Well this week was good. Had a lot of random crazy things happen, but it was good, we had a lot of fun. First off immigration has been the biggest trouble maker this week that I have ever seen. Everyone was running everywhere. The big scare was Thursday night. At the church we teach english class on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-7pm well we normally get a good turn out, about 40, and all are illegal. So we are just doing the normal thing, in english class and then out of nowhere we look out the windows and see about 75 immigration officers outside of the church. Well this freaked everyone out, but we just kept everyone inside and put them away from the windows, immigration won't come into a building unless they have high guesses that illegals are inside, so we wanted to ensure that immigration couldn't come in. Well we turned off the lights and locked the doors and just pretended that no one was there. Things were all good, E. Herbert was downstairs in the office and kept calling me upstairs telling me what the current situation was, He was acting as our decoy in the office. Well in the end E. Herbert saved the day, immigration came to him and had him open the doors and somehow he was able to convince them to only search the womens bathroom...there was no one in there. Well after nearly 2 hours immigration left and everyone was okay. It was a lot more crazy, but I am sort of lazy and don't want to waste all my email time explaining it all in detail.
This week we have a general authority coming to visit the island, so we had a branch activity on saturday of super cleaning the church and making it look nice, it was a lot of fun! and things look pretty good now, we could still use another cleaning day to get it looking really nice, but we have made great progress. The meeting should be good this week, but I will tell you more about that next week.
Well mom, in response to your question on living within your means and still being happy. Ironically this week I have thought a lot about that as I have been around the Chalas family and watched them. On a quick side note here, the Chalas family is quite wealthy compared to those around them, they have a family of 6 and probably a yearly income of close to $35,000 USD a year and live quite happily. They are building a new house for the family to move into that looks quite nice, definitely nothing compared to US standards, but still very nice. Well in the new house they are going to have a water heater. I was looking through the house and the 14 year old daughter asked me what it was when she saw it and I mentioned that it was a water heater and explained its purpose. The house will have hot water! So funny thing about it though was that when I was done explaining it none of the kids looked excited, they were confused why they would even want hot water, they have grown up only using cold water and can't figure out what is so great about hot water haha They said it is already hot outside so why would they want to use hot water for anything.
Anyways, so living frugally. That is a skill that the people here have. I think a big part is getting rid of all the stuff we think we need, we can save a lot of money if we realize how many things we have that really aren't necessary. The people here are happy, none of them have cable, none of them own cars, mp3 players are unheard of, texting on the phone is an unknown concept, etc. The people have all seen these things but they don't have the money for them so they just go without. One of the biggest things I have noticed, amoungst all the people, but especially the Chalas family is that of sharing. They share everything, I think that brings about 2 effects, first it makes it so they save money, everyone shares everything they own in a family, if someone owns something well really it is sort of owned by everyone in the family, why does everyone in the family need an mp3 player when you can just have one and share it. They are very unselfish, they are willing to share what ever they have. second benefit is that I think it really strenghthens the family when they freely share what they have with one another. Another thing I have noticed is that they eat cheaply. Food can get expensive. They never go out to eat, that is also unheard of. Next they eat the same things all the time. About 6 out of 7 days in a week they eat rice and chicken. They save a lot of money by just accepting something simple and cheap. They don't bother with all the fancy food. Ramen for lunch, rice for dinner and all is well. A lot of people also try to grow their own food and save money. Something else is being willing to walk. Gas is expensive, and it is probably good for your health to have to walk a mile or two. Walking isn't too bad at all. Now how they stay happy in all this....hmm.... well I have talked to the Chalas family about this and it just comes especially with just a feeling of gratitude, they are very thankful for everything that they have. They don't complain, complaining will only bring depression and hard feelings and make you not as happy. Just be thankful for what you do have and keep trying.
On a side note, One of the common things that we get a little bit of a chuckle about is you can always tell who someone is, from far away by what they are wearing. Most of the members only own maybe 7 shirts and 3 pairs of pants, so you just learn what everyone owns and so you can tell who it is by what clothes they have on, even when they are in the far distance.
Same with I think the Chalas family only owns 4 or 5 plates. It always seems that when they eat dinner only part of the family eats, then the dishes are washed and then the next half of the family eats, that is just how it goes. In the end everyone gets fed and everyone is happy.
Entertainment is another thing to, going to the movies is unheard of, too expensive, same with most other types of entertainment that we are use to. A lot of the people for entertainment love to play board games, even if it is the same one over and over. Also a lot of people just do random things with their spare time, they do art, or go and play some sports, many of the adults will just sit around and talk. It is possible to find entertainment for free, I have had a lot of fun on my mission and it never came from spending money.
Hmm...well those weren't the most organized thoughts, but maybe you got something out of it all mom, and maybe you can use some of it for your Relief Society lesson or something. I think the big things are be willing to sacrifice, a lot of things that we think are essential really aren't, if you have water and power and shelter and some food you are doing better than vast parts of the world. Just be thankful for what you have, don't complain. Work together with your family and those around you, you can save a lot of money by just sharing. Find cheap entertainment, do something with your time that is free. Well hopefully that was useful.
Anyways, things are great here. The week was good. We have some good investigators that are doing well. I am having a great time. time is running short. Good luck this week, hopefully everything is going great back home. If you have anymore questions about that mom or if you want me to try and reorganize it a bit better I can give it a go. I was going to attach some pictures, but I am feeling really lazy and I am short on time, so next week! Transfers are coming. I really don't want to be transfered, but I could see it happening. Anyways, I love you all and look forward to next week!
Elder B. Kent Talbert