I left the CCM at 7:00pm on Monday night and didn't get to the mission home until 2:30pm the next day. I was so tired because I hadn't really slept in more than 24 hours but that went away as soon as we got off the last plane.
We went straight to the mission home and had a lovely dinner with president Bluth and his wife. They really are the sweetest! We went around the table and all the newbies introduced themselves. I was so nervous because in Mexico, I could get the gist of what most people are saying. When I first arrived in Chile..... I'm going to quote The Best Two Years....."Elder, that's not the language they taught me in the CCM!" Everyone here talks SUPER fast and cuts off their words! They also use the vosotros form (not common or taught in high schools) and add "po" at the end of some of their sentences. For example, when they ask how you're doing they say, "Como estei-po?"
Heavenly Father has really blessed me though. In less than a week, I'm able to get the basic idea of conversations and make small talk. My mom (trainer) is really good too. She helps translate for me but doesn't do it in english. She'll just say it using simpler words so I'm constantly learning and improving. I just want to understand and be able to speak so I can help these amazing people!
My blonde hair has been helping us get contactos! It's pretty funny. A lot of people want to talk to us because of it.
BTW - my trainer's name is Hermana Rimmash. She's from Utah and I'm her first daughter!("mom" and "daughter" are the terms they use when a more experienced trainer whose been out in the mission longer, trains a newbie who just came out) She's been out for about 4 months but her Spanish is really good! She started her mission in a costal town called "Lota"
I'm currently in a little rural town called "Curacautin" about 4 hours by bus south of Concepcion. It is SO beautiful! They town is right next to a couple volcanoes and I can see the snow capped peaks of one of them right outside of our apartment window! There are apparently hot springs a couple kms from here. If I have time after my mission, I really want to visit them. The landscape is a lot like Canada actually. They flora and fawna is almost identical. In fact, in this area of Chile, it's practically one big tree farm. They plant trees, let them grow for about 15-20 years and then harvest them for pulp and wood products.
There are a set of Elders here too. One is from Argentina and the other is from Columbia. None of them know how to cook, including my companion, so I'm going to cook a big meal for everyone on the 25th.
I love being here! I love the culture, I love the people! I had no idea I could come to love complete strangers but I do! I just want to help all of them receive happiness in this life and the next! The other day we were making contacts around a neighbourhood. It was kind of depressing because we had had no luck. We were tired and downtrodden but I was fervently praying in my heart that we would be able to find a beautiful family. On the very last door we knocked on, a man opened the door. At first I was a little leery because a lot of the men here don't like us for some reason. Anyways, he ended up being a really nice guy and invited us in to talk to his family. What a beautiful family! They didn't have much but there was so much love between them! The wife was very intuitive and asked a lot of good questions. It turns out that they had a son too but he passed away when he was very young. My heart went out to them! I bore my testimony of how families can be together forever and did my best to comfort them. We left them with The Plan of Happiness and asked them to pray about it's truthfulness. Were going back on the 24th to talk some more to them. I want to share the happiness this gospel brings to my life with them!
Sunday was great. I introduced myself and shared a little spiritual thought with the members. I don't know if they understood but it's all good! Our branch is small here. There's about 25 people in it. They members are super nice! We're going to be having a Fiesta de Navidad on Tuesday. I can't wait to taste some Chilean food and experience Christmas here! We don't get many dinner invitations because there aren't many members.
So I won't be able to send anymore pictures this week until I buy a new uploading cable. I forgot it :(. So sorry! I'll send a lot next week!
Lots of love! Feliz Navidad everyone!
Some pictures of Curacautin and area from Google images because she can't send any this week! A teaser of the beautiful landscape...