Well if the phrase ´´your future wife gets hotter each time you go tracting in the rain´´ is true, we misionaries down here are going to have some super hott wives!!! Luckily, spring officially started on Saturday, so hopefully the weather will get better. Today is a super beautiful day!!! Other fun facts of the past week: I´ve still yet to be able to purchase peanut butter. The local grocery store hasn´t had any in stock for two weeks now. Poop! I also had my ´´First Incoming.´´ You can ask Bishop Hollis to remind you what that means. Luckily, Heavenly Father protected us and the kid missed, but that also means I was unable to keep the rock haha :P
The food has still been really good so far. Hopefully that doesn´t jynx it. We only eat a small breafast and no dinner but a huge lunch. I still wish we ate dinner though... Our average--if not consistenly always--almuerzo starts off with a big soup, then a plate of rice, meat, delicious bread, and a salad. The salad is always just lettuce with lime juice and tomatoes. There´s been a few times when I´ve decided not to ask what part of the cow the meat is from, but it´s always tasted good at least haha.
This mission is definitely more dificult mentally than physically. Don´t get me wrong--I have blisters covering my feet and even my toes, I slouch from my backpack, and I yawn a bajillion times a day. But the struggle this past week has been mentaly. I´m definitely growing closer to Christ as I experience the rejection He faced. I´m amazed more and more everyday how He did what He did. I´m developing a deeper understanding of how He felt while knowing that He had to press on because it will be worth it. He didn´t give up on us, so I (and you) can´t give up on Him. I don´t quite believe all the people that have told me I´ll have hundreds of baptisms down here in South America, because people are not nearly as receptive here as everyone seems to think. Trust me. But I´m learning to work hard despite the feelings of frustration and disappointment that come with being a missionary.
A thought I had the other day really set me back: one of my roommates was watching a video of a past General Conference talk, and ofcourse it was dubbed over in Spanish. I realized that the people down here--and in so many other parts of the world--don´t get to actually hear the prophet´s voice. They don´t get to understand the uplifting messages of all those EFY CD´s that you never listen to because they´re not cool. Don´t take for granted the blessing that you have to live in a country where the prophets and apostles live, and to be able to speak and understand the language that they speak. How blessed I´ve been. Also, for those of you in the Hacienda Heights ward, do me a favor and give Sister Hales a giant hug and thank her for being so wonderful. In Sacrament meeting on Sunday, we sang the hymns acapella because our usual accompanist didn´t know how to play the hymns. And let me just add that I don´t think anyone in Chile will win any singing contests any time soon. Sister Hales has always been so fantastic to so willingly share her time and talents for the benefit of our ward. Don´t take for granted that she can so skillfully and easily play every hymn and every musical number that you throw her way last minute. She´s wonderful and I so appreciate her willingness and dedication to providing the music for the HH ward.
One thing I´ve noticed about the incredibly high number of inactive members down here that I´ve visited with is that they all have one thing in common: they stopped reading their Book of Mormon. That´s always the first step that leads to inactivity. Everyone needs to understand that the foundation of this entire gospel is based on that book, and therefore so should your testimony. If you aren´t reading the Book of Mormon on a daily basis, you are letting Satan ever-so-slowly pull you away from your Savior Jesus Christ. Please read and study that book. Even if the most you can do is a verse or two. It makes a difference
My time is gone, but I wish you all the best! Have a wonderful week, choose to be of good cheer despite rough circumstances around you, and smile. It´s great to see a stranger passing by on the street with a glum face and all my companion and I do is smile and say hello and keep walking. A sincere smile can really change a person´s mood more than you probably realize.
Elder Tanner Long