Monday, September 29, 2014

All Dogs Go to Heaven

It is crazy to think I have been here for so long! Almost two months. It went so fast and I feel like I just started my mission yesterday. There is so much to do and never enough time. This week I did not have any angel visitations but a lot of really cool smaller things happened.

Last Tuesday after we were done emailing we taught the family of our mamita and her husband is not a member. He is friendly enough but is kind of a manly man and enjoys tormenting me in Spanish and asking hard questions about the gospel. It is kind of fun but hard. I was teaching mamita and her son Seba who is about to serve a mission about families when the husband asked a couple hard questions about faith. I began to answer as best I could in Spanish but he kept throwing it back at me and I lacked the Spanish and confidence to answer. I was intimidated. Finally I just flat out asked, What do you want? What do you want from me? Do you really want faith? Do you want to be happy? DO you even care? I was very rough and put my foot down. Everything went quiet then he asked me some genuine questions and I bore testimony of faith. Elder Holt didn´t say much as he is trying to help me learn Spanish by letting me struggle through stuff and when we left he stopped me. He said many missionaries have tried to teach him but no one had ever just snapped and taught him like that. He usually cracks missionaries not the other way around. I really want to keep teaching him.

We had a counsel the next two days in the next city so we had to stay at our zone leaders house. I slept in the most ghetto bed in the most ghetto one room apartment ever. I had a million flea bites when I woke up. Fun. When we finally got to come home after hours of meetings, we just collapsed in the apartment for an hour of study. Elder Holt was reading something powerful out of an old conference talk and had just finished a very powerful sentence when an earthquake hit. It was so funny because he said, ¨Baptism¨ and the whole house shook. I laughed so hard for so long my gut hurt. Elder Holt happens to be a prophet.

We also have a new investigator. Her name is Tamara and I am teaching her English. She has been studying English for three years and it originally started with her wanting to talk to gringos to get some help. We taught her the restoration in English in one lesson, read from the scriptures in English the next, and we have another lesson with her in about an hour. She is of a different religion and wasn’t looking for another one but every lesson she listens intently and soaks in every word. The Spirit is always so strong.

We have had lots of other lessons with other investigators, members, and less actives also but there is just too much to write.

I have gotten so many questions about Chile that I figured I would answer a few. It rains. ALL THE TIME. I chop wood, A LOT. Elder Holt is 19 and tons of fun. He is an awesome trainer and very, very patient and has a strong testimony. There are dogs everywhere and just as many drunk people. Some hate white people and Mormons and especially those who are both so we have had some fun experiences there. There are lots of people, especially people of other faiths, who don’t like us but lots and lots of people who are kind and very open about their religion.

A little more on being white here. The drunks are the same as the dogs in that some are good and some are bad. I have been chased by dogs a couple of times and kicked an angry German Shepard twice. Angry drunks are easier. If they come over to cuss you out, you just lean sideways. They know they are drunk and think they are the ones sideways and try to correct themselves and just fall over and pass out. There are also barachos (drunks guys) who come hug us and express their respect for us and our purpose. 

Yet, for the most part people leave me alone for three reasons:

1. We are white and of Christ. A lot of people are intimidated by us because we are white and the fact that they know we have Jesus on our side makes them not want to harm us in case they bring down the wrath of God.

2. I am bigger. Standard rule of thumb. If they are bigger, leave them alone. Elder Holt is like 6 foot 4. Two months of working out hard, 2 inches, and lots of good hearty food later I am 15 pounds bigger and also bigger than 99% of Chile. Most of the missionaries too. People walk around us which makes contacting a little difficult sometimes.

3. This reason is the coolest to me. Remember how I said there are good dogs and bad dogs? The mean ones chase and bite. But there are dogs who some how know we are missionaries. They follow us, usually at a small distance, and protect us. We always have at least one or two dogs behind us or right next to us at a time. They will bark at other people and be fighting, but when we walk by they get really quiet and fall into place. They don’t do anything unless someone yells something or a drunk comes towards us or someone gives us a dirty look then they growl and bark at those people. Crazy cool right? God has promised to protect us and apparently this is the way.

All in all, I love being a missionary. It is so much fun and I am learning so much. I am excited to see what the rest of my time here has. I am already a different person and I look forward to more change for the better. I love you all.


Elder Rich

Papito. Who I am finally getting through to with jokes and stuff like stealing his hat.
My protector
Missionary bodyguards
Ghetto apartment
Complimentary fleas included!

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