I don´t honestly remember if that [the title] is a saying or not, but it feels like it is. [I suppose a skip and a hop away is somewhat shorter than a hop, skip and a jump . . . :-)]
This of course is in reference to my change. I am headed to Coquimbo. It is the zone right next to us and it should take me just 30 minutes or less by micro to get there. That, or I am hoping to find
a member in our ward here, that could just run me over in the morning. I am going to a part called parte alta. Which translated is High place. Coquimbo sits just to the south of La Serena and is on a peninsula [click hear for Google Earth image]. About where the peninsula meets land, there is a giant Cross constructed. Apparently our house is right there, just a little lower on the hill than the cross. Other than that, I really don´t know much.
- It is a poor area
- it is a large area
- it is a branch instead of a ward
- there are a lot of hills.
- Also, if I am not assuming wrong, my companion is a newly trained, latino.
So that should be interesting. Another note, I will be able to see my area now (La Serena) from where I will be (Coquimbo) [the view of Coquimbo from La Serena]. I am excited!!! It should be a completely different experience from what I have heard. So it should be different. The fact that I was leaving La Serena was not a huge surprise. However, some interesting things did happen in La Serena. The ward that I was in, which is the largest ward in the mission, got split. It is now two wards of roughly 130-140 people each. That happened yesterday. So now, there will be just two missionarys in each of those wards instead of the six that have been here in La Serena for the last four and a half months. Also, the zone, which split at the end of my first change, is being joined again. There are more people leaving then there are coming. Anyway, that should be interesting.
This week I learned the importance of taking the oportune moment. An investigator told us about a dream that they had where the Lord had appeared to her and said “Welcome to the Church.” We of course took that moment and planned a baptism for her. She is super excited, and it was the easiest baptismal date that I have ever put. It was just a small thing though, where had we waited a moment we might have missed it, and the conversation might have gone off. It was cool. Way cool.
The last conference with President Gillespie was really good. He talked about the new president, about the importance of following leaders and the importance of obedience. It was good over all. All of us missionaries bought them a plaque, kind of like the missionary plaques that they have in the US. It was cool. So we gave them that, during the conference. He is going home the 30th. It is crazy to think that, in 6 months, he will have only been my mission president for half of the time and that in the end, President Kheinline will seem as if he were my president for the most part.
My sleep is alright. I am dreaming a lot (it has to be the latin influence, they have a ton of dreams). Some have been a little bit scary recently. I do wake up with energy though, and for the most part I have been sleeping the whole night, instead of on again, off again.
I don´t get cold at all. The weather here is a little bit rare recently: hot and then cold and then hot again. For the moment, I still just wear a shirt and tie most of the time. It is way colder close to Viña but up here, it is nice and cozy. I don´t know if it will ever get really cold.
Anyways. Events of the week
- Tuesday: Conference with President Gillespie which took most of the day. They gave us all a CD. It has the mission song and a couple songs written by different missionarys about the mission. The Zone leaders and the respective writers of the songs, went to a recording studio in Viña and recorded the songs. They are pretty awesome.
- Wednesday: We went on Interchanges with the Zone leaders. It was fun, it had been 3 months since I had done that, and one of the first times in 3 months that I had left my area.
- Elder Groscost went home. That was kind of sad. His mission came to its proper end and he boarded the bus to Viña yesterday. He died [term missionaries use to describe someone who finishes their mission and goes home] really well though, super focused in the work and super diligent. He hardly seemed phased. I suspect he got tired of hearing “Goodbye! goodbye.! Goodbye…hey aren’t you going home soon.” Everyone talked about it to him, pretty much all week.
- I bought a sweater made out of alpaca today. It is pretty awesome, way comfy too and a good recuerdo….souvenir (I honestly don´t know the spelling). It was between that and buying a jersey of the La Serena soccer team. But their Jerseys aren´t very good looking and so…I just decided to not.
- I spent about an hour packing stuff up the other day. It is crazy how spread out the stuff gets in 6 months. That is also another crazy thought. That six months came and went in the blink of an eye here in La serena. I loved my time though.
- I have been eating and eating and eating here. SOOOOOO much food. The members, as they have heard I am leaving, just have made so much food. Hamburgers, cakes, cookies, completos and all sorts of stuff. This is just another reason to be very thankful for the hills that I will be climbing in Coquimbo
Anyway. The work goes on, the Lord is very involved. I feel the influence of the spirit more and more every day and have felt it especially in this week as I have worked on prayer. In the conference President talked about how in Enos [Enos 1:2] it says “The wrestle that I had before or with God.” That prayer should be a wrestle. Prayer should be us seeking to literally put ourselves in the same path with God and that it should take an effort.
I love you all and you are in my prayers, Especially you Skeeter [his grandmother goes by Skeeter and had surgery last week to remove a cancerous tumor in her colon] and Grandpa,
Elder Caleb Tonkinson