Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Well, this week has been awesome, as always! I don't have much time to write, but I will try my best! My papita, Dario, is amazing. He cooks every lunch for us, and we are well fed! We don't have to pay for the almuerzo (lunch) at all or for any of the services. He does our laundry, hosts district get togethers, etc! It's great. Man, I am spoiled, even here in South America!
Today we watched Remember the Titans. It was fun to try to read the Spanish subtitles! :)
Thanks for your emails, mom and dad! As for the questions about Christmas, here are some answers:
The address for sending packages is as follows:
Elder Samuel Hobbs
Mission Chile Antofagasta
Sucre 220 Edificio Bulnes Dpto. 504
Antofagasta, II Region
I think you can send letters here also, but it's probably better through the "Castilla de Correo" address. I don't know!
The letter from President Urra was just saying that the mail system is safe. I don't think that the president or his wife understood your email because they don't speak any English! :) It's quite nice that nobody in my daily life speaks English because it really helps with the language. I'm kinda forced to use Spanish (or Castellano, as they call the language here in Chile). It's great!
As for gifts here in Chile, my companion and I could always use an awesome missionary tie from the US! :) Oh yeah, also some North American junk food for my companion. Other than that, I think the money wired to my Mastercard is the best gift. Just let me know how much in dollars (and in Chilean pesos, if it's possible -- there's something like 600 pesos in a dollar) so that I won't over-draw!
As for other news here, it's still the perfect weather, and every day is a blessing. I have received the gift of tongues and interpretation of tongues when I have needed it, but I'm still lost most of the time! It's great fun. One neat experience was a lady who was having a birthday that we contacted. We knocked on her door and offered to sing her a song for her birthday. We sang "Venid, adoremos" (Oh come all ye faithful), and the lady (Norma) began to cry because the spirit was strong! She thanked us for the visit. We left with a prayer, and we have an appointment to teach her tonight!
There are many amazing experiences here on the mission, and I know I'm where I'm needed. We have planned 2 baptisms before the end of the year, but we're trying to go for more! There are so many people in this world ready to hear the gospel, as well as those not so ready. But, we try to give everyone a chance to accept our message! :)
Well, hopefully I can write more in my letter home (I still haven't figured out the mail system here!). I love you! Take care!
Okay, so I guess you're dying to know more about the people and the culture and what naught. Everything is amazing! My first sector in the mission is in an area called "Arrica" in the northern part of Chile. Everyone likes to say "¡hace calor!" (it's hot!), but really it's the perfect temperature. The sun can be hot, but there's always a nice cool breeze from the ocean. I love it!
There're lots of stray dogs (perros) in the streets, and it's a lot different from the states, to say the least. But I am loving every minute of it! My companion, Elder Cañellas, is from Paraguay and speaks less English than I do Spanish, if that is possible. It makes for quite the adventure! I'm picking up the Spanish little by little. You can really tell the native Chileans apart from other people in Chile because their Spanish is incredibly fast and slurred together. It's lots of fun to try and figure out what they're saying! My most common phrase nowadays seems to be: "Discúlpeme, pero ¡no puedo entender!" (forgive me, but I can't understand!) o "¡Mas lento por favor!"
The miracle is that I can understand when I really need to, especially during lessons. My companion is great, and he always has me teach a bunch of the lessons or give the spiritual thought. When I do, it usually starts a little rough, but for some reason the people can understand me! And, they are always willing to help me out with words, phrases, grammar, etc.
Everyday, my companion and I are trying to memorize one scripture: Elder Cañellas in English and me in Español. It's difficult, but it helps! And, I like to stop everyone that passes and give an approach in Spanish, usually offering a pass-along card. It's great fun! Elder Cañellas always has to be with me, however, because I have the hardest time trying to decipher what they are saying! :)
Can you believe that I'm in Chile? It's loco! But I love it. I'm gonna get fat also, by the way, because we eat tons of food and drink tons of juice. Everyone here offers the best fruit juices ever! Also soda, but we're not allowed to drink coke (which is nice). The juices are always fresh and refreshing. And the food is rica! It's great! The bread (pan) here is really great. It really is more European than anything else. We eat a lot of chicken, potatoes, and rice. We have salads with every meal (almost). And the only thing I don't care much for is the higala (liver), but it's not too bad. We have our biggest meal (Almuerzo) at one o'clock, and it is great! There is also a siesta from 1 until 3, so we have a good two hours to study in the Afternoon.
The people here are the most hospitable and so nice! Everyone wants to help you, feed you, and talk. So it's great for missionary work, even if most people we contact say "Soy Catolico" (I'm Catholic). Oh yeah -- we also have a papita! In every area of the mission, we have papitas and mamitas. Our papita is awesome -- he's the bishop of one of the wards around here. He brings us a HUGE lunch every day (other than Sundays and Mondays), and he takes our laundry every week. Man are we spoiled! :)
The homes here in Chile are very modest, and though they make the United States look super rich, the people are all so happy. I love it! Can I say that enough? I think this area of the mission is the best. I can't wait until I can actually understand more! I try really hard, but everyone just talks so crazy fast! So, any ideas to learn faster, comprehend more, and be more successful? For now, I will continue to endure. I try to listen to everything really carefully, write down words, and speak as much as possible, but it is still quite hard. Fun, but hard. And, since my companion is from Paraguay, this is the only English I'll see probably all week until my next letter! Fun, eh?
Well, I guess that's it for now. I need to write a letter to my mission president. Which reminds me -- I still haven't figured out the postal system here! I hear, however, it takes 3-4 weeks for letters to get to the states. I guess we'll see. I love you all so much! Have a wonderful time during the holidays, and enjoy Jacob coming home!
Elder Hobbs de Sur America
PS. Tell Jessica that she needs to be jealous. One of the families we visited gave us a huge watermelon, and it was the most delicious thing I have ever tasted! It was perfect -- sweet, cold, refreshing, crunchy, and perfect. Mmmm!
PPS. Tell Brother Hermele thank you! I got a bunch of Dear Elder's from him when I arrived in Antofagasta! I will be writing back as soon as I figure out how the mail system works! :)
Dear Brother and Sister Hobbs,
Your missionary has arrived in the Chile Antofagasta Mission! Sister Urra and I were there to meet him at the airport. We take great pleasure in writing this letter to let you know that he arrived safely and has been assigned to work with Elder Cañellas, who is from Lambaré, Paraguay. They will work in the city of Arica. We will love him as one of our own and he will be cared for and especially watched over by the Lord.
This is a most fascinating area of the Lords vineyard. There is much work to be done here and we are grateful to have such wonderful missionaries eager to serve the Lord. The Lord loves the people of Chile and has many things yet in store for the Church here.
The missionaries are asked to write home weekly either through the postal system (letters usually arrive in 2-3 weeks) or through MyLDSMail, the church's Internet email service. Elder Hobbs's new MyLDSMail e-mail address is email@example.com, and he will be checking his e-mail every Monday. Please do not communicate through instant messenger services or send emails to email addresses other than MyLDSMail. Yahoo, Hotmail, MSN, and other services are not filtered and can expose missionaries to things that will detract from their spiritual wellbeing.
Attached to this e-mail we are sending you two pictures of when your son arrived.
1. Elder Hobbs with President and Sister Urra.
2. Elder Hobbs with his trainer, Elder Cañellas
May you and your family be richly blessed as your missionary diligently serves here.
Juan A. Urra and Soledad Urra
President and his Wife