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