How are you??
Well, we finally had what I would call a normal week. Except for cambios, that is. We're still here! Yep, Hermana Nájera and I will be staying together in Estación for 6 more weeks- get ready for the perfect mission companionship. We've got lots of goals and lots more time to really perfect our relationship and ourselves. Hermana Nájera is going to work on her English, we want (Ok, mostly I want) to go running in the mornings, we´re going to improve our communication in making decisions, I'm going to be better in listening to the counsel of my companion, and Hermana Nájera is going to express more love for the people around us. It is going to be a good 6 weeks!
Osvaldo's family continues to be rather hostile and upset, but he continues praying and studying a lot. He payed his tithing for the first time this Sunday, and he was very happy about that. Arturo is doing alright, though one of his relatives really chewed him out for being baptized, and I think that discouraged him a bit. We're trying to help him keep the vision. Our ward mission leader, Nikolas, had some fallback on alcohol this week for the 18, but he's in his repentance process and he´s grown a lot spiritually because of it. I have a lot of hope for him and he´s doing well.
Patricio is our progressing investigator, but he's rather complicated and we're still brainstorming hard on what to do to help him. He won't accept a baptismal date and has only been halfway completing his commitments to read and pray, though he likes church and really like the sociality of the iglesia. He's quite a solitary man- his wife kicked him out of the house about 8 years ago and he's been living here alone, hopping from this job to that job, playing around with motorcycles, and forming some of his only human relationships though a little international radio. In just the last week, however, he's quit smoking (even though we haven't taught him the Word of Wisdom) and I can tell that it surprises him a lot that he was able to do it. We'll see where he goes.
And now, for a couple cultural and day-to-day details (dedicated to my father. It is his birthday today!!) This week was the 18th of September, Chilean Independence day. Or rather, Chilean Independence week. I must say that after seeing such patriotism and partying here, I'll be upping my game the next 4th of July. (Alcohol not included.) They had almost the whole week off from work, and every house had a flag up. Walking the streets, we'd see people participating in some of the traditional 18 activities. There are kites of all kinds here, and lots of the families take walks and fly kites. There are also little tops that you wrap a string around then throw it- it flies to the ground and from there you can use the string to pick it up, keep spinning it, etc.
Though I don't do braids as well as many of the Chileans, braids and fancy hairdos are also traditional for 18
Perhaps the most popular 18 activity- drinking. Yep, lots of that. It also doesn't help that Cauquenes has a really good vineyard (we got a lecture on wine this week- apparently Chile exports a special kind of wine that the workers bury and then play music for the wine until it ferments. I guess it is really popular?) But aside from that, the families are also just really involved preparing food. Last week I sent a picture with a couple fresh sheep skins- I think I've seen more sheep skins and pig heads this week than I will for the rest of my life. They either kill their own or they buy them special for the occasion, then kill it and spend the whole day preparing the meat together as a family.
Erica, Hermana Gabby, and Hermana Nájera
Empanadas are also very traditional. The stuff that goes in the middle is called pino, which has a lot of onions, meat or seafood, olives, and boiled egg. They come baked of fried, and we got to help make them on a couple different occasions. Antichucho is like Chilean Shishkabobs- they'll usually use beef, pork, and hot dogs. The most common desserts are Rosca, a pastry with marshmellowish topping, and Mote con Huesillos, which is basically canned apricots served with the fruit juice and cracked wheat. Super yummy.
All in all, we ate a TON of meat this week, and I think I'll be a vegetarian for the next month...
Love you all so much. I hope you're doing well!!