Week 7 (?): in which Hermana Saunders swears, makes a new friend, and learns a TON

Dearest family and friends,

Whew!! What a week!! I don’t have time to talk about everything, but I’ll do my best to give the highlights.

First off, Chile is great. My companion is Chilean, Hermana Bazaes. She is super sassy and a lot of fun, but also diligent and loves the people. She has helped me so much. I understand very little of what is being said in conversations; Chileans talk so FAST!! But I’m learning, little by little. Today at least was better than my first day here. I can understand maybe 15 percent instead of only 10. The air always smells like campfire during the winter/spring months because most people have wood-burning stoves instead of central heating. The people are generally friendly, and the ward is great. I’m in the southernmost zone of the mission. Temuco is a HUGE city. We’re writing from the center, and the suburbs extend for no idea how far. It’s great. 😀 I arrived for Chile’s independence day, which was cool. Someone in the neighborhood shot off the coolest fireworks on Sunday night! Curfew was 6 for Saturday through Monday, so this week was a little different than normal. Normally I’ll write on Mondays.

I left the MTC really excited for the field. We reviewed a lot on Saturday before we left, and it was really cool to look back and see how much I’ve learned and grown. We had classes all day that Friday, and I learned a lot there too. We had a teacher coordination meeting on Thursday with the zone leaders and teachers, and I think I understood maybe 40 percent of it. Not too bad for only six weeks of Spanish. 😉

We took a bus to the airport and flew from Mex City to Santiago. The plane was huge! 9 seats across with plenty of leg room. It was great. I sat next to a lawyer named Eduardo, and he asked about the large number of young people in nice clothes. We ended up talking for two hours about the gospel. He had a lot of questions, and it was a great conversation. He was very interested in the idea of eternal families, and I shared a Book of Mormon with him. He promised to read it! And I think he will. 😀 I’m excited for him. At the end of our conversation, he excused himself to watch a movie, The Revenant. I replied (en espanol), “That movie is scary!” (I’d heard about it before.) He looked shocked and asked if I knew what I said. Apparently in Spanish, “scary” is very similar to a very strong word for “crap.” Well. Now I know. 😛 We cleared things up and laughed about it.

I’ve seen little miracles every day. I had the opportunity to be an answer to a prayer, which was wonderful. I love being a missionary, and I’ve had so much help, both from around me and from above. God is real, people. I know this. Also, we’re in a house with two other hermanas. The sass in this house if out of this world. But I love them all, and it’s great.

I just realized that I left my camera at the house, so I’m sorry that I won’t have pics for this week. I love you all! I’d like to leave you with this thought from my personal study: “Dealing with adversity is one of the chief ways in which we are tested and tutored.” Life is difficult, but God provided a way for us to find peace in a troubled world. Matt 11:28-30–Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. I’ve grown and learned so much through trials, but only when I gave myself to Christ and allowed Him to help me. Through his marvelous Atonement, pain becomes peace, hope and faith are restored, anger fades, and heartache is healed. What a marvelous gift, and how important it is to share this gift with everyone.

I’m sorry that I can’t reply to everyone. We have less time than normal today. Next week should be better. I love you all and pray for you. Be faithful and love each other! Remember who you are!!

Hermana Saunders