Here in Paipote, we just finished an awesome week. We've been working hard and studying hard, and we've had a lot of success. I really love working with my new companion, Elder Christensen. He's struggling a bit with his Spanish, but I guess that's normal for being here in Chile for only 2 weeks! I recently recently read through my old journal entries, and it's amazing to see the many miracles that have taken place in my life. It's especially hard to believe that I can kind of speak Spanish -- who would of thought? I really do love my time here in the mission, and I know that I have been exceedingly blessed by my Heavenly Father.
Today, Elder Christensen and I went off to Copiapó to do some shopping for the things that were stolen. I found a nice suitcase (dufflebag style) for around $8000 CLP, or $16 USD. I went ahead and bought it, along with a pair of cheap tennis shoes for $15000 CLP, or $30 USD. It was pretty funny as we were looking for tennis shoes because there wasn't any place that had my size! I would say to the vendor, "Do you have any shoes size 46 (12 in the U.S.)?" And then they'd just start laughing, look down at my feet, and suggest another store to go check out. Finally, we found some shoes in Líder (Chile's Wal-Mart) that were size 45 (11.5), and though they're a little small, they're comfortable enough. Can you believe that they don't even sell my shoe size here? I didn't think I was that abnormally big... It must be from all the hormones in the food sold in the states. :)
So, after an exciting day of shopping and almost losing my jumpdrive with all my pictures, and then a miraculous save by Elder Kneisly, my zone leader, who found my jumpdrive, here I am with my companion writing this amazing email from the Internet café that our Mamita has in her house. (Excuse me, I mean our "Hermana del almuerzo." President doesn't want us to use terminology like "mamita" now, but it's alright). Here in Paipote, there is a lot of green. The only thing I kind of miss is the ocean -- I really love living by the beach! But, there are grapevines here, and it is all really beautiful. The people are wonderful. Sadly, everyone is leaving on vacation right now for the rest of the summer, and the work might slow down abit. But, it should pick up speed once school is in session, starting in March. I guess we'll see.
To answer some of the questions about the mission right now: I have had a mamita in every area. In every sector of our mission, members provide food and do our laundry (except for the assistents, who only have their laundry provided but have to cook for themselves). The members are always very loving and want to help and serve in any way possible. It makes the mission a lot more enjoyable, especially after a hard day of tracting and proselyting. The attendance in our little branch is steadily rising, and last week 36 people attended. Our goal is to make Paipote a ward instead of a branch before leaving! And don't worry -- we're going to make our goal a reality! ;)
Well, we're out of time again. I hope that all is well - you are all always in my prayers! Thank you for your emails today; they made me smile. I really enjoy reading and hearing about what's going on back at home. I still can't believe so much has changed in just 16 months... Is that crazy or what???