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

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