We went contacting in one of the street malls on Saturday, and I got fried. Oh boy, my neck and arms are so unbelievably red, it's actually pretty hilarious. But it's just starting to be summer here, so I was used to not having to wear sunscreen all day during the winter...but the sun is coming out more and more...gah, I can't imagine what it's going to be like in December, the middle of summer! I'm going to melt. But I love it. I love the heat!!!! I will just have to make sure I wear a TON of sunscreen. It actually doesn't get that hot here, so I hear...the highest it gets is like 80 degrees, but because of the climate, it feels a lot more hotter. I couldn't tell you if it's a dry climate or humid because we really are in the desert, and it feels kind of dry, but I remember first arriving here and thinking about how humid it is. We have to be careful in our apartment with everything because everything molds if it sits for too long....so I'm guessing it's humid here...hahahah maybe I've just gotten used to it because I don't feel like it's that humid. Oh well. I'm loving the climate. The dead of winter here was like 40 degrees. It was nice :)
We went paintballing again this morning! I got some nice welts on my thigh. But it was way fun!
Everything for Paulina and Edgar's wedding is going great! I am so excited! But with stake conference this weekend, Paulina is going to wait to be baptized next weekend, and I really hope I am here to see it! We have transfers this Saturday! I have no idea what to think. I've been here in the same sector for 3 cambios, so what is that...about 4 and a half months. But I wanna stay at least one more! I guess you'll know next Monday!
. . . . . What a crazy week! You ready for this loaded email? Friday was the craziest day ever. I don't even know where to start. In the morning, we helped Paulina and Edgar decorate the church for their wedding later that night. They had around 400 balloons for us to blow up. That took up a lot of the morning. But once everything was set up and ready, it looked really great. Their wedding started at 7:00 and it was just beautiful! I loved it! But this is where it gets crazy. Maria Jesus, one of our investigators, was also getting baptized after stake conference...which also started at 7:00. So immediately after they got hitched, we literally booked it down the street. And I mean seriously, we ran down the highway until we could find a taxi to take us to the stake center all the way on the other side of Arica. But we made it in time to see Maria Jesus get baptized and congratulate her and take pictures. Then Edgar had called us telling us they were waiting for us to cut the cake. So we ran again until we found a taxi and booked it to the church where they finally cut the cake and everything. Then we had to run home to get home by ten. But Maria Jesus got baptized and Paulina and Edgar are married!!!! Yay!!!!
Saturday President called us and told us that two Hermanas from Iquique were having visa problems and needed to stay in our pension for the weekend. We already have four sisters staying there, so let's just say it was a fun-packed weekened. And later that night we found out cambios. Hermana LeFevre and I didn't wanna leave or get separated because we both wanted to see Maria Jesus get confirmed and Paulina get baptized (side note: it was stake conference this weekend so Maria Jesus couldn't get confirmed). But Hermana LeFevre is actually staying in the same pension, but working in a different sector, the other ward across the highway. I found out that I'm going to Iquique (ee-kee-kay) and working with Hermana Kennedy, and that they're putting Elders in Costanera A. I hope they send me lots of pictures of Paulina's baptism!!!
But now I'm here in Iquique with Hermana Kennedy, and I can tell I'm going to love it. We live with members, and they already seem great! Our sector is pure hills, we're right on the side of the mountain, but I'm excited! Change is good!!! Let's do this!
. . . . .We had a conference with President Dalton this last Wednesday. We just talked about goals for the mission and how he expects us to accomplish them. Wasn't much more than that. One of the goals is to have a temple at least announced for northern Chile....it's definitely a high goal, seeing as how it's hard for people to attend church, let alone the one temple they have in Santiago. But that's how we accomplish that...getting people to church!!! Oh, but I heard that Paulina got baptized on Saturday and Edgar got an advancement in the priesthood the Sunday before. Yay!!! That was good news :)
We had this Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) for the ward on Friday....this ward doesn't really do activities, so not much people showed up, because I think they just aren't used to that kind of thing. But of the people that did come, two were investigators! One came on his own and the other, a member brought. So something did come out of it. And the members that came really liked it. So let's hope the habit of having ward activities picks up.
Saturday, we cleaned the church. Just me, Kennedy, and the two Elders in our ward. I don't think our chapel has been cleaned since like....ever. It was so dirty, but it really felt nice to clean up as much as we could. We focused on cleaning the sacrament room. The bishop commented on it too. I hope the members also realize the importance of a clean church, because really, I feel like church was so different yesterday....
This morning, we hiked up the side of a mountain of sand. It was the hardest thing, but man, it felt sooooooo good to finally reach the top. You could easily gospel relate it too. And being missionaries, that's what we did. Life (or the mission) is a huge mountain. And it really bites the big one to climb and climb and feel like you're never gonna reach the top. You wind and zig-zag and just go straight up to find what works, but it's still hard no matter what. But if you walk in the footsteps of the person in front of you that knows the way (that being Christ) it really does make it easier. Sometimes you have to get on your hands and knees to reach the top, but when you get there and look back on what you climbed, this joy just fills you up because then you see everything so clearly. Man, it was definitely a one-in-a-lifetime thing (because I definitely never wanna do it again)...but it was awesome that's for sure.
Love ya! Hermana Howell