May 26, 2014

Week Twenty-Three: Another One Bites the Dust


Area: Fruitillares
Companion: Hermana Peterson

Hoooooooooooooooooooola familia!

It was a pretty stinking good week here in Frutillares. Were there still challenges? Oh my heck yes. This area gets harder with every visit. The good news is that my faith and my trust in Heavenly Father are growing stronger with every visit, too. We are starting to see a change in the branch. The members are starting to be a little more forgiving. They are starting to see their own potential ... which is helping them to kick their own bottoms into action. Hermana Peterson and I decided that there is no room for Stake Presidents to go inactive here in our ward ... so we decided to crack the whip a bit and clean up ship here. We haven't seen the results yet, but I am confident that if we continue working with faith, we are going to see miracles!

We have been continuing to rock with our contacts in Frutillares. When we aren't in lessons ... which is a big part of the time right now, we are talking to everyone. A lot of people are really, really rude. They just keep walking away from us or tell us that they don't want anything before we even have time to open our mouths, but we just look at them with a huge huge huge smile and say, "Thanks for your time! Have a wonderful day!" So, the contacting and boosting the members is what we've got going for us right now ... and I am okay with that. We know that we are doing the things that Heavenly Father wants us to do.

Noche de Hogar with Ramón, Mabel, Mabel, Milton, and Berenice.
 Our game of choice is stacking matches on top of a bottle cap ...
like Jenga ... in reverse. It is super fun!
One really hard day this week, we climbed every single hill in Frutillares. (There are five super huge hills. My thighs are getting huge). Anyways, we had just had a lesson with this lady that was nooooot interested, and I was kind of bored of just walking around and doing the same old contact. We contacted into this young couple waiting for a bus ... and I decided to spice things up a bit. I said, "Okay, I am going to tell you guys something ... it might be a fome [lame] thing ... but just try to apply it, okay?" I have been trying to perfect the LeGrand Richard's approach to, "If you had a dollar, would you be willing to trade it for a five?" But it doesn't really work that well in Spanish with pesos.
 [Here is the story that LeGrand Richards tells in his autobiography: "It reminds me of an experience I had when I was doing missionary work in New Bedford, Massachusetts. One morning I came to the door of a woman who said, "Now, Mr. Richards, what are you trying to do? Are you trying to make Mormons out of all of us?" "Well," I said, "I will promise you one thing. I will never ask you to join the Mormon church." That seemed to put her mind at ease. Then I said, "But if I could show you where you could trade one dollar for five dollars, would I have to ask you to do it?" She said, "I get you." When I had been home a few weeks, I received a letter from her calling me "Brother Richards." She said, "I decided to trade the dollar for five dollars. I was baptized a member of the Church last Friday night."]  
So I proceeded to tell this couple the following:

Okay, let's say that you have a package of Fracs (they are these packaged cookies that the Chileans sell on every corner. They are really, really good). I really love Fracs, and I am sure that you do too. You find that they are really delicious. What we are trying to offer you is something even better than a package of Fracs. We have this huge cookie with chocolate chips and whatever kind of sweet you want mixed in. Would you want to have it?

These poor people just looked at me in confusion. The thing is, people here do not really know about chocolate chip cookies (because there is no brown sugar here). They do not know how much they are missing when they are just settling for the packaged goodness of Fracs. I walked away from that contact laughing my head off, but I also thought about how profound this analogy is in my life right now. These people in Frutillares reject the gospel almost automatically because they really do not know what they are missing. It is SOOOO sad ... because I know how awesome the gospel is. Hermana Peterson knows how awesome it is. We do our best to show this to the people ... and they look at it like a foreign object and lift their nose at it.

Así es.

So, all of the investigators that we found LAST week died this week. I say die ... but what I really mean to say is that they KILLED THEMSELVES. This never ever happened in Chillán ... but basically, the people this week during our lessons were straight up honest with us. "Hey, we just want to let you know that we love you guys. We would do anything for you. Do you want once? Just come to our house and we'll have some tea and bread. We just want to let you know that we have no desire to continue talking about religion with you guys. We are never going to change our religion. We respect you guys ... but seriously. You are losing time." Ahhhhhh man. We left every lesson this week singing, "another one bites the dust." Luckily, we are generating more news [new investigators] every week that are potential goodies. :)

We decorate our agendas here ... and I was
particularly proud of my agenda for the next cambio.
One more week of anticipation! (I think I'll be staying haha).
The hardest thing for me right now is for me to really love the people. I loved the people in Chillán. I loved the drunks and the contacts and the members and the investigators. But here, I have come to learn that love hurts. I start to put my faith in people and then they just crash it to the ground. I am working hard to beat the human tendency to not love people that will hurt you. I want to just love without restraint ... it is soooo difficult, but I KNOW that it makes all of the difference in missionary work. There are so many good people here and SOOOO much potential. I still have faith that things are going to work out and that I can really help to build the kingdom here.
 Here is our map that the Hermanas from 18 defiled.
We had Reino Celestial ... but well ...
Okay, here is some cultural Chile stuff. Something that I heard about before the mission about Chile is that the people are super superstitious. One of the things that they are most superstitious about is something called "Boca chueca" (crooked mouth). Basically, the myth is that if you are drinking something super hot and then go outside, your mouth will freeze crookedly. This is the favorite excuse of the Chileans for not being able to talk to us. The little old ladies come to their doors with their knitted shirts pulled over their mouth. We introduce ourselves and the just shake their fingers and say, "We can't. Boca chueca." And then they slam the door. It is soooo funny. We decided to do an experiment to see if boca cheuca is real ... and well ... you can see the results.

I hope that your summer is going wonderfully well! The time is flying out here! Please enjoy every minute!! I LOVE YOU SOOOO MUCH!

Con amor,
Laney (Hermana) Blau 

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