Janelle's e-mails to her family

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What a crazy week!!!

Hey there family,

Hey there, how are my beautiful family and amazing friends? You´re probably wondering why you are getting this email from me on Saturday...well, I am in my new sector in Ovejeria in the Osorno Zone, and this is the zone that all the office elders and the APs are in, so they have to change the P-day to Saturday (every Saturday) for some reason...but here I am. Don´t worry about not writing...you didn´t know. Hehehe ...but I expect the letters this next week. Hehehe.

Well, anyway...this has been the craziest week of my life...no exaggeration. I don´t know if you all have heard or not, but the entire cities of Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales, and Por Venir are on strike...aka our entire Zone. What do I mean by on strike? What the deal is, is the Chilean government wants to raise their gas prices so they don´t use as much, and the Magellonicos are really angry because they use gas for everything year round...it´s kinda cold there. Anyway, so there is big drama. What do I mean by big drama? They have shut down all transportation in the city. The collectives (taxis) and other protestors are all parked on the streets in blockades every few blocks around the city. Everything is shut down, and they aren´t letting any cars go through, in, or out of the city. It´s causing serious problems for all the tourists down there, because they are coming or going from vacations, but there is no way they can leave or enter the cities. It´s just crazy. It has been a fairly calm protest. The only thing is that they would light cars or tires on fire close to the blockades just as demonstrations. So that was kind of crazy...but not that dangerous...I guess. Anyway, the strike started on Wednesday...the day of transfers.

Wednesday to Friday night we were trying to figure out how to get to the airport. Our flight out on Wednesday afternoon got canceled, so I got to work with Hermana Byam in Ovejero for one more day. That was a very strange day...we couldn´t really leave our poblacion...neighborhood, because there were protests going on blocking off the entrances. So we worked within our little Villa las Nieves. While we were doing contacts, we found a woman that had escaped from the mental health hospital and was lost in our neighborhood. She had walked all the way there, but she didn´t know where she lived or where she was going. She was really nice, but just pretty crazy in the head. Her name was Maria. I knew we had to help here because if we didn´t I knew that probably no one else would as the city was shut down...so we called the Police. The first time they hung up...on me. The second time they said they would send someone, and then they never asked for the direction...I told them, and then they confirmed that "they would let someone know"...they never came. So we walked little Maria to the hospital. There they figured out who she was and where she belonged. So then we went back to our neighborhood to work. We found a man and a woman standing outside smoking. We had contacted the man before. His name was Vladimier...yeah, he´s Russian. The woman was Chilean and they invited us in to teach. While we were in there we figured out that Vladimier is a Russian Orthodox priest or authority or something...needless to say it was the strangest lesson I have had in my mission. A Russian and Chilean and two Gringas talking about the Gospel. He was pretty crazy, too, though. I am grateful that in our church the leaders are called of God, and are not leaders only because they have been in a "special church school" for their whole lives. This man was the furthest thing from an example of Christ that I have met in my life. It was regrettable. But then Wednesday night we taught an investigator of ours named Jose. He has been investigating the Church for awhile, but has never felt the need to get baptized. We had a really great lesson with him, and we invited him to get baptized on the 29 of January. It was a very powerful lesson, and it felt good to end that crazy day on a really good note.

...and then came Thursday. So Thursday morning came, and Hermana Reyes, the owner of our house and the best member ever, took us as far as she could to the Church in her car, but there was another blockade right outside our neighborhood, so for the rest of the way we were on foot, walking with all my luggage to the church to meet up with the elders. We walked right by the protest and through the blockade with all my luggage...I took videos, I´ll have to show you when I get back. But like I said, it was a pretty calm protest...I don´t know if that is contradictory to say “a calm protest”, but let´s just say I didn´t once feel in danger during it all. Once we got to the church we had a member that took us as far as they could to the limit of this city, where there was another blockade. The entrance of the interstate where you have to go to get to the airport was also blocked off to all cars. So there we were walking down the empty interstate with our luggage. We were supposed to meet up with a member that lived on the other side of the blockade in the country that could take us the rest of the way, but when she picked us up we only got a few kilometers further before there was another blockade that we couldn´t pass. We knew that by walking the rest of the way we wouldn´t get there before the plane took off so we got permission to stay at the same member´s house that night. Bless their hearts. This family, Familia Contreras, took on 5 more kids for the day and night. They fed us and gave us beds...it helps that they have a VERY nice house to accommodate us, but I was so impressed with their willingness to help us. They were a miracle for us.

...then came Friday. We got up early in the morning and we started the 24 kilometer trek to the airport with all our luggage. Thank you for buying me luggage with wheels, Mom and Dad. :) We walked through various blockades and everything, but the interstate is right on the coast so it was a pretty walk at least. Every once in a while a local farmer would see us and take us a kilometer or two until the next blockade, but pretty much we walked the whole way. It was quite an adventure. We made it to the airport in time and we found ourselves with lots of angry tourists that had been stuck there since Wednesday. It was all a big mess, but I was grateful that we were all safe and protected. It could have been worse. The good news is in the airport I contacted 3 Japanese people, 1 Israeli, and 2 Brazilians....it was pretty neat.

I got here to Osorno late last night, very tired, but with many stories to tell. I forgot to bring my thing to send pictures, so I´ll have to send them next week. Get excited. :) I am loving this new sector. It reminds me of a little less pretty version of Ancud. I am excited. My compi is great and we are going to have a very great and successful cambio, full of miracles.

Well, my fingers are tired of typing and my hour is up anyway, so I love you guys like crazy, and I´ll write to you all again next Saturday. LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Hermana Bertagnole

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