My new area. Well, what can be said about my new area. It is pretty much crazy is all I can say. The area is just crazy. I am honestly not sure where to begin. So I guess I will start with my almost crazy companion, El Elder Ariza
- Elder Ariza has two more cambios [has been out twelve more weeks] then I do.
- He is from Barranquila Colombia.
- He is a sprite addict
- he just finished training and just got assigned as District leader [leads a group of six to ten missionaries]
- He is absolutely crazy.
Not really crazy but he does have a ton of energy. We have been running all over the peninsula this week and taught about 30 lessons. Just so you know, I am not really bragging, but the average in the mission is about 18. Neither of us had ever taught that many lessons in any week of our missions. It was nuts. We were so exhausted every single day, and this week looks like it is going to be even crazier. Today, which is a pday [preparation day; they spend two-thirds of the day doing personal things like writing home, laundry, shopping, and usually some athletic activity with other missionaries], where the normal amount of lessons would be maybe 2 and if it is a good day 3, we are expecting 6 or 7 because we have 5 planned and are looking for a couple others. Our teaching has been just really easy and smooth. It flows nice; he is super smart when it comes to the teaching. Also, we have 7 baptismal dates and have 8 people this week that we hope to start planning with. Now that isn’t to say that we are going to necessarily have that many baptisms. However, it is a really good sign. We are having a blast. So much fun. We just live the two of us in a little house behind the restaurant of a member. She makes really good food.
Now as for the area and the rama or branch. There are about 50 members who come, on a good day. So it is a lot different then La Serena where it was close to 300. The area. The area is a little dangerous. There are several streets we pretty much don’t enter unless we have a fixed cita, and it is early in the day. There are a ton of drugs here. Like a lot. Elder Ariza said that they have had to drop several investigators becuase they have found out that they were either dealers or heavy users. Although at the moment we are working with some less active users who are trying to stop and return to activity in the church. It is pretty nuts though.
More then that though, there are stupid flaite (it is said, fly te (like a british tea)). Flaite are like young aimless teenagers. They wander the streets in groups and do stupid things, and occasionaly, stupid, dangerous things. Like throw rocks at us. Which is one of the crazy things that has happened this week. For all of the craziness, it is a super pretty area. From our little house we have a view of the ocean and of lots of multicolored homes on the clouded hillsides of the peninsula. It really is gorgeous in the morning. I like it a lot.
Locuras (things that are loca) that happened this week
- We had rocks thrown at us. They yelled “hello” at us and we yelled “Hola” back. It happens a whole lot here, they think it is funny, becuase I am from the US. So that is whatever. Then we started to hear rocks ping around us, so we turned down the next street.
- This same day, which was Saturday. We ran into this lady in the street and she called over to us. So we started talking with her. In the end she really didnt have a point in talking to us and we seperated. Then we saw her again and she stopped us in the street and she stopped us, shook our hands and then kissed our hands, then laughed and continued on her way.
- One guy came to the door without his shirt on, and looked just exhausted. He looked at us for like two seconds. And then said ” ahhhhhh nooooo, no, no , no ,no ,no” and then as he started turning away shut the door. It was just way funny the way he did it.
- There are pulgas [fleas] in the pension! NOOOOOO. There aren’t too many but they are annoying.
- There are these things here called echisa. They are like homemade guns. They don’t work that great, but people make them. They shoot them off after soccer games in celebration, things like that. They are also dangerous. We were working in the evening in an area that we hadn’t thought of as particularly dangerous when we heard one go off. I asked Elder Ariza what it was and he explained it. No big deal. As we were walking down the street we heard a ping behind us, against a fence and looked backwards. There was a group and one of them was pointing at us and the other was arming his echisa again. When they saw that we had seen them, they started pointing and yelling and starting to load faster. We took off running and went down the next lighted street and out of sight. Then took a colectivo out of the area. It was so crazy!!!!!! I mean crazy. We were both a little shaken by it, but in the end, we know we are going to be protected so we haven’t really worried about it. We just added it to our group of areas to be careful around at night.
That is really the craziest things that I can share about from this week. There isn’t anything else that is that crazy. We just taught a lot, and it was a ton of fun. Elder Ariza and I get along really well. My spanish is also getting a little faster, and I am losing a little bit of my gringo accent. I pretty much don’t speak English during the day, just Spanish, all the time. The other announcement would be that The new president will be here before I write again. He is coming Friday.
I am really happy to be working. It is a bunch of fun. I am glad for a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation [in short, where we came from, what is the purpose of life, where are we going after we die] and am working hard to really understand it at a different level.
What else can be said. I am happy and I am on the Lord’s errand. I have been focused recently on the little things, because the Spirit is in the details. So, I try to work in the details. Shoes always shined, hair always combed, on the hour for everything, proper posture, good eating habits, dressed completely to do studies. All of that kind of stuff.
I am thankful for your letters and your constant support. You are in my prayers.
With lots of love,
Elder Caleb Tonkinson