Today I am writing from my new sector in El Salvador. Things are absolutely and completely different here. The whole sector is the whole town. There is just me and my companion. The nearest other missionaries are in Chañaral, which is an hour and 45 minutes away in a bus. And we have to do that journey, there are back, every Tuesday for our District Meetings. So that´s quite a change.
The town here is a mining town, most of the people here work in the mines, or have something to do with the mines. In fact remember the story of the 33 miners that were trapped in the mine for a couple months? One of them actually lives here in El Salvador and the mine itself is only a couple hours away from here. There is a ton of copper here. Everything is copper, because they just have so much of it. Its pretty cool. And the town only has about 5,000 people here. In fact it is about the size of my hometown, Grantsville. But with more hills, less cows, and less members of the church.
I´m not sure how many members we have here, but it is a teeny little branch, we only have about 11 people who attend church on a regular basis. And two of them are the missionaries. It was really awkward to have a Fast and Testimony meeting where basically everyone HAD to bear their testimonies to pass the time. The excitement and unity that Im used to in other wards isn´t here right now. Im not sure if it´s just because I dont know how everything really works yet, or because that´s how it it. I should know a little bit more next week.
My new companion is Hermana Borges. She just turned 20 this last week and she is from Brazil. She has about 10 months in the mission and she speaks Spanish really well, sometimes she has a weird portugese accent, but that doesnt happen all that much. She is also really pretty and a convert to the church. You can tell that she has a solid concept of the doctrine of the church and has a strong testimony. And you can also tell that she doesnt like me.
And I have no idea why.
I dont think it is so much me, as it is the sector. She is going to complete 6 months here, and that is a really long time to spend in a sector. Especially one as slow moving and cut off from the world as El Salvador. Im trying my hardest to get along with her, but she likes to compare herself to me and assert her way of teaching as better. The other day I asked her why we did something a certain way instead of a way that I was used to and she told me that she was the Senior Companion and that I didnt have to teach her how to be a missionary..... A bunch of other little stuff has happened as well and for the first couple days I was constantly praying that we could go an hour without her finding something about me that she didnt like. And so far we have made it almost a whole day without her correcting me about something. So Im feeling pretty good.
I spent a day and a half or so with just a really sad, sick feeling in my stomach and I prayed a lot about what I could do to make the relationship better. I had already made her breakfast two days in a row and made her a paper crane and a card for her birthday, I didnt know what else I could do. And as I was sitting in Personal study I just heard a couple words in my mind, ¨What is worth more to you right now? Your Pride? Or your Happiness?¨
That hit me pretty hard.
And now Im trying the new tactic of letting her do her own thing and adapting myself to what she is telling me. Im not changing completely, but Im learning to compromise with someone who isnt meeting me halfway. We may never be great friends. But I am determined to learn what I am supposed to learn from her. And she doesnt have to like me for me to love her.
So far that has been my experience this week, going the exra mile. I really miss Hermana Scalise and Arica, but I find little things about this town to love every day. The stars and the sunsets. And the opporunity to share the most valuable thing that I own, my Testimony.
My Ponderize scripture this week was 3 Nephi¨Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.¨ That is why I am here. Sharing my testimony so that all of my brothers and sisters here in Chile, here in this little mining town way up in the mountains of Chile, can have everlasting life, and be with their families for eternity. It doesnt matter if my companion is difficult or if the sector or the work isnt what I am used to. Because I am here for a reason, and Im going to work hard to make this vision a reality.
I love you all. Please continue to read the scripures and ponder. I promise you that it will make a difference in your life. And I loved hearing from the people that sent me thier Ponderize scriptures. Thank you for those. I love you!