Monday, October 17, 2011

First Official Letter from Chile

First view from the plane.

At the airport with his fellow "greenies."

At the huge stadium celebration of 50 years
 of the Church being in Chile.
  He arrived the week of the celebration.
¡Hola everyone! I'm finally in Chile! :) I've only been here for five full days and already there's way too much to tell you all!  The flight was pretty good; it was definitely different being a missionary in public...people definitely look at you funny. I thought it was pretty funny how a lot of people in the States actually had panicked looks on their faces and tried to stay out of our way. Don't they know I'm already scared of them? I don't know how to share the Gospel in English! :D :P
We met this great cute old Chilena lady on the plane and I'm going to give her number to the missionaries serving in her area.  We learned pretty quick that Chileans don't speak Spanish (but seriously...I don't feel too bad because even other South Americans can't understand them at first) but despite the first few days being pretty rough, things are already getting better.
I'm serving in the Ochagavia Ward in the Ochagavia Stake.  It's in the city. Mom will be happy to hear that I'm already getting really humbled up with everything.  We thought our cinderblock house in Okinawa was small??  Yeaaaaah right. It's not like these people are living in huts or anything but they're entire houses can't be more than 1,000 square feet....if that. When they take us into their home, they REALLY take us into their home.  The members are so in love with us they make us lunch everyday.  Even though I've been pretty hungry this week, my first thought is always..."Wow...these people have nothing (compared to us) and they're here feeding us." Incredible. Makes you think about all we've been blessed with and reconsider all the ridiculous things we complain about or think we "need."
Basically everyone down here is nice and will chat with us but I still want to work harder. My trainer, Elder Barrett, is a stud, and we try to work hard but I'm realizing that there are a lot of things in the mission that are out of my control and I just need to relax during meetings and whatnot. We found a couple awesome people this week that I think we'll be able to teach and that will progress.
The Andes are beautiful. But here in the city there are filthy, ownerless dogs EVERYWHERE. Basically, Mom would die. There are literally thousands just wandering the streets (like 10 on a block) and they just poop everywhere and bark. It's kind of funny because they'll actually wait for lights to turn green before crossing and everything.  They're definitely their own breed.  For the most part, they hate us and we hate them. :P
The work is tiring but not overly difficult. I'm trying to keep in mind that I can only work my hardest and leave the rest to the Spirit and the agency of those I'm teaching. My testimony is getting stronger everyday, although I feel like I only have time to study for the investigators and never just to be uplifted or enjoy the scriptures for myself. And we study 4 hours a day! 
The Church is true. It really is the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth once more. Anyone can know that for themselves if they'll just be humble and open enough to read the Book of Mormon and ask God to tell them it's true.
The 50th Celebration was SO good. I hope you all can find a way to watch it on BYU TV.
I want to tell you all so much more but I am starving, exhausted, and still have to do shopping, laundry, write a letter, and prepare for a couple lessons tonight. I love you all and hope you're all well! By the way, mail is almost nonexistent here. We send everything and receive everything through the mission home. Use that address. It's the one with Maipu in it. Anyway, there's something like a 2-4 week gap (with snail mail) each way, so if you write me, just be patient. :) I loved your letter, it strengthened me, and I'm going to respond as soon as I can (the next preparation day, which is every Monday).
Elder Jones


Brenda said...

I confess I do have a dog phobia. But Ecuador also had lots of stray dogs and I survived. I think I was braver when I was 21 though. ;)

cynthia said...

HAha, thats what I was thinking Brenda!! You went to Ecuador and I remember you talking about the dogs. Doug said there were alot in Colombia too! Brenda, you are braver then you get credit for! I am so excited for this blog!!

Dori said...

Very nice, so is this the way to keep in touch? Laura puts in her papers soon- she turns 21 in March- her mission has been a goal of hers since she was around 12- got her pb at 14 and pretty much confirmed it- been tough to stay away from the boys, glad Josh is out representing us- glad he is able to be on yet, another contintent and with yet another people to enable his empathy and future wishes to him and to you all in Okinawa! Hugs!

Felicia Lindsay said...

I always love reading your posts, Elder Jones. I am going to print this out, and we will read it for family home evening tonight. It has so many important lessons in it. As a matter of fact....hmm...keep posting these blogs weekly, and I won't have to plan a FHE lesson for the next two years :-P Take care and God Bless You and your work.