Monday, December 28, 2009

Third Cambio - Third Companion!!

   Haha, so yes, cambios are upon us again and I am with another new companion. But I shall elaborate more later. I got lots to say this email and I think it should be a good one, got some pretty entertaining stuff to say. But anyway, this week...

   Ok, so Tuesday we had our Mission Christmas activity. Twas lots of fun and very interesting. We started off by playing lots of sports, then after hours of that we went and had a buffet for lunch in one of the chapels, then we had a christmas deviotional from President Laycock, and ended off the day with a movie! We watched the original Christmas Carol. It was good. I really enjoyed the day though. Got to catch up with some other guys in the Mission, like Elder Erickson (my MTC comp) and Elder Walters (BYU friend), and Elder Hastings (Trainer). Heard some good news from Elder Hastings. Remeber the family we baptized back when I was in Puente Alto 2? The familia Rocco Perez. We baptized the parents first then the two daughters at the end of the change. Well it turns out that Elder Hastings got to baptize the other daughter, Maria Jose, and the Grandma now has a date to be baptized. How cool is that? So that was some good news to hear. Twas fun catching up with everyone about how things have gone and stuff.
   So then the week went on normal, actually, far from normal-haha. Of course we were all focussed on the Christmas phone call that was coming haha. So that was Friday and it was super good to talk to you guys. I was surprised that the whole family was there! But it was very good and I'm glad I had the chance to talk to you all. And it didn't make me too trunky either, which is good. Trunkee is the emotional state of wanting to go home. Its a made-up word that all missionaries use haha, even the latino ones. Elder Evans said that he got kinda trunky cuz all his family was just talking about how he was going home in 6 months. Don't do that to me when that time comes haha. But yeah, that was Christmas. It was pretty good!
    So then the week continued. We really weren't even feeling like cambios were coming until Sunday night, cuz we were preoccupied all week with the Christmas phone call. But yeah. Sunday. Juan Jose got baptized! He has been the most ready of anyone I have baptized. He was in his baptismal interview for like 7 mins. He is so cool and knew absolutely everything we taught him. He was definitely a blessing and miracle that we got to see at the end of the change. An investigator of gold as they say, cuz he was taught and baptized in three weeks, the shortest amount of time possible. So cool! I have some pictures. But the service was super good and super spiritual. Juan goes to church with his grandma, Carmen, because she is the only member out of the whole family, but for the baptism his whole family came. And, even better, was that they definitely felt something. After the baptism, the mom came up and thanked us and said the next time we come by that she would be there to listen to us. So now we might even have more investigators with his family. The blessings that were given to us at the end of this change are crazy. Church is true and blesses peoples´ lives!
   So then sunday night. Cambios. We were all kinda dreading them. Cuz it's not fun haha. Like, Elder Evans and Elder Sáenz have both been in the ward for four and a half months, so they were kinda expected to leave. I didn't want to go myself, cuz we have some cool investigators, and also cuz I didn't wanna pack(its a HUGE hassle). But I also didn't want Elder Evans to go, cuz that would mean that I would have to lead the sector for a time by myself with my new comp cuz I know the families, investigartors, streets, etc, and all that responsibility would be mine. And sure enough, the call came, and Elder Evans, se va, Elder Mayberry, se queda. So Elder Evans was leaving, I was staying. Both the other Elders in the sector are staying too. So that's pretty sad, my mom has left.(Mom cuz he's my second companion). So he had to pack his bags and leave.
   So this morning we headed to the place where we were meeting and waited for the changes. Elder Evans went to another zone and is now the zone leader there haha, something he didn't expect. And now I have a new companion, named Elder Frost. Turns out he was Elder Evans´s companion in the MTC haha. Pretty cool. But I like him, he´s a pretty funny guy. Now we just gotta see how we work together and stuff. But he´s from Orem, Utah. Like 5 mins from Provo. But he´s a good guy. I feel like it should be a fun change, with lots of success if everything goes right. Oh yeah, we got a different guy in our pension, Elder Salinas, he´s from the far distant land of Whittier.....HA. What a coincidence. Crazy. He went to La Habra high.
   But yeah, that was the week, and also the change. It was a super good change and I learned a TON from Elder Evans. Should be exciting, this upcoming change. We have lots of potentials that we are teaching. I shall let you know as we progress in this aspect. But yup. That's about all I got for the serious buisness of this email. Now for some fun stuff.
   So. From being in Chile for almost three months now, I have come to a conclusion about the Chilean people. They are weird and stupid. Like seriously. They do some really weird and stupid things. So I thought I´d compile just a small fraction of some of the things I have witnessed and put them in a nice little list for you guys, so you can have an idea of who I am living amongst. Here we go...
   -Chileans like to do stupid things really early in life. For example, it is not rare at all to see a 14 year old pregnant, or a 10 year old smoking a cigarrete on the street. (An interesting statistic is that about 40% of the girls in high school are pregnant or have already had a kid).
   -It is not rare to see a baby drinking soda from a bottle. Normally its coke.
   -Chileans love to take care of their gardens. By gardens, I mean dirt. Like literally, the dirt. They enjoy watering their dirt and occasionally sweeping it when it gets too dusty and dirty......No joke, this actually happens. And they arent trying to grow anything either.
   -Chileans don't think about consequences when they do things. (Re-read fact 1 haha) But this also applies to building. I refer to the attached picture of the house. Notice the addition on the side of the house. Notice how the ONLY thing holding it up is that wall. That wall is also a little crooked.
-Dogs. They are basically Chileans. Theres just as many here anyway. Look at the pictures.
   So yeah, love you all hope you all had a super good Christmas. You're always in my thoughts and prayers. Til next time!
Love,  Elder Aaron Mayberry
P.S. Pictures:

1.The four elders of the sector, me, Elder Evans, Elder Saenz and Elder Devitry
2. Us and JuanJose. 
3. Us, Juan Jose, and his family

4. The Chilean house

5. Chilean dogs

6.Chilean dogs running

Monday, December 21, 2009

Elder Aaron's Christmas letter!

Hello Everyone!

   Its that time of year again, Christmas time! How exciting it is. Me and Elder Evans are in the spirit and have been wearing christmas themed ties a lot recently. Especially the musical ones that I got. I wear one and he wears the other and we just dominate the streets of Santiago with Christmas music, even though people look at us weird sometimes haha. The members absolutely love these ties though. Its pretty funny how entertained they are by something not too exciting. Thats just how chileans are though.
   Ok, so the subject of the email. So the elections aren't actually over. I thought that Piñera won. He did get the most percentage. But there were 4 candidates running, and piñera got like 44% And Chilean law states that a person must have over 50% to win. So they have to do elections all over again on the 17th of January. But only the top two guys are going at it now, Piñera and Frei. So then there shall be an actual winner.

Anyway, about me and the life of a missionary...
   This week was pretty good. Actually a little more than pretty good. We had some nice things happen. So last Saturday, I forget if I told you or not, but we found this kid named Juan Jose. Hes 11 and the grandson of a woman who goes to church every week. We kinda found him by chance and asked if he wanted to watch a movie with us. We watched and then invited him to church the next day (last sunday). He came. Then we went over and taught him the first lesson on Wednesday, and put a baptismal date, asking, if you are ready and knew the church was true would you be baptized the 27th? He said yeah, and agreed to read 3 Nephi 11 and pray about it. We set up a return appointment for the next day. We come back, and, whatdyaknow, he read the part three times and prayed and felt good about it. Investagator of gold! Haha, a nice little present from heaven, that we received at the very end of the change. So that is pretty darn cool. He is definitely getting baptized the 27th and we´ve taught him all the lessons already. So that was so cool. All our hard work in the beginning of the change has been returned to us with this nice little blessing.
   In other investigator news.....Alexis is still going strong. We´ve taught him everything now. He knows that it's a big decision to make in his life though and has already committed to keeping the word of wisdom and tithing when he gets baptized. He just still is a little lacking in something. He might get baptized this Sunday, the 27th, he might not. Just depends on if he feels good about it. He realizes that its a huge decision to make and for this he is a little hesitant. I'm positive that he will get baptized, it just might be a little later than we thought. But hes still good.
A dog has just entered into the internet cafe. And no one even gives it a second thought. We are in Chile.
   I don't know if I ever told you abotu María Zuñiga? The super old woman we´ve been teaching? Well she's about 70. Maybe older. You just can't tell here in chile cuz when people get older here it shows, like a lot more than in the States. Well we´ve been teaching her for a while. And she never went to church cuz she is SUPER stubborn and employs one of Chile´s favorite phrases of all time every time we ask her.....Si Dios quiere (if God wants). Well she finally went to church yesterday! So that's super cool. Also a neat coincidence, the grandma of Juan Jose is in the same little group of old people that take little vacations, so she already has a friend in the church! So she could be a potential baptism next change, assuming I stay though. I honestly don't know what'll happen cuz of what happened last change.
    So yeah, those are our investigators. We´ve just been teaching them a lot during the week. Oh yeah, on Wednesday we did divisions again, but I got to stay in the sector and lead it. I was a little nervous at first but it all turned out good. We had good lessons and everything and I didn't get lost or anything lol. I was with Elder Zarate, from Peru. I like being with latin comps, gives me a nice chance to practice my Spanish more, cuz the temptation to speak English while with another gringo is almost impossible to resist.
   Lemme tell you about lunch yesterday. It was with a guy from the stake high council, and he drove us to his house. It was like we took a transporter from Chile to the United States. He lives in a like community of houses, like the ones you see in the states. He has a backyard with grass(weird here) a huge house, and a pool in the backyard.......that is unheard of here. Kids are lucky if they go swsimming in a real swimming pool once a year here. They just unscrew the fire hydrants when they get hot here and stand in front of it. It's quite a sight. But back to this house, it was so cool! I felt like I was in the States again. And then for fun, one of the other elders, Elder Devitry, asked the kids if they spoke english....sure enough they did. They go to a school where they only speak English, and very little Spanish. How cool is that? So the daughters speak pretty good english. Twas funny. Very interesting lunch.
   Hmmm, so what else interesting this week. Oh, theres a Christmas feria in town and I bought a nice fake jersey from one of the Chilean teams and another shirt. That's kinda interesting I guess. Oh, and a pretty funny thing happened at lunch today, which was taco bell haha (not bad, but definitely not the same as the US. Especiazlly cuz the only side they sell is french fries covered in nacho cheese sauce) So we were talking at lunch, me, Elder Evans, Elder Devitry and Elder Saenz(mexicano) Elder Saenz understands English perfectly and speaks really well too, just has a little bit of an accent. Anyway, Elder Saenz was telling us a story in English, then switched over to Spanish halfway through. But the funny thing is is that no one noticed that he did it until after, cuz we all just understood either way. Then I was like, he switched from English to Spanish, did you notice? And no one did. Just a pretty cool thing, when you dont even realize that someone is speaking a different language cuz you understand it just the same.
   But yeah, that's about all I got for now. I can't believe it's the last change of this week already! Thats crazy! And its Christmas on Friday! And I get to call home?!?!?! How exciting of a time it is. Church is true, excited to talk to you all on Christmas! Love you all!

Feliz Navidad!
Elder Aaron Mayberry

Monday, December 14, 2009

Elections in Chile!

   So this week was election week here in Chile. For the president. Twas pretty interesting, but I shall get to that a little later.

   The week started off pretty amazingly. We had conference of the zones in the north of the Mission. That's when we get to listen to President Laycock speak to us. But we had a special treat this time. Elder Amado from the Quorum of the Seventy came and spoke to us. He's the Area President here in Chile. And it was super good. He's a great speaker. He spoke to us for a pretty long time. We got there at 9 and President Laycock and his wife spoke, for probably a grand total of 45 mins then handed it off to Elder Amado, who spoke until lunch at 1. Then we resumed with him after lunch at 2:30 until 4:00. So we got about 5 hours of this General Authority and it was very worth it. He talked a lot about the Savior because of the upcoming Christmas season and it was really cool. Put a whole new view on the idea of Christmas and why we celebrate it.
   So then the week went on and we have seen some progress with some investigators. Alexis is still a stud. We had an amazing lesson with him with a member family. Well not quite member family. Investigator family haha. The family Mansor is their name. They have been investagating the church for the past 6 years! But we basically count them as members cuz they're some of the most faithful in the ward. The only reason they haven't got baptized is because the mom and dad aren't married and can't get married until the dad gets officially divorced from his ex-wife. Which is a whole other story here in Chile. Gimme a second and I'll explain- haha. But the dad is working on the papers and once they get officially divorced they can get married and then baptized. It'll be really cool when that happens, whenever it does. They're an amazing family. They have two twin daughters who are 12. They look pretty similar. But that whole family is super funny and we play jokes and make fun of each other every time we see them, just cuz that's the kind of people they are. But that lesson went super good with Alexis. He really benefitted from talking and hearing the testimonies of normal people, normal converts, not just two young gringos in weird clothes. So he said after that lesson that he was going to get serious about getting ready for a Baptism and praying and stuff so that's real exciting!
   About the whole divorcing thing in Chile. It is actually a GIGANTIC obstacle we have as Missionaries. Because in order to be baptized, the investigator needs to be married to his or her significant other. But here in Chile, it takes a LOOOONG time to get divorced. Like it's a huge hassle. So the people don't even bother getting married in the first place cuz they don't want to have to go through with the divorce process if the relationship fails. So basically no one is married here and everyone has kids and is living together haha. Makes it a little more difficult for us. Culture is so different here.
   Sorry about that little side note. Back to the week. So nothing too exciting happened here until Sunday. Sunday was a pretty weird day. It was presidential election day here in Chile. And they've got some weird laws here. First off, if you're registered to vote, its mandatory that you do so. Like you HAVE to haha. And another weird thing is that they are segregated. Women go to one place and men to another. Don't ask me why, Chileans are just weird like that. But yeah, they voted for president yesterday. The president has a four year term here, too. And a man named Sebastián Piñera won. I dunno his stances on anything but he's from the right. Oh yeah, another interesting thing is that on election day, people can't officially meet together for more than an hour, so church was only an hour long. And I gave a talk haha. It went alright I think. There was fewer members than normal though, only 47. As opposed to the normal 70-80. I was expecting like 10-20 yesterday though haha.
   So yup, that was my week. It's getting pretty exciting as we near the Christmas season. Everyone here is putting up their trees and decorating their houses. One interesting thing is that with their nativity scene, the people here don't put Jesus in until midnight on the night of the 24th, signifying that Jesus came the 25th. Pretty cool tradition if you ask me. But yeah, this holiday season remember the real reason why we celebrate Christmas. Contrary to popular opinion it isn't because Christ was born, but it's for all the PRESENTS!!!!! Just kidding. Remember Christ this Christmas season. Why do we even celebrate Christs birth? Why is it important in our lives? Because Jesus Christ means everything to us. He suffered for our sins. He made it possible for us to return to the prescence of our Heavenly Father one day. As Elder Amado put it, He did the thing that none of us could do for ourselves, He attoned for the sins of every person that is living, has lived, or will live. Christ dwelt with God before this life, and He was born so that he could come down to our level, the level of human beings, and then carry us back up to the presence of the Father. This is why Christ's birth is such a significant event. Because He is our Savior and Redeemer. So remember that fact this Christmas season, remember our Savior Jesus Christ and all that he has done for us. I love you all and hope you are all having an amazing time and finding success in all of your endeavours. You are always in my prayers. The Church is true.

Elder Aaron Mayberry

Monday, December 7, 2009

El Valle is pretty exciting.

Hello everyone!
  Things have been changing here in El Valle and its pretty exciting. I don't have that much to write about this week, just a couple of things that happened and whatnot. So I'll start in the beginning of the week.

  So monday was p-day last week and we bought some decorations for Christmas. We bought a tree and some lights and got that all set up in our room. Looks pretty good. And my comp got a package a little ago with some artificial snow so we put that and our presents around the tree. Looks really good. And he also got in his package some cowboys and indians toys, so obviously we had to make an amazing snow battle in front of the christmas tree :D.  Turned out pretty good. Just goes to show that we´re still young at heart and normal here on the mission. We like goof off at the appropriate times- haha.

  So the week went on and we had some great success finding investigators and teaching them. We have found a lot and taught a lot this week. But we´ve got our main group of Alexis (he owns a completo stand), Maria Zuniga (shes a very old woman), and the family consisting of Erika (mom), Constanza (daughter) and Martín (son). They're all pretty good. We had some amazing lessons with the family of Erika and brought some cool members with us and it made the lesson super good. All of these people had Baptismal dates for the 20th. The 20th is a stake activity called Blanca Navidad (White Christmas) where it's gonna be a Stake Baptismal service. It'll be super cool. So we´re trying to get people ready and stuff by then. But all of these people had dates for this day, but some things have changed. I'll explain more later.
  So the week went on, nothing too exciting. Just lots of walking and teaching in the heat. Its been super hot here lately. Summer is coming! It's supposed to get really really hot in january and february. And all the kids are getting our of school for summer break here in a couple weeks. How weird huh? I still can't get used to the backwards seasons.
  On Saturday we had divisions and I went over to the sector of one of the zone leaders and did div's with him. It went pretty good. Nothing too exciting happened though, just did a lot of knocking doors.
  So then Sunday happened. We got to church and only one of our investigators came! Alexis came. Maria said she was sick and the we had a family go and look for the family of Erika before church and Erika told this family that they had made their decision and needed to talk to us. Cuz we asked them to pray and read about the BoM and stuff. They seemed really good but now we don't know. It can't be good though. So we´re gonna pass by them this week and see what happened. So all of church we were pretty disappointed with our turnout. And investigators need to go to church three times in order to get Baptized, so that means the dates were dropped for those 4 people. So right now Alexis is our man. We´re still teaching him and he still has the date for the 20th. We´ll try to get the others a new date for the 27th if possible.

  And now we have today, Monday. This morning we went on a hike as a zone which was pretty cool. We got a nice view of Santiago. I'm sending pictures. But that went well and now we´re here. But before we got here to the internet cafe we went to Jumbo, a grocery store that sometimes has imported American things. But usually they're SUPER expensive. Like 2 dollars per can of soda. But we heard there was a sale so we had to check it out. And sure enough, the mountain dew and dr. pepper were on sale! So I bought 12 mountain dews and 4 dr. peppers. They were only 300 pesos each! Like 75ish cents. Pretty normal price for a can of soda. So that was really cool and I'm looking forward to drinking those. Oh yeah mom, we have made 3 of the cookies that you sent. The first time we tried it was a miserable failure. Horribly burnt peanut butter cookies. I don't even think dad would have liked them. But Saturday we made some good chocolate chip ones and yesterday made another of peanut butter and they turned out a lot better. Hallelujah.
  Well that's about all the week's adventures. Except of course the random conversations with drunk guys that stop us in the street and talk about random things. My comp convinced one that he was from Germany. It was pretty funny. Oh, those crazy drunk guys love talking to us gringos. But all is going super well here. Can't believe I've already been in Chile for 2 months and my mission is one sixth over. Time is really flying. Love you all and hope all of your everyday endeavours are going well. Til next week!

Elder Aaron Mayberry
P.S. Oh yeah, if shant or bret are reading this, Happy Birthday haha

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So this week has been a different one.

Hello Everyone!

  So this week has been a different one. Pretty hard week. But also good. Lemme start off with some stuff I failed to mention last week.
  So there are 4 missionaries in this ward. Its pretty different but I like it a lot. The other missionaries are Elder Saenz from Mexico, and Elder Devitry from Utah. They're both really cool. We have church together and plan activities together and also eat lunch together most times. But we each have our own separate investigators and such.

  So last monday after I emailed you all we recieved some wonderful news by telephone. Our stake president had invited all of us (the zone, 16 missionaries) to his house for a thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday! !! So that was some really exciting news. Turns out he had lived in the States for like 12 years or something, so he knows the holiday and how big it is there so every year he makes a big dinner for all the missionaries. So on Wednesday we went over to his house and his house is in a neighborhood that looks like it is from the States haha. Big houses, all nice looking and stuff, nice lawns and backyards. He has a very nice house. And he had all sorts of Christmas decorations up and stuff so it was really cool. He even had a clothes dryer! Something I haven't seen since I got here haha. But then we ate, and boy did we eat! :) We had turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy. I have no idea where he got gravy, but oh well, I'm not complaining. It was just like the States. Then he brought out cinnamon rolls and root beer for dessert and that just blew everyones minds haha. It was a really cool day. I put some pictures from there in the email. One is of the food and one is of the group of missionaries. I'm in the back next to elder Saenz, the guy from mexico. And Elder Evans is the big white guy in the foreground, you can't miss him, haha.

  So the rest of the week was pretty tough though. The work in this sector is very slow. We have only a couple investigators so we have to knock doors for a couple hours each day. Because of this I have gotten much beetter at knocking doors haha. But it's still hard, because we got rejected almost every time. But we try to keep things interesting. One thing we do is that we have pass along cards and throw them on the porch if they don't answer. But then it gets interesting. We aim to get it under the door or in an open window or stuff like that, and if someone does it the other person has to buy them something. So far no luck though. But it keeps things fun and interesting when we face lots of rejection.
  Me and elder Evans are getting along real good. We are very similar in interests and stuff so we never have a dull moment. And he's also a huge goofball so we have lots of fun, whether it be while prostelyting or in the house. One thing we've gotten into is insense and meditation haha. Bt not like serious meditation. He downloads like meditation music onto his ipod and we listen to it while in bed at night and try to do it to help us sleep, but it never works cuz we just start laughing because most of the time the stuf is really ridiculous. So now we do it just to see how ridiculous it is haha. Today we're gonna go buy a ton of christmas decorations and decorate the whole apartment and our room and stuff. I'll be sure to take pictures and send them next week. It should be good..
  Oh yeah, mom, that book you sent me is pure gold. Me and Elder Evans sound just like real chileans now haha. Theres a lot of cool phrases and stuff that the chileans use that we have implemented into our daily speech and they love it. The chileans think it's hilarious and wonder where we figured these things out. So usually now when we go to lunch or something we say things like "My intestines are crunching me!" or "I'm walking with the long tooth today" which both are sayings to show hunger. Dont ask me where they get them, the chileans are super weird. But it's really helpful and funny if we wanna sound like a Chilean and it really works!

  In terms of our investigators, not much has happened. The family we found that one night of the cosecha has been really hard to get a hold of. But we did get a chance to teach them the second lesson, the plan of Salvation, and they really really liked it. They were super interested and agreed with it and promised to read and pray. They also told us that if they knew that this chuch was true that they would get baptized! So we're shooting for the 20th, cuz they have to go to church 3 weeks first, and they didn't go this week cuz they were out of town. So we're gonna be working hard with them.
  But other than that the sector is pretty dull at the moment. We're workiong hard but just finding not too much success. But we try not to let that get us down. But it doesn't really matter too much, we're trying to the best of our ablility, as hard as we can, and that's all we can do. People have their agency and can choose to listen to us or not.
  Uh huh, thats all I got for now. Until next week! Love you all and miss you and thank you for all the updates and such! Hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving!

Lots of love,
Elder Aaron Mayberry

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Companion, New Sector..

Well it's been a pretty crazy week, I dunno where to start. Well actually I do, I shall begin with this new sector, area, comp, etc.

  So this sector is called El Valle. Basically its dirt poor haha. Well not that poor. Slightly poorer than my last sector. But thats ok, the people are more humble here :) It's not that big of a sector, way smaller than my last one. We rarely ride la micro (the bus) cuz it just doesn't pass much in this sector because its mostly all small streets. We have maybe one or two big streets in the sector, and those are just the borders haha, so we basically walk everywhere. There seem to be more people yelling at us in this sector though haha. Cuz people just hang out in the street cuz they have nothing better to do. So we get a lot more "hello!" or of course the occasional expletive from the stupid teenagers. But what can you do? Our pension isn't in the sector....yet we have to walk like 15/20 mins just to get to the stupid corner of the sector. So that's no fun. But it's exercise, which is always good I guess. But something really cool about the sector is that one of the borders has this wall, that's at least 3 kilometers long, and the week before I came a ton of graffitti artists came and did the WHOLE wall. It's really cool to see. And it's gigantic too haha. But it's the most graffiti on a wall in all of South America. How cool is that!  I'm gonna take some pictures next time so that you guys can see it. I won't be able to get the scope of the whole wall though, cuz its just that huge. One of my favorite pictures on the wall is a cool stormtrooper haha. Pretty cool.

  So Elder Evans is now my companion. He's from Kentucky/Utah. He is also 6 foot 5 and extremely blonde. He sticks out like a sore thumb. I think this has added to the reason why people yell at us so much haha, cuz you just can't miss him. He's got like a year and 3 months or so in the mission. Hes super super good at teaching though, I'm gonna learn a ton from him. Me and him have a lot of the same interests though, so that's good. He's a goofball so this should be a fun change/transfer (I always say change cuz thats the literal translation of the word in spanish, but I believe they're called transfers in english). His name is Aaron too haha. What are the odds? It's really hard to hug him though, like it's awkward cuz he's too tall. Cuz remember that we do the hanshake hug handshake thing, we do that after like we finish comp study or before we leave the pension. Oh yeah, one more thing about the yelling kids haha. Elder Evans likes to reply to them. Well I usually do too if they're near, I'll say like hola to them to show that I can speak spanish and aren't just a dumb gringo. But Elder Evans replys in English and says pretty funny things that they don't understand. Like he's said "Whats up baby!" and also "What time is your name?" He says he's actually heard someone ask him that before in the street. Stupid Chileans haha.
   So this sector. we have some good members. Not too many investigators though. So we do a lot of knocking doors. We find some success but not too much. The houses we get into we rarely find people that will actually keep up with the committments and stuff. So that's no bueno. But we had some pretty cool moments, and I shall share one with you. So Saturdy night it was like 15 minutes before we had to head home. So we decided to do a cosecha (harvest) Basically you just choose a street, go there, choose a house, and try to get in. All with lots of prayer though so you can be guided to the right street / house. So Elder Evans let me do it. I picked the street and we went there. So I chose a house and a man answered the door and then right away, BAM, shut in our face. So we did one more on the same street. We were walking along and I decided to choose a house, that I had already slightly passed. So I yelled at the door and a lady answered and I told her that we were missionaries that were guided by God to her house to offer a prayer in her home. She immediately let us in and said we came at the perfect time becqause a baby, I dunno if it was hers or her in laws´s. who she lives with, was in the hospital. She asked us to pray for the baby and whatever else. So we said the prayer then chatted with her a bit and she seemed really interested and was more than welcome to have us come back. We´re going back tomorrow, so it should be good. But that was a big testimony building experience for me. Just goes to show that the Lord´s hand really is in this work and that we are guided to the people that He has prepared to receive this gospel.
   Funny story now. So we were walking down the street and we heard a woman yelling. We got to where she was and she was banging on a door yelling at her sister to let her in. Meanwhile a man was spraying her with a hose, so she was drenched. Upon seeing this me and Elder Evans decided to go to another street to try and find some inactive emembers. We tried the other street then went back to the one where the screaming lady was. She had stopped banging on the door but she was still there so we decided to turn the other way. But she saw us. And said Hey! Mormons! Come here! Not being stupid, we didn't do as she said haha. We picked up the pace of our walk and went down a different street. But she was still after us! She was screaming Mormons! (Explecitive) Mormons! Then we heard her footsteps go faster and faster til we realized she was running after us!!! What we did to her I haven't the slightest, but she was now chasing us. We were about to run for it when she got stopped by some man who I believe was related to here and told her to stop and leave us alone. So we were safe. We laid low for a while and avoided that area for the rest of that day. Pretty funny stuff though. This sectors crazy! But I like it a lot, cuz my last one was very calm and stuff. Keeps things interesting.

  Anyway that's all I got for today. As I promised there are pictures attatched to this email! Some of the baptism that we had last Sunday of Marcela and Valery and then one of me and my new comp. And also when I left my "dad", Elder Hastings. He's my dad cuz he was my trainer.
  Oh mom, whats the attendence at church on sundays? I'm curious to know.
  Buy yeah, that's all for this week. Love you all a ton! Talk to you next week!
  Just kidding, only 2 fotos :( It was too big to send all the others. But these are the best ones!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cambio!!! Elder Evans.

Hellooo again from amazing Santiago, Chile. Boy do I love it here. I love the Mission so much! It's so much fun and worth while to spread the gospel to all the world. This week sure has been a crazy one. I shall elaborate....

So this week, during the week was nothing too exciting. We were working hard trying to get more inactive and less active people to church. We passed by a lot of the inactive mujeres jovenes (young women) in the ward to try and get them excited and go to church and activities, because we were gonna baptize Marcela, the daughter of Ximena y David, who is 14. So we passed by a lot of them to try and get them to go. We also did a lot of work with our new converts, because that is where Chile is lacking. There are plenty of Baptisms, but then they go inactive right away, so we were trying to prevent that.
   So Friday was Mutual, with young women's and there was a lot that showed up! But two that said they were gonna go didn't show up, but there was still a good turnout and they had a good time and made new friends in the Church, which is what they need to stay active. So that was exciting. Friday night we did a lot of planning with Cesar, our ward mission leader, because we were gonna have a zone activity Saturday. I shall talk about that now.
   So Saturday was our zone activity called a sector slam, basically when the whole zone of Missionaries (18) go to one sector and dominate it; pass by inactives and less actives and knock doors and do street contacts. That turned out super good! All the Missionaries worked hard and found success. We also had some of the hermanos from the ward go out with soe of the Missionaries so that there could be more people. But yeah, it turned our to be a big success and we got lots of references.
  Oh yeah, so Friday during our planning session with Cesar, a guy from the Bishopric asked if us three could give talks cuz he said the other speakers wouldn't be able to make it. Oye, so me and Elder Hastings were up late writing talks.
  So sunday came and we had a higher than average number of people in church, which is good! We had some of the people we had worked with in the week come. And to top it all off, in the morning the guy from the bishopric said that one of us didn't have to give our talk, and guess who was the first to volunteer :D Yup, so I didn't have to give a talk. It felt like a giant weight was off my shoulders. But we did sing a song in Sacrament meeting haha, us three. Me Elder Hastings and Cesar. Who woulda known I would do that. Not even me. We sang called to serve, but the first verse in Spanish and the second and third in English. The ward got a kick out of that haha. Cuz Cesar has pretty decent English so we could do it.
   After church were the baptisms of Marcella and Valery, it was super good. This family is absolutely amazing. They're gonna be extremely faithful members for the rest of their lives I think. The Baptism turned out super good, very spiritual. I got to baptize Valery. Oh yeah, David also got the priesthood on Sunday! What a day for that family!
   After the baptism we went to their house for lunch and to celebrate Valery's birthday at the same time. Chileans are so weird. They have a very strange custom, where they sing happy birthday, the person blows out the candle, then the person has to take a bite out of the cake. Just like stick their whole mouth on it and bite it. And the purpose of it is so that someone can smash their face in the cake....They know its coming but still do it anyway. How weird. But pretty funny. Yup, then we headed back to the pension for the night, awating the call for cambios(transfers) DUM DUM DUM.
   So we all sat by the phone, we all meaning the 4 missionaries in the pension, awating the call. It eventually came at 11:30 at night. And basically it's like American idol or who wants to be a millionaire and the guy says "Elder Hastings........with a big queda (you stay) or se va (you leave) and that's it. So the call came and we got the news. "Elders Braden and Burton, se quedan. Elder Hastings and Elder Mayberry, thank you very much for your hard work and baptisms this cambio. Elder queda, Elder va: Gracias Elders." So that was it. I was leaving! I really really didn't wanna go and we were both sure we were gonna stay. So needless to say I was a little disappointed. Having helped a lot of people and coming to love them and I was gonna leave, not knowing if I'll see them again. So that was disappointing cause I won't be able to see the family Rocco Perez, or other investigators or whatnot. But it's ok. I did what I had to do there and there are people waiting for me here in my new sector. So this morning Elder Hastings and I went to where all the people that were leaving were gonna meet and we met and the Mission President talked to us, Missionaries that were going home bore their testimonies (which was super cool and powerful) and then we received our new assignments. I'm now in the zone La Reina, ward La Valle. Its way north of where I used to be in Puente Alto. My comp is Elder Evans, he's probably like six five or something. He's pretty cool. I think it'll be a good transfer with him.
   So yup, here I am in my new sector. I'm super excited to get to work here, because I know I'm here for a reason. Two scriptures for you guys. 2 Nephi 2:24, which is a good scripture if you wonder why something has happened or something, and Mosiah 2:41.
   Church is so true, I love this work. Its absolutely amazing! I'm so excited to do this for the next year and many months haha.
Lots of love,
Elder Aaron Mayberry
I'll send pictures next time, im out of time now, sorry!

Monday, November 9, 2009

1 month in Chile !!

  I cant believe I've been in Chile for more than a month already...thats absolutely crazy. And we have cambios this Sunday! Transfers is what they're called in English, I was gonna write "changes" cuz thats the literal translation of cambios haha. So thats super exciting. But then again no, I want to stay in this ward and sector. Elder Hastings thinks we´re both gonna stay though, but who knows. He said they basically call you late Sunday night and say, Elder so and so, stay. Elder so and so leaves. Then Monday you head to your new sector. I hope we both get to stay though for at least another cambio.
  I still can't believe that I've been on the Mission for three months though. It's still a long time to think that I have 21 more, but at the pace it's going now I'll be done in no time. It feels like just yesterday I was getting off the plane here!

  Anyway, so this week. It's been another good week. We´ve had lots of lessons, with less actives, investigators, and also with members. Right now we´re working hard with a couple of our investigators with baptismal dates. But more on that in a bit. We had a baptism yesterday! As you've seen in the fotos. Fransico Javier got baptized, which was really cool. His family is really good (well the parents anyway). The parents used to be active but went inactive, but now have strong desires to stay active. So that's very important, because the support of the parents is key with younger converts. The family is amazing though. Whenever we´d go over they would offer us so much to eat and stuff and they really don't have that much to start with, and you can just see the love and another word that I can't think of in English, only in spanish haha. But yeah, you get the point, they're amazing.

  That happens more often than I'd thought already. I can't think of some words, or when I think of a word the spanish word comes into my head first, not english. It's funy, one of the guys in our pension finishes his mission in less than a month, and he struggles speaking english cuz he can't remember what the correct words are. It's also funny because we can't remember the outside world haha. Like someone asked whats the name of a famous actor and none of us could remember for the longest time. Anyway....
  Our main investigadors right now are Valerie and Marcella. They're the 8 and 14 year old daughters of Ximena and David, the parents we baptized on the 25th of october. The girls have a baptismal date for this Sunday. It's been amazing to see the improvement of Marcella. She used to not even listen to us, now she wants to and asks when we´re gonna come teach her. Its really amazing to see the gospel bless families. But yeah, they should be getting baptized this Sunday.
  What else happened this week....Oh yeah. So Friday we had to do a mass cleaning of the pension. That was pretty fun. We (me and Elder Burton, one of the other 2 elders living with us) defrosted the freezer with spoons and scooped all the ice out. And when we did it it was like snow! So we made some snowballs and went upstairs and threw them at Elder Hastings, my comp, as he was cleaning the bathroom. Twas pretty funny. How unexpected of a thing to happen....the middle of spring in Santiago Chile, you're cleaning the bathroom when you suddenly get hit by snowballs! Good times.
  Then friday night we had divisiones(divisions). When two elders swap places for a day. I went over to another ward for the day. We switched Friday night and switched back Saturday night. That was a good experience. I was with a guy from Peru, so I had all spanish all the time. It was interesting. We did lots of walking. I was glad to get back to my comp though, Elder Solis is a little crazy and annoying at times haha.
  Oh yeah, Dad-the shoes are doing great, no problems to report. Just get dirty but nothing shoe polish can't fix. Mom-Before you send my christmas package make sure to put some of those good pens that I like in there, I'm running low.
I bought two new ties from the grocery store today for $4 a piece, what a bargain...they aren't even bad ties!
Now for some random occurrances/observations I've made throughout the week.
 -The weather here is so doesn't know how to make up its mind. One day its amazingly hot and the next its cold. Makes no sense!
  -I got a haircut last p-day for the whopping sum of 1.500 (which is one thousand five hundred, the switch the comma and period remember) pesos, which translates into about $3. And they did a good job! One of the cheaper haircuts of my life. Downside though, I felt very helpless. I can't really tell people how to cut my hair in English so I just kinda let her go and didn't bother to say much to her haha. But it turned out alright.
  -My glasses broke! The ear thingy on the left snapped off the other day. I bought some super glue stuff today and I'm gona try to repair them later today, I shall let you know how that goes next week...
  -Now in the adventures of food:
  -We ate KFC today haha. I had chicken strips (duh) but the strange thing is is that there isn't mashed potatoes. Doesnt make sense to me. KFC implies mashed potatoes in my mind. But the chicken was still very good, tasted the same as KFC in the states. Other weird thing I observed was that you could get your drink as beer. This is the only place I've seen like that so far though haha.
  -So the other day I hit a new high in terms of trying and eating foods. I ate a whole alcachofa (artichoke). Never thought I'd see the day haha.
  Well thats all I got for this week. Me and Elder Hastings are about to head back to the pension and get some well deserved nap time. I'm very excited. I love you all and you're all in my thoughts and prayers. Until next week!
¡Les quiero mucho!
Con mucho amor,
Elder Aaron Mayberry

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween in Chile..

Hello again from amazing Santiago. I really love missionary work. I'm sorry, I don't have that much time to write this week, but I have my notes of what I wanna say so hopefully I'll get everything in I wanna say. It took sometime to read marshalls emails but they were well worth it. Thanks Dad.

  So, this week has been quite crazy. I shall explain why. Firstly we had an activity on Saturday night. And we planned it at like the last minute so it was quite stressful. But it turned out alright. It was a noche de hogar de barrio (Ward family home evening). It went well. There was a lot of little kids running around screaming though, which was quite annoying and frustrating when we were trying to do things. But still turned out alright nonetheless.
  Saturday night was also halloween. Halloween is a very new holiday here, only like 5 years old. They still have trick or treating, but only little kids go. And the funny thing is that no one likes the holiday. Everyone thinks it's some kind of demonic satan worshipping day. So it's not near as popular here. It's pretty funny when we talk about how it's a super big holiday and everyone celebrates, even all the wards have big parties. They're all in shock when we tell them this- haha. They also don't comprehend that people dress up as whatever they want. Here its only like scary things. This adds to people thinking its a witchcraft holiday, people don't realize you can dress up as other things.
   Sunday we had the baptisms of Camila and Christian, the kids of a woman named Rosa, who was baptized like 3 years ago. So that was good. They're 11 and 8, but both have a good knowledge of the gospel and the support of the mom, which is the most important aspect. She's a solo mom, but she has been working on reactivating and in doing so wanted her children to be baptized. Hence, we taught them and baptized them. It was really cool. I'll send some pictures next week because I don't have enough time this week (sorry!!).
   On Sunday also was the confirmations of Ximena and David, who were baptized last sunday. It's always stressful, in this ward at least, cuz there was two people who were baptized and never confirmed. So it's always a fear that they won't come the following Sunday to be confirmed. But we passed by the house Sunday morning to make sure that they were awake, and David answered the door and said that only he was going to go...Ximena was sick. So we left feeling quite discouraged. The only thing we could do was tell them how important it was. David said he was gonna talk to her. But we had faith and prayed and a little before the sacrament they came in and were confirmed! What a relief. But all is well now. We have a family home evening with them after this. We´re gonna play the card game spoons and make fanta floats. They're both things that are super strange to the people here but they love it- haha. We made the fanta floats for the activity and they were a huge hit. They just havent thought of putting soda and ice cream in the same cup. Well now they know.
   We´ve been teaching this family, the family Martinez. They used to be inactive, but the parents decided to reactivate themselves and the family. The youngest son, Fransico Javier is 13 and was never baptized so we´ve been teaching him. He's doing good and has progressed a lot and wants to be baptized. The date is for this Sunday, and I'm pretty sure it's gonna happen. It's amazing how this gospel blesses families and everone and I love seeing it do so here. But the dad in the family reminds me a lot of you, dad. Hes balding, and the last time we saw him he had recently cut his hair and he does the same thing you do, shave it almost all off haha. And he is a mechanic and always smells like grease when we get there cuz he gets home late. And to top it off one night he gave us a ride back to the pension in his work truck which was a super big truck that barely fit in the tiny street. Reminded me of when you used to give us rides in the big trucks :)
   We´re still teaching the daughters of Ximena and David. The youngest turns 8 on the 12th of November so she has a baptismal date for the 15th. And we´re working with the older daughters to get them on the same date. One of the daughters, Marcella, age 14, has made extreme progress this week. She used to have no interest in what we had to say and would stay in her room and chat the whole time, but now she comes down voluntarily when we come over and has attended activities. So that's been really cool to see her progress.
  Well that's all I got for this week. I love this work so much and am so glad to be here in Santiago preaching the gospel! Church is true!
Con mucho amor,
Elder Aaron Mayberry

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What a week!!

Wow, another week has gone by already. It was super fast. This keyboard here is gonna make it hard to type so forgive me for all the typos, the keys are like hard to push and sticky.

  Anyway, what a week! It was super crazy and a little bit stressful with the Baptism on Sunday, like we had to figure out who was gonna do what, what the rest of the service was going to be like, and worry about if they were gonna pass the interview or not (they did-hallelujah), so we had a baptism yesterday and everything was great. I got to Baptize David and my comp Baptized Ximena. It was a really cool experience and super spiritual.

  I was a bit nervous because I have never baptized before but everything went ok, no problems. So the service went good and was amazing. They are going to be amazing members of the church. I've attatched a couple pictures from the baptism for you guys to see. Its truly amazing to be here in Sntiago Chile helping people come unto christ through the restored gospel, and seeing their lives be blessed by doing so. Only the parents got baptized yesterday, but I think the daughters are going to soon, we´re still teaching them. And the parents have already started doing missionary work haha, we´re teaching some of their friends from work, a young couple. We taught them the first lesson yesterday and it went really well. They're super interested in the gospel and had a lot of good questions. They're going over to the families house on Tuesday for family home evening, which we are doing. So yeah. Church is true, Mission is amazing.
  Hmmm, now the rest of the week. We havent been too successful in finding new investigators to teach, other than the young couple I talked about. We´re still teaching some incomplete familys (some members some not, usually the parents are and the kids haven't been baptized). That's going well. We´re working on reactivating the parents and teaching the lessons to the kids at the same time. If all goes well, I think we´re going to baptize this Sunday. We´re teaching a girl named Camila, shes like 11 or 12. Her mom is less active but they've all been coming for the past coupe weeks. She is super smart and knows everything that we´ve taught her. So we think that she is gonna get baptized this Sunday, that's the plan anyway haha. So yeah, a lot of the stuff we do here is talking to inactive or less active members and trying to reactivate them. And we´re always trying to fnid new investigators of course. So thats basically what the work has been like here for this past week.
   Everything else has been good here in Chile. I heard from Ryan in his emails so that was cool. We´re having similar experiences haha. I'm sending him my weekly emails now so you don't have to worry about that.
  Asthma is doing good. I don't carry my inhaler on me because I don't need it. Only sometimes when we get back at night or in the morinng. But other than that its ok. I'm doing my qvar.
  Hmmm, what else to write about. Oh yeah, I had my first salad/tomato experience this week. It was awful. Normally the people put them in bowls to serve ourselves if we want them but this time it was right on the plate so I had to eat it....eww. I ate it all though. Not the best lunch here. I'm still eating all kinds of fruits and stuff, cuz we get them a lot for dessert. That's no problem. The vegetables are the problem though, haha.
  I think I'm about out of stuff to write on this week. I did write down a couple more things about to chile to tell you all...
  -They have some good sodas here haha. Everyone drinks coke, its the norm. Lie everyone has it. But they also have some chilean sodas called Bilz and Pap. They're really good. Bilz is kinda like a cherry soda and Pap is, at least I think it is, a papaya soda. Doesnt really matter though, theyre just good haha.
  -They have flea markets like every day here. Theyre called ferias. Basically a ton of people just bring they're random stuff to a designated street everyday (the street changes daily) and sell it. There's always tons of fruit and vegetable vendors but then theres always the ones that sell completely random stuff. There's always a bunch of them here.
  -Something pretty funny that I've seen. Dogs that are so dirty and filthy that they have dreadlocks. It maes me laugh.
   So thats about it for this week. It was a really good week. Highlight was of course the Baptism yesterday. It was so amazing. Spirit was super strong. Its such privelege to be out here being able to help people advance in this gospel. Its truly amazing. Church is so true. Til next week!

Elder Aaron Mayberry

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"I love Chile" - Elder Mayberry

I love Chile!
I'm so glad to be here right now preaching the gospel. It truly is an amazing experience.

  So I have a ton to write and this time I took notes of what I wanted to say to everyone haha so hopefully I´ll say everything I want to. So I think I´ll start off with random things about Chile, or life here, or whatnot, that I remembered to write down that I didn't put in the last email. I'm just gonna do a list...and its gonna be super random because it's just things I've randomly thought about during the week.
   -I'm gonna talk about Spanish again haha. It's improving. I'm actually quite pleased because I understand almost all of what is said. Speaking is much harder though, haha. But it really depends on the person that is talking, because some people you can understand clear as day when others it's near impossible. Its really fun though because you learn and grow everyday and can see it. Like when I learn a new Chilean saying or word that they use here, it's funny because I will see it used like a bajillion times that day. Fun stuff! I'm talking somewhat in the lessons, it really just depends what we´re talking about. Like if we teach lesson #1 I'll do half of that lesson, but if people are just talking about everyday things it's a little harder for me to add something haha cuz I have to think about everything being said and how to respond and all that good stuff. But I'm trying and improving, which is good. Everyone is super surprised to hear that I´ve only been here two weeks. They all say my spanish is really good. So that's a confidence booster haha.
   -On more than one occasion people have told me or assumed that I am from South America or Spain or something. Not because of my spanish but because they say that I have a face of a South American. I have NO idea where they get this from....I'm as gringo as gringo can be. Me and Elder Hastings laugh whenever someone says it cuz we both don't understand.  It's happened like 5 times over the course of 2 weeks. We have asked other people what they think too and they say nope. So I dunno. Chileans are crazy.
   -The trash system here is kinda similar to ours, except they don't have barrels. They just put grocery bags in front of their fence and the trash truck picks them up. And sometimes they have these little metal bin things to but the bags in.
  -We changed the hour last week. We went an hour forward. I thought that was interesting cuz we do the same thing back at home.
  -I feel really comfortable here too, like Ryan does. I was talking to Elder Erickson about it the other day, how on the second day it really didn't feel weird walking down the streets in a foreign country. I know that I'm supposed to be here right now and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to do so.
  -Fútbol. Its huge here. Since I got here, Chile has played twice. And the people love their soccer here. We were walking down the streets and would randomly here a TON of people cheering, so we knew that chile had scored. Then after they had won tons of people would run around in the streets and be in the backs of cars honking and yelling and waving chilean flags. It's really cool to see. Both times they played they won, so this happened twice lol. Whenever they play, we basically have zero success talking to people because everyone is locked up in their homes watching the game.
  -I really like P-days here. We just study in the morning like usual, then come here and do emails, then have the rest of the day to do whatever and eat whatever. So naturally, we went to McDonalds. That was so good! I got two "cuarto de libra con queso" which is a quarter pounder with cheese. And fries and a drink of course. I think that McDonalds is better here for some reason. Oh yeah haha, to order it plain, you say "plain queso" Makes it easy for me. We´ve been twice so far, on P-day and another day when the family forgot that we had lunch with them, and I think we´re going again today after this-haha. Its ok though, I'm doing a ton of walking :)
  -Near our pension there is a carnival, just like the ones back home haha. Except I don't think I would dare to go on any of the rides becausae I'd be risking my life. It doesnt look too safe haha but there's always tons of people there having fun every night. So I guess it's ok. We can't go because it's only open at night, and our p-day ends at 7.
  -They write money amounts funny here. $1,300.50 would be 1.300,53. It's bizarre.
  -We sing a lot here. Pretty much at every lesson. And they do a weird thing here because no one can play the piano in church (I don't even think there is one). The person leading gets up there and then sings the first line for el tono (the tone), then we sing. We do that in lessons too. Pretty weird at first, but not anymore haha.
  -The weather here is super nice. On average it's been just like weather at home. Except I never know how hot it is cuz they use degrees celsius. But it has also been very random. One day it was blazing hot and the next it rained the entire day. And the rain here comes down hard and in large quantities. I had to use my big jacket for that day, and havent used it since.
   -They don't have too hard of a time pronouncing my name. They just say it and it sounds kinda funny but I just tell them that thats how they say it cuz it would take forever to try and correct them. They can't say my companions though haha, because the "ing" sound doesn't exist.
  -We dont have mamitas! I don't think they exist in this mission. So that is disappointing. I had to do laundry...
  -They have long names. This make blessings or baptisms especially hard because you have to say their full name. Their names are as follows: Their first name, a middle name, the last name of their father, last name of their mother. So they have 4 names in their full name, and they are usually hard to pronounce. So thats pretty funny.
   -Everyone LOVES to hear that I have a twin in Concepción and then I show them a picture of us and they start laughing hysterically. They say we look exactly the same.
  Oh yeah, we´re hunting for a new place to live, haha. Our current house is outside of our sector, and the Mission President wants all the sectors to have their own house. So we´re currently in the process of house hunting.
   In terms of food, things have been good. Had mashed potatoes here for the first time so that was good. But we´ve also had some stuff that wasn't too great also haha. But overall it's good here, the food. The portions are just huge. Yesterday I had what they call here a completo. Itrs a hot dog in a bun, with mayonase (which is way different here), ketchup, and onions. Didn't really like it too much but I ate it...two actually haha. I've been eating all sorts of fruit that they give me, cuz thats usually what we have for desert. So that's not too bad. Much better than vegetables....eww.
   We had a very interesting experience on saturday for lunch. Theres a part of our sector that is pretty far away, towards the mountains. So it's like a 40 minute bus ride there. But, we ended up getting lost cuz our bus driver said that it was still coming, but we had thought we had passed it. So we trusted him and eventually were in a way differnt part of Santiago haha. So we were way late and the family called us and asked where we were and we told them we were lost and the father had to come get us haha. Pretty funny. We did lots of running around that day.
   Well thats all I wrote down, so now I'll talk about my week. This week has been really good. We do a lot of lessons with people that are less active, cuz theres a ton of them here. So a lot of the work we do is re-activation. But we do have some really good investigators. I'll talk about one right now. Its the familia Rocco Perez. Theres Ximena and David, the parents, and they have 5 kids. They're an interesting case though. So Ximena, the mom, used to be a testigo de jehova (jehovahs witness). She was one for like 20 years. She was married to a man who was also a testigo. They had three kids, Maria Jose, Marcella, and Valerie. But then they got divorced and Ximena remarried to David (the current spouse). He was not a jehovahs witness so she was excommunicated for that. So shes been married to David for a while now and they have had two more kids. Thus 5 in total, 3 from the first marriage and 2 from the new one. They are a really amazing family. I got here after they had been taught for about 3 months or so, so they were very far along. Ximena has an amazing knowledge of the gospel and is super interested, as is David. They are getting baptized this Sunday! We asked them to be baptized last week in the beginning of the week, because it was obvious that they were ready. Ximena and David both said they would, but the other two kids that are old enough to be, said no. We´re now talking to them more. It was really cool though, because after they said they would, Ximena bore her testimony about how she knows that this is the Lords church. She told us about the first Missionaries that found them and how it was 10 minutes to 10 and they were headed home but decided to knock on one more house, which was this families. She told us how she knew that this was the Lords hand in their lives that the missionaries decided to knock on that one more house. So that was a super spiritually uplifting experience. So theyre getting baptized this Sunday so that will be super exciting.
  All of our other investigators are really good too. We´re working with a lot of familys that are inactive that have kids that haven't been baptized so we´re working on reactivating them and baptizing. But other than that thats the most exciting news. We´re teaching a lot though.

But yeah, that's about all for now. I'm absolutely loving the work here and I love Chile. Church is true. Til next time!

¡¡Lots of love!!
Elder Aaron Mayberry

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Elder Mayberry is in Chile!!!!

I'm here! How exciting it is to finally be here in Chile. I have so much I want to say, I don't even know where to start! Ok, so I guess I´ll start from the beginning and talk about the flight and travel and such, then my first day, then I´ll tell you all about Chile, and finally a basic day in the life of me here in good ole Chile.

Ok, so we left the MTC and did all our flying and what not and I called you guys and such. Then we got on the plane to Santiago and that was a loooong flight. I tried to sleep and did sleep a bit, like an hour then wake up then another hour and so on and so forth. Definitely wasn't the best sleep i´ve had in my life. Anyway...then we landed in Santiago! Hallelujah, I was excited that I was finally here. So we landed and took our cary on and stuff to customs where you pay a fee to get your visa. Its $131. The church gave us this money while we were in the MTC, but the problem is that customs only takes bills that are ridiculously perfect haha. So some of the ones had crease or were a little worn or whatever so I couldn't use them, hence I used my ATM card there. I´m going to deposit the cash that I have today so no need to worry. Anyway, after that we went and got all our bags and what not and met up with the Mission president and his assistants at the airport. President is an amazing guy. He´s super excited to be here in Chile and to be working with the missionaries. He´s always so happy to see us. So we met them and waited for all 18 of us to get to that point. The sister misionary in our group forgot that you couldn't take food/meat products into the country even though we had to sign a paper and stuff saying that we didn't have any....but she did hah. So it took a long time for her and we all had to wait for like half an hour maybe more til that got worked out. Then we headed off to the MIssion presidents home. The car ride was like 30-45 mins. and was a nice scenic tour of Santiago. This city is gigantic. Im gonna try and provide pictures so you can see. Anyway, I´ll talk more about the city and stuff later. So we got to the MIssion Presidents house and had a small snack and had interviews and had a new missionary orientation where we got assigned our new companions and got assigned to our area. My companion is Elder Hastings. He´s from Redondo Beach and he´s been in the field for 7 months, so 9 months in the mission total. He´s a good trainer. Anyway, after that President talked to us for a little more and then we were off to start the work. We were headed to our zone, Puente Alto, with our sector being Puente Alto 2. So we had to take a bus to the metro then the metro to our zone and then another bus to our pensión (apartment). The total trip was like an hour and a half or so. Prety boring but then again it was very interesting because I was actually in Chile! Yup. So we eventually got there and immediately after we went to lunch at the house of the Presidenta de la Sociedad de Socorro (relief society). That was good. Nothing scary or anything haha. After lunch we went and bought all the food/stuff I was gonna need for the upcoming week. That took about an hour or so and then after that we met up with our ward mission leader, Cesar, who is amazing. He´s a RM of about 6 years or so I believe but he is super excited to be able to help out with misionary work. Anyway, after that we actually went around and did some teaching and stuff. And that was our first day. Very exciting.

Now to talk about the exciting stuff haha, Chile! So, for starters, Santiago is absolutely huge. Theres about 6 million people in the city, and our mission covers like 3 like half the city of Santiago to 150 missionaries. My zone is called Puente Alto. There's like 9 or 10 zones here and each zone has sectors. Mine is Puente Alto 2. Puente Alto is about a 4 our of 10 on the scale of poorness here in Santiago. The mission president lives in an area that is really nice, it looks just like home there. Puente Alto is a different story though haha. It is definitely not like dirt poor, but the people here dont have very much money. The houses and stuff are usually small and dirty and stuff like that. But I love it here. The people are amazing. Our apartment is alright. Haha, the missionaries that live with us, one companionship, and my comp say that its a fairly nice apartment but I dunno about that one hah. They have more experience than me though so they know whats good and what's not. We are only there to sleep and get ready in the mornings though so it doesnt matter too much. Ok, I´m gonna talk about my daily schedule and talk about CHile and culture and all that good stuff at the same time.

We wake up at 7:30 here! Haha, we dont have to wake up at 6:30 because the people stay out later here in CHile. They still say buenas tardes (good afternoon) at 8 at night! But yeah, we wake up at 7:30 then we do our exercises and get ready for the day. At 9 we do our personal study, at 10 we do companionship study, at 11 we do language study, and then at 12/12:30 we finally leave the pensión. Much later than most missions I think. From 12-1:30 we either follow up on appointments or knock doors, which I´ll talk about a little more later. Then we eat lunch! Lunch is the big meal here. They eat huge meals for lunch and then don't eat again til like 9 or 10 at night and that is a small meal. They call that once (ohn-say). But yeah. LUnch lasts for an hour and a half. The food here is fairly normal. I havent encountered anything bizarre or anything yet. I dont think there is anything like really awful here, thank goodness. For my first lunch, we had some good soup, which was like chicken noodle. I thought that it was a good lunch and was satisfied cuz it was a big bowl, but then the lady took the bowls and brought out the real meal! It was a huge plate of rice and chicken haha. I struggled but I eventually finished it all. It is gonna take some time to get used to the portions here haha. But then after that there's always some form of dessert, and my first dessert was....of course....assorted fruits and yogurt. Im proud to say that I ate it all with no problems! It was prety funny though, it caught me off guard. But yeah, no problems. Meals I´ve had since then have been lots more rice, different kinds of meats, and basically thats it so far. No potatoes yet, which has surprised me. Yesterday was my hardest lunch yet haha because the rice we had, had tons of vegetables in it! I tried as hard as I could and ate as much as I could but I could NOT eat it all. So when the lady left the room I put the remainder of it on my comps plate and he finished it for me HAH. Pretty funy stuff. So yeah, thats food here. After lunch we either knock doors or go to our appointments or check up on investigators for the remainder of the day. So our day really doesnt begin til like 3 haha. But we go til 10, which is when we have to be back in the pensión. All the houses here have gates on them. They way you knock doors is you go up to the gate and yell "Hallo"(pronounced ah-lo). Kind of like a modified hello. But then the people come out and you talk to them and such. We knock doors for about 2 hours out of the day and the rest is for following up on investigadrs and teaching. Then we go back to the pensión at 10 and plan for tomorrow and get ready for bed and write in our journals and go to bed at 11:30. Oh yeah, we dont have a time for dinner so when we get back to the pensión at night we just snack til bedtime. And this is the day in the life of me. Oh yeah, p'-day is monday for me

I have lots more to say about chile though so im just gonna do a random assortment of facts and stuff about my life here, the culture, all that good stuff.

-We walk everywhere. Its a ton of exercise, which I need, but its more walkng than I´ve ever done before haha. Our sector isn't huge, but its a good distance walk from one side to the other. Oh yeah, not to mention the fact that our pensión is in a different sector (puente alto 3) because we are the only missionaries in our sector and the guys in that sector who share the pensión with us are the only ones in there. So its about a 15 min. walk just to get to our sector everyday haha.
-DOGS. There are dogs everywhere. Then just run wild and free. Hundreds of dogs haha. I love it. Its always entertaining to just watch the dogs and stuff as we walk from place to place. My comp said that he's seen two dogs get hit by cars and stuff though cuz there's so many.
-There are three main ways of transportation here. Taxi, la micro, and the metro. La micro is the buses. People have cars too but a majority of people just walk from place to place. As do we haha.
-Being a south american country, CHile gets stuff a lot later than us haha. One example, a big thing here in music is guns n roses. And a lot of the younger generation, like the high school kids, have strange hair styles that are like a mullet in all kinds of different ways. Pretty funny.
-We only speak Spanish. Very little English. I only use English to ask my companion how to say something or if I dont know how to say something in Spanish. That is how you learn though. But im trying to speak mostly only spanish to practice and practice and practice. I have already learned a lot.
-Spanish here in Chile is very lazy and hard to understand at times. It all depends on the person though. Some people I understand perfectly clearly while others i can barely catch every other word. An example of the laziness-the people don't usually pronounce the "s" if its at the end of the sentence or at all haha. Hasta luego becomes hata luego. Nosotros becomes nosotro. And mas o menos becomes maomeno. It can be very confusing. They also take out the "d"s. Estoy ocupado becomes estoy ocupao. Also a confusing thing but I'm catching on. The Chilenos also have their own vocabulary too that's different from other places so I´m trying to learn that. Its funny cuz when you hear a word for the first time and study it then you hear it all the time after that. I'm doing good with the vocabulary though so thats good. Another thing they do here is add the suffiz "po" at the end of a word or sentence for extra emphasis. This they do a ton. They say things like sípo or nopo. Its fun to catch it. I just wonder how long it'll be til I start using it without realizing haha.
-Theres basically a store on every street. Like a little store thing that people convert part of their house into. Its nice cuz if we´re ever thirsty thers always something nearby. They don't have any American sodas but Coke and sprite, but the chilean sodas are pretty good.

-Oh yeah, the money conversion here is about 500ish chilean pesos to the dollar. So their money values are usually really high for stuff. I'm still adjusting to that and figuring out how much stuff costs and whatnot. For example my groceries, which wasn't very much stuff, was like 12000 pesos.
-Something I think is weird is how they have their milk haha. It all comes in boxes, not in cartons or the gallon containers we have. And they last a long time as long as you dont open them. Oh yeah, they sell drinks in huge sizes. They start at like a small size for like one person but then the next biggest size is like 1.5 liters with a 2 and 2.5 liter sizes. I think thats pretty funny.
- Here they use like propane to heat stuff instead of electricity. So like there are trucks that go around selling propane tanks and you can hear them from far away because they have like a recording playing thrgouh a megaphone on top of the car. Kinda of like the ice cream man but gas...
-They do time in military time haha. They say like 9 o clock but when they write it its 21:00

Hm, theres so much to talk about i can't remember it all haha but this is all I got for now. I´ll try to remember other things to write in my next email. Be sure to ask me any questions if you have them!

Im so happy to be here in Chile and am having tons of fun and an amzing time preaching the gospel. I absolutely love it here. Its so much better than sitting in the mtc and stuff. I am so excited to do this for the next 22ish months. Its going to be amzing!

Oh yeah, we are allowed to use gmail here and everyone says that it is easier to use and faster so please change that on the website or what not. Also youll have to help grandpa again to make sure that he can get these emails.

Til my next email!
Lots of love,
Elder Aaron Mayberry

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Elder Mayberry is in Santiago Chile !

First letter from Santiago Chile.

Dear Brother and Sister Mayberry,

We are happy to report the safe arrival of your son, Elder Mayberry, to the Chile Santiago East mission. We feel blessed to be working here together. Please know that we consider your son to be a member of the Chile Santiago East Mission family. Please know of our love for you and for Elder Mayberry. May the Lord bless you for the sacrifices you are making to make this mission service possible.

With love,
President and Sister Laycock
PS We have attached a picture of us at the mission home on the day of your son's arrival.
Enjoy browsing our mission website, just click on the following link:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

DONE!! (at the MTC)

Hello everyone!
  This is such an exciting time. I get to leave here in six days!! The time has flown by so fast here its crazy. I can't believe its my last opportunity to email while here in the United States. Thats a pretty crazy thought.
  Well this past week has been pretty good. Kinda boring though because we're all just waiting to get out of here, haha. Well hosting was fun again, a friend from BYU came so we've seen him around a couple times. Another friend was supposed to come but he didnt show up so we dunno what happened with him. Mauricio asked some people and they said he wasn't gonna report til november....pretty weird. We get to host again tomorrow so I'm very happy about that. Oh yeah, and our enjoyment of having the room to ourselves is gone after tomorrow because we are getting brand new roommates that report tomorrow. Oh well.
  Spanish is good. I feel pretty confident that I will be able to understand at least a majority of what the people of Chile say haha. But then again who knows. I wont know til I actually get the on monday. I've been listening to like conference talks in spanish and I can pretty much understand all that is said so I figure that's a pretty good indicator. Also we've been taught by some of the native guys and I can understand all of what they say so I have hope. Hopefully that all isnt crushed on Monday though haha.
  Oh, pretty interesting story. So we teach a volunteer person every saturday as practice and this past Saturday we taught a guy that only spoke Spanish. So it was basically what it was going to be like when I get out into the field. Well the experience was humbling haha. We could've done so much better. I think we're all just so sick of teaching not real people though. That'll all change REAL soon though, thank goodness.
  Oh yeah, so my flight plans. I report to the travel office here at 11:30am on October 5th, monday. Then we head to salt lake and my flight is at 3:00pm. We fly from Salt lake to dallas and have a 3 hour layover there.
  Our dallas plane leaves at like 9:30 or somethign at night and we fly all the way down to Santiago Chile and land there at 7:40 in the morning. So we fly all night. I'm thankful for that, but I just hope that I will be able to sleep during the long flight and not be so nervous/anxious/excited that I won't be able to. Who knows. All I know is that it's gonna be a loooonng flight.
  I have grown so much here already its crazy. My spanish is a billion times better than it was previously(thank goodness). But I have seen myself grow so much spiritually here its insane. This has by far been the best choice I have made of my life and I know that it is one of the most important. I know that this is where I am supposed to be, here as a missionary, about to go preach the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Santiago. I cannot wait to go do that and see esxactly how much this gospel can bless peoples' lives. I know that this church is true, with all of my heart. There is not one doubt that I know that this is Christ's church here on the earth again today. I know that Jospeh Smith was a prophet and that he translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God. I know that the Book of Mormon is a true book and while I've been here its been amazing to see how much it influences your life when you study it so much. It is one of the greatest books on the planet. I am so thankful that Jospeh Smith had the question of which church was true and that he had the faith to kneel down and pray to ask God, and that in the events that transpired after him seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ, that this church was established. I just wanted to let you all know that I have a testimony of the truthfulness of this church and this work that I am about to embark on and that I am SO excited to be able to bring people unto our Savior Jesus Christ.
  Thank you all for all the support you have given me here, it truly means the world to me.
Well, this is all for now. Till I'm in Chile!!!!!
Elder Aaron Mayberry

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Less than 2 weeks to go!

Hello again everyone! Boy time is flying so fast its ridiculous! I can't believe I'll be out of here in less than two weeks!!! I should get my flight plans on Thursday or Fiday this week so I'll know exactly when I'll be leaving.
This week has been really good. Spanish is still coming. I'm trying to speak more and more of it everyday but if you stop just for a little bit it gets hard to start re-speaking it again because you're too lazy to have to think about what you want to say and everything- haha. Maybe thats just me though. Anyway, I'm starting to get a little nervous because I am leaving so soon. I just hope that I'll be able to communicate effectively with the Chileans. I sure hope so- haha. I think I'll be just fine though. I feel pretty confident. Now that doesnt mean I'll be speaking well or anything, just that I'll be able to hopefully understand and get my point accross hahaha.
  Our roommates are leaving this week. Well, one left this morning and one leaves tomorrow so we will have the room for ourselves for the next week because there isn't any new districts coming into our zone this week. So that should be nice. I'm excited because I'll have a bottom bunk for the last two weeks here haha. The top bunk is just a hassle. But anyway, that's exciting. One of the roommates is going to Sacramento and the other to Argentina. Except Argentina is still having visa trouble so he's going to Chicago for the time being. I'm so glad that we won't have that trouble.
  Hosting last week was a lot of fun. Mostly because you could see all the new missionaries come in and see how dazed and confused they look-haha. I'm sure I looked just the same way. Ben Walters is doing good after his first week. He's in my zone so he has the exact same schedule as me so I see him all the time and help him when I can. You can let his mom know on Missionary Moms that he's doing good. We get to host again tomorrow so thats exciting. I have two more friends that are coming in tomorrow. Theyre the last of the BYU group. One is going to the Dominican Republic and one to Argentina. We'll see how often I see them though, because they won't have the same schedule as us because they're beginners. Hopefully I see them while hosting tomorrow.
  In other news, we had a really cool Devotional last tuesday. Jeffrey R Holland came and spoke and gave a pretty intense talk. Made me really want to go out there to Chile.
  I'm so excited to get out there! I really want to go out and help real people instead of people pretending to be real people haha. I can't wait to see the changes I can make in peoples lives down there. Less than two weeks!! I think it'll really hit me when I get my flight plans this week. That should be the light at the end of the tunnel- haha.
  Well, Its great to hear from you all through Dear Elders and such. Did you know that Dana and Wally sent me a dear elder and a package of cookies from there? That was really nice of them. If you're reading this, thank you very much for the cookies and the update. They are very delicious.
  Alright my time is about up. I can't wait to leave this place. It'll be amazing. Our whole district is getting anxious. Anyway, I love you all and you are all in my thoughts and prayers. Hope everything is going well at home. I'm doing amazing and it will only get better from here.
Lots of love,
Elder Aaron Mayberry