well, it has been a busy week here in Chile. After getting off a 10 hour flight from Texas to Santiago Chile, we were picked up by the Mission President and his wife. We then went to the mission home for lunch, interviews, some orienting information, and then off to the mission office to meet our companions/trainers. My trainer is Hermana Nelson, also from Idaho. She participated in dance, choirs, and theater in high school. She loves Irish dancing and is a Harry Potter fanatic; so we've been getting along. She has been out here for a year and speaks Spanish very well. It's funny; sometimes she'll accidentally say a Spanish/Spanglish word when she's trying to talk to me in English. I can't wait till I can speak Spanish as well as her. However, I have been complimented on how good my Spanish is for someone coming from the United States. I don't sound like a gringa. Everyone I meet here is also confused at first when I say I'm from the United States, and then I have to explain that my dad is Bolivian and my mother is American. Then they understand.

Anyway, after I met my companion we were dropped of at our house. It is small but cozy. We each have our own little bathroom, but we can´t shower at the same time. It is winter here, so it's rather cold. All we have is this plug-in heater, but at night we're pretty warm because besides a few heavy blankets we also have ´´calienta camas´´ which are like electric blankets inside the sheets, so we´re nice and toasty. We have a nice little kitchen and a washer outside, but no dryer. We have to hang up our clothes on a line to dry them.

There are stray dogs all over the place here, some even with sweaters on. So we sometimes have to be careful where we step. We walk everywhere. All the houses are surrounded by metal gates, so instead of knocking on doors or ringing doorbells, we have to call through the gate ´´Alo!´´ But we haven't done any tracting yet, and we've only contacted a little bit because we've been so busy. We have a lot of investigators and less actives that we're working with right now, so our days have been pretty much filled with appointments. I have to learn all these peoples names!

But they are all really nice. And it really depends on the person how much I can understand them. Some people talk more quickly than others. One day we were having lunch with one member family and the 12 year old son, Jose, talked a mile a minute. I didn't understand anything he said! But other people talk more slowly for me and I can ususally get the gist of what they are saying although there are always various words that they say that I don´t know yet. One of the Chilean words I have learned is ´´pucha!´´ which my companion has explained kind of means ¨´saddness!´´ or ´´dang it!" We use it a lot.

And oh yes! We are fed lunch everday by one of the famillies in our ward. I think we are fed rice every day. Here, lunch is the big meal of the day. They don't have dinner, but a little meal of snacks and sandwiches called "once" in the evening. 

What else? Alejandra and Alejandro, a wife and son that we taught last week, and who apparently have been being taught by the missionaries for a while, finally committed to preparing for baptism on the 18th of August! That lesson we had with them was so good! Even though I didn't say much. I don´t say a lot in lessons yet, although my companion gives me opportunities to bear my testimony, and I pray a lot. I think they always pick me to pray because I don't say much. 

Agh! I feel like there's more I should be saying, but I can't think of it right now. I'm adjusting well, but I still have a lot to learn. Like how to get around here. At the moment, I'm just hurriedly following in my companions footsteps. The bread is really good here. I love it when we're walking down the street and I can smell fresh bread. 

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