October 21, 2013
Dear Mom, Dad and family,
In my last letter I left off on Saturday of my first week. The Lumberjack Day…. So I was clearing the trail ahead with this cool, hand forged machete that looked a lot more like a giant kitchen knife than anything else. I was doing this because in Chile apparently everything that’s green has thorns on it, which means clearing the trail was one of the most painful, funny things I have ever done. After we got to the decent lumber, we started cutting trees. I was a little behind and cutting trees into smaller pieces with some other guys with the chainsaw. When I was finished, I realized that I hadn't heard a tree fall for a while so I went to check it out. As I'm walking down the trail I hear someone scream "caer!" (or to fall). I look up and see a fairly large tree coming at me at a decent speed. I got out of the way a few seconds before it hit but it still scared the crap out of me. That’s when I found out that these other guys didn't really understand how to swing an axe and that they really had no idea where the trees would come down (i.e. Elder Washburn). So that’s when I started cutting which was really fun and wasn't what I was thinking when they mentioned a day of service. After that we were fed this awesome meal, which consisted of a goulash/lasagna type dish with chorizo and french fries on top. After that we went home to study and then left for Ramone's (a kid in the branch) farewell party. He's going to the Mexico MTC and I told him that he's going to love it! We came home, tracted a little bit, threw rocks at a pack of mean dogs and returned home.
P.S. Also the Chileans eat this awesome fungus that grows on trees. It’s everywhere, delicious, and tastes like portabella mushrooms. They’re called dihueñes and look like white little fruits and yet are bright orange and look like an orange when you open them.
First Sunday was pretty good. Woke up, almost got out of bed, but it was ridiculously cold so I stayed under the covers and said a thirty minute prayer... not lying, I promise I stayed awake! Then I got out of bed and it was still really cold. Got ready and headed for the chapel. We got there and guess what? It was COLD! We’re all sitting there freezing to death and even the natives are talking about how cold it was. Well what happened is the Branch President couldn't make it so the heater wasn't on. The good news is no one died and it was one of the most alert meetings I've ever been to, no one was asleep! The branch is really small, maybe 20 people total and everyone lets their kids run around so it’s really hard to pay attention, but it makes for a fun atmosphere! During the first 5 minutes of the meeting they randomly asked me to get up and talk about myself. I did all right, although I said next to nothing, but it still went ok. I then went to a gospel principles class where there was a heater (it was fantastic) and then was really scared when I heard that Elders Quorum was in the freezing chapel again. I survived, but on a funny note that was the first time I've been to Elders Quorum and I've been an elder since February... After that, ate lunch with a member (its the big meal here) we had this awesome almost miso soup and then wine seared beef stroganoff with rice and some homemade fresh strawberry juice on the side. I love all the food here! We then went tracting where we taught two lessons and got 8 references in 4 hours, killer day! Also walking away from the reference house (she gave us 5) this mean dog came gunning for us, I picked up a rock but it was still coming I pulled back my arm and he flipped a 180! I threw a hail mary anyway and surprisingly nailed him in the ribs 50 yards away full run! I hear USU needs a new quarterback... jk. Still felt pretty good about that one though. And that was last Sunday!
This week though has gone really well. We’ve been called to a couple of meetings to Lanco, a 4-6 hour trip, so our numbers have been sucking because of that. But other than that this weeks gone pretty good, especially considering that. Finally got to teach one of investigators, Sergio he’s really loving the gospel but we haven't been able to reach him because he's been forced to work double shifts at the casino where he works security. But we taught the 3rd discussion and I invited him to be baptized, he said yes without even batting an eye, only to ask when. SO AWESOME!!!
On a sadder note I had my first rainy day. It started at 11:00 am and hadn't stopped once we went to bed. To say the least, it was cold and miserable and we didn't get to talk to anyone. Missing my umbrella. Finally found out what my nickname in the ward means Sunday (yesterday). Everyone’s been calling me Elder Wachito. I had no idea what it meant until Elder Renshaw told me. (*Note from mom: I looked it up and as far as I can tell, it is a compliment. I think they thought it sounded close to Washburn.) I'm ok with it though, you can call anyone anything as long as you add an ito or ita on it. It's said with love. For instance, everyone calls their wives here gorditas or little fatties, (kinda like fat mom... ) So, Wachito it is!
Either way, this weeks gone really good. I'm eating well because of our mamita and learned another important lesson yesterday. When talking to Brother Puentes, the man who started my nick name, about Chileans talking fast, he asked who I had been talking to, I told him I couldn't understand my papito for the life of me, he then told me that he couldn't understand Christian (our papito) at all on the telephone. Big confidence boost right there. Either way, things are going great! Missing you guys a lot but that’s the usual!
Elder Wachi... um...er..Washburn