Monday, April 5, 2010

Letter #11 - April 5, 2010

Hey,

Well, Monday is our P Day so here is my letter of the last couple days and answers to questions.

Thursday,
We had a zone conference which consisted of 12 companionships I think. Within our zone we have 3 districts and then the smaller group is companionships. We set our goals (primarily baptism) for the three areas, which I'm not huge for. I don't like how focused everyone here is on baptisms because I think it leads to baptizing people who aren't ready but it's starting to look like that's the only way to keep some people motivated. We had a lesson in the afternoon and I got to talk for the first time. My companion handed the conversation over to me and I talked on faith. I was kind of nervous actually talking for the first time but it was alright. After that we dropped off our laundry at some house and while we were waiting for our bus back I saw the stake president, although I didn't know it until after. It turns out it was his house we dropped our laundry off at. Also I saw the beach on our bus ride back and managed to get a really blurry picture. It was dark so there wasn't anybody on it but yeah, the ocean boarders my area.

Friday,
We ended up having a really long lesson with this girl who's mother just got baptized. That's pretty much it for the morning and then after that we went over to this house where this guy had a word of wisdom problem and we were just gonna teach him a short lesson. We played soccer in this field out back for a little with him and a bunch of kids just kind of for fun and then went inside. This guy was tough. He asked why the sacramental prayers in the scriptures say 'wine' but we don't drink now, why Brigham Young had all these wives, if our prophet today was the same as in the prophets of old and could part the red sea like Moses and all these super tough questions. On top of that his wife is some freaky religion where they sacrifice chickens that I don't know much about or remember the name of but my companion said if you see one just run. He was super tough, critical and asked some ridiculous questions. When we were walking to leave after this crunching long visit, he left with us out to the gate. Turns out it was the Bishop all along. He didn't have a Word of Wisom problem or anything and he and my companion played this massive joke on me. It blew my mind, it still blows my mind. Crazy. Apparently I 'passed the test' though so that was good.

Saturday,
We spent a good portion of the time at Conference. Saturday Conference was SO GOOD, I can't believe that if I was at home I probably wouldn't have watched it. But wow, the talks were phenomenal. We also had our first lunch with a member, which was some noodle, potato and beef casserole stuff with cheese through it. It was pretty good and my companion said that it was below average for this area but a lot better than what you get it some of the northern areas out in the country. Also we went and visited a family that had lived in Canada for a bit. Turns out they lived in Toronto for a little and joined the church there but went inactive when they came back here. We had a short visit and hopefully me being Canadian can get them to come back.

Sunday,
We had Conference again, which was still really good but I didn't honestly think it was as good as Saturday. Also my companion made pancakes in between the sessions. I'm a little too observant I think and earlier I had noticed that there was a dead cockroach in our blender which I'm not totally convinced my companion saw. Hmmm... I might have eaten cockroach pancakes. I'm about 50-50 on that one but I try not to think about it. Also when we got back from the second session of conference there was a sign on the door that the other people needed light in the two houses behind us. Apparently there's one plugin in our house that if we unplug, our house as well as two others doesn't get any electricity. Because our Church is the Stake Centre we got to watch it in English so there was some people over between the sessions.

Other random stuff:

As compared to Argentina (well, Buenos Aires), Montevideo is pretty much the same. There seems to be a lot more trees though so overall I think it looks a little better.

My companion shortly after meeting me said something along the lines of 'you're going straight to the office dude'. I was ecstatic because when we went to the offices earlier I was like 'I could work here'. Don't get me wrong, I love the field. But, I wouldn't be sad if I got to live in the nice offices and work in an air conditioned office either. However, apparently you're stuck there for 6 months and it's a way to get off the track of making it to AP (Assistant to the President), which doesn't seem too bad either.

It's really funny something that people say here. When people want to say wow they say 'Fa!' which sounds like the first half of a huge F Bomb. It's totally normal though, like everyone uses it. I find it ridiculously funny.

Oh, the group that my companion was with at the CCM started Corbata Fea. It was a little different though. They had done a tie swap mid-stay just for fun. However, some people put in really crappy ties while others did really nice ones. Since some people got screwed over on their last day they did another tie swap where everyone put in their ugliest tie into a backpack and picked a different one out to use in the field. My companion has been in the field for 8 months and was in the CCM for the 2 before that. It was a little different but yeah, they started it.

Our house, it's really not that bad. I've been cleaning it a little although I don't think I'm gonna bother tackling the kitchen or the bathroom. We're not home very much anyways so it's okay. My main problem isn't the size of my house, or even that it doesn't function that well. My main problem is the smell of the kitchen (not strong, but not pretty flowers) and the filth that's like caked onto every wall, floor and roof. You know how on the Swiffer commercials how they run it over and you see a noticeable difference in floors? I'm sure that's how it would be with pretty much every surface in the house. My bed is clean, my canned and prepacked food is clean (I hope) and my desk is tidy so I get along. Also we do have a new house that we can move into as soon as the Elders living in it find a place in their area to stay. Something my companion told me that's kinda sad is that houses are nice when missionaries are in them and then when they leave or get evicted they're crappy dumps. Like wow, talk about setting a good image for the church and raising the bar. Pigs. Anyways, it's not that bad but yeah.

My address for a little while is:

Elder Fikus
AV. Italia 2364, Piso 4
Montevideo,
Uruguay C.P. 11.600

The offices are getting moved in like a month so my address will be changing shortly. If there's anything you want to send me you could probably send it within the next couple weeks to that address and I should still get it.

Answers to your questions:

P Day is Monday and I can only write on it. We use internet cafes. Elder White and I are still getting along. He hasn't found his wallet yet. My companion taught me how to use the toilet and it's not as confusing as it initially looks, maybe I'll send a picture next week. We get 2600 pesos, so it is 130 bucks. Everything here is really cheap though. It seems like everything costs half as much as it would in Canada, if you came here and converted all your money you could live for like half the cost. However, we only get like 4 bucks a day so it doesn't leave much room for buying whatever you want. However, if I did want to spend personal money it definitely wouldn't break me to live a little nicer since stuff is so cheap after converting. We have taught some people, and met quite a few members. I haven't really seen any American stores but you can still buy brand name stuff like expensive sunglasses and Nike stuff. The weather is still hot during the day but cooling at night. I try to be careful about what I eat and avoid buying food that I need to clean. I try not to use our dishes in the house either because I don't trust our kitchen. Right now we have this massive bag of bulk frosted flakes, I got this big (resealable) yogurt drink and bread in the fridge. I buy sandwiches and stuff at places. The water is safe to drink for locals since they're used to it but I'm supposed to buy water. It's reimbursable though for me because I don't have one of those fancy filtering water bottles. I've been buying water.

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