Monday, October 28, 2013

First Preparation Day

Literally hot off the press (received at 3:41 p.m.):

My Trip Here: I thought I would meet up with another missionary in either the Philadelphia or Miami Airport, but I ended up flying here alone. Although, there was an empty seat next to me on my flight to Santiago. Maybe someone got cold feet. Before my flight from Philadelphia to Miami, they took my carry-on bag because they had run out of room in the overhead bins. This is unfortunate because in the end it meant that I would have no bags. My luggage was lost. I just got it today, four days in. I’m really excited because I’m sick of reusing underwear. It’s all part of the adventure though!
What I Am Doing: Here in the Mission Training Center, we have classes every day. A lot of intense language study and a lot of gospel study. We pretty much study all day. My Spanish is coming along well. I’m better at Spanish than most of the missionaries in my district* so I am able to help them a lot. All in all, it’s been a good experience so far.

The Food: Most of the time, I don’t know what I am eating. Sometimes I can figure out what is in the dish, but sometimes I have no clue. It’s all been good though. They don’t serve water with meals. They always have juice or soda. They put yogurt on the cereal instead of milk. I haven’t tried that yet because it seems kind of gross. The bread here is very dense. When I got here, some elders told me that the bread “plugs you up.” I testify that this is true.
Outside: There’s a fitness park near the MTC. It’s really nice. I’ve seen parrots in the park and a lot of interesting plants. There are a lot of street dogs here. I’ve only encountered friendly ones, but I saw on running after the MTC President so I guess they’re not all friendly.

The People: The people talk a lot, quickly, and they are never concise. When they try to speak English, they sound like Gru from Despicable Me. They are also not shy about PDA. I have found that walking through the park can be a disturbing experience.

South Santiago: When I leave the MTC, I will be living in South Santiago. I have learned that it is very poor, there are a lot of gangs, and gun violence is not uncommon. Pick-pocketing is obviously also very common. I guess I won’t get bored!
In closing, I want to say that I know that as I work hard, and do my best to be strictly obedient to the commandments of God, I will be blessed to able to do all that I want to do. I will be able to learn the language quickly and serve the people of Chile in a great way.

*Class/group. The missions are divided into zones which are made up of several districts. A district usually has 4 to 10 missionaries (sometimes more) with one of them being the district leader. In the MTC the class groups, which are about the same size, are known as districts.

Ben says he only has a short time to email and the computer is slow.

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