Monday, December 9, 2013
I'm finally in the mission field. I live in a residential area of Santiago called El Bosque. It's a relatively nice area. I've spent most of my time walking around with my companion getting to know the people in the church. We walk constantly and its very hot down here. I've already lost five pounds. I'm constantly exhausted but the work is good.
I live in a very small house (all of the houses are small here) with my companion, Elder Cabrera, another gringo missionary, Elder Jarrett, and his companion, Elder Guevara, another Latino. LDS missionaries are paired together for safety reasons, both physical and spiritual. They don't want us getting into trouble. Elder Cabrera hardly speaks English. My Spanish far excedes his English, but it is still very difficult to communicate. Although, it is easier to communicate with him than the Chileans because he is Peruvian. Peruvians speak clearer and slower than Chileans. Chileans speak the fastest out of all of Latin America, drop endings of words, and change pronunciations. For example they say "Cómo estai" in place of "Cómo está."
Our house is very, very humble to put it nicely. It was quite dirty when Elder Jarrett and I first arrived from the Misionary Training Center, but we've done a lot of work. When we arrived, the mission president's wife, Sister Cook, told us that we need to shower every day. At first I thought it was kind of funny that she would need to say that. Who wouldn't shower every day? Then I saw the shower. And then I found out we didn't have hot wáter. We didn't just not have hot wáter - we exclusively had ice cold wáter. Now I understand why people don't shower every day. We have since bought gas, so we have hot showers now. The shower itself is still very humble...I'll stick with that Word- humble.
All four of us sleep in one small room on bunk beds. Several days ago, Elder Jarrett's bed collapsed on top of Elder Guevara. It was hilarious, but now I'm afraid to sleep beneath Elder Cabrera, who is much heavier than Elder Jarrett. Every week there's the fierro. Vendors line the streets and sell fruit, vegetables, fish, eggs, and odds and ends. Some of the displays appear to be whatever the vendor stole that week. The fruit is amazingly cheep. I bought two kilos of strawberries for one mil. Or about four and a half pounds for two dollars. Elder Jarrett and I are getting very good at making smoothies.
I´m doing my best to work my hardest and become the best man I can be. I spend each day serving and preaching the Gospel. I try to talk to everyone I see, but I have to be more careful. I said "buenas noches" to a pair of men in the middle of a drug deal my first day. I didn't notice them handing off money until after I said it, but they didn't give us any trouble. All in all, I'm doing great. I love serving and I love furthering my knowledge of the Gospel. I know that it's true.
Please forgive my spelling, I'm using spanish autocorrect.* Buenaventura everyone! Hasta la próxima semana.
*That's why he has an editor! He promises pictures next week. You can type in "El Bosque"on Google maps and see the area Ben is in. He also said he'll send his actual address next week, and that reminds me that we have updated his mailing address on the "Contact Ben" tab (the mission office now has a post office box).