Wednesday, May 12, 2010

From Kent 3/22

Seguimos Adelante

¡Amada familia mía!

Cultural notes that I have forgotten to mention (I believe). Classic Chilean foods include, and especially during summer:
  • Pastel de Choclo (paste/mix of corn): Pastel de Choclo is usually a bunch of meats, eggs, olives, onions, swimming in what I believe is creamed corn, as it is made from corn, and is of a mashed potato consistency. Often it is sprinkled with sugar. Very very good
  • Humitas: Humitas more or less are a simpler form of just the creamed corn. BUUUT it's made in a cool way. The large hefty pieces of the corn husk are used like wrapping paper for a serving (small brick size) of the corn mush, which are then tied with string and boiled. So you take the humita (more or less means humidified, wet) out of the pot and you have yourself a corn husk wrapped package of corn mush. Quite nice.
  • Casuela: Casuela is the Chilean stew. Potatos, part of if not all an ear of corn (on cob), chicken or beef, (or liver/cow heart if you're lucky) all in a soupish stew juice. I'm actually not in any way a fan of the cow heart/liver whatever thing. I haven't asked what it is, but it has a similar color and feel of the chicken hearts from Tucanos and Rodizio, but a lot softer, so I'm thinking it might be liver. I understand the reputation for liver if that is what it is.
  • Empenadas: Meat pie. In a delicious glazed bread covering, hides an even more delicious (and often dangerously hot) blend of what goes into pastel de choclo or de papas (Pastel de papas is pastel de choclo but with mashed potatoes, corn and cheese, like shepherd's pie) beef, pork, olives, onions, eggs. What hot pockets should be.
Also, a note on superstitions. It is a nationally known fact that dramatic changes of temperature are dangerous. This means, that if you are inside on a cold day drinking some hot beverage, and somebody comes to the door, you have to cover up your mouth with a scarf or your shirt. If you don't, the cold air on your hot mouth will cause the muscles to cramp up and your mouth with freeze crooked. This is more than a "Don't cross your eyes or make that face, it'll get stuck that way." It is believed quite strongly. When Elder Law told me this I told him that maybe out in the country of his old sector with old wives' tales and such, so one time at lunch he asked the members why people come out with their scarves some times. We were given in all seriousness the above explanation.

So transfers are in and it is meet that I finish my work here in Tierra Bella. With the horde of fresh amazing new investigators we've received these last two weeks, I am to follow through. The other two that came to this zone at the same time as me are leaving to other parts, so this makes me the oldest in the zone (most time in Chiguayante). I'm staying with Elder Law, so we're going to hammer it out a bit more here.

On that subject, there has been a lovely helping of progress among the investigators (and an increase of the pool). Jean Pierre and Kevin were baptized yesterday, we had to trangle to a different ward building to do it because our baptismal font in Tierra Bella is still filled with earthquake bathe yourself water, and refuses to drain. It's quite nasty. They'll be confirmed next week! Roberto, the boyfriend of Viviana is going to be baptized this coming Sunday, and he's very excited for it. He's progressed a lot and loves learning more about everything. He decided to take Institute classes and loves reading the scriptures and learning more. He has no problem with the Word of Wisdom or Tithing, and actually is excited about them both, so hot dog! Not a heap of progress with other investigators, still trying to get them to Church, but we have found new ones!

We found a young family, José Luis, Sandra and their 7 year old son Renato. We talked with José a month or so back and went to talk with him this last monday (complications of him not having been there before, earthquake, and emergency long lessons stopped us from talking with him earlier). José has a difficult time with religion, in that deep inside he knows and believes in a supreme being, but it's hard at times due to difficulties and trials that he's had. His wife Sandra on the other hand is excited about it. They were both born Catholic, but not active (like most), and Sandra has always believed that their family was going to find a Church that feels right and stick with it, and is very open to the possibility that this is it. They studied the pamphlet of the Restoration that we left them, and enjoyed reading it, but still need to pray and come to Church. Sandra was very excited about the idea of coming and wants to, but of course once that happens Satan steps in in the form of a boss and she has to travel for work over the weekend. But they honestly want to know, so we feel they will progress well.

We visited a member, Teresa, that hadn't come to church for a few years (she's elderly and lives far, so it's harder) and has a grandson, Enso -11, that lives with her. Enso has a great sense of right and wrong and wants to follow right. She's more or less taught him the Gospel, and so we invited them to come to Church and Enso to get baptized. We got a yes to both of them, and they came to Church! We had invited here many many times before, so it was great to see her there! We're going to work more with them and feel great that they'll reactivate and he can get baptized.

We had a very touching experience a few days ago. In the morning before we left, I had prayed that we could be better examples of Jesus Christ and have His image in our countenances. Later in the day we went by to share a scripture with Jean Pierre, and he had been having a really hard day. After talking about what had happened, we assured him that he's a good boy and can always find the peace with reading the Book of Mormon, praying and going to Church. He said another of his honest, heart-felt, amazing prayers that he does, and we asked him how he felt. He said he felt a lot better and thanked us for coming, and said, "Seeing you is like seeing Jesus." It was a strong witness of the absolute tangible, palpable reality of the Gospel. Also, they had lost their Book of Mormon(s) during the earthquake and couldn't find them for a couple weeks, so we invited them to pray to find them, and they came to Church the next day with them in hand. We asked them how they found them and they responded "praying." They're some fantastic boys, that have already expressed their desires to serve missions. I'm excited for them.

And finally I have pictures!

Much love and thanks,
Elder Kent Pimentel

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