Monday, May 25, 2015

Chilean Beggars

This week I've got a quick story to tell. First, the background.

We met this drunk man on the street a couple weeks ago. It was pouring rain and about 9:00 at night. We were trying to figure out how to use our last hour of the night, because we didn't have any appointments. We just passed him and said hi, and stopped at the corner to discuss our plans. He ended up coming up to us and asking us if we could do him a favor. He kept repeating that he wasn't going to ask us for money, and we agreed to help him. He then asked us for money to buy cigarettes, and of course we rolled our eyes and said no. But he didn´t really want to leave after that, so we kept talking with him. He told us about 4 times that he lived in the Campo, but then changed the location every time. Though his story was filled with contradictions, Elder Ryan took pity on him, and we dragged him over to a little store, where we bought him some bread and ham to eat. He claimed he didn't have any money to get back home to where he lived in the Campo. We had high suspicion that he was lying, he clearly wasn't homeless, just not interested in spending his own money to find worldly pleasure. We gave him his food, and told him to take care, and sent him off. 

Over the course of the last two weeks, we occasionally saw him on the streets. We always said hi, but didn't talk much, but he never forgot what we did for him. Though I was reluctant to help this man, who had clearly chosen to get blasted drunk and then had run out of money and luck, I did learn a valuable lesson. We ran into him again on Saturday, and this time he wasn't drunk, and we talked a lot about who we are. Now I don´t have high hopes that he will start investigating the church, but his heart was softened by our actions. He never forgot what we did for him. What I learned is that we shouldn't neglect those who have made unwise choices, and just slap on the excuse that they caused this on themselves. I was studying the Book of Mormon this morning and came across some scriptures that go over this exact situation. 

16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

 17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

 19 For behold, are we not all beggars?...

 20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance,so exceedingly great was your joy.

 21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

 22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

 23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.

 24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.

Have a good week everyone! 
Love Elder Haddad
 This is our zone! Puerto Varas Zone!
And that´s Elder Peterson trying to catch his camera from falling


Monday, May 18, 2015

Under the Weather

This week we got quite a bit of rain here. On Tuesday, we decided to do another round of exchanges. This time, Elder Peterson, the other zone leader, was going to come to Fruitilar. That means that I would have to take charge for Tuesday. I know my way around, but I don't know street names very well. I also wasn't feeling so well either. My throat had been swollen and burning for the previous couple of days, and I felt like I had strep throat. My tonsils were swollen and with red dots in the back of my throat. Not too fun when you're in a different country, just wishing you could know what to do. We have a mission nurse, but her hours were already up for that day. To be honest, I felt like a zombie, but something was different. Though I was falling asleep every step, the second we talked with someone or sat down with an investigator, I felt fine. I felt like I had all the strength I needed, and that my sickness was left outside. There is something I learned this week, through earnest prayer, and faith, we will receive strength from the Lord. Honestly, that is something I never would have believed in. I didn't have the physical strength to accomplish the work, but there was something pushing me, something that was loosening my tongue and the words came out. When we walked out of our appointments, back on to the street, my voice was horse and I could barely swallow.It truly is amazing what physical limitations and weaknesses we can surpass with the help from the Lord. 

I made sure to get plenty of rest the following day, I quickly got the medication I needed, and within a days rest, I was somehow okay. I honestly don't know what I had, but it had all the symptoms of strep throat but not as severe. But fear not, earnest email readers, I am okay. However, when Elder Peterson left to go back to Puerto Varas (on exchanges, they spend the night too) he accidentally took our cell phone. So we were without a phone, which makes everything a lot more difficult. We couldn't confirm our lunch appointment, nor contact any of our district. The phone was in Puerto Varas, and we had no way to contact the zone leaders. Eventually after 2 days it got passed down to some random member of our ward, and we finally got back on track. 

In our district, we focus a lot on using our gifts and talents. We were required to make a list of our talents and such, and see how we use them each week. This week, I was able to use my knowledge of wrestling superstars to spark some interest in some less active members. We were invited into a house where they were playing some wrestling video game. We talked for a while with the two teenagers, and asked if we could share a spiritual thought. We talked about exercising faith, and with boredom on their faces and glossy eyes, they nodded their heads in agreement. Then I asked them, if they would be able to win in a fight against Randy Orton, if they fought tonight. They laughed, and didn't take it too seriously, but then we talked about it a little more. If you trained for years, and worked each day to become physically more prepared, you might actually have a chance. Then I related it to faith. We have to exercise our faith to become spiritually stronger, just as we would exercise our body to become physically stronger.

Success of the week: 
Baptized someone
Finished the book Jesus the Christ
Wrote a rap

Love to all,
Elder Haddad

A Pretty Church in Puerto Varas
The pier from Fruitillar Bajo 
I baptized someone this week! This is Hermano Luis, he's not actually our investigator, but he chose me to baptize him. Honestly, I was really surprised, he loves to talk about the USA.

Wrote a rap

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Chilean Tooth

You know, I realized something this week. There's something that has changed in me, something is slowly developing. My whole life I have honestly hated Mondays, but besides all the other growing experiences I have had on my mission, my heart has really been softened towards Mondays. "You go your whole life hating Mondays, until you get on your mission" - Elder Ryan. Very true, Mondays are quite relaxing, but seem to end too quickly! 

This week I also learned that in Chile, "menu" is equivalent to special. Last Monday for lunch we walked into a restaurant in Fruitillar Bajo, we were expecting it to be pricey because it was in the touristy part of town. We entered the restaurant and were the only people in there. The server came up to us holding menus, and asked us only, "menu?", to which we replied, yes. She then put the menus in her hand away, and came back to take our drink orders. She was very confused when we ordered only water, and insisted on bringing us bottled mineral water. We then were served bread and soup. At this point, Elder Ryan and I are still waiting to view the menu, and I just assumed the soup and bread came with every dish. After we finished our soup and sat waiting, we finally asked her, if we could see the menu. To which she responded, "the carta?" and then grabbed the menu. Ohh, the carta, yea sure, show us that thing...and we are sitting there just wondering what on Earth we ordered, and how expensive it was. We got the carta, and began to see that all the prices were about $5 more expensive than everywhere else we looked, and we were eating in a pub (this restaurant was a recommendation from a member), so we assumed it would be cheaper. We also just crossed our fingers and hoped she would bring out something good. Our luck finally paid off when she brought out some delicious chicken and rice, one of the most common dishes here. We enjoyed it, and our dessert. Our waitress was then more confused when we declined the coffee or tea (they always have herbal tea or "Mormon coffee" that we could drink- more on this later) because they were included in the meal. Overall the meal ended up costing us about $18, which was about $9 a person, and included a free drink, soup, bread, entree, dessert, and then coffee. Lesson learned, pocket hurt, stomach still satisfied. 

This week we began to see some miracles here. Since I'm still in "new missionary" training, we have to do a lot more studying, so the amount of time we get on the streets is precious to us. For weeks, we have been struggling to find people, and every time we set an appointment to come back again, they are magically not there. But this week I have developed a testimony that the Lord puts people in our path that we need to talk to. Wednesday was an especially good day for us, we randomly ran into everyone we missed throughout the week on the streets. 

This week we took a trip to a little town called Casma. Its about 20 minuets away in what we call the "campo". After waiting a half an hour for the bus in the rain, we finally were on our way to Casma. We had some old teaching records of people that lived there, that we found from cleaning up our area book, and had taken some lessons before, but we had no addresses. Neither of us had ever been there, so it was going to be an adventure. We got off the bus, in the middle of the boonies, and then looked and saw a town a lot bigger than we expected. Casma was huge! We thought it would be like 1 street, but there was easily a couple thousand people that lived there. Then the rain started coming down a lot harder, but we hit the streets - dirt roads, and started knocking on some doors. The first door we knocked on was a success, and she invited us in right there to teach her, but we couldn't because her husband wasn't home. Then 10 minutes later we found another family, who invited us in, but also we couldn't go in because the husband was about to leave. People must of been taking pity on us because the rain was so brutal. It was comical, the rain was coming down sideways, and the wind in 20 mile hour gusts, and we were just these two gringos parading around in this ghost town. We picked one more house, before we had to head back to Fruitillar, and we yelled from the gate. A kid, about 15, came out and asked what we wanted. Because of the intense wind and rain, we could barely hear each other, being about 20 feet from his doorstep. Because it was useless, we just about said goodbye, and then I yelled, hey, do you like basketball? He was wearing some basketball shirt from Walmart or something. And then he said something with a smile, probably a yes. Then Elder Ryan yelled, can we please come in. And the kid let us in haha. We also taught him and his grandma the entire restoration and showed them a video, and set up a return appointment, all because he likes basketball. 

Now you're probably wondering about the title of this email, well there's something I've realized after a month here. Everyone is missing the same tooth, its kind of bizarre, its the tooth behind the fang like tooth. I'm honestly not sure why, but a majority of people are missing it, and I felt the need to say something. Have a great week everyone, and hope everyone enjoyed Mothers day, or día de la Madre -advanced level Spanish. 

No pictures were taken this week :( Expect more next week. 

With love, 
Elder Haddad


Monday, May 4, 2015

1 Month Down Chilean Style

1 month down!

Whenever I tell people that I only have been in Chile for a month, they are super surprised. Once I start talking about the gospel, the words fly out, but when I try to order something at a restaurant or go to the postal office it´s a lot of charades and pointing and such. 

Highlights of this week: 

We went on exchanges on Tuesday. Basically it´s like a day switch for missionaries. I went to Puerto Varras to be with Elder Marsden, it was so much fun. He has a lot of energy, and talks to everyone, and I mean every moving person gets a hello. Even if they are riding a bike or in a taxi driving away, he greets them and asks them how they are. You get ignored a lot more, but it is so much more successful when contacting people. He said that there´s a point when you just have no fear to share the gospel with everyone. 

I got my first greeting kiss on the mission this week too. To greet friends and family, you like touch cheeks and kiss, just like a polite greeting, it doesn't mean anything. But we aren't allowed to kiss, just shake hands. We were in the middle of a lesson, and the sister of the investigator walks in, greets her brother, and then starts walking toward the stairs. I get up from the couch I was sinking into to shake her hand. But she was already bending over, so now I'm like limbo-ing between the couch and the wall, trying to avoid this lady, but I´m about to fall, so I just go for the kiss. The whole time, Elder Marsden is waving his hands, and saying, "No, No No, we don´t kiss."  Even the investigator knew this too and he was trying to stop his sister, but too late. My face was like a fire, I was so embarrassed. It was absolutely hilarious to Elder Marsden, and obviously everyone gets kissed eventually, but we try our best to avoid it.

This Sunday we also got to do some service. Our Stake President called us really late Saturday night and asked us if we wanted to go to Ensanada to help a member clean up the ash from the volcano eruption. Ensenada got hit really really really badly with ash. It had to be evacuated and they still have not been able to return to their homes. So Sunday morning we went to church in Purerto Varras, and then along with Elder Marsden, Elder Juarez, and some members of the Bishopric, we left for Ensenada. It was raining all morning, so we did't know if they would let us into Ensenada which was still shut down. We got permission to enter, and after driving a couple miles, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Ash piled up in mountains, blanketed everything. It looked like 5 feet of snow, but the thing about ash is it doesn't melt, it won´t get blown away, it won´t dissolve, the only way to get rid of it is to take it out. Ensenada honestly looked like a giant sandbox, and they were taking out the ash by the tons. We drove on down to a members house in Ensendada, and worked for about 3 hours shoveling, and removing ash from the backyard. Even though it was Sunday, we had no reason not to help one of our bretheren. The family we helped out was so nice, and really showed their appreciation for us coming. Soaked, exhausted, and filthy, we did all we could, and the Lord provided us all the strength we needed, even though we were fasting. A fantastic experience and something I will probably never get to do again. 

The work is starting to pick up here in Fruitillar, we found and taught a couple new families this week. I would be lying is if I said it was easy, or if I said I understood everyone. But we definitely enjoyed this weekend, especially because it was Elder Ryan´s birthday this Sunday! Elder Ryan has been such a fantastic trainer, and we strive to be as obedient as we possibly can. I am so thankful to have him as a companion, his humility and hard work are such amazing attributes, and it's hard to believe that he only has 10 months on the mission. He is such an example to me.

I hope everyone is enjoying the weather warming up, its odd that we are going into winter. 

Elder Haddad

Sunset in Fuitillar

Another sunset