Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Saxi Santa

So we passed Christmas pretty well here as you know. A little bit of burnt cinnamon rolls from lighting wrapping paper on fire when our propane tank ran out. But our yummy stuffed chicken with the bishop made up for that hahaha. On Christmas Eve I forgot to mention that we went caroling downtown in the plaza. I think the people enjoyed it, although several were just in a hurry, but others gathered around to listen for a bit.

Then that night we went to the family Serrano for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner. We ended up eating at like 9:15 pm, but it was a lot of fun. The best part was when the Viejito Pascuero (Santa Claus... literal translation Old Easter Man idk why they dont call him Papa Noel like in other countries) came by with a parade. We went running out of the house with the little kids and the aunt to catch up to the floats. They throw a ton of candy and then at the end, there was even more to be thrown. It was super fun. We left with enough sweets for the whole year. Plus we managed to wiggle our way next to santa for a picture.

Here are the cute little kids of the familia Serrano. Its a tough debate between who the cutest boy is in this picture. Diego is the toodler. He is three almost four and apparently didnt want to be in this picture.  and Alonzo is the little baby with the huge cheeks. He is 13 months. 

So here is something we found quite interesting about Chile. Apparently this years favorite Christmas decoration was Santa Claus playing the saxiphone. We saw at least a dozen of these life size creatures on balconies, porches, and even in houses of investigators and members. We offically call him "Saxi Santa!" Also this was at the same house that I sent as the coolest Christmas display. You can see one of the awesome trees that werent clear in the other photo. Saxi Santa was a last minute addition it seems. 

Favorite plant. Not that the plant is my favorite but that most people think they can just cut their plants like this and that the average size person can walk under it. It happenes all the time with trees and bushes and now this vine. We call it the average latin height plant:)

So.... this may not be an average market, but for the dogs this is as good as it gets. We took several pictures of this dog eating some roadkill. Of all the weird things the market has to offer, this was the grossest in the dog market. 

So I left my camera at the house, so I am still missing some photos from the challenge. These pictures were ones we took with Hna Crum`s camera. 

So before you watch this video there is some explaining to do. Well we were out taking photos one day, Hna Crum learned that you could pause the video recording on her camera and then continue to record again. So one night before bed she attempted to make a movie like a flip book. She wanted to attach a whole bunch of quick shots together using the pause button. Well, as you will see she hadnt quite figured out when the camera was paused and when it was recording. I happen to think it is hilarious, but it may be one of those "have to be there moments". Let us know. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Split it. Like a banana. In half. Break yourself in the process.

Well, I figure I will be seeing you guys in a few short days, so I will make this email short so we can chat it up on Thursday.

"M" wasn't able to come to church on Sunday,  not because she is busy,  but because she is moving to Antofagasta. Oppostition is not really that fun, but hopefully the missionaries in her new sector can get to her as well. The governement strike ended though so "M.T." can go and get her divorce done. That is a blessing! She still has her baptismal date for May:) 

Hna Crum and I had our ward Christmas activity this week. It ended up being great, although at the start we were a little worried. We wanted to have a fun gift exchange and told everyone to bring a gift that was 4 dollars or less. Well, I guess they didnt understand those instructions, even though we explained a million times how to play. People were still asking who they needed to bring a gift for and what would happen if they all brought a gift for the same person. We explained all could be used as back up gifts. We spent a lot of the day decorating the chapel and in the end about 35 people came. Several did not bring gifts, which was a huge concern at first, but with our extra gifts and the extra gifts from the bishop we were perfect! It was a ton of fun and the ward really got into it. We also had four investigators show up, so it was an overall Christmas  success!

By the way, I love the family pictures. They are adorable. Ivory is really getting tall and Jett looks like a little chubbster. 

 SO, we had tranfers last Saturday, and of course I am staying with Hna Crum to finish up training, but guess what???? My other hijita got transfered into our sector in Calama!!!! She is actually in Ticapilla which is like 2 and a half hours away, but its still the Calama zone. This Saturday we had Christmas confernece with the mission president and it was like a family reunion hahaha. Cant you see the resemblance??

Christmas Challenge Continued...

Coolest Rock:

So Louie is not in this picture, but I figure it still counts. This is the train that transports all of the purified cooper ( coolest rock obviously:). Its a little blurry but those are stacks of cooper plats. Each stack has 7 plates and each plate weighs about 1000lbs. The cooper is also 99.8 % pure (if I remember correctly). This train rolls through the sector about 5 times a day carrying all of these platese. After taking the picture we left coins on the tracks to have a smashed penny effect when the next train passed. It totally worked!

Favorite transportation:

The Tur-Bus,  official Mormon transport:) I especially love the buses because theyre double deckers. The best seat is the front row on the top. You feel like you are going to crash all of the time, but you have an awesome view and more leg space. 

Favorite Exercise hahah. P90X all the way lol:) Also you can see our lovely apartment in the background!
I love you guys. Have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Challenge Continued

Well, we got the answer from president and he is not going to be able to interview "J" until January. That's not too far away at least. Plus the extra time will let extra preparation and conversion happen, and we will be able to work with her family a little bit more. So it's all for the better in the end. 

This week was fairly better than last week. I was at least feeling better (mentally not physically that's a whole other story). We are working with "M" (a new M) and things have been going pretty well. She has several beliefs that are right in line with ours. It's pretty funny because she asks us a question and waits for the answer and then is like  "oh that's what I read in the bible as well. awesome". So it is kind of funny. Her most recent question was about the Virgin Mary. We told her that we respect and honor her as the mother of Jesus, but that we do not adore her. I was a little worried because normally that question is followed by stories in that the Virgin helped the person. However, to my surprise. She was like " oh, that's good because it seems like God doesn't like it much when we adore others or images". She has a ton of faith and we asked her if she would prepare herself for baptism. She didnt want to commit to a date or anything because she has a lot of questions about the Priesthood and doesnt want to be baptized by someone corrupt or who is only worthy on Sundays at church. She said that she didn't know if God`s power could really be on earth and also she didn't know how she would able to identify it. We told her that she would need to come to church and get to know some of the preisthood members. We explained that God makes use of regular, but worthy,  men to bless us all. This past Sunday, she was traveling to Antofagasta, but she commited to come to church this up coming Sunday. We are super excited. The cutest part of the lesson was the end. She said the closing prayer and started with "Dear Heavenly Father". I was super happy because it shows that she is changing and probably studying the pamphlets. At the end, however she just said "amen" and finished, so then I was like ok maybe she wasnt studying hahaha. However, she then said " wait, I forgot `in the name of Jesus Christ`. I cheered silently:)

Louie at church:)
This wasnt part of the challenge, but I think it wins for creepiest Christmas. Louie even got scared!
This was definitely the coolest display we have seen yet. Unfortunately you cant see the awesome lights in full effect. But the trees twinkle in cute pastels. They are seriously beautiful..Also your questions about Christmas traditions here: so normally with lights..... a ton of houses have lights outside on their house. They are even some reindeer and santas. However, the normal lights are normally bright and flashy. The more its hurts to look the better. It is super funny. I find the US is much more romantic and classy when it comes to outside decor. The trees are also super fun here. They will strand like 6 different types of lights on these babies (again sunglasses needed to look at them). 

Apparently as well, the majority of their Christmas takes place on Christmas eve. They have a big dinner with the family and such, but then open all of the gifts at midnight. I am still confused about when Santa comes if the kids never go to sleep, but he makes it work. 

There is also a traditional holiday drink here I think equivalent to our eggnog, but its coffee with milk, sugar, vanilla, and then some other flavoring called "cola de mono" (monkey tail). It is traditionally served with alcohol, but can also be made without. Plus they have a coffee substitute here called Eco that is made out of wheat, so they also make mormon cola de mono.
Louie with H and Y. They are some recent converts that we had Family Home Evening with this week. They are definitely hilarious. Y is from Colombia and H is from Venezuela. They are always trying to get us to learn their dances and music and such. Now, I have the desire to go to Colombia:)
For the FHE we created manger scenes with waffers and marshmallows. I would say this is the best decorated house (or manger hahaha)
Well, i got a little behind on the challenge this week, but there will be more coming. I love you guys:)

Hna Biggs

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Challenge!

Its been a hard week really, but I will just have to keep pushing through. We are hoping for some Christmas miracles since during this time people are more receptive to Jesus Christ. You guys have probably heard about the "He is the Gift" video. The church is doing huge stuff here in Chile with it too. On Sunday the 7th the church bought out the head title of youtube (just like in the states i think), and we have been given a million pass along cards to give out. We showed the video at church and are inviting the members to give the cards to their friends. Plus, we are doing more street contacts than ever. Hna. Crum and I are in all out war to give out more cards each day. Its a lot of fun. In addition, we have met a lot of people and have a few return dates for this week. We are also hoping to go to the ferria next sunday after church and set up a little stand to get people interested and invite them to come to church for Christmas Sunday. I think we are going to see great results:)

So Louie had some interesting adventures this week. Unfortunately he is not in half of these pictures because I hadnt made him yet, but the events were too great I couldnt help but snap pictures.

So Louie´s first big adventure was our walk to the waterfall. We have been told that it was a meter tall, but still I thought it would be fun to see some life in the desert, so we set out.. 

We got mildly distracted by the llamas and donkeys. 

The first cow I have seen in the mission! Right after this we started debating if the sign was correct that said that the waterfall was 4 km away. 

We thought this might be it, and Hna Crum was ready to turn around:)

Then we saw the waterfalls! They were actually way cooler than we had imagined, but also further away. 

I have some more pictures, but Ill spare the storage space in the email.  Here are some requests from the holiday challenge. 

Our family celebrates the 24 days of Christmas with a little treat each day.  Because we are unable to mail a treat each day to Emilee in Chile we asked her to give us a daily treat.  We first challenged her to make a replica of our Elf on the Shelf  "Louie" and then each day complete one of our photo challenges with Louie in the picture.  Here are the first results of our challenge!  

Morning Hair: We call this the elf hat. it works great for the oil treatments I do about twice a weeks:) Hna Crum obviously didnt want part in this pic at 7 am.

Something weird that we ate: I didnt take an after photo but we made avocado ice cream. It was surprisingly good, but we had to fashion our trash can into an ice cream maker and roll it across the floor forever:)

Something unusual: Jello slurping races

Another something unusaual that we saw this week,  Louie wasn't there though. It's one of the religious dances that they do here during carnival and for the Virgin Mary. Its called caporal and its the most popular. Last Febuary I knew four people on this same team that competed, so it was awesome to see the dance. 

 And... finally the wash and wear skirt.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gourmet Sins

  Bueno I dont have much time today because we had to go a buy a crazy huge closet and got trapped waiting in ¨Lider¨(literally the same store as Walmart) forever. I didnt realize how big on customer service I was until today haha. It was terrible, but then we got together with some other sisters and went out for lunch at Gourmet Sins. A little ironic that 6 sisternaries wanted to go to gourmet sins, but the hamburgers were amazing.

  Good news! "J" has still been living the word of wisdom and should be getting baptized next Saturday! This week we have to arrange the interview and then we will be in the home stretch. She has been doing really well, and says that she no longer has a desire to smoke or drink! We have also gotten a lot closer to her family which is a huge miracle! Her younger brother even came to church on Sunday all by himself. He just stayed for the first hour and then part of young mens, but it was great. Her aunt has also been receptive although she says she is not. 
 We met another great investigator whose name is "D". She is the cousin of one of the converts and started attending church when her house burned down.  She knew that the Mormon church had helped her cousin leave drugs and alcohol, so she asked for help with her house. A few weeks has passed and she found a new apartment to rent while she tries to figure everything out and its in our sector. She really feels that our church is going to help her accomplish her goals of getting closer to Heavenly Father and Christ. The lesson we had was really great. She had some questions, and we all felt the spirit. The only thing is that she has decided that she wants to basically be a nun,  but in our church!! We were a little shocked since thats not something you normally hear, but thats what she wants. We quickly explained the importance of the family, but she wanted us to study the bible and see if we could find somthing that talked about being a wife of God or something like that. We both couldnt think of any place in the bible that talks about that, but we are preparing a lesson so that she understands how she can accomplish her goal (we suppose is) of returning to live with God. It was definitely a funny request and we asked the other sisters about it. They said we could say that Mormon nuns are sister missionaries hahaha. Not such a bad idea:) Anyways, we are excited to be meeting with "D" and hope things continue to go well. 

Well thats all we have time for today! I love you guys so much!

Hna Biggs