Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Practicing Spanish on the street.

My friend from Linares came to visit us in Talca last week and told me that the language is "outside" and I need to go and talk to people on the street and in the plaza.  I really didn't have any desire to do this because  I can't say much.

On Saturday, we had to go to Linares so Doug could meet with the Branch and District Presidents.  I decided to take my camera and hit the street and see what would happen.  I headed down the street toward this catholic church.

The entire inside of this church was destroyed by the earthquake.  There is no roof and they are starting the reconstruction project.

Right across the street from our Chapel is what is left of this house.  Two women were killed when the adobe fell on them during the earthquake.

There are adobe buildings just like this, all over Talca,  where only the exterior walls are partially standing.  All the roofs are gone.

I walked further down the street taking pictures in the neighborhood.

As I was merrily going along by myself in Chile, I met a man.  We greeted each other and I quickly ran out of words.  He talked to me for a while and I acted like I understood most everything.  He was taking a chair down the street to be repaired.  In a few minutes he returned and asked if I would like to see the church.  I said in my most eloquent Spanish, "Si".  We walked to the church and went into an office and the receptionist said it was being renovated,  (I think).  She sent us next door to a school where they were having a veterinary clinic.  We met the students and went inside the school where I got a picture of the gym and the side of the church and yard.

This is Dorian Silva, my personal, Chileno, guide.
This is where the blessing comes in.  This student is from England, but has lived in Chile since she was four.  I asked  her to tell Dorian that I needed to get back because my husband was probably worried.
One quick picture and Dorian walked me all the way back to the Chapel.

As we got close to the chapel, I could see Doug, President Gonzales and President Giadach, all out in the street, looking for me!  They all met Dorian and we had a few laughs over, I'm not sure what.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sometimes you have to invite yourself in

We got called to do a temple recommend interview in Linares today after church.  After the interview we decided to visit Rodrigo and Estanka Meza, a beautiful young couple who joined the church just a few months ago.  Sally and Hermana Lepe had visited them once on one of our home visits a few weeks back.  I had met them once when they were investigators and had seen him one other time in Linares 2.  When we called Rodrigo and asked if we could come visit he was a little hesitant.  He told us that they weren't home but they were at Estanka's parents house in Linares.  Not to be deterred we asked if we could come and visit them at her parents house.  After some talking in the background he said OK and gave us the address.

Our google map worked like a charm this time and we arrived at their house in 5 minutes.  Estanka's parents were very kind and invited us to sit down with them at the kitchen table.  They served us some soft drinks and "empanadas de queso" - cheese empanadas.  After we got to know them better the conversation turned to the gospel.  We started talking about families - eternal families.  The parents listened and were in agreement that families should be eternal.  We explained that they could be through the ordinances of the temple.  Rodrigo happily shared that he had blessed the sacrament today in church.  Estanka teased him a little saying that he broke the bread into pieces so large she thought he was serving breakfast.  She said that she had been asked to speak in church next Sunday and she was pretty excited about that.  I asked the parents if they were going to go and hear their daughter speak.  They said that they thought that would be a good idea.  We then talked about Rodrigo and Estanka's conversion to the Church.  The parents were concerned about missionaries coming and going and their kids being attached to them.  We explained that we try to help new converts get attached to God, not to the missionaries.  We talked about the Holy Spirit and how it testifies of truth.  Rodrigo told about how he felt as an investigator when he heard Sally bear her testimony just a couple of weeks after we arrived.  He said Sally wasn't the only one crying, he was crying right along with her.  He explained that when he first saw us sitting on the stand he thought that we were visiting authorities and he knew we were from outside the country.  He was surprised when we came to them   after the meeting to meet them and greet them.  He then realized that we were just ordinary people trying to help out.  Sally shared a scripture she has memorized, "Porque el Espíritu mismo da testimonio a nuestro espíritu de que somos hijos de dios."  (Romans 8:16).  I was so impressed!  And so were they!

Guillermo, the dad, talked about him being an altar boy in the Catholic Church.  He said he used to drink the wine that the priest didn't use during communion until one of the priests caught him and pulled him by the ear and scolded him.  He also said that he loved working with the youth and had done a lot of it in the Catholic Church.  We explained to him that the Church had a great need for him.  We told him that he would make a good member of the church.  He said that they would have to look into the church.  They were agreeable to having the missionaries teach them.  They invited us to come back and have Sunday dinner with them on another Sunday.  We were not able to schedule a time because of previous commitments we have.

Rodrigo said he was going to baptize his 16 year old nephew in 2 weeks, the day John and Jessica get here for a week's visit.  I told the parents that I was looking forward to attending their baptism!  We hope that they will be baptized.  We are just grateful that we could be part of that process.  It is fun doing real missionary work.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Never on a Sunday

Ok, not only did the gas station attendant enter the wrong amount - 33.156 is for liters, not the charge of 24,900 pesos (about $52.00) - he entered an extra 3.  So my credit card was charged 333,156 pesos for gas - a mere $701.00!!
They tried to reverse the charge but were unsuccessful.  After the manager came (that is him kneeling down trying to get the credit card machine to issue a refund) and we had waited for an hour they finally gave us cash.  They only charged us $18 for the gas.  They were very apologetic.
The moral of the story is - make sure you have enough gas Saturday to handle anything that may come up on Sunday.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Trip to the Border - Still in our Zone!

Right foot in Chile, left foot in Argentina.  Our zone extends all the way to the Argentina. This is called Paso Pehuenche.  It is only 175 kilometers from Talca.  
This is literally the continental divide in South America.  This stream breaks to the right and goes into Argentina and eventually the Atlantic Ocean.  A little further up it branches off to the left and flows into Chile, the Rio Maule, and then the Pacific Ocean.  It is the natural border between the two countries.

The elevation is 8375 feet (2553) meters.  That is not very high since many peaks in the Andes are over 20,000 feet.
The road is 98% paved from Talca to the Argentine border.  Unfortunately some of the guard rails have failed.
The road is only open in the summer.  On Christmas day (the equivalent of June 25) they had a meter of snow - over 3 feet.
Laguna del Maule is just a few miles from the border.  The Maule River comes from this and goes all the way to Constitución on the coast.  I baptized several people in that river 43 years ago while serving in Constitución.
Horses grazing by Laguna del Maule.
The drive up to the pass was spectacular.  The Maule River is below.

This may be used to get things down the hill to the homes below.

Ruta 115 (route 115) follows the Maule River.
Here are a couple of video clips that show the Laguna del Maule and the Maule River.

Argentina Trip Laguna del Maule 1 from Douglas W Pulsipher on Vimeo.

Argentina Trip Rio Maule from Douglas W Pulsipher on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Chilean Culture - Great Young People Carry It Forward

On our way to go out of town we saw these dancers in front of the market where we buy our produce.  Sally said, "I've got to get some pictures."  So I dropped her off and went to find a place to park.  She took or had taken these pictures before I found her again.

Talca Dancers 2 from Douglas W Pulsipher on Vimeo.
When I finally found Sally she was filming the kids doing the traditional Chilean dance.