Monday, January 27, 2014

Dias De Los Muertos

Oh those pictures look awesome! (We sent pictures from Aspen's birthday party and the hunting trip)I was able to find some raid and have not seen too many cockroaches since I sprayed all the cracks in the entire apartment. It smelled terrible! But no more roaches:) >My shoes and clothes are holding up well; although finding modest skirts and dresses when I need new stuff is going to be difficult, so if you find any while out garaging hang on to them for me.
This week began the roller coaster that I suppose will last for the entire mission. We had some really high and exciting times and then some not so awesome moments. We call the not so awesome time "dias de los muertos" because when our investigators do not want to hear any more or are not interested in progressing they "die". It's pretty funny because if we sense that they are separating themselves a bit from the church or are not completing their commitments , we say (privately of course) that we need to visit them once more to see if we have to kill them, meaning that we are moving on. So, this week we had two dias de los muertos. The first one was with M. Hermana Castor had taught her twice but had not been able to contact her in two weeks. We had gone to her home several times, but she was never home. Finally, we found her at home! However, she told us that she had been offended and had come to realize that the church was racist, because, as missionaries, we cannot kiss males on the cheek. This is the usual greeting in Chile, and we do kiss all of the mujeres, but just give handshakes to the men. Hermana Castor had not explained this to her (normally we don't and never have problems unless the men try to kiss haha). However, she was offended that Hermana Castor and her old companion had not kissed her husband. Some people are just loca haha. T
However, now to the good news!!! We are making excellent progress with K, the lady who has no religious background. We realized that we are going to have to explain things more simply to build her religious foundation, but she is really responsive! We are going over to her house this week, and will hopefully be able to teach her husband. He has a few LDS friends, so hopefully he too will be receptive.
Oh goodness, we had a crazy experience with one of the less actives. I had been warned by Hermana Castor that she is a little off. She was not wrong lol, but what was worse was that  we arrived at her house right when she was starting to prepare lunch. She said she was making picante pata and wanted us to try it because it is "super healthy and delicious". We had to go to our mamita for lunch in 30 minutes, but she insisted that she cooked fast and we just needed to try a little bit. She then went to the kitchen to cook and left us sitting there. In about 20 minutes the food was done. Pata is the foot of a cow and picante means spicy but she didn't add any spice. It looked good. It was served with potatoes and rice. However, with a second glance we noticed that the "healthy meat" was pure cartilage from the ankle of the cow. Worse than that was that there was still hair in the cartilage!!! Short spikey little black cow hairs in the food! Hermana Castor and I tried sorting out all the meat that had the longest hairs, but that was like half the dish. I was ready to gag. Her idea of a little taste was a full serving! Oh it was awful. We guarded our gag reflex to eat the pieces with the fewest hairs and then I rapidly grabbed the plates and took them to the kitchen, trying to hide what we had not eaten. Oh a day to remember:)

(This is not a picture of the picante pata.   This is a competo.  A hot dog with lots of tomato, guacamole, mayo, cabbage. Yummy yummy yummy.)

Well it sounds like you all are super busy! That's crazy all of the missionary work you are doing! Great job:) Aspen looked so cute for her birthday. It looks like it was a lot of fun.
You should look up the situation here in Arica. Apparently there is some kind of treaty that Chile signed with Peru years ago that promised Peru part of Chile´s sea. However, Chile did not comply with the treaty and does not want to give up its rights to part of the ocean, since it is used by Chilean fishermen and shipping companies. Peru of course is demanding the ocean. Today is the deciding day, but both sides are saying they are willing to fight for the ocean and economy. There are big displays here in the center of Arica, since it is the city that will be affected by giving up the rights to the water. There are gun shots (empty shells I assume) and lots of chanting and singing and up roar. It appears Chile is losing, but the Aricans fear that soon Arica will belong (once again) to Peru. Look up the history, I am not sure of all the details lol. But then send me the info so I know:) Always excitement in the mission:)
(This is the big march of the Aricans. There is a lot of press and loudness, with bands and all kinds of stuff)

I love you all and hope school and hunting went well. Love you
Hermana Biggs

It appears that just an hour before her email a decision was reached about the boundary.  Here's the article I sent Emilee:

World Court Draws New Peru-Chile Maritime Border

THE HAGUE, Netherlands January 27, 2014 (AP)
By MIKE CORDER Associated Press

Associated Press
The United Nations' highest court drew a new maritime boundary between Peru and Chile on Monday, awarding Peru parts of the Pacific Ocean but keeping rich coastal fishing grounds in Chilean hands.
The line drawn by the International Court of Justice ended decades of debate about how to carve up some 38,000 square kilometers (14,670 square miles) of fish-rich waters off the coasts of the Latin American neighbors. Peru's fishing industry estimates the annual catch in the region to be worth some US$200 million.
Peru wanted a maritime border heading roughly southwest, perpendicular to the point where the two countries' land border meets the ocean. Chile insisted the border should extend from the coast parallel to the equator.
The court found a compromise by saying a border already existed parallel to the equator extending 80 nautical miles from the coast and then drawing a line southwest to a point where the countries' 200-mile territorial waters end.
In Lima, President Ollanta Humala had no immediate reaction.
Outside the presidential palace, scores of people who had watched the verdict being read on two giant TV screens shouted "Long Live Peru" afterward, though there was some confusion as to whether their country had won or lost.
In the Peruvian border city of Tacna, a few hundred people from a patriotic society who had gathered in a movie theater to watch the ruling sang the national anthem. Dozens of police guarded the Chilean consulate but there were no incidents.
A professor of international relations at Lima's Catholic University, Farid Kahhat, said Peru had won a bit more than half the territory it sought.
But the leader of the Peruvian fishermen in the region, David Patino, told The Associated Press that the decision was a loss.
"We haven't won anything. We are in the same situation as the past," he said.
After Peru, Chile is the world's No. 2 exporter of fish meal.
Peruvian historian and columnist Nelson Manrique called the decision an "intelligent verdict" that is "not going to please anyone but it's also not going to bring anyone to fits."
Patricia Majluf, a leading Peruvian fisheries scientist, said the area up to 80 miles (128 kilometers) that remains in Chilean hands "is where the Chilean boats fish the most" and she doesn't expect the verdict will cost the job of any Chilean fisherman.
"All the anchoveta is fished in that zone," she said. The anchovy species is converted into fish meal for an insatiable global market that uses it in animal feed and fertilizer.
Majluf, a professor at Cayetano Heredia University in Lima, said about 1 million tons of anchoveta are harvested annually off the northern Chile coast. That's about the same amount as off the southern Peruvian coast, she added.
For many, the case launched in 2008 by Peru is a matter of national pride. Chile seized its three northernmost provinces during the 1879-83 War of the Pacific from Peru and Bolivia, which lost its only coast in the conflict.
The actual border area has long been a model of coexistence. Citizens of both countries travel freely between Arica and its Peruvian sister city of Tacna, both of which depend on the fishing industry and on each other.
Chileans crowd into Tacna's hospitals and clinics for the cheaper health care, while Peruvians work construction and other day jobs on the Chilean side of the border. Arica's mayor, Salvador Urrutia, says some 5,000 people cross the border in both directions each day.
Rulings by the court are final and binding on both countries. The presidents of Peru and Chile each pledged to adhere to whatever decision the court made. The countries are partners in a number of important regional and Pacific economic alliances and have seen annual bilateral trade grow from $500 million in 2006 to $4.3 billion today and each had significant investments in the other in sectors as diverse as tourism, retail and gastronomy.
Chilean government figures put Peruvian investment in Chile at $11 billion last year with Chile investing $13.5 billion in Peru.

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014: Arica

Sorry that I haven´t been able to write in like two weeks, but we didn´t get a seond p-day in the MTC and then I had missed the normal p-day for my sector. Speaking of sectors: I am in Arica with Hermana Castor from Mexico!!!
Arica is the furtherst city north wise and is pretty close to Peru. I flew from Santiago to Antofagasta last Tuesday and then met my trainer and then we had a 12 hour bus ride to Arica! The bus is really nice though so it wasn´t too bad. Arica is pretty great. I will be here for sure for 3 months and then maybe longer depending on what the transfers are like. My companion and I get along great! I am so grateful for that. The MTC was great preparation for the mission and I am so glad because I am already teaching!! It is super exciting. We have 10 investigators that we try to track down everyday. One was supposed to get baptized this past Saturday, but suddenly had some doubts about a living prophet. We postponed the baptism and showed him the mormon message "dare to stand alone". It really brought the spirit and I think he felt it too. Hope he can resolve his doubts soon. Another investigator we just taught for the first time yesterday. She basically has no religious background, but believes in God. We were talking about the restoration, but she doesn´t even know Bible teachings. It is really interesting (also very uncommon) that she doesn´t have any knowledge about the gospel, but she was really receptive and we are going back to teach her this week. 
A lot of the people here do live together and aren´t married, so that's always something we need to teach, but it sounds like many people are open to the idea of getting married, which is good. We are teaching a lot of young people like 18-22 year olds. Many of their families are part members or they have some inactive relative or something. It's unfortunate, because the gospel is really centered on families, but their families are not interested in listening or reactivating. It makes conversion and remaining active difficult for youth. Also we spend a ton of time with less actives. They are pretty great and always are thankful for God and all their blessings, BUT they won´t come to church! They always have some excuse, but we will get them there somehow! 
Arica is hot, dry, and dusty. It was hilarious when I was flying from Santiago to Antofagasta. The view started out as super pretty, lots of mountains, not too much growing, but some stuff. Then we started flying over the Andies which, in this area, are totally dead, but really awesome to look at because they are huge. But then we started getting closer to Antofagasta, and there was nothing! We flew past the city which looks pretty modern, but then we kept on flying and flying for like 20 minutes. Everything was just flat dirt. Nothing! No cars, no houses, no people, no sign of anything. All the missionaries from the MTC on the plane were joking that we were  going to the easiest mission because we were only going to be teaching bugs and iguanas (although I am sure they don´t live here either, haha). We touched down in the middle of nowhere and I was certain that there was no airport. It seemed like you could land just about anywhere because there was nothing in the way. I have a picture attached of our touch down. Its just dirt.
Luckily it turns out there are people here, haha, and the airport is about 45 minutes from the city. The drive from Antofagasta to Arica was about the same as my first impression, although there were more hills of dirt to make it interesting:) Also it was a full moon so that was cool too. But yup, pretty much dead. In the letter from the president he had said " you can drive for miles and not see one living plant or animal". I knew he was right but I figured that was in reclusive areas or something. It would have been better to say " anywhere you drive, outside of a city, you will not see any living thing". 
 The people are great though and the houses are all bright and colorful which makes the view a little better. We have a mamita to wash our clothes and another one to make us lunch. Apparently people do not eat dinner here, because we have breakfast when we wake up, then eat lunch at 2pm, and then nothing until we get back to the apartment at 10pm. It's a little rough, especially since I was eating like crazy in the MTC. However, I am getting adjusted. We have a lot of time that we spend in our apartment since I am being trained, which kinda stinks because we are missing opportunities to teach, but that's alright. I do have to learn to keep improving. 
OH its soooo gross! Every night when we get back to our apartment at 10, there's cockroaches everywhere!!! I die! Its terrible. There are some that are small and a different breed, those I can handle (well kill:)) But there's always a couple huge, flying cockroaches that we have yet to murder. We are going to go to the store soon and buy some RAID so that they will die and quit coming in. Eww so gross.
For P-day we went to a beach which is about 30 minutes away from my sector. We went with two other companionships from an old sector of my companion. The beach is not the most beautiful apparently, but I loved it. We played volleyball and built a sand snowman haha. It was tons of fun!
Also the other photo with all the missionaries is from the car wash we held on Saturday.
Some elders from a different ward wanted to do it as a way to get references and new investigators, so we volunteered to wash and they taught the people in the meantime. However, it turns out that the most promising investigator they met is in my sector!! Haha, too bad for them. We have tried passing by the investigator's house, but no one has been home. Apparently, it's really hard finding people to teach on the weekends because people travel and go to the beach. So, maybe we will be able to catch up with them today or tomorrow. Anyways, I hope you are all doing well. I love you all so much and wish you the best for all the fun plans you have coming up this week! Love you

Hermana Biggs

We had a chance to email back and forth for a few minutes, so here's some questions and answers from that conversation:

Little fun facts: Wiki says there are about 200,000 people in Arica.  Arica features the rare, mild desert climate. Unlike many other cities with arid climates, Arica seldom sees extreme temperatures throughout the course of the year. Arica is also known as the driest inhabited place on Earth, at least as measured by rainfall: average annual precipitation is 0.76 mm (0.03 inches).  Despite its lack of rainfall, humidity and cloud cover are high. With humidity levels similar to those of equatorial climates the sunshine intensity is similar to the Sahara desert regions in the Northern Hemisphere (like the Cape Verde islands).

Are you in a a ward or branch? how big (area wise) is the stake? How many missionaries in your ward/branch and the stake?
We are in a ward called Tarapaca ward. Yesterday there were about 70 people at church, so its not too big. We have four missionaries in every ward. Generally a set of sisters and a set of elders. However, there are many areas where they are no sisters, so maybe I will eventually be a part of a sector opening for sisters. I am not sure how big the stake is but there are two stakes here in Arica.

What is the home like where you stay?
Oh it is alright. We have warm water, not hot, but warm. We have a small room with bunk beds for the four of us that are living there. We have a huge living room with no furniture just our four desks and a closet. The kitchen is small and the water leaks so we have to keep it off during the day or it drips, but we arent there part of the day so that's alright. It is pretty much the same style as the nicaragua house, just has the basics and its constantly dirty from all the dust-

Will this be the regular time you get to email? What's your pday like?  
P-day is every monday from 7:30 am to 7pm. Today we went to the beach before writing, so I am not sure that we have a concrete writing scheldule. We can basically go anytime between 7:30 and 7. So it depends on what we do activity wise. Next week we are going to try to write earlier though. Maybe at like 11 am

How's the food? 
The food is good. pretty bland, as in not spicy or sweet, but good. We eat a lot of soups and then have rice and bread and some sort of chicken or sausage. The Chileans love jello, so we eat a lot of that, but its ok. I like it too. I havent been able to buy any street food, so I just know what the past four or five lunches have been like in Arica. It's pretty good, but always hot food in the middle of the hot day so that's not so fun!

Do the members ever feed the missionaries?
Members feed us on Saturdays and Sundays. 

 I have to leave now but I love you all. Talk to you next week!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Arrival In The Mission Field

We didn't receive an email from Emilee this week because she left on her Pday for the mission field.  However, we were thrilled to receive an email and photos from her Mission President. 

Saludos de Chile!  Greetings from Chile!

We are pleased to inform you of the safe arrival of Sister Biggs in the Chile Antofagasta Mission.  We are thrilled to have Sister Biggs with us here in the mission.  We had the opportunity to visit with her and get to know her on the day she arrived and today during our orientation and assignment meetings.  She is going to be a great missionary!  Thank you so much for the sacrifice you are making so she can serve.  We know she will appreciate the support she will feel from home through your letters.

We have attached a few photos. 

The first two were taken in front of Antofagasta’s landmark, La Portada, with the city in the background. 

The last one is of Sister Bigg’s trainer/first companion, Sister Castor, symbolically cleaning her shoe.

Thank you for sharing Sister Biggs with us.  We will care for her as if she were our own daughter.  We know your family will be blessed by her service.
With much love,
President and Sister Dalton
Chile Antofagasta Mission

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The MTC (or in Spanish) The CCM

Kevin and I both sent Emilee an email this week so I'll post both of the return emails we received.  

Letter to Dad:
Hey! its my first and only P-day at the mtc. It has been really busy, but I have learned so much so that is good. The scheldule is a bit crazy! We really don´t have any time for ourselves, but I made some really good friends. The hardest thing is showering. We have 30 minutes after exercise to get everyone in the room showered and ready so go. In my room there are four sisters ( me and my companion Hermana Perez, and another set of companions). The president said we need to take 3 minute showers, but a few of the sisters do not understand what that means, hahah. (I have mastered my process so I am in the shower for about 90 seconds:) It's difficult, but it really doesn't matter how I look, it is about what I am going to learn.
We are in classes for about 13 hours everyday and we sleep from 11 pm to 7. I have learned so much it is crazy. Everytime I learn something I want to commit it to memory and improve, so its a lot of pressure to remember everything, but the work is so important, and I want to know how to best help people. One thing we really focus on is adapting the gospel and the lessons to our investigators. Before anything we have to be their friends and gain their trust. That, I think, is going to be a lot of fun, but also difficult because if they dont want to continue the lessons or they don't gain their own testimony, it's a friend that I'm losing. But I think that will be a lot of fun to be in the "el campo" or the field.

Thank you so much for the letter you wrote for the first day in the mtc. It has helped alot and I am working on memorizing D&C 4. I have the first three verses down! Not much time to learn the rest, but thats ok.

I love you so much and hope you are enjoying work and the family and all of that:) Im not sure when my next P-day will be but I leave the MTC on next Tuesday. I love you!
Hermana Biggs
The Santiago Chile Temple
Letter to Mom:
Hey it is great to hear from you. I worte an email to dads work email so read the two together and hopefully I dont overlap too much. The first day in the MTC was not what I expected. They basically put the new arrival missionaries in a room all day and told them to memorize the purpose as missionaries, the first vision, D&C section 4 and a couple other scriptures. We were there all day! A few times a teacher came in and said they were going to teach but then they left like 2 minutes later and just told us to memorize until they came back. Apparently the whole MTC was busy because they were receiving 40 new missionaries all at different times and trying to deal with paperwork, lost luggage and getting everyone situated. So that was weird, but I did memorize several things and had a chance to meet some great hermanas. The next day was much better and structured, and now we follow a tight schedule from 7 am to 10 pm and then have an hour at night before bedtime at 11. I am excited to be learning so much, but I am exhausted! I have also gotten a little sick, but just from stress. Just a runny nose and cough, and I am getting better.
The food here is kinda like cafeteria food in the States but Chilean style. One of the hermanas is from Chile and she is always telling us how the food is kinda Chilean but not really. They do offer mashed potatoes with every meal minus breakfast and then normally fried chicken patties. Rice is also very common and some sort of bread. They have lots of soda and "juice" that isnt 100% juice as drinks. They also offer a salad bar which is nice.
My companion is Hermana Perez, she is in the blue shirt if I can upload photos. (It looks gray in the photo) She is from Mexico and has a really strong testimony so that is awesome!She is also very dedicated but much more into sharing her thoughts than I am. But I always learn something and for that I am thankful:) She is going to Santiago North mission on the 14th so I wont see her anymore. But there are several going to Antofagasta.

It has been a lot of fun here, and I am learning so much! There is always something to study, learn, and improve. My saying is always "voy mejorando" or I go improving. As companions we have "investigators". Basically our teachers act like one of the their investigators did when they served. Hermana Perez and I have three teachers and therefore three investigators. The investigators we teach are Fransico, Lucas, and Mercedes. It is really fun putting what we learn in practice. Its amazing how much I have come to love and care about these investigators. I worry about their needs and wants and what we should teach them next and how we can communicate better. AND these aren't even real investigators! The mission feild is going to be awesome!
Everything is amazing. We haven't been out and about in Chile yet, but I cant wait. I am excited, nervous, anxious, tired, and stressed, but somehow happier than ever. The most important lesson I have learned so far is something I should have learned long ago, but it is that the scriptures really contain every answer we need, and advice for every problem we have. If you need something look in the scriptures, if you study enough you will find the answer.
I hope you are all doing well. Girls, I hope the new semester is great and that you get some better grades than last semester! Especially you Madison! You need a big scholarship for college:) Mom good luck with  primary and finding willing teachers. Maybe bribe them with something hahah. I love you all and hope all is well. Remember the church is true and really, teaching people that,  is not as hard as I thought. I love you all so much.
Talk to you later
Hermana Biggs

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Arrival In Chile

Emilee left for Chile at 11:15am Tuesday, December 31st.  Here she is getting ready to go through security. 

Does she look like a fantastic Missionary or what!  It was a long day and a long night as we waited to hear of her arrival.  Her flight landed in Santiago at 9:00am, January 1st.  We just received our first email:

I have arrived safely and am at the CCM now. There were 7 other missionaries that I met in Alanta and we all flew together. They were really fun to meet and I felt like a genius because I was the only one who was fluent. The flight went really well and I was able to sleep for 5 hours. Which is good since we are going right to work. After arriving we went to that historic building (we read about it on a blog) that is not part of the CCM to stay and live, but it turned out that Antofagasta missionaries dont stay there. So i was specially driven over to the CCM. We are working on memorizing some scripture right now, but I have 5 minues to write. I will be in the CCM for two weeks, since apparently I still remember all of my Spanish. So my departure date is January 14. Everything has been fun and I am getting along well with all the latina sisters, which is good because they will be my companions while I am here. I have only met three other people going to Antofagasta, which is crazy because the misison is soooo much bigger than any other in Chile. Well I have to go! Talk to you later I love you all. Not sure when P day is yet
Hermana Biggs

What a blessing to have our sweet Emilee serving a mission.  We will continue to post her emails and pictures.   

One Proud Missionary Mom!