Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Last Full Week at the MTC

We went street contacting twice this week.  The first time my companion and I were pretty unsuccessful.  We talked to a couple guys who really liked their marijuana.  They really liked us and they were fun to talk to but I don´t think our message got through.  Our second time was great though.  After getting rejected over and over we talked to an older lady who had a Mormon friend.  We made small talk and then told her a little about the Book of Mormon.  I told her it would bring her happiness and bring her closer to Christ.  She said she believed us so I asked her if she had one.  She said she didn't and we gave her one and committed her to read.  Then she gave us her contact information so we could send missionaries.  It was a perfect contact.  Hopefully I have a lot of success like that in the field.

I had McDonalds today.  It was just about the same here as anywhere in the states and it´s easy to order because a Big Mac is still called a Big Mac.  It was good to get some American food after having nothing but rice, potatoes and pasta with the sauce of the day.  Next week, I leave the training center and enter the field.

That's all Ben wrote for the blog, but he did tell us a couple of things in his email to us we don't mind sharing. Last week he said he had been sick and had been to the doctor (the church has doctors there). He is better now. He had mentioned some about the food in his blog last week and we asked him about the blood sausage. He replied: "Blood sausage is disgusting.  Actually the taste isn't that bad but the consistency and the knowledge of what it is makes it gross.  I didn't try the stomach.  I saw sauce with fatty looking strings of meat and decided I didn't want to try it.  I found out later it was [cow] stomach."

Ben leaves the training center Tuesday, Dec. 3, so we're not sure what his ability to write will be next week. We'll post anything we get from him! We updated his address on the Contact Ben tab, but don't worry if you sent something to the MTC that he may not have gotten yet because he says they will forward it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

MTC Week Four

The food here is getting really dull really fast.  I used to work in the cafeteria at the Provo MTC.  The food is not even comparable.  They have cookies, and pizza, and hamburgers, sweet and sour chicken, tacos, ice cream.... We have rice, potatoes or pasta with some kind of sauce and occasionally meat.  The meat is usually ckicken but we will occasionanlly have pork, beef, or blood sausage.  The sauce could have anything - an assortment of vegetables, ground beef, or on one occasion, strips of cow stomach.  There are a few redeeming qualities though, like manjar.  Manjar literally means delicacy, but they use it as the name for a spreadable caramel that they put on everything.  It´s good stuff.

Shopping out here is a little different.  We have been cautioned to use our debit cards as little as possible because some places have been known to steal your information.  They have sales tax here, but they fix it into the price of the item before you buy it which makes so much more sense.  Why doesn´t America do that?  I haven´t spent a lot of money down here, but I´ve bought a few things.  I got a haircut last week for 4,000 pesos or a little under $8.  The lady recognized be as a missionary and instead of asking what I wanted she simply asked ¨Como Beckham o como Clooney?¨ There was a picture of each of them on the window.  I got the como Beckham.  If only I could play soccer como Beckham I´d be all set out here.  I also bought a coke out here because I heard they tasted better.  It´s true that they use real sugar but I couldn´t taste the difference. 

My typical schedule in the CCM or Centro de Capitación Misional (I think) is as follows:
6:50- Wake up and get ready
7:10- Personal Scripture Study
8:00- Breakfast
8:30- Exercise
9:30- Prepare for the day
10:00- Practice Teaching
11:00- Study Spanish
12:00- Learn about how to teach better
13:00- Lunch
14:00- TALL (Technology Assisted Language Learning)
15:00- Learn about how to teach
16:00- Practice teaching and study
18:30- Dinner
19:30- Practice teaching and study
21:30- Plan for the next day
22:00- Personal time
23:00 Lights out
It´s a lot of class and a lot of structure.  It reminds me of my time in ROTC.  I´ll have to conclude because I´m out of time.  Hasta luego.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

MTC Halfway Point (with pictures)

It´s election time down here although I don´t know what they´re voting for.  We can hear protests every now and then.  Sometimes we see police cars covered in armor too.  It´s apparently very common to cut the faces out of people´s posters if you don´t like them.  They take politics pretty seriously. 

My Spanish is really improving.  I´m getting to the point where I´m starting to speak Spanish exclusively.  For the most part, that means I´m always looking in the dictionary or not talking, but at least my grammar is solid.  I´m a little worried about how quickly people talk down here though, even some of the Latinos can´t understand Chileans because they talk so fast.  Fortunately, a lot of Latinos know English.  An amazing number learn English through video games and even more learn English from watching American movies.

Other than that, this week was pretty miraculous.  For one thing, the Gringos beat the Latinos in soccer!!  The new group of Latinos aren't very good and we´re improving fast.  And Elder Jeffrey R. Holland came and spoke to the missionaries in the CCM (Mission Training Center but in Spanish).  For those of you who are not Mormon, our church has a current prophet and twelve apostles just like the prophet in the Bible.  For a Mormon, being within a few feet of Elder Holland is comparable to being within a few feet of Peter, James or John.  It´s a big deal.  He is very, very passionate about missionary work and he´s very inspiring.  It was an amazing opportunity considering there are only about 90 missionaries in this training center compared to Utah´s three or four thousand.  He got us all pumped.  In fact, I´m so pumped, I´m going to dare anyone who reads this to read the Book of Mormon and sincerely ask God if it is true.  See if you can tell me it isn't.  I dare you.

 This is the main entrance to the church office building in Santiago where Ben has his classes.  He lives in a nearby building.

We assume Ben sent this picture to show the parrots. The dog in the background is likely a "neighborhood" dog, loose dogs are very common in Santiago
The court where Ben plays soccer most days (and where the Gringos apparently had a big victory this week) during his physical exercise time
This is a screenshot from Google Maps. The Santiago Temple is bottom left (with the pointer). Ben lives in the building in the upper left and has classes in the building in the lower right (picture above). The soccer court is the paler green area upper center. There is also a park nearby where they sometimes go.

Editor's note: We'll try to get Ben to send a picture or two that he might actually be in. In our personal email he said he wanted us to be sure people know how to write him. His address is on the "Contact Ben" tab in the black bar at the top of the page. Just for good measure, I'll put it here to. To send Ben a letter via airmail (we haven't done this):
Elder Benjamin Hoose
Chile Missionary Training Center
Pedro de Valdiva 1423
Santiago Region Metropolitano

To send him a letter via pouch:
Elder Benjamin Hoose
Chile Missionary Training Center
PO Box 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150
We have sent mail via pouch. He got the letter today (Nov. 13) that we mailed on Oct. 28. These letters have to be in Salt Lake by Friday to go out that next week, so this method took a little over two weeks, but there seem to be variables (getting to SLC by Friday, and perhaps when his p-day is). These letters have to be a single sheet, folded in thirds (top to bottom), taped with a couple small pieces of tape on the long end and addressed on the blank side. Nothing can be included in the letter (no pictures, etc.) and they require regular US postage since technically they're only being mailed to Salt Lake.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

So P-Day Changes Week to Week....

It´s hard to organize my thoughts when I write these posts because I only get one hour to email everyone and post on the blog every week.
  • This morning, all of the Latino missionaries left.  They only stay two weeks because they don´t have to learn a new language.  Two of them were my roommates.
  • One of my now former roommates, Elder Helio Ferreira, played soccer professionally for Atletico Paranaense in Brazil.
  • We play soccer almost every day here.  Sometimes we play Latinos vs. North Americans.  Guess who wins?!  Every time!  It´s actually not that bad.  The gringos usually score a couple.  I´m really glad I played soccer in the States.  I´ve earned the respect of a lot of Latinos on the court.
  • They play soccer on courts here.  There are basketball hoops on the courts too, but they´re rarely used.  It´s kind of funny, they´re shorter than the baskets in the US.
  • Everything here is fenced in and almost all of the fences have spikes. 
  • The people are incredibly loving.  There are Latinos that left today that I hardly knew and yet that embraced me with eyes full of tears as they left.  I hope that they are a good representation of the majority of the people I run into when I´m in the field.
  • It´s really hot here and it´s still spring.  They say the sun feels hotter because of the hole in the ozone layer.  
  • Every single meal has rice, potatoes, or pasta.  It´s an incredible amount of carbs.
  • I went to the tallest building in South America today.  It´s a giant mall.  Malls aren´t exactly my thing, but it was really cool.  I´ve been to another mall down here.  We call it the ´Ghetto Mall´.  It´s a little more adventurous than the giant one and it´s closer.
  • There was an earthquake last week, but I didn´t feel it.  They´re very common down here on the “Ring of Fire¨
  • There used to be a gang in South Santiago called Los Mormónes.  They dressed up as missionaries and stole cars!
I guess that´s about it for this week.  I´m enjoying my stay down here and I´m learning Spanish quickly.  I can’t wait to go out and serve the people of Chile.  I´ll have pictures posted one of these weeks.  I keep forgetting the cord to my camera.  Hasta luego!
Editor's (AKA Dad) note: Please pardon the formatting issues. For some reason it's not as simple as just cutting and pasting or formatting in Word and pasting.... I blame Google and to a lesser extent my own meager HTML skills.