January 6, 2014
Hey... I have a ton to tell you! Holy cow!! I am definitely down very, very far away. I am with Elder Keetch from Lehi. He is super sweet; a really good missionary. We are getting along really well. Things are different down here. There have been a lot of changes. I guess I will start from the beginning.
So last Sunday I gave a talk in church in Ovejería. I cried like a baby when I announced to the ward that Elder Borup and I were going to be leaving. All the members were super sad, and the majority of the women were all crying in sacrament meeting. It really was one of the hardest goodbyes of my entire life. I felt SO at home in Ovejería with Elder Borup and the members. It was so nice being in a strong ward where the members work hard and are strong. I made some friends for life up there in Ovejería. I am actually still really sad that I am not there, but I am sure that will go away when I get adjusted to the life down here. The members threw a huge going away party for Elder Borup and I on Monday. That was really nice of them.
So now...the traveling... We got all of our suitcases weighed and down to the bus station. We sent one suit case each for Tour Bus, so that suitcase will get here in like a month. We traveled with seven in total down here. We went from Osorno to Puerto Montt. Then we went to the airport in Puerto Montt. We flew down from 90 degree weather to Punta Arenas where it is like 30 degrees right now. I was actually thinking about it... I will not have a summer for three years. I left in the dead of winter to the mission to get to Chile in the end of summer. Then I passed the whole winter here. Then we were starting to get into summer, and I get sent down to Punta Arenas where it is freezing. Then I will probably go back up north in like six months for winter again. And then when I will be approaching summer again here in Chile....then I will go home to Utah to the winter. Crazy.
So we took a shuttle from the airport to one of the church buildings to meet up with our companions. Elder Keetch and I went to the Zone Leaders house because we couldn’t leave to Porvenir because there is only one boat that comes here a day. So we went and dropped off the bags, and then went to the grocery store to buy food for the next month. We dropped like 70 bucks on cereal and stuff. There isn’t a real grocery store here in Porvenir. And everything is super expensive here, so that is why we stock up when we go to Punta Arenas. We only go there once every transfer cycle. So once every six weeks. Crazy. We never see other missionaries; go to trainings or meetings... nothing. It is different. But, I have to tell you a story now.
The story I will tell you now might freak you out just a little bit, but I feel like I should tell you. It was actually one of the coolest experiences on my entire mission. But don’t worry, promise? Okay, so Elder Keetch and I finished buying our groceries and we went back to the Zone Leaders house in Punta Arenas. We dropped the stuff off and it was 9:25. We thought "great, we have five minutes to go out and do two contacts." So we go out and we have no idea where we are going because it wasn’t our sector. So we start walking and we both feel like we should turn left. We started walking and we didn’t see anyone in the street. Elder Keetch said "dude, there isn’t anybody here." I said we should keep going because something would turn up. Then we did one contact and the guy was rude, but we kept going. Then the Zone Leaders come around the corner. We start walking with them back to the house when a group of men come up to us and start screaming at us. They went after Elder Vazquez. He is the new Zone Leader and it was his first day in the sector. The guy kept getting in his face and we all said, "We don’t want any problems, we are just trying to walk home." The dude then slammed Elder Vazquez up against the wall and pulls out a knife. So I jump in between them and shove the guy and say, "Look, we don’t want any trouble with you. Leave. Now." (I was much bigger than him). He started yelling at me, waving his knife around. Then his friend comes up and punches me in the face. I just stood there and said, "Calm down." He punched me again. I then repeated to him "Calm down." And so then I get punched a third time. So then I look him right in the eye and say, "You better leave. Right now." He yelled something else... and then they all left and we walked home. I kept my cool. I was really tempted to wreck the dude’s life when he punched me, but something held me back. I was calm the entire time. The thought came to me that if I had hit him; the missionaries would have even more problems in the future with the gang. But anyway, looking back on the experience.... It was awesome. Here is why. We got back to the house, and we decided to be obedient and leave for the last five minutes to work, even though we weren’t in our sector. We chose to be obedient, and because of it we were led by the spirit of where to go. We didn’t know why we needed to turn left, but we felt like we should and we followed the prompting. Heavenly Father led us to the Zone Leaders. If we wouldn’t have shown up, it would have been just two missionaries instead of four; and the way that the guy went after Elder Vazquez..... Elder Vazquez probably would have ended up getting stabbed. It is crazy. The Lord takes care of His missionaries. He sent us to prevent something really bad from happening to one of our fellow missionaries.
So... then the next day we go to take the boat to Porvenir. It is like a three hour boat ride. We saw some whales on the way, and some dolphin looking things. We get here.... and it is like a deserted little town. There are only like 4000 inhabitants; tiny. And the church here? It is super weak. There were 12 people at church yesterday. There is so much work to do here. The members are all inactive. The active members (all 12 of them) are super disseminated. We’ve got so much work to do here. Porvenir is notorious for being the hardest sector in the mission. Having only 4000 people in the town and a SUPER weak branch.... it makes missionary work tough. We walk around all day and see absolutely nobody in the street. In Osorno, we were talking to a ton of people in the streets all the time. This place is super calm and tranquillo, so don’t worry about me getting hurt or anything. Lots of the great leaders of our mission have spent time down here. It is a place of growth. It is a place to learn. It is a place where we can become better people. We are totally alone down here, so we HAVE to rely on God and His power and His comfort.
There is a hole in the ozone layer here. The sun is super strong. You get sunburned when it is cloudy. We put on buckets of sunscreen. We are having... fun. We do a lot of exercises. We are playing ping pong here. (And yes... packages take a long time to get to Punta Arenas, and even longer to get here because we never go to Punta Arenas.)
I am happy that you got my package and that you already delivered the stuff!!! You are awesome. That is why you are my momma. I always look forward to your emails and hearing from you. I might write you a handwritten letter today. I hope you are doing awesome. :)