Monday, July 14, 2014

Intercambios, mail, and an anticlimatic earthquake

14 July 2014

Hola Familia!

Oh somebody's going to have a birthday! I sent an email to Kiera so make sure she checks her account.

Tuesday we had "intercambios." I honestly don't know what the term is in English. I went to Llay Llay and was companions with Hermana Arroya, a sister from Trujillo, Peru, for twenty four hours there. Everyone needs to pray that I get to serve there during the summer because Llay Llay means Viento Viento or Wind Wind and it is not as hot as everywhere else. 

Hermana Arroyo has been having knee problems so we got to visit the physical therapist, which was my favorite part of the day. While she was doing exercises, I got to chat with the doctor. He asked if I was studying religion in Utah. I love that question because I get to say, "No, I'm studying neuroscience," and let him know that I have a normal life and an education. The gospel does not replace that, it adds to it. We talked about diseases of the nervous system. I drew a neuron on a post it note and he helped me label the parts in Spanish neuroscience terms. I asked him about his religious beliefs. He believes in an endless cycle of reincarnation. He doesn't believe in God but he believes that our souls never die. I asked him where we came from. "The Big Bang." "Where did the Big Bang come from?" "No one knows." People use the Big Bang (in English) as a profound scientific term here. I don't think they know what the literal translation is. I asked him what he thought the purpose of life is. "To pass on the genes." "Why?" "No one knows." "I do." He didn't want to hear about the gospel. He is puzzled by the fact that someone who believes in science can also believe in God. People here act like it's something contradictory. He told me that we are all made of particles and I agreed with him, I like studying chemistry and I know we're all made of particles. Then he said we are all particles of light, holograms, and that no one really exists, we just think we do. I clapped my hands together, as if to make them pass through each other and made a confused face. It made his receptionist laugh. 

Hermana Arroyo is studying English during her language study and preparing to take an English test and the ACT in October at the mission office. Her dream is to attend BYU. I gave her all of the ACT tips I have up my sleeve and hope she does really well. I can't imagine how stressful it would be to be a missionary, a sister training leader, and applying to college in a foreign language. She is a very motivated and determined girl.

Friday we had district class. It is usually Wednesday but this week was different because we had interviews with President Videla. Mine was very short because our common vocabulary is limited. 

In our district class I received the first mail in my mission. MAIL MAIL MAIL!!! I got the Dear Elders sent June 14th and 15th, so it took almost a month but it was so fun to hear from you during the week. Keep sending Dear Elders because they are fun but send more through email and I'll print stuff.

Saturday we tried to find someone we had contacted in the street but we never found the house. The houses on the hill don't have numbers and his instructions were hard to follow. We had a phone number but his phone was shut off so we just talked to others on the hill instead. We returned home with pears and oranges from a family there.

We wanted to buy a completo for lunch. You know you're in Chile when you walk into a restaurant to buy a completo but the owners are people you have talked to before and pretty soon you find yourself not in their restaurant buying a completo but in their house eating empanadas with their children and the grandpa. I still haven't tried a completo.

On Sunday we had fasted for an opportunity to serve and it came. Saturday we helped a family paint their house. I love this family and their two children. We have been teaching them for a while but we may have to drop them because they just won't come to church and aren't doing their part to progress. The father’s family was baptized when he was 12 but he was not because he never received an answer that it was true. His biggest concern is not about the truthfulness of the gospel but about why, if it is true, he didn't find out thirty years ago.

I experienced my first earthquake Saturday night at about 11:15. It was pretty anticlimactic. It only lasted about 30 seconds. Feel free to Google it and tell me how big it was and where the center was, Dad.

Sunday evening we contacted an investigator we met several weeks ago. We met him in front of his house on a Saturday and he invited us right in to teach Lesson 1 and accepted a baptismal date. We invited him to church the next day and when we showed up to remind him he already had his car started. It was perfect! Then last week we taught him on Saturday again but Sunday he didn't come to church and we didn't know why until we visited him yesterday. It turns out he was sick and his car has broken down. However, he has been reading the Book of Mormon and he watched the Restoration video we left with him on his own! Hermana Dodds says no one has ever done that before. He just watched it by himself and had questions. We haven't even been visiting and nagging him to do those things. He just wants to learn. He has also been discussing the church with a friend who is a Jehovah's Witness. What more could we ask for? After his discussion with his friend he had questions. Mom, I used the scripture you sent me last week to teach him. I couldn't remember the reference in that moment but I explained that those who really have faith in the Bible will believe in the Book of Mormon because the Bible testifies of prophets and revelation. We are teaching him again tonight. We are nervous because his girlfriend is coming back from school tomorrow and we don't know how receptive she will be. Feel free to pray.

A funny note. Remember Angel? He and his friends like to look up English swear words on Google to share with us. Hermana Dodds is really good at making up pretend translations and telling them it means something else. "Why do you keep saying pepper?" Angel's sister thinks Google never lies. I'm going to make a meme, Moroni 10:5 And by the power of GOOGLE? ye may know the truth of all things. The grandma just yells at them, "HAVE SOME RESPECT FOR THE MESSENGERS OF GOD!!" She still doesn't want to hear our message but it sounds like she recognizes our purpose.

Everyone! Make a missionary's day today. Call them and let them know when you are available to accompany them to a lesson. Then study the lesson they plan on teaching and be prepared to share your testimony. It requires less than an hour. It's one of the hardest things in our sector right now because almost all of the members in our ward live in a different sector. I think we have two active families in our sector and in one of them the husband works every other week in the mines. I know Utah is different but call and offer your help. The missionaries will be grateful. The investigators need your friendship. 

Have a great week!

I bought a calienta cama, a giant hot pad that goes under your sheets. I plug it  in while I'm getting ready for bed and it's lovely. Worth the 15 mil pesos (30 dollars). And I don't have to sleep in 8 pounds of clothes anymore (yes I weighed myself in them to find out).

I love the quotes you put in my luggage. I am still finding them. Sometimes when I find a really good one it becomes the theme of my personal study in the morning.

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