Week 8: in which Hermana Saunders was so hungry she actually ate a horse

Dear friends and family,

The food is great here, and the members feed us every day. One day we had what was (I’m pretty sure) horse meat. It was interesting and tough.

I see little miracles every day, and we’ve seen a couple great ones this week. An investigator, David, came to church this week. Hermana Bazaes has been teaching his sisters for about two months and has invited him to come to church several times. He’s either declined or not come each time, but this time he came with the rest of his family. Also, his sister, Catalina, feels a real desire to be baptized now, even though her older sister (who normally leads) is not here right now. I’m so excited for both of them. 😀

I understand a little more Spanish each day, and now I can almost follow conversations. Talking with Chileans is a lot like trying to drink out of a fire hydrant, and I have a hard time forming a reply before they’re off again, but it’s coming, poco a poco. Hermana Bazaes is trying to help me participate more in lessons, and I’ve been able to do a little more this week. I’m becoming more comfortable with the members, and I love sharing scriptures at lunch. This Sunday at church was great; I still didn’t understand much of what was said, but I actually had a conversation with a couple of members. And every day I’m grateful that the gospel principles are the same everywhere.

One way in which we contact is offering to sing for people. It’s been really great and opened many doors for us. I love it because music has the power to really bring the Spirit, and I pray that those people feel it. Also, it’s one thing I do well, so I feel like I can contribute a little more, even though I honestly have no idea what’s going on. Apparently my Spanish is really good, especially for the time I’ve been here. A lady even told me I talk like a Chilean–not sure if that’s a compliment because Chileans are often hard to understand and don’t open their mouths when they talk. So… BUT I was able to understand and follow directions to the bathroom the other day, so that’s something! Honestly, finding joy in the little things is such a powerful skill.

I introduced myself in sacrament meeting on Saturday [ed. note: I think she means Sunday?], which was a little scary. Every member calls Utah “la fabrica”–“the factory.” I think you can guess why. 😛 But the members are friendly and helpful, and we have lunch every day with one of them. (Here, lunch is the big meal, and breakfast and dinner are small.) I like the food here, so that’s never a problem. However, it’s a little different to greet every (female) person, even contacts, with cheek kisses. I’m generally okay with it, but that was new.

I want to share a thought from my personal study this week. I was having a rough time with things and felt like I was stuck in a whirlpool. I was writing out my frustrations, and as I was writing I thought of Peter and Jesus on the water. I feel like going on my mission was a lot like Peter jumping out of the boat: I was (and am) so excited to serve and to follow Christ, and I didn’t think too much about the “wind and waves.” But here, the angry winds and boisterous waves feel very real and sometimes scary, and I started to sink. I felt like I had lost control of some things, and often I cried out in my head for my Savior. In the Bible, it says that Jesus “immediately” stretched out his hand to catch Peter and pull him out of the water. [ed. note: You can read that in Matthew 14:22-33.] He has his hand out to me, and I feel so grateful for His constant and loving hand. I have more peace and comfort knowing that in the middle of the raging sea, my Lifeguard walks on water.

I love you all!

Hermana Saunders