How y'all doin?! It's so nice to hear from you all, as always. Thanks for writing me so diligently. There are so many missionaries who never hear from their family on the mission, snail mail or email, and who never recieve packages. I am a blessed missionary. I went back this past week and read all of your letters... I laughed and cried. Thankyou all for your efforts and love.
14 months in the mission this week!! :) The Hermanas made meat/cheese sandwiches and ice cream sandwiches one night. It was yummy even though we were all dying from exhaustion. We kinda just sat there in moments of silence and then 5 seconds later burst into laughter over the stupidest stuff. Welcome to being a missionary. :)
I have both of my packages for my birthday. Thanks so much for trying to make it a special day. I know it was expensive. But I'm worth it right? ;) Just kidding. Really, thanks. I will send you a whole bunch of pictures next week!!!
Two weeks ago we talked with a young single adult in our area. He explained to us that he had waited for a missionary to come home from the mission in order to ask her to marry him. They wrote every week for the past 18 months. He supported her on the mission and even before, in every way possible. He was so excited to have her come home and was waiting at the airport with her... Only for her to tell him they were 'just friends' 3 days later. This poor guys heart, soul, and everything was crushed. We talked with him when he was at rock bottom. He was upset, bitter, lonely, tired, etc. He just felt it was the end to the relationship world and saw his future as a negative doom. I learned many things from the conversation which we had with him, of which I want to remember for when I get home. When this happens to me: (1) Go to the temple immediately - no questions asked. (2) Forgive and forget. (3) Stay positive with a grateful attitude. (4) Get back on your feet and go try again. (5) Remember who you are and that Heavenly Father has 'prepared' someone specifically for you. (6) Don't make comparisons between the previous relationship and the next one - that's just unfair. (7) Don't make an unrealistic list of expectations of who the perfect companion should be. (8) Have fun shopping around! :) (9) Think of what you've learned or gained from it, not what you've lost. (10) There's lots of fish in the sea, don't expect the first catch to be the one.
So I might have done something really stupid. I switched out from my boots because it's starting to get warm here and boots are just way too hot and heavy to walk around in all day. So I put on my shoes... my flats that I used all last summer. Bad idea. They're warn out and just not supportive in my arches. So I sprained the muscle on the bottom of my foot. Well I thought it would be a good idea to try a different pare of shoes with better support that I brought with me. They're wonderful shoes, but a little right on my truck wide feet. I thought 'nah they'll stretch out'. They did stretch out, the bottom of my foot felt better, but the next morning I woke up to two numb toes. Dr. Johnson informs me that I have compressed and inflammed a nerve in the bottom of my foot. I'm just getting old, in the mission. :) Oh and don't worry I said 'choa' to the shoes. It's been gradually getting better with wrapping it, ibuprofen, hot soaks, etc. I'll be better than new in no time.
DearElder.com.... Don't forget that it exists. Remember it's the easiest, cheapest, and best way for me to get an in-the-hand letter. Go to the website and follow the instructions. I'm in the Chile Santiago East Mission. You guys send your email and the office down here in the mission gets the letters, prints them out, and sends them to me.... It's free. :)
Typical missionary story. Past story: we knocked on the door of the familia B one day trying to find someone else. The father came outside to tell us the person we were trying to find does not live there. So we contacted him anyway. He was super nice and invites us to come back. So we did; 2-3 times. His wife was nicer, but very hard and really didn't want to listen to us. We had one lesson with her when she was cutting my hair; and she seemed maybe interested. Their young son is the sweetest thing ever. We continued to try to contact the father because we could see something extremely special in him. He felt the Spirit; I know he did. He had a desire to the read The Book of Mormon and had so many good questions. They were some of the best lessons, full of the Spirit and excitement. Then, one day we couldn't get a hold of him; he was not answering his phone and was not at the appointments we had set up. It was so weird. Ya, present day: we ran into his son and his wife this past week in the park. She's nice and talks to us. Then I asked of we could stop by sometime. Ohhhh, then the real person came out. She attacked us! Saying that crazy Joseph Smith made everything up, that we tell people they have no faith in God or Christ, that we are trying to take people's convictions away, and it goes on. Oh the anger in my body was to the point that I wanted to explode on her. She's lucky her son was with her and I remembered the Savior's name on my nametag. I will never understand why people find it necessary to offend or bash someone else to just say, 'Ya know what, I'm not interested in learning what you have to teach.' I tell you what she did help me increase my humility, patience, and convictions that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored church of Christ with Him at the head, that Joseph Smith (as was Moses, Noah, etc) was a true prophet of God, that the priesthood of God is on the earth today to perform the miracles of Him, that The Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ, that the Bible is the word of God as long as it is translated correctly, that God loves us and sent His Son to suffer and die for us, that I am here sacrificing all I am and have to preach something that isn't false or not of God. Sooo, in the end, it was a positive experience; I just wish it could have happened in a less abrasive way.
Fun mission fact ---> Chile Santiago East Mission is the best mission in our area for retention of recent converts (1 year after baptism) with a percentage of 76%. :) We try to make 100% sure that those we are baptize understand the covenant with God that they are making. That's a focus of this mission. Not just to baptize people because they think it's a good idea. And it shows. Go Chile Santiago Este!!!
An adorable story full of love (quite the opposite from above). So there's this lady (in her 50's) who has been serving this community for over 7 years. She owns 5 dogs that she took off of the street and for the past 7 years she has been feeding the stray dogs in the community. Now when you think about how many stray dogs there are in Chile, it's a wonder she hasn't gone to the homeless shelter due to not having money to eat. She walks with her dogs twice a day and takes a bag of food to like 10 dogs. We walked with her and the dogs the other day; it was the most relaxing experience.... We are teaching her right now and she actually was almost baptized 20 years ago when the Elders taught her. She has a desire to feel again what she felt before. So we're praying that she will.
Now that I'm in the ghetto I am seeing how dirty it's going to be in Summer. With the warm weather (it's like an early spring and is wonderful) we are having right now, the smells of dogs, drugs, urine, etc is getting stronger. Also, there's lots of stupid house flies; they just fly in circles mostly in the living rooms and just are there to drive you crazy. Ewwww. Mom and Joy, the next box, please send a bug zapper and lots of batteries. ;)
I went back to El Golf (my old ward) this past week. It was so weird, but wonderful at the same time. I was with Hermana Tingey! Whoohooo! We had such a good day. We went to a old folks rest home and sang a few songs; they were a bit mad because we didnt sing any Catholic songs that they knew. We were contacted by a very short guy who spoke 3/4 Spanish and 1/4 English and kept telling Hermana Tingey 'Ju ar bery beutifull'. I'm pretty sure he's got some mental challenges because he stopped us to ask for a cigaret and kept telling us that he knew he was short. Hahaha. I gotta say my life would change drastically if I had a Gringa companion. I already get many daily comments, but my divisions with Hermana Tingey were more than crazy. Another man in the metro walked past us, looked intently at us both, turned back slightly and said, "my duchess". Like who says these things?!?!?? Welcome to the live of a Gringa in Chile. *smh and rolling my eyes*
|I ate brussles for the first time... not to bad...|
|two ladies from our ward... Hermana Tax's last Sunday in J.P. Alessandri|
|Leaving one companion behind and picking up another!|
|Hermana Tingey... meet my first Gringa companion! (never in my life, did I think this was going to happen hahahaha)|
Okay, are you all ready for a really funny/creative Brooklyn moment? Don't pee your pants.... :) So we're trying to find a guy, who is a member; who we've never seen in the chapel. We go to the house that it says in the church records; a crazy, high guy whose belly is hanging out of his shirt says he doesn't live there. Okay whatever... So we go to the house next door to see if someone knows where he lives and they tell us no, but to go ask the lady who owns the mini store 2 houses down. So we go to the store... no one's there... but there's a man outside of the house which is attached to the market. He looks busy, but I ask anyway....
Me: "Can I ask you a question?"
Man: "No, I'm busy."
Me: Oh really now? ... I see the mini store attached to his house and think, I've got to get him to talk to us... "and in the store?"
Man: "Oh in the store, ya." and he comes around to the store. What a brat.
Me: I don't want to buy anything. Now what do I do? Okay, I've got to ask him about something in the store in order to ask him the real question. I'm looking around.... but dang it everything has a price sticker.... except for a large bottle of oil... that's it! "um, sir, how much is the large bottle of oil?"
Man: "Super8?" (a candy bar)
Me: "No, the oil."
Man: looking so confused... "this?" and shows me another candy bar...
Finally he gets it... but only after Hermana Tax says it 3 times too. So he brings the large bottle of oil and gives it to me.
Me: "How much does it cost?"
Man: "1,300 pesos"
Me: "Nope, it's too expensive. How much is the little bottle of oil?" I'm having fun now... shame on me.
Man: "Um...." He goes and searches for it (it's right next to the large bottle dummy...) "500 pesos."
Me: "No, not that either. Sorry."
Hermana Tax at this point is almost dying of laughter, but manages to get out the real reason why we're there. "Do you know where so and so lives?"
Man: "No, I don't know him."
Us: "Thanks. Bye!"
We both leave laughing our heads off thinking 'well, that was a waste of time', but it was a good tactic. Hahahaha.
We had changes today!!! Hermana Tax left me :( and Hermana Tingey came to me. :) I tell you what, we're gonna have some fun! I can't wait to be with her again. It was just this past week that we were together for divisions and just a few months ago that we lived in the same house. Wow. She's a goof ball so I'm gonna have some good stories to tell.
Mom, just so you know. ;) There was an earthquake on Saturday. It was a 6.4 for 30-40 seconds. We were in the street when I felt it, saw the power lines swaying, and heard the metal roofs shaking. I stopped and told Hermana Tax to stop walking. We literally swayed. Lucky, as I've said before, Chile is prepared; it was just a good scare, as the Chileans say. :)
Love you all. Be creative this week. ;)
Brooklyn Talbox (one of my names here; the combination of Tax and Talbot)
P.S. What are some of the little sacrifices you're willing to make for the Lord? Time enough to pray, read your scriptures, serve someone else, or go to church? Money for tithing? Obedience to His commandments? I read in Preach My Gospel: "I trust the Savior enough to accept His will and do whatever He asks." As of today, it is official..... I'll be staying until February. I talked to President Wright today about it, in person. I asked him what he thought of me going home in February or in December and he said "I would love for you to stay until February, but you need to make the decision and not feel obligated to stay". I told him that I will be staying until February and he asked me if I was sure. I told him yes; it's the least I can do. :D