Monday, January 14, 2013

Hermana Hamburguesa

Hello Again my Family and Friends,

Once again, I have very little time in which to write this letter!  I´m sorry!  I still love you all!

This week we had interviews with President Humphrey for the first time since I got to Chile.  I was really nervous and stressed out about it, but it wasn´t too scary in the end.  Though he did ask me how I would feel about having a Latin companion and to be prepared very soon to be the senior companion!  Aaaaaah! :S  I knew it was coming, because they have been telling us since we were in the MTC and the age limit was lowered that we´d probably start training someone else almost immediately after our own training and then we´d probably train for almost the rest of our mission.  It seems really impossible that I will likely have to be largely responsible for someone else, and even more responsible for my sector, in just a month or so, but the odds are really against me not at least being the senior comp (if not training) when the 19-year-olds start arriving in April.

Just so you can get a little bit of a better idea, right now we have 24 sisters in our mission.  Hermana Bowns and at least one or two other sisters are leaving at the end of this transfer, in the beginning of February.  So there will be approximately 20 sisters, and we are getting four or five new sisters (all Latins), who will be in training for 12 weeks.

So there will be about 24 sisters, with four in the first half of their training, and another three or four in the second half of their training (also all Latins).  Then there will be a three-week transfer, and a six-week transfer, and then three or four more sisters will be going home.

So after we send them home, we will have approximately 20 sisters in the mission, with four of them still in training for another week.  Then that same week, on April 9, we are receiving SIXTEEN new sisters in the mission.  So that means that out of the THIRTY-SIX sisters in the mission, 19 or 20 sisters will still be in training and another four will have only been out of training for three weeks.  It´s CRAZY!  The number of missionaries in each ward is doubling in many places in our mission, for elders as well as sisters.  The Lord is really furthering His work!

But after having President bring that up in interviews, I´m more than a little scared about what is just around the corner for me.  Hermana Bowns says that I´ll be fine, but somehow I´m not so sure that I believe her yet....

Anyway, I don´t have much else to report from this week.  Summer is in full swing, and there is no such thing as air conditioning here.  Most people sit in whatever shade they can find wearing as little clothing as possible, or they sleep.  Or they play in their inflatable pool.  I always feel like a melting popsicle, with sweat dripping down my back or my legs all day long.  We wear sunscreen but we still have the sister missionary tan lines - our feet are really, really brown and our legs are like dip-dyed because of the different lengths and the movement of our skirts.  I have a line where the strap from my bag sits on my left shoulder, and I keep switching my watch to try to avoid the nasty watch tan line!

Something I keep forgetting to tell you is that nobody (and I mean NOBODY) can pronounce my name here.  Something about the "r" and the "g" being placed together or something.  The only word in Spanish with those letters together is "hamburguesa," so many people call me Hermana Hamburguesa.  Some screw up their faces and try to say it, but they can´t, or they have me repeat it several times and then say, "¡que dificil!"  Others say things like, "que lindo su nombre" (what a nice name), which I know means that they just think it´s weird or they don´t want to try to repeat it!  And no one can spell it either.  I´ve started keeping a list of the different ways people have tried to spell my name.  It includes, Burggers, Bergess, Burguess, and Burgees.  One member calls me Puelches (which is the name of a street here) because to him it seems to rhyme with my name.  I have tried pronouncing it with more of a Spanish accent, but it´s still really difficult for them to say.  It´s really quite entertaining, though.

We always sing a hymn every morning before we start companionship study, which is awesome.  We are trying to sing all the hymns in the Spanish hymnbook.  But sometimes Hermana Bowns and I get distracted and look up the meters to hymns in the hymnbook and then sing the tune to one hymn with the words to one with a matching meter.  This week we discovered a new favorite hymn, "The Time is Far Spent."  You may have heard this hymn before, but it doesn´t get sung very often.  The tune is really quick and cheerful, and it distracts a little from the lyrics, which were written by Eliza R. Snow:

The time is far spent; there is little remaining
To publish glad tidings by sea and by land.
Then hasten, ye heralds; go forward proclaiming:
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven's at hand.

Shrink not from your duty, however unpleasant,
But follow the Savior, your pattern and friend.
Our little afflictions, tho painful at present,
Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end.

What, tho, if the favor of Ahman possessing,
This world's bitter hate you are called to endure?
The angels are waiting to crown you with blessings!
Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.

Be fixed in your purpose, for Satan will try you;
The weight of your calling he perfectly knows.
Your path may be thorny, but Jesus is nigh you;
His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose.

The last verse rings particularly true to me:  "Be fixed in your purpose, for Satan will try you; / The weight of your calling he perfectly knows."  Satan is out there trying to get ALL of us to stray from the path of Jesus Christ.  He knows how important it is that we stay on it, and he knows that those who have found it want to bring others with them, so he tries as hard as he can to stop that work from going foward.  We must keep pressing forward and moving toward our goal despite his attempts to get us to do the contrary!

"Your path may be thorny, but Jesus is nigh you; / His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose."  The Savior is ALWAYS there for us, and He can help us to overcome ALL THINGS.

I love this gospel!  I am so grateful for it and especially for the love and example of my Savior, who has made all things possible through His Atonement.

This week´s challenge:  How are you doing in your Book of Mormon reading?  Have you been reading every day?  If not, start!  If so, read a little more, or dig a little deeper.  Get to know that book like you know your very best friend!

I love you all and I´m so grateful for all your love and support.

 Hermana Hamburguesa

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