Thursday, December 20, 2012
Our pension is a separate house in Diego de Almagro and there is just us working here. We are indeed doing all of our own cooking and cleaning here. I am not really developing my cooking abilities because there is not much to work with here. I did make a cheese cream sauce for pasta though which was really good and something that was more like what I would have eaten at home. That being said, I have to get more creative because I have been eating pasta everyday since I got here. That is mostly because I am lazy about cooking, I did experiment with roux´s this week.
I tested those shoes and they are fantastic.
The branch here is super super super small - this week we had 13 people in church (I presided and conducted in Sacrament meeting). However, there are 2 or 3 good families to work with.
We are going to have a conference on Thursday of this week and I am almost positive that I will be recieving the parcels that day.
This zone in the mission is really weird because it is made of 4 cities that are:
Chañaral - main city, 4 missionaries
Diego de Almagro - 1 hour away, my sector, 2 missionaries
El Salvador - 2 hours away, 2 missionaries
Tal Tal - 2 hours away, 2 missionaries
The interesting thing is that we get together every week for a solid day and a half and the zone gets really close because of it, so that is really cool. We're the zone farthest apart, but with the tightest relationships. We are also a zone of 10 where most zones are 16 or 18 missionaries.
I'm sorry but I really don't know what else to write. You need to ask more questions because I feel like I am repeating myself.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
I am going to answer your questions about my sector first. The bus ride was fine. I just slept most of it so I got to catch up on some rest. I am kind of amazing at sleeping on the bus now. As far as the sector goes, this area of Chile is basically the same as the rest of the North because they are little towns that are basically 100% based on the mines. Also, it is not cold at all. The days have hit close to 33 degrees around 1 o´clock. I don't have a mammita here in my sector for laundry or food. The branch here has a regular attendance of 19 or 20 people and I am the second Counsellor.
That being said, we were able to set a baptismal date with a lady our first week in the sector.
In the situation you mentioned, if the District Leader was teaching the investigator then that is definitely why the zone leaders did the interview. It needs to be someone not in your sector who has that assignment.
I am really short on time so this is going to be short and a little random.
We should have a zone conference here in December, but it might be the week following Christmas instead of before. We don't know yet.
I love my new shoes. I was testing them out to see if they are waterproof...they are.
This little town that I am in is really, really, really hot and really dusty. It is kind of annoying because everyone sleeps until 11 and then goes in the house from about 2 till 5 - usually eating and sleeping. I miss Antofagasta where people had somewhat normal schedules.
I will not need another international drivers permit. If there is a need to drive here, the office just gets you an international drivers license. You can just keep that sexy picture of me at home.
My companion Elder Velasquez is from Misiones in Argentina. He lives in the Amazon... interesting.
I have a lot of thoughts about what I would like to do after I get home but I will need to tell you in another e-mail. I would like to write you some things so you know generally what I am thinking.
Mom: Involve the lord in your interview preparation, read the scriptures and pray and put your trust that the outcome will be the correct one regardless of what it is.
I feel like I was just reading about you setting up the Christmas tree, but that was Christmas last year. Weird!
Sorry for the short letter, I will try to allow myself more time next Monday.
Love you guys.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
First, my shoes from the Mission Shoe Store arrived last week on Tuesday and I have been wearing them since. I decided to wear the extra insoles right away instead of waiting as they seem better. I am very happy with the shoes so far. Really... only time will tell what happens as I have been happy with my shoes at the begining every time, but they can wear out pretty fast. However, I feel that with a two year warranty, they should last 1 year at least, or they are defective.
Second, I actually did recieve a transfer this time and I will be spending this next stint of my mission in the zone of Cheñaral. It is a zone made up of little tiny towns called peublos. I will be serving in a town called Diego de Almagro. I am a little bit bummed out because I will not be able to spend Christmas, my birthday or New Years here with the Papitos, but I have come to realize at this point that things are what you make them. Also, I am not here in the mission to celebrate, but to work. I have a 16 hour bus ride to get there though. (This transfer takes him almost from the farthest north to the farthest south in the mission.) I will be heading out at 5 in the afternoon today (in about 2 hours) and get there at about 9 tomorrow morning. One interesting thing is that we spent the whole transfer thinking that Elder Hernandez was leaving, but all of Saturday before I recieved the transfers I ´´knew´´ that I was leaving.
My companion is going to be Elder Velasquez from Argentina. I don't know what city he is from, so I will have to let you know next week. I have worked with him a couple days when I was in Alto Hospicio.
I think Christmas will probably be pretty small for me so if your plans are low key we may have a somewhat similar experience. I am just hoping that we will be able to find a place that will work well to do the call on Christmas. I will probably try and do what I did last year again but with a little bit more time to study and put it together a little better.
I have recieved an e-mail from Garret and it was nice, but I found myself short on time to respond and sent a bit of a lame response.
I am actually finding it really interesting being a district leader. I often felt before like the other elders were competition I had to beat, but that has changed with this assignment. Obviously, there is still a little bit of competition sometimes, (ie.why couldn't I have found that person) but for the most part I have just been really happy when my district members are having success and really worried when they go through tough times. I told that to President Bruce too...He didn't respond :)
The sun glasses are really nice. I am still brushing my teeth better. I actually did break one of my retainers, but I made the decision to stop putting them in my pockets and I think it should help me not break the other one. That being said, I am pretty sure that if I need to I can fix it with super glue. So, I should be fine. Don't worry about it.
Well, here is hoping that I don't get stuck beside some dude who snores on the bus.
Talk to you guys later.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
be my companion because he has almost four months and is ending his mission.)
I just fell over in my chair and it was really funny. Sitting in the ciber with 4 missionaries and a couple old dudes and I fell backwards off my chair. SPECIAL.
I am starting to realize that I really really really miss movies and television.
I am really happy to hear that you guys are going out with the missionaries to help teach and getting to know the new people better. That is something that is really lacking here in the north of Chile. Elder Heràndez says that his best guess is that the church here in the North is about 10 years behind what it is in the south. We are statistically the best mission in Chile, but the church here really is not as strong as it could be. When you can find someone that can go with you to the appointments and become friends with the people investigating the church it really becomes a lot easier for the missionaries to teach them. It really allows the investigators to integrate themselves into the church easier and adjust to the lifestyle that goes with it.
I had my first opportunity to do baptismal interviews this week. Within my district there were 3 baptisms that were planned. I had to go and do the interviews for those baptisms. It was a really good experience, but it's a bit hard because they just kind of tell you ``Oh, you are a district leader now, figure it out.`` We had some bad luck though with the baptisms though. One of them was all ready to go and the lady never showed up for it, so we have to see what happened this week. That really sucked for those Elders. The other two went good and according to plan more or less, but then there was a mix up on Sunday and only one of them got confirmed. That made one of the missionaries really angry because it means that the baptism doesn't count for this month. It had already happened so there wasn't really anything to do about it, but it was frustrating. The other confirmation happened, but they got the name wrong and had to do it again afterwards. Fun times!
If I am here for the next transfer I will be here in Arica until January 14, so that will include Christmas and New Years which I hear is also a pretty big deal.
Wow how foreign...one mission over (geographically - Courtney's call to Vancouver, Canada mission). Just jokes. That is super cool, wherever you go. I am actually a little jealous because she will be going to a place where the church is stable and the members know what is going on. She probably won't have to deal with the frustrations of wanting to do things, but not being able to because they aren't being done or they don't know about them, or you realize there isn't even a ward mission leader. Que bendiciòn. (What a blessing)
I really like that quote, I wrote it down in my planner. ("We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle)
I figured that I should probably protect my eyes so I bought glasses that have about 60% protection against the UV rays. That should help and they let me relax my eyes instead of always squinting.
Well that is about it.
Love you guys,
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
I really need to get back to doing a workout again. I will probably ask Elder Galovich to rip me out of bed because I don't have any problem waking up on time, but the act of getting out of bed is what kills me. I know that I need to get going again on that so that I can stay in shape and have good habits when I get back home of working out everyday.
I did not understand a lot of what mom told me about her job situation but it sounds to me like both of you are looking at possible opportunities to switch things up a bit at work. I totally understand that. The mission is basically like a 2 year job sprint here in Chile - the work is basically always the same, but something as easy as getting transferred to a different sector or city to work makes a big difference to your efficiency and how you function. Changes allow you to go in with renewed energy, just like after the interviews with President Bruce.
Tell the missionaries there to buck up and not get down because their teaching pool may be small currently. They are in the mission to baptize and they have a baptism scheduled, so they are doing good. Also, you should give them references, names of people that are just good people that they could possibly visit. With only a name and a direction it is so much easier to get into a house to teach someone and that is all most missionaries need.
It's good that you're having grandma over more regularly. You should be spoiling her and not just the dog.
I think that I am actually eating smarter now, not necessarily just eating less. I have really cut down on eating bread. The mamita here gives better portions and I feel like I am actually more fit than before when I weighed a bit more. Interestingly, I have a muscle on the outside of my shin where I never had a muscle before - we are pretty sure that it is from all the walking. I may not be the most fit in my upper body, but I can walk at a pretty decent speed for about 5 hours straight if I am not ridiculously hot.
Oh... on P-day we weren't really playing soccer. We were playing in the sand and I made a little mountain of sand and put the ball on it and tried to score goals in a 10 foot rugby standard by chipping it over my companion's head. We were mostly just goofing around and it was more fun than actually playing. (I hurt for about 4 days after throwing the baseball.)
Well, we had a baptism this week that I completely forgot to tell you about last week. It was a lady, Dora, that was going to get baptized last transfer, but she decided not to go through with it on the day of her baptism. Her husband got baptized alone. We have been working with her since I got here and we were all really excited when she got baptized this week (most of the zone).
We have some other investigators that are progressing, but there is one that I am most excited for - a girl named Mary who went to Dora´s baptism. The problem is that she goes to Tacna, Peru every Saturday and Sunday so she can't go to church here. We got her all the times and locations of the wards in Tacna and she promised us that she would go to one there to see what it was like.
I am really happy here in this sector and this city. I really hope that I can spend Christmas here.
Monday, November 12, 2012
We got to go to the beach today and it was a lot of fun. The four of us were going to meet up with the other group before going, but decided to just go straight there. I think that it was a good idea. We took some baseball gloves that the papito (dad) had here in the pension and the other two started playing catch while me and my companion started messing around with a soccer ball. Then me and Elder Galovich started throwing the ball around a little bit until it turned into a throwing competition which was really fun. I forgot how fun it was to throw a ball around like that. When we got warmed up we were probably throwing it half the soccer field or more in distance with all our strength. It was really fun and I even started sweating. Then the zone got there and we played ultimate frisbee until lunch and went home. GOOD DAY!
That is cool that you are getting snow....I'm not. I really miss it. One difference here in Arica is how hot the sun is at mid-day. It really is remarkable. It's interesting that it is summer here and we are going into the hottest months while you are going into the coldest. I know you think that I am so blessed here with perfect weather, but I would love to get stuck for an hour and a half in traffic caused by a snow storm right now.
Last week some time I was actually thinking about your soccer ladies because the mamita here in the pension is married, sealed in the temple and a solid member but still has a good sense of humour like the soccer ladies. It is kind of nice because it is not all Book of Mormon jokes and I sometimes slip back into some typical humor. I never said I was perfect though.
There is no such thing as November 11 (Remembrance Day) as far as I know because that has to do with the World War but Chile as a country is rather new so they were not part of it. Really, September 18th is the big holiday here and there is nothing else I'm aware of. They have a lot of days off for a variety of reasons, but there are really not many big Celebrations.
You can tell Garret to keep up the fitness routine. When I get back from the mission I want to keep eating a bit more and work out when I have a bit more time and my schedule is not quite so rigid. Hot personal trainer girlfriend... I'm impressed, Plesty. You really need to stay in touch with him for me. I'm glad you had him over for supper to catch up and pass along some news - I'm sure he enjoyed the homemade pie too.
Dad, as scary as that sounds that as Ward Mission leader you might be as busy as a bishop, it's worth it. The Ward Mission Leader has the most potential of any person in a ward to make a difference in what happens with the missionary work, Bishop included. (Book of Jordan 13:23).
That is really interesting about Courtney putting in her mission papers, let me know when she gets the call.
I have to go now but...
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
About your wedding anniversary - I obviously just ran out of time last week to mention that because I am so good at remembering the dates of important events in my life like birthdays of family members and stuff.
Oh, believe me, I already knew that I was coming up on one year (Nov 2/12) and mentioning it would not have made any difference for me. We didn't really change anything because I did not let anyone know except the other missionaries in the sector... and my mamita the day before. We just burned a shirt and then went to bed. It is pretty much what I wanted. I am pretty sure that when I am in my last transfer I may tell people that I have less time. It is just not a big deal for me to celebrate the milestones here in the mission with anything other than what I should be doing, that's working.
We moved pensions this week. About 4 hours after I finished writting about how awesome it was, we recieved a call from the zone leaders telling us that we had to move. We were going to have to move to an apartment, but we talked with one family here and we moved in with them. It is a couple - she used to be the food mamita for the missionaries about three months ago, and years ago, they had the missionaries living in their house in Santiago for 15 years. They are used to missionaries. I think the mamita loves it because they can't have any kids and we love it because they are awesome. We switched all of the food and washing to her so now it is all in the same house and easier for us. Also this lady can cook anything... we had fetuccini Alfredo for lunch today....I am happy!
We are having more success here in this sector than I was having before although we really don't have anyone that has gone to church, so I will wait until next week to let you know what is going on there. But, I am definitely more happy here.
It will indeed be really interesting to see what effect the age announcement will have on the missionary work around the world when the younger missionaries start coming out. Apparently the church is looking at the growth here in South America and the South America South Area and are not going to be building anymore meetinghouses for now. Apparently the areas of China, India and Africa are all very very close to being ready to recieve missionaries. This is information that I have managed to gleen from a conference that all the mission presidents from the South America South area had with Elder Bednar and Elder Oaks in Argentina.
I have really not had any problems adapting to the food here - it is largely the same as what we eat at home, just prepared in a different way. There are some things that I don't like very much and some things that I am sick of eating (like rice and chicken), but it is really all pretty easy, though my bowels quite frequently protest a little bit. I have not really done any cooking here, but I could see making a thing or two at some point.
I have been praying for my shoes to arrive soon, ever since I asked you to order them.
Tell maxine HI!
Monday, October 29, 2012
This might be the nicest pension in the whole mission. I took you a few pictures so that you can see, but it is really nice. We have a living room that has a TV (we don't use) and it is fully furnished. We have a Ping Pong table (we do use) and it has a really nice bathroom.
Arica is pretty nice. It is really hot here, but the night time is just like Tocopilla, almost perfect. I will not use a jacket in my whole time here unless something really weird happens. I think there are things to see, but we usually don't go to do those things because we are ultimately more lazy on Pday than anything else.
I am really happy with my companion - we get along really well and we both just want to get out and work, so I think that we'll have more success here. Also, the people here are just more open to the missionaries... so we'll see what happens.
We had a pretty good zone activity today (which in typical style, I took no pictures of). We went to the house of the mamita that used to have the missionaries here in Los Industriales and she made the whole zone mexican food. It was really good... it only cost us about 3 dollars to cover the cost of food for the activity...I doubt that covered it all.
Don't worry about my feet, I have been dealing with my shoes just fine this last little while and I can keep it up for a couple months more if I need to.
I know this is really short, but I uploaded about 50 pictures so you can enjoy that this week.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
These last few days have been a little slow because it is cambios (transfers) and it always slows down the mission. It always picks up the next week, but beforehand everyone is a little preoccupied and the few days before it gets a little hard to focus, but we are better now.
I get so jealous when you talk about volleyball. It pretty much doesn't exist here and I miss playing sports that I enjoy (soccer is "the" game in Chile, but not Jordan's thing). That is cool that you get to play though, probably a nice change for you also. Also nice that it is a woman's only league so you don't have to deal with the guys trying to crank it as hard as they can.
I still can't believe that you even have a motorcycle.
That is a little bit of bad news about Jacek. Has he at least been doing alright since he started changing up what he was doing? Obviously no one wants a heart attack, but it could lead to some good changes in his life (looking on the upside). Also good that you guys are starting out strong in your soccer season.
I guess that I might as well just say it because I am sure that you are wondering anyways - I did get transfered. I am now in the sector of Los Industriales in the city of Arica. I am here with my new companion Elder Hernandez and I have moved up to be a district leader now. I am happy to be here in Arica because it never gets cold like Alto Hospicio. It is quite possible that I will not use a jacket while I am here.
I have now destroyed the shoes to the point where they are almost unuseable so I am really looking forward to having nice shoes. I am just hoping that I can make the old ones last until I recieve the new ones. I will let you know when I get the parcels so you know.
I really have nothing to write about the new sector so I will just leave it at that for now.
Until next week,
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
I can't believe that you slept in until 11 in the morning - I have never seen that from you in my whole life. If it really did actually happen, I would have to believe that you were really tired. I am learning that being constantly tired is just a norm here in the mission and something to get used to.
We had some special transfers in the zone this week so it was a little hectic at some points. Both of our district leaders were transfered to be zone leaders in other zones so we had to fill in for them while we were waiting for their replacements in our zone. I got sent to Pozo Almonte which is a small town outside of Alto Hospicio and had to organize a baptism in one day because it was happening the next day. It was really fun because it was really just a logistical challenge and that is basically how my brain works, so I had a great time. However, I was ready to leave by the end. Just so that you know, the next normal transfers are on the 22nd so I should know for the next letter what is happening with me and who my companion is.
It sounds like you are making a number of changes or renovations this year to the house. I will be able to benefit from it all, even though I know you will probably have projects for me when I return.
The inteview with President Bruce was a really big pick me up, like always. I am finding myself with more excitement to work even though we have very little going on. When talking with President Bruce he indicated the sector hasn't historically had difficulty, but I know and he is also aware that I am not good at finding people to teach. So, we spent a lot of time talking about ways to fix that through improving myself or by changing other things. I am really glad for these 15 to 20 minutes that we get every 3 months because they really make you feel alot better as long as you are working hard.
As far as how the sector is going, we are basically working on trying to find people, and attempting to keep our obedience and work level high, to make sure that we are not losing blessings that are easy to get or easy to lose.
Here you go: Estoy muy feliz que voy a estar recibiendo zapatos nuevos porque los que yo tengo ahora son horrible y murió super rápido. Ni tenía estés zapatos tres semanas antes de que saliera un hoyo abajo en el suelo. Y ahora tengo una división in los dos zapatos y el suelo esta dividido en dos partes. Yo estaba pensando que iban a durar mas tiempo porque son de la marca Coleman pero son muy mal. No puedo creer que yo rompí mis zapatos en menos que un mes. Obviamente voy a tener que usarlos hasta que lleguen mis otros (gracias por mandarmelos) pero he visto los de Elder Mikesell y creo que van a durar hasta el final de mi misión porque después de once meses sus zapatos se ven como los míos después de como un mes (no mis botas, los otros).
I wrote in Spanish but the google translation is horrible so here is what it should translate to.
I am really happy that I am going to be recieving new shoes (in the mail - one from us and one pair ordered/sent from Mission Shoes) because the ones I have right now are horrible and died really fast. I didn't even have these shoes three weeks before there was a hole in the sole. Now there is a split in both the shoes so the sole is divided into two parts. I was thinking that they would last longer because they are Coleman but they are really bad. I can't believe that I broke my shoes in less than one month. I will obviously have to use them until my others arrive (thanks for sending me them) but I have seen Elder Miksell's and I think they will last until the end of my mission because after 11 months his look like mine did after 1 month (not my boots, the others).
Monday, October 8, 2012
It sounds like you are not having any trouble having fun without me. I am however, glad that you had a good time on your vacation and were able to get to do some new/different things. Hopefully when we go again, you'll have a good idea of stuff we can do while we're there.
I don't really know who Train (band we saw in Phoenix) is, but Elder Mikesell does and says its cool, so that's alright.
That's really sad that you only got to see one session of conference because of your schedule, but at least they are all already up on the internet so you can see them afterwards. I am really glad we have a separate room for all the Elders (and members) who speak English to watch because it is really so much better. The priesthood session in English was half without volume here, so we had to watch in Spanish. While it was nice to have that option to be able to watch it in Spanish, it was apparent that there are flaws as things are left out or changed simply because live translation is hard and not exact (we did have English subtitles). You should give thanks everyday that you speak English and are able to hear your church leaders and read the standard works without any errors. It is a great blessing that we have - English is the language of the restoration.
It's ok that I missed Thanksgiving because last year I got 2 - it all works out. I will probably have one here too. I miss turkey, chicken is good, but it's just not the same, and we eat it all the time.
You go hermanando those conversos recientes (friendshipping those recent converts). Sigan con eso, es lo mas importante. (Keep with it, it is most important.)
I was doing some thinking the other day and after our Christmas phone call I will have two five month blocks before talking with you, and then seeing you. How the mission flies... I feel like just left the MTC.
Sorry but I've got to go.
Saturday, October 6, 2012
That's nice that you are having a good time there in Arizona, getting to see some interesting things. I am looking forward to the vacation that you take me on next year. It sounds like this time you were able to take more time to go see and do things now that the house is set up, more or less.
It is looking like the weather here is starting to get hotter. We are going to begin the suffering of walking around in the heat. It is not really that bad, but you have to get used to being constantly sweaty, which sucks. At least if you can get out of the sun, the heat drops significantly because the temperatures are not that bad....it's the intensity of the sun.
My fitness routine has actually picked up a little again from where it was. I am trying to get it done, but have really been tired. Although I am getting up on time to do it, I am still being a little lazy. That being said, I think that I am doing pretty good at keeping my weight in a healthy place - a little bigger than before, but not fat by any means. I just need to do a little better at working out to tone it up and cut out the little bit of chub that is sneaking it's way in.
From what I have heard Santiago is a lot different than here in the North. The people there are apparently more motivated, whereas the people here tend to be a little lazy comparatively. For example, the people here in the North have lots of jobs, but don't want to fill them so the people from the South come and fill them because the mines here are enormous. That is what we hear from talking to other people, but we really aren't too involved with the outside world.
I really miss the temple. The temple in Provo is the same (we went to the Mesa temple while in Arizona) where you can walk in to whatever session you want, pretty much. From what I hear it's the same with the Salt Lake Temple. I think that a trip to the temple at this point in the mission would be a nice refresher - a little bit of time with absolute relaxation and a time to meditate and enjoy the calm.
I am so excited for General Conferance. Today me and Elder Mikesell went down to Iquique to buy food to have during the sessions, since we have a separate room where we can watch in English. Last year I took a ridiculous amount of quotes and notes. I'm hoping it's exactly the same this year. It is pretty cool because it is like two straight days of revelation for you as a person, and as a missionary in my case.
I am glad to hear that Spencer is adapting to life outside the normal (in the mission field). One thing that I am really learning is that everyone tells you how great your mission is going to be and about the great experiences that you are going to have. Everyone also seems to forget to mention the stress, worrying and sheer exertion - physical, mental and spiritual, that you have.
Oh, we had a baptism this week. There was a member whose records were lost and had to get baptized again and that fell to us in this case. It happened all really quickly and was a lot of work in the middle of the week to get everything ready. His name is Francisco Ignacio Nicolas Ibaceta Flores.
That is really all I have and all that I have time for, so I will talk to you next week. Aprovechen la Conferencia (seize the Conference - we assume this means to seize the opportunity of listening to general conference).
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
This was such a crazy week. The big parties here were ridiculous. We didn't go to many of the parties and I forgot my camera in the pension and didn't have time to go get it (sorry). That being said, the amount of partying done here was pretty ridiculous. Elder Mikesell is here in the pension with me and he made the comment that even though 4th of July is a big deal in the States, it doesn't even compare to the amount of celebration that goes on here. I thought it was going to be a lot harder to work, but it wasn't really that bad. The people were in their houses and the big thing here is to do barbeques, which was a nice change. I did get sick after the festival for a little bit which sucked, but overall something interesting to experience.
I am so glad to hear that when you went to church in Arizona that the people were really good to you and friendly. That is something that the people here are really missing. There are some people that are really good to say hello to new people, but most just hang out in their own little world and don't do anything. I really can't wait to get home and be that guy that says hi to everyone. It's really not that weird anymore for me. It's interesting to see the difference in how outgoing I am. I am still reserved when I don't know anyone or feel comfortable, but I find it a lot easier to get to know people now, even in Spanish.
This week it was X degrees and it is suppoesd to stay X degrees for the next 10 years....I hate this climate. (Perhaps moreso some frustration with only minor changes in seasons.)
We are not actually sharing the pension with the zone leaders anymore, but it was interesting for a week. Now we are in the pension with Elder Chota (Peru) and Elder Mikesell (from my group in the MTC). It is kind of nice because me and Elder Mikesell actually have quite a lot in common making it really easy to spend time talking. And... Elder Correa is really pushing me to be more obedient because he is a square, but that's a good thing. This week we started pushing hard to find the less actives here and it is working pretty good. However, I am really tired and I got blisters on my feet (it's a good chance my shoes aren't helping), but moleskin is amazing.
Speaking of shoes I bought new ones this morning. I decided to buy boots instead of shoes and I think that it will work out better for me. They should be near impossible to ruin and they were pretty cheap relatively. I will probably keep my other shoes even though they are destroyed, just to wear to conferences because they look better. I took pictures of my old shoes to show you.
Monday, September 17, 2012
We had a pretty interesting week for a couple of reasons. First, we had our cambios (transfers) and that is always fun. I spent the whole day with Elder Pope, our zone leader, because his companion left on Sunday instead of on Monday. We did a lot of running around to get everyone picked up and dropped off in time so that they didn't miss their buses.
Then on Thursday we had a conference with President Bruce where he really just talked about us and the work that we are doing in the mission and what our focus should be while we are here. It was really good and I really enjoyed it because it is helping me line up what I want with what I am supposed to be doing in the mission. That coupled with the studying I was doing last week has been helping me a lot. I kind of made me feel bad because of the lack of success that I am having currently, but at least my focus is shifting in the right direction.
Also, we are heading into the Sept 18 Independence Day and it is a huge deal. In Canada or the States its kind of a small thing comparatively. Here it's like 3 days off work linked with a weekend and the people are just crazy excited. For example, the District here is having a celebration that starts today from 7pm till 10pm and then tomorrow from 8am till late in the night (don't know exactly when). This week should be fun.
I can only imagine that the Chinese wedding dad photographed would have been a little different. I attended the wedding here when I was in Gabriela and it was largely the same, but with the change in culture there are things that are a little different. The Chinese people tend to be a little bit more over the top with their celebrations from what I understand. It sounds like dad got to see a bunch of interesting things though, which is cool.
That kind of sucks that Blaine has to move given that you just finished decorating his room in the last year, but obviously his safety is more important than a can of paint, especially considering what he has been through lately. At least someone moving into the old residence will have a nice room and they and their family can hopefully appreciate it.
I miss volleyball so much. I know I didn't play a lot at home, but even just playing once and a while was nice, and then in the MTC. Here, soccer is the only thing and I think that I am losing desire to play it, instead of gaining it. I don't think that I will ever need to play, or watch, or even hear about soccer when I return because that is all there is here. That being said, I am happy that the Stake Volleyball Tournament went well and that people showed up and there was some decent play going on.
I really wish there was a temple here in Antofagasta. You guys will have three temples (with the Calgary temple opening soon) within 6 hours and we have one temple more than a day's travel away. I am really looking forward to going when I get back. That would be cool if the new converts could go to the temple openhouse. You should think about taking her to do baptisms - that is one thing they say really encourages people to keep active. It is something like 80% of people who go to the temple to do baptisms within 6 months of getting baptized stay active or some kind of ridiculous statistic like that.
With transfers happening, the weeks are always a little disrupted, so it is hard to tell how things are going to go with the work. But... I do know that we are being really obedient and working really hard, even if it is not showing as much as we would like it to. Now we just need to work on working smarter instead of just harder. One interesting thing is that President Bruce defines levels of Key Indicators so we can measure our progress. The indicators are to help us work more effectively and today he changed those key indicators. It is an interesting way to see how President Bruce thinks that we should be working in order to find sucess here in the sector, and in the mission as a whole. (Key indicators are in Preach My Gospel, ch 8 if you want to look it up instead of me explaining it.)
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
As for the work in the sector, I am not going to lie... I am getting a little frustrated by the lack of success. I have the desire to do a lot, but the lack of people to teach is making it difficult to do all that I want to do. I am really hoping my next companion is really good at getting into doors because I am not very good at it. I am not horrible, but it is not my strength either.
That is cool that you took Blaine and Maxine to Red Deer. It sounds like it was a pretty fun time for you guys. That is interesting about the Bears at the wildlife park in Innisfail being in well known movies and commercials. I never knew that either.
It sounds like the house is going to look a bit different when I get home based on the stuff that you guys are doing. It seems they are pretty functional things so that should be better in the long-run, so I am pretty excited to see everything when I get back.
The thing with learning the language is that I don't want to stop getting better, so I am trying to keep going with the things I need to do to improve. It will be easier to learn here obviously. I find that as I learn new rules and tricks with the grammar and some of the words, I am able to say things in a more efficient manner and get my point across a lot clearer than before. Now people can just listen instead of thinking about what I am trying say all the time.
Anyways... that was my week!
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
We are starting to move into summer but you don't really notice the change too much - the difference between summer and winter is not very significant. You tend to notice it more during the night than during the day.
If you want to get an idea of what it is like in the houses here, here is a description. They are built entirely out of concrete and don't have insulation. It is not uncommon to see large softball or melon sized holes all over the house. There is a grate in our pension here, just open to the outside, that is the size of a half sheet of plywood. So yeah, when it drops below zero, the water inside your house freezes. I was actually laughing with Elder Santos this week because the people here think I am amazing because I can walk around without a jacket, but when I get home people are going to laugh because I need a jacket.
That kind of sucks that shortly after you to painted and fixed up Blaine's room that he is going to move to a different pension, but at least it will be safer for him where there aren't stairs.
I have to say that it was really challenging learning Spanish here because the people speak horrible Spanish (Chileanized - many unique phrases, meanings, sayings) and really fast. But... I am kind of glad on the other hand because now when I hear people speaking good (textbook) Spanish, it is really easy to understand. For example, Elder Mendoza who was living in the pension with us is from Mexico and he is so easy to understand. It is the same with people from Peru, Bolivia and other countries here in South America.
There seems to be a lot of action in the wedding scene back home. I don't see much of that here. Lots of people here are just living together and the Government gives bonuses to people who live together instead of getting married, so that is annoying.
I don't think I will get too used to eating as much as I have been here. I may eat more than before (which wouldn't necesarily be a bad thing), but I actually enjoy when I get a normal sized meal instead of a huge one. I have gotten into the habit of eating breakfast though, which is good.
Oh yeah, we had a pension move the other day. We were living here in the pension as the four Elders who work in this sector, but the other two got moved into a pension in the middle of the sector so the zone leaders, who had to move out of their pension, came to live with us which is right near the border to their sector. So it is kind of interesting because we get to see a little bit of the behind the scenes action that happens.
Anyways, I don't really have that much to say, so I'll talk to you guys next week.
PS. 10 months in the mission yesterday.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Hopefully Blaine stops having problems with his health. There always seems to be issues or complications lately and that is bad for everyone and stresses him out because he doesn't understand it all.
It is really weird with the weather here being the coldest in August because that is not normal. I am just glad that I didn't have to go to Calama in the winter because the temperature drops below zero during the night time and I don't want to have to deal with that. I actually kind of like the winter here, but I'm glad that it will be warming up because I won't ever have to wear a jacket and bother carrying it around. I can't believe that I am already coming up on a year here in the mission and that the season is starting to come full circle.
I don't often do it, but I started thinking about the time here in the mission and how fast it seems to be going based on a couple of milestones that I have coming up. The first week in October will be general conference, then in November, 1 year in the mission. Following that Christmas and then one year in Chile. That is all within 4 months. WOW.
It's interesting that dad wants to do a duathalon - it seems a little random, but it will probably be a good thing to motivate him. I am finding an absolute lack of motivation to do a workout because I know that at the end of my mission I will just lose any weight I've gained. There is no way that I am going to eat as much as here. However, I do need to get on that workout thing though, because I just need to.
I am actually going through a time of real frustration here in the sector right now as I don't know what to do. Elder Santos is doing good, but we aren't really having the success we want. I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I need to change about the way that I am working personally. I think if can focus and have more success personally, that will extend into our companionship and the sector. In the month's newsletter, President Bruce wrote a thing called finders, minders and closers, Camina Conmigo (walk with me), that really helped me out a lot. We also had a conference that got me thinking about what I need to do to change here. If you want to read that newsletter it is probably on the mission website.
Monday, August 20, 2012
It's unfortunate to hear that Blaine is having such a tough time and having to stay in the hospital this long, but at least things seem to be getting a little bit better and relieving a little stress from you.
That is great that the baptism for Stan went through this week and that he was able to have a good turn out for it. I think I might try and start utilizing my members better to get the people more into the church here. I will have to think about that a little more this week and figure out the things I can change in order to get the ball rolling faster here in the sector.
That's cool that Theo got a good turn out for his coming home talk and that he was able to do a good job (why wouldn't he). I have kin ofa resigned myself to the fact that the return missionaries are not going to be writing their talks down. I doubt that I will either.
On P-days here we aren't allowed to dress down unless we are doing something that we can't do in dress clothes, so I mostly just wear dress clothes and my shorts, shirt and hoodie. As far as hair cuts...there are hair dressers everywhere. The other day I walked by 4 that were all right next to one another, so that is really not an issue. In Antofagasta there was a member who was a hair dresser. In Tocopilla I went wherever, and here, I haven't cut my hair yet.
The music player that I got was one that has built in speakers and takes pretty much all kinds of memory. I bought a thumb drive in the Zofri to play the music off of. I have got the one memory stick and I have been downloading some of the music off of the church website to play, but if you wanted to get me some of the music that I can't get off the site and send me that on another USB drive that would be great. Then I could flop the music over and load the other one up with conference talks to listen to. As far as an MP3 player, I don't really need it anymore.
I keep forgetting to tell you guys there are two websites for the mission and they are as follows:
The official website and the Blog
Oh, one more thing...You know how you always told me to try mushrooms again to see if I like them. Well I have had them twice now in the last two weeks and I gotta say....still no.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
It is good to see that the Canadians are stepping it up in the Summer Olympics, but the Winter Olympics are still better. We saw a little bit of the highlights for women's speed walking...that was boring. Too bad about the women's soccer - it always sucks when the game is decided more on how the ref calls it than on how the game is actually played. The ref really can make a substantial difference.
I don't have time to read your talk this week, but I will try and get it read next week. I have not had to speak since my first transfer in Gabriela Mistral, but it is not as big a deal as before my mission because everything I do here is like preparation for a talk.
I really wish I could listen to all of these coming home talks, but at least I will get to hear the ones that are coming after me like Spencer Hoy and Austin Oviatt.
I was given another chirimoya by a member here and I still loved it. I think tomorrow we are going to try and leave early to our meeting and see if there are some at a local market that we pass on the way - it was fantastic.
I am not really worried about having jeans because I never wear them anyway. This was the first time I had tried them on since my first transfer in the mission. What I really need to look at getting is new shoes which I can buy here. It really is amazing how fast you go through shoes here. I think these ones I am wearing now should last at least 3 months, but I might buy some while I am in a bigger city as they'll be easier to find.
We haven't got into see the family that I mentioned last time yet because they weren't around and then he started working. We will have to go sometime this week. We also recieved a reference that is really good and we have family home evening with them today - it should be pretty good. His wife is a less active member that is self-reactivating and he is being pulled along for the ride.
Today we went to the Zofri, which is like a big duty free market here in Iquique. I bought a memory card and a music player that has its own speakers...they are really popular in Chile. I think that it will be nice to have down the road in the mission.
Sorry for the short message, but I am flying through my internet time and I still have things to do.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
That really sucks about Blaine still being in the hospital, but hopefully Robin Hood can help relieve some of the strain as going to the hospital every day for weeks is rough. At least he can eat though.
You said you were taking Blaine different fresh fruits as treats. I ate the weirdest fruit. It's called a Chirimoya and apparently it's the most expensive type of fruit here. It doesn't look or taste like anything that I have ever seen before, but it kind of feels like a banana when you are eating it. It was really good.
I have to agree with Spencer about learning the language in the passage you sent out of his letter. (Sometimes understanding, sometimes being totally lost.) I still have some similar experiences here even after 9 months in the mission. There are times when people are talking to you and you have no idea what they are saying, or now it's more that I understand all the words, but they say it in a really weird way. But... people keep telling me that I am speaking really well, so I am more motivated to keep working harder on my language. I found that you have that time in the MTC when you're not understanding anybody, and then you start feeling pretty good about yourself. Then you get to the field and you have it all over again. However, for me, I am positive that being slowed down by having to learn a new language has made me a better missionary.
I would love to tell you that I get really emotional when I think about home, but I don't really have the time to think about it much.
I heard that Canada did pretty good in synchronized diving, but I could be mistaken. At least they seem to be improving in the Summer Olympics. Some missionaries here are saying that it's a drag to have to miss the Olympics, but I would way rather miss the summer Olympics than the winter ones.
I am indeed that heavy (175 lbs) and it is just as weird for me. The zone here plays soccer everyday, but I like to stay back with one of the 4 elders in the pension and do a workout sometimes. I think that will help. My jeans no longer fit me. They were a little snug to begin with, but now they are tight and uncomfortable.
The new area is good. It is nice being able to knock doors that I have never knocked before. There are a couple of people here that they were teaching that are good and one that I think has really good potential to get baptized. We also found a family this week that we haven't taught, but they seem really nice so we will see. I am gradually getting to know the area here. I think it will be a bit more work than I thought because it seems like that my companion was left out of the loop a little bit last transfer. He doesn't know where a lot of the families are, but we are working on it. The hardest families were the less active ones this week. Being a trainer is a lot different when you start from day one, but it looks as though there isn't a whole lot of difference from being senior companion when you are finishing training - they already know a lot of stuff. However, I am trying to do things like we are supposed to and it should be good. I have to pull a little bit of the lazy out of Elder Santos though that I think he picked up from his old companion.
I don't know if the baptism in Gabriela went through. Perhaps I'll hear at some point.
I was pretty happy with my packing skills too, but I will be happy when I get home and you can just do it for me again. (smiley Face) (spanish keyboard messing up my Emotes).
Strange cultural fact of the week. The people here put jackets on wild dogs during the winter.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
That sucks that Blaine (Jordan's uncle/mom's brother) is having such problems and has been in the hospital recently. At least from what you have told me it sounds like they are trying to do the best that they can in order to help him heal. It's unfortunate that he might have to go back to the hospital for another surgery, but I'm not a doctor, so I am not going to say anything about that.
It is good that you were able to have a chat with Garret for a little bit because I haven't really heard much about anyone since I've been gone. I don't want to be totally cut off from my friends and family. I don't want to be thinking about them all the time either, but a little news is nice. I have indeed worked in the Windermere area and there are some really nice houses so I have an idea of where they're moving. I am surprised that his parents are selling their business, but maybe they are just ready for a change of pace.
I had known that Andrew was planning on going into the police training, but it is good to see that he went through with it. He really seemed to enjoy that stuff before.
From what I understand the weather here is a little colder this year than it has been previously, but otherwise nothing is really weird.
I have not really been keeping up with my workouts, but Elder Rodriguez made me run three days a week. He wanted to go more, but I wasn't that loving. I still look good, but I am about 175 pounds now, which is a little more than before (A little?? Jordan was 152 when he left). I am not fat by any means, but I do need to work out to gain a little muscle and shape up a bit more.
The baptism from this Friday did not go through because she came down with a fever. She was sick and in bed until the end of Saturday. We have the baptism changed to next Saturday and as long as nothing happens again, it should go through.
That being said though, I will not be here is Gabriela anymore as I was transfered to Alto Hospicio. I don't remember my sector's name so I will have to get back to you on that. I will be there with Elder Santos who is going into his second transfer in the mission. I will be completing his training and will be senior companion. I am actually going there with two other Elders from my zone here in La Portada. Elder Pope, who was my district leader here and will be zone leader in Alto Hospicio. Elder Hong will be travelling there too (Elder Hong and me get along very well). Alto Hospicio is a city that is really close to another city called Iquique which is quite large. Iquique is on the coast and runs along until it hits the bottom of the hill. At the top of the hill is a plateau and Alto Hospicio is there. It's not really a hill... more like a foot hill.
I am pretty excited to go and try and use the things that I learned here in the new sector with new people. I am also excited to see doors to knock that I have never knocked before.
Oh, and mom... I think I am getting the hang of this packing thing now. I think you would be proud of me.
Anyways, I should go.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
We had a really good week here in the sector. We were able to get some new people to church and also had a lot of success finding new people without too much difficulty. We have been doing really good and it looks like we can expect a baptism on Friday, as long as nothing changes.
This should be my last week here in Gabriela Mistral. Next week are transfers and it would be a little weird to be here for another transfer, given that Elder Rodriguez should be moving to Senior companion. Really, the only way I think that I would stay is if I am training next transfer, which is potentially an option.
That is sad to hear that Blaine is having more troubles with his arm, but hopefuly he will be able to recover well. On the one hand it is bad that he broke the same arm, but it might be better given that he won't have injuries on both sides.
I can't believe that Jeremy Colling is home already. It has definatly not felt like two years, but I have really been amazed at how fast the time seems to go here in the mission. I am kind of noticing how short my life before the mission actually felt. It is a lot easier to see how the time is moving when looking back on it, than looking at the moment or to the future. The days may seem long, but the weeks seem short. It is good that he was able to give a great homecoming talk. I would imagine that it is pretty emotional to come back home and talk in that setting. Probably didn't help that his sisters sang right before.
I was actually wondering the other day what some of the people I know are doing. Like Alex, Garret (did you have him over?), Jeff, Andrew and some of the girls.
You should try and let me know a little what happens during the Olympics even though Canada usually isn't strong in the summer Olympics.
I had mentioned that we were going to have a baptism this Friday. It is a girl from here that Elder Rodriguez found. She is fourteen, but her understanding of the things that we are teaching is really amazing. There are a lot of adults that we teach that don't understand like she does, and when she doesn't understand something she asks, which is refreshing.
We are also working with a couple that we found that are from Columbia. They came to church for the first time yesterday and I think that they really enjoyed it. We are really excited to see what goes on. We will be trying to get them to commit to a baptisimal date this week which would be fantastic because it's always like to find families instead of single family members.
I couldn't help but notice that in the picture of you guys by the fountain at City Hall during Taste of Edmonton, that mom is holding green onion cakes.....that's just mean. (Not intentional - Jordan's favourite.)
Sunday, July 22, 2012
It is really interesting that you guys are getting your hot weather there while we are getting our cold weather here. I knew that it worked that way obviously, but I just never thought about it. It is actually starting to get a little cold during the nights and I have been putting on my jacket a little more than usual. One thing that is different here is that the houses really have no insulation and they are not even close to closed off from the environment, so the indoor temperatures drop and rise a lot with the outside temperature. I heard one time that if you add up all the little cracks and holes that are open to the outside in the houses in Canada, you'd have a hole the size of a basketball. Here it's like having your door open all day, probably more.
I have been thinking about making pizza from scratch, but I have been lazy, not much time to do it, and I have no idea how to regulate the temperature in the stoves here because they are gas.
It doesn't feel like Theo and Jeremy have been out long enough to be coming home already, but like you said, I have been gone 8 and a half months and it doesn't feel that long either.
This week was probably our worst week here in the sector, but we did have the baptism of Eduardo (I'll send pictures next week). We are really looking to work a little harder this week. There were a lot of meetings and things this week that took almost all of our mornings, so we should have more time this week to work and get stuff done.
One of those things was the interview with the president and like always, it was really good. It is kind of interesting that I only get time to talk to the president once every three months and only for about 15 minutes, and yet when we get together, most of the time we swap stories instead of talking about specific things. One thing funny was that he asked me if I had a drivers licence and could drive a stick shift, which made me think a lot. The only people who drive are the ones in the office, but it looks like he asked everyone that question, so it was not really a big deal.
With the baptism of Eduardo we still have people to teach, but we will have to find more because some we were teaching are starting to drop off. Hopefully we can have another really good week like we had two weeks ago and get rolling again and finish the transfer strong.
Strange Cultural fact of the week: the people here water the area in front of their house more than we do, but they are watering only dirt in order to keep the dust down... I don't think that it is working.
Love you guys,
Thursday, July 12, 2012
You really shouldn't feel too worried about telling me things that are going on and distracting me because I hardly think about home during the week. Really only on Sunday. The mission is just too busy and Elder Rodriguez and I are working really hard so it's not really a distraction. I have been amazed at how fast this transfer has been going - it hasn't felt anywhere close to three weeks. That usually happens when you are focused on the right things... so there you go.
I really don't think you could bore me with your pictures. I will give you an idea of some things that I have not seen in a while: grass, carpet, doorknobs... any kind of plant. One thing that I would really like you to send me, but might take some effort to get, is a couple pictures of a project or two from work last summer (landscaping). I would really appreciate it if you could get me the pictures this week, but if it takes another week that's fine.
I am convinced that during my first two months in the mission that I could have beaten anyone at charades, so you can tell Mandy I know what that is like. (Friends Mandy and Jacek went to Poland, his homeland, during Euro. Mandy doesn't speak Polish... they didn't speak English, but her charades were excellent!)
I am so happy to be working with Elder Rodriguez here in Gabriela. We have one baptism set for this week and we have a handful of people that are progressing so we are looking good.
Eduardo is that one that we have been working with whose girlfriend is a member. He is doing really well in order to work towards this Saturday. The only thing that we really have left with him is to get him his interview this week and actually do it.
Elder Rodriguez found a girl on Saturday while he was working with another Elder and she went to church yesterday. She was saying she wants to go to seminary so we will probably be working with her throughout this coming week. I really don't know much about her situation, but it sounds like her mother was an investigator a long time ago, but never got baptized (maybe because of the dad).
We also have two families of Colombians that we are working with, thanks to my companion. A couple of them are progressing well, but have yet to go to church.
Ilrick was our other investigator that had a baptisimal date for this Saturday, but it is looking like we are going to have to work with him a little more. He was attending an Adventist church and I think he feels uncertain on a couple of things. What he really needs to do is read and pray, but I don't think he wants to at this point.
In other news...tomorrow we have interviews with President Bruce so I will be able to give you a lowdown on what happens next week. Also, I will upload some photos today.
Strange cultural fact of the week: From what I can tell, there appears to be no speed limit here, or it is really not enforced.
I really need to start writing down more things that happen. Some guy came and told me this week that he was a prophet and had spoken in tongues. The spirit told him to tell me that I need to stop living in the flesh and start living in spirit and loving the people. I would love to tell you that it was a weird experience, but stuff like that happens all the time. However, it's something I haven't mentioned before.