Tuesday, June 29, 2010

5/31/2010 Elder Christensen

Well my first week in Chile..... Its been extremely difficult.. Lets start from the airport in Dallas. Our flight was longgggggggggg to say the least. I slept very little and what I got was garbage. They gave us a little bit of food on there but for the most part it was snacks. We arrived here in Santiago around 730am. Customs was a breeze and my luggage was all there as well. We then met Pres and Sis Jones. They are way too cool . The nicest people ever. They took us to the top of a mountain pretty much and let us look down at the city. It was pretty incredible. The view was breathtaking.
After that they took us to the mission home. They let us take about an hour nap and we ate some pan y manjar. Its like Pantrucas bread with this caramel stuff on it and its way too good. Then we had a little bit of training in the house. They just told us how we are to contact. We are to try to get inside of peoples houses so that we can bless the house and hopefully get a return appointment. Then they gave us a folder of mission info and study materials, a journal, a little shoulder bag, and we did some visa and finance business. After that we had lunch. Bread, salad with deviled eggs, lasagna, and cheescake. We ate with all of our trainers. My companions name is Elder Stoddard. He is awesome. We get along great.
After lunch............ We traveled straight to our sector, dropped off my stuff, and went out to proscelyte the rest of the night. I was really scared. Here I am sitting in these little barren houses with these people that I can´t understand at all. I´m having some struggles to say the least. Its been 6 days and for the most part they have been fine. I just can´t understand anything. The Chilean dialect is ridiculous. They cut off everything, they slur, they speak so fast. I´m studying and praying as hard as I can but I am progressing so slow with my understanding of these people.
Our apartment is decent. We have no insulation and no heating so its freeeeeeeezing at night and in the morning. I´m already sick. Garbage. We have two other elders in our apartment who are from Mexico and El Salvador. Their names are Elder Pedraza and Elder Acevedo. They are cool guys but they have add I swear. Too much energy all the time. We all sleep in a tiny room. Two bunkbeds with a very little space to walk through in between them. We have two tiny bathrooms. I can touch my head on the cealing while showering. The whole thing is probably a fourth the size of your walk in closet... Rough estimate. Our study room is like the biggest room in the apt. Thats where we are all morning long. We eat frosted flakes every morning pretty much.
To say the least I´m having a good time I´m just in a little bit of a rut and its making me homesick. I feel like if I could just learn to speak and understand I would have no problem. I haven´t been at all homesick until now and its only because I don´t know how to communicate. I get along great with elder stoddard, I love the people, I get along fine in a tiny freezing apartment. Those arent at all the problem. I just feel like I study study study study and I don´t learn anything. I can´t apply it. I can´t understand or speak anything. I don´t have time to study half the time. I´m not even unpacked yet if that tells you how little time we have. Despite all this I´m still trying to stay positive. I know this is where I need to be and what I need to be doing. Its just so hard to get by when nobody speaks anything that I can understand. I know that there are thousands of other Elders going through the exact same barriers and that I am no exception to any rule. Everyone faces language barriers. I know that I will only be blessed after the trial of my faith... But how long is that?? How long do I have to get laughed at or not understand the language before I get some help? Its been 6 days..... Very little time. I know that with the Lords help I can do this. I can be fluent. I can convert these people and help them change. I can last two years. But I´ve never felt so weak in my whole life. I´m literally broken down to nothing right now. President Holland spoke to us in the MTC and told us that it is not up to us to ruin the salvation of others by going home. Don´t think that I´m gonna come home becuse that´s not even in the cards. But I need help here. I need to gain some knowledge and learn to understand this crazy dialect. Once I can do that I´ll be 100% fine. I´m just trying to stay happy and positive and its very difficult.
I feel very alone. It´s so difficult to get anything done. We work all day. We´re always late home at night from working overtime. I don´t know what more I can do to achieve that ability to understand. Like I said its been 6 days. I just have to work through this struggle......
Now that I´ve poured out my whole soul how is hawaii? Sweet? How is everyone doing? Anything new at home / work?
I have two things to tell you. First.. The address to my mission home on the cards you made was changed. Making them half worthless. This is the other address that you should give people and where I can receive packages.

Elder Christensen
Misión Chile Santiago Oeste
Correos Casilla 149
Chacabuco 166
Maipú, Chile

President and sister Jones told me to tell you these things..... ONLY send packages through USPS. Not ups, fedex, dhl, or any other mail service. USPS is the only one you can use. They also said.. be vague or be robbed. If you have to write what is in the package just write Missionary Supplies or something vague. They also said to put a picture of Jesus or the Virgin mary on the box. For some reason that prevents theft. I don´t know if and when you will send anything but if you do that is the information that you need!
Get this, I can get dear elders here! I only get them once every week or every other week even. Just go to dear elder and find my mission.... You just have to figure it out... But yes! So just do one or two dear elders a week and they´ll get to me eventually.

Well I have to wrap up.. I love you all so much and miss you a ton. Homesickness isn´t very fun. Neither is immersing yourself in a language you don´t know. But this is where I need to be and I know that nobody would have in any other way. This is what its all about. I just need to have faith. Next week I´ll send you pictures. We´ve taken hardly any so far. Pray for me please.. I need all the help I can get here. If I can learn I will be amazing. Like I said. After my trial of faith. I´ve seen tons of people who were unprepared go before me and do fine. I´m prepared.... So I can do this. I know I can. I just gotta put my shoulder to the wheel and humble myself. All will work out. I¨ll talk to you all about this same time again next week. Love you lots. --Elder Christensen--

P.S. Let my puppies know I love them. Also tell Tawny the same when you Dear Elder her. I want to know how she is doing. I miss you all and love you so much.