Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Rebecca leaving for Argentina Oct. 28, Chad eating ice cream for lunch

Oct 21, 2013

Mother’s note:  Clarification on Chad’s comment about Sam playing soccer:  The rest of the story – We are living in northern Minnesota and the big sport around here is hockey.  Sam is a soccer kid and doesn’t skate.  So the PE teacher decided to do a day of soccer.  Sam did all his fancy foot work and scored 3 points.  So the teacher decided it wasn’t fair and told the losing team that they could pick a player from the other team… they picked Sam and he scored 3 points again.  So the score was tied 3-3 and Sam was everyone’s hero.  He said that he should have had a penalty kick though because they tripped him a couple of times.  He likes playing soccer here.  He has no interest in hockey. 

Dear Family,
Hello from the South!  Thank you so much for all the letters, I enjoy reading each letter.  Also, thank you so much for the awesome package.  I think it was the July package you were asking me about, I finally got it!

I am learning a lot.  I`ve had a hankering for ice cream lately, so at lunch today I had two ice cream cones and something similar to a small Oreo blizzard.  On Mondays, we go to the center of Chillan for internet service and buy our foods for the week.  McDonald’s has been where we are going lately, and It was really fun to eat nothing but ice cream, and all for about $3.40 USD.  I really have gotten to like certain things about Chilean culture, especially the bread.  The most common, and overall the best bread, and cheapest as well, se llama pancito (it is called little bread).  They don’t make them by the loaf, but by individual little circles of bread.  Roughly, the surface area of a cream filled donut, but not quite as tall.  They are really good, and you can buy a kilogram of them for a couple of bucks.  The daily schedule in this mission is pretty cool.  Wake up at 7:30 and go to bed at 11:30.  There are 3 meals in Chile, desayuno (breakfast), almuerzo (lunch), and once (dinner).  Yeah, the Spanish word for eleven is also the name of a meal in Chile.  It lasts the whole evening, and it makes tracting a little harder, because everybody says they are really busy.  You ask them what they are doing, and they say tomando once (eating dinner).  We aren’t supposed to partake of once, unless with investigators or in a noche de hogar (Family Home Evening).  We have lunch every day of the month with members.  

The letter ``s`` is of little importance if it is the last letter of a word.  gracias is pronounced gracia.  People completely drop the ```s`` if it is the last letter.  oso would be pronounced oso, but mas o menos would be ma o meno.  It is fun. 

Oh, the grand solution to mean dogs is amazingly simple:  pretend to throw a rock.  Yeah, it really works.  It is a 2 step process, you reach down (hands must touch the ground, but grabbing a rock is not necessary, they will turn and run if you do this.  All stray dogs have been stoned before, and when they see someone reach for the ground, they retreat.  Just pretend to grab a rock, and if necessary pretend to throw a rock.  A veces, (sometimes) when in scary places, I grab real rocks, but I haven’t needed to throw any yet.  My dog dazer is either dysfunctional or I need a new battery. 

I really enjoy reading all the letters that have been sent.  Thank you so much for all your words of encouragement.  I am glad that cross country has been enjoyable for Valerie and Lauren.  Tell Sam nice job on the soccer game.  3 to 3, Sam wins!  Hey Sam, I played soccer today, and it was really fun.  We played a game where there is a goalie, and there are no teams.  Each person is their own team, and when they score a goal they are out.  Is kind of simplistic and I am sure you can think of a way to make it better, or a better game.  

I Love you all, more than the number of gallons of coca cola consumed at South America church functions!  :)x999999999999999999999
-Elder Chad Carl Withers

Dear Family,
I finally heard back from the mission office, and I am not leaving until the 28th (I will be traveling with the 4 other visa waiters from DC South).  So one more week in America!  But I have no idea what time my flight is or when I will be able to call......sorry for that.  How do you want to do the calling thing?  From past experiences with church travel, I have learned that I might not have much time to call.  In a perfect world you could all just take a day off of life and stay home all day until I call (not a bad idea :)  

Woooohh.  Now that we are past all of that.  How was everyone's week?!?

We traveled all the way to Burke again!  We picked up my passport from the mission office (I looked at it and my visa is stapled in there!) and then went over to the police station in Fairfax to get my fingerprints.  It was very similar to a DMV experience.... I'm sure you can use your imaginations (:  I had to get 2 copies, and it isn't something the mission office knew how to reimburse me for (as in the nice senior couples are still greenies) so there is a $15 dollar expense on my card.  I told them it wasn't a problem though, because it wasn't too expensive and they already seemed stressed.

Yesterday we had dinner with a family that was funny.  We walked in and were slobbered by their dog.  Dinner was "soup" that turned out to be heated water with some salt, broccoli, and egg noodles.  The rolls were hot dog buns with cold cheese melted on to them (and their family tradition is to smother jam all over this bun/cheese thing.....but we didn't dare try that), and dessert was a cake that had heart attack and diabetes written in the frosting.  And their kids were off the wall nuts.  It was a funny experience, and we just took it all in stride...but I realized how grateful I am for parents who taught me manners.  And a Mom who enjoys cooking real food, and that you taught us how to clean and do chores.  I have been spoiled with member visits out here in this wealthy part of America, it was probably good for me to have a this dinner...to bring me back to home base and get me ready for whatever goes down in Argentina. 

This last weekend was something called a Rummage Sale that all the locals rave about.  A women's society collects clothes all year long, has a huge sale, and donates all the money to the hospital.  It was a HUGE sale and everything was dirt cheap.  We packed a lunch and went during our one hour break on Saturday, and it was nuts.  My companion found some stuff, and the other Hermanas found a mother lode, and all I could seem to find were the cat sweaters and dresses with pearls sewn on them.  I was fine with that, and didn't want anything anyway because I still have to pack what I have and get it to Argentina.  But after they bought their stuff, the plastic bags turned out to be Costco garbage bags......and it literally looked like they were taking out the trash for this place.  I decided that that is probably what they were doing, only that they had to pay for the garbage first.  (: Ha just kidding, it really was for a good cause, and I was surprised they were able to find good stuff despite having to swim through piles of junk first.  (:   
There is a recent convert we work with who is this funny old man from Mexico.  He took us to his favorite restaurant called Pollo Loco and got us this huge tres leches birthday cake.  It wasn't anybody's birthday, but it was fun anyway! (:

We have been teaching kids a lot more lately (ages 10-14), because we were teaching their parents or older siblings first, and noticed that there are more members in the family so we are including the kids too!  And the kids are moving so much faster, are more teachable, and setting a cool example for their family.  These kids live in a rough neighborhood, many have sad family circumstances, and when you talk about gospel topics in super simple terms, they get it and say things like, "One miracle I noticed is that I got an A in math for the first time" or "One time I broke my mom's new TV and prayed that she wouldn't get mad."  These are real things that these kids have said, and it is so cool!  They are good kids, they know they are pretty poor, that their parents are illegal immigrants; they are learning English, and trying to help their parents keep it together....and its making them really mature.  They are growing up way faster than they probably should be, seeing and experiencing a lot of hard things, and they still can recognize miracles.  To me, that in and of itself is a miracle.

Thanks for all of your love and support, and funny stories about your adventures in Minnesota (and in Chile!).  

I love you all more than the number of emails missionaries send and receive each week around the world!
Hermana Withers


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