Ok, ldsmail is working this week. I won't be using gmail - I only did last week because for some reason we couldn't log into ldsmail. But all is well now, so on with my letter haha.
That is pretty funny that you thought Kelton was me - we really don't look alike at all. But it's good to know that someone back home is thinking about me from time to time. Somtimes I don't realize how far away from home I really am. But that's ok because I'm loving it down here. Chile is amazing!
If you could repost my snail-mail address again on facebook that would be great because I'm not sure who has it and who doesn't. I did tell Chauri to give you a call if she lost it, so apparently she did haha. I don't have it memorized, but I do have it. It's also in that package I left you, so you can find it there. All the mail goes to the mission office in Concepción and they give it to us once a month at mission conferences with the President. So let the family members know that if they'd like to contact me quicker, e-mail is the way to do it. I have an hour here for e-mail, so it's better than the MTC. But generally, people can just read the forwards you send out because I don't really have time to write everyone individual letters. But let any family members that are interested know that they can e-mail me if they would like.
This is my opinion on what is going on with the Obama thing - people are whiners. They are only happy when they get what they want or when they are complaining about things they don't agree with. I agree, the 8th article of faith should not be ammendend, and it explicitly states what the Lord wants us to do. So I think everyone should take a look at those basic pillars of our faith and rethink their actions. I shouldn't get too much into politics because I need to stay focused on the work at hand here, but I think Obama is doing as well as he can with the circumstances he was given. Of course he's not perfect, but at least he's trying to fix it, not just sit around whining about it.
The weather here has been pretty good. The mornings and evenings are still pretty chilly, but I'm doing well. My bed is calientita each night when I get into it. Those pajamas you gave me are great! I haven't had to wear the thermals, so all is well there. Our living arrangements are pretty good. Our apartment is about the size of the family room at home. There is a small bathroom, in which we do have hot water when we have the gas heater on, 2 bedrooms, and a bigger room that has our study table and a small kitchen. One of the rooms is used to keep our luggage and clothes, and the other has two beds and that's about all that can fit in it.
One of the things I would like is just to have some more munchies around the house hehe. But that's not a necesity. We usually don't eat breakfasts in the morning, but the members give us lunch every day, which is great. The food here is amazing. You really should go to that Chilean restaurant more. Ask them about Completos, Casuela, Pancito, Sopaipillas, and Empanadas. I had some fried fish the other day at a member's house, and to say the least it was divine. Everything here is fresh - fruit, meat, fish, etc. I'm eating enough, but of course I'm a growing lad and could eat more haha. But don't worry about me eating, I'm doing fine in that area. Feel free to send little treats though hehe.
As far as the money goes, it's a lot easier than I thought it would be, and I can actually access my bank account on the internet here. But I'll change the password and give it to you if you'd like. Visa is used down here, so I can go to an ATM and get money. And the way they do the monthly money here is they gave us a debit card the first day and each month they put a certain amount of money on it. So when we need money we go to an ATM at a bank and withdraw some. Elder Kester and I usually just withdraw everything so that we don't have to keep going out of our way to the bank. I carry about $20 with me (10,000 pesos) usually, and I keep the rest in a super secret spot in the apartment. Shhhhh, don't tell anyone!
I'm glad to hear that Grandma is doing better. I hope she can eventually make it back home and that Grandpa will be able to take care of her. I would encourage you to see her as often as you can, but I know you all have busy schedules. Do what you can, and send my love.
Updatesssss, let's see. We had 4 more baptisms this last week. Daniel (12), Claudia (10), Cristina (16), and Yasmira (14). Daniel, Claudia, and Cristina are all siblings - children of Herman Cicilia Sanchez who was inactive for about 20 years until just barely. We're really happy that she decided to bring her family back into the church. Yasmira is the daughter of Veronica, whom we baptized last week. She couldn't get baptized a week ago because of problemas mujeres....haha. It was a lot of work to pull all that together but we did it. I baptized Daniel and Cristina, and Elder Kester baptized the other two. After the baptism I gave Yasmira a blessing of peace and comfort because there was an accidental shooting this last week (similar to what happened in Provo this last summer) and one of her friends was killed. It's sad how things like that happen sometimes, but we can continue and find comfort in the knowledge that we have of the Lord's plan for us. It was the first blessing that I had given, so I was a little nervous, but it's amazing how the Spirit of the Lord works through you when you are doing something like that. I also performed the confirmation of Daniel and Claudia yesterday in church - which was also a first for me. The branch president also gave Elder Kester and I the last-minute assignments of speaking in church...at 10pm the night before hahaha. Don't you just love that? (I figured out how to the right-side-up question mark!!!)
Everyone here tells me I speak really well and that by the time I have as much time as Elder Kester I will speak basically fluently. I'm reminded of what Justin would write home about what the people in Belgium would say about his linguistic talent. I guess it just runs in the family, eh? Haha, I chist I chist (chiste - joke. There's a little spanglish for ya).
Well, I really wish I had stuck with playing the piano when I was younger because once the word got out that I played a bit of piano, everyone wants me to play for sacrament meetings, special numbers (with a one of the young women in the branch who is a good singer), etc. So I'm frantically practicing trying to improve my lack of piano skills. But at the same time it's a blessing because now I'll be able to keep in touch with my music roots. Speaking of which, I have been able to use my iPod here on a nightly basis. Elder Kester loves the music I brought so all is well there.
Well, that's just about all I've got for this week. I'm going to, now, to attach my camera to the computer so I can send some pictures home. I'm sorry if I can't figure it out but I'll do my best! It was great to get an e-mail! Tell the wrest of the family (immediate family really) to start writing me so that I can know how everything is going back home! I'd love to hear from you all! We're gonna head out now to go visit the Sanchez family (the one that just had three kids baptized), so I'll write more next week. I love you all and look forward to hearing from you!
Here are the pictures he sent: