Sorry it took so long to send an email - things have been insanely busy here. The first day I got here President Swenson and his wife did have me write you a note, but I believe they are sending it through snail mail, so it might not get there for awhile. CHILE IS AMAZING! I love it here, the people are nice, the food is great, etc. It is still a bit Chile and there isn´t really such a thing as indoor heating except for gas heaters and such so that is fun - reminds me of the good old days in the Virginia house!
I´ll fill you in a bit on what has been going on here -
The first day we didn't really do a whole lot - we did a little orientation with the President and his wife and such, and then we went to the capilla in Concepción to meet our companions. My companion's name is Elder Kester from Springville and he is great. We've been working really hard and having a great time - nos pasamos muy bien. For the first couple of days he and some members would pull some pranks on me because I couldn't understand everything. One time we went to eat dinner with a family, he didn't tell me they were already membersband the mom was talking about how she didn't believe in any churches and that she felt like she had an evil spirit in her that she wanted me to take out hahaha. And the dad, Marcos, asked me to go buy wine for them. Chuta! I was very confundido, but I'm learning how to not be the greeny now. The people here speak a billion miles an hour, so everything I thought I knew about spanish just flew out the window haha. I am understanding a lot after a week, though. I like to say that mi español es roto pero estoy arreglándolo.
I'm serving in Cabrero, which is about an hour east of Concepción. It's about an hour north of Los Angeles....CHILE hehe. Cabrero is just awesome - I love it here. The 18 of September was the equivalent of the 4th of July in the US, so there was much celebrating and eating of fooooooood! I must have had a billion empanadas and the carne was amazing. Everyone gets a kick out of my spanish, which is ok - I'll learn quick and show them all hehe.
We had 3 baptisms this last saturday! Veronica, her hijo Mauricio, and su sobrino Hector. Mauricio and Hector asked me to baptise them, so I've had my first baptisms already, yay! They're a great family, I just hope they stay active - inactivity is a pretty big problem down here. There's probably about 500 members on our records and only about 50 go every week, so Elder Kester and I are trying to fix that. There are few member families that are capo and are helping us a lot. We've got 3, possibly 4, more baptisms set up for this coming saturday, and one more the following saturday. Hector's mom went to his baptism and now she wants to get baptised - how cool is that¿ I don't know how to do a regular question mark on spanish keyboard...yet. I'll figure it out eventually.
The people here are so nice - everyone gives hugs and besos. As missionaries we're not supposed to give or take besos just because of false accusations and stuff, but still, everyone is so nice. You could be fighting with someone and they would still offer you some pancito, which is a very tasty bread they eat with meals here. I want to learn how to make it. From time to time there will be a group of muchachas walking on the other side of the street who will whistle and yell something like Hey baby! It's pretty funny. It's also fun to be walking in the streets and pass by a borracho, drunk, passed out on the sidewalk. Elder Kester and I get a good laugh out of that.
The money is pretty different here - I still have to get used to seeing things priced by the hundreds. One American dollar is worth about 500 Chilean pesos. So that's another fun thing - I'll try to take a picture of some money sometime and send it to you.
I had a bit of a culture shock when I got here - I hadn't really every seen poverty before I got here. There are wealthier and better of people here as well, but there are a lot of people who really don't have anything. Some houses' roofs are held down by logs and stones. We went to eat lunch with a member family one day and you could see through the floor to the dirt and there were flies just buzzing around the room everywhere. But I'm loving every second. Elder Kester and I work day in and day out for the people here and it's an amazing experience. I feel really scatter-brained and incoherent haha. I can't think of much else to say except that I love and miss you! I'm here, I'm safe, and I'm loving every second of every day. Even the times when no entiendo nada. I'm a little disoriented with writing everyone, so just let everyone know that I'll get into the swing of things and then everyone will get, hopefully, coherent letters. Well, I'm gonna go - there's so much to do! Love you!