Well when the stake president said I would go through hard things he was right! The reason why the title to this email is "life as a dog" is because I have fleas! ya.... seriously I have fleas and they are so bad. The only thing that I can compare them to is like a mosquito bite but worse and they spread becasue the fleas move around. Its because in Chile for every person that lives here there are two dogs. Everywhere we go we see dogs and its way hard to talk becasue when one barks the whole world goes nuts. But I absolutely love it. My comp is great! his name is elder ARTIGA and he is from the beautiful contry of Guatemala Yep! my prayers have been answered and I seem to have the best comp ever. It took a couple days and a ton of hand gestures but as of right now I can say about anything I want. People laugh when I read and I laugh too because the pronunciation is way hard when you read because in your mind you just assume english and it take awhile for you to realize that it needs to be spanish!
Oh ya my area! I live in the town of Quilpué! But if you try to google it I live in the mountains and not really in the city. I hardly come to the city except for district meetings and p day. The actual area is called Pasa Hondo. like I said before beer, fleas and a whole lot of crazy people and dirt roads. But I love it so much.my comp is funny. He used to be a salsa dancer and every morning he does yoga while i do push ups and sit ups. But the funniest thing is that he loves Christmas music and we listen to it evey morning. I already know the songs by heart but he loves it and so do I. He is such a great example and we already have had lots of stories. Like the fleas for example. It's so bad we bought a dog collar that is anti flea and we wear it around our necks during bedtime. One time all I had on was shorts and he vaccumed my body for me to try to suck the fleas away. It was nuts but I think it worked. Another instance is we got chased by dogs and we gave up some sandwhiches to save our lives. Living here in Pasa Hondo has been a seriously humbling experience for me and I appreciate it. People live off nothing. What is weird is that dogs are expensive and this one family has eight dogs, five cats a rat and a turtle and a buch of chickens. I love this family especially becasue we are trying to get them to come to church. They where baptised but dont come anymore....obviously. But they live in such poor conditions...I feel so bad everytime I walk into there home...if you can call it a home. Mom, its about the size of our kitchen and the walls are straight concrete. They have one window and it is coverd by cardboard and they have these two small beds squished together for the three of them. They have one dresser and a small stove and a table and a mini fridge. Dad i think you would be friends with the father because their prized possision is this lab puppy they just bought. I told them we trained labs and they freaked and told me how smart it was and bragged about how much it cost. but I dont understand why they bought it when they go to bed freezing everynight and they dont have alot of food. But never the less I love them with all my heart. Not everybody is that poor but the culture shock is real. My shack is pretty ghetto as well you have to turn the shack on and off about five times to start the heater and turn the shower off and flush the toilet to get hot water. It works I promise. I'm almost positive that we have black mold on the ceiling but what does not kill you makes you stronger right? Never the less I have never been this happy, NEVER.
By the way I got my first baptism date! It was super hard and the investigator whose name is Elias by the way is super set in his ways especially with smoking but he has been taking lessons for three months most with my comp and the other elder but I helped him a lot with not smoking he said. He was talking about how he could not help smoking because he felt like God was not with him so I took out a picture of christ and wrote on the back, "God loves you and you are his son." I told him to always keep it on him and God will help him stop smoking. He has had it on him ever since and he is having the official interview today with the district leader and I will baptise him on the Fourth of May! Please pray that he continues to follow the iron rod. I hope so because it was the highlight of my week. Don't get me wrong I have had drunks yell at me and this dude swear and I had no idea what it was but it made my compainion cringe and I could not feel the spirit.
A ton of our work is with inactive members. One is named Osvaldo and he has been excommunicated. But with a coulple lessons we have a interview with the bishop because he wants to rejoin the church because he says he misses feeling the love of god in his life. Its so great to love these people and nothing will stop me from helping them come closer to Christ, not fleas, my lack of Spanish, not my leg, nothing. they are all children of God and I will help them. I love them so much. We are already known as the crying missionarys because me and my comp cry so much haha. But tears of happiness, and it works.
I have some things to say to the people in the state. First to my awesome cousin Paul, thank you for your words of advice. You probably wont remember them but you changed my life brother. Thank you. To my grandparents, thanks for your examples. I love you all.
Oh one last thing that I thought was funny. When you get called to your first transfer the president of the misssion calls you up and you stand by him and then he calls off to your trainer and area! Not gonna lie I felt like I was in Hogwarts with the sorting hat. I was thinking not a white guy, not a white guy haha. Oh man the simple things in life. My comp is good at pics and I hope I can get some out to you on the way. I love you all!