Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 22, 2013

Hello hello!
How is everything?   22 inches of snow??? are you kidding me?????? crazy colorado weather.  well, while you have all been having fun in the snow, Ive been enjoying the nice fall weather here with nice palm trees =).  

OK sorry...i totally forgot to send my new address.  Were in west vina, so it just sends to the pouch mail address for now=

Chile Viña Del Mar Mission
4 Norte 1112
Casilla 631
Viña Del Mar

Yayyy now you can send me letters.  My mission pretty much rocks at life.  I don't even know where to begin.  Last Monday, we took a spill at the dunes (no i did not break my cocix thank you napoleon dynamite). It was super epic but super cold and i didn't think we'd need sweatshirts. shoot.  it's okay.  we ate lunch.  i sent a picture. 
My companion is swell!  She has been out 13 months I believe, so she goes home kinda soon.  She's a great missionary.  She has a good what i like to call 'missionary stare'.  whenever we contact, she bears a solid testimony and people usually end up changing their mind to letting us come by.  if that makes sense.  its a good thing!
This week...let's see.  Pretty epic.  We contacted a lot, worked with a few members.  My language is good some days and awful other days.  usually at the end of the day, my brain is fried!  I really want to be fluent! i contacted a few people on my own this week too.  chileans are funny.  they talk really fast as i mentioned last week and talk a LOT.  (its kind of nice sometimes because it means that i just nod my head and say 'si' ).  
Went to my first zone conference on wednesday i think.  it was super good and its always refreshing and motivating to see the other missionaries who work super hard.  We have a really good zone.  They emphasized obedience a lot and i remembered that i need to keep in mind an eternal perspective.  I need to always always have the spirit with me.  i think it took a  few days to adjust, but after that, i felt better.  my time is short and theres a lot of work to be done!  
  We had another investigator at church last week named Juan.  He is probably almost 80 and is our mamita's boyfriend.  He is blind, but a very nice man.  (I went up to him last week and tried to shake his hand but he didnt see it.  you can imagine that was awkward because the bishop was sitting right next to me...)  
Milo our ward mission leader really wants to learn english.  hes definitely a stud and  does his job well.  We read the book of mormon with him in english, just the title page, and he did well.  when he said 'scriptures' he always adds  a 'eh' at the beginning of the word.  'escriptures ', (it makes sense because scriptures in spanish is escrituras'.  If theres anyone we can count on, its Milo.  He looks out for us missionaries.
We went on exchanges this weekend.  I went to a place closer to Viña called Reñacait is super uphill.  I was with Hermana Pereira who is training my pal Hermana Zimmerman.  got to see her again and that was awesome!  Hermana Pereira is the sister training leader and doesnt speak english.  shes from paraguay and they speak slower and more clearly.  i learned a lot from her and luckily, i understand a lot of what she told me!
chile is so great.  the people are awesome and love each other.  they all great each other with a hug and kiss on the cheek.  
oh my goodness. so church yesterday, it was sooo cold in the building.  they dont have heaters or insulation here so we stack on the layers at night even if its nice outside.  my companion pointed out that my lips turned blue at church.  we went to the bathroom and yep they were blue! haha.  
oooo yay and for fleas...i wear bugspray to bed. i feel like im camping when i got to bed.  i didnt think fleas were too much of a problem at first, and they werent but then i woke up and got a ton last week.  time for the spray down.  i have 14 bites just on my wrist and probably like 60 altogether.  yuck.  action time.  i sprayed like crazy in our room and put on the fleacollar and everything and layers.  i dont think i got as many last night thank goodness. 
i also decided to not pet any more dogs.  i didnt pet the strays before, but im steering clear of dogs till i get home.  not worth it at all...
we visited with an elderly membr of our ward named hermano rave and picked a few figs from his fig tree.  ill send pictures.  
i hope you{re all doing well.  the ocean and beach are gorgeous here.  have a nice summer!  we experienced some vina winter which wasnt terrible but still cold.  
love you.
hermana hanks

Saturday, April 27, 2013

April 14, 2013

Hola familia!
¿como está? (would you look at that i know spanish.) ok.... so before i get into anything.....CHILE IS THE COOLEST COUNTRY EVER.  seriously.  i don´t even know where to begin here!
we left the mtc monday morning.  we were going to class to see our teacher one last time and i saw jessica foster walking around the corner! crazy. we were about 45 minutes late because an elder who nobody knew who was showed up.  basically it was exactly like home alone.  it took aabout 6 years to check luggage, but it was okay!  In fact, we were very blessed.  I was the last to get my luggage checked and our second bag was an extra 75 dollars.  we were all kind of rushed and worried that our luggage would be too heavy, but the lady put the tags on mine without even weighing them.  i then told her i still needed to pay, but she gave me a smile and said,"go on a mission."  that´s probably way more than i could have asked for, but i don´t doubt that was a miracle!  i also think making that plane was a miracle in itself because we literally were seated on the plane at 12:58 on a plane that left at 1.  after we got off the plane, hermana call lost her wallet.  i think they said they had already cleaned the plane, but she asked the man if she could go check and a few minutes later, she came out with her wallet.  
i talked to a woman named Myrna on the way to Chile.  She was a native and hadn´t been back to visit for 20 years i think.  we talked about religion and everything (in english :) and i gave her a book of mormon.  she was excited and i hilighted a few of my favorite parts that i encouraged her to read.  i really hope she reads it!  
i woke up right as we were flying over the crazy cloud cover.  legit? uh yes.  
we stayed in vina the first night near the mission home.  it was possibly the most comfortable bed ever.  then the next morning we had orientation stuff all day, then transfers!!
my new companion´s name is Hermana Ortega.  no she´s not native, she´s from Ogden, utah, but people here have no trouble pronouncing her name!  She´s turning 24 this month, so she´s a few years older than i am.  she´s super awesome!  she speaks pretty good spanish and works hard.  we´re in an area just 15 minutes outside of vina in a place called recreo alto.  our first night, we went street contacting.  we also went to meet the ward mission leader, la presidenta de la soc soc and the young men´s leader (whom all live in the same house).  the presidenta de la soc soc (relief society) is hermana sonia.  she´s very kind.  i can´t really understand her, but im working on it!  her son, leo, is the ym president and he knows a little bit of english.   the ward mission leader´s name is milo and he´s actually colombian.  he served in vina 2 or 3 years ago.   we´re trying to help him learn english and it´s fun because his colombian accent is super strong.  he wanted me to tell you all hi.
we speak spanish the majority of the time, but it can be frustrating.  i realize more and more though that i need to just do it because i really don´t like not being able to communicate well.  chileans talk FAST.  and they don´t ever pronounce their "s" or some ¨"l" in words.  i really like the challenge of trying to understand what on earth people are saying though.  at the end of the day, i´ll admit my brain is spanish stewed. 
we´ve done lots of contacting this week which means we have a lot of appointments this week.  a lot of people are pretty receptive, but it depends kind of what part of town we´re in.  we met a guy the other day who was talking about God being an extraterrestrial and stuff like that.  i can sometimes put the pieces together of what is being said in a conversation, but i tell you, i was completely lost in that one.   we´ve met some very nice people too though.  last night, we were contacting in an area of town we´ve never been before.  we went down some steps to some old houses.  we´re right close to the beach in our area.  we talked to a man who really didn´t like people asking him about his beliefs.   it was a little discouraging.  we decided to go to the next house before our meeting, and there we met a man named <sergio and his wife maria.  they both were very nice and said that they had met with missionaries before but i think one of them had surgery and i don´t know what happened.  they said it would be fine if we came back next week.  they also had a little white poodle (can you guess who this made me think of...) im so excited!  i love finding families that are happy like that especially.  
we also met a man named ramon y su esposo erika.  they invited us in and gave us juice (people drink a ton of it here).  we pretty much told them about the book of mormon.  ramon is a christian and his wife is catolica.  they said they would read and pray about the book of mormon and find our for themselves.  im excited to visit them this week too!
we had 8 investigators at church this week.    evwe set an appointment with juan, a newer investigator.  he´s probably in his 80´s, but seemed real excited! 
as for a little taste in the culture here.  our ward is tiny and it probably has about 12 hermanas in relief society.  they asked me to introduce myself in front of everyone during sacrament mtg, and asked me to play piano as well.  i also gave the closing prayer in the next two meetings too.  the piano´s keys were a little sticky, so it probably sounded awful because i missed so many notes, but afterwards, many were excited that i played.  everyone is so kind and loving to each other.  they all greet each other with a kiss on the cheek here.  it´s a sign of respect here.  they´re all so sweet.  they kind of don´t really know how to pronounce my last name and usually it goes ¨"hermana...hahyanks?" 
many people have been excited about my eyes.  one man said "quiero a comprar sus ojos!" which means, i want to buy your eyes i think.  
the food is bomb.  especially coming from the mtc, our first meal here was with hermana wilma.  the members feed us most days.  they give us a lot of rice, and pan. pan is bread, and it´s the best.  we´ve had good sauce with types of meat.  it´s not spicy, but it has good flavor.  their desserts are very light.  we´ve mostly had berries and cream, which is nice because afterwards when we have to walk, i don´t feel like a bowling ball.  we also have flipping amazing fruit.  the apples are the best, and they have avocado trees.  i love the markets here as well.  pretty much....chile is the best!  
the bus rides here are epic.  i have no idea if there is a speed limit, but you get on a bus and the second you´re on, it takes off.  it´s like a roller coaster because it can be very steep and curvy in many places.  it´s the best! 
i forgot to mentino how cute chilean children are.  one of the investigators name is francisco.  he´s been coming to church for 2 years and he´s 14 years old.  he wants to be baptized, but doesn´t have permission yet.  i wish i was that awesome when i was 14!  he´s such a nice kid and we´re teaching him this week i think.  
there are a bunch of dogs here.  it´s like a dog wonderland.  dogs just come and lay in the street dead dog style.  we´re not suppose to touch them because they probably have fleas, but nonetheless, i love seeing all the lazy dogs lay around.  apparently it´s not even this bad here.  we went to the sand dunes today and one dog just came up and slept next to us. didn´t even try and steal our food! i miss my dogs :( but there are lots of them here, so it helps!
sorry for the lengthy letter.  i promise ill try to keep it shorter in the future.  chile is the best.  im psyched to bring these people closer to the Savior!
love you!
-hermana hanks