Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My district at the CCM
at the CCM

23 June 2014


As you know, I'm in Los Andes near Calle Larga. Supposedly our area isn't on Google maps but you can check. I'm so glad I get to be here instead of the big city at first because it is so much easier to approach and talk to people in a small town setting. People are more warm and chatty here than in Santiago and patient with my Spanish. I know this isn't a third world country or anything but the neighborhood where I live still shocks me. The houses are the size of mobile homes and don't have heating. Most people use a tiny stove to warm up so the air is very polluted and smells like camping. I need to take the picture of my call opening out of my brag book before I show members because I don't even want to show them our fireplace, which we don't even need to use except for fun, and painted walls, and carpet, and beautifully framed pictures. None of those things exist here. We do have bikes but we haven't used them yet because we mostly just walk.

Hermana Dodds is the best! She reminds me so much of Lauren, I can't even explain it. The first day I was super tired and I kept thinking, "What if this is actually Lauren?" Perhaps if I hadn't seen Lauren recently I would have asked. Hermana Dodds is so positive. She says that our area is a place of miracles. She is grateful for every tiny detail of our mission and expresses it often. She made me pancakes the first day while I showered.

Flashback. I forgot to tell you about the plane ride. I sat by a Hungarian geography professor. He spoke little English but was fascinated by the landscape and loved taking pictures out the window. I had the Spanish Liahona with me and showed him pictures of temple square which he had visited. He looked at the picture of the apostles and asked how many wives they had... He also visited national parks like Bryce and it was fun to see his pictures and talk to him about Utah because he loves geography and was obsessed with everything.

A lady on the plane in front of us heard that we were missionaries and gave Hermana Clark and me twenty dollars and another twenty to the elders across the aisle. We thanked her and she looked toward the sky and said, "I just do what I'm told." People are so generous.

At the CCM we woke up at 6:45 to "Called to Serve" over speakers every morning. On my P day hours we went to the AMM, a tiny distribution center where I bought Spanish scriptures. Hermana Mota and I took some pictures at the park where we exercise.

I was the surprise speaker in church on the 15th at the CCM. I spoke on diligence and obedience in Spanish. The same day I played the piano for a morning devotional and sang a duet of "Beautiful Savior" with Hermana Resek for the evening devotional, it's the same song I sang with Haley in our student ward. Thank her for the music for me.

The food in the CCM was a choose your own adventure story of carbs. Bread, rice, potatoes, mashed potatoes, pasta, bread, bread, bread. Then you could choose meat. Mostly carbs. Breakfast was bread with jam, bread with ham and cheese, bread with scrambled eggs, bread with manjar (I love manjar, it's like caramel nutella).

Now I am in Los Andes. We took a bus from the mission home and arrived late in the evening. We left my suitcases at our house (it's a house!) and the first thing we did was buy produce down the street. Pears, grapes, bananas, oranges, squash, cucumbers, peas, and that night I ate my first Chilean avocado. I know I was called to the right place.

The days are so warm. I don't believe it's winter. But nighttime is freezing. Last night I wore two pairs of yoga pants, thermals, and pajama pants with a jacket to bed. I also have about seven blankets. We do have a space heater but we aren't allowed to keep it running at night.

We take colectivos often, little taxis with set routes. It costs about 500 pesos, one dollar. We use them when we go to church on Sunday, district meetings during the week, and on P days like today. Wednesday we had a district meeting and after I had my first Chilean empanada. 3 to 6 that day was a World Cup game and we had to stay indoors during those hours but trust me, we knew how the game was going because when Chile scored it was so loud. We're allowed to go out today but it's just as crazy because Chile is playing the Netherlands. My mission vs. your mission, Dad!

The President asks us to make 10 contacts per day, 70 per week, per missionary. That's 140 per companionship. It counts as a contact only if you invite someone to learn more about the church and ask to meet with them later. It's not enough to just talk about the church, you have to invite them to listen to a lesson. I made 27 contacts this week. It wasn't 70 but it's a start.

 My companion and I taught a lady, Regina, who is an older woman with a house full of things she knits and crochets. Hermana Dodds wants to learn how so we're going to try to buy knitting needles today and make scarves or something easy.

Have a great week!  Thanks for the mail!

Hermana Eva VanCott

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