Alright, I had Dad’s letter with a bunch of questions to answer, but I forgot it in the pension, sorry, next week. Now super fast on business. My backpack is a little big to carry around every day. If I was carrying a bunch with me it would be better, but because it is just my scriptures and extras, it slides around and is messing with my back. I have found a backpack here that would work. Problem is, it isn’t that great. It is just smaller, and it still costs like 50 dollars. So I would love if you could see what it would take to find something about water-pack sized and send it to me. If this isn’t possible or feasible, I will just buy something here; but if you can send it straight, it might not be that big of a price difference for a significantly better bag.
Alright, I havent taken any photos this week, no time because we cant carry our cameras during proselyting hours. Sorry, I will get more. As to your other questions. We get mail once a month. We are 7 hours from the mission home; the only time we get mail is when our zone leaders go to Vina for training every month. It isnt bad though, I am not starved for news or love yet. The pictures and the little I get in the email are just fine. Just warning you though, your letters from me are going to come in packets, as in I have written some but literally haven’t had the chance to send them yet. I did have some dear elders waiting for me (which were sent in the two or three weeks before he left the MTC) but have not received any of the other mail as of yet. We will get mail on Friday though, because there is a mission conference for the northern section. You cannot send letters to our house in La Serena. It isn’t allowed nor feasible. Sorry this is choppy.
Okay, if you want to include more in the email I would love it. It takes next to no time for me to read a page or two. Plus if I have to, I can print for pretty cheap and read later. So you can if you want, send me letters by email every week and I can print them off. Then, you can send another email full of the pictures and the questions. That is a possibility. It is up to you though.
My stomach is fine, the avacodos or palta as it is called here, is the only thing that really bothers me. I think it is the super high fat content. They are super rich. Other than that everything has been super good. I literally drink probably a gallon of yogurt a week though because it is late at night before I eat again, and it is really quick and easy on the stomach…plus I kind of love the yogurt here. The infection by my eye is gone, but I have an infection on my ear, just like a normal one though, and it is slowly going away. It doesnt really bother me at all.
Meals are interesting. Sometimes the families eat with us; sometimes they don’t. Mostly because alot of our meals are with older single ladies, so it is four missionaries and the hermana. It is good though. The questions they ask are not quite the same [we had asked him if the members in Chile ask him the same questions we ask missionaries when we have them to dinner]. How do I like Chile? Or did I study Spanish before, because I speak really good? How long have I been in Chile? I feel really good about my Spanish because of it. Not good, per se, more confident that I am progressing as I should be. I still get left speechless a lot as I struggle to come up with the proper way to say something. The hardest things for me are subjunctive, conditional and direct and endirect objects. You can ask Mark why they are so hard in Spanish. But I will explain for conditional. A statement like, I would do it, is a single word. Haria. Me cuesta para entender como hacerlo y como recordar….oooops. It is hard for me to understand and remember how to do it.
Alright. Stories and news. We did a ton of work last week. Lots and Lots and Lots. Last Tuesday I actually went on exchanges with the missionarys in La Valle, about 20 minutes or more from where we are. It was super good, and super interesting. I was with a native Elder named Elder Nuñez. We set a baptismal date which was just awesome. This lady literally walked up to us and said “Quiero bautizarme, cuando pueden?” We literally thought she was kidding us. Straight up “I want to get baptized, when can you?” Sadly, she lives with her boyfriend so it is going to take a little time [in order to be baptized, she needs to live the law of chastity, which means she must either marry her boyfriend or move out and not be sexually involved]; but oh well, she is going to get baptized anyway. That day was super good for my Spanish, because I only spoke spanish for the whole day. That was really helpful practice. I dont know what else that I can describe from that experience, other than that it was just interesting to be with a different Elder and in a different area.
Other stories from the week. We set a baptisimal date on our first visit with this lady. She unfortunately isn’t going to be around for us to teach until the end of the month though. She has a Book of Mormon and is going to read it and pray about it though, so I think it will work out. It was really nice though, because everyone had been telling us no all day long and when we knocked on the door she was super welcoming and said “come on in, share your message with me.” It is always nice to find someone that the Lord has prepared.
Oh, our apartment was invaded by ants–literally thousands of them, all over the walls and in the kitchen. That lasted about two days before we bought raid and killed all of them. When we finished, we literally swept up a pile of them. Not a couple, literally a pile of ants into the trash. It was ridiculous. We have no idea where they came from or why there were so many. But they are all gone now!!!! I got my hair cut by one of the other Elders last night. It looks fine, no disasters there. So, that makes me happy. We got to play soccer today!! Greatest feeling ever. After not having done any intense physical exercise for two weeks, it was incredible, although I am a little bit sore now. We played on the court out behind the church. It is a hard surface with goals that are probably 6 tall and 8 wide. Super fun. There are about half natives in our zone, and they were all super good fun to play with. I was surprised that I was able to play as well as I did versus them. So that was way cool, although without my cleats, it was a little bit rough.
Oh, the Chileans have a sweet tooth. A super weird sweet tooth. They don’t eat any real traditionally sweet deserts, w whole lot of fruits and jello like things and the occasional ice cream. But, a ton of their entrees are sweet. We ate this thing very similar to shepherds pie, except that there was sugar sprinkled on top of the potatoes. Super weird. Not bad tasting, just super weird. The thing we eat most though is french fries, rice and chicken. This is usually served with bread and salad (which they put corn syrup on) and of course tomatoes and palta. I definitely can’t complain too much about the food. I like it, and the bread is super good. I took one of my long sleeved shirts and made it in to a short sleeve shirt. I found how to stitch it super fast so that it looks good but doesn’t take me hours and hours to do, although it is only like 8 stitches. [Caleb’s Mother found this humorous and appalling at the same time] I think I will do it with one other, because it is super hot here and; on the days that I have to wear long sleeves, I die, or something close to that. Culturally, the Chilenos are a lot like Americans. Well, here they are. We are in one of the richest parts of the mission. Well, it is the richest part of the mission. So there are a lot of relatively wealthy Chilenos; and their mode of living is very much like our own, although, the cars are just like they were in Europe, super small. I think the Honda Accord could hold more weight then a lot of the trucks here.
I am having a hard time coming up with stuff, which is why I am super dissapointed that I don’t have my journal or Dad’s letter full of questions. I will get to that next week though, and send off some letters next week. One thing that I never realized, was how incredibly busy missionarys are on p-day. I had no clue. It is a ton of work to do on p-day. We clean, we shop, we do email, we have all of our normal studying to do, and then we have to get back out to proselyting by six o clock. I think what takes the most time actually is that we mostly have to walk to the food place, which takes a solid 40 minutes!
Alright, I think that is it for this week. I would love to hear how the job search is going and hope that you all are enjoying your time back in school, seminary and all the other wonderful things in life.
Elder Caleb Tonkinson