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.

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