Tuesday, May 24, 2016

P day Already?

ola familia!

This week all we did was work work work... when I get home I’m going to sleep for at least a week. Honestly, I can’t remember much. We had 21 lessons this week and found 8 new people/ families that want us to come back!! Waahooo! But sorry, this email is going to be short....

Fun quote of the week: "It’s wine, but it’s watered down so it’s okay.”

We were at a member’s house having a family home evening (here, the missionaries plan and do everything) with her less active and nonmember kids. For dessert we had... honestly I don’t know what it was... but she offered us a sauce to put on top of it. When we asked how she made it, she said it was wine, but “watered down so it’s okay”..... Luckily she hadn’t poured it on our portion yet and we asked her if she had jam instead that we could put on the moist mass of…I literally have no idea.

Haha but the family home evening was awesome! There were about 7 people there and we were able to testify to them and teach them about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And what was even better, the family was participating!! I can’t tell you how many uncomfortable lessons I’ve been in, trying to figure out what the people need or want, or if they just let me in because I’m a gringo. But these people were asking really good questions, and it was AWESOME to show them the Book of Mormon really answers all the doubts that the Bible gives.

Hermano Telmo (the man dying of cancer) is doing bad. The light has gone from his eyes.... the majority of his family live here and visit every day.

The lady we began teaching last week, whose family was baptized a few months ago had to go help her daughter with something and won’t be back in Futrono until the middle of June, so that’s a huge bummer…but we have been keeping contact with her and she is good right now.

People here go wherever they can find work. The houses aren’t much so it’s pretty cheap to move around. Sometimes people just abandon their house and another person finds it and decides to live there. Haha.

My Spanish hahaha depends on how stressed I am. Some days I can speak and understand perfectly, other days I can’t understand anything and other days my tongue doesn’t want to speak in a Spanish accent and I sound really gringo.

This past week we began doing music classes for the youth here. And let me tell you... teaching piano in Spanish is really hard. They learn music waaay different. They use do ray mi so fa la ti do, not ABCDEFG. 

But yeah... haha if you want more next week, Kyle, Jake, Joey, write me!! ;)

Love you lots, the mission is THE BEST THING EVER!

les quiero

"For your security: Single hand drying. Forbidden to use hair and clothing"

looks like gas prices are on the rise again... and i thought $4.75 was bad...

RIP (literally) to my first backpack on the mish

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cold Showers and living in the 18th Century

ola familia!
como estan? (How are you?) This week was un montaña russio or a russian mountain (roller coaster). The week started off really sad. Our closest investigator to baptism told us that her husband and her got in a fight 2 nights earlier and that he doesn't want her to be baptized into another religion and that her reading the Book of Mormon was causing her to forget her womanly responsibilities, such as cooking.

And its true.

Honestly, I have never felt such joy the week before when she shared with us her testimony of the Book of Mormon and how she cannot deny it.

Every time we visit her, she stops everything she is doing to come and listen, including cooking. It's funny because one time she was in the middle of making a cake and totally stopped all to come and listen.

They have a baby so it is complicated. But yeah, she told us that she was really sorry but we couldn't come and visit her anymore. I've never felt such sadness. She knows.... she knows....

But nevertheless, the work will go on, with or without us.

And that being said, a freaking awesome experience that we had yesterday. Well Friday, we were knocking doors and I saw a lady chopping wood and asked if she needed help. At first she was really cold with us but changed when we told her we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ... she told us that her sister and entire family had just joined the church 4 months earlier and that she wanted us to visit her.

Yesterday we went and it honsetly felt like I've known her forever. She's awesome. After getting to know her a little better, we shared a scripture and video "de Jesucristo" and after asked for her thoughts. She began to open up a lot to us and shared some really spiritual experiences she's had. SHE IS SO PREPARED. She then told us that after moving here, she felt so alone because all of her family and kids are far away.

She prayed for the first time in a long time for help and comfort on Thursday, and Friday we met her. she knows a lot about the church already because she lived with her sister while they were talking to lessons. She told us that we were an answer to her prayers and that because of that, she wants to take the lessons and come to church this Sunday. The Spirit was so strong in her one-room tin hut. This definitely was one of the coolest experiences I have had here in Futrono.

Yep, como dice el título... cold showers baby!! Haha its like Das Boot every morning. But hey, could be worse.... on the bright side we are showering really quickly and have more time to prepare for the day!

It is really weird living here. It's like the 18th and 21 century collided. There are smart phones, TVs, cars and such, but every night and morning we have to go out and gather wood and chop it, then start a fire if we want to be warm.

There is a small outbreak of bronchitis in Futrono. About half the kids have it. There's medicine but not like the stuff we have in the states.

Also something interesting... most women here don't know how to drive. Como driving is a man thing. My comp is 27 and has never driven before.... it's a different life here....

Familia, the church is true. The gospel is perfect. I love it here. Every day there is a new challenge. I now understand and know the type of pérson that I want to be in the future. I love my mission! I wouldn't trade it for anything. It is the best choice I've ever made.

Oh, and today is my 5 month mark.... SO CRAZY!

love you lots

les quiero mucho!!!!

It's official---my Chilean Visa Card!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Feliz día de la madre!

Since I talked to you guys yesterday, this week I’m going to send tons of pics instead of write :)

It was soo awesome to see your faces and hear your voices. I love you guys so much and think about you all the time. 

Keep up the great work in the Lord's vineyard in RSM! The Savior is coming soon and everyone deserves the chance to hear the sweet message.I love and miss you lots!
Our Momita

Muchas vacas

Cool graffiti in Valdivia

Me and the Hermana Lideres (leaders) after we dropped Hermana Braithwaite off

This pic pretty much sums up Futrono...

Snow in the mountains of Futrono looking right outside our casa

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Hombres (Dudes)

ola familia!

So I’ve been in Futrono now for about 4 months. And throughout this time, I have had so interesting experiences with men. But I don’t know what was up with yesterday... literally every man that we passed by made a kissing sound or whistled at me.

This one guy came up (waaay too close) to me and said ¡convertame convertame mi amor! (convert me, convert me my love).

Another guy asked if he could take me to lunch.

And we were contacting and began talking to a guy. We quickly realized he was drunk, so we tried to end it fast. He wanted to shake our hands as we said goodbye so we did. And as he shook my hand, he took it and began kissing it and begging me to walk him home.

Ahhhhhhhghalksdjfha vnkjathrqertaldfn I’m so fed up with men.

And alcohol.

Seriously it is sooo dumb don’t drink. You look like an idiot and everyone makes fun of you or doesn’t like you.

Our neighbors are partiers and every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, they are up until 3 in the morning drunk out of their minds, screaming and singing to the radio. And because our walls are so thin, (literally just a slab of wood that separates us) we get to hear them throw up while trying to have companionship and personal study. We don’t know what to do because we don’t have time to try and find another place to live. But... oh well.... that was my rant for the week.

This week was uneventful with lessons, but very stressful. I can now understand why 19-year-old boys leave out on their missions and come back half-balding men.

Many of our less actives are less active because they have a big calling and are new converts and have no idea what to do and there aren't enough members, so they are in their calling alone. We have about 15 members with callings that are inactive because of this.

One such is the Young Women president. She's a new convert and was asked to lead the 12-18 year old girls. It is just her with the 2 active YW we have, but the president is now less active because she was never in Young Women as a girl and doesn't know how it is run and feels guilt for it so it seems better for her to just not come to church.

We started working with her and now we are her YW counselors, aka, in charge until she learns how it's done. But my comp is a convert and was never in YW either, so it's just me. Since we began working with the YW pres, she came to church!! Wa hooo!! But no YW came, so she left after 2 hour...

Oh and we are also in charge of teaching Temple Prep during Sunday School. Any ideas? I seriously haven’t been this stressed ever. I have no idea what I’m doing. So many hard things have happened this week.

Hahahaha youth conference sounded awesome!! I love that there are so many youth there that you guys can do so many fun things. There are 4 active youth here....

A cool experience, during the sacrament, I was sitting by the piano (I play for the branch), thinking about all the members who aren’t here and all the people who want us to do stuff and all the problems of our investigators and sad that none of them were here. I felt so alone and scared and overwhelmed. I began praying, asking Heavenly Father why I’m here. I’m only 19 years old and don’t know how to help an investigator whose marriage is falling apart, and a less active that is struggling with a bad addiction. I don’t know how to comfort a mom whose son is a drug addict. I’m far from perfect and feel so incapable. The Holy Ghost told me, Karissa, you’re not perfect, but I didn’t call you to teach perfect people.

I know that God is mindful of everything and everyone of us. We are given certain experiences to grow and to help because, through His grace and Atonement, we can be His hands and He will help us accomplish all problems.

Dude, I’m like freaking out. I want to talk to you guys sooo much and just see all of you but I’m also super nervous because I know I’ll be crying and it will be hard to refocus after...

I love you guys soo much! and can’t wait to skype y’all on Sunday!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Cambios (Transfers)

 ola familia!
 This week has probably one of the toughest weeks here in Chile. My new comp is Hermana Melendez from San Antonio.... Chile! She’s really quiet but has such a strong testimony and loves to work. I am so blessed to have her as a comp. She’s awesome. I don’t have much time so I want to share an experience that I had this week. Bueno (well), before I met my comp, I was waiting in the terminal with other missionaries and we were talking. A few of the sisters, when they heard who my comp was going to be told me that I can do hard things and I just need to pray for her and pray for love and have patience and everything will be fine. They shared some other things that left me with a bad impression of her.... before I even knew her. I was really worried and all, but after talking with her over the past week, I have come to learn that she and her last comp had a lot of problems and there were problems with her family as well. She said she was angry all the time and didn’t get along with anyone (thus the impression of the other missionaries).

At first I felt so alone because she doesn't speak English and I became the senior comp until she knows the areas and everyone. The first couple days were rough, adapting to a new comp and teaching and the language 24/7, but she told me yesterday that she has never been happier. Honestly I have never been happier either. I'm learning so much about myself an I have never relied so much on Heavenly Father before. He is always there.

And I can feel the difference too from when we first met. Hermana Melendez is awesome. All she wants to do is work and testify. And that is all I want to do as well. 

We never know what other people are going through. Life is already hard. We don’t need to make it harder by judging others. We never know what the other person is going through. We have no right to judge. Everyone is just trying to do their best with what they know.

We speak Chileano all the time jaja not Spanish, but it is great. I can communicate sooo much better and understand as well. It is sunny today but has been raining the past couple of days. There is snow on the hills!!! Unfortunately it only rains snow melt here, it's barely not cold enough for snow. I prefer snow over rain as well.

It would be nice if the weather humbled the people like it's humbled us! But nope, it's an excuse why people can't go to church--because it is raining. And there is no such thing as heaters. Only fire, so the chapel is always freezing.

I had a flea in my socks last night so my feet are torn up... 

 Man, sooo much has happened. Remind me to tell you about Domingo 24 - 4 when we skype because God was truly walking beside us yesterday and guiding our path. Igual (same) with what happened at Hermano Telmos’ house. Those are two stories muy (very) personal that I want to tell you guys face to face. 
I love you all so much and miss you like crazy!  Keep fight the good fight! Hurrah for Israel!