Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mollie #22 in Angol, Chile - Being Watched, Kittens, Angol(a), Solo in the Plaza

                                                  March 25, 2013

Hey all,

    Today is officially a month on the mission. It was the longest and shortest month that I have ever had.

     One thing I haven´t told you is how I stand out here compared to everyone. Blondish hair and white-white skin really stands out here. It is not a bad thing. It is just a fact. People watch me wherever I go, and whatever I am doing, and it is not at all subtle. It is just part of the culture. 
     It is a good thing for the mission. Wherever we go, I am noticed, and it is easier to approach people who are already looking or even staring at you. 
    Also, because I am from a different country, people are more willing to excuse my mistakes and listen with their hearts. This kindness helps me try harder to learn Spanish. In church and around members, I am also watched. It has made me more aware of my actions. Everything I do reflects back on the church and the United States.

    My companion is a lot like Michele. She often reminds me of you, Mimi. She is a boy´s girl - if you know what I mean. She grew up with three older brothers and no sisters. She is more comfortable around boys. For example, on P-day we always hang out and catch a meal with the Elders. They almost always pay and are more than happy to do so. Really, I tried to tell them not to pay, but they insisted. My companion has a way where the boys just want to do for us. They are also always giving us chocolates and things. Only us and not the other sisters. It is just a talent she has.

Brother and Sister Missionaries in Angol. (Click to Enlarge)

Elliot is a recent convert. He left to some sort of private school that day. We cooked and gave a last lesson at the church. He won´t be able to attend church where he is going, but I think he will go once he gets back. His mom is also a member.

       My companion is also organized, but also disorganized in some ways, like Mich.

     She helps me do everything - like how to use the shower, etc. If she gets discouraged or frustrated, it lasts only a few seconds. She is a rebound happy person, like Mich. Never lets anything get to her too much or too long. We really work well together.

My companion and Me

   Today, we talked for a long time with a ten year old boy about rocks and things he loves. He has a collection of genuine fossils of butterflies and other things. His parents are inactive members but would like him to go to church. I kept looking for a natural way to link what he loves to do and collect with talking about going to church.

   Currently, my creative use of the Spanish language just isn´t cutting it. How do you help a ten year old feel a love for the gospel? His eighteen year old brother is baptized but also inactive.  He loves his home, family, and country with all of his heart. It shines through in his countenance and enthusiasm when we talk about any of those topics. It is rather endearing.

   We helped three people come to church Sunday. One was a family and the other was one of our Georges. Yes, we have several Georges.  We do a lot of teaching to investigators and new converts.

    In between appointments the other day, we ran across a litter of run away kittens. They were scampering down the road. Six of them with big, blue eyes. One black, two grays, two brown striped, one spotted. After collecting/capturing them all from the heels and laces of the passersby, we went on the hunt for the owners. We approach the doors and holler "-ALO!" (remember gates and fences everywhere). We found the mama cat four houses down calling for them, but the owners weren't home. We trapped them under a basket as the mama cat watched. They cried pitifully as we walked away, but what could we do? We checked on them later the next day, and they were gone.

From a roof balcony. Notice the fence and gate! They are everywhere. (Click to Enlarge)
     The name of the city, Angol, comes from the name of the language of the original indigenous people. This city is 500+ years old according to the people here. 
     Today, I was reading in Mormon Chapter 2. There is a city there named Angola. It is just a fun fact, but I would like to believe it is more than a coincidence. 
    It has made me wonder if Sara has run across anything similar. My companion is from Guatemala. She says that many of the names of the cities and people of the Book of Mormon are similar or identical to the names in her home area. Her grandmother is Mayan and was the first convert in her family.

Beautiful Angol - It's very green here with blue skies. (Click to Enlarge)
     I sang "How Great Thou Art" in the plaza. In reality, it wasn´t my best performance. My only solo ever was in front of the ward at the beginning of the month.
     Anyway, there was a group of singers in the plaza - Pentecostals. They had a piano, a sax, a guitar, an accordion, and singers. They had a fun, pop music act of gospel songs. We were sitting on the bench with the other two hermanas. It was one of those situations where we happened to run into each other. 
     Hermana Calcina said that I should sing- kind of jokingly, as to not pressure me. Then my companion said that she would buy me an ice cream. I decided I'd sing, if I had music.
     Hermana Calcina helped me explain what I wanted and who we were. The Pentecostal group was total okay with it. I sang "How Great Thou Art" in front of about a hundred people at the plaza. That was the only song the piano player knew from the hymn book. They read by chords, since it was a jazz group. The song was quite different, but the real problem was the key was much lower. A default I keep finding in Chile is all of the people here sing very low. 
     Still, people stopped and sat and listened. Afterward, they came up and congratulated me. I answered their questions, and all of us had several people to talk to. It was an easy way to get contacts for the day and less nerve racking.

      I am starting English lessons this week at the church. I need/want to connect to the members better. Teaching is a good way for me to do that. Can you send me some activities? Also, could you send me my bread and cookie recipes from Pinterest? Thanks!

                                                                        Lots of Love,

                                                                     Hermana Bowman