Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Great Conference and Terrible Food

So the food here, for the most part, is really, really good. For the most part. Some food, however, has made me wish that I was eating gluten free bread (which literally tastes like cardboard). Hígado, is a meat that my comp had me buy (cuz he bought the fruit and vegetables) that he said is really good and tastes amazing when fried. It wasn´t until he was cooking it that I learned what it was: liver. Liver is the grossest meat. I have no clue how my comp thought it was good. He had me spend 40 pesos on liver. We didn´t even eat half of it because it was so gross. So we threw it over the fence to the neighbor´s dogs, who didn´t like it too much either. They ate it though, prolly cuz they are super skinny and starving.

Another disgusting food: berenjena rellana. Lorena invited us to come over on Friday night to celebrate her birthday with asado. Asado here is amazing, so I was really pumped, especially cuz my liver lunch didn´t fill me up. When we got there, she was making pizza and empanadas. Which was fine by me, I just thought this would be served in addition to the asado. So we helped her make the empanadas (which I knew I wouldn´t be able to eat but wanted to be nice). Then her parents showed up and her mom told us to just take a seat and she would help cook. Lorena asked me if I like berenjena rellana, and I said "I´ve never tried it. Why?" (but in spanish). That´s when I found out there wouldn´t be any asado. To say I was bummed would be pretty accurate. I masked it well though and accepted the offer of berenjena rellana. So she turned around, and made something and put it in the oven. When she brought it out, I realized it was eggplant with a bunch of veggies on top. I had never tried eggplant, but I´d heard things about it, very negative things. It smelled really good though, so I tried it. It is worse than liver. I choked down the two she put on my plate with a smile. But that smile vanished when she put down 6 more. I smiled and politely told her I was full. When I got home that night, I was hungrier than when I had left. Luckily, we had some lettuce to give me another 15 calories.

At 8:45, we said we had to leave to make it home on time. Then her dad offered to drive us home at 8:55. It was cold and had been raining, so we accepted the offer. Then he disappeared for a little bit and returned with a box of wine (here, all liquids are in boxes, wine, milk. spaghetti sauce, you name it, it´s in a box). He had drunk all of it with coke by 8:55. If wasn´t a missionary, and my senior companion, trainor, and district leader didn´t climb in the truck before me, I would have walked home and been late. I have no idea how we didn´t crash. The windsheild was all fogged up from the cold and the rain, and he drunk a bunch of wine. He almost hit someone on a bike, three parked cars, and two cars pulling out of parking spots. I don´t think imma do that again, ever.

Conference was good. Everyone had been saying there is nothing like conference as a missionary, and they were right. We showed up at the stake center to watch conference (because people can´t afford internet nor BYUtv down here), and they said the English room was down the hall and to the right. I was so pumped that I would be able to understand what was going on, and to be surrounded by other missionaries who speak english for 10 hours in one weekend. Then conference started, and the guy with the amazing voice didn´t announce which conference it was. Some guy speaking spanish did. I got kinda nervous, but everyone said this was normal, and the speakers would be in english. So I calmed down. Then Pres. Eyering started to speak, and the first few words were in English. I was so excited, and then the voice over kicked in. I felt like a deflated balloon. The only thing in English was the choir. When Pres. Utchdorf started to speak, and the voiceover kicked in, I wondered whether it would be worth it to try to understand. I decided that it would be, so I started to try to understand. I understood every word. I have know idea how, but I did. I testify that the gift of tongues is real, and that God is aware of us, and wants us to gain knowledge and light. After Uchtdorf, the stake secretary came in and told us he had gotten English working in another room. I was so relieved. The rest of conference was amazing and really powerful.

We also had zone conference this week. I didn´t understand much. That made it kinda boring. But what I did understand was awesome and spiritual. My mission president really likes to focus on repentance and held a public repentance session. He put a chair in the middle of the room and invited us to come sit in it and repent out loud. I had no clue what was going on though until an Hermana from the states with a really "Yankee" accent that I could understand went up. There was only time for 3 people to go. But, the spirit was really strong and it was the first time I felt a positive spirit of humility. Usually it I get a humble feeling when a 4 year old makes fun of my spanish, but this was very spiritual and powerful. So that night, I repented, and did my best to feel that same spirit of humility. He is definitely on to something when he says "I have never found such great joy as repentance" (but in spanish). I´m pretty sure he was quoting a scripture but I´m not sure which one, nor have I remembered to when I have had study time. I testify that repentance truly does bring unimaginable joy. Jesus already suffered for our sins, and already died for us, so let´s take advantage of it! That´s what it´s there for! It is there for us to gain joy and to feel relieved and spiritually rejuvinated (idk if that´s spelled right, I don´t have English spellcheck here). I invite all of you to repent daily, with all the energies of your soul, and, to feel, as described by Alma, joy such that nothing is as exquisite as your joy. I testify that there is literal power in repentance, and it´s amazing. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Brown

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