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