Monday, October 24, 2011

First Impressions of Chile

I have no photos from Chile yet, so here's the day we dropped him off at the MTC.

So mail is weird. They don't really have all that prevalent of a system here in Chile (nothing gets delivered to doorsteps and there aren't a ton of post offices) so for missionaries it's a little sad. Everything gets sent to the mission home and then each week it gets distributed through our pouch system during our Wednesday zone meetings. 

Mail OUT is even worse. According to my trainer, since we don't have a post office in our sector, we're supposed to wait until we have big mission-wide meetings every 2 months or so and give our letters to an Elder who lives in a sector with a post office. That sounds a little ridiculous to me so I'm going to ask around and see what I can find. Right now I'm lucky enough to have an Elder in my zone who can take my letter every week to some other random guy he knows in HIS sector to mail it. Yeah....I'm trying to find a less sketchy way to send stuff, but I guess what I'm saying is that even though I'm writing letters, you might not get them for a little bit. Especially with the approximately 13-day trip one way for each letter. We'll see what happens in the coming months and eventually, I'm sure I'll have a good system worked out. :) For now, here's the address:

Elder Joshua DAVID Jones
Mision Chile Santiago Oeste
Casilla 149
Pajaritos 1921
Maipu, Chile

IMPORTANT: You MUST write "Joshua DAVID Jones" because we have another Joshua Jones serving here and omitting David is going to tack another week or so on to mailtime. :) I thought about it this morning haha. :) And apparently another (third) Elder Josh Jones went home from here just a little while ago. Parents giving me a unique name for the win. ;)

The mission's going great. :) We're working hard to find people and getting to teach a lot of lessons. We had a few slow days with citas (appointments) falling through but when that happens, we try to make up for it by contacting more people. Sometimes I still feel like a coward or a dinkus but little by little I'm getting bolder and less awkward. ;) I have to keep in mind that there is NOTHING "creepy" or "irrelevant" about sharing the message of eternal families and how people can have happiness without money and without price. Sometimes it's hard to get people to realize we're normal people (with normal hopes, dreams, and problems) and that we don't "want" anything from them. We're genuine. Santiago's a different beast, too, because there are lots of preachers yelling on the streets (oftentimes not talking to anyone in particular). We've had a few guys jump onto micros (buses) after us so they can yell at everyone that we're preaching false doctrine or going to hell.  :) When there are quiet, peaceful missionary gatherings of other faiths on the street, though, I like to go up, smile at them, and shake their hands. My trainer thinks I'm funny but it's all good. :)

Spanish seems to have its on and off days hahaha but I know the Lord is blessing me. Sometimes I know what they're saying and what I need to say back even when I don't entirely understand the words that are coming out of their mouth.  Does that make sense?

I'm amazed that we have like four hours or more of studying a day and I still feel like I never have time to just relax and read the Bible or the Book of Mormon.  And I have so much to do on preparation days that I never have time to take a nap. I'm SO tired....but after two and a half months on the mission, I'm kind of accepting it as my new way of life.

My sector's pretty awesome. We do a LOT of walking haha. :) Sometimes it feels like half the day. I guess it's just more motivation to find appointments that don't fall through.  

There are some pretty- for lack of a better word- "sketchy" areas in my sector but it's a great blessing to be able to talk to people of so many different walks of life and see how the Gospel could uniquely bless/better their lives. It's interesting because we know a TON of bad stuff with drugs and whatnot is going down, but we don't ever really feel in danger.  The only trouble we have is with the Chilenas who blow kisses, whistle, or shout things like "que lindo, Elder" at us from their corners or cars. :P We mostly avoid younger women like the plague because a lot of times they're more interested in Americans than they are in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but it's a hard balance between trying to be friendly to everyone (and share the gospel) and making sure our only objective or purpose here is clear.

We had an investigator at Church this week. He's a great kid. We had lots of no-shows though, including some who committed to baptismal dates. :( Hopefully they still have desires to take the steps towards finding true happiness in this life and in the life to come. :)

Okay, I should probably wrap up my time here. I miss you all and hope to hear how you're doing soon! :)

Elder Joshua DAVID Jones ;)

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