Friday, June 29, 2012

June 25, 2012

What happened with Elder López´ sister is that she was here in Chile visiting her grandmother in the South. She came up for two days with his grandmother to have a visit just before he left for home. The original plan was that they were going to spend a week longer here and go home together, but Elder López' father had a fit when that was proposed, so it didn't happen. It was really fun to hang out with them. I could see myself going down after my mission to hang out in Utah since it's close, and the skiing is good.

My first week with my new companion was really great. We both have the drive to do good and get some work done. We jumped right into it and had a better week than most of my weeks last transfer, which is weird because usually transfer week is a little slow. Elder Rodriguez is from Bogota, Columbia. I am still senior companion, given that Elder Rodriguez has only been out 3 months in the field. I honestly don't even care that I am senior companion. I really just want to work together as much as possible so that we can both learn as much as possible. One thing is that Elder Rodriguez speaks pretty good English. One day when I was in the office president Bruce asked me to help him work on that and it has been really good. I am trying to speak a lot of Spanish during the day too, so that he can help me out and we are both learning a lot as I think neither of us has fear to correct the other.

I got the pictures you sent and it looks like you had a good time with the Watson clan over. Blaine seems to be looking pretty professional helping Austin hit the golf ball in that one picture. I'm sure he was a good help. For wanting pictures so bad you are a bit lazy sending me pictures, by the way. I'm not asking for much - you can send me pictures of the family, the house...grass, anything I haven't seen in a while.

Weird cultural fact of the Day: Here in Chile it is difficult digging in the ground, so most of the burials here are above ground, unless you want to pay a lot of money.

Elder McCaskill

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 18, 2012

Today was the start day for transfers here in MCA (Mission Chile Antofagasta?). The thing with this transfer was that Elder López left yesterday so that there would be no issues with getting him to the airport today. Until our companions arrive I have been stuck with another elder from the zone who's companion also left yesterday for home. I will be with him until sometime tomorrow. One cool thing that happened was that Elder López got special permission to have a visit from his sister here in the sector and go hang out with her on Saturday. So, she was with him all day and I got to hang out with them all morning and during the evening (Elder Mitchel, another elder going home, was with them after lunch so that I "got to" stay in the sector). That was super fun and his sister is super cool we had a good time. My new companion will be Elder Rodriguez from Colombia and from what I have heard he is really energetic which I am glad for. I learned a lot from Elder López, but I am looking forward to working my butt off this transfer. I am indeed staying in this sector for one more transfer.

I also had a pretty interesting moment via Elder López´ sister when we were just talking while he was doing something. She said to me that Elder López really appreciated my diligence and thought I was a good example for him. This was a pretty nice thing to hear because our relationship was usually pretty sarcastic. I never heard things like that from him until last night when he said "thanks for keeping me working until the end" which made all the annoying mornings trying to wake him up kinda worth it.

I am glad that dad is working with the missionaries because it makes a huge difference to them and the success in the ward. You don't really realize, but a couple of hours of meetings on their behalf is worth far more then the actual time you spent.

The people that we have to teach right now are as follows:

Ilrick- he is from Haiti and speaks all manner of languages. He is living in the house of one of the members in the ward. He is interested in learning about the church because he is surrounded by members.

The other one is from the other week that we got from a reference. He came to church this week and we are having really great reactions from him. The only problem with him is that he is really hard to meet with because he is busy. However, he has a girlfriend that wants to go to the temple with him. He has also been to institute several times and so he is really solid. 

Other than that we have some people that were found last week in our sector during a zone activity that I still have to go and meet, so I may have a couple more next week to tell you about.

Weird Cultural Fact of the week: When you knock on houses here you almost always yell "Aloh". At times you don't even knock, you just yell that.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

June 11, 2012

I notice that you waited a quite a large amount of time before telling me that you bought a Mac. I am not really surprised that one of the computers died because they are pretty old, but I would have thought it would be the Mother board or CPU in the other one. But, it's not really that big of a deal because I still plan on coming back and buying a new computer, so you can make due with your Mac for now.

I don't think I will get used to the weather here entirely, but I am noticing that I am getting more accustomed. I have had to wear a jacket a couple days. I also bought a sweater made of Alpaca wool today. I really like it and it is formal enough to wear while proselyting, so I am pretty happy about that. Also, we got 8 dollars taken off the total price of mine and Elder López's when we bought them together...yay bartering.

When we were in TGIFriday´s today I noticed that the world cup soccer was on... that's about it.

We have had a really good week watching the bishop tear it up and start off with the drive to do the work. In fact, he was out with us last Monday evening. Other than that I don't really have a whole lot to tell you this week. This has been a long transfer (number of days). A long transfer that has gone very quickly. I should be receiving my new transfer information on  Saturday night and my new companion on Monday or Tuesday (Elder Lopez is finishing his mission this week). So... my next E-mail should be with my new companion.

Strange Cultural fact of the week: Chile is one of only a few places in the world that still has a completely volunteer fire department.

Talk to you next week.


PS. Feliz día del padre Papá (Happy Father's Day Dad)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

June 4, 2012

Interesting that dad is starting off road racing again. I was under the impression that he was over that because it was too expensive - I guess me not being there is giving you all sorts of money to just throw around. I hope you don't go too crazy though because when I get back I have to make up 2 years.

I would have imagined that the funeral of Martha was really quite impressive because of all that she has done in helping others. I can only imagine how much family history work that she has done and the amount of people that she has sent to the temple.

One thing that I really miss about being here in Northern Chile that is different from the MTC is that I have no access to any temple to go to. Elder López was reading a journal entry of when his mom was in the mission and she said in one letter that she was able to go to the temple 5 times in one week.

That is great that your project (mom's work) got approved. It sounds like it is quite a big deal to be over such a large time span. I know that you will do what you are required to do, but remember the words of the last general conference when it was said that we may grow in regular day to day life, but we are able to grow much faster through our challenges as long as we are able to focus our priorities on what will truly make a difference.

The only real problems that I am having with my clothing is that the back two loops on one of my pairs of pants are getting worn out by my backpack and my suit pants are fading really fast above the knees.

I told Elder López about the nice little sleep-in that Austin (Oviatt) got and Elder López had a similar thought as me, that it was nice of his parents to  just about give him a heart attack before he left on his mission. (Austin's flight was cancelled so his parent's let him sleep. Austin was a little panicked when he woke up and it was bright outside already. He caught a later flight and all was well.) But that is good that he was able to get there fine all things considered.

You can tell Ernest that I'm finding Spanish a little harder than expected as well.

That is a really good quote you sent and I think it applies even more to missionary work than to regular service. ("To the world you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world. ~ Mark Nolan)

I forgot to put a strange cultural fact of the week last email, but here is one: When there are car crashes or major accidents the people build small shrines that look like little concrete doghouses. They burn candles in them and put images of the saints and the Virgin Mary in them. Apparently it is only here in Chile that they do that.

Y ahora Ustedes quieren saber un poco mas sobre mis investigadores y yo no escribí algo en español en un poco de tiempo, Entonces voy a escribir un poco mas ahora. Ésta semana, como las semanas anteriores, buscábamos para encontrar mas personas para enseñar pero ésta semana fue un poco diferente porque recibimos una referencia super buena. Él se llama Eduardo y es muy receptivo a nuestro mensaje. También tiene una palola (girlfriend-Chilean word) quien quiere ir al templo con Él. Estoy animado para trabajar con Él porque ya tiene experiencias cuando pueda sentir el Espíritu en su vida.

Y también ésta semana ellos se cambiaron el Obispo de nuestro barrio y estamos super animado para trabajar con él porque tiene mucho animo para hacer la obra misional y para trabajar con los miembros y que sus consejeros son capos (studs-chilean) también. ésta experiencia va a estar un buen oportunidad para aprender cosas nuevas cuando trabajamos con nuestro obispo nuevo. Estoy interesado a ver la diferencia en la participación de los miembros y si hay un cambio con ellos.

(Google Translation: And now you want to know a little more about my investigators and I did not write anything in Spanish in a little while, so I'll write a bit more now. This week as previous weeks, we wanted to find more people to teach. This week was a little different because we got a super good reference. His name is Eduardo and is very receptive to our message. He also has a Palola (girlfriend-Chilean word) who wants to go to temple with him. I am encouraged to work with him because he already has had the experience when you can feel the Spirit in your life.

This week they changed the bishop of our ward.  We are super encouraged to work with him because he gives much encouragement to do missionary work and to work with members and their leaders as well. This experience is going to be a good opportunity to learn new things as we work with our new bishop. I am interested to see the difference in the participation of members and if there is a change with them.)

Hasta una semana,

Con cariño,

Monday, June 4, 2012

May 28, 2012

I have trouble writing a long letter when I don't get reminded of the things that happened during the week by some of the stuff in your letter.

I am of mixed feelings to hear that Martha passed away. (Long time friend of mom's family who passed away at the age of 106 years old.) I didn't really know her that well, but heard a lot about what she does and how much she has been able to do for her age, and I feel that she was ready. It is obviously a sad time when anyone close passes, but in this case I feel as though she left nothing undone in her life that she needed to do. I would go so far as to say that she pulled more out of her life than should have been possible.

I am glad to hear that all of grandma's parties went well. tt sounds like she has been enjoying her Birthday Week.

I am glad to hear my parcel is on route and you are right that it probably won't matter about the speed, especially when you consider that it will probably sit in the office for 3 weeks when it gets here. And about the stickers you put on it - if they look like they were drawn for a 5 year old you got the right ones, they are all over the place here. (We have been told that if you put religious stickers on the parcels you mail, they are more likely not to get opened and picked over.)

I would assume that the white shirt burning was a literal thing, not just figurative, but the order is this:
6 months-tie
12 months-shirt
18 months-pants
2 years-suit
I haven't and will probably not burn any of those (if any, the most likely are the pants)
(We've heard that missionaries burn a white shirt at 6 months as they get so worn and dingy.)

I am glad that you shared that story with me (missionary story by Bruce C Hafen from President Mendenhall's talk at Stake Conference). I love hearing those kinds of stories right now in the mission because they kindle a little bit of the hope of the golden investigators that you hear so much about. They are also often a good source for feeling the spirit when you read or hear them.

I don't have to keep Elder López focused, I just have to wake him up in the mornings. (Elder Lopez goes home at next transfer.) The teaching pool is coming along.