Sunday, November 1, 2009

From kent 10/19

Pero en serio esta vez.‏

¡Hola familia!

With hope, things will work this time, ay! (Ay is the Spanish version of Wo in the scriptures)

So, in looking over my last letter I saw an extreme error. When I said we ''did 9 of them this week'' I meant set baptismal dates, not actually performing the baptism. Bueno, so on to the stories!!

Chiguayante is a common (a bit bigger in area than a city, but not containing big ol' buildings). It's not all too different from the U.S., except it's much poorer, though not like the 'poor' areas in the U.S. as far as character of the people and safety goes. Most houses are very very small, but the people have what they need, and are very content with it. There's no insulation in the buildings, in fact we keep specific window slits open at all times to ventilate the building (otherwise nasty colonies of flies appear) so it gets wicked brisk in the night. Oh so very very cold. You'd think it was a desert with the difference of hot in the day and cold at night. That's a slight exaggeration, but yeah. The majority of the roads are paved, any of the big ones are. Once you get off into side roads and such you don´t have that. A little less often than you'd see a motorcycle in Utah you see a horse-drawn cart.

Bob Barker didn't bless Chiguayante with his daily reminders, and there are dogs EVERYWHERE!! Alllllllllll over the place. Cats too, but not as much as dogs. There also isn't a rule on how many you can have. Often we'll go to someone's house and up to six dogs will come running to the fence a-barking. Most don't have doorbells, so if they have a fence or such you shout ''¡Halo!'' (pronounced like the french allo, or something, don't pronounce the H)

The mission has a goal of 150 baptisms a month, and we get pretty close. Religion doesn't have a fraction of the taboo it does in the U.S. People are open and willing to talk about it all with whoever of whatever religion. I feel that it's a little bit like New York 1820. The strongholds of religion in Chile (and Concepción-Chiguayante specifically) are Evangelical, SUD (LDS), Catholic, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Not necessarily in that order though. The topics of usual conversation from what I've seen is 1. Futbol, 2. Politics, 3.Religion It's a big deal here. BUT, and there is a but, (and it's not Randi's)most don't have the same pride of ''this is my religion, my alliance, my loyalty to THIS church, and my value as a human rides on my being RIGHT in having made this decision'' as most in the U.S. For that reason, even if somebody's extreme Catholic, they'll still gladly have you over for a lesson.

The investigator we're most excited about is Habraham, a boy of about 15 years. He's investigated the church and gone multiple times, gone to activities and such and had a few questions. It was a Saturday activity at the Ward building and we sat him down in a room and taught him lesson 3. (Here in Concepción we start with lesson 3, then 2 then 1. Since doing so the baptisms have nearly doubled in this mission). We could absolutely tell that he felt the Spirit, and does so every time that we have a lesson with him. His family, and especially his mom are very evangelical, and so permission for baptism is being a slight speed-bump because she understands how significant and serious a thing it is, that it's a covenant and a commitment. So that's good that she understands that, because that means she'll be a faithful member when she gets baptized! (We started teaching her as well).

Then we have Onésima, a woman around 45 or so who cuts hair on the corner of the street (By the way, it's fantastically cheap to get your hairs cut here. It costs about 2.000 (2,000) pesos at the most, which is about $4 U.S. (Exchange is about 500 pesos = $1 U.S.) and was actually the first lesson that I taught when I got here to Chile. She still needs to come to church but she knows that what we're saying is true, and was excited to tell us how she had been keeping the word of wisdom and stopped drinking Coffee and tea. Her husband however is afraid of change and such, and doesn't really like the whole thing. That's very common here, the sisters are far more open and receptive to the Spirit than the men, goodness sakes it's ridiculous.

Juaqim is a 9 year old grandson of one of the members (who was taught originally by one of my teachers in the MTC, Hermana Beeston, who was then Hermana Law. She´s spoken of highly and much of the members, and I've seen her in many pictures here as well) who is progressing wonderfully. He's not as excited about it all as the others, but he's keeping commitments, understands the reasons for things, reading, praying, all the above, and enjoys it.

Up next is our tricky, slow but sure process. There's a neighboring family of ours, the Sepulbada family, who are some of the nicest people you'd ever meet. About 4 or so months ago, their youngest, Alexandra (18 years old) was baptized, and the rest of the family is a bit hesitant. The mother is very Catholic, but is happy to have us over and ''review lessons'' with Alexandra and sits in on many and most of them. In truth, our follow up lessons are heavily planned and pointed toward Alexandra's mother and sister, Yoselin. Yoselin has opened up a bit more and started listening to the lessons and came to church yesterday. She still has a way to go for baptism, she doesn't feel comfortable yet, but committed to keep coming to church and reading and praying.

The Church is fantastically true, as is the Lord's hand in His work. The 2nd day here I was doing my morning study and my bible flopped open ''on its own'' to Santiago (santiago = james)5:--something I don't remember but it says in effect: If there are any sick among you, let him call for the elders of the church who will anoint with oil and give a blessing. Then I realized I didn't know how to do that in Spanish, so I figured I should learn and did. Our first contact that morning (There are a LOOOT of less-actives that we work with) asked for a blessing. Similar things have happened with what I study that morning or the day before, Habraham's mom had a question about baptism and those who haven't had it, and I had read that morning 1 Cor 15:29 for the first time since 9th grade. Things like this are very common.

Things are cheap here as well, the buses are like taxis, there are two to four every minute that you can just flag down, it costs from 380-430 pesos to take you into the City. Lunch, which is the biggest meal of the day, will very very rarely cost more than 2.000 pesos. (four dollars) which we only do about once a week, we eat lunch with the members in the Concepción mission, more often those that need a little more get back to church.

Oh my hecks goodness, so on Tuesdays we have Correlation with the ward missionaries and mission leaders, but usually everyone's late. Punctuality isn't quite as much of a value here, only somewhat for church and work. So we spent an hour outside the church and invited passers-by to come in and see the building and all the paintings we had (which are so conveniently alligned in an order helpful for teaching) Only one woman and her absolutely adorable daughter (four or so years, she looked exactly like one of those children from church videos like Testaments and such) When we got to the painting of Jesus getting baptized and explained about it all and what is needed to make baptism valid, the woman (Verónica, which is a name more common than Maria here) asked with hope ''Could we get baptized again?'' That made us very happy. Once we got to the final painting of the first vision and explained and asked if we could come by and teach more at their house, the little girl looked up to her mom and ''whispered'' ¡Sí sí sí sí! I pretty much melted up right there. Hooray for children. Unfortunately, they weren't home when they said they'd be, so we're going to try again.

We have Juaqim's baptism scheduled for this sunday, the 25th, Habraham's for the 1st of November. If Onésima comes to church these next weeks we're looking on the 8th. Yoselin didn't want to set a date, so we're going to help her testimony grow a bit more before we can set one with her. There are many other investigators that are hopeful, but not like these'uns. I will report of those such things when they come of about.

Glad to hear about Grandpa's voice! That's great that he's getting some comforts back into his life.

Bread is fantastic here by the way. Food is usually spaghetti or some other noodles with a light sauce and whatever else you want on top of it: eggs, hot dogs, tuna, chicken, beef. And then desert is usually some delicious type of fruit collection. And as much as American's want to claim french fries as their national food, we don't eat it half as common as the folks of Chiguayante. Almost every other meal has had it.

Well, I must be a heading off and away, have thyselves a grand and wonderous week! The Church is True!

Siempre con amor,
Elder Kent Pimentel

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