Would you believe it if I told you that this week wasn´t normal either? Granted, it was mostly normal, but we did have at least one very strange adventure.
Tuesday morning we got to do a service project for some recent converts. The elders were supposed to do it, but since Elder Lopez got transferred, they were in Talca at the bus station and so we got asked to do it instead. We went out to this member´s "terreno," which is like a farm or maybe just a really big garden or something, I don´t really know, and we picked "choclo," which is corn. I thought it was going to be like normal corn in the green husks that you buy in the store and eat, but it was a different kind of corn, or at least it was intended for something else, because they had left it on the stalks extra long and let it dry out a bit and then we came along and pulled the corn out of the husks right there in the fields and tossed it into a big pile. I´m not sure what they´re going to do with the corn now, since I don´t have any farming vocabulary in my Spanish, but it was fun. Someday I will send the pictures!
Then we had a normal week until Thursday, when we got a phone call from the International Police Department in Chillan. They said that they had decided not to charge me a "multa" for my visa infraction, and that I was given just a warning instead (Hooray!), and that I needed to come to Chillan as soon as possible to pick up my visa papers and my passport. They said if we absolutely had to we could wait until Monday, but that Friday would be better. So I called the mission office and they said to go Friday (especially since I would be needing to do a different visa "trámite" in order to get my Chilean identification card here in San Javier on Monday). We wanted to lose as little working time as possible, so we intended to leave as early as possible. It´s a 40-minute bus ride to the bus station in Talca, then two more hours to Chillan. We were hoping to leave San Javier around 7 and get on the bus to Chillan at 8. This worked out fine, but then when we went to get money out of our accounts from the ATM in the bus station in Talca so that we could buy our tickets to Chillan, our cards weren´t working - neither our mission cards nor those from home. This was very strange because we knew we had money! We pooled all our cash resources (the bus station would not take a card) and we were about 300 pesos short (less than $1) for our bus trip to Chillan! So we walked a couple blocks to a bank to try a different ATM. Here in Chile on the first day of the month, which this was, everyone goes to the ATM to take all their money out and so sometimes the ATM doesn´t have any money to give you and we thought maybe that is what our problem was. We had to wait a few minutes while the bank worker mopped the floors and then we tried the ATMs inside the bank. These did not work either. We were totally confounded! So we called our zone leaders and they sent the missionaries who lived closest to where we were in Talca to lend us the money we needed to get on the bus. Needless to say, that was terribly embarassing, but we really didn´t know what else to do. So when Elder Favro and his two companions arrived, we told them what had happened and at once Elder Favro explained that in Talca there is one bank which doesn´t accept our cards in its ATMs (they are called "cajeros" here), and those are the only ATMs in the vicinity of the bus station! So we walked just a couple more blocks to some cajeros from a different bank, and . . . there was no money in them! Hahaha, the first of the month! So Elder Favro gave us the money we needed to get on the bus (¡Que vergüenza!), and we left about an hour and a half later than we´d planned. :P
But we got to Chillan safely and quickly found a bank ATM from a proper bank where we were able to get out the money for our return trip and for any fees I might have to pay as part of my "trámite." Hallelujah! Then we walked across the street to the "extranjeria," where there was no line (we had been told we might have to wait up to two hours)! Hallelujah! So we went in and explained to the gentlemen in the extranjeria what we needed. Basically, his job was to print off some kind of an official document which states that I have been relieved of a multa and my probationary period is over, and then with that document we would be able to go to the International Police and pick up my passport. Well, after several minutes of searching around in a couple different computers, he hadn´t been able to do anything. I was really worried that I had done something wrong again, but what he told us is that the judge who had approved my visa had input some kind of a code incorrectly into the system, and so he was not able to find my document in order to print it. Well, that didn´t seem like such a big deal, except that this same judge had left the day before on vacation! So Hermana Fajardo asks him if someone else can fix it, and he says "No, she is the judge that handled the case. She is the only person who can resolve this issue." So Hermana Fajardo says (in a truly curious, good-natured way), "What happens if this judge were to die? Nobody would ever be able to fix this?" (Hermana Fajardo also studied business before her mission and she was a little befuddled that the system was so inefficient.) So anyway, the judge, who is the only person in the whole entire world who can fix this typo so that I can have my visa documents, is on vacation until the 11th and we have to go back to Chillan AGAIN on the 12th! So crazy!
But after all that, we were still able to make it home with most of the day left to work!
The really cool thing we did this week was we had Regional Conference instead of regular church meetings. Our little chapel in San Javier (which is technically a "house," but that´s a story for another time) doesn´t have satellite reception so we had to travel to Talca for the conference. So we went to the chapel at 8:30 in the morning, ate breakfast together as a branch, and the Church had hired a bus for all of us to travel to Talca! It was so great. We heard from Elder Corbridge of the 70, Elder Neal L. Anderson, Sister Linda K. Burton, and President Monson. I understood pretty much all of what was said by Elders Corbridge and Anderson, because they gave their addresses in Spanish. Sister Burton and President Monson had dubbed translations, which meant that I had a harder time understanding them, but it was still really great.
Elder Corbridge said something (and he said it in Spanish and also in English, so it really caught my attention) that I really loved. He said, "Who are you?" and "Who are you becoming?" This really made me think. I am such a perfectionist and so detail-oriented that I often fail to see the forest for the trees, and my mission has been no different. I look at all the things I do wrong - all the things I have yet to improve - individually and just get overwhelmed by it all. I forget to look at the big picture and look at these things that need to be fixed as opportunities to BECOME somebody better. I am going to try to change my mindset a little to focus on who it is I can become as a result of my goals and attempts to improve, rather than just looking at them as a list of things I´m not good enough at.
And your commitment this week is the same as mine. Take some time to evaluate who you are BECOMING. If you realize that who you will become as a result of your current actions is not the person you want to be, I invite you to change those thoughts or actions. If not, continue onward in your "becoming!" I know you all can become someone really amazing - because you already are amazing, so it can only get better! :)
That´s all for now folks. Love you lots! Until next week!