Hola, mi familia! Wow, like two weeks have gone by since I was able to sit down and write an email to you. So I entered the mission field last Tuesday, August, 26, 2014. That`s right - two weeks in the MTC haha. Seriously, it was craaazy. My district was amazing. They were all Latinos. Most of the time I could not understand what they were saying. It`s all good.
One of my best friends at the MTC was another Hermana in my district. Her name is Hermana Ponce, and she is from Mexico. She was like five feet and 28 years old. She was so silly. We laughed so much together. It was like whenever Mom gets together with her sisters haha. All the misioneros in my CCM district were amazing. It was sad to say goodbye, but it was time to leave the CCM and enter the real world.
I was able to go to the Santiago Temple....um...BEAUTIFUL. It was so nice. We did an English session. The session was packed with missionaries. The majority being missionaries from the US. I love the temple. I miss the Newport Beach Temple! But it`s all good. So I sent you a picture of a bunch of missionaries who were living in Alcantara. Every morning and night a little bus would come and pick us up, and drive us to and back from the CCM. It was about 15 minutes or so. Haha, one funny experience happened one night when we came home from the CCM. One of the gringo missionaries was asking my district if they had seen the movie "The Dark Knight". He then proceeded to act out a scene from the movie, and he impersonated the joker.... hahaha it was just so random and funny. I was thinking, maybe that`s not the best thing to do to invite the Spirit.... Good times, ya had to be there!
So yes, I am in the field now! Presidente and la Hermana Wright are AMAZING. President Wright speaks excellent Spanish, and he is so knowledgable about the Gospel. It`s crazy. He is so spiritually and temporally smart. I am so honored to work with him, and his lovely wife! They are fantastic. My trainer is awesome!!!! Her name is Hermana Gomez. She hails from Argentina, however she does not have the infamous accent. I am so thankful for that haha. She is so sweet and encouraging! I love her. She is addicted to mate hahaha. And she says "Que linda" after just about everything. LOVE HER. Her last companion was from Uruguay, and she went home the day before I entered the field. Hermana Gomez told me her last companion is already engaged haha.... what??? A member saw it on FB.
So this week went by fast.... it is just so weird to think I am a legit missionary!! Every time I put my little placa (missionary tag) on I just smile. What an honor it is to be a representative of Jesus Christ, and of His restored church. Happy, happy. It is chilly here, yes. But I am keeping warm!! We are right by the mountains.... it is so beautiful!!! My area is cool. Santiago is a huge city. It`s like Los Angeles..... very big. Some parts are really nice, and other parts are sketchy, shady, and poor.... let`s just say I`m not in the nice part haha. It`s all good though! It`s only a little scary at night. The other night we were walking down a dark street and no one else was out except for a group of men huddled in a circle smoking. Fun, fun.
So...I`m not going to lie..... I am very happy.... BUT IT IS SO HARD. Like, wow. A few days before I left California, Elder Tommy Webber sent me a letter and shared a quote: "On your mission you will be at your highest highs, and your lowest lows." OH MY HECK NEVER BEFORE HAS ANY GROUP OF WORDS RANG SO TRUE TO ME. It is so hard. I am away from my family. Away from my friends. I am a stranger in a strange land. It is sooooo hard to understand people when they talk. Chilean Spanish is very different from the Spanish I learned in high school and BYU haha. It`s just hard because I was already a grammar stickler with my native language, and it`s frustrating because people use different words and they leave off the ends of words.....
NEVERTHELESS.... I am happy. I am so, so, so happy. My testimony of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has grown so much. I know God lives. I know it! I can feel it in my heart! Jesus Christ is my Savior. He lives. I have decided to just say NO to feelings of frustration and hopelessness. I was reading a talk from the last General Conference last night. I can`t remember who wrote it, but he talked about how we should Dare to Declare our Discipleship. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I choose to follow Him. This week I am trying to talk to more people. Who cares if I can´t speak Spanish very well, or if I can`t really understand them.... these 18 months are so precious....Already three weeks have gone by sooo fast. There have been times this week where I have asked myself, "what am I doing here?" Whenever I feel lonely or discouraged, I pray. I pray and I smile. My Heavenly Father always comforts me. I love Him.
Sunday was great! I went to church for the first time in Chile! (Not counting the two Sundays whilst in the CCM lolz) It was great. I was able to bear my testimony after the sacrament. It was tender! I told the members I was so happy to be serving in their ward, and how grateful I was for Jesus Christ. There are not too many people in the ward. At least, there are not too many people who come on Sundays. It made me long for my big ward back in sunny, Southern California. Haha. I now realize how lucky I was to be raised in wonderful and strong wards.
Last night we went to an investigator`s house. A woman from the ward came with us. The woman who we visited is Constanza. She is like 70 years old. She lives alone. She`s five feet tall, and super presh. My companion did most of the talking because I really could not understand what this little lady was saying. However, towards the end of the lesson I was able to bear my testimony of el Libro de Mormon, and invite her to read and ask God if it was true. I testified to her that the Book of Mormon is truly from God. I felt the Spirit in my heart. Even if she was not able to feel it, I am glad for that experience.
Ahhh, so Madison is gone! YAAYYYY! I think about her all the time. I have been praying fervently for her this past week. She is amazing. She will be a fantastic missionary. I love her. I miss her. But hey, what`s 18 months next to eternity?
This morning we cleaned our little house. There are two other hermanas who live with us. They are in our ward too! Only the area we have is split in two, so they have the Eastern part of the section, and Hermana Gomez and I have the western part..... I think. Anyway, one of them is a hermana from my CCM district! It`s nice to have her around. We are both new and excited to be in the same ward. Her companion is from the US. Sometimes I speak a little English to her, but she`s been out about a year so her Spanish is reallllyyyy good. It`s hard not to compare myself to her. It`s hard to remember she`s been out a year, and I `ve only been here a little less than a month. Oh well! It´s all good. This morning as we were cleaning we played some music. A Christmas song came on and David Archuleta was singing! Love him. hahaaha. It made me a little homesick. But honestly, I just keep reminding myself that this time in Chile is very special. Sure it`s hard to be away from home, but it`s great to be a missionary and serve my Heavenly Father. I love Him!
I miss you all! Thanks to those who emailed me!!! It really means so much!!!!! Sorry this email was a little whack...it was hard to remember what happened during the past two weeks. Know that I am well! I love my Savior. Christ has restored His church on the earth. What a blessing it is to be a member. How grateful I am to know of His mercy, His love, and His life. Every day is a gift. Smile every day. Life is so good! Recognize the blessings God has given you.
Love you all so much!!!! xoxoxxoxooooo