30 June 2014
I'm uploading a photo of our house and I'll take pictures of the inside next week. I haven't wanted to take pictures inside because it's just ugly. But I will. We have a main room, our bedroom, and two extra rooms that are just full of our suitcases and junk from other missionaries. And a vacuum. We have a bathroom with a tiny tub and sink. We always have hot water but the water pressure is lousy. I can live with that. The kitchen is smaller than our main bathroom at home. Walk into our bathroom and imagine a fridge and stove where the tub is, a microwave in place of the first sink, keep the second sink, and build a wall where the counter ends. That wall has a door that opens to the side of the house where we have a washing machine which is not hooked up to the hot water and no dryer. (We hang everything to dry, which I sometimes did at home anyway. I hope no one thinks I'm complaining because I'm just glad we have our own washer.) We also have three bikes out there but none of them are in working condition so that's on our to do list.
Schedule. We wake up at 7:30 and I strip off enough layers so I can bend my limbs to exercise for half an hour to EFY songs. Lauren wasn't kidding about Pinterest workouts. They are the best.
8:00 Eat some avocado on toast for breakfast and get ready for the day.
9:00 personal study.
10:00 companionship study. This is when we plan what we are going to teach in our scheduled lessons and practice teaching. Or sometimes we get distracted by deep doctrinal questions and end up calling President Essig for answers. He was released this week and we are pretty sure he is going to be a general authority.
11:00 More companionship study because I'm being trained.
12:00 Leave the house and be a missionary!
2:00 We usually come home for lunch for about an hour.
3:00 Leave the house and be a missionary again!
9:00 Come home, plan for the next day, fill out the area binder to keep track of the lessons we taught that day.
9:30 Language study.
10:30 My only hour of free time. Let me tell you, the mission has a tighter schedule than girl’s camp, only with missionary work in place of crafts. I use this hour to get ready for bed, write in my journal, and organize things. Sometimes after a long day we like to watch the D&C movies with dulce popcorn and knit.
Important! Apparently Dear Elder can take months. My companion just got a DearElder from months ago. Snail mail is supposed to be faster but we will have to see. I sent a letter home on Wednesday so let me know if and when it arrives. The good news is I can pay to print emails if I get too much to read, so keep sending emails!!
I forgot to mention last week (after Grandma Joan's joke) that although we didn't baptize anyone my first week I did invite someone to be baptized the first week. We are teaching a woman who is probably about 80. I don't know if I mentioned her but she is our knitting inspiration. She came to church once and didn't feel comfortable because people were very cold. We are trying to help her make friends. She loves to knit and crochet and her house is full of handmade things. There is a group of women in the ward who get together and knit every Thursday and we are trying to help her attend. So I am teaching Hermana Dodds to knit and we are going to go once with her. She has a baptismal date but obviously with the condition that she needs to receive an answer first. She has been praying but still says she doesn't know, which I understand. It took me a while to feel confident about when I was feeling the Spirit. Had I not been born in the church, I think I would have been an investigator like her.
Last Sunday I played the piano in church. I feel unqualified but there is literally not a soul in the ward who knows how. They are very proud of their real piano because most wards have a keyboard, but it is severely out of tune. A lot of people wear jeans to church, I assume because it is what they have. One thing is always the same no matter where you are in the world, though. You can't teach Relief Society without a lace table cloth. Even if you don't put anything on the table, the lace table cloth must be present apparently.
We ate lunch last Sunday with the Araya family. Their house reminds me of the houses in the U.S. They have two children living the the U.S. and have visited. They said what surprised them most is how clean things are in the States and how there are no dogs in the streets. I was surprised by the reverse here. They gave us a giant bag of avocados to take home.
Monday was Pday. After emails we got ice cream. The streets had been full of people before because they were watching the world cup game against the Netherlands. When we left the ice cream shop, everyone was sad and angry because they had just lost the game. We walked down the street with our ice cream like it was our favorite day of the week or something and everyone stared at us. "Holandesas!" they said. With my blonde companion, my Dutch last name on my name tag, and our ice cream, they assumed we were celebrating our victory. We got this all day. Hermana Dodds had me hide my name tag. It was hilarious.
We went shopping and I bought a blow dryer, straightener, and a robe to sleep in. I used my card to get a backpack because the shoulder bag is uncomfortable if I fill it too full.
Wednesday we taught my favorite lesson so far with a very Catholic woman we contacted in the street. She let us in and we talked a lot about her beliefs before we started teaching. She is very involved in the Catholic church. My companion asked her the purpose of prophets. The usual response is that they give commandments to the people, speak to God, something like that. Her answer was a little different. She said, "They prepared the way for Jesus Christ." In her mind, this meant that we no longer needed prophets because Christ came. In this moment I felt inspired. I asked a question, a genuine question. I wanted to know what the Catholic church believed about the Second Coming so I asked her if she believed Christ would come again. I was so afraid the answer would be no, but I asked anyway and she said yes. I was then able to testify that we still need prophets to prepare the way for the Savior. I promised her that if she would read the Book of Mormon she could be prepared. We read together the last paragraph in the introduction to the Book of Mormon, which mentions the Second Coming. I can't wait to visit her again and see what she thinks.
We had an investigator in church yesterday. We met him the day before and invited him to church. We stopped by his house Sunday morning after all of our other investigators gave us excuses and to our surprise, he was already outside with the car started, ready to go to church.
We ate lunch with members again this week. We don't do this too often because the previous Sisters here were picky eaters . When people ask I tell them I like anything and so far no one has given me anything too weird. The only downside is that the concept of selecting your own portion doesn't exist here. They fed us so much. We had grilled pork, mashed potatoes, corn, and churipan (sausage on traditional Chilean bread with mayo). Also the ice cream here is fantastic, different that the States. There's one thing I'll miss in 18 months.
I want to write more about the investigators we are teaching but there are so many I don't know where to start. I will snail mail some stories soon.
Love you all!