Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO CHRISTIAN! I realized last night that I will have missed his 17th and 18th birthdays, and his 19th and 20th we won´t be together either! How sad. Hmphf. Oh well, I hope you are able to party up your last pre-mission birthday!

Also, Truman, that was the BEST letter I have ever received! I miss you tons!

For the general public and everyone that is asking, I have NO IDEA what my post mission plans are. I am assuming I will be in California for the first week, and then from there travel back and forth a bunch. I will have to decide then because right now it just gives me stress hives. Haha.

Apart from that we are here in the spring time after a week of eating SO MUCH food. Now the diet starts…haa.

Well, love you all! Here are the journal entries. See you in 14 weeks!


We went to the richest part of the mission today to be with my companions´ old comp. It was fun. Nothing else to say.


We were on a long dirt road talking to the ONLY person in sight. His name is Hugo, 70 years old and was on his mountain bike riding like it was no big deal! He was super nice and telling us about his family and beliefs in God when out of the blue, a woman appears about 50 yards from us. She is staring out into the field. The next time I look over, she is staring at me. We keep talking to Hugo because he is interested in our message…but gradually the woman starts scooting towards us. Hugo wraps up his sentence and then we hear the woman´s voice, RIGHT next to us.

¨Where is that pretty girl from?¨ She says, not diverting her glance from my face. I responded and we began to talk to her…but…she was ¨special¨. Those are her own words. Special and gifted because she can read people´s past….

Hugo ran away after we set an appointment, he was eager to get out of there before things got awkwarder.

Carmen, the woman, begins to smile and look into the eyes of my companion. Then Carmen tells my companion that she is glad Hermana Diaz has found God after all her suffering…

There were so many uncomfortable pauses that I had no idea how to respond to. We tried to share our message, but we were thrown off topic every 10 seconds by her divinations and comments about how I am SO beautiful and how my companion needs to be happy to be with me. ¨Oh, please, thanks, ok, that´s all, you are pretty, too…my companion is gorgeous, look at her!¨ All failed attempts. I wanted to disappear into the nearest gopher hole. Now I joke with my companion and say ¨You need to be happy that you are with me because I´m pretty!¨ I say it very arrogantly and nasally to add to the  effect. And she laughs. Because it{s ridiculous. And because my companion knows I am so imperfect in almost every other way which makes it annoying that people give me a ¨get out of jail free¨ card for every situation just because I´m a blonde. 

Here is my conclusion. First off, I NEVER in my life want to be told I am pretty or beautiful or Russian or anything like unto it. This may seem like a weird desire, but when you are the only blonde in a farming community, 3 minutes don{t pass by without a cat call from a cowboy on a horse or men in a tractor or some strange undiscernible comment whispered into my ear as I pass by a drunkard. I take it as a blessing that now I don´t care so much about my outward appearance… I mean, I still care, but it doesn´t mean I am going to be flattered and swept off my feet if someone tells me that I´m ¨Hermosa, guapa, linda, SEXY WOMAN¨ in the future. The bar has been raised, future husband. Be warned.

Also, we found a little chameleon thing on our way home. It was entertaining because it changed colors. We decided it would be a good photo op. We named it ¨wachita rica¨ (Chilean slang for ¨attractive woman I want to get with you!¨) to celebrate the day full of cat calls and Carmen comments. Then we let it free in the park by our house. 

Just a few more days of Chilean fiestas partrias drinking to survive. I might shove cotton in my ears tomorrowso I don{t hear all the whistles and yells.

(ps. I think I just needed to vent out  my disgust. I feel better now.)


Today for studies I studied about Moroni´s qualities…  the whole time in my mind I had the image of Shane from Mulan and the song ¨Be a man¨ stuck in my head.

Strong and mighty man, man of perfect understanding (this means he applied what he learned to his life, not just in one ear out the other)  didn´t like to hurt others and wanted all to be free from slavery (or from addictions, satan´s slavery in our day), a man of GRATITUDE to his God, a good worker who provides for his people, firm in the faith of Christ, swore to defend his people, rights, country and religion.

Sign me up for the next war!

Thursday. HAPPY 18th of SEPTEMBER, CHILE! (it´s like the 4th of July, but lasts a week)

Today we had a stake activity in a church building that I´d never been to before. We called a Hermana in our stake to ask for directions. She tells me to walk UP the street, turn and keep walking. I took UP to mean NORTH (silly me and my Utah orientation)  so we got lost for about 5 minutes until I said to my comp ´I think I missed something, can you call again? ´The Latinas speak the same language and got it figured out. We walked south and then west to get to the church. Or, up and to the right. Either way.

The activity was great. We had an investigator there named Matias. We all ate Chilean BBQ and got to talk to the branch and see people from the stake. They had dances going on during lunch. It was fun to watch them dance the national dance…The Queca! It is such a spunky flirtatious dance where the two partners don{t touch. The man hops around doing fancy footwork and the woman just gets close and then pulls away. It{s cool and I am definitely youtubing ´how to queca´ in a few months.

Afterwards we went out to work, as normal. The streets smell like beer, the buses smell like beer, the people smell like beer…just the weekend to live through!


Party and party and yeah. The festivities continue!

After lunch we always offer service to the members…and so today I said, ´Hey, can we help you with something?´ The Hermana looked at a pile of onions…ready to be cut for the empanadas. So, we began working. By ´we´ I mean my Latina comp that knows how to cut onions in the way that Latinas like them cut for their empanadas. I was just on fan duty with a card board lid so that the smell didn´t get too strong. My poor companion literally diced up 30 onions…and now she has a blister on her finger. I tried to sweep and do dishes as stuff, but it was easy compared to the onion affair.

In the end, we all ended up with smeared mascara and tears running down our cheeks…and now my comp won´t let me offer any more service. Haha.

Then we went on with the plans and found a family in the park that we NEVER can get a hold of. The mom works a ton and is a single parent, so it{s really difficult for them to get to church. It was good to talk to her and play with her kids a little bit. I always like being outside and letting people see that we care about them and want to help even when we don´t have a set appointment.

Here{s my mission horror story. I think I ate something that gave me food poisoning, because after our last lesson while waiting  for the bus, I NEEDED a bathroom. I won´t go into detail, but it was bad. We waited like a half hour for the bus, then we saw it. In this moment I am at the point where if I put pressure on my stomach I am going to go off like an atomic bomb… we watch the bus get  closer and closer and then, just like that, it passes us…full of people. I was like HERMANA DIAZ I AM NOT GOING TO MAKE IT! WE NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE, FAST! I felt so bad. It was a nightmare. I started seeing stars and just prayed and prayed for a miracle. My companion got in touch with some members who were willing to leave their family party to drive us home. I felt so bad, but there was no other option. In the car the Hermana looked at me and said, ´Oh, you look sick.´ That´s the last thing I remember because I had to close my eyes and do some breathing exercises to keep from losing my cookies. All I remember is listening to Spanish music and running to the bathroom a half hour later when we made it home. Now I am in my sleeping-bag bed on the couch. I don´t think my stomach will let me sleep on the top bunk tonight. 

Oh, also today we took a picture with the Chilean flag and didn´t notice the sleeping dog…aka dead dog… til after.


Did I sleep at all last night? Not really. Remind me that I can´t eat empanadas with meat if they have been sitting out at room temperature for a whole day.

Today we met a reference from our recent convert…now I understand why we are supposed to work with recent converts in missionary work! The reference is great and Andres is bringing him to church tomorrow. He also accepted a baptismal date as a goal for October!

I am so grateful that these last few days we worked and worked. Everyone told us ´nobody is going to be home, everyone will be drunk, come BBQ with us because you won´t be able to work…´ It is a great feeling to know that the Lord´s work is NEVER frustrated. We met some fantastic people and now we can tell all the members what a blessing it has been to be focused on the work.


Whataday. We arrived at church to see the whole stake presidency…not a normal occurrence.

Then they released our branch president and called a new one. Hermano Rivera is the new president, and it is an answered prayer to have him as the president! He just moved into the branch in July and has been working like crazy visiting everyone and participating in the activities and everything. He shared last fastSunday about a dream he had where President Monson was speaking and everyone was doing their own thing, and then little by little he got closer to President Monson, until finally President Monson gave him a hug and told him he was needed in the work. Well, when Hermano Rivera shared this his point was that we need to follow the prophet and then we feel happy, but today he got up and said,

I think I understand a little bit better the dream I had…

hhaha. The good news is, he is TEAM MISSIONARY WORK. His only daughter is currently serving in Argentina and gets back November 3, so he loves and supports the missionaries and wants to help hasten the work.

Tonight we went to a family home evening in the Mormon compound…haha, that Is what we jokingly call it because there are 3 LDS families that live right next door to each other. They invited another family who isn´t members to join and we watched the movie about President Monson. Afterwards we had time to talk and get to know the investigators better.

It was amazing because the investigators (who are actually family members of the host family) felt really comfortable and got to see the other members interacting and understood that we are real people who try to do our best to be obedient and follow the prophet that the Lord has called to guide us.

Now I am exhausted. This week has been rather wild with all the food and celebrations and blessings and miracles. I have a good feeling about what is going to be happening here in our branch!

Hermana VanCott

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