Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November 4, 2013

This letter is basically Mara  answering my many questions I had for her.  It is nice to finally get some reassuring news.

Happy Monday morning to all!!
( On Friday morning, an earthquake in Santiago registered 6.5.  For those wondering, yes, panic struck in me....not because of the quake but because of the tsunami potential that comes after the quake)
 The earthquake:  Nobody told us anything.  One day we were teaching in a home where the news was on and saw for like 20 seconds that something had happened, got worried for about 10 seconds, and then forgot all about it.  We´re still alive and all is well.  And yes, after the 2010 earthquake, every house, building, and structure in general was built to withstand whatever shifting the earth  desires to make.
Package:  I mentioned a package because I would really prefer  not to receive anything.   I don´t want my companion to think I have more money than her  and it would really be best that you just send me your prayers for Christmas instead.  Plus, we can´t give out our address. All mail that we receive must go through the mission office.  This week, they sent us a package to make 72 hours kits (reassuring??) and in mine was my birthday candy bar, so I will definitely be here at least through January anyway.
But really, prayers would be preferable.  Thank you! (She IS getting a Christmas package as well as her companion!  I mean, really?? Does she know her mother at all?)
Cash: It came!  We are no longer in extreme poverty.  Extreme cold, maybe, but poverty, no more.  Our house is basically painted plywood.  And so, without, heat... it gets dang cold with the humidity levels here.  At night we tuck ourselves in and turn on our hair dryers inside our sheets.  It´s so funny.  And so warm.  Try it.  Seriously.
Elders:   They left quite a while ago but we got an update from one of them today that he found the family of an investigator here and is teaching them there in Santiago!  So cool!
President: Knows quite a bit. (I asked her if she was communicating with the mission president about her situation.  Mara has a tendency not to want to trouble other people with her problems) He was EXTREMELY feisty with us for the first few weeks.  Not that we did anything wrong... I think he was just nervous for us being so far away and having so many problems and what not.  We were really quite terrified of him for a while there, but this week we called him to ask him some questions and he gave us a real live COMPLIMENT!  It seriously made our whole week and gave us strength to keep going. 
Chirinos: We see the missionary couple almost every day. They are so wonderful.  Angels.

Companion: (I asked how her companion is doing because I know she had been struggling some)  We are  the of best friends and doing so so well together!  She struggled a little in the beginning and just had to work through some things in her head.  Luckily, I was just the companion necessary to help her work those things out.
 Just so you know the Island Anniversary is the 22nd of November.  Our P-day for that week will be changed to that day (Friday?).  So, don´t freak out on Monday when I don´t write.  Most likely I will still be very much alive and well.  Haha.
Church:  Yesterday, a wonderful Peruvian man named Miguel went to church.  Unfortunately, it´s a little complicated because he leaves to the continent this Friday.  We never even taught him, we only invited him to church.  And he came.  And he loved it.  And he wants to keep going and share with his family and find the missionaries there in Santiago. He will be coming back in January, and I have absolutely no doubt that he will be a priesthood-holding member!  Woohoo!
Island Complications:  If someone gets sick, pregnant, or hurt in anyway, they have to fly to the continent.  Imagine!!  At 7 months pregnant, every woman has to fly to the mainland and be there, alone, until at least two months after the baby is born.  If someone has a heart attack,  Darn.  Hope you make it in the 5 hours that it takes to get a plane here and get them back there to a hospital.  And if it´s a rainy day?  Welpt.  Stinks for you.
Island Bonuses:  ALL healthcare is free.  Granted it´s junky.  But it´s free.
Elder Holland IS COMING!    Well, he is coming to Santiago.  I am bummed I can't be there but I think we at least get to listen over the phone, assuming that the connection is good that day.  We and the missionaries from Isla de Pascua (Easter Island) are going to tune in on the phones of President and Sister Essig.  (The best part about this news for me is knowing that she actually has access to a phone and I might get the Christmas phone call after all)
Conference:  Still haven't seen it.  We will get to watch it in a few weeks....I think.
Satan:  Has had a powerful grasp on this island for WAY TOO LONG.  It gets scary sometimes.  Really freaky things happen here.  But the clouds are truly beginning to part (literally too, the rain is beginning to stop!) and the power of God is breaking through.  It is so beautiful to watch day after day.
I love you so much and pray for each of you daily!

Sister Thomas

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