Friday, December 28, 2012

Linares, a city of miracles!

On our way to Linares II, we see this gorgeous scene.  Those are the Andes behind that old Catholic church.

This is Andrea Lepe, my English speaking companion when Doug is with the Branch President, Juan Gonzales.
Meet Rodrigo and Estanka.  We are already to the Chilean "kissing stage".  We would love to see them in the temple before we finish our mission.

This is the story of what happened in Linares last week, plus another great day in Curico, (a city that is famous for its vineyards).

On Wed. night we had a plan to go with Linares 2, (the Branch where my English speaking hermana lives), and visit new converts and less actives.  The branch president assigned his counselors and the district president to attend and 6 missionaries were to show up and get paired up so we could visit a lot of people.  The only ones who showed up to visit were the branch president, the elders, us and my friend.  That is probably why Chile has a 10% activity rate!  Hermana Lepe and I visited a young couple that was baptized 4 weeks ago.  They are a golden little family.  They acted like I was Laura Bush.  They wanted to tell me their life story and invited me back for a Chilean meal sometime.  Their house was actually cute.  It was decorated beautifully for Christmas.  Estanka and Rodrigo are their names.  She had some crackers and dip for me to try, and the usual Coke or Sprite.  I thought the dip was pretty good and asked how to make it.  She said it was mayo and ketchup!!  I guess I've been here too long already if I'm liking mayo dip!  Rodrigo came to church on Sunday after we visited.  Of course, I was speaking my most eloquent Spanish during my huge, 1 paragraph talk!  Rod claimed Estanka was sick but I found out that the Elders were going there for dinner, so I think she was home cooking for them.

By the time we left Estanka and Rod, it was 10:30 and too late to go to anywhere else.  We met Doug and President Gonzales back at the church and our phone rang.  It was the elders saying that 2 hermanas were stranded in Linares because they had missed the last bus to their town.  It was cambios (transfers) and they got a late start from Concepcion.  It was a brand new hermana and her trainer, Hermana Almeida.  We went to the bus terminal and there were 4 elders there.  A new elder with all his baggage and companion, needed a ride home.  We took them home while the other elders stayed with the hermanas at the terminal.  The elders watch over the sisters and are very considerate.  It was about 11:30 p.m. when we left Linares with the hermanas and the trunk jammed with luggage.  We were asked to just drop them off at the closest place where some other hermanas lived but we decided to just take them all the way home.  It was an hour and 45 minutes one way and 1 hour back to our place. We crawled into bed about 2;30 a.m.  We were glad that we had set up the visits in Linares that night and were available to help the missionaries get settled for their first night in the mission.

Two days later we were an answer to a prayer again.  One new elder didn't have any money on the debit card he was issued.  The office called us and asked if we could go and give him some cash until they could get him a new card.  I had just made some cinnamon rolls, (an experiment I won't be repeating), so I took some to those lucky elders.  Another set of elders called and asked if we could get them a white board.  We just happened to have an extra and we were going to leave it with their zone leaders.  Compassion struck us and we asked the zone leader to call the elders to see if they were home and we would find their place and deliver the white board.  They were there, so off we went.  When we got to their door, the Elder told us that they had just finished praying for help when the phone rang and it was their zone leader saying we were coming by.  The elders had just been about to leave with their huge laundry bags on their bikes and one bike broke.  They have to deliver their laundry to a member who washes their clothes every week.  They didn't know how they would do this with the broken bike, so they prayed, and we were there!!  It is such a testimony to me that all those prayers for the missionaries are answered every day!  We threw their bikes into our trunk, with the laundry and took the elders to drop off the dirty clothes and take the bikes to a maestro.  They call everyone who fixes things, maestro.  We were so happy we could serve the missionaries that day.  All our testimonies were strengthened.

Every morning when I wake up, I always think, "what miracle will happen today?"
This is one of the 2 chapels in Linares.  All of the buildings in Chile are very nice.

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