Thursday, December 23, 2010

Letter #48 - December 20, 2010

Hey mom,

Okay, I'll start out by telling you about my week,


Today after the cyber we went to the zoo that's here in Salto. Apparently it's pretty common for these smallish cities to all have their own zoos. It's also free to get into, which I think is amazing. Anyways, so we went there, even though some people had told us that it was closed on Monday, and some people told us it was open. Turns out, it was closed. That kinda sucked because there's really no reason that it needed to be closed, but for some reason, even after talking to the people working, they simply would not let us in or their boss would get angry at them. That kinda sucked, so we went to the graveyard that was not that far off. It was really, really awesome. Okay so in this graveyard, there's basically like huge tombs from hundreds of years back, and people like keep the ashes of people in these tombs according to what family they're related. So there's like these monstrous huge statues with a little gate that goes underneath the tomb and all the ashes are kept inside. I actually ended up going in one and taking a video. It was pretty sick. After PDay we had a lesson with this one couple, who are absolutely amazing. They both listen really intently and I think we can make a lot of progress with them. Their names are Alejandro and Daniela, and they have 3 kids. It would be so awesome to get another family in our ward.


Today we had our District Meeting, and I got another package! =). This one included a stocking, a bunch of wrapped presents from all of you in the family, as well as one that I am to open on Christmas Eve. The customs form mentioned what that one was, and I seem to think I should be able to guess what that was, but I just can't think of it haha. When I got it, I instantly felt really bad, as I REALLY hope you didn't send the contents of that package again. Based on what you said in your last email, I don't think that you did. Anyways, so I got that package, which was pretty exciting. I'm not going to open any of them until the day that I'm supposed to. I'm even going to put my stocking out the night before haha. So again, thanks for that one =). Today we had a couple of decent lessons as well. We went to this one house and started teaching this lady. Turns out she was just a relative of the person whose house we were in, and that she lived way out in the farmland where there aren't missionaries. However, she said that she liked to read and she seemed interested so I gave her a Book of Mormon. Who knows what'll come out of it. Today we also were walking in the street and I decided to talk to this guy who turns out was an inactive. His problem was that he saw someone do something in the church which he figured was out of place. Turns out this leader was just enforcing the rules, but this outsider got offended and stopped going to church. He basically had 'the world revolves around me' attitude, as I think most do that stop going to church. Anyways, while talking he mentioned that our job was to find 'lost souls'. At the end of the conversation, I slid in that he was a 'lost soul', which made my comp super angry. He basically ended the conversation right there and started walking away. He figured I was totally mistaken, so I asked him who Jesus was referring to when he talked about the one lost sheep who wandered off from the other 99. That shut him up, he realized he was being childish, and then forgave me haha.


Last night, my comp and I had a pretty interesting discussion. I don't remember a lot of the things we said, but I basically told him that it's impossible to know everything, but we know enough and we can actually know it. Today we had a lot of lessons scheduled (8), although of those, only four of them were home. I was expecting to have a super busy day but it wasn't exactly like that the whole time. We had a member of the ward come out to work with us today too, it was just a kid who's going to be serving a mission soon, so that was cool. Today we also had a couple people that we talked to, who were really instigating and annoying. I don't think I want to be too specific so I don't offend anyone, but we found this one guy who attacked a certain belief of ours, one that I had never ever heard before in my mission. I'm surprised that someone would use it actually. It was actually something that 'The Day of Defense' had, so I vaguely remember the answer, but the real difference was to do with the Godhead. (We baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. In some instances of the Bible they only baptize in the name of Jesus. He figured the Three were one, and therefore we were mistaken). We also talked with someone of another faith who used all these super weak attacks against our church when they told us they weren't interested. Like okay, they weren't trying to fight, but they said a lot of instigating things that really were asking for me to just annihilate them, because the few weak, instigating things they said to criticize us are obviously and blatantly taken out of context. I kind of gave the first guy a bit of a run, but by the second person I was just so fed up with people's ignorance and BS. It was just rough running into two people like that, who rather than just let it be, want to start a 'discussion' with no end. Ugh.


Today our Stake Patriarch had asked us if we could go over and do service at his house. He said that he was going to have us cut this lawn or something. Anyways, we get there, and he pretty much doesn't have anything for us to do. He had us like sweep some leaves off this patch of gravel and little sidewalk that he had, and we gathered them. We did it pretty slow, so between the two of us, we somehow managed to stay somewhat working for like half an hour. After that, he just talked to us a little bit which bored my comp so he said we had some people to go by and we left. Before we left, he even said something like how he had to find another small service project so that we could come over and spend the afternoon chatting. Um, you don't get it... we're missionaries. I did not leave everything behind just to go talk to people in another country. I don't think anyone really understands the mission haha. Anyways, tonight we were also supposed to have our ward meeting, which would have happened had the guy shown up at the church. We waited, the sister missionaries tried calling him with their cell phone, and we waited some more. Anyways, eventually someone else showed up who had the key for some reason and we had our English class. We had this girl in our ward show up (who came a couple weeks ago) with her two inactive brothers and a friend of theirs. I thought that was really cool. It was a decent class too I guess, as we had a couple people there to keep it interesting.


Today we had to get a key to the church for when we played soccer later today. I really, really, really do not understand why we don't have keys to the church as missionaries. Sure I can see the leaders' hesitant nature with the thought of missionaries just being able to do whatever we want with the church, but we have English classes, soccer, baptismal interviews, lessons, etc. at the church and it just causes us a lot of problems. Whatever. Anyways, we went to the church to get the key rather than the home of some member because there was some wedding reception going on there for a couple who was getting married Saturday (the next day) in the temple for the ward temple trip. I don't know how wedding receptions are supposed to be, but this one seemed kinda weird. They had a couple tables around the outside with some chairs around them with little appetizers and orange juice. There was also South American music playing (Shakira, cumbia, etc.) and kinda the dance floor in the middle. Well it just seemed kinda weird because for starters it wasn't that huge, it was Friday at noon, and all the lights were on in the gym. It probably would have been better had it been in the night and they had some lights off so that it wasn't broad daylight in the gym, more people would have shown up, and more people would have danced. Whatever, it was just weird. Some people kept inviting us to go in and sit down for 5 minutes, but I felt uncomfortable just looking in the gym haha. We managed to do what we needed to do there, and we had a pretty regular day until we had soccer in the night. The same inactive guys and their friend came to it, so that was pretty good. Also the kids who seem to be poorer sports didn't come, so that was also good haha.


Today we had passed by a member's house in the morning who lives like a block away to ask him if he could come with us to a lesson in the afternoon, which he agreed to. He asked if it was very far (he can't walk well, he has a limp), and we told him it was just a block down and one over (about two lengths walking distance), so he figured that was good and we'd go by to get him before the lesson. Anyways, we were eating lunch in the house when he called us. He told us that he couldn't come with us to the lesson because the sun was too strong outside. ... Yeah... Like okay, it's super hot outside and the sun is really strong here. However, it was no hotter than it gets any other day, and it was only like a block away. I figured he would have just said no if it were a problem. Whatever. Today I also finally got the opportunity to give the Book of Mormon to Daniel and Norma that I had for them. I had printed it off and glued in your testimony (and included mine) to give to them, but it had just taken us forever to find them. They were really appreciative, especially her, so that was a good feeling. I really enjoyed giving them that Book that I had.


Today I was expecting to have a good day at church. The two families that I mentioned said that they would both come, on the condition that it didn't rain (they have little kids) which I figured was fair since if it rains, most members don't even come. So anyways, I woke up this morning at 6:30 to the smell of recently fallen rain from outside, which I figured was great since it got it all out of the way. Well, it was about an hour before church was about to start, and it started to POUR. Like it was just crazily pouring down all this rain. I was so upset, as we probably would really have had the two families in church. Our church attendance was also really, really bad. Okay, there's normally like 50-80 people there, but today when church started there was 14, and four of those were missionaries. By the time sacrament meeting rolled around (the last meeting), there was somewhere between 20 and 30 people. It was super sad, the lowest church attendance that I'd seen here in Uruguay. Also, it stayed consistently raining through the whole day, not quite enough that an umbrella was totally necessary, but if you didn't use one, over time you got soaked. So, it was kinda sucky but it was a good day overall.


Well today has been probably the most interesting of all. I don't know if I mentioned before, but at one point a few months ago I had to go sign some papers and I met up with all of my district from the CCM. Anyways, apparently some law was passed and I had to go do it again. So, last night my comp and I left at like midnight, and we arrived in Montevideo at like 6:00 in the morning. We ended up going to Tienda Inglesa, and I bought a bunch of things haha. I bought a new belt (the paint on mine is coming off and I don't think it looks that good), a tie (I had to buy at least one at $4), jalapeño potato chips, ketchup chips (to share with my American friends), a Calander (souvenier) of Uruguay, axe stick deoderant, microwave popcorn, a $2 kitkat, ranch dressing, maple syrup and breakfast. So, that ended up costing me like $50 haha. I stinking love that store. After that we went to downtown Montevideo (just me and my comp still), he bought a book at a bookstore, and then we went to a cyber for a tiny bit, which is when I emailed my siblings, and then we went to eat. We knew there was a Chinese food buffet which we tried to find for a while, but by the time that we did it was too late. It was like $12.50 for a plate, and it looked super, super good. I'm definitely going there at somepoint in the mission. We ended up going to Subway for lunch, which was also really good. They actually had a Teriaki chicken sub, which was really good. I don't think it was quite North American standard, and I only got one cookie with my combo, but it was still worth it (you don't know what you got till it's gone haha). After that we met up with everyone, I saw most people from my district, and we took this huge bus with a ton of other missionaries to get our papers signed and fingerprinted. We took the bus back to the terminal, I'm using a super expensive cyber here to email you, and I'll probably take the 6 hour bus trip back to Salto in a couple hours, although I don't know where my comp is (he went off with another missionary when I went to sign my papers). We'll be heading back in a little bit. So, that's where I'm at today.

To your email,

The first package did not have polysporin eye drops or any eye drops, only contact solution. Also, some people send stuff in regular boxes (rather than flat rate) and they seem to make it, so if you can do that from Canada, that's also a possible idea. The thing is though, padded envelops almost always get opened (from Canada or the States), so they should generally be avoided if they have something nice like a tie.

Okay, my comp has now found me and I guess we're in a rush but it's kinda important that we catch our bus (if necessary) so I really gotta go. But, I'll be talking to all of you in like 5 days!

Thanks for the emails and updates, talk to you in a couple days!

Love ya,

Elder Fikus

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