First, I can tell you a little about the missionary work that is a little more specific to Chile and I can guarantee that you and Dad never did anything like it. In our ward, there are about 50 people maximum attending sacrament meeting. However, we have on file 1006 members of the church who are supposed to be in our ward. The problem is two fold. Firstly, out of the 600,000 members in Chile, only 500,000 are active. In the 90s, a lot of people joined, but not many had a testimony. So they fell away when they realized that no, the church doesn´t give hand outs, and no, it´s not the church to play soccer on Sunday, and yes, you do have to pay tithing and sacrifice to build the kingdom of God. Secondly, a lot of people moved out of the ward boundaries, but the records were never updated, so we have a list of people with maybe 60% of them not even living in our ward.
To solve this problem, the church teamed up the the government of Chile to seek out and find these people. First, actually go one at a time to each address and check if the people live there. We write down if they are receptive or not, then we use a program called El Rescate to help with the preliminary part of the record keeping. Basically, what El Rescate does is it goes into the voting registrations of the citizens of Chile and searches them from basic information, which we then verify, then we go to MLS and put the same information into the church records. It´s tedious, time consuming and extremely rewarding. Talk about seeking after the one.
Second, I am also starting to see why I needed to go on a mission. I have A LOT of growing I needed and still need to do. So many hard lessons in patience and diligence and the importance of seeking after the Lord before myself. I mean, I wasn´t a bad person before I left. In fact, I considered myself to be a good person, if not an exceptional person. But I am finding a mission to be the most humbling, faith building, mind boggling experience I could have done right now. It´s interesting, too to see how I was prepared to go on my mission. I was just writing in my journal about that, actually. I noticed that at home, I was taught how and what to do, and in college, I learned why. I am fascinated watching little miracles happen every day. I get a little better at something, or I change a little bit in a better way.
Unless we have to get up earlier, we get up at 7:30 and go to bed at 11:30 every day, and have to be in our pension at 10:30. This is specific to the Este Mission, because people in our mission do everything an hour later then the rest of the world. We also do 4 hours of study every day: personal, companionship and language. We do that in the morning, because Chileans are lazy and do everything late, so the best time to proselyte is in the evening. We proselyte with whatever time we have remaining from everything else. We get fed lunches everyday except for Monday, Tuesday and Thursday by members, but soon it will be every day except for Monday.
Monday is P-day. It starts at 11 and goes to 7. We can write any time during that time, and we get an hour and a half. We also do Noche de Hogar (literally means “Night of Home”. I don´t know what it is normally called in the church.) and Correlación with the bishop (just a meeting).
Tuesday is district meeting in the morning, unless it´s zone meeting.
Wednesday is just a full day of proseliting.
Thursday is normally like Wednesday, but because I´m a n00b and I´m under a microscope, I get on the metro to meet with president for a meeting with all the other n00bs.
Friday is when we plan, which we do in the morning.
Saturday is like Wednesday.
Sunday, we have church at 10:00, then lunch, then study.
Also, when you send things, please don´t write Elder on the box or letter. Apparently, it makes it more likely to get robbed. Just a warning.