Sunday, March 20, 2011

March 14th

Okay, I was starting to get a little anxious about the lack of information about Austin but now that I know that everything is good and normal, and I atleast know some sort of info, things are good.
So I don´t know if you have already sent my birthday package but if you haven´t, can you toss some athletic/sweat pants in there, and some slippers? The temp is starting to slowly drop and seeing as none of the houses in the mission have central heating, it would be nice to have some warm stuff to get me through the colder nights.
So in good news, this week, it was like our sector completly changed. Everything is getting easier and we are having a much easier time with everything now. Also Maria got baptized which was really great. We also learned her life story which is probably one of the craziest things I have ever heard. I would like to thank you for not selling me off to a crazy spouse to take the dowry at the age of thirteen and I have great trust that you wont sell off any of my children while I am working to buy cigarettes and maté. If you did, I would have some serious problems. (Just to clarify that, her mom sold her to a crazy husband who tried to kill her, years later, her mom sold her children, and after that, she had to travel around Chile and Argentina to find the people who bought her children.) Apparently stuff like that was fairly common here in Chile 25 years ago because I have heard that it happened to someone else many years ago as well. I am just glad I wont ever have to worry about anything like that.
We also found a number of great investigators this week, all of whom have stories worth telling. Ana-Maria is a chilena who was living in Austria with her Austrian husband. They came to chile this past december to spend the holiday here with her family. During her vacation, her husband gets murdered and she decides to stay here in Chillán for awhile before going back to Vienna. She had been living in her house for 3 days when we found her.  Talk about being led by the spirit.
There was also a man named Jaime who we met who was in a car accident ten years ago where he had a lot of damage done to his face by a pole that hit him. His face was reconstructed fairly well but was paralyzed on the right side. He used to be an architect in Concepción and was working in the same building as the mission office and he was really happy to see missionaries again because it reminded him of working there.
So, it has started to rain again which means that summer is ending and that winter will be hitting us pretty hard here soon (well there is fall between summer and winter but I guess that is an unimportant detail). We are getting ready for a very wet winter but at least I am not on the coast where the missionaries get drenched everyday.
So yes, we have heard a lot about the earthquake in Japan and the tsunamis and the nuclear powerplant explosion as the cherry on top of the cake. The Chileans say that what happened in Japan is a lot worse than the earthquake they had here. They are very greatful that things happened the way they did last year because the devestation in Japan is a lot worse. Talking about the tsunami, all of the sectors of the Chile Concepción mission that were hit by tsunamis in last years earthquake were all hit again by the tsunamis coming from japan. Some people just got back into their houses which just got destroyed again. Some missionaries had to be evacuated but they had a very long time to do so (like 13 hours) so they didn´t have any serious problems. I am only like 1.5 hours from the coast so that have to be a nasty tsunami for anything to happen to me.
So I hope everything is going well and that grandma and grandpa Brew stay in Lousiana this time and that we dont have to grandpa´s crazy WW3 food storage ever again. Things are going well and I am really happy with everything right now.
Love ,
Elder McNeil

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