Monday, November 18, 2013

Some Stuff That Happened

¡Hola mis seres queridos!

So I was chastised by my grandparents because apparently it slipped my mind to tell you all some vital statistics about my companion.

Hermana Haymond is from Santaquin, Utah (but she was born in Logan!), and she is now in her second cambio in the field.  She spent six weeks in the MTC in Mexico City and honestly it just freaks me out that our MTC experiences were so wildly different.  I keep trying to tell her stories about the MTC and the locations of things and the cafeteria food and things like that, but then I remember that she is not familiar with any of it.  It's just strange.

This week Hermana Lovell called me and asked if I was up for a two-day mini cambio with her.  Thursday afternoon, all day Friday, and then switch back Saturday morning.  I said I totally was!  She is going home in two weeks :( and so I was really glad to get a chance to do one more "mini" cambio with her.  She came to Hualqui and we had a great old time.  I always have so much fun with her, and she is an amazing missionary and really knows how to make you feel good about yourself (I think I have probably said that before).  She isn't trunky, but she is getting a little bit more loose-cannony as her departure date draws near.  It's funny.  She takes pictures of some pretty strange things, but how else is she going to be able to remember what Chile was really like?  On Saturday morning before we left we spent a few minutes doing a photo shoot of her in my huasa dress, since she doesn't have one.  It was great.

Sunday was the day of the elections, so we only had sacrament meeting.  That was kind of strange for us as missionaries.  But we used some of our "extra" time to make peanut butter cookies with mini M&M's and took some with us to the family giving us lunch.  We found out today that our favorite for Senator, Navarro, WON!  WAHOO!!!!!!  The President still isn't decided, but it has been narrowed down to two candidates (Michelle and Evelyn) and there will be a second round of elections in December, if I understand correctly.  This is my second Presidential election on the mission - the first in November of last year, when Obama was re-elected, and then this one.  It was interesting to see the differences.

Today some of our friends from the ward, Carlos and Maria Graciela, took us out to lunch.  It was awesome.  They are so good to us.  This ward is really amazing, and especially the members who work with us in the obra misional.  And Maria Graciela is one of my favorite people ever.  We normally aren't allowed to go to the mall, but they wanted to take us to a certain restaurant that is part of one of the malls here, so I called President and asked him if it was okay, and he said that it was.  But of course no shopping allowed!  There was one moment where I wished I could have gone shopping - there is a Gap in that mall.  But really I would have been more tempted just to go in and feel the Gap feeling and smell the Gap smell and unfold and refold some Gap clothes.  I know that doesn't sound very fun to any of you, but I worked at Old Navy for three years, so it would feel like home to me.

As fate would have it, several of my companions have been seriously under-educated in the film department.  If I quote something or am reminded of something I am often surprised by what they don't recognize.  It was really bad with Hermana Lyons.  Her movie list is so long.  Hermana Haymond's is shorter, but mostly because she just has different taste.  Isn't funny how Heavenly Father works?  They needed some serious film education, and so He gave them to me as companions so that I could help them out when we all run out of missionary time.  I knew I had this special "gift" of cinema madness for a reason!

Also today we went shopping at Líder (WalMart) instead of Jumbo and we got some American peanut butter and some more garlic pills (anti-flea!), so that was great.

All in all it has been another crazy but good week here in Hualqui and in the Misión Chile Concepción (the best mission in the world!).

How are we all doing on our Book of Mormon reading?  I am not necessarily getting BETTER at reading in Spanish, but I am still doing it!  Oh sea, reading in Spanish and pronouncing the words and stuff isn't that hard for me.  I just don't always get anything out of it....  But even if you are in my same boat, KEEP GOING!  The Lord will bless you for your efforts, even if you struggle to understand sometimes.  I know that I have seen that on the mission many times.

Well, it's time to go now.  I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Hermana B


This week was Halloween.  How much does that day rock?  I was Hermione.  Again.  Third year in a row, but as a missionary you have to accept that your Halloween costume choices are going to be pretty limited.  Though I did have a chocolate frog and the most amazing wand that Hermana Lyons and I found on the ground about two months ago.  I got pictures.  Hermana Lyons made an awesome costume out of a Post-it and her placa.  She was Hermana "Frandsen."  It will make more sense when you see the pictures.

So Halloween does exist in Chile, but it is kind of a newer thing, so not everyone celebrates it and a lot of people are frankly scared of it.  Several people asked us if it was true that Halloween is the devil's birthday and there were some religious groups hanging fliers up everywhere which warned people about the dangers of Halloween and invited them to come to church instead.  What a bummer.  Halloween has always been like my second-favorite holiday (Those of you viewers at home who guessed "birthday" as my favorite holiday just got TEN POINTS!), so I was just a little bummed that my Chilean friends were so wary of it.  But the Primary threw "The first annual spring party of the Hualqui ward," and it was a hit.

Then the day after Halloween was Day of the Dead or "All Saint's Day" or I don't know what they really call it here because I don't have a real Chilean calendar, but it was a holiday similar to Memorial Day and the cemetery (just about a block from our house and set in a little "valley" so you can see like all of it at once) was brimming with people.  And right outside the cemetery?  Brilliant entrepreneuers selling churros filled with manjar (totally overpriced or I would have bought one), those water-gun looky thingies that actually make bubbles, mote con huesillo, and flowers.  And baskets to put the flowers in.  Seriously, they are so smart.  Anyone who lived within a one-block radius had turned their house into a completo restaurant.  Next Memorial Day I'm totally setting up a snow cone stand right outside the local cemetery.  It's genius.  I'd sell mote con huesillo but I have a feeling it wouldn't be quite as popular as snow cones back in the states....  Bummer.

One day we counted all the dogs we saw.  169.  Just in case you were wondering.

And to finalize this lovely fall report (or spring if you are in Chile where the seasons are backward), today we had cambios.  Guess what?  I am going to be companions with yet another one of my "granddaughters!"  Totally weird, but I am staying in Hualqui and going to be finishing the training of the lovely Hermana Haymond!  Sad news.  No more Hermana Lyons.  She is going to Coihueco (super campo sector in my first zone in Chillán) to open a new sector with Hermana De Leon.  How funny is it that Hermana "Lions" and Hermana "Of Lions" are going to be companions?  We're totally cracking up over it.  Also they are separating me from the beloved Hermana Frandsen.  She got transferred back to Chillán (well, to Bulnes, but it is in the same zone as Lib so she'll see quite a bit of Chillán at any rate), is opening a sector, training, and she got made a sister training leader.  She's a bit overwhelmed, but I know she'll be great.  Also I will get less fat because nobody will sabotage my diet with homemade bread and Nutella cookies.  This week I'll eat so many vegetables.  I hear Hermana Haymond really likes them.

I am super sad to be losing two of the most awesome people in the world all in one day.  But I know Hermana Haymond will be a great companion.  And I love training.  You get extra time to do practices in companionship study and extra language study time.  I could use both of those things, and this is my fourth "hija," (Who is also my "nieta" since she was trained last cambio by Hermana Morán.  That "I'm My Own Grandpa" song is finally starting to make sense to me!) so you'd think I'd have some of those things figured out a little by now, but no such luck!

Something else.  When I was in the office today I saw a stack of manuals for the new missionaries coming tomorrow, but they were a different color from the "First Twelve Weeks" manual that I have been used to having, so I went over to check it out.  Turns out it's called "Adjusting to Missionary Life."  Wish they'd had that a year ago.  Maybe I'd be a little more well-adjusted....  Hahaha.  :)  Also now that I have long finished my training (and trained more than once) they have finally finished the "Stress Management" portion of the online training segments and come out with a "Twelve Weeks" manual for the trainer.  I am so ahead of/behind the curve on this whole new wave of missionary work thing.

Another thing.  Blonde jokes don't translate that well into Spanish, at least in Chile, because anyone who doesn't have black hair is "rubia" or "blonde."  It is very difficult to try to explain that when we say "rubia" in the joke, we refer to someone with hair the color of Hermana Frandsen's, not mine.  And as I tried to relate a blonde joke this week while we waited for lunch to start, I may or may not have (I did.) "inadvertently" told a little Chilean boy that blondes don't have a "cerebro."  Oops.  Hermana Frandsen may or may not have been (she was) a little upset with me for that one.

Here is the English translation of one of my favorite Spanish jokes.  Hope you haven't already heard it:

Why couldn't the Lamanites eat dinner?

Because the Nephites had the plates!!!!  :D

Okay folks, that's really all I have time for for now.  Love you all lots!

Your commitment this week may or may not be (it is) to keep reading the Book of Mormon EVERY DAY.  And report back!

Have the most fantastic of weeks!



Monday, November 4, 2013

Penco and Politics

Hello Family, Friends, and Devotees,

This week was pretty much boring.  Nothing all that exciting happened.  Talking the week over with Hermana Lyons, we came up with basically one thing:  Navarro.

For those of you not "in the know," Chile will be holding presidential elections on November 17th.  This means that there are campaign posters, billboards, flyers, calendars (we collect these because they are actually useful), and every other kind of paraphernelia everywhere on the streets around here - and have been for months.

Though we have basically no opportunity to actually learn anything about the different candidates since we don't watch the news or anything like that - and none of us are Chilean so we don't know that much about the government here anyway - we have gotten to know the candidates just by seeing their advertising.

There are two main candidates for President that we see on a daily basis - Michelle and Evelyn.  And each of them has their "entourage" of people who are running for different positions in the same party.  We have been especially "impressed" by Navarro, who is running for Senador along with Michelle Bachelet for Presidenta.  Mostly he is our favorite because he is seriously the least photogenic person we have ever seen.  He has pretty good hair, but his eyes always have this scared "deer in the headlights" look in every single campaign photo.  He has become like a beloved mascot for the Hualqui hermanas.  It is a common thing for us to pick up Navarro paraphernelia off the street and turn it into greeting cards for the other hermanas.

This week I got sent to Penco for another mini-cambio, but this time I was with the trainee and Hermana Morán went to Hualqui to be with Hermana Lyons for a day.  Anyway, while I was at lunch that day with Hermana Haymond (Awesome.  From Utah.  Went to Utah State for a year and studied voice.), we got to talking politics with the family.  Just technical questions, mostly, about how the election works and things like that.  For example, if a President won the last election, they cannot immediately run again, but they have to wait at least one term and then if they want to run again they can (Michelle Bachelet was the Presidenta before Piñera who is in now).  Also, this election they are going to be voting for President, Senador, Diputado, and like Executive Commissioner or something like that.  It is new for them to vote for Executive Commissioner, it is usually a position that is filled by the President.

Anyway, so while we were talking about this, do you know what I found out?  That Navarro lives in Penco, and that this family where we were eating lunch actually knows him!!!!  I was so excited.  I tried to get them to give him to me as a reference but they said that we wouldn't be allowed in.  I did encourage them to invite him over for a family night or something like that.  They said they are unsure he has the time....  Such little faith.  Hermana Bowns and I totally taught the ex-mayor of Chillán a couple times.  That was cool.  So I know it is possible to teach political figures.  Kind of.

Anyway, that Navarro thing was pretty much the most exciting thing that happened to me all week.  That and how they changed the location of our district class so that we could walk past the political rally being held a couple blocks away from the chapel.  Michelle was supposedly there.  We hoped Navarro would be too, but unfortunately we didn't see either of them.  And I was dressed all presidential too, with a blazer and everything.  Bummer.

Also I made Hermana Frandsen the best Navarro card ever when I found one of his pamphlets on the street that had his baby picture in it.  It was an incredible find.

Anyway, that's a pretty thorough report of my week.

Except to say that I was studying from Preach My Gospel about Christlike attributes, and I really liked what I studied about hope.  There is a scripture that I love, which is in Ether 12:4.  It reads: "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."  So basically, the hope that we have in obtaining a "better world" (i.e., the celestial kingdom), is what impels us to have faith and to be obedient to the commandments of God.  I am trying to infuse my life with a little bit more of that hope, so that I can be more faithful and more obedient and more happy and help more people to acheive that as well.

I encourage each of you to look to the Savior with hope and faith and confide in Him, so that you can have the strength to do the things that you need to do.

How are we doing with the reading????  KEEP DOING IT - EVERY DAY!!!!!!!

Love you all.  Talk to you next week.  :)



Mini-Cambios and a Movie

Wow.  Another week gone.  Weird.

On Wednesday Hermana Frandsen and I both headed over to Penco (her old sector, Crav) for a mini-cambio.  We have two sister training leaders that live in that house and so we got to go together.  It was fun.  I spent the day with Hermana Chavez, who is just plain awesome.  Also she goes to Utah State, so we talked about Logan a lot.  She said she hadn't been sure if she was going to go back there or not after the mission, but after we talked about how awesome Logan is for a while she was pretty much ready to go back.  Yay!  Go Aggies!

Being in Penco was good.  There are a lot of hills there - which is really common in those sectors closer to the ocean, I just have never served in one.  All my sectors have been really flat.  Anyway, we didn't have to climb too many hills because we stayed in this one neighborhood up at the top of a hill for most of the afternoon.  But at one point we did have to go up this crazy long, steep staircase which put us out of breath for a few minutes after we got into the investigator's house.  But it reminded us of Old Main, of course.  Maybe a bit steeper but not quite as long.

Speaking of Universities, something I learned this week is that the mascot at BYU is named Cosmo.  (This is probably not news to many of you, but I sure didn't know.  Why would I?)  Hermana Frandsen was telling me this story about her biology teacher who, when he was a little kid, woke up one morning and saw a cougar underneath his neighbor's car.  Understandably, he was alarmed and he told his parents.  So his dad went to go get his shotgun before it ate their neighbor (or anyone else) and in the meantime their neighbor came outside (a really old lady, from what I understand), saw the cougar under the car and went and grabbed it by the neck and dragged it out from under the car while she chastised it.  Turns out it was "the" Cosmo.  She was babysitting it or something.  Anyway, I tell you all this story for a couple of reasons.  One, because I wanted to give some context to it when I say that I don't think Cosmo is a very good name for a mascot, especially not one that is a Cougar.  Two, because this story represents a great achievement in Hermana Frandsen's ability to communicate with Chileans.  She said that she told this story the other day all in Spanish and that everyone was listening and thought it was hilarious.  In other words, she's pretty much fluent in Spanish now.  But now that we are talking about this here in the ciber, turns out she used the wrong word for "neck," calling it "coigo" or something instead of "cuello."  So on second thought, she says maybe that's why everyone laughed....  Anyway, she is telling me this story and she says, "Turns out it was COSMO under the car.  The REAL Cosmo."  And she's all excited about it.  And I am like, "Who is Cosmo?"  (Honestly, should I really be expected to know the name of a rival college's mascot?  I knew they were cougars, can't that be enough?)  And then she tells me that Cosmo is the name of BYU's mascot.  Well, I told her I thought that was a terrible name for a mascot and then we spent a few minutes discussing all the different mascot names from all our schools.  When I said our mascot was named Big Blue, she was like, "What is that?  An ox?"  Oh my goodness.  An ox.  Anyway, maybe Big Blue isn't the best name ever, but at least it isn't Cosmo.  I mean, does BYU think their cougar mascot lives in outer space?  Maybe I'd be on board with the name if Cosmo started wearing a space suit....  At least Big Blue is big and blue.  Also I am certain he looks so much cooler doing gymnastics on the sidelines than somebody in a cougar costume ever could, no matter what Hermana Frandsen says.

Anyway, so that's what we talked about one morning this week while we were doing our exercises.  Sorry about that weird tangent.

The only other really important thing that happened this week was that we had a ward activity on Friday.  We had been planning it forever and we were stressed that it might not actually come through, but it did!  And it was awesome.  We set up the gym like a movie theater and this guy in our ward who owns a popcorn cart came and made us all popcorn (SO MUCH popcorn).  We had a series of Mormon Messages and I'm a Mormon videos as "previews" and then we watched Earthly Father, Heavenly Father as our message.  And then we watched Tangled.  It was awesome and we based the whole thing on eternal families and being children of God.  We were so happy that it went well and there were tons of people there.  Our ward missionaries had even completed their job of inviting lots of menos activos and investigators.  It was awesome.

Anyway, that's all I have for now.  Except to tell you all to KEEP READING!

Lovelovelove you all.  Have a great week!