outer darkness feels a lot worse than the celestial kingdom

Letter received 8/30/2010

The bad news is that I´m currently writing to you guys from outer darkness, also known as Level 1 in our "Celestial Missionary" goals. It feels pretty bad.
In other news, we did A LOT of traveling this week. Wednesday night we left to Antofagasta for the conference with Elder Amado and Elder Costa. It was really weird to sleep on a bus surrounded by Elders. When I first got here and we traveled to Iquique, it was overnight on a bus too but there were a lot of people who weren´t missionaries, plus I was SO out of it that I didn´t even know what was up and nothing was going to stop me from sleeping the whole six hours. This time, all the missionaries from 3 of the 10 zones in our mission were on the same bus, and it was just us 4 hermanas and about 40 Elders. And of course we were put right in the middle of all of them, haha. We arrived in Antofagasta at 6:30 am, reeeeeally tired, because the bus ride was about 7 hours, and of course we didn´t sleep right away. Plus, at 5:30, right when we were ALL sleeping pretty deeply, the bus driver lost control of the bus and it almost tipped over. It was a two-level bus, and we were on the top level, so it was a really scary, really drastic sensation to be close to the ground. Backpacks, etc were falling from the shelf above the seats, and obviously someone started screaming, and we all woke up and were scared out of our minds. Then we looked out the window and we couldn´t see ANYTHING. It was super foggy, and we assumed that that had caused the driver a major problem. Luckily, we´re missionaries, so the Lord protected us, and we survived the trip. But we didn´t go back to sleep for the rest of the time, naturally.
The conference was really awesome. Elder Costa and Elder Amado both had awesome things to teach us about missionary work, and we left really excited to go out and baptize every week, as Elder Costa promised us we would if we did what he said (teach by the Spirit). Almost all of the mission was there in the conference in Antofagasta, so everyone was really excited to se their old companions and stuff, but I didn´t really know anyone except the Hermanas I came with. Someday I´ll make new friends in the mission...
Thursday afternoon we went out to work with the Hermanas in Antofagasta, and Friday morning we traveled back to Caldera, but the bus is a million hours long, plus we stopped in a million places (I basically have seen the whole mission now), and when we finally got to Copiapo we still had the hour-long bus ride to Caldera, and when we finally got to Caldera, we had to walk to our house from the bus terminal with all our luggage and we hadn´t bathed since Thursday and we hadn´t eaten since the morning. Umm... we were a little low-spirited. But we bathed and ate and went out to work... at 8 pm. Friday was not a super great day in our area. We tried to work like burros Saturday and Sunday, but I´m sad to report that we only had 2 member-present lessons and that about killed us. As a zone, we´re not even in Level 1. Ouch. We definitely need some help here.
The only other news I have to report is that I´m once again practicing my English. There were basically NO gringos in Iquique, so I never, ever spoke English, but in Copiapo there are about a million, and they have the really bad habit of speaking English. I´ve discovered that I speak really awkwardly in English, but I´m trying to practice so that someday, when (if) I come home, I won´t lose all my abilities to communicate with my friends and family. I´ll keep you posted on that.
Okay, we´re out of time, but I love you! I´ll write more next week, hopefully from a higher level. Keep working hard in your jobs, school, etc., and I´m always praying for you!