Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 14, 2013

I still don't feel like I am going to be home on Saturday. I can count the days, I know at what time I am going to be where and I have all the tickets bought, but it still doesn't FEEL real to me. I have not been on my mission long enough to be coming home.

I have a feeling that I am going to be really tired when I get home so low key thing might be better,at least for  this weekend.

I don't really have all that much to say to be honest. I wasn't going to do a recording, but then I decided to do it, so there will be some news there.

Please have a jug of choclate milk at home for me...its been too long!


Audio summary...

This is my last week in Chile. In fact, it's not even a full week as I'll be home on Saturday. 

This week the zone leaders did an inter-cambio with us, where we changed companions for the day - actually I didn't change for the day, Elder Gillespie and his companion changed with the zone leaders. So, Elder Bryan, whose also from Canada came here. In the last week or so I've picked on Elder Rodas at times, tickling him because he yells and freaks out a bit and it's hilarious. I did that when Elder Bryan was here and he said "You're ticklish" and we teamed up on him and just destroyed him. It was so funny. 

On Friday they did a meeting for all the missionaries and they went over some of the guidelines and enforcement of rules and such. It was a bit boring for me and I wasn't too engaged as it's not going to be relevant to me. Probably not the best, but I think you get it.

This week we found 2 less active guys who were baptized when they were 14 or 15 and they're now around 28 years old. They're twins and we visited them a couple times this week. We went by on one day and only 1 of them was home because the other was travelling somewhere. The one at home said he would like to share with us, but he was painting his house so he couldn't. So we said give us an old shirt and we'll help you paint and he said yeah, right, like this is a joke. We said no, really, we'd help so we painted for about an hour and shared a message for about 20 minutes before we had to go to another appointment. It was really good.

I've been making a lot of pizza lately so I'm getting really good at the dough. The pizza here isn't that great so Elder Rodas is loving this. He's happy like a little kid. I probably won't have much time this week, but I'm going to try ham and cheese braid. I got all the stuff to make so that should be pretty good.

We got to see Flavio again this week. We didn't really have a set plan going in, but General Conference has just happened so we figured we could share something from that. We had asked Flavio to look at some of the conference talks so we asked him to pull it up on his computer. I remembered that there's often highlights from each conference of the apostles and first presidency messages that they put together a presentation. The one from this conference isn't posted yet so we watched the one from April and it was really good. Really, really good. It was 22  minutes of really concise doctrinal points. I think he really liked it.

Yesterday we went to Daniel and Lorenza's to say good-bye. We took them some pictures with our address on the back and the large print Bible and Triple Combination which we wrote in and listed all the elders and sisters that had taught her. I think it was a really good gift. It was a little sad - I really like that family. I don't cry anymore, I think I've run out of tears on the mission because we have to leave places so often. But... if I was going to cry it would have been leaving that house - we've been really close to them. That was cool.

That's really all I have to say. We'll be able to talk later this week. I'm looking forward to that. I've loved my mission, but it's soon time to go. I'll see you guys Saturday. Don't forget to come to the airport!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

October 7, 2013

The visa stuff is coming along. I need to recieve my passport and register the VISA, then take out my carnet (ID), but that can be done in two days easily. I expect to have my VISA in my hand tomorrow as President is doing interviews.

I didn't expect you guys to rat me out about being sick, but some parents are exaggerated and freak out for little things thinking that their child is dying and I didn't want that...I am fine now BTW.

That is good that things are fine with Maxine's surgery and everything. I hope that keeps up.

I talked about General Conference in my recording but I loved it like always (since the start of my mission).

I will start working on my talk. I guess I have to start thinking about experiences now.


Audio summary:
This Wednesday this week we went to the Registry because Elder Rodas had to do a transfer for his Carnet, which is like an ID card. All of Chile has them. We know a guy from our sector that we've been visiting and works there. They do all the legal paperwork for entering and staying in the country, etc. The armanas (sister missionaries) had gone in the morning and had been waiting for a couple of hours in line and they called us to say we should come and we could join them in line. So we went there and stood in line for a little bit and the guy we knew called Elder Rodas out of line and had him fill in a paper form to process his transfer and we were done. It kind of sucked for the armanas because they were still in line... it seems our connection paid off.

We got notice this week that we're changing to our summer schedule so we get up 1/2 an hour later, go out 1/2 an hour later and come back 1/2 an hour later. President Dalton also gave us 1/2 an hour extra for P Day. According to the schedule it would end at 6:30pm, but he said it can just end at 7pm so that's cool.

Yesterday night me and Elder Rodas had a "fight" in the Pension - not a real fight, but we were yelling and wrestling. Elder Gillespie was on the phone trying to get the stats from the other sectors and we were making a lot of noise and it was really funny. I can't fully explain, but it was really funny at the time.

Today for P Day activity, Elder Rodas and I went to... drum roll... a rock museum. It cost 500 pesos, which is about a dollar and it was pretty cool. We got to see rocks from all around the world, definitely worth 500 pesos. It was cool and I took a bunch of pictures. I'll send some or just show you when I get home. 

I also went to print off some photos today for my converts so they have at least one photo from me. I've been really lazy with that - I'm not very good at that sentimental stuff.

I talked about Patricio Pinto before, he's a prominent lawyer here and is in our ward. He's a really good convert and he really wants his family to be members, but they haven't really shown any interest. He talked to us yesterday and said he had an idea to try and work with his daughter - she's about 20 or 21 year old. He thought we could help her with some stuff that's not really church related, but would be helpful. He said she's got some papers in English which we might be help her with, so I'm like, OK. Wow - she's studying geology or something and I got this 12 page paper on magna and how it forms and how it cools and stuff way over my head. I didn't understand that much, but because it's English I could understand enough to pick out the important parts. So I've been trying to do that and I've learned a little bit... I learned that I don't want to study geology. 

The biggest thing that happened this week in the whole world, even if you're not a member, was general conference. Even for those that didn't listen, it was the biggest thing that happened. I wrote down my favorite talk from each session: 
Saturday morning session - Edward Dube who spoke on looking forward, not back. Keeping an eye on what we still need to accomplish. He focused a bit on callings, commandments, trials, etc. 
Saturday afternoon session - D Todd Christoferson. He talked about the Divinity of Women. It was just a really good talk. One thing he said was women are the guardians of the wellspring of life, and too much focus on sexual equality will lose the complimentary differences we need in the world.
Priesthood Session - President Monson talked about Home Teaching and just laid it down - you need to do home teaching. It was good. Liked it!
Sunday morning session - Henry B Eyring talked about Happiness in Marriage. As I'm coming home soon, marriage is something that's on my mind a little bit for the future. It was really good. He said being one does not mean being the same, being one means the decisions of the other become your own decisions. Joy and happiness are guaranteed to the faithful.
Sunday afternoon session - Kevin S Hamilton talked about the importance of attending church, all meetings. He said invitations to do good activities instead of better or best activities are temptations.
Funniest moment - Terence M Vincent was speaking and got attacked by a fly. It was right in his face - he kept his concentration the whole time, but it was really funny. We were laughing.

General conference was pretty awesome. I took 11 1/2 pages of notes. I hope you guys watched more than 1 session of conference. If not, when I get home I'll have to whip you guys in to shape. : P

I will only have 1 more recording, which is next week. I will try to keep track through the week and make it a good one.

Love you, caio!

Monday, October 7, 2013

September 30, 2013

So... this week is going to be a short recording. Not too much happened this week. We did inter-cambios, which are companionship exchanges, on Friday. I got to work in my previous sector so I got to visit some of the people I haven't seen in a little while - like Lorenza, Daniel and a couple others. I think Elder Gillespie another inter-cambio before we go. The family who feeds us went to Santiago to go to the temple and they brought us back the large print Book of Mormon and Bible. We got it for Lorenza and we want/need to take them to her. That's cool.

One day we went to the hospital to give a blessing. We've been visiting a lady who has been less active along with her son and husband. They're really nice people. The husband ended up in the hospital from a blood clot. He was having big problems for 15 - 20 min, but they did something really quick and there are no lasting effects. So the wife asked us to give him a blessing so we did that. That was good.

Funny thing that happened. We left the pension one day about the same time of the other elders. They left a little earlier, but we took a shorter route in the same general direction and we crossed their path just in front of them and I just caught a glimpse of Elder Gillespie out of the corner of my eye. It took a second to register and I told Elder Rodas to look back and when he did he paused just briefly and then kept walking. Just as we started walking again a bird dropped a big poop right in front of us - if he hadn't stopped to look back he would have got pooped on. It would have been really funny... but really crummy.

We've been teaching a guy named Flavio - I'm pretty sure I mentioned him. He met with the missionaries about a year ago. We went to speak to his girlfriend who he is living with. She is intelligent and was really good to teach. We have to wait now because Flavio works in the mine, 10 days on and 10 days off.

In our ward there are 2 girls - one is a recent convert (Mira) and the other is member who has re-activated (Pacquita). They are friend and they live together. About a week ago we shared a lesson with them about missionary work and sharing the gospel. Pacquita has really been sharing the gospel - she's got 2 referrals that we can't contact right away, but she wants to bring them to church. We're like wow! Jocelyn, Daniel's daughter who's been a member for a little while now is really good at sharing the gospel with everybody. She brings friends to activities and to church and all sorts of things. Her dad and her grandma (Lorenza) are also sharing and she's got an aunt who is meeting with the missionaries in a different ward here. They are doing really good - they're great converts. They understand a lot of stuff.

So the reason is was kind of a slow week was that I got sick. Apparently it's really common for missionaries to get sick just before they go home, but it really sucks because I want to work right to the end, but I got really sick. I'm actually still pretty sick. I've had this huge pain in my lower abdominal but I did get checked out and am taking something for it - it's just an infection or virus that will go away pretty soon. So I've had to spend some time in the Pension because at times it's been quite painful. I should be back out pounding the pavement in a couple of days. But, one cool thing, I took to studying the Atonement of Jesus Christ while I was laid up and will probably continue until I come home and then some, maybe. It's really interesting. When you break it down, it really relates to everything. We've had some really good discussions around things I pulled out of various scriptures and things - things I haven't really noticed. Maybe I can share some of it when I get home. It's been really cool.

That's basically it as I've been sick most of the week. Don't worry though, I'll be fine. If I tell you about it next week again, then you can be concerned. But, I'm fine. The worst thing is I am just eating noodles.

I'll talk to you next week. Caio!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sept 23, 2013


Fun stuff for this week... it was Independence Day which is good and bad. It's good because it's festive and fun with activities and stuff, but bad because we can't take part too much and everyone is focused on that so it's hard to work and be productive at all. It was much better than last year. Generally people aren't at home much and most people get really drunk... really, really drunk - not the members. Also we're opening the sector so we don't know many people yet. So, our numbers weren't great, but we're going to pound it out next week.

Daniel did have his baptism this week, right on Independence Day. Quite a few people showed up - I was quite surprised given that it was a holiday. Others talked to him on Sunday and said hey, we missed your baptism, but welcome. He's pretty chill so it was all good. It was really good. On Sunday he got confirmed and that went smoothly. One funny/odd thing though was right after he was baptized, he gave Elder Gillespie a hug while they were still in the font. He felt so good and then his daughter, Jocelyn, jumped in the font with them with all her clothes and shoes on. She's just a little bit crazy... and 16 years old, I guess. She is crazy but she is a really great convert. She brings lots of people to church. It was just so weird but I couldn't help but laugh - didn't see that coming! Nobody really does that.

I also learned how to throw trompos this week. So the first time we just went out in front of the Pension. I could throw them last year, but very poorly. So my companion said to give him one and he went to throw it, but instead of throwing it down to the ground, he did something and it just went forward and it went flying and just about broke a window. He missed it by about a foot. So, with that, we decided we better go back into the Pension. That would have been very expensive to replace. But the next day, the day of Daniel's baptism, we were invited to the BBQ afterwards and they wanted us to stay for a while after we ate - partly because they hadn't seen me for awhile and they didn't just want us to eat and leave. After dinner Daniel showed us how to throw trompos although it was me and Elder Gillespie's companion, Elder Marander, who did it the most. We weren't playing any games or anything, we were just practicing throwing the trompos and get the technique. Then a couple days later there was a big activity with the whole ward, with Chilean music and dance called Quaka where they dress in national dress and stuff. They also had a breakfast and a BBQ for lunch. We also got to throw trompos there in the afternoon - for about 4 hours. Last year we didn't get to stay very long because one of our Zone Leaders made us leave right after we ate, but this year President Dalton said we could stay until the end of any ward activities so it was way better. It's not very good to do contacting while everyone is celebrating anyway. It was really fun and I got to experience a bit of what the holiday was. I actually got pretty good with the trompos - you can throw them, play games or do tricks. I couldn't do really impressive tricks, but I did learn how to do "the boomerang". You throw it down and before it hits the ground, you yank it back up. At first I was horrible, but eventually I did it about 10 times. It was pretty cool.

About 2 weeks ago some people got into the church to try and rob it. They tried again this week. Here, if the doors are locked from the outside, they're also locked on the inside. It's all locked up super tight and you have to go out the same way you got in. So if you break a window to get in, you have to go out that way too. There's also nothing to steal, except maybe the piano, but that's a bit conspicuous. There's  no money and the computers are locked behind a big steel door so there's really nothing. They didn't get anything but broke some stuff. 

We did a lot of cooking this week - hamburgers twice and pasta. Elder Rodas said it was the best pasta he's had in a long time, so I was pretty happy about that. We had lunch with one lady this week and her husband. She is really cool, but nobody really knew her husband and he was trying to make jokes but it was a little awkward.

You probably know but we got our flight plans this week. I haven't seen them yet, but Elder Gillespie just told me. (The flight information did arrive and Elder McCaskill will arrive home on Saturday, October 19th) This week I've been really tired. I'm always a bit tired, but I just felt drained. Even Lorenza and Daniel noticed on Sunday.

We met a guy named Flavio - he's an investigator from about a year ago. He's living with someone but he's a really good guy. Last week we met a lady who was very adamant she didn't want to go to church, but we shared a short message with her and then she kind of softened and said maybe she'd come to church. That was cool.

There's some really big scriptures you can buy here - they're the size of a full sheet of paper and then some. We bought a Bible and Triple Combination in Spanish and we're going to sign them and give them to Lorenza because she has trouble reading the smaller print ones. So she'll be able to read the Bible and BoM better because she was having trouble. That will be good. It's the same one I gave armana Blanca in Antofa.

Have a good week.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

September 16, 2013

The mission president doesn't leave the mission that much, but it is not really uncommon either. He is going for the mission president's seminar in Argentina next month. It is for all of the South America South area.

The weather here has actually been kind of weird these last two or so weeks. It started getting really hot all day and then randomly this week the temperature dropped. I have actually been using a jacket because it has been a bit cold, plus our sector is kind of high and there is lots of wind.

I will be going to Daniel's baptism and because it is the Chilean Independence Day we will also being going to the barbecue right after.


Audio summary...
Some interesting stuff happened this week. I told you we had our transfers and I got to stay in the same pension, but my sector has changed. We also did some cleaning in the other pension which is in the higher, hilly part of Copiapo and we need to bring the stuff down, but there's some big stuff so we'll need someone to help us with that.

One funny though... we were going up to the Pension and Elder Gillespie said we should bring a couple of the chairs down - we have chairs here, but they're not very comfortable for sitting in and studying for a long time. So, we went up there, worked for awhile and then we brought the chairs back. Background... during the last 2 transfers, Elder Gillespie and I have made the effort not to cross the street on red lights. It's really common here, everybody does it, but we're trying to get out of the habit before we get home because it's not accepted there for the most part. I've been the same thing with Elder Rodas. Anyway... we were carrying the chairs back and stopped at a red light, but it was really long so we unfolded our chairs chairs and sat down and kept talking, then when the light turned green, we folded up our chairs, picked them up and kept walking. There was a guy that had pulled up beside us and watched this little scenario and just had a bit of a laughing attack. It was so funny! I really wanted to do it again.

The other day Elder Rodas and I were working in our sector, teaching this guy. At the end of the end of the lesson I asked him for his number and he said sure. He also took our number and he was looking at my name tag to see how to spell "McCaskill", then he turned to Elder Rodas and said "Hey, you forgot your name tag!" I looked down at Rodas and started laughing, because he'd forgotten his name tag and we weren't going back to the Pension until the end of the day because it's too far. He had to walk around all day without his name tag until I put on my jacket, then he wore Elder McCaskill for the rest of the evening. It was kind of funny.

I made a goal this week to try and drink 2 litres of water everyday and I did pretty good. If I don't think about, I drink very little which probably isn't good. I'm getting a little better.

We had a few more rule changes. One was that we're not supposed to have P Day activities with more than 6 or 8 missionaries, but I'm so close now it won't affect me much.

I think I told you before what a churrasco is. It's like a hamburger, but with thin sliced meat - kind of like an Arby's burger. Then they usually put mayo, tomato and avacado and you can add condiments like ketchup, hot sauce, etc. We've been going to this one place pretty much every week to get Churrascos - this guy makes them really good. I'm surprised more people don't eat there. We went there one day this week and he said you guys have been such good customers I'll give you a free litre of pop for the 4 of you. That was cool. We don't know his name, but he's a really good guy - we like him. He asked us to tell people about his place - I think he's a bit low on business, so hopefully that improves because it's really good and he's a good guy!

I bought these things called trompos. They're like an old fashion top -  wooden and shaped like a pear with a nail in the bottom. You wind a cord around it and throw and they spin. There is a game, but I don't know how it works, but I bought 4 of them and I'll bring them home. They're cool. 

This week we had 2 conferences. One was a small mission conference with President Dalton and the other was the Stake Conference here in Copiapo. The conference with President Dalton was really good. He talked about a number of goals for the mission and outlined his focus. President Bruce wanted to baptize, and so does President Dalton, but he wants to increase the quality and really focus on retention. He highlighted 4 big goals which were really good:  1. Double attendance in sacrament meeting 2. Baptize 2 times as many people in our mission per month 3. Double the number of people with temple recommends 4. He wants to work toward getting a temple in Antofagasta. This mission had some input on what the goals should be and that's how it turned out. I actually really think he's got some points. We haven't been able to really capitalize yet in our sector, but we're going to really work on that this week.

President Dalton also spoke in the Stake Conference, as well as the Stake President and other speakers from Young Women's and the High Priest group. It was a little odd, at the end of the conference, the choir started singing a number after the prayer. I think it was supposed to be like prelude music but afterwards, but people didn't know whether sit or leave, talk or be quiet. 

Because we didn't have any contacts from the previous missionaries, we've just been trying to find people. We've been teaching one guy Ronald, whose 16 years old. His mom is a less active member and his dad's not a member. We're trying to see if we can baptize him and his dad. Ronald is pretty funny, but has a very odd sense of humor. A good guy, but a bit strange. We really need to find people to teach, even more than in the other sector.

I'll talk to you later,

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sept 9, 2013

I don't actually have my flight plans yet, but from what I understand we may be leaving on the 18th of October - President Dalton has to go to Argentina and he wants to see us off so we got pushed forward a couple days. Other than that I can't tell you much. I'd like to know too, but I am more worried about getting all of my VISA stuff done right now.

That's good that you (the old guys - High Priests) were able to beat the Elders in Bocci ball at the ward cornbust. Sometimes we tend to start thinking that we are the greatest in the whole world. : )

That is pretty crazy about Maxine. Like you said, pretty shocking on the one hand, but it explains a few things on the other hand. Hopefully she was able to enjoy her birthday a little bit anyway.

As far as that lady who is a lawyer goes, we haven't really been able to do anything because of the difficulty in catching her at home, and we can't go in without a member present.

Audio summary...
This week we have transfers going on, and this is the last transfer of my mission. The next transfer I'll be going home... crazy! But, like always, that's going to wait to the end.

On Thursday we were looking for people... mostly focusing on inactive members of the ward. We found one lady, but as we were standing outside her house knocking on the door we saw some cops pull up and a motorcycle pulled up behind them. (They were going to a house a couple doors down who'd been robbed - we knew that because we'd knocked on that door a little bit earlier.) The cop needed to back up to park and the motorcycle must have been in his blind spot and he just started backing up. The guy on the motorcycle started freaking out, trying to back up, honking his horn and yelling. Then the cop truck pitched down because he slammed on the brakes really hard - it was pretty funny. The cop just about hit the guy on the motorcyle as we were watching

On Friday they planned a talent show - not may favorite. They do so many of them and this was really poorly timed. The mission leader brings up the suggestion to do it and then we end up having to organize all of it - this was the second time he did this and I`ve only been here 3 months. This was really because it was at the same time as the Chile vs Venezuela soccer game - and Chileans are crazed about soccer here. So hardly anyone showed up. The Relief Society was also doing an activity and there were some youth and so they ended up coming in to watch - there was a group who played some traditional Chilean music and then some recent converts who did an Ecuadorian dance that was interesting.

One day we were at someone`s house and they did this weird thing. You stand and wave your hands in the air, then yell something, you put your hands to the side and then yell something, then you put your hands in front and yell something, then you sit down. You do it 3 or 4 times and the last time they put a sponge full of water underneath you and you sit down on it. So you have a wet seat and bum. I didn`t expect that. It was weird, but kind of funny.

Saturday was a tough day. It was really hot and we walked all day, didn`t really get into any houses. Sometimes that happens.

This week we found a lady named Yvonne, where the cop almost hit the motorcycle. We talked to her for awhile. She said she didn`t go to church anymore because she just followed God on her own. That`s very common here. We asked her a few questions and encouraged her to come back to church, but she wasn`t so receptive.

Our investigator Daniel (Lorenza`s son) is getting baptized on Sept 18, the huge Independence Day festival. We were at his house yesterday and he was messing with us, saying he wasn`t sure if he was going to get baptized. But... Lorenza called him out and he just laughed. It was kind of funny.

Yesterday, the Stake President gave a class in Sunday School on missionary work and finding the lost sheep, reactivation and real growth (retention of converts). At first I was a bit nervous because our investigator was there and I wasn`t sure how he`d take it. It was actually really well done and turned out really good. He was basically saying we needed to go out and find these people and bring them back because they`re important. Daniel is really smart, asks lots of good questions and really thinks about things. I think it may have really impacted him - to hear how important he was as a person to the church. It was really good, I was really impressed.

Transfers - there were 4 of us in Copiyapo - we`re A and the other elders are B. One of the other elders in B finished his mission. His companion is leaving to another area, so they whitewashed that sector - they`ve taken the missionaries out. I got a transfer and Elder Gillespie is staying here. His companion is going to be an elder he trained, and he`ll be Elder Gillespie`s last companion, if that makes sense - that doesn`t happen very often. I`m now in Copiyapo B, so I don`t transfer Pensions or lose my mamitas. I just get a new companion and the sector boundaries change. My new companion is Elder Rodas, from Central America. I`ve never met him so I don`t know exactly where yet. So this is a small transfer. The funny thing is I got transferred but Elder Gillespie is moving rooms in the Pension - he wants the other room so that`s ok. That means I don`t have to pack for the transfer and that`s awesome. I just have to pack once more to go home, and I can use the awesome little scale you got me because I`ll have to deal with the weight of my bags. One thing though, my new sector is all hills so I should get some leg muscles in the final stretch. Lots of climbing and I don`t know my way around, but I`ll figure it out.

Last night we went to the other pension so Elder Marine could pack and there wasn`t really anything for me to do so I got to sleep for an hour or more, which was really nice. We`d missed about an hour of sleep the other night and we were really tired. It was fabulous. Good stuff.

That`s our week. See you in about 5 and a half weeks... crazy!... crazy! It doesn`t feel like it`s that close.

I love you guys and I`ll talk to you next week. Caio!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sept 2, 2013

That sounds cool about the bike race (Tour of Alberta, Sept 3 - 8) even though I didn't understand the route exactly. That should be cool to see and I would imagine that they will probably mark off the route and it might be a cool thing to do when you get more used to riding.

I got my hair cut today too!!!! I really needed it.

This is the 2nd of a new month which is another milestone for me... I am getting very, very close to the end. This is last week of this cambio. Seven Sundays and I'll be home... crazy!

This was not great as far as numbers go, but really good in terms of important things happening. The biggest thing that happened was Saturday morning. They held a Stake missionary activity for the youth between 12 and 18 years old, I think. They got a lot of youth out which was very cool. They started out with the video of the Restoration and a short message and then they held 3 workshops, 2 based on chapters in Preach My Gospel. The first was about preparing yourself for a mission - physically, financially, spiritually, morally, etc. The second one was on teaching skills and how to teach better. The third was on the purpose of being a missionary - why are you a missionary and what are you there to do. I was assigned to a group and went around with them to assist and get things going. After that they split into  2 big groups. One group walked to another ward that was 45 - an hour away with a huge Bible and when they got to a market in that area, there was a guy there with a big Book of Mormon and they tried to make some contacts and then they walked back. It was to represent a day for a missionary with lots of walking, contacting, haring the gospel, etc. The other group stayed at the Stake Centre and did an Openhouse of sorts. We tried to find some people and invited them to come in. We didn't get too many people but a few. We held 3 short classes on the Restoration, Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One elder who was supposed to teach wanted to go and look for people so I stayed and helped teach one of the classes. They ended with a short devotional and then they ate. It lasted from about 8:30 - 4pm. 

After the Stake activity, we went and ate then came back because the other elders in the ward had a baptism so we attended. It was really good. She's cool. Her name is Maira. We were happy for them and helped them get things ready.

We've also been doing MLS - the program the church uses to consolidate the records of the members. Memberships records would be printed from this program. Here in Chile they don't seem to keep it up to update very well so we've been helping organize and update it. This Sunday we got all the callings in there and ready to go. There's a section in Preach My Gospel that asks if you're being a Help or a Hindrance for your Bishop, so we're trying to be a help for him. It might be a little more work for him at the moment, but it will help him in the long run.

Yesterday, Sunday, we went to the hospital to visit man. We didn't really know him so it was more for his son and daughter-in-law and grand kids. He's near the end of his life and they wanted some people to pass by. It was kind of awkward, but we went and I think the family felt some support.  

We had a kind of funny incident with the family Solar. They were inactive and have started coming back to church. He had been drinking and we asked him to stop drinking which he did, but there was still some wine in his TV cabinet, about 5 bottles. We told him he needed to get rid of it because it not good to have it. It's a temptation and you'll got kids at that age where it can only cause problems so it's not going to serve any good purpose to have it there. I told him he should dump it down the sink, but he was set on gifting it to people. I also kind of against that because it just encourages others to drink, but I'd rather that than him have it right now. So we were over there and their daughter Josefa, whose about 6, crawled in the cabinet where the wine was and was playing games on the phone. She was playing for awhile and moving and wiggling around a bit and then she stopped, looked at her dad and said, "Dad, can't you get rid of these wine bottles? They're really annoying me." It was so perfect... the perfect comment! We just laughed so hard. Brother Solar just didn't know what to say. He just went, "Oh, yes, I guess I'll do that." It was pretty funny.

So, last week we baptized Lorenza last week. This lady just makes me so happy all the time. She's 89, but she's super active for her age and she such a happy person. Every time we go there she makes me feel happy. On Sunday she went to church with Jocelyn, her grand daughter and Daniel, her son and the bishop welcomed her to the ward and asked for a vote of fellowship. Typically the person stands, but she just jumped out of her seat like a champ. It was so great... so funny! She was all smiles and so happy. I just love that little old lady, she's so great.

Also, her son set Sept 18, the Chilean Independence holiday, to get baptized. He asked if he could do that. It's a big huge party, generally with lots of drinking so it's not a very busy day for us, so we're happy to do a baptism that day. Then he wants to have a BBQ after, so we're looking forward to that. Cool stuff.

Talk to you next week. Caio!
Love Jord

Friday, August 30, 2013

August 26, 2013

The over the shoulder bag has been implemented here in the mission also, but the president said that the older missionaries can just keep using their backpacks. The newer missionaries and all the ones that are coming in have to make the switch. So... with having just 2 months left, I kind of fit into that older missionary group.

That's good you guys are having the missionaries over - it's nice for them to be able to eat over. When I get back I'll be able to meet them and see what's up there.

I told Garrett to get in contact with you guys... and now I'll tell you guys to get in contact with Garrett.

I miss the temple :(

As far as my reading goes I started the Book of Mormon again on Tuesday and am in 2 Nephi: 26. I changed my goal to be finishing by the 22 of September instead of before I leave, but you guys should still try and finish by the time I get home. Both of you.

I don't have any flight info yet, but I assume I should be getting it soon.
I love you,

Audio summary...
It's Monday, August 26th and it's Elder Gillespie's sister's birthday!

Elder Gillespie's been chatting  it up so much with the sister missionaries on the phone this week we ran out of minutes. He nas actually been doing his District Leader duties but we did run out and don't get minutes on our cell phone until the end of the week so we can't call anyone - it's kind of nice actually.

Last Tuesday Elder Gillespie had his District Leader meeting and all the Mission Office people (4), plus the 2 Assistants as well President and Sister Dalton showed up at the church here. We thought they were all going to be hanging out in our District for awhile, but the President was in the meeting for about 1/2 hour and that was about it.

Later on Tuesday we went to Lorenza's house - she had her date to get baptized on Saturday, but she was feeling really sick. Her son said if she feels sick we can't do the baptism because she's 89 and if she's sick that wouldn't be good. That was a drag, but I could kind of see where he was coming from, but I said "Here's what we can do... we can give your mother a blessing." Lorenza is awesome. She is a fantastic women... she has so much faith. She's like a big ball of faith in Jesus Christ. She got totally better, like there had been nothing wrong with her. She probably could have run a marathon. I was amazed! I was like... the church is true!

On Wednesday we had our zone conference and Elder Francisco Zinas from the 1st quorum of the Seventy (he's been there for about 16 years) was there to speak to us. He was amazing, I couldn't believe it. Sister and President Dalton spoke briefly and then Elder Zinas spoke and I was riveted the whole time. His way of speaking is amazing - I don't think I can really explain it. He used the scriptures as part of his normal speaking - you didn't even notice there was scriptures sometimes and then you'd recognize it because you'd read it so many times or had memorized it. It was like he weaved the scripture right into what he was saying. It really was amazing... and I realize I need to study more. One of the missionaries asked him how much he studied. He said if he didn't have much time, he'd study for 1/2 hour a day, but other times he'll study for an hour or two. Then he said sometimes he studies in his head because he has so many scriptures memorized. He also said he just loves the language of the scriptures so much so he tries to use it as much as he can. That was super cool. I was super impressed with that.

One thing that Elder Vinas explained to us that we thought was cool was about the pre-earth life, earth life and the spirit world that comes after. For us, we're sad when someone dies in their earth life, but in the spirit world they're all happy because they're going to a better place, which we know. But something we don't really think about as much is that when babies are born, we're all happy here, but in the pre-earth life they're sad because that spirit just left to come to earth. They're sad because they've left, but happy because they've come to earth to get their body. It's similar to the feelings we have when people die here on earth. It makes sense but we don't really think about that much. There are also 3 points in our lives when we don't have agency - when we're born, when we die and when we're resurrected. We can't affect these things. I guess if you chose to follow Satan in the Great War in Heaven you wouldn't go through those, but that's a whole different can of worms.

He spoke a bit in support of the changes that President Dalton has made since President Bruce left and backed them up with scriptures. He basically said there's no being a Bruce missionary, or even a Dalton missionary. We are missionaries of Jesus Christ which I have to agree with.

We did service on Friday - the same lady where we cut the trees down. This lady is smart - she looks at things that she needs done that she can't do herself and asks the missionaries to do it... and we want to. We went there and cleaned her windows. I don't know why people don't ask the missionaries to do more stuff for them. It's a nice change from our routine, especially in the mornings when it's hard to make appointments here, and it helps people out.

This morning before we got back to the Pension, we were doing Jeopardy with the other missionaries - the super hard Jeopardy Elder Gillespie and I prepared for the missionaries. The Elders actually seemed to like it better than the Sisters - not really sure why, but it went over really well. Here were some of our questions - How many animals were sacrificed during the dedication of the tabernacle? Where was Abraham buried? In which mountain did Soloman build the temple? etc. Our final question was ridiculous - it was a math question based on the Nephite currency talked about in Alma. It was super fun. The elders said it was one of the funnest activities they've had, eventhough it made the brain hurt. It made my brain hurt finding the questions too, so I'm not surprised. 

One day this week we went to see Patricio (Patrick) Pinto - he's a convert of about 1 1/2 years. He's a lawyer here in Copiapo and somewhat famous. He's the lawyer of the local Senator. Everything the guy wants to do in the whole region, he passes by Patricio Pinto to make sure it's all good. This guy is legit! So, he said we could go by his office, or wait and go by his house. We really wanted to see his office and what it was like so we went by there to share a message with him. He's pretty famous though. Most people will know who he is if you say his name - it's crazy. He's pretty big stuff here, especially among lawyers.

We had Lorenza's baptism because after her blessing she was perfectly fine for 5 days and was super champion Lorenza. We helped her get in the water because she's not super stable. Good for 89 years old, but we wanted to be sure. We were both in the water because she requested that. Elder Gillespsie said the prayer and when we went to lower her into the water she looked uncomfortable like she felt unstable, so I just said whoa, slow down, don't let go of her hand and we'll do it when she's ready. Then I put my hands on her back so I think she felt a lot more stable and then she baptized like a champ! That's all I can say... she was a champ. I was so impressed! She's really cool. She actually said to us later that she didn't want to come out - she wished we'd held her under a bit longer. But, we didn't want to drown Jocelyn's grandmother. That probably wouldn't have gone over very well. 

After the baptism, kind of a funny thing happened. We forgot to turn off the water. Normally that wouldn't really be a problem, but in this font the tap is on the side where the door in only one way out of the font. There's no handle from the other side, just the lock and it feels like you'll break the key if you reef on it too much. So the taps were across the water. We'd pulled the plug and it was emptying, but it was filling at about the same rate. We couldn't stop the water from the main valve because it was corroded with mineral deposits. We had a few ideas - put our wet clothes back on, have our popita walk across the water like Peter, throw the keys in such a way that the key magically entered the keyhole, turned and opened (Elder Gillespie didn't think that would work - he didn't have enough faith). What I ended up doing was leaving my dry dress clothes on, grabbed some large-ish plastic bags (about 3 feet tall) from the kitchen, put one on each leg and I walked across the font. It was really close, but I got to the other side and turned off the water, opened the other door and walked through. Our popito even recorded it - I suspect he thought I might not be successful.

We went to the house of the family Solar. His wife was going to get a surgery on her eye so we gave her a blessing. She got back yesterday. He went and picked her up and she wanted to come to church but she was wearing jeans so they didn't come. We told them they just should have gone. Just go to church and take the sacrament.

Also, I learned how to play the right hand of Nearer My God to Me on the piano. It's not that hard, but I'm happy I learned it. I also learned Sweet Hour of Prayer the other week.

Lots of stuff this week. I love you guys, talk to you next week.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August 19, 2013

I think this will be a bit of a short recording, but here goes! I don't know if I told you, but last Monday we didn't have any water in the Pension and that carried into Tuesday. On Tuesday we had to wash our hair but we only had 1.5 L juice bottles filled with water from when the sister missionaries were here so we had to wash our hair and shave with water from a bottle. It wasn't too bad... a little annoying... but I can honestly say I've never washed my hair with so little water. It was quite impressive.

This week we had a Family Home Evening with one family. The lady has been a member since last October - she invited her eldest daughter and her boyfriend, her 2 youngest daughters and then we were there. She also has a son but he wasn't home. They're all members except the boyfriend although the eldest daughter isn't active and not very keen on the church so we shared a lesson that wasn't too serious, but meaningful. Then we played a game - it was just a fun evening. I'm not sure what to say about it, but it was really fun. I really enjoyed it.

On Saturday we went to one of the member's homes - Armano Guillermo. We are trying to prepare a Jeopardy game for the missionaries that is quite hard, with random facts from the Bible and stuff that most people wouldn't know, but would probably have to look up. So we took the game to his house to see what he thought and test out our questions. He got almost all of them - 20 out of 23! Lots of these I wouldn't have a clue and he got most of them... I was amazed! There were questions like... Where was Abraham buried? What was his grandfather's name? Where did Soloman build the temple? He got most of them. He said it was because he was a Sunday School teacher for about 5 years. If that's the case, I want to be a Sunday School teacher for 5 years. I would love that. After that we ate with Guillermo which was really  ood.

On Sunday we ate with President Castio whose the 1st or 2nd counselor in the Stake Presidency along with his wife and some other guy. We ate burritos and I ate about 6. I'm not kidding, I ate so much food because it was so good. Hmmmm....

Throughout the week we've been working with Lorenza, Jocelyn's grandmother and we put a baptismal date with her. So, this Saturday she's going to get baptized and we're so happy. Also, her son had a dream, which seems to be quite common here. He dreamed he was sitting on a beach and saw a row boat coming with 2 people in it and they came ashore. They walked over and said hello and then said, Hey, what are those on the ground?" Some explanation... in Spanish there are 2 words for fish - 1 means a fish that are swimming in the ocean and the other is a fish that is caught and is dead. So he said those are live fish, but the people said no, those are dead fish. Then they said we don't talk about the Past, we talk about the Present and the Future. Then he woke up and that was his dream. Then he said he couldn't get back to sleep and was just sitting in his bed and couldn't sleep anymore. Then he started thinking and what came to his mind was about prophets and that they don't really speak about the past, they speak about the Present and the Future. So, if I'm so willing to believe there were prophets in the past, why can't I believe that there are prophets now and will be in the future. What a fantastic thought! So, now he believes in the Book of Mormon and he believes about Joseph Smith and he said next week he's going to go to church. What an amazing experience from such a simple thing! That's what happened.

On an unrelated note, I figured out Abraham was born about 2001 BC - that's an interesting side note for you.

I've run out of things to say so I'll wrap this up. I'll talk to you in a week.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

August 12, 2013

Today we went to the church for an activity for P Day and it wasn't soccer... we played card games and ping pong. We also tossed the football around - was fun. Toward the end Elder Cabarera and I stood across the gym and threw a tennis ball at each other as hard as we could - I didn't hit him once. I'm losing my dodgeball skills. I got hit 3 times, but Elder Cabarera doesn't throw that hard so it wasn't that bad - no bruises. I think if I'd have hit him it really would have hurt so perhaps it was best I didn't. Fun missionary stuff!

Last Tuesday we had a zone meeting - a bit different than what we were doing because President Dalton is changing things up. Every month the zone leaders go to a zone leader conference to meet with the President and see what his focus is and what he wants to see happen. So the Tuesday after this council, the zone leaders come back and report to everyone on what was covered. There are a lot of rule changes, or more so a renewed focus on rules that have always existed. The meeting was 2 1/2 hours, but it dragged on a bit after the first hour or so.

This week we decided we were going to make a change with how we do our contacting. It worked really well the first day, but not so much after. We did find a couple new people so that was good.

Every Saturday we're supposed to meet with our Ward Mission Leader at 11am. This week we came a bit early and played the piano and I learned to play Sweet Hour of Prayer. Just with one hand, but I can play it. I know how to play Sweet Hour of Prayer! It really wasn't that hard. I honestly think video games made my hands more agile for playing the piano - you may dispute that, but I think it's true.

The Solar family didn't go to church this week, but there was a very specific and odd reason. There is a lady that works for them, worked her shift and all was good. At the end of her shift she left and went home, but on her way home she fell over and broke her arm. Obviously that was very unfortunate, but the odd thing was that Solar's, as her employer, are responsible for her. That's just so dumb - she wasn't doing anything work related or even near work at the time. I don't understand some of these Chilean laws. It was kind of funny when we were there, but not really. They've had a pretty challenging week since attending church last week for the first time in a long time. The lost one or two big clients at work, their car broke down, their employee's broken arm, his phone broke, and their oldest son is being a bit rebellious. But... they are planning to come back to church this coming week.

An interesting thing about one of the less actives we visit named Rodrigues. He's a super cool guy and we both really like him, the problem is he just doesn't go to church. However, since we've been going to see him more, he's started to read the Book of Mormon. He's reading in both Spanish and English so we're really happy about that. He even had a question, which is awesome. I love questions - this is good for you guys and everyone in general. If you're having the missionaries over for supper, have a question in mind to ask them. It's good for you to think about things and it also gives them a good lead for their message. If you don't have any questions, start reading the Book of Mormon again. If you're reading and don't have questions, think about searching the scriptures more than just reading.

This week we went to Jocelyn's house with members, because we're doing a real push for member present lessons. The first time we took Hubert. He's the one I mentioned before who is a great guy. He has a learning disability of some sort and struggles a bit in social situations so he didn't really connect, but he really likes to go out to do visits and we needed someone so it worked out really good for us. The second time Armana Campos (Armana with an 'a' is Sister and Armano with an 'o' at the end is Brother - generally that's how they indicate gender). We thought we'd teach about some Family History, but that fell a bit flat.

This Sunday we gave talks - mine was really long. I felt a little bit bad. Also, Lorensa, Jocelyn's grandmother stayed for Relief Society for the first time and she said she liked it, so that was really good.

That's what happened this week. Talk to you later.

Friday, August 9, 2013

August 5, 2013

That is good that dad is getting chucked into his calling quickly instead of waiting. It's also good that he could use his experience as ward mission leader to help with teaching his class.

It has actually warmed up quite a bit here since it rained so we are not having to wear jackets as much in the night time like we had to before. This is kind of nice as the night is the perfect temperature right now, but it will suck when it starts heating up a lot again.

I am glad to hear that you guys had a good time with Blaine and Maxine at the movies. It's usually quite an experience/adventure to go out with them.

Love you Guys,

Audio summary...
Ola! This is end of the first week of the 2nd transfer with Elder Gillespie. Because we didn't get transferred last week we had to stay in the Pension, but there were other Elders who came to stay with us because we have 2 extra beds. They came at 3am when we were sleeping. They turned on the light... jumped on my bed... woke me up from my sleep... fun missionary stuff!

This week we went to see one less active family - the Solars. They bought a new fridge so we went to help them install in which was pretty fun. We had to slide it down the hallway to the kitchen, then we had to figure out how to take the doors off because the fridge was too wide to get through. We did that, got the fridge in the kitchen, put the doors back on and then got it running. It was fun... I love doing stuff like that... figuring things out and getting it done.

Elder Gillespie's birthday was on Friday. We went to Jocelyn's house (1 of the 2 Jocelyn's) - she is a recent convert and she gave Elder Gillespie some cologne and her grandmother gave me a chocolate bar. I'm not sure why, maybe just because I didn't get anything, but I was pretty happy because I like chocolate.

This is the same Jocelyn who has her random emotional days. We figured out that it always seems to happen on Tuesday, so we're not going to go there on Tuesday. This week we went on Wednesday and there was no problems. We had a really good lesson.

The popitos, the people we eat with, had some questions about the second coming - what it's going to be like, what will happen before, etc. We answered their questions which was pretty cool. I was able to share quite a bit of the stuff that I have been reading in the Old Testament. I think I was able to open the eyes of their young son who is about 13 years old. Elder Gillespie said he was listening, wide eyed. The war before the second coming will be pretty crazy!

This week we made salad at the Pension, including some turkey because we couldn't find chicken. The salads we made were so big I had to use a pot because we didn't have a bowl that was large enough. I just ate salad out of a pot. Elder Gillespie was laughing at me - it was pretty funny! We made salad twice and it was really good.

We were at the church this Friday and were changing/organizing the "seemi" (ward list) so it was easier to work with to help out the ward. They don't have a secretary so they needed some help. While we were doing that we got a call from the zone leader and there were some changes in the rules from the new mission president. One was basic - under President Bruce we only had 1 hour in the evening to do eat, plan and get ready for bed. Apparently it is supposed to be 1 1/2 hours so that's really nice because we're not as rushed and we can plan better. The second change was a lot bigger. There's a the rule that says you can't visit women alone unless you have another adult male present. Under President Bruce that rule wasn't enforced. He said don't do anything stupid, but we could teach them on our own so that's what we'd been doing. Now, under President Dalton, we had to take someone with us to visit women - it will be more work because the wards aren't used to that, we aren't used to that, but we think it will be fantastic. Now that we're forced to, it could be a lot better as it will force us to have the members involved. This is what we've always wanted, but when it wasn't required and easier not to do it, it typically didn't happen. It will require better relationships with the members, more effort by the ward mission leader, more work on our part, but it will be fantastic. We're really excited! It sounds like there will be some other changes coming down, but less significant. 

With this recent change, we went to a couple lessons this week with a lady in the ward whose a recent convert and had a member present. It was awesome - we walked in and they started talking. We didn't have to worry about small talk or anything, we listened then asked to have a prayer and shared a message and some scriptures. She also asked questions - she always has lots of questions which is good and then we wrapped it up. The guy we took was a return missionary and very knowledgeable and knows what to talk about, sometimes more than we do in some situations, possibly.  It was good for us and she seemed content. I loved it.

On Saturday there was a ward baptism. It was from us, but it was pretty well done. We ended up doing a lot of it so we need to make some changes there because that's not how it should be, but it was good.

We had 123 people in church this week. The most I'd seen before that was about 96. It was awesome. The church was almost full! There were a lot of people there that hadn't been before. The family Solar that we had a lesson with - he's a return missionary and she was baptized when she was young but they've been less active. But, they know what's going on in the church and they have a lot of knowledge. It seems the most effective way of dealing with them is to go in and rebuke them. I've tried other ways, being all warm and cuddly, but it doesn't work. You have to give them a bit of a wake up call, make them feel a bit of guilt and help them feel the spirit again because that's what makes them go back to church. They work a ton and are really busy, but we were able to get in and teach them this week. We were a bit harsh and pointed out that their family is falling apart because they are focusing so much on work, then we shared a message. We met with her again later in the week and she said after we'd left they just sat there for about 30 minutes without saying anything and then finally they talked about what was going on. Then on Sunday, they went to church... the whole family went to church! We were so happy. It was fantastic! Not only that, one of their sons got up and bore his testimony. We were sitting near the front and the kids came and sat beside us because we're cool missionaries. Leus, whose 12, said to me, "you have to get up and bear your testimony", so I said I'd bear my testimony if he'd bear his testimony and he said "ok". He waited a bit so I started pushing a bit and then he went up and I went up behind him. It was a little odd bearing my testimony at the pulpit as a missionary, on a Sunday, because we don't usually do that. There was a lot of people that bore their testimonies. Their youngest son, Bencumin who is 5 was like a tornado and was all over the place. One lady, Armana Frescia, who is pretty serious, apparently didn't approve so she reprimanded him... and he stopped. He was probably so shocked, but it was awesome.

We had supper at the family Campos house. They are so cool - just a really good family. I don't think either of them served missions, but they are really active. He's the High Priest Group Leader, she's the Stake Relief Society President, one of the daughter's went on mission, the other daughter's husband is a bishop, one of their son's is going on a mission. They're just a great family - we love going there!

We have a fairly new investigator about 2-3 weeks ago, Lisa. She's a lawyer and she's super smart. The lawyer's here seem to be very smart. She was asking about the Abrahamic Covenant and we were reading in Galacians where it talks about getting accepted into the Abrahamic Covenant if you're not of the seed of Abraham. We read it and Elder Gillespie started to explain it a bit and she said Wait... so if I want to be accepted into the covenant I have to get baptized and ours jaws dropped. We were like, yes, that's exactly what you have to do. No one would ever get that. I don't know how she caught that after he just read it. We were amazed! We thought, wow, that was impressive. Now it's a bit tougher to visit her because she's a single lady. 

The other Jocelyn, the one who we're waiting on to get married - she read the scriptures this week. Yeah, we were happy about that. Also, her fiance's brother came to church this week so we were happy about that too!

That's this week's recording - a long one. I love you guys.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July 29, 2013

Happy Birthday dad!

I am glad that you liked the Fruit Ninja - it was fun.

That picture of me in the scarf and hat is actually on the sky drive so if you want it, you have it. The little girl looked at me, told me that I was cold, and then made me put that on.

The activity of Scripture Jeopardy turned out really good, eventhough it was rather small.

For news on transfers, you'll need to listen to my recording. (See audio summary.)

If time seems to be going quickly, think about these trunky mission facts:
  • In 13 weeks I will be in church at home
  • I will only tell you guys about one more transfer
  • The next time I talk to you it will not be over the computer
  • After General Conference I will be home in 16 days
I could keep going but for sake of my sanity I am not going to. I don't want my mission to end BTW, but I am looking forward to seeing you guys again.

Love Jord

Audio summary...

It is the end of one transfer and the start of another. I know what's on your mind. Everybody's wondering... what happened to Elder McCaskill? Where is he going? Where is his companion going? And... we got the transfer call about 1:30am Saturday evening/Sunday morning. We're both staying - no changes. There are only 5 transfers in the whole zone. Apparently 80 - 90% of the mission stayed the same. So, Elder Gillespie and I are both staying - it'll be a little weird as we're both close to the end of our missions. I'm almost positive one of us will leave next transfer, but we'll see. That will be the last transfer. I can't believe how fast my mission has gone and is still going.

This week we made empanadas with the kg and a half of cheese we bought. We didn't use much last week because everywhere we went people gave us food so we weren't hungry when we returned to the pension. We just made them up one day this week and as we wanted them, we fry them up. That actually worked great, a fantastic, little thing. So we've had a bunch of empanadas. This week we've tried to go a little more to the healthy side... we're going to make salad. We found dressings for salads which is weird because here in Chile they don't really use that. For a salad here they typically take a bit of tomato and onion, they cut it up and mix it together and put a bit of oil on it - not olive oil, just vegetable oil, squeeze a little lemon on it, sprinkle a little salt and that's considered a salad. It's not my favorite, but that's what they do. You don't get tossed salad like we're used to at home very often so we're going to make a real salad. We bought some lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, our dressing and some chicken and we're going to make a simple salad with chicken on it. It's going to be delicious.

A little bit of empanada left... hmmm!

There's a movie that missionaries use a lot here. It's called Together Forever and it has about 5 little stories of couples that had problems and how the gospel helped them resolve their problems. We watched it with the couple who are waiting to get married so his fiance can get baptized. His mother and her husband were also there - the husband isn't a member. I don't know exactly why, but he's a super nice guy, really receptive. I don't know if he'll get baptized, but he's a really nice guy... just a swell fellow!

This week we had rain one day, which is cool but it was the lead up that was really crazy. I was sitting here in the pension studying and I saw a flash of light from the window out of the corner of my eye. I didn't really think much of it, then about 15 seconds later there was an enormous crack of thunder. It was incredible. It shook the building - I was amazed and could hardly believe how loud it was. After that the sky just opened up for about 15 seconds and then it started raining for a bit and then a couple more times through the day. Actually the next day it was a lot warmer. I would have thought it would be colder, but apparently it always does this. It rains and then it gets warmer. Weird stuff!

One day when we were getting ready to leave the pension, my companion went into the bathroom and I hid underneath one of the beds. They're really low and I couldn't fit under one of them, but managed to shimmy under the other. He came out of the bathroom and I could see him walk around a little bit checking around and I heard him doing some stuff. Then he came into the bedroom and lifted up the bed beside me. He didn't lift up the bed I was under, but then he kneeled down and saw me. At first he was like ha, ha, and he was looking around and then he kind of starting getting worried because he couldn't find me. But we had a good laugh after - a little hide and go seek.

Yesterday we left one house and had walked about 3 blocks on our way to the church to meet a guy for another lesson. This guy called to us and asked us where we were going, so we told him the church and he said he'd take us. He wasn't a member or anything, but he was a cool guy, but he didn't take us to our church. He took us to another church, so we ended up having to walk to our church from there which ended up being a much longer walk. But nice guy, Edwardo, interesting and we got to talk to him for a little bit. It was fun.

We did our Scripture Jeopardy instead of the Talent Show. Jeopardy - whooaa! There were only about 15 people but it was fun and we had a fabulous time. Everybody who went loved it. The game turned really, really good. Someone actually took it afterwards to use it in seminary. I was surprised how good people did. One funny thing... one of the youth who was about 14 or 15 years old was up one time and the question was: What book in the Old Testament is made up of songs and poems? The guy who she was competing against said "Songs of Soloman", but I couldn't give him points for that. So she had the golden opportunity, a chance to take all the time she needed to answer and she blurted out "the hymn book". Everybody just died laughing. I gave her another chance and she got it right - Psalms. It was hilarious - everybody was laughing and laughing. We teased her a little because she yelled Hymn Book with such certainty and gusto, but no. There was another guy from here who's a return missionary from about 11 years ago. His name is Giermo. He was super amazing. He knew all the answers, even the scripture masteries - I was super impressed. It was completely amazing. It was sweet.

Jocelyn,the young woman who is a convert of about a year had a weird week. We stopped by on Tuesday and she was all down, crying, saying she didn't want to go to church anymore and stuff like that, but we encouraged her and told her she should go. Then we went back there on Thursday and she was all happy and smiling, reading the scriptures, asking about patriarchal blessings and all was great. Friday she came to the FHE Jeopardy activity, Saturday she went to a baptism that wasn't even in our ward and came to church on Sunday, even an hour early. We just didn't understand... but we keep going. (uh... teenage girl!)

Last week I mentioned the friend of one of the members who was at church. Her name is Mahoa. She came to church last week and then went to the baptism on Saturday and was going to come to church, but she didn't make it. She's from Antofagasta so we're going to try and send the reference there and maybe she'll get baptized there - she's super good. Her friend here is super, super strong so that's really good.

We met one lady from Columbia - Paola, a contact from the other missionaries on Monday evening and she told them to come back. We followed up and she was there and invited us in. From her accent I guessed that she was from Bogota, the capital of Columbia - and I was right. One of my companions, Elder Rodriguez was from Bogota and his accent was exactly the same. I noticed it right away.

Very serious... Elder McCaskill

That's the news from this week. I'll talk to you guys later.