You know that feeling of relief when you are in the middle of a wrestling match and every muscle is on fire? You are in a bad position and feel really crappy but then you make a good move, end up on top, and then the glorious sound of the whistle and hand slapping the mat brings a wave of indescribable relief. This is how it felt to see Osorno for the first time.
The plane rides were very long and I felt really sick for both. I described my experience with Maria Adriana and our conversation on the plane last email and unfortunately she is not in my area.
After we got to the tiny one-portal airport here in Osorno, we were taken to the Mission Home where we had interviews with President Obeso, ate lunch and dinner, and learned the ways of the missionary. We slept in a small hotel that night and the next day we woke up the next day then went to the government building and started working on our paperwork to be legal here in Chile. Along the way I talked to a man and got his address after he expressed interests in lessons.
After all the paperwork, we went to a church and that is where I met Elder Holt. He is such a stud. He swam and played water polo before his mission and is the epitome of a good teacher. He is kind of a spaz sometimes but is also kind, patient and encouraging. We had a get-to-know-you lunch at the church, then we were off to our sector of Rio Negro in the district of Rahue.
About an hour later I was sitting in my first lesson and I ended up teaching about Alma 17:11 to a less active family. Elder Holt and I then went and taught the coolest people I have ever met. Ricardo and Carla are a young couple with a little girl named Josefa who is the most adorable thing I have EVER seen. They are super nice, humble people and we had a little visit with them.
The next couple days were all work. HARD WORK. We chop wood all the time and taught about 15 lessons in all in those four days. I had the opportunity to invite a family to start on the road to being sealed in the temple as they have been members for just long enough to start that process and it was so awesome. The Spirit was tangible and the effects of it were apparent. I wish I could describe each lesson in detail but there just isn`t enough time.
I also got to participate in my first baptism and marriage. Jacob del Carmen has been investigating the church for ten years but because of dumb marriage and divorce laws here in Chile hasn`t been able to be lawfully wedded to his wife and therefore couldn`t be baptized. However, this week after about 10 years it was all figured out and he had both his marriage and baptism on the same day. Super happy.
As far as what Chile is like in general, it is beautiful. It is very green but very, very cold in the mornings. The house are little wooden shacks with tin roofs that the inhabitants built themselves. Elder Holt and I, with about four other members, helped take on apart that had been damaged in a fire and also flooding. It was service day (where we do service all day) and it took about 6 hours. We were given big, heavy crowbars then just went wild. It was hard, dirty work filled with near death experiences, spiders, and good food as a reward.
There are also dogs EVERYWHERE. The area we are in is very poor and when they can`t afford/ don`t want a dog they put it on the streets. Usually if you bend down and pretend to pick up a rock they will scatter and stop barking or chasing you but yesterday we were running trying to make an appointment and these huge german shepards started chasing us. I bent down to scare them but Elder Holt kept running and screamed, `they are too big! Not scared of rocks!` So we ran for our lives and pretty soon we had about ten dogs behind us. I ended up turning and kicking one in the head and after that they scattered. We laughed so hard about that.
Not much else to report. I miss you all and love you all so much. Keep in touch. Iove this area. It is so beautiful and there is so much work to be done. Oh and the 18th of September is their independence day so the people are going crazy. They know how to celebrate.
Once again I love you all.