Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 27, 2013

FYI - I guess I sometimes tend to express the frustrating things that are happening more than the good things, but know that I am really happy and enjoying my mission experience.

I know I said this last week, but we had rain!!!!!!

I have been lazy with my workouts again, but I have already asked Garrett to get me going on a workout when I get home to fight my skinny white boy syndrome. I guess I am kind of a skinny brown boy right now - at least arms and head.

We played volleyball today. It was fun. I am happy.

That is cool that the sink you order finally came and you'll be able to finish off the bathroom, but send me pictures. Seeing is better than reading in this case.

Tell Grandma happy birthday for me and that I miss her.

For my other news, check out my recording this week.

Love you guys a ton,

Summary of audio clip...

We just got back from the zone activity today. We played... wait for it... we played a little volleyball and then some soccer. We played for about an hour and a half and then soccer for a bit. It was sweet! It wasn't really competitive, but it was really fun. I can still hit and pass better than most or all of them, but I'm not really very good anymore.It was just fun to play. We were originally going to have a BBQ, although they're not that great here - the meat isn't too fabulous. Then they changed it to have Mexican food, but nobody really had money so we just played volleyball. We did go to the mall afterwards and had KFC - hmmm... good stuff.

This week was really hectic. The beginning of the week was somewhat normal, then on Thursday we went to Antofagasta at 5 am for a conference. It was really trunky because Presidente Bruce talked for about 15 minutes at the end about getting married. He also shared some other stuff and so did the assistants. This isn't Presidente Bruce's last conference, he's got one more before he leaves. The last conference he'll do the full thing, including introducing us to the new mission president - not directly, but he'll tell us a bit about him and how things might change and stuff like that.

Friday I did baptismal interviews for my district - that took up a lot of  my day. We only worked in the sector for about 3 hours and then I was outside my sector from 3:30 - 7:30pm. When I got back we went to the church from 7:30 - 9:30pm. It was good because my district did really good this month. We had more than half the baptisms for the zone. The goal was 16, but we only got 12. They had some bad luck in Tocopilla - they were supposed to have 5 and they didn't go through. Out of the 12 for the zone, my district had 7 so I was pretty happy with that. My companion and I didn't baptize this month, but we'll be working on that for next month. Elder Steiner and Elder Galvan, the other missionaries in the pension, had 1 baptism. I didn't think it was going to happen, and then it did. Armana Madrano and Armana Bravo had 4 baptisms and  the other armanas had 1 last week and 1 this week.

On a culinary note... I made wraps with the Chipotle Mayo I got last week, which is fantastic. I had it with... (english words???)... chicken crunchies??... crunchies of chicken?? They're like little chicken patties and they're good. Super lazy, but that's what we did and they were good. My companion bought Caesar dressing to go on them - he was a little more traditional.

I haven't had a hot shower in about a week and a half, mostly because we're too lazy to go and buy gas.

Oh... here's something that happened. It probably shouldn't have happened, but it did. On the bus going back from Antofagasta there was a movie about a surfer dude who died surfing some huge wave. After that a Chinese commercial or something came on and we thought there was going to be some Chinese movie, then a bootleg version of Ironman lll came on and we were all so happy. I mean we shouldn't be watching movies, but it was playing on the bus and it was pretty awesome. We didn't get to see the whole thing but it was pretty good. I can't wait to see it all in high definition blu-ray.

That's about it for the week.
Caio! Jordan

Sunday, May 26, 2013

May 20, 2013

Sounds like a number of things around the house are up for repair. I am glad to hear that you are saving up a few things for me to do when I get home - really I am. I think I've been able to really use my handyman abilities here in the mission.

I am actually afraid that I am going to be horrible at everything when I get home. I will probably have to teach myself math and science again. Really... the only thing that I will be able to do is speak, but not amazingly useful if you can't remember how to add.

That's good that dad is tackling something new with his motorcyle repairs, but make sure he doesn't mess up - brakes are useful!

Love Jord

Audio summary...
A couple of interesting things happened this week - the armadas (sisters) who are in my distsrcit had a baptism this week so I had to go and do the interview one day. It looks like they're going to have 4 more baptisms this coming week - they are so much better than we are right now. Really, I'm not even joking.

Aside... there a dog that's outside the pension that always follows us for 2 or 3 blocks and then goes back. He followed us all the way to the Stake Centre to do the interview. The Stake Centre is about 30 blocks away, about a 45 minute walk. Kind of funny.

Last Monday we made cake. It was a Betty Crocker cake - it said soft and moist. It was ok, but  not really great, fantastical goodness. The cakes here always seem to be dry... I'm not sure why. Yesterday we made mashed potatoes and gravy - Elder Steiner had some gravy from home. That was pretty good. 

In keeping with my pattern of telling you stories of people we meet on the street, here is one from this week. First of all, there are many less actives in Chile. This guy walked/stumbled up to us and he told us he was a member and didn't drink tea, coffee or pop, but wondered if we could take some of the money he had and go buy him a box of wine. I think in his mind this made perfect sense, but we didn't. We laughed about that for a little bit.

The biggest announcement of the week... there was rain in Calama! For the first time in my whole mission I saw rain. Literally, I have not seen rain sine I arrived in Chile. It rained for about 10 minutes at about noon and then about 15 minutes about 6:30pm. It's really weird because this is the driest city in all of the mission and it rained. It was amazing... it was awesome! It was super, super cold and overcast, then it rained and everything was wet and I loved it. It was so fantastic, I loved it because that just never happens. I hope it rains again... but it's not going to.

This week was pretty routine. We did go on splits with the elder's quorum to do some of their home teaching visits. They struggle with doing their home teaching here and often don't do it so we thought it would be a good opportunity to help them.

We didn't have any of our contacts in church again this week. It's frustrating... it's not all their fault as we don't seem to be very good at getting people to go to church... not sure why. I  really wish they would come because that leads to baptisms. We need to focus more on getting people out to church. We're struggling with that right now, but that happens sometimes. My district is doing pretty good overall. The armadas always do good.

The kids here have 4 days off school so lots of people have gone on vacation for the weekend, but they'll be back soon as they're back to classes on Wednesday.

This week I'm going to make chicken wraps. I bought some chipotle mayo... it's awesome! It comes from Mexico. Lots of the thing I seem to like aren't made in Chile, except Rametas - they're like little potatoes sticks covered in cheese. They're really good. Maybe I'll bring some home, or you  can try them when we come back.

I love you guys, caio!

Friday, May 17, 2013

May 13, 2013

To answer the questions you had...

Arica was the only sector I have been in for only one transfer.

Special cambios usually happen every transfer, but I have never been part of one (either me or my companion leaving)

I was talking with an elder here whose brother served in the Alberta Canada mission and he said the same about the BBQ´s - Canadians are better BBQers than Americans... by the mouth of two or three witnesses.

For this week we just bought a Betty Crocker cake (really expensive), but I might try the cake recipe you sent me next week.

Everyone has a microwave here, but it is not used to the same extent as back home.

Jordan was able to Skype us on Mother's Day. It was great to talk to him and "see" him too. He looks well - not dramatically different than when he left, although the online resolution was not 100%. The time continues to go by quickly while being in the mission field. He is currently serving as district leader for 2 sets of elder and 2 sets of sister missionaries - this is a new assignment, but he admitted the sisters simplify the job because they always work hard. 

Him and his companion have been doing some more significant cooking lately for some of their evening meals - this has been great, but he is looking forward to a number of different foods when he returns home. 

He reminded us of the importance of reading the Book of Mormon and make sure we keep it up on a daily basis. They had 2 baptisms a couple weeks ago and are working on establishing their teaching pool again.

We tried not to focus too much on his time out, or remaining, but this was his last phone call home. The next time we speak it, will probably be in person. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 6, 2013

I really have no idea if the White Night (all baptisms in the area done in one service) is specific to our area. As far as Sebastian goes, it was supposed to be more of a family thing instead of just from the missionaries so they chose to do it separately.

Believe me, I am really appreciative of the church back home now. The structure and organization seems to be in place far more. Schedules and time also seem to be more significant to us at home - people are far more unpredictable here when it comes to setting up appointments and committing to times in Chile, especially in the North, from what I understand.

Finishing the Book of Mormon in a month is really not that hard in the mission. I took almost a week off of reading because I was so far ahead of where I needed to be. It is even faster in English because the translation is 100 pages longer. When you finish though, make sure to start again. One good option is to buy the cheap blue copies and mark everything you like and then go back and look at what you marked. Also, I don't really read slower in Spanish anymore.

I love you guys and I´ll actually talk to you on Sunday.

Audio summary... to come
Woohoo! Happy 18 Months without me in the house... yeah! This week we had cambios - I think I forgot to mention that to you. the big news is neither of us are leaving. elder Lopez and myself are both staying for 6 more weeks in the barren wasteland that is Calama. The other companionship in our pension also stayed so the 4 of us are in the pension for the next 6 weeks unless there is a special cambio. It was really nice because we had a normal P Day today. The only difference is that I'm going to be district leader again. this time it will be a little different because I'll be the district leader for the sister missionaries. There will be 8 all together in my district - us 4 elders and 4 sister missionaries.

A couple interesting stories... we got waved down by a drunk guy yesterday. He started talking to us and he said he was the devil. We asked him his name and he told us it was Luis. I didn't actually know the devil's name was Luis, but apparently it is... (ha, ha). He was super drunk and didn't really know what he was doing but we talked with him for awhile. Then, about 1/2 hour later, we talked to another guy who was under the influence in some manner. We were working with the "seamie" (sp?) which is a list of the members in the sector - active or less active. We go and see if they are still living at the address listed. This guy was outside one of the houses on our list so we asked him if this family lived there. He just started talking about all this random stuff in really bad Spanish. Then he thought I didn't know Spanish so he started talking in really broken English, but we understood even less. He told us about how he used to live in Miami and some weird stuff. We were kind of trying to get away, but he wouldn't let us leave for about 20 minutes. Then he said to hold on and he went around the corner to pee and we took off. It was pretty funny at that point.

Last week when we went to the store, Elder Lopez didn't really want to get anything so I bought hamburger, cheese, buns, ketchup and avocado to make avocado/cheese burgers and they were delicious. Actually I made 4 of them. They were really good, but expensive - about 4500 pesos, which is about $9 for 4 burgers, not including the cheese and stuff which isn't really cheap either.

Today, Elder Rodriguez called - I love him. He's great. He told me one of my converts from Antofagasta, Eduardo, just got the Melchizedek priesthood a week ago. That was sweet. I was so glad to hear that. You always baptize people and wonder how they'll do and if they'll stay active and continue to progress. He got the Melchizedek priesthood - I was so excited!

We went to the store today and I bought a baking pan, one of the deep ones. Can you send me a cake recipe I can make with yogurt, one of those really soft ones. But it has to be yogurt, not sour cream because they don't have sour cream here. It doesn't even exist. It would be great to get for next week or the week after. We're getting pretty intense with our baking and cooking action.

Most importantly of anything, our Mother's Day phone call is coming up. My last phone call home, in case you're not keeping track. I'll be calling Sunday evening about 8pm here - we just had a time change so you'll need to figure that out. We contacted Margaret, a lady here, and we can Skype from her place. We know it will work because she's from Bolivia and Skypes her family all the time.

Oh... we had interviews with President Bruce... how could I forget about that? Last time we talked about some stuff including why I'm here in the mission. Not just in the mission, I know that, but why I'm in the Antofagasta mission at this time, with these people and what impact am I having. This time I was still considering that question somewhat. We talked about where I'd served and some of the patterns he's noticed and much of what he said are things I've been thinking for awhile as well. President Bruce is awesome. I wish I could finish my mission with him because he's so amazing. He is really in tune with the spirit - pretty much every interview, it's like he reads my mind.

We are teaching currently in the sector, but probably don't have anyone progressing to baptism this month. We're looking to find people that will keep going into next month which would be nice.

I love you guys and I'll talk to you soon!
Caio! Jordan

Saturday, May 4, 2013

April 29, 2013

I have indeed finished the Book of Mormon in Spanish and while I don't really like just reading. I prefer actually answering questions and studying specific subjects - it's always a good excercise and you learn alot of new stuff doing that. I would like to say that if you are still reading to keep it up and that if you aren't, that you start and finish before I get home. Not really that hard - it's like a hundred pages a month.

I am glad to hear that Jacek is doing good and recovering quickly. Also good to hear that he had the better of two options as far as the surgery goes. Although not as cool as saying that he has a titanium heart.

As far as our cooking goes, it has not really been driven so much by me as by the options that we have as far as ingredients. On top of that, Elder Lop├ęz has been to Utah 4 or five times for like a total of 9 months or so, so he knows the food from there too.

I think that you should buy a Dodge Challenger or Charger...just saying. "Buy it, Sunny, buy it." (Quoting Uncle Blaine)

I am sure Buddy will recognize me when I get home. If not, that will give me the opportunity to start from zero again.

Oh yeah and mothers day and my final call home is coming up soon so if you can verify all the skype stuff.

I love you guys,

Summary of audio...

This week was super, super, super busy and not very normal. First of all I had to go and do errands, including my visa work because they only have 1 year visas here, so I had to get my second one. They sent me to Tocopia to do that which is where I started my mission, so everyone I knew was there. I took the morning to do my stuff, then we had until 5:20pm to go visit people. I did all my stuff and visited 1 before lunch, 1 during lunch and 1 after lunch. It was sweet. I was so happy because I went back and I could actually talk this time so people could understand me. I don’t know if you remember some of the people I talked about when I was here. I visited 3 people – Carla and her family. She’s like one of the YSA back home. She’s working and doing good. Then I visited one of my converts and then another girl, Fernanda who was YSA too. I wanted to visit 2 more of my converts, but 1 went inactive and one wasn’t there. One thing that was cool was that when I was there at the beginning of my mission Fernanda started her mission papers and she received her call to Salt Lake City. She was supposed to leave last September but because of visa issues she kept getting delayed, so she was there. She actually left yesterday for the MTC in Provo so that worked out pretty cool.

I went and saw my Francesco Rapheal - Raffa. He's doing really good. He's got the priesthood and everything now. His grandmother is pretty sweet, she's an active member and is supportive of him so it's not really surprising. It was really cool to go back and see all those people I knew before and to be able to actually talk to them now. 

On Friday we had our Talent Show, which we put together. Originally we weren't quite sure how it would go over, but it turned out really good. We started about 1 1/2 hours late because the guy who was bringing the speakers to play the music didn't show up until then, which really sucked. But... that's fairly typical here, people often aren't on time. We did a little act and I've got the recording which I'll try and upload for you to see. It's kind of like blend of the Twelve Days of Christmas and Old Mac|Donald's Farm. I thought I'd give you some background otherwise you won't understand anything because it's in Spanish. All in all it went really good.

On Saturday morning  at 11am we had the baptism for Sebastian who is 10 years old. We had to get up around 5:30am to go and fill the font. Nothing went smoothly from there... it was a bit of a nightmare. The caliphon, or heater for the font didn't work, but we eventually got a hold of a guy who had fixed it before. He was able to come, but it was about an hour later. He was able to fix it which was great so we carried on. So at 11am Sebastian and his family arrives and no one else is there - not from the primary, or the bishopric, or any of the quorums or auxiliaries, so that was really bad. The uncle of Sebastian's mom, who was doing the baptism was getting annoyed with us because no one was there, but there wasn't much we could do about it. We tried making some calls, but no one was available so our zone leaders came because nobody from the Bishopric was there to preside. The font ended up being cold too because the caliphon stopped working again... not nearly as smooth as planned.

In the afternoon we had the baptism for Marco, the other kid we have been teaching. They had what was called the Night of White where they bring together all the baptisms from all the missionaries and do them at the Stake Centre. There were 8 baptisms and they did one service which was really nice. This meant we didn't have to plan it or fill the font... we basically just had to show up. That was interesting as it was the first time I've been to this in the mission. The next day both of them got confirmed which went fine.

As far as food goes this week in the pension, we made burritos with meat, beans, tomatoes, cheese, lettuce and some taco sauce. That was really good. Then the next night we didn't have any meat left and hardly any tortilla so I told my companion to make himself burritos and I took what was left and made kind of a taco salad. It didn't have a lot of the stuff, but it was the closest thing to a salad that I've had here. Most of the salads they make here are tomatoes or tomatoes with a bit of lettuce or onion or something - that's what they call a salad. Not really what I'd call a salad.

That was about it. We were pretty much busy all week and didn't have any time off or downtime.

I love you guys and will talk to you later,