Saturday, December 6, 2008

April 22, 2008

Dear Family,

We live in an apartment that may or may not be falling apart. The bathroom sink leaks out the bottom... so i'm not sure what's going on with the plumbing. Our oven doesn't work. The floor is tiled, but a lot of the tiles are loose, so if you don't lift up your feet enough, you trip and the tile goes flying. There are some messages from other missionaries under some of the tiles. I should go on a hunt and see what they say. But it's comfy enough. I've got a bed and a desk all to my own. And we have a fan in our bedroom so I'm not too hot... and it's already cooling down here, so that's been nice. We have to line dry our clothes and our dishwashers are our hands, but we do have a washing machine. Every apartment in the mission has one, thanks to our dear President Texeira (who I have yet to meet)... so I won't be washing any clothes by hand. It's interesting how little things are different here. No one has dishwashers, and their sinks are wider and more shallow, so the water splashes all over everything, and everyone has a little squeegie (sp?) by the sink so when they're done washing they just squeegie the counter around the sink. They all have the same kind of dish detergent which is different than our detergent, and they all use the same kind of sponges. They all have gas stoves, and hardly anyone has clothes dryers... so you see clothes line drying everywhere you go. Also, we--and lots of other people--don't have shower curtains or doors... so you just let the water splash all over the bathroom and then use a nifty squeegie on a stick to sweep all the water into the drain on the floor.

Sister de Jesus is a little bit loony and lots of fun. She can't carry a tune in a bucket and she is always spilling food on her clothes. But she teaches by the Spirit and makes everyone feel comfortable--including me. She's a great example for me... I have a long way to grow. The language is coming. It's hard every day, but I'm not translating anymore, I'm just speaking... And it doesn't wear me out to speak it like it did in Chile. And I understand almost everything that people say. My vocabulary is just really limited, and if I have to conjugate a word in an unusual tense it totally trips me up. So I'm working on fluency with what I have (so it doesn't seem like I have a speach impediment) and vocabulary! I am absolutely way farther than I was when I left Chile. I can teach pretty well depending on the topic. I can give a rocking awesome first short lesson (the restoration in 3-5 minutes) and I'm really good at the second half of the first complete lesson (apostasy, restoration, book of mormon, and pray to know it's true). The other lessons and anything else I have to talk about it just slower and sometimes I get completely stuck on a word and have to work around it. But I know that I am being blessed.The ward is relatively old and strong. More women than men, but about 130 active. So it's fully staffed. My awful blisters are gone completely and now I just have some little ones in less painful places. And my feet are getting used to supporting me in my hours and hours of walking each day... and I'm working on losing weight so they'll have less to support.

We found 14 new investigators last week. This is a world record. A new investigator is someone who receives one lesson and schedules a return visit. Our new investigators are the following: Jessica, Edvaldo, Osvaldo and Marta and Andrea, Antonio, Beth, Rita and Carlos, Iolande and two children over 8, Isabele, Edna. Some were more interested than others, but we'll see how it goes. Our group of investigators is mostly really new because before I got here the Sisters went through the area book (where we record everything about everybody so the work can continue when we're transfered) and said goodbye to a lot of old investigators who weren't progressing... we had two baptisms. And the rest of our old investigators have testimonies but can't get baptised cuz they're not married... and that takes a long time to resolve. Small Miracles: The Lord helps you find people. I know I said that last week when we'd found Beth, but I have two more examples. One is Jessica. We were going to a member's house because she'd had a miscarriage and we appeared right as her father-in-law, who runs a used book store in the garage, was giving a book of mormon to Jessica and they were talking about us when we appeared. Second is we'd lost the apartment number of a refferal, but Sister de Jesus knew which building it was. As we walked up she said a little prayer asking for help to find the person. Shen we got to the building, there were a couple of people sitting outside with some kids... one of them was the person we were looking for: Rita (pronounced Hita). Goals: Figure out how to follow the Spirit in WHAT I teach, not just to have the Spirit when I testify. Ask better/more questions during lessons, so we're not just teaching. I'll report on my progress next week.


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