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