One of those was this post, part of which was about how messy my kid's rooms get. He read the story, and this was his reply: (you can really see the Chilean Spanish influence in his grammar, I think)
Well, mom, if little messes like that get to you, you'd go crazy here. Imagine four-20-year old guys in the littlest house ever, a house that has had guys like us in it for years now, and everyone leaving stuff when they leave. We had mold on our roof, and a walled-in back yard filled with junk, dirt, and weeds. Walls that I thought were brown, and a brown dirt floor. I could go on for hours.
But you will be proud of me. There has been a huge effort the last 10-12 weeks to clean the place up a bit. Now it actually looks like house. There is a lot less mold on our roof than there was. We actually have a back yard, with a club house that has fully working electrical. The walls are blue and white. The floor is still brown because the tiles are that color, but they are dang clean and free of scratch marks. What was the worst house in the mission is now one of the best. We just have to keep it that way, but it is a bit harder here than in the states. First off, there is no central air conditioning, which would keep the dust down a lot. Houses here aren’t built airtight, so dust can come in from the streets at any time. And we are lazy and want to sleep. But we are doing pretty well.
As for the work this week, it has been good and bad. First we had a day that we couldn’t teach anyone because no one was home, and then we had a day that the President told us that he wanted us to be in the house at 6, hours early, and it is hard to do much before 6. We also had a meeting, so that day was lost. The next day I was sick and couldn’t talk, so we lost another day. And Sunday we had a lot of meetings, because they changed the branch president, and missionaries have a lot to do with the work in branches. But right before the meetings the leaders were asking me how I was finding so many people in such a hard sector. So apparently I’m doing pretty well the rest of the time, even though my companion can’t speak Spanish or teach, and he is always ready to leave the house hours late.
On the up side, we have 4 people that are going to be baptized. We have been working a lot with old inactive families that include non-members. It is going really well. Before, the branch had about 20 people every week but now we have had an average of 60 in the last few weeks. It helps a lot that we have confidence with the members and we work a lot and have fun doing it.
But I really should get better at writing in my journal. A lot of funny stuff happens and a lot of spiritual experiences, but I never have time to write them down. The biggest experience I’ve had here is probably the difference I have seen in myself, all that I have learned, all that I have experienced, and the truth is, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Any person that gives up the mission for any reason is missing out on the greatest and most important time of his life.
Oh, and before I finish this letter, I have a few favors. Can you send me the recipe to make Apple Cobbler, and a recipe to make brownies from scratch, if you can. The members are always begging me to teach them how to make something from the states. Also they are begging me to start a class and teach them English, but I need to talk to the president about that one.
And don’t worry, I’ll send pictures one day. I have like 2000 waiting.
So, all you good cooks out there, I need a brownie recipe. . . since the only delicious brownies I've ever made were out of the box!
(And you can be sure that I will post some pictures when I get them!)