Wow. My first week in Uruguay is going well. It's weird to think I've been away from home this long. I have very little perception of time out here. Right now I'm sitting in an internet hub at a bus station in the middle of bustling Montevideo, two hours away by omnibus from our area in Florida. We had to come today for medical checkups. They took my blood, etc, basic checkup stuff. Since we only have 30 minutes for email, I'll be sending you a longer letter via the church pouch with more detailed stories-- we already have some. We are only allowed to receive emails from immediate family members, so if someone could help spread this word around that would be great: everyone can send emails to the mission home at firstname.lastname@example.org where they will be printed and given to me open-letter style. My name needs to be in the subject line (Hermana Christina Phillips).
We are working for a baptism on Saturday! I haven't been present for all the lessons with Mauro, but we'll be teaching him every day until his baptism. A note here: in the States it's rude to interrupt, but here, you can't communicate at all if you don't. Uruguayos talk and talk and talk and talk... about things unrelated to the topic. I loose interest and Hermana Vargas looses patience. She truly has a gift for interrupting.
The people are so loving, unless we tell them that there's only one true church. That makes some people kind of mad.
There are a lot of inactive members here. Retention is a big problem.
The previous mission president really pushed the number of baptisms, but according to Hermana Vargas that caused a lot of missionaries to baptize before people were ready, and also baptize a lot of youths and children without their parents. Of the 86,000+ miembros en Urugay, we don't have any idea where 20,000 are. Our ward missionaries are really great, though, so I look forward to getting their help with that.
I love you. I miss you. It's really hot. I'm happy to be preaching the Gospel! What else is there? I love you.