Well its been 2 weeks since I was last able to Email you because we skipped a P-day with all of the changing and training before we went to all of our different areas.
My last week at the MTC was pretty great! The we had a final day of training and goal setting in the chapel before we were sent off to Vina. That was a really good day, at the end of it they showed a Joseph Smith video and at the end just about everyone was in tears at the end. But that night at Alcantara was all of the goodbyes and what not. Man I'm gonna miss my companion and elders in my district! The next day (this last Tuesday) we all left on buses at around 9-10 in the morning for our different missions. Our bus had 15 on it and we headed for the mission home in Vina del Mar. About an hour and a half later we arrived at this central part of the city with a big clock. Our president then informed us that we would be taking books of Mormon and placing them and then asking people for directions to find the mission home. At this point I thought i was going to die, because I realized I might never make it with the way Chilean people speak I can never understand anything!! Hahah but then I got paired up with an Elder from Ecuador and went about asking directions. At first I was like "oh sweet, this will be so easy, he will do all the talking and get us there in no time!" Yeah...no, he wouldn't approach anyone or talk to anyone so I had to begin each conversation and then ask for directions, after I would ask him where we were going (assuming he understood what the person had said), and for the first 3 people we talked to he said he didn't understand what they had said! This is coming from a fluent Spanish speaker! I couldn't believe it, Chilean Spanish is just that crazy sometimes. Anyway, we eventually made it and were able to find the mission home. There we had some pizza and this super delicious dessert that I've never seen before. Then for the next 4 or 5 hours we filled out some paper work as we waited for turns to be interviewed by president Kahnlein. I was the last one to be interviewed by him. I went in the room and he asked me about how things were going, my goals here, what I want to achieve, why I'm here, and things like that. I could tell almost immediately the spirit he had about him and the love he had for us missionaries. I told him about my experience at the MTC and about all of you at home. It was a really great conversation and it helped me to feel a lot calmer about the whole change. I really like Pres. Kahnlein and his wife, they're from Argentina and President Kahnlein is HUGE, hes super tall but also really nice. Although you can definitely tell he has that authority about him. Anyway after this the new group of missionaries split into two and we left with the assistants of the president to nearby apartments. The rest of the day was writing in our journals, eating (top ramen) and talking with the other Elders. The next day was training from President and his wife about their expectations and how to be successful. It was a really good training and made me excited to get out to the field. After our training was the meeting with about 100 other elders in the mission to do transfers. Last minute before the meeting President Kahnlein told us new missionaries would be singing a song in front of the whole group and that we needed to pick the song right then. So that was a little adventure in and of itself. Anyway as he went down the line calling off names and where people were going he finally got to me and announced I would be headed up north to Coquimbo and my trainer would be an Elder Hale from Mesa Arizona! Immediately following we went out boarded the bus and left! About half of the new group came up north while the others stayed south. On our bus was about 20 Elders and Hermanas. We left at about 5 and were told itd be 6 or 7 hour bus drive. The Chilean countryside is really cool! We went up along the coast and on one side there are mountains and the other side is the Ocean which was really beautiful and neat. As we went along the bus would stop in different cities and drop off some of the people on our bus. Finally at about 1 or 2 in the morning I arrived in Coquimbo, the very last stop, and got off the bus. Elder Hale was waiting outside the bus and we did the whole Chilean hand shake, hug, handshake thing, and we started to head out to our pension, or apartment. Thankfully he let me know we would be able to sleep in till about 9 in the morning because we had arrived so late, that was a relief! But Elder Hale is super great! He's been out for ten months and is fluent in the language, he is also gringo and speaks English which is exactly what I wanted haha.
I've been out in the field sinceand its been quiet the experience! Yesterday was and I was able to meet all of the member of the branch which was super great! There are a lot of super capo members our here! (capo=intelligent, awesome, cool, good at something). They had me go up to the pulpit and introduce myself in front of everyone. I was so nervous! I'm sure my Spanish was terrible but i did my best haha! Everyone was smiling up at me like it was either funny because my Spanish was so bad or more like ohhh cute, hes trying to speak Spanish hahah! And the whole time my trainer and the zone leaders (who go to our branch) were trying to make me laugh. I love the branch though, it was so nice to finally be apart of a real sacrament meeting with members!
The days here are an hour of personal study in the morning and then 2 hours with my companion, Which partially consist of studying the language. Then we go out and work from about 12 to 130 and then go eat lunch with a member family. Oh yeah! Their lunch here is the big meal of the day. And then we don't eat again until we come home at 930 or 10, so i always eat as much as i can during lunch! I'm going to get some snacks too for the day. But the food here is pretty good, I definitely cant complain! The members are always really nice and I've loved getting to know some of them. But anyway after lunch we go teach, contact, and visit less actives basically all day! The days have been great though. We have new investigators almost everyday and we had a confirmation, Inocento's baptism was on the i got there so I just missed it. But its interesting to see how so many people will make excuses to not do what the lord wants and what they know is right because its hard. Its so frustrating! I was to just pop them on the forehead like the lady does in the V8 commercial. Despite those people who are progressing really slow there are equally dedicated investigators who keep commitments and who really want to know more. Elder Hale and I teach the lessons, he definitely says a lot more but I'm able to keep up with the main idea of the conversation. I reckon itll take a few months to be able to understand everything. But that's what prayer is for!
Also here's a funny story that you will enjoy. Apparently its time for a haircut because we were walking down this alley way and there were about 8 guys and girls hanging out there and we said hola, and the almost everyone one of them go heyyyy its Justin Beiber!!! No lie. And that hasn't been the only time! I've been called Justin Beiber like 4 or 5 times now hahah. And my companion just laughs and laughs. Hes an awesome guy though. He showed me a picture of him at the start of his mission and his face is so much pudgy-er! Hhaha its pretty funny, and so I've made it my goal to not let that happen to me.
Anyway I miss you guys so much! Its been hard going two weeks without being able to talk to you all! But its made this time that much better! I hope its normal to have a mini breakdown and cry for a minute or two every now and then because it happens to me sometimes. I have this problem of focusing on everything that's negative all at once, and I have to try really hard to force myself out of it and focus on everything that it positive instead. I made a list of 10 things I know and that bring me comfort and whenever I feel low or down I read it.
im super jealous about your thanksgiving preparations! They don't do that here so that will probably be just a normal day. But ill be thinking of you guys eating the most delicious food ever! I'm glad you all decided to do a home thanksgiving, i would have voted the traditional home one as well! Thinking about those pies has me so hungry right now! Oh and as for Halloween, yes they do celebrate it, but hardly anyone goes trick or treating, just the super little kids. But I was in Santiago when Halloween passed we we on splits with missionaries that day and literally NO one was out in the streets. It felt super eerie like I am Legend or something!
I love you all so much! I appreciate all of your prayers, they really do help. You're in my prayers every single day! Be safe, have an awesome week!