Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012

Dear family and friends!!!!! I´m in Chile!!!!

Cultural note for Gary (and anyone else interested):
Dogs EVERYWHERE. The other morning, Elder Lastra and I got up to go run in the morning and we saw at least 20 dogs in 15 minutes of running! But I learned about the Magic button too! The little dogs are the worst. They try to bite you, but all you have to do is look at the dog and bend down and touch the 'magic button' on the ground and they go running :)
Also, all the houses are surrounded by gates and they have no doorbells; so to knock doors we go up to the gate and yell 'ha-lo' like a door bell :P
The strangest thing though is hearing English music. We went into a McDonalds to use the bathroom and the music playing was a song in English that I knew :P Cars pass by and I recognize the songs.

So my first day in Chile was very interesting. There were 21 new missionaries in total, 17 from the states and 4 Latinos from South America. We flew into Chile, went through immigration and customs, met the mission president and his wife, who fed us lunch. Then we went to the famous tourist site of Viña del Mar flower clock. The Mission president divided us in groups of three, gave us a Book of Mormon and the address of the mission home and said ¨nos vemos.¨ I thought he was kidding; but nope, he drove off after saying that we had to place the Book of Mormon and get a return appointment before we return :P I was a little scared; but we did it of course. Then we had dinner and a small orientation before I met my trainer and went to our area to work.
I´m in the area Villa Alemana Oeste or in English: West German Town :P I´m surprised at how many appointments are dropped, but also how receptive the people are here.
Something that I learned this week is that it doesn´t matter if you can't contact a reference. There is someone around the reference that will be receptive to hear the gospel. Also It doesn't matter who gives you the reference. We were street contacting and we tried talking to two guys in their 20´s. They were not interested at all so my companion asked for a reference anyway. They gave us one of their boss. I judged them and thought that they were lying and just trying to get rid of us, but my wise trainer said we are going to go by and see anyway. We did and from how receptive he was, he seems golden to me :)

Talking to you all was great!! But I´m excited for Christmas, when we get to Skype!! :)
The travel down to Chile was practically 24 hours :( But yes, I got dinner and breakfast on the plane from Atlanta to Chile. On the flight down to Chile the guy sitting next to me just had enough time to say that he took Benadryl so that he could sleep the whole flight before he passed out. So yes, I got some sleep! Yes Gary, there was an in-flight movie; but no, I did not watch it even though it was "The Avengers." (It was really really tempting :P)

The Spanish here really isn't that bad, depending on who you are talking to. If it's one of the older people who have no teeth and for some reason think they have gained the right to mumble all their words, I can´t understand anything. But if they talk normally, I can catch 85% of what's going on. I can only speak about 45% of what I want to :P and ´Po´ is going to take a little while to get used to. It's like ´like´ in English but worse! (haha)

I arrived safely and my Mission President is pretty awesome! He is from Germany but he served his mission in Nevada speaking Spanish. Then he lived in Argentina and married an Argentinean. I believe that the mission president's wife is the one who updates the blog and puts up the pictures.
My companion is pretty awesome too! Elder Lastra is from Colombia and he knows quite a bit of English, which is a comfort but also a crutch that I use too often.

Thank you for that scripture :) I´m realizing more and more how much power scriptures bring and also how much comfort they can be :)

All is well :) (In Villa Alemana Oeste and hopefully with you)
Elder Hall
P.S. I thought I had to get off. Every week we have an hour and a half to write family and the mission president and I still have a half hour :)

I hear that the mail is really slow here. 3 weeks one way to the US and sometimes it doesn't even get there :( So we will see what happens with that. Also I have no idea how fast I´ll get the Dear Elders. They are printed off in the Mission office in Viña and they are distributed somehow :P

This week I´ve kinda felt like I´m drowning in information :P new names, streets, procedures, titles, bad words (screamed at me by drunks -It's the 4th of July equivalent here tomorrow, but they take a week to celebrate it :P)
Its an interesting experience to be a missionary. In church you are thinking about yourself or about how your investigator sitting next to you is taking the message. (I can´t wait for fast Sundays... ;P) Or if he is understanding as little of it as you are :P The talk this Sunday was something about Facebook :P
Thanks and I love you :)

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