Monday, September 23, 2013

¡Viva Chile!

This past week Chile celebrated its independence day, the 18th of September.   But if you were thinking it was anything like the 4th of July, you're a little bit off.  There are parades and barbecues and everyone flies Chilean flags (in fact it is against the law NOT to fly a flag outside your house that week).  But you know how in the states we just celebrate on one day, or maybe two if you live in Logan and your fireworks are a day early?  Well in Chile, Dieciocho is a huge event.  This year it fell on a Wednesday, so the kids were out of school the WHOLE WEEK and WednesdayThursday, and Friday were state holidays so nothing was open and everyone got paid to stay home from work.  Also everyone leaves town so missionary work is a little slow.

The ward always plans a ton of stuff for dieciocho.  On Wednesday morning there was a flag raising ceremony, where they sang the national anthem (haven't had a chance to learn that yet - kind of a bummer) and then danced a little cueca, which is the national dance.  We went in our awesome Chilean dresses that we had bought and I even danced a little cueca.  (It is basically walking in a circle while you hold a handkerchief.)  Then the ward had a giant activity the 19th, which went from 10:00 in the morning until about 2:00 the following morning!  In the morning it was just the Relief Society sisters cooking lunch.  They made TONS of pot roast and boiled potatoes and a bunch of green salad and pebre, which is kind of a fresh salsa.  Then at 1:00 (well, a little bit after) we came over for lunch, seeing as none of the members were home to give us lunch that day.  It didn't get started for another hour or so (Chilean standard time), so we greeted all the members and took pictures in our traditional vestidos de huasa (cowgirl dresses) while we waited.  And after that we still had some free time, so we made a "missionary" out of our unoccupied clothing and some plastic bags.  The Primary kids got a kick out of that, especially when one of them hid under the bench and was making the foot move.  They kept going out in the hall and trying to find other people to scare.  It was so funny.  Then we ate lunch, changed our clothes, and snuck out to work.  Then we were able to go back to the activity for two hours at the end of the working day.  At that point they had contests with a bunch of traditional games, gave out pajaritos (like kind of a hard orange roll without the filling and topped with merengue) and mote con huesillo (They take a whole dried peach, re-hydrate it overnight in water with sugar, clove, cinammon, orange peel, and a bunch of other great stuff, and then serve the peaches in the juice with cooked wheat kernels.  It's delicious!).  Right before we had to leave to go home for the night, the Primary did a traditional dance and after we left the whole ward had a baile for the rest of the night, with lots of cueca and other traditional dances.  I was sad to miss this part, as I would have liked to have seen the other dances they do.  But it was fun nonetheless.

That same Thursday morning they told us about transfers.  The transfers were supposed to happen today and tomorrow, but the MTC was too full so they kicked the missionaries out early and so our transfer got moved up a few days.  It was weird.  But nothing changed in our house!  I have another six weeks with Hermana Lyons and Hermana Frandsen and Hermana Alvarez, hooray!!!!!  So you can all look forward to hearing more crazy tales of the Hualqui hermanas.  :)

How are you all doing with your Book of Mormon reading?  I am so excited to be reading with all of you.  If you got a little behind this week, I challenge you to get caught up and let's stay together until the end!  I would love to hear about the things you learn as you read!  This week I liked the part in 1 Nephi 15:8, where Nephi says to his brothers, "Have ye inquired of the Lord?"  I was thinking about how whenever we have a problem or a question and we don't know what to do, the first thing we should ask ourselves is, "Have ye inquired of the Lord?"  So this week, your challenge (besides staying on schedule with the reading) is to inquire of the Lord the things that you want to know!  I know that He will answer you and help you if you will turn to Him.

Well, that is all for now.  Love you all a lot and hope you have a most fantastic week.

Keep in touch!



Monday, September 16, 2013

Twelve Creepy Men

This week was another crazy one.  And my internet time is already coming to a close, so I will have to update y'all a little bit better next week, but here is a quick resumen:

We found amazing lemon pie and almost-as-good-as-American chocolate.

September 11, as it turns out, is the anniversary here of some kind of a government coup.  It is "observed" with people doing stuff like tearing down bus stops and starting fires, so we were required to be in the house two hours early that night.  After we got done doing all the productive things we were supposed to do, Hermana Lyons made sopaipillas and calzones rotos.  It was great.

We had a zone conference and I learned a lot of awesome stuff.  One thing that Hermana Arrington said that stuck out to me is that God expects us to strive to live the gospel.  He does not, however, expect us to do it perfectly or without any help.

Also an hermana who is going home this transfer shared her testimony and she said something that I absolutely loved.  She said, "las cosas que valen la pena tienen que costar."  In English, the literal translation is like, "the things that are worth it have to cost something," but in Spanish it has greater meaning than that.  The verb "costar" is used to indicate not only how much something costs, but that it is difficult for someone to do.  For example, "me cuesta hablar español" means that it is difficult for me to speak Spanish.  So basically, she was saying that the things that are worth anything require hard work and sacrifice.  I loved it.

Many times a day we find ourselves in strange situations with strange people.  One day this week we found ourselves particularly inundated with such strange people and decided to keep a "creepy men" count for the day.  Turns out there were at least twelve.  One of them was a drunk old man with a missing finger who kept trying to flirt with us on the bus (blowing kisses and such, it was so great).  Two others we contacted in the street and we weren't sure that they didn't want to try to put us in the back of their empty Pepsi truck and kidnap up, so we gave them pass-along cards and got away as fast as we could.  One of our favorites was a man who we later christened, "Mr. Torso." (If you have seen Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" you will get this reference.  If you have not, repent now and watch it!)  He was dancing in front of his living room window and kept tapping on the window to try to get our attention as we walked down the street.

Also, Hermana Frandsen and I celebrated our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY and a couple days later, ten months in Chile.  It was so great to be with her for it!  Our companions decorated the house while we were sleeping the night before and got us little presents.  We took pictures in our "first-day-in-the-MTC" outfits and blew out a candle in our lemon pie.  Can't believe a whole year has already gone by.  It seems really long and yet extremelyshort at the same time.  Only six months left.  Crazy!

Well, that is all for now.  EXCEPT:  Your commitment!  We are going to keep going with the reading-the-Book-of-Mormon every day thing, since I finished your READING SCHEDULE!!!!!  It only goes until January 28, but I am not sure yet if I come home then or in the middle of March.  But when I know for sure, you will know too and we can always extend the schedule easier than we can shorten it!

Read, read, read, and tell me how it's going!  I am reading in Spanish and it'll be the first time I make it all the way through in my second language, so pray for me!

Lovelovelove you all.  Have just the greatest week!


P.S.  There are pictures and video of our one-year celebrations that I will pass along as soon as I can get them from Hermana F.  :)


Sometimes in Chile strange things happen.  Like today, for example, the buses are on strike.  This is kind of a problem for us because we live in Hualqui where there is nothing and in order to get to anything we have to take a bus to Conce.  So we left this morning to go get on the bus and after a bit of waiting none had come, so we went to the other bus stop.  Then eventually one passed by and miraculously it had seats (Hermana Frandsen gets motion sick so standing up is not an option for her on the hour-long bus ride into the city), so we got on it.  And we realized it was kind of a miracle, because he wasn't stopping for very many people.....  Then we get about halfway to Conce and somebody gets on the bus and is telling our bus driver that he shouldn't be working because there is a strike and he is telling them that his boss said it was okay, and I'm not exactly sure where they landed on the issue, but after that he backed the bus up for about four blocks and then got on a different stretch of highway and took the "backroads" route into Conce.  Hermana Frandsen said she wasn't sure that we weren't going to be made bus strike hostages, but we got here okay.  Not exactly sure yet how we're getting home though....

So, this week was really weird.  One of the strangest I have had, really.  Lots of random things happened and we were running around like crazy and we didn't get a whole lot done.  I can't really explain it.  Also I don't have time.  But just pray that this week can be a little more normal.  It had been a while since I had so many weird experiences, though, so I guess it was about time.

THURSDAY!  We are going to complete one year in the mission, Hermana Frandsen and I.  We're stoked to be together for it.  Celebrate something awesome for us, since we won't have time!

Here is your commitment for the week (ahem, next six months...):  Read EVERY DAY in the Book of Mormon.  I am super lame and did not get the schedule totally finished this week, but I can tell you how to get started!

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12:  Title page, introduction, testimonies of witnesses and Joseph Smith.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13:  Pages 1-4
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15:  Pages 9-12
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16:  Pages 13-16

Next week I'll have a real schedule with chapters and everything.  Right now I have to leave!!!!!

Love you all so very, very much!  Thanks for your love and support (and for the Sour Patch watermelons and strawberry PopTarts and Reese's cups and brown sugar that I know you are all going to send!).

Have a great week!



P.S.  Ask my sister about what she is going to name her baby.  It's a pretty good story.  :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Adventures in the Attic

So here are some updates on the crazy shenanigans of the Hualqui hermanas.

One morning while we were getting ready I look up at the ceiling and lo and behold, there is what looks like it might be the entrance to an attic.  So despite the fact that we live in Chile, where animals and bugs and things run a little bit more rampant than  back home, I decided it would be a good idea to check it out.  And it TOTALLY WAS!  We found so much great stuff up there!  Including some Spice Girls boots, an amazing red velvet pencil skirt which Hermana Frandsen adopted and calls the "Home Improvement" skirt because she thinks it's totally something Jill would have worn, and an obviously homemade sheep costume.  Best morning ever.  We laughed so hard.  Then Hermana Lyons told Hermana Arrington (yes, the mission president's wife) that we found a sheep costume in our attic and it seems like she has managed to tell basically every other hermana in the mission somehow.  Everyone keeps asking us for pictures of the sheep costume.  (P.S. We haven't taken any yet.  Maybe we'll find time today.)  And Hermana Frandsen debuted her awesome skirt at the special conference we had with Élder González from the seventy.  She looked amazing and totally "presentable" (that was the way we were instructed to arrive at the conference - presentables).

A little while back Hermana Lyons and I went to try to contact a reference.  That guy didn't want to talk to us, so we decided to go next door and talk to his neighbor.  Well, his neighbor came out and told us that he was from a different religion but that he would listen to us.  So we went in and turns out he was pretty crazy.  Anyway, we were only there about ten minutes but it was seriously one of the strangest and funniest lessons ever.  The best part was when this man couldn't pronounce my name and so he decided that "just between the two of us" he was going to call me Juana.  Needless to say we will not be going back.

The conference with Élder González was so cool.  He and his wife did practices for us and with us and he left lots of time for us to just ask questions.  He was such a good example of how to teach, especially in the way he used the scriptures with everything.  I loved it.  Hopefully sometime I'll be able to talk more about it.  Right now I am having a hard time remembering the specifics.

This week for your commitment, I want you all to watch this Mormon Message about the Book of Mormon: A Book of Mormon Story. And then read your Book of Mormon every day.

Lovelovelove you all.  See you next week!


P.S.  Get geared up - we're gonna read the Book of Mormon together for my last six months!  The calendar should be coming next week!

Correos Chile

Forgot to say something real important.  And that is this:  While Correos Chile is on strike we are not receiving letters through regular mail.  However, we ARE still receiving PACKAGES (hint, hint).  Also, Dear Elders are coming through, because the POUCH mail comes in a package of a bunch of letters all at once.

Some tips for sending packages to Chile:

1.  Be very general in your descriptions of the items included on the customs form.  It's just easier and faster for a package that to go through customs when it says that it contains "candy" or "food" and instead of "Hershey's kisses, Reese's peanut butter cups, microwave popcorn" or "clothes" instead of "skirt, sweater, coat."  I don't know why, but that's how it is.

2.  SEND IT USPS.  Plain old regular mail.  Parcel post or UPS or whatever usually ends up going through an extra customs process and when it arrives in Chile they usually end up charging a customs fee of whatever the package is valued at before it can be released from the post office.  Also, USPS is faster from what I can gather.

3.  Those padded envelopes seem to just fly right on through.  Hermana Snyder was getting them like every single week there for a while.

So, in case anyone was wondering, we're running a little low here on M&M's (peanut butter, peanut, pretzel, or plain, we're not too picky), Sour Patch Kids, pretzels, and fine tip clicky pens (the best are Pilot .38 in black and blue - university bookstore specials).  Also rice krispies would be awesome (just the cereal or the pre-made treats, whichever).  Reese's Puffs cereal would be a miracle.  Basically anything Reese's or any good chocolate because the majority of Chilean chocolate is waxy and weird.  And we always go through that PopSecret Homestyle popcorn pretty quick. (They like their popcorn sweet here, so the salty buttery stuff is a bit hard to come by.  And expensive)  Just a few ideas....  ;)


Hungry Herman

I Don`t Have Anything to Say This Week


So this week was a really long and weird one.  And as I sit here thinking about it, I feel like there's really just not that much to tell.  But we'll see how it goes.

One thing that was awesome was that for TWO days, Hermana Frandsen and I got to be companions for the better part of the day while our companions were at the conference for new missionaries.  One day we worked with the investigators that Hermana Lyons and I are working with, and the other day with the investigators of Hermanas Frandsen and Alvarez.  Our companions came home having learned LOTS and now we are all set to be more awesome missionaries.

Also, this week I developed a love for empanadas.  Appparently it is a tradition among the Hualqui hermanas on the they go into Conce for P-day to do all their shopping at Jumbo and then to buy empanadas from the cafeteria-like area in the Jumbo and eat them in the bus on the way home.  So last week that's what we did.  Obviously, after almost ten months in Chile I had already eaten an empanada.  I just never knew how much I liked them before.  Turns out they're amazing.  Sometimes I just get emapanada cravings now.  It may turn out to be a problem....

Everyone keeps saying that spring is right around the corner.  But it continues right on being cold, so I don't know whether to trust them or not.  But still it's great here.  Hermana Lyons is such a great companion.  I am sure I am going to learn a lot from her.

This week I was reading in Mosiah about when Ammon comes and finds the people of Zeniff and it turns out they are in bondage to the Lamanites and they had sent a group of people out to look for their brethen that they had left behind in Zarahemla and all they found was the Jaredite ruins and a set of gold plates in a foreign language and they are all excited that Zeniff came because they know that he can help them to be delivered from bondage.  Remember that part?  Anyway, something that stood out to me is how important the records were to these people.  Not just to the people of Zeniff, but to all the people in the Book of Mornon.  In this instance, Ammon shares with the people of Zeniff all the things that King Benjamin had shared with the people in Zarahemla in his farewell speech, and then Zeniff asks Ammon if he can translate records because they've been hanging on to these plates that they found among the Jaredite ruins, and later on we read the record that Zeniff and his people have kept ever since they left the land of Zarahemla.  So, first of all Ammon found what King Benjamin had to say to be of so much worth that even on his journey far from home he obviously had some sort of a record of it on hand, or maybe even committed to memory, and then basically the first thing he does when he finds his lost brethren is share these teachings with them.  Then there are the people of Zeniff, who, despite not being able to read the Jaredite records and not even knowing exactly who or where they came from, and despite the fact that they were poor and impoverished and suffering under bondage and having to pay a fifty percent tax on EVERYTHING they had, kept these gold plates sacred because they figured that whatever it was that they said must be important.  And on top of that, they also took care to keep records of their own.  I find this striking.  If that isn`t an example of how IMPORTANT the scriptures are, I don`t know what it.

So here we go again with your commitment for this week.  My grandparents said that leaving a commitment to read the Book of Mormon every day wasn`t lame, and I decided that I agree with them.  So here it is again.  Now that we've talked a little about how important those records are, I invite you to commit to reading from them EVERY DAY THIS WEEK!  If you didn`t do it last week, now you can!  And if you did, just keep on going.  The blessings won`t stop unless you do!

Anyway, that's all for now.  Love you all lots.  Have a great week!