Wow I feel like I haven't written in forever and that so much has happened! Probably because so much has happened!
Last week was one una semana bien Chileana. The whole Chilean experience earthquake and all. I don't even remember what day it was because they all blur together but I think it was Wednesday night there was a huge earthquake in La Serena. It was 8 at night here and Hna. E and I were at a members house with the other Costanera Hnas. to meet up with the bishopric to go on visits. We asked Hermano Patricio how he was a he told us that he wasn't doing to well because there were earthquakes in Santiago and La Serena. We ran to the family room and started watching the news. Hna. E was really nervous because she didn't have communication with her family or anything. We had an appt. at 8 so we ended up leaving his house and then the general tsunami alarms started going off so we ran back and got the other Hnas. and started running for the hills. Our sector is on the beach, which usually is a blessing but when your apartment is the closest building to the beach and there's a tsunami threat it's not the greatest feeling. We ended up running into a member and we got in their van and drove to the cerro. Eventually we ended up heading to a chapel for a differnt ward because all the missionaries needed to be in the same location. We were there till 12 and then they lifted the tsunami threats. I was so glad that nothing happened but I know that misión viña, has a lot to clean up. There have been a few temblores, replicas here but really small. But that was a crazy experience.
On Friday and Saturday were fiestas patrias here! Such a fun experience! On Friday Hna. E and I made empanadas in our pension which was fun and then she tried to teach me how to dance Cuecha, but although I'm improving in a lot of aspects of my life here in the mission, dancing sadly isn't one. Friday night there was a ward party, with Barrio Pukarani too. Everyone danced and we had some traditional Chilean food. Hna. Leslie did my hair as usual.
Saturday we just visited members. President gave us permission to spend Friday and Saturday with the members because you can't find anyone during fiestas patrias. We ended up watching the big military parade with some members and wow...I have never eaten more in my life. It was like thanksgiving. Every house was just more and more food.
The work last week was a little difficult with all the activities and earthquakes and stuff but the biggest miracle I saw was that less active, José prayed!!!!! That is a big deal! He has now been at church for 6 weeks in a row, and went from not believing in God to praying! So happy for his progress.
Agostina, sadly has decided to move to Pose Asurmonte with her boyfriend. But she has intentions to read and pray, but when I talked to her last she hadn't been...but we got their direction and the missionaries are going to visit them there. If her boyfriend will start listening to the discussions that would be awesome. But she should be moving back in a month or so, so in the meantime I will just keep praying for her.
This past Monday I went to Lago Chungara!!!! It is one of the highest lakes in the world at 4500 m. It is very beautiful and there is a big volcano in the background. We went with 6 other hnas in the van of a member in a nearby ward. We left at 8 in the morning and got there at 2. The trip started off great and Brother Gonzalez had this traditional Chilean flute music playing and we were driving through the desert and I felt like I was in a movie. About 2 hours into the drive, with what was supposed to be 1 hour left, his car broke. Also because of the altitude the car just wasn't working as well. There was a big hill that we needed to get up and the car was too heavy so we all got out and he started going up the hill. We started walking but because of the altitude everyone started getting light headed. One of the Hnas. ended up passing out so we all got back in the car and just waited for the engine to cool down. To make a long story short, 4 hours later and after lots of black smoke we made it to Lago Chungara. It was gorgeous! There were tons of alpaca and this other animal that is native to the North of Chile. It's like an alpaca but smaller. There were tons of birds including flamingos! It wasn't that cold but with the wind it was a little chilly. We all started taking pictures and then another Hna. passed out. Everyone had warned us to be really careful and walk super slow but being that I am a teenager I tend to think I am invincible but really the altitude is insane. You can definitely feel a difference, but I never felt sick or anything so that was good. The drive down was much better but my body ached from the fast change in pressure. We passed Putre and a bunch of other mountain cities which was fun to see. Also there are two valleys here in Arica. Azapa and Lluta, and they are super green and filled with tons of fields. We drove through both and it was amazing to see the valleys with the desert hills as contrast. Such a fun experience.
This week we visited Hna. María a few times and as usual there are always stories. I was on an intercambio with Hna. Ibarra and we went to visit her. We walked in and she just kept telling us that she was dying and had 4 days to live. We quickly started teaching because obviously she wasn't doing to well and during my prayer I prayed for her and her daughter Fabiola, who was also in the room. María started talking, and kept saying, and Nicolas (so I said and Nicolas), and Gustavo (and Gustavo) and she went on to list her genealogy and I had to pray for them all. I was busting up. But hey at least she knows her family history. Hna. E and I went to visit her later in the week and she fell asleep in the middle of the lesson but we just ended up talking to her daughter Fabiola. That is proabbly the biggest miracle of the week. Like José I have been watching Fabiolas heart change! She started talking and told us that she felt different when we were in her house. We started teaching her about the spirit and she just won't accept that she is feeling the spirit. But slowly her heart is changing and it would be incredible if she and her fmaily would start listening! The spirit was so strong as we bore testimony and it was an incredible experience.
We also are making really great progress with an investigator Claudia and her husband Patricio. When I got here they wouldn't let us in and now we have plans today to visit some hummingbird sanctuary with her. We ended up visiting with her and her husband for a long time the other day and we also have an FHE planned with them this week. Claudia's best friend is a member of our ward. All they need is time. I don't doubt that they soon will accept the gospel.
Hna. María Eugenia had her birthday this week. She is like our mamita here in our sector so she invited us to her birthday party Friday night. We had an Argentine dish, carne a la masa which was really interesting. It was fun to converse will all their neighbors and was a good missionary opportunity.
Saturday morning we helped with a service project in the stake center. A preschool from our sector used the chapel for their folklore dance activity. We went early with the stake president and set up chairs and then watched the performance and after had a table with pass along cards, Book of Mormons, The Living Christ, stuff like that set up. We got some good contacts and hopefully will see results from that opportunity!
A youth from the sector of the other Costanera Hnas. was baptized this week! Her name is Diolett and I actually taught her the first discussion during an intercambio so it has been neat to watch her change and progress in the gosepl. I finally played the piano at her baptism. I have missed the piano so much so that was a good opportunity.
I don't have much else to say. I'm so sorry this email was so long but a ton has happened recently! I hope you all have the greatest week! I can't believe I am in the last week of my training, and this is my last week with Hna. E. I'm sad shes got to go but also excited to find out where I will be serving next and who with. (also heads up, if I do end up having to go to a different sector there is a chance I will spend my pday in a bus and won't be able to write next week. So if I don't write I'm still alive, just traveling).