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


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