How is everyone doing? I hope wonderful!!!
I'll get right to the point. I got my new companion, Elder Anderson, from Missouri. He is incredible!! He is a great example and an incredible missionary in general! I'm glad he is my first companion out in the field. He has set the bar high already. I haven't spoken english since the last day we were in the mtc because he said that all we are going to do is talk in spanish so that's all it has been! But that kind of means that I don't talk too much because I don't know very much spanish haha but it has helped a ton and I am slowly learning... Also I am his last companion. Which means I will change companions in 5 more weeks to finish my 12 week training. Who knows after that! I got shipped off to a city called Catemu. It is a little outside of Llay-Llay. It is a looong way from our mission home. It takes us nearly 3 hours to get to the north mission home. And I love it!!!! There are hardly any members at all in our sector and we don't even have a ward. We have a branch and we have to go to Llay-Llay for sacrament meeting because that is where our chapel is! It's like a 15 minute bus ride. I am definitely not in America anymore. It's so different and such an amazing and new experience! There are dogs out in the street like crazy. A couple have chased me but I haven't gotten bitten yet. If you do get bit you have to go into the hospital and get 5 shots and they say that they do not feel good. So the goal is not to get bit but hardly anyone does. There are some big german sheperds that will give you the eye and that's a little scary BUT we have bikes!! So we can hopefully get away from any danger. Most areas don't have bikes but because we have a big area and are the only two missionaries here we have bikes to get around so that is pretty fun! Right now we have womens bikes haha but on wednesday we will get bikes for guys! Our house is actually not too shabby! It's plenty big for our needs! It's old and doesn't always smell good but I like it! We have hot water for our showers but we have to light the water heater before we get in, other than that the water is cold which isn't bad! It's also safe to drink. We think, niether of us have gotten sick so we assume it's okay! haha
My spanish is still awful. The understanding as well. Every once in awhile I can understand what is going on but it's hard. It get's very frustrating at times too. And usually at some point in every day I feel like I will never be able to get it then some small miracle will happen and bring back my confidence! I know I can learn it. It's just not coming right when I want it because it will come when God wants it! One of these miracles was Elder Anderson told me to go talk to this lady that was in the bus on our way home from Llay-Llay or San Felipe and I actually talked and understood her the whole time! I told her about the church, showed her a picture of my family and Drey and me and told her about my family and foster care, and gave her our number. Also I have been able to understand more things I read in spanish, everything I study in personal study, etc. Is spanish and I have been able to understand a lot more. I can now read and understand the scriptures in spanish!! Which I am very proud of and excited about because on day 1 I couldn't understand a single sentence in spanish! Everyday it is incredible to see the miracles that happen. This has been the coolest thing for me so far. The very first night we were walking to our house and some young man came and started talking to us, turns out he is a less active and so we planned a day we could come talk to him and his family and him and his family are great, one of my favorites. I will talk about them more later. Then we had to go to the store that night and another guy stopped us who wanted to practice his english and then we got an appointment with him and the next night on the bus a lady(his husband) recognized us by her husbands description of us and said how they were excited for our meeting! Another time we were waiting for a bus and an old man got off and said hola and it turns out he was actually an investigator that we were looking for early that day! There are more but wow the Lord puts you in places you need to be. It's truly amazing. So an investigator was baptized the saturday before we came and then was confirmed and given the aaronic priesthood this sunday and that was really cool! I like him a lot. He's an old man but is very sweet and it was neat to see how much he loves the Sister missionaries that were before us in this area and how much the gospel has already affected him. We visit him often to teach him the lessons again and about the temple and family history work and such things. We ride the bus with him to church and stuff it's cool! The Osses family is a great family and are mostly less active members but Brother Osses's wife is not baptized but yesterday we commited her to November 2! That was pretty neat too. We have 3 baptizm dates now, so that is exciting! There are a lot of things that are different about this place and this city but I love it. As we have meet with certain people more and more I have started to grow a love for them and it makes a difference because when you love someone you want the best for them. We as missionaries and as members of this church and should strive to be like christ who loves everyone and that has helped me a lot because now I want to learn this terribly hard language for these people, not for me anymore, I want to share with them my experiences and how it has blessed my life and how it can bless their lives in so many ways! A lot of the time I am scared to talk to people but I was reading a general conference talk and a little one liner stood out to me. It says, "La fe es el antídoto contra el temor" which means faith is the antidote against fear. So because I have fear I need to just have faith. That's it. It's simple. Faith that God will help. My birthday was absolutely wonderful! The Sister Missionaries gave me tons of treats and made me a huge card and signed their names and drew a flag of their country. I got treats from Argentina, Nicuaragua, Columbia, Chile and a bracelet from columbia also! Hermana Jacobsen even made me cake and then my teachers gave me treats also, it was a fantastic day!
Be sure to send me your favorite one liners from General Conference! And enjoy it cause it's in english! haha Love always, Elder Gunnell