Boy I sure do love getting letters every week - it's a nice little energizer for the rest of the week.
Halloween is celebrated here. They have adopted the American way of going out and asking people for treats, but only the really little kids. The rest of the people go out and party or spend time with their family or something. And a lot of people actually asked us what we think about Halloween because they said they didn't like it. In the night there was a parade of people singing and carrying torches (we ran because we thought it was a mob coming for the mormons! Haha, just kidding) headed by a marching band from one of the schools around here. When I say marching band I mean kids in their school uniform trying to play drums, trumpets, and what have you - it sounds TERRIBLE, but still cool to see, nonetheless. We were fasting, so we didn't go to any festivities or get any sweets, but that's ok. We worked all day and visited some members during the night. We had some fun encounters with some borrachos (drunks) as well hehe. One of them was drooling all over himself - we gave him a pass-a-long card with a picture of Jesus (which he drooled all over as well) and told him to go to church in the morning. He didn't show up, but we did see him the next day, STILL drunk haha. Good times, good times.
Glad to hear the house is done! Which reminds me, if you could send me a photo album with photos of the family, the house and stuff like that to me for Christmas (or when you can) that would be great. All the Elders usually have one of those so that they can show the people here where they come from. All I've got is a billion pictures of Alexis haha. Also, if you can I would really like some water-proofish shoes. The running shoes I have are great, but their all cloth on the top and so they're not so good for the rain. Maybe some skate shoes or something? Size 11 and half or 12 would be great if you can. But if not, don't worry about it, I'll figure something out. I would just buy the shoes here but nobody has shoes in my size! They ought to make this country gringo-accesible.
I'm actually really glad to hear that you and dad have more time together. You should aprovechar...how do you say that in english....OH YEAH! You should TAKE ADVANTAGE of that time you have together because you never know when one or both of you will have a more time-demanding calling. Speaking of callings we just got our branch mission leader yesterday! We're stoked because up until now we haven't really had any support from the branch in our work. Should be good! Glad to hear the house is in good shape and that you're going to have time with Lisa! Send my saludos to her (I'm not really sure how to say that in english anymore...so I'll just say it in spanish - ¡manda saludos a Lisa!)
Studded tires? Lucky you! I've decided that when I get back I want to get a jeep or something - something with four-wheel-drive.
Colder, eh? I'll just count my blessings that I'm here for the time being, then. We're headed full-fledged into summer and there's no turning back. It's getting warmer and warmer every day. Elder Hodson and I are even running in the mornings. It's really nice because Elder Kester and I didn't exercise at all - he usually liked to stay in his bed in the morning while I got up, showered, and started my studies. Elder Hodson is from Washington! Just thought you'd like to know that. He's headed home in about 5 weeks, and his brother is serving in Antafagasta (northern part of Chile). How cool is that? Two brothers serving at the same time, and both in Chile! The Lord works in misterious ways. I think it's cool. He told me that his parents are coming to pick him and his brother up as well, so that should be fun for them.
I'm working on a little package to send home for you all. It won't be anything TOO big because I'm not sure how much it will cost to send anything home, but I'm pretty sure you'll like what I'm sending.
I've got an interesting experience to share - the other day I was on an intercambio with an Elder Mortenson, and we went to visit one of his investigators. The guy's wife had been sick for awhile, so we offered to give her a blessing. She said she would like that, and then when Elder Mortenson asked her who she would like to give the blessing, she picked me. I felt a little awkward at first because I had never met her or her husband before, but I've gotten used to just doing things here and realizing that the Lord will work through me. So we gave her the blessing, and instantly she sat up in bed and told us that she felt better! Just moments before she had been laying down freezing and hurting in bed, but after the blessing she was cheerful, warm, and everything was better. The priesthood is real - I can testify of that.
I've experienced a real miracle here in the last week - before we had transfers I was still having a little difficulty speaking and understanding, but now I can talk with anyone and feel completely comfortable. The change felt almost instant, and I can't even express how grateful I am for the gift of tongues. It really does exist and the Lord really does give it to his servants. It's amazing. Elder Hodson told me that his first impression of me was that I'm not afraid of anything - he says I would be ready to train this next transfer. That was really good to hear considering President Swenson told me that I would be training before I had a year in the mission. Oh, random fact - President Swenson and his wife have been here a year already, so they'll be leaving about the same time I do. President Swenson and his wife are amazing - we all love them.
Here are some random notes for the week:
1. There's a circus in town called Circo Norte Americano, but there are no gringos! They lie! Haha. We passed by and talked with one of the workers, and she let us take some pictures with the lions, so that was pretty fun. I'll send some pictures.
2. We had an interesting dessert the other day with lunch - it looked and tasted like a loaf of whale fat...not looking forward to having that again. It was disgusting but I shoved it all down haha, more good times. I have no idea what it's called, but I'll try to find out without having to eat it again!
3. There's a joven in the branch here who asked me if you could send a yo-yo called Duncan Wheel. I told him I'd ask, but really, don't worry about it.
Well, that's about all I've got for this week. It was really great to hear from you! I'll be looking forward to the letter for next week! Send my love to the rest of the family and tell them to keep doing great things! I love you!