Monday, December 21, 2009

December 21, 2009

Hey howdy hey!

Ok, I'm sitting in an internet cafe in Los Angeles, and I'm ready to get some writing-to-the-family done.

I saw the picture, it's not very good quality but I was able to make out who was who. It's good to see the family all together! I haven't seen recent pictures of you all in a few months now! Hopefully that photo album will get here pretty soon.

Glad to hear that the Christmas program went well! I'll bet everyone loved it. It's really interesting to hear about the activities of a really strong ward in the church while I'm here in a small branch in Cabrero. We didn't have any special thing during sacrament meeting, but we finished up the day at church with something even better....a baptism! Maria, the half-deaf abuelita got baptized! I'll include photos of that today. It was a really good week for us here in Cabrero despite the fact that Elder Rodriguez and I weren't in our sector for 3 out of the 7 days. On Monday I went south with President Swenson, Hermana Swenson, and Elder Kamalu to play for the mission conference down there, and then Wednesday was another mission conference in Talcahuano at which we also played. It was really cool to travel with President Swenson and his wife - I couldn't have asked for a better mission president. Anyway, we had 7 investigators in church yesterday along with 3 less or inactive members, so we're pretty satisfied! We have 3 baptismal dates for the 9th of January, and then 2 more for the 16th: Danitza, Yanitza, Diego, Diego, and FREDDY! Hopefully all goes well with them and they can keep progressing to these dates. It's so amazing to see the change that happens in all these people's lives as they come closer to the Lord. I love working with these people.

Ginger bread houses! Now there's something I wouldn't mind doing with the fam again. Well...I would probably be like Ian and eat my house as I built it. Or maybe he wouldn't do that...but he's a Haha. That's nice of you to let them invite friends over, make sure Cami invites a girl! Haha, just kidding Cami, just make sure he's not dweeb.

Snow...what's that? Is that some kind of soup? Hmmmm... Yeah, so it's full on summer here - hot all day every day. And sometimes at night, it usually cools down a bit in the evenings though. I won't complain, though, I love it when it's hot outside. I know you'll all tell me about the time I called summertime a poohead, but I've changed my mind hehe.

Marriages, weddings, graduations, marriages, more marriages, AHHH!! BOOM. Congratulations to all that have gotten married, told someone you're going to marry them, and as for those that have graduated...I'll send you a Bon-a-bon or something ha. But seriously, congrats to everyone!

I hadn't heard that Nathan was in the MTC, but that's really cool! He'll do great. I didn't know Jacob was either, but I'm sure he's doing great things. Let me know if you hear any updates on them.

Yes, I can talk with Justin on Christmas, if you just want to pass along the number I gave to you that's where I should be. You can call him when we're done talking and then he can call me. Bummer that I'll be missing Jasmine and Joel...maybe next time.

I don't remember who it was, but I remember you telling me about someone who said they never felt in danger on their mission, and I'll testify to that. Yesterday Elder Rodriguez and I were walking to Freddy's house because we were going to pick Maria up for church and her baptism, and this drunk driver sped out of a street, and skidded to a stop about 2 inches away from hitting me. There was also a family with a few youngsters standing behind me, so it was a miracle that he stopped. He backed up a little bit, turned and sped off wrecklesly down the road. We wrote down the license plate number, and then Freddy called the Carabineros (police) who came and took care of it. The Lord takes care of his missionaries :-)

Well, that's about all I've got for right now - I'm really looking forward to talking with you all this Friday! Once again, thank you for the goodies, the shoes, and the presents that I haven't opened yet (Santa has to bring them to me on Friday hehe)! I'm sure you'll be there, but try to be home on Friday until I call you, and then you can go out and party. I'll probably be calling in the afternoon here, because Freddy, Carmen Gloria, Elder Rodriguez and I are going to go to Salta del Laja in the morning. But it will probably still be morning for you guys when I call. Anyway, I love you very much and can't wait to talk to you! Merry Christmas!!


Monday, December 7, 2009

December 7, 2009

Yay, a letter! What a crazy day - it was Elder Hodson's last day here in Chile so we went to Concepción for his last interview with President Swenson, and then we went to Coronel (one of Hodson's old sectors) to visit some of his converts, and we just barely got back to Cabrero. It's nearly 10 so I'll have to hurry and write this so we can get back to the house. My new companion's name is Elder Rodriguez from La Florida, Chile. He'll be my first latino companion, and as far as I know he doesn't speak any english. Should be fun! I'm not worried about it, I speak spanish well enough now.

As for the Christmas packages - we're having a conference this month at which I will get any mail that has arrived. If they haven't arrived by then I'll just have to get it next time we have interviews. Who knows, I might get them at a zone conference we have this week. But I don't think there will be any problems. Did you get the package I sent?

It's really weird to think about all the Christmas stuff and breaks and all that fun stuff while it's hot and sunny here every day. Some people here have put up their Christmas trees and's too hot for Christmas. Maybe next year...haha.

Now for the list of things:

1. We found the Chilean Johnny Depp! He's a 19-year-old named Pablo and is an amazing guitar player. He accepted the baptismal invitation on our first visit, so we're really excited to continue visiting with him.

2. We had a family home evening with the two chinese guys this last week - it was really interesting because they don't speak spanish and their english is rocky, so there was a lot of translating going on on my part. We watched the restoration in Mandarin which was really interesting...hehe.

3. One of our investigators, Maria Cuevas, said that she saw us and the Book of Mormon in a dream! How crazy is that? She'll most likely be getting baptized this month. It's just a little more difficult with her because she's half death (we have to shout the lessons, hehe, GREAT for feeling the spirit) and she lives in Monte Aguila just outside of Cabrero. But she's great, I love her to death. The last time we visited her she was feeling really sick and was shaking, and asked us for a blessing, so we gave her one and yet another miracle - she was instantly better. The power of the priesthood is such an amazing thing, it truly works by faith.

4. One of our investigators, Erasmo Aravena, fasted with us and paid fast offerings! He's an amazing guy. Also, he and his future wife (they haven't gotten married yet, but they have 2 adorable kids) Karina want to get married in the temple. Golden! He wants to visit me after my mission (he's an english professor), so that'll be cool if he ends up being able to do it.

Well, I had better go - it's getting pretty late. Thank you for writing! I love and miss you very much! Tell everyone I say hi and that I love them!


Monday, November 30, 2009

November 30, 2009

Howdy, howdy, howdy!

No e-mails from anyone this week, eh? Oh well, I guess I can do without for this week :-p

(Note from Mom: I was madly typing a letter to him while he was writing this one, and he went back later, having forgotten something, and found mine. So he didn't go away thinking I didn't write!)

Things have been going really well this last week. We had a few rough weeks this cambio when the people we were teaching stopped wanting to hear from us, but we've found some really good new people and they're starting to progress. The dad of one of the families we're sharing with is an english professor, so we've actually taught a few lessons in english haha. He, Irasmo, doesn't like to speak spanish when we're there because he really likes practicing his english (sometimes his wife, Karina, makes him speak in spanish so that she'll understand). Irasmo went with us to Los Angeles for a stake conference yesterday (Karinia couldn't because one of their kids is sick and she had to stay home with her), and he really liked it. Last week he even asked us for a Book of Mormon in English! He and Karina are reading it and they both really like that, so of course we're very happy for them. They're not married yet, but I think they have plans to do so and then they'll be able to get baptized. Hopefully they can do that before I leave Cabrero! Haha.

I've let some people here try the Reeses and the peanut butter, and they all LOVE it. Yesterday while we were eating lunch at Freddy's house I introduced them to peanut-butter flavored ice-cream - we mixed it in with some that they had - and they went crazy over it haha. Carmen Gloria told me to have you send more Reeses, haha, she's got a very sweet tooth and she fell in love with Reeses instantly.

Stake conference, wow. It's been a long time since I've seen that many members in one place - there must have been about 300. Maybe a little less. To you folk up there in gringolandia that may seem pretty average, but when you look at the attendance here in Cabrero for the last 5 weeks - 23 (it rained), 46, 50, 43, 27 (people didn't have the money to go to Los Angeles for the conference) - that's a mountain of people. I think I've said it before, but that's what I miss about Utah, the strength of the members. There are some really strong wards here as well though. The other week we had a multi-zone conference in a HUGE chapel in Talcahuano. It was probably about double the size of the chapel back home. So that was a pretty fun experience. There were about 80 missionaries there as well, which is about more than half of the mission.

It's crazy how fast this cambio has gone by - Elder Hodson will be heading home next week and I'll be staying in Cabrero with a new companion (don't know who it is yet). I'll be officially done with my training at the end of this cambio, though, so people won't be able to call me a 'greeny' hehe. I actually haven't heard that word here, though, now that I think of it. But I won't be one of the newbies. This next cambio there will be 20 new missionaries, and then 20 more the following cambio, and then 20 MORE the following cambio. So the number of missionaries here is going to explode in the next couple months. I wonder why they're sending so many...probably because it's the coolest mission in the world, right? Yeah, that's what I was thinking too...hehe.

How did Thanksgiving go with the family? Did you eat some food for me? I completely forgot about it, haha. It was just another day for me down here. I wonder what I'll be doing for Christmas. I have heard from other Elders that for Christmas Eve the Elders are allowed to celebrate with the people until midnight - in Chile they do all the stuff we do on Christmas the night before. There are some American kids who would really like it down here because of that, I'm sure! So that'll be another new experience. I much prefer our own family traditions, though :) Maybe I'll wake up early and do that to my companion. Could be fun.

Well, I feel like I'm just rambling on about nothing for this week, so I'm gonna go ahead and get some pictures sent. I didn't really take that many this week, so I'll probably send some older ones. I love you all very much and look forward to hearing how your holiday season is going!


PS. Enjoy that cold weather up there! :-p

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

November 24, 2009

¡Hola Mamá!

Well, first things first: The package did get here. I actually got it a week ago today at a multi-zone conference we had in Talcahuano. We changed our preparation day to today (Tuesday) because yesterday we had interviews with President Swenson in Los Angeles. As far as I know everything got here - Reeses (THANK YOU!!!), beef jerkey, dove chocolates, wheat thins, trail mix, and PEANUT BUTTER!!!!! I'm very happy about this box, hehe. I took a package of Reeses to Freddy and Carmen Gloria's house the other day to let them try it and they told me that I have to tell you to send more so I can give it to them haha. They love the gringo treats. Let me know when you get the package I sent out, I want to know how long it takes for it to get from here to there.

Sounds like you're having fun with all those musical callings in the church! The other day President Swenson asked me if you and dad had callings and I didn't remember! So now I'll be able to do that. When I get back I really want to work with the missionaries - preferrably spanish-speaking. And if there aren't any in my ward, I'll go out and look for them haha. I've really noticed how much support from the members can have an impact on the missionary work, so when I get back I'm going to do everything I can to help the Elders in our area out. Plus, it's loads of fun so it'll be well worth it.

New computer, eh? I think it was about time to get a new one anyway - that other one was just dying. What a bummer that it would have cost so much to fix it, though, it would have been nice to have another one around. I saw a Mac today for the first time in 4 months! It was in a photo shop where I went to get my pictures taken for my visa. We do really have to have visas, Chile just does it differently. I'll be getting my identity card in the next couple weeks, called a ''carnet''. So I'll be officially Chilean...kind of...sort of...not really. There's a saying here that makes everyone laugh when the gringos say it: ''Soy más Chileno que los porotos.'' It means that I'm more Chilean than the Chilean beans. Not really funny when you say it in english...but still, they get a kick out of it.

Don't you worry, that snow will come. And when it does, you'll be really happy you have those snow tires. Just remember all the times in years past when we WISHED we had them. Winter is just testing you, hehe. I'm sure you'll get plenty of snow in the coming months to put those snow tires to the test.

That's really neat about that kid in your orchestra class. I'm sure it can try your patience at times, but just remember to always strive for Christlike love and blessings will come because of it. I've really seen a difference just a little bit of kindness can make in someone's life.

A cd? Wow! I really wish I could put more music on my iPod, but NOBODY has Mac around here, and my iPod is old enough that if I wanted it to work for windows I would have to erase everything on there and reformat it for windows. Or something like that... But all the same, I would love to hear your cd if you finish it before I get back. If not, we can listen to it together when I get back. Oh, here's something cool. Hermana Swenson is trying to put a Christmas activity together for the missionaries this year, and she wants Elder Kamalu and me to play for it. She wants to do three different activities (for three different conferences with Elders in the whole mission), and she told me yesterday that Elder Kamalu and I will be traveling with them to play at all three (if they're able to do three, that is). So that should be pretty fun :). I talked to the music professor, Cristofer Teloza, at the high school Cabrero yesterday and he said he would be more than happy to let me borrow the saxophone, which is actually being fixed up right now. Yay! So yeah, things are going great.

Now for my list of random things I wrote down this week:
1. Is there a way you could send me DVDs of The Testaments and the Joseph Smith movie? Preferably with the possibility of spanish dubs or subtitles. If not, that's fine.
2. There are some teenagers here who asked me how to say a part of the male body in english, and I told them ''panini'' hehe. So now whenever they see us, instead of yelling garabatos (vulgar words), they yell ''panini''! Problem solved :)
3. Here's one that dad will like. We found some Chinese people! And they don't speak a lick of spanish! They're here on business for the wood company called Masisa, and they'll be here for about another 6 months. We requested a Book of Mormon from Santiago in Mandarin, so that should be here in about a week. Dad, if you want to send me a few phrases in Mandarin to say to them that would be great! They speak a bit of english, but it's a little rocky. We're going to try to teach them though.
4. The other day we experienced another miracle. There's a young woman in the branch whose boyfriend has gone to church with her several times, but has never wanted to visit with the missionaries. And then yesterday, when we had lunch with this family, he was there and asked us for a Book of Mormon! And he really wants to read it to know for himself. Blessings come in many different ways, and we're really excited for him.
5. Another really amazing thing that happened, is that Carmen Gloria's dad, Juan, went to church for the first time in YEARS this last sunday! He's not a member, and has been really closed off to the idea of going to church at all. The Lord really does prepare the people, we just find them and help them to be taught the by Spirit.

Well, that's all I wrote down for this week. Hope you enjoyed my random blurbs! And I think that's about all I've got for this week. Thank you for the update on the family! Let the others know that they can write me whenever they'd like - I'd love to hear from them as well. I think I'm going to go try to get some pictures on here, for some reason the computer doesn't want to recognize my camera. So if there are no pictures this week I apologize. Anyway, I love and miss you very much! Keep doing good things!


Monday, November 16, 2009

November 16, 2009

¡Hola Mamá!

Quisiera escribir un poco en español esta semana para que usted pueda practicar ;-) Gracias por escribir esta semana, me encanta a mi recibir cartas de la familia. ¡Que lástima que la electricidad en su pieza no está funcionando! Ojalá que se arregle aquí pronto. Y la alfombra también, yo recuerdo que se ve...bueno, feo, jaja. Pero sí, estoy de acuerdo que sería mejor pagar alguien a hacerlo para que usted no pierda tiempo haciéndolo. ¡Parece que tiene un montón de otras cosas de hacer!

Alrighty, hope you can understand all that!

It's very true about having a guardian angel - I've never been worried about my safety for a second here because I know I'm active in the Lord's work. There's a bit of civil unrest here with the native Mapuche, but that's more to the north of here in Rancagua and Santiago, I think. Nothing to worry about, the Lord provides protection for his servants. Thank you for your prayers, though, it's always nice to have that additional support.

It's really weird to think about snow right now. Here it's pretty hot every day (today is a little more clowdy and a little chilly, but not too much). I'm getting tanner and tanner as a result of being in the summer sun all day while you all are bundling up and preparing for snow. Crazy, huh? This inverse season thing is pretty interesting. The flowers are in bloom like crazy here, you would love it. In Cabrero there's a rail-road crossing where there are just BILLIONS of flowers. I keep meaning to take a picture, but I always forget when we pass by. I'll have to get a picture for you before they all go away.

Good to hear that things are moving along with the house. The pictures looked really good - I love the new roof! Everyone here really likes how the house looks as well haha. I've got all the pictures on a flash drive that I carry around with me sometimes to show people that have computers. But it would be nice to have pictures of the family and the house and stuff in a photo album so I can just show people in the street that might be interested as well.

Thanksgiving, good ol Thanksgiving. Hope you ate enough for me as well! Naturally that holiday doesn't exist here. I don't think I even remember which day it is...woops! Oh well ha. I'll bet it was great to have all the family together, or parts of it at least. The family needs a lot of work here, and in the States as well I imagine. A lot of the parents here aren't really responsible in the way they raise their kids and the kids grow up with bad habbits and no manners. I love the people here regardless, though. I don't know what it is, but it's really true what everyone says about the country of your mission becoming your second home. I really feel at home here - even if the people always yell ''Ey gringo!'' in the streets haha. It's great fun.

The package hasn't arrived yet, but we have interviews with President Swenson tomorrow morning and the assistents will be bringing all the mail. So if it has arrived in Concepción I'll be getting it tomorrow. Elder Hodson said he's never had any problems with the mail. His parents even sent him an iPod with some speakers for Christmas last year. So hopefully it's the same story with the packages you send for me! As far as home-baked goods, there are some international laws as to what you can and can't send (just fruit and beef jerky or meat I think). Can't go wrong with Reeses, hehe. They don't exist here. There's this really good candy bar here called Mantecol that I think you would all really enjoy. It's like a Butterfinger, but without the chocolate and it's soft: Sooooooo good.

I know how you feel about not really knowing what to write when you sit down, so I usually have a paper that I write stuff to write during the week and then when I sit down to write I pull that out and voila! This week, though, I didn't do that haha, so we'll see if I can remember some things that have happened.

Here's a neat experience: The other day we were walking down the street and we had the impression to talk to an old lady that was out in front of her house working with her flowers. After getting to know her for a little bit she told us that her husband (they're not married - TONS of people here are living together without being married) has been under the weather in regards to health and that he's out of work. We told her that we could help him, and immediately she invited us in. We shared the story of the restoration with him and offered to give him a blessing for his health. I can't explain the feelings that come while giving a blessing - it truly is an unworldy experience. If your faith and mind are focused on the blessing everything else just fades away in the background and you can feel the spirit guiding your words. I'm positive this man, Juan, felt something - I could see it in his eyes. He wasn't able to go to church this last week because he's got problems with his legs, but we'll be passing by his house later this week to see him. I really hope they're prepared to recieve the restored gospel.

Oh! Here's something cool. So we met the music professor of the high school in Cabrero, his name is Cristofer (can't remember if I already mentioned him...). Anyway, so he has a saxophone and he let me borrow it for a few days! I didn't have any time to practice it in the house - maybe ten minutes one day - but it was really neat to be able to play again. We're actually going to the high school later today to play some music with Cristofer. He plays the guitar really well and wants me to teach him some saxophone - he plays a little but really wants to learn how to play jazz. How cool is that? Jazz is basically non-existent here, so it's really rare that there's anyone here with a saxophone at all, no less someone who wants to learn jazz. So I'm pretty excited about that - we're hoping for this to be a bridge to share the gospel with him as well.

Me at the Torres Family Ranch

Me with the Torres family's cows

Collapsed Bridge

Well, I think that's about all I've got for this week. It was really good to hear from you! No matter what is in the weekly letter I always enjoy reading what's going on with the family. Hope all goes well with Thanksgiving - you're all in my prayers! I love you all very much!


Monday, November 9, 2009

November 9, 2009

Hola Mamá!

No letter this week, eh? No worries. I'll just look forward to next week :) Thanks for the hug and a hi though! It's good to just hear from you, at least.

Thank you for getting the shoe thing together! I really appreciate it. And the retainer has been found for sure - I'm going to pick it up later today. After we do internet we're going to go to McDonalds and then we're going to go to the other Elders' house nearby, pick up the retainer, and head back to Cabrero. We're in Los Angeles for the day, again hehe. There's really not a whole lot to do in Cabrero, so we hardly stay there. Next week we're headed to the beach in Talcahuano for a multi-zone conference. I'm really looking forward to it.

Today I bought some really cool clothing-items made of sheep wool here in Chile. I got a porerón (jacket) and a side pouch - it's like that LL Bean backpack you bought me years ago but much smaller. And they're both made of Chilean wool. I'll send pictures next week. I've also made a Christmas package and sent it off - the caballero in the post office said it would take about 9 days to get to the states, so if it does get there DON'T open until Christmas. I think you'll all like what I sent. I know I do hehe.

Hmmm, what are some interesting things that have happened this week...I'll just start a bullet list and say anything that comes to mind:

1. Earlier this week Elder Hodson and I were waiting for a bus in Monte Aguila after a lunch appointment, and there were a bunch of high school girls at the paradera (bust stop). We got to talking with them, and before I knew it they were all taking pictures with me haha. They asked me if I had a girlfriend and all that stuff and I explained to them that as a missionary I can't have a girlfriend and that I don't have one waiting for me in the states. It was pretty funny. I've actually got a picture that Elder Hodson took with my camera that I'll attach.

2. One of our investigator families went to church this past sunday! It was soooo cool! We've been visiting with them for about 2 weeks now and they finally had time to go this week. The dad works in the factory Masisa here in Cabrero, and the mom cuts hair in her house. Every time we pass by I like to joke around with her and ask how many ears she has cut off this week. We have a really good relationship with them. Oh yeah, we've also taught them a phrase in ''english'', it goes something like this: awashawashawasha! All the kids in the street here try to yell stuff in english at us, and it usually sounds something like that. So now we have that as an inside with joke with this family - the family Chavaria. We've actually been helping the dad, Pascual, with his english. Apparently he's taking a class through work, so the gringos have been helping him haha.

3. We repainted a wall in our study room and in our bathroom this morning. Some of the Elders who lived there previously had drawn some grafiti on the walls, and well...the bathroom wall just needed it. So we got it all cleaned up, and it looks great now. We also got some sillones (soft chairs) really cheap from a member the other night, so we've got it goin' on in Cabrero.

4. We've got two baptisms planned for the 20th this month, and we should be getting some more here pretty soon. It's amazing to see how the Lord really prepares people, we just find them and teach them. And then there are the people that just don't want anything to do with us. Those are always fun, haha. But I keep my head and my heart in the right place and just continue doing my best to find those that the Lord has prepared. As missionaries we just have to keep in mind what it says in D y C 4 (I'm going to write it in spanish because I can remember it better): y he aquí, el campo blanco está ya para la siega: y quien mete su hoz con su fuerza atesora para sí, de modo que no perece, sino que trea salvacion a su alma. The field is ready to harvest, we just have to do everything we can and we'll have fruits. I also keep in mind what it says in DyC 18(?) about how great your joy would be if you laboured all your days and brought only one soul unto Christ. And then the next verse says how great would your joy be if you brought many! So that's what Elder Hodson and I are working on :)

I can't even begin to tell you how much I am loving it out here. The only fear in the entire world I have is that if something ever happened to make it so that I couldn't continue serving the Lord. I'm not afraid of talking to people, or doing anything the Lord asks me. It's such a great thing, being a missionary. I would recommend it for anyone in a heartbeat. And I can't tell you how true it is that every member is a missionary. As a full-time missionary I can tell you that without members our work would be MUCH more difficult. Everyone should be doing their part in the Lord's work, no matter where you are, it's an amazing experience regardless of who you are.

Well, I think I've splurged just about all my coherent thoughts out for now. Thanks for the e-mail this week! It's always good to get some word from home. I'm going to go get some pictures ready to be sent now. I love and miss you very much!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November 2, 2009

Hola Mamá!

Boy I sure do love getting letters every week - it's a nice little energizer for the rest of the week.

Halloween is celebrated here. They have adopted the American way of going out and asking people for treats, but only the really little kids. The rest of the people go out and party or spend time with their family or something. And a lot of people actually asked us what we think about Halloween because they said they didn't like it. In the night there was a parade of people singing and carrying torches (we ran because we thought it was a mob coming for the mormons! Haha, just kidding) headed by a marching band from one of the schools around here. When I say marching band I mean kids in their school uniform trying to play drums, trumpets, and what have you - it sounds TERRIBLE, but still cool to see, nonetheless. We were fasting, so we didn't go to any festivities or get any sweets, but that's ok. We worked all day and visited some members during the night. We had some fun encounters with some borrachos (drunks) as well hehe. One of them was drooling all over himself - we gave him a pass-a-long card with a picture of Jesus (which he drooled all over as well) and told him to go to church in the morning. He didn't show up, but we did see him the next day, STILL drunk haha. Good times, good times.

Glad to hear the house is done! Which reminds me, if you could send me a photo album with photos of the family, the house and stuff like that to me for Christmas (or when you can) that would be great. All the Elders usually have one of those so that they can show the people here where they come from. All I've got is a billion pictures of Alexis haha. Also, if you can I would really like some water-proofish shoes. The running shoes I have are great, but their all cloth on the top and so they're not so good for the rain. Maybe some skate shoes or something? Size 11 and half or 12 would be great if you can. But if not, don't worry about it, I'll figure something out. I would just buy the shoes here but nobody has shoes in my size! They ought to make this country gringo-accesible.

I'm actually really glad to hear that you and dad have more time together. You should do you say that in english....OH YEAH! You should TAKE ADVANTAGE of that time you have together because you never know when one or both of you will have a more time-demanding calling. Speaking of callings we just got our branch mission leader yesterday! We're stoked because up until now we haven't really had any support from the branch in our work. Should be good! Glad to hear the house is in good shape and that you're going to have time with Lisa! Send my saludos to her (I'm not really sure how to say that in english I'll just say it in spanish - ¡manda saludos a Lisa!)

Studded tires? Lucky you! I've decided that when I get back I want to get a jeep or something - something with four-wheel-drive.

Colder, eh? I'll just count my blessings that I'm here for the time being, then. We're headed full-fledged into summer and there's no turning back. It's getting warmer and warmer every day. Elder Hodson and I are even running in the mornings. It's really nice because Elder Kester and I didn't exercise at all - he usually liked to stay in his bed in the morning while I got up, showered, and started my studies. Elder Hodson is from Washington! Just thought you'd like to know that. He's headed home in about 5 weeks, and his brother is serving in Antafagasta (northern part of Chile). How cool is that? Two brothers serving at the same time, and both in Chile! The Lord works in misterious ways. I think it's cool. He told me that his parents are coming to pick him and his brother up as well, so that should be fun for them.

I'm working on a little package to send home for you all. It won't be anything TOO big because I'm not sure how much it will cost to send anything home, but I'm pretty sure you'll like what I'm sending.

I've got an interesting experience to share - the other day I was on an intercambio with an Elder Mortenson, and we went to visit one of his investigators. The guy's wife had been sick for awhile, so we offered to give her a blessing. She said she would like that, and then when Elder Mortenson asked her who she would like to give the blessing, she picked me. I felt a little awkward at first because I had never met her or her husband before, but I've gotten used to just doing things here and realizing that the Lord will work through me. So we gave her the blessing, and instantly she sat up in bed and told us that she felt better! Just moments before she had been laying down freezing and hurting in bed, but after the blessing she was cheerful, warm, and everything was better. The priesthood is real - I can testify of that.

I've experienced a real miracle here in the last week - before we had transfers I was still having a little difficulty speaking and understanding, but now I can talk with anyone and feel completely comfortable. The change felt almost instant, and I can't even express how grateful I am for the gift of tongues. It really does exist and the Lord really does give it to his servants. It's amazing. Elder Hodson told me that his first impression of me was that I'm not afraid of anything - he says I would be ready to train this next transfer. That was really good to hear considering President Swenson told me that I would be training before I had a year in the mission. Oh, random fact - President Swenson and his wife have been here a year already, so they'll be leaving about the same time I do. President Swenson and his wife are amazing - we all love them.

Here are some random notes for the week:
1. There's a circus in town called Circo Norte Americano, but there are no gringos! They lie! Haha. We passed by and talked with one of the workers, and she let us take some pictures with the lions, so that was pretty fun. I'll send some pictures.

2. We had an interesting dessert the other day with lunch - it looked and tasted like a loaf of whale fat...not looking forward to having that again. It was disgusting but I shoved it all down haha, more good times. I have no idea what it's called, but I'll try to find out without having to eat it again!
3. There's a joven in the branch here who asked me if you could send a yo-yo called Duncan Wheel. I told him I'd ask, but really, don't worry about it.

Well, that's about all I've got for this week. It was really great to hear from you! I'll be looking forward to the letter for next week! Send my love to the rest of the family and tell them to keep doing great things! I love you!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October 27, 2009


I loooove getting e-mails every week, I'll just start out by saying that. And I had a smile from ear to ear when I saw that you have sent a package for me - everyone here has been asking me when my parents are going to send me peanut better because they all want to try it haha. So I guess it's a good thing you sent a lot because I'll probably end up sharing some of it. I'll have to make sure I don't bring the whole container everywhere because I don't want people seeing how much I have. Everyone calls me ''qüico'' (rich) here anyway because of the stuff I already have. Especially my ties, everyone loves my ties. They're just joking around though, we have a good time.

I'll say that was a pretty short calling! Wow. I really miss the strength of the church in the states. The organization, the number of people with callings, the number of people who actually GO to church every sunday. I think that's the thing I miss the most church-wise. On average we have about 40-50 people in church every week in Cabrero. But I love it - some of my best friends in the world are here.

That's interesting about the hard-water situation. I'll bet that's a relief to know that the dishwasher hasn't gone bad yet, though. But that's getting better, so haleluia. And on goes the work with the sewing room! I'll be excited to see how things have changed when I get back. You should be happy to know that all the things you have taught me have been sticking out here - I hate it when there's a mess in our house, and I feel bad when things are out of order. I don't think Elder Kester felt the same way(I have a picture of our study space to show you that I'll send later today hehe), but I've been working to keep our house in order. The little time that we spend there, anyway.

Mammmma, don't be too upset about the breakfast thing. I've fixed it ;-). This past week we've been having some bread and jam with some ecco (mixed with milk) in the mornings. So don't worry, I plan to make time for breakfast from now on. And then the members stuff us like turkeys for lunch. There's a few negocios right by our house, so we're not going hungry. This morning I had some kiwi, pan, and an omelette (courtesy of Elder Tarrazas). I'm in Los Angeles for today and tomorrow because Elder Kester was called to be a zone leader in Talcahuano, so he had to leave and I'm Elder Kamalu's companion for a few days. My new companion is called Elder Hudson (I think), and he'll be getting here tomorrow. Cabrero will be his last sector, so I'll probably be staying there for two more cambios (at least). Which means I'll be in Cabrero until January, most likely. We've been having a great time here in Los Angeles - last night we went and visited some of their investigators and then went back to the house for a few card games and then went to bed. And then today for our p-day we went to the centro to buy some things. A joven here called Jonathan went with us, he's preparing to serve a mission here pretty soon. We ate lunch at this little place that serves two-foot-long completos! I took some pictures that I'll send today. It was DELICIOUS. And then we went to a music store - I tried a sax but it was (to put it lightly) a hunk of junk that was imitating a saxophone. I could hardly get a sound out of it. But they had guitars as well, and Jonathan is a very good player so we passed it well.

The church is ready to explode in Cabrero. In September we had 7 bapstisms, and then in October we were just working really hard to find people, and for November (if all goes well) we should have between 10 and 15 bapstisms! Working hard every day, all day. And I'm loving every bit of it. It's starting to get pretty hot here, so I'm glad I've got this hour to be out of the sun haha. But yeah, everything is going great - there are rough days from time to time, but generally I'm having the time of my life. Something that makes me really happy, now, is that I'm understanding pretty much everything. There are some people that are difficult to understand just because of the way they talk, but generally I understand everyone. So on it goes :)

Well, I'm going to go respond to a few other e-mails from some family members and get those pictures sent. It was great to hear about things back home and that things are going well! I'll keep you all in my prayers! I love you all very much!


Monday, October 19, 2009

October 19, 2009


Well that was quite the letter for this week! Makes me smile hehe.

I'm glad to hear that things are going well and that you all are keeping busy. As I was reading your letter about how you're getting all these work opportunities both inside and outside the music industry I couldn't help but think that the Lord is putting his hand in and helping you stay at home more often. You know, with the home-run business (and a family business at that), the steady job that would allow you to have less personal-studio hours, etc. To me that just says blessings from the Lord to be close to your family as well as have further experience with what you love doing. So I'm happy to hear about all that!

Don't worry too much about sending snail mail - yeah, it would be nice, but I really really look forward to these e-mails every Monday and I only get snail mail once a month. I think I mentioned this in one of my e-mails, but all the mail goes to the mission office in Concepcion, and then they give they give it to us once a month when we have interviews with the president or when we have conferences. So we don't get mail delivered directly to the house - we don't even have a mailbox haha. Come to think of it, I don't think I've seen a single mail box my whole time here. Interesting.

Glad to hear the house is coming along well, can't wait to see it! I wish I could be there to help you out with all those things, but for now my work is here. I'd love to help you out with whatever needs to be done when I get back, though.

It's was weird to read that you're just about done with your fall break because all the kids here are getting close to the finish of their school year - it's almost summer! The weather is warming up rapidly, which is great. Most days we go out in short sleeved shirts. Elder Kester has been sick the past few days, though, so he's not too fond of the sun at the moment.

What would I like for Christmas...hmmm. I was thinking the other day I'd love this year's game-day shirt from USU, and maybe a USU hoody? (large) Really anything you want to send - maybe a shirt that you all made together or something with messages on it. Like what you did with the piillow-case. I've always been terrible about telling people what I want because the truth is I'm always happy with what I get. My favorite goodies though, are Reeses. Anything with chocolate andn peanut butter, really. I still haven't found peanut butter because it really doesn't exist. One of the members told me there is a place in Concepcion that I can ask for them to order it, but I'm NEVER in Concepcion, so I don't think that's gonna work out.

Updates and fun stuff-
1. The other day Elder Kester and I were walking down the street and there was a hop skotch drawing and...well...we both played hop skotch haha. I'll bet it was pretty funny to see two missionaries hopping.

2. The cigarette packs here have a design that I think should be implimented in the US. The majority of the package has the warning label saying that smoking will kill you, and then a tiny part of it has the insignia of the company. And on the back there's an old man and it says you could be next. Haha, pretty sweet huh? Never thought I'd say that about a pack of cigarettes, but I think it's a good idea. I took some pictures so I'll try to attach them.

3. So this morning I went to open the fridge to see if we had anything to cook up for breakfast (keep in mind we don't usually eat breakfast), and when I opened the door I yelled to Elder Kester, ''We've only got some jelly and stick!'' We were laughing so hard for a good while after that. We have some raspberry jelly and the stick is this food called Nalca. It's basically a branch or reed of some sort that people peel and eat like a banana. It kind of tastes like an apple. We went to the store called ''Bigger'' (it's basically the Wal Mart of Chile - and it has the stupidest name ever haha) and bought some bread and crackers.

4. The other day we watched the Restoration video with two of our investigators, Irasmo and his wife Karina - that movie brings the spirit every time. I love watching it, and it's even better with newer investigators because you get to see their reactions. They both loved it and went to church the next day. So things are moving right along as far as the work goes. We've got two baptismal dates set up and we've got a couple more that could be solidifying in the next week or two. This coming week is the last week of the transfer, so I'll probably be getting a new companion here in Cabrero.

5. When you were telling me about Kelton's gaming with his friends, I thought about the gaming situation here. Nobody has any sort of gaming system in their house. Some have computers, but not too many. Well, here in Cabrero, at least. But there are some game systems and stuff in some of the internet cafes, like this one. I'm sitting right next to a playstation 2 where this little kid is screaming at his digital soccer player haha. Good times. Just thought I'd share that fun bit of info.

Well, I'm going to try to get some pictures on here so I can send them to you (*They're already posted here, in case you couldn't tell). I'm very glad to hear that Grandma has improved a lot and is getting back into the somewhat normal swing of life. Send my love to her and everyone else. I look forward to the weekly messages! I hope all is going well, I love you all and keep you in my prayers daily! Sorry if my letters sound a little scatter-brained at times!


Monday, October 12, 2009

October 12, 2009

Howdy, howdy, howdy to you!

I'll just start by giving you the mailing address for the mission:

Elder Trevor Vincent
Misión Chile Concepción Sur
O'Higgins 940 Of. 503
Casilla 3560, Concepción, Chile

I'm not sure if the address for packages is different, but I imagine it would be the same. It would be a good idea to find that package (Dad might know where it is) because it also has the information for when I need to sign up for school again. But there's that address for you! :)

I'll bet you're very excited to get things going on the house. Don't worry about feeling 'spoiled', count your blessings that you live in an area of the world where you are able to enjoy such things. But I think it would be great to get involved in some humanitary activity - experiences like that could do everyone a bit of good, I think.

Thanks for getting up early to send the letter! Elder Kester and I actually got on the computers a bit early this morning (8:30) because we had a zone activity in Los Angeles at 11. But when I saw that I hadn't recieved an e-mail from you yet I decided I would only use half my time this morning so I could respond later. So here's a few updates and things I thought you'd appreciate:
1. I remember you mentioning something about Sara talking about animals in her letters home. I really only have one animal to talk about: dogs! THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. There's no such thing as a dog catcher here, and everyone has guard dogs (every house has a fence around it, I'll send pictures sometime) and those dogs just love to make more little dogs. There's dog poop everywhere, and you can't walk down a street without getting barked at. Sometimes I just want to punch the dogs right in the face to get them to shut up haha. So yeah, that's just about it for animals. Oh, and there's lots of cows.
2. The other day one of our investigators called us in the morning and asked us if we could go over and help her paint her house - which we did. It turned out to be a bigger job than we had anticipated, so we spent about 4 or 5 hours cleaning the front of the house and painting it. I didn't like the color she chose (orange), but we got it done nonetheless. And she went to church on Sunday! And she wants to bring her kids next week! So that family is moving right along :)
3. My ears hurt very much during sacrament meetings on Sunday because, well....nobody can sing. And nobody knows any of the hymn save one or two. Soooo...yeah...painful.
4. The people - generally VERY nice. You could be arguing with someone and they'd still offer you a drink or a piece of bread or something. And then there are the people who aren't so nice. The other day we tried to talk to this lady in the street and she wouldn't even shake our hands - she just shook her head and said no (to which Elder Kester said, '¡Super amable usted!'). And then the other day a car drove by and this guy leaned out the window, yelled something profain and showed us his beautiful birdy. Haha, great stuff. No matter, we're working hard, and we're loving it. There's this lady that likes to give us free frozen juice and milk, and she's not a member! We'll have to work on that :)
5. Since we're in a smaller branch, sometimes there are sundays when either there is nobody that is ready to give a talk or teach a lesson, so guess who the branch president thinks is always ready?....the missionaries! Yaaaayyy...? Haha yes, we have given many a lesson or talk with about 5 minutes heads up. Good stuff.

Well, that's about all I've got for this week. I don't think I'll have time to send pictures this week, but if I have enough time I'll do so. It was great to hear from you! I've got an e-mail from dad I've got to check as well, so I'm going to go do that.

It's always great to hear the updates on the family! I'll look forward to hearing from you next week! Love you!

- Trevor

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

October 5, 2009


Wasn't conference amazing?! When President Monson announced the temple to be constructed in Chile, Elder Kester and I jumped for joy and started laughing almost - it's very exciting. It was kind of funny, though, because it seemed like we were more excited than the members! Then again, there were only about 3 members at that session. And then there were the same people at the second session...5ish at the preisthood...25ish at the first session on Sunday, and then back to about 4 (excluding Elder Kester and I) at the second session. That was a new experience for me - nobody watches conference! In Cabrero, at least. At least we didn't have to deal with the huge traffic jam of people leaving before the meeting is over hehe. Dad should appreciate that one. Oh man, I loved conference so much this year. Especially the talk Elder Holland gave about the Book of Mormon. I'm definitely going to be watching that one again later when I get a moment. I probably won't be here when the temple in Concepción is finished (or maybe even started), but I'll be able to say that I took part in preparing this part of the world to recieve a temple at least. I'll definitely have to come back here and visit sometime after my mission.

I'm soooo glad to hear that Grandma is doing better! She must have felt pretty left out with that meat business - but now she can have Grandpa to do everything for her, which is great. I've never really tasted his cooking, but you're never too old to learn something new, right?

I do feel pretty lucky that I got to skip winter this year, but keep in mind that when I come back I'll be getting a double-dose and then you can laugh at me then hehe. It's still been pretty chilly, and it rained cats and dogs yesterday (I don't have my rain gear except my umbrella and my coat, yet, so needless to say my pants, socks, and shoes were soaked). It has been warming up, though. The other day I went proselyting in short sleeves with no jacket. The members around here say it gets really hot during the summer, which I'm actually looking forward to - they can't believe that I prefer hot over cold. The country-side is absolutely gorgeous here! This morning Elder Kester and I took a bus to Concepción to run some errands (we're still in Conce) and I got to spend an hour looking out the window avoiding watching the movie Speed on the bus TV. Farewell Babylon! hehe.

I'm glad to hear that the Lord has been blessing you in regards to finding more work - make sure you take every opportunity you can becuase you never know when the next one will come. But I'm sure you already know all the ins and outs of the music business. You're very fortunate to have that other teacher who is willing to sub for you, count your many blessings! Also, stay optimistic about the arthritis - atitude is half the battle. I'm sure that older lady that still practices to this day is where she's at now because she kept the right atitude about it. I'll pray for your fingas Mamacita (and your hip)! Shoot, I'll just pray for you, sound good? I thought so.

I don't know how long a package takes to get here, but I would imagine a month at least. I sent some letters at the post office the other day and they said it can take anywhere from 8 days to 3 weeks to get a letter from here to the destination in the States. Once again, I'm a stinker and forgot to write down the address and bring it with me, so I'll be sure to have that for next week. But igual, I believe the addresses are in that packet I left with you and it should also have the phone number of the mission office, so you can call and get all the info you need. I really wouldn't know what to tell you concerning that because I've never recieved or sent anything.

Dun dun dun! Meeting with the stake president eh? I wonder what that's all about. Take the advice given by one of the speakers in conference yesterday (I'm blanking on the name) - When a call comes, you accept it! If you do end up getting a call, I know we'll all recieve blessings as a family for it. Maybe he just wants to chat and have a cup of hot chocolate? Couldn't hurt to hope, right? I agree, Dad is a great gospel doctrine teacher. I really wish I had spent more time studying scriptures with you all, I love studying the scriptures now. If only I had found this out sooner!

Good to hear that Cami is staying busy, tell her that I said to keep on keepin' on! Oh, and as for the questions she sent me in a letter - 1. No, Sprint does not keep a copy of all your text messages that they will give to you. 2. Yes, it costs money to use facebook and internet, so I would suggest not using it. 3. The contract on the phone should run out July of next year, but you can ask the people at the Sprint store for a solid date.

Who is the nurse at the Doctor's office that knows me? I don't know if I'm aware of anyone I know working there...interesting.

That's exciting about the new roof! You'll have to send me pictures of the house when it's all done, and pictures of the family so I can show people around here. They're all really interested in seeing pictures of where I'm from. I've showed many people the pictures you sent of Alexis and the fam and they all adore them.

As far as I go - I'm doing very well. Elder Kester and I have a great time every day. Recently we've been doing divisions with members of the ward and other missionaries in the surrounding sectors, which has really pushed me to be able to swim on my own when it comes to speaking the language and, really, just being a missionary. It's such a great experience - I'm learning how to talk to EVERYBODY, which I think will benefit me later because there is now way I'm going to be leaving Chile as a shy person. Just not going to happen haha. There are still times when I don't understand a word someone says (usually the teens that mumble, or the older people who have no teeth), but generally I'm improving a lot. The other night we passed by a contact's house and we left with 2 baptism dates! So many things are possible if we just thrust in our sickle with all our heart, might, mind and strength. I think the only way I could be happier is if I had some snacks every night hehe. There are little shops called Negocios where I can buy stuff like that, but it would be good to get some American goodies from time to time 'wink wink' haha.

Well, I've gotta write a letter to the President before my time runs out. I love you all and look forward to hearing about how things are going back home! Stay strong, work hard, pray always, study the scriptures daily, and eat lots of peanut butter for me!

With all the love in the world,

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 28, 2009


Ok, ldsmail is working this week. I won't be using gmail - I only did last week because for some reason we couldn't log into ldsmail. But all is well now, so on with my letter haha.

That is pretty funny that you thought Kelton was me - we really don't look alike at all. But it's good to know that someone back home is thinking about me from time to time. Somtimes I don't realize how far away from home I really am. But that's ok because I'm loving it down here. Chile is amazing!

If you could repost my snail-mail address again on facebook that would be great because I'm not sure who has it and who doesn't. I did tell Chauri to give you a call if she lost it, so apparently she did haha. I don't have it memorized, but I do have it. It's also in that package I left you, so you can find it there. All the mail goes to the mission office in Concepción and they give it to us once a month at mission conferences with the President. So let the family members know that if they'd like to contact me quicker, e-mail is the way to do it. I have an hour here for e-mail, so it's better than the MTC. But generally, people can just read the forwards you send out because I don't really have time to write everyone individual letters. But let any family members that are interested know that they can e-mail me if they would like.

This is my opinion on what is going on with the Obama thing - people are whiners. They are only happy when they get what they want or when they are complaining about things they don't agree with. I agree, the 8th article of faith should not be ammendend, and it explicitly states what the Lord wants us to do. So I think everyone should take a look at those basic pillars of our faith and rethink their actions. I shouldn't get too much into politics because I need to stay focused on the work at hand here, but I think Obama is doing as well as he can with the circumstances he was given. Of course he's not perfect, but at least he's trying to fix it, not just sit around whining about it.

The weather here has been pretty good. The mornings and evenings are still pretty chilly, but I'm doing well. My bed is calientita each night when I get into it. Those pajamas you gave me are great! I haven't had to wear the thermals, so all is well there. Our living arrangements are pretty good. Our apartment is about the size of the family room at home. There is a small bathroom, in which we do have hot water when we have the gas heater on, 2 bedrooms, and a bigger room that has our study table and a small kitchen. One of the rooms is used to keep our luggage and clothes, and the other has two beds and that's about all that can fit in it.

One of the things I would like is just to have some more munchies around the house hehe. But that's not a necesity. We usually don't eat breakfasts in the morning, but the members give us lunch every day, which is great. The food here is amazing. You really should go to that Chilean restaurant more. Ask them about Completos, Casuela, Pancito, Sopaipillas, and Empanadas. I had some fried fish the other day at a member's house, and to say the least it was divine. Everything here is fresh - fruit, meat, fish, etc. I'm eating enough, but of course I'm a growing lad and could eat more haha. But don't worry about me eating, I'm doing fine in that area. Feel free to send little treats though hehe.

As far as the money goes, it's a lot easier than I thought it would be, and I can actually access my bank account on the internet here. But I'll change the password and give it to you if you'd like. Visa is used down here, so I can go to an ATM and get money. And the way they do the monthly money here is they gave us a debit card the first day and each month they put a certain amount of money on it. So when we need money we go to an ATM at a bank and withdraw some. Elder Kester and I usually just withdraw everything so that we don't have to keep going out of our way to the bank. I carry about $20 with me (10,000 pesos) usually, and I keep the rest in a super secret spot in the apartment. Shhhhh, don't tell anyone!

I'm glad to hear that Grandma is doing better. I hope she can eventually make it back home and that Grandpa will be able to take care of her. I would encourage you to see her as often as you can, but I know you all have busy schedules. Do what you can, and send my love.

Updatesssss, let's see. We had 4 more baptisms this last week. Daniel (12), Claudia (10), Cristina (16), and Yasmira (14). Daniel, Claudia, and Cristina are all siblings - children of Herman Cicilia Sanchez who was inactive for about 20 years until just barely. We're really happy that she decided to bring her family back into the church. Yasmira is the daughter of Veronica, whom we baptized last week. She couldn't get baptized a week ago because of problemas mujeres....haha. It was a lot of work to pull all that together but we did it. I baptized Daniel and Cristina, and Elder Kester baptized the other two. After the baptism I gave Yasmira a blessing of peace and comfort because there was an accidental shooting this last week (similar to what happened in Provo this last summer) and one of her friends was killed. It's sad how things like that happen sometimes, but we can continue and find comfort in the knowledge that we have of the Lord's plan for us. It was the first blessing that I had given, so I was a little nervous, but it's amazing how the Spirit of the Lord works through you when you are doing something like that. I also performed the confirmation of Daniel and Claudia yesterday in church - which was also a first for me. The branch president also gave Elder Kester and I the last-minute assignments of speaking in 10pm the night before hahaha. Don't you just love that? (I figured out how to the right-side-up question mark!!!)

Everyone here tells me I speak really well and that by the time I have as much time as Elder Kester I will speak basically fluently. I'm reminded of what Justin would write home about what the people in Belgium would say about his linguistic talent. I guess it just runs in the family, eh? Haha, I chist I chist (chiste - joke. There's a little spanglish for ya).

Well, I really wish I had stuck with playing the piano when I was younger because once the word got out that I played a bit of piano, everyone wants me to play for sacrament meetings, special numbers (with a one of the young women in the branch who is a good singer), etc. So I'm frantically practicing trying to improve my lack of piano skills. But at the same time it's a blessing because now I'll be able to keep in touch with my music roots. Speaking of which, I have been able to use my iPod here on a nightly basis. Elder Kester loves the music I brought so all is well there.

Well, that's just about all I've got for this week. I'm going to, now, to attach my camera to the computer so I can send some pictures home. I'm sorry if I can't figure it out but I'll do my best! It was great to get an e-mail! Tell the wrest of the family (immediate family really) to start writing me so that I can know how everything is going back home! I'd love to hear from you all! We're gonna head out now to go visit the Sanchez family (the one that just had three kids baptized), so I'll write more next week. I love you all and look forward to hearing from you!

- Trevor

Here are the pictures he sent:

Monday, September 21, 2009

September 21, 2009

Hola Mamacita!

Sorry it took so long to send an email - things have been insanely busy here. The first day I got here President Swenson and his wife did have me write you a note, but I believe they are sending it through snail mail, so it might not get there for awhile. CHILE IS AMAZING! I love it here, the people are nice, the food is great, etc. It is still a bit Chile and there isn´t really such a thing as indoor heating except for gas heaters and such so that is fun - reminds me of the good old days in the Virginia house!

I´ll fill you in a bit on what has been going on here -
The first day we didn't really do a whole lot - we did a little orientation with the President and his wife and such, and then we went to the capilla in Concepción to meet our companions. My companion's name is Elder Kester from Springville and he is great. We've been working really hard and having a great time - nos pasamos muy bien. For the first couple of days he and some members would pull some pranks on me because I couldn't understand everything. One time we went to eat dinner with a family, he didn't tell me they were already membersband the mom was talking about how she didn't believe in any churches and that she felt like she had an evil spirit in her that she wanted me to take out hahaha. And the dad, Marcos, asked me to go buy wine for them. Chuta! I was very confundido, but I'm learning how to not be the greeny now. The people here speak a billion miles an hour, so everything I thought I knew about spanish just flew out the window haha. I am understanding a lot after a week, though. I like to say that mi español es roto pero estoy arreglándolo.

I'm serving in Cabrero, which is about an hour east of Concepción. It's about an hour north of Los Angeles....CHILE hehe. Cabrero is just awesome - I love it here. The 18 of September was the equivalent of the 4th of July in the US, so there was much celebrating and eating of fooooooood! I must have had a billion empanadas and the carne was amazing. Everyone gets a kick out of my spanish, which is ok - I'll learn quick and show them all hehe.

We had 3 baptisms this last saturday! Veronica, her hijo Mauricio, and su sobrino Hector. Mauricio and Hector asked me to baptise them, so I've had my first baptisms already, yay! They're a great family, I just hope they stay active - inactivity is a pretty big problem down here. There's probably about 500 members on our records and only about 50 go every week, so Elder Kester and I are trying to fix that. There are few member families that are capo and are helping us a lot. We've got 3, possibly 4, more baptisms set up for this coming saturday, and one more the following saturday. Hector's mom went to his baptism and now she wants to get baptised - how cool is that¿ I don't know how to do a regular question mark on spanish keyboard...yet. I'll figure it out eventually.

The people here are so nice - everyone gives hugs and besos. As missionaries we're not supposed to give or take besos just because of false accusations and stuff, but still, everyone is so nice. You could be fighting with someone and they would still offer you some pancito, which is a very tasty bread they eat with meals here. I want to learn how to make it. From time to time there will be a group of muchachas walking on the other side of the street who will whistle and yell something like Hey baby! It's pretty funny. It's also fun to be walking in the streets and pass by a borracho, drunk, passed out on the sidewalk. Elder Kester and I get a good laugh out of that.

The money is pretty different here - I still have to get used to seeing things priced by the hundreds. One American dollar is worth about 500 Chilean pesos. So that's another fun thing - I'll try to take a picture of some money sometime and send it to you.

I had a bit of a culture shock when I got here - I hadn't really every seen poverty before I got here. There are wealthier and better of people here as well, but there are a lot of people who really don't have anything. Some houses' roofs are held down by logs and stones. We went to eat lunch with a member family one day and you could see through the floor to the dirt and there were flies just buzzing around the room everywhere. But I'm loving every second. Elder Kester and I work day in and day out for the people here and it's an amazing experience. I feel really scatter-brained and incoherent haha. I can't think of much else to say except that I love and miss you! I'm here, I'm safe, and I'm loving every second of every day. Even the times when no entiendo nada. I'm a little disoriented with writing everyone, so just let everyone know that I'll get into the swing of things and then everyone will get, hopefully, coherent letters. Well, I'm gonna go - there's so much to do! Love you!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

September 9, 2009

Trevor' Vincent's final MTC email!!!

Good to hear from you! I didn't really get any mail at all this week, except for that wonderful care package :), so it was good. I love getting mail/email, it always brightens up my day.
Thanks for the update on Grandma, I'm glad to hear she's doing better. I'm sure she's much happier to be out of the hospital and into somewhere a little bit more homely - I know I would be if I were her. Pass along my love, I'll keep her in my prayers/fasts.

Good to hear you're keeping busy, sounds like you don't really ever have a dull moment. I have to say I'm pretty happy about not being there to smell that plant stuff hehe. But then again, if I weren't on my mission I'd be back up at USU by now so I wouldn't smell it anyway :-p. I'll bet your pretty excited about the new bed situation - be very grateful for that, I have no idea what I'll be sleeping on by this time next week haha. I've talked to a few returned missionaries from Chile, though, and they all have wonderful things to say about it. I'm sure I'll absolutely love it. I woke up this morning feeling poopy (headache, kind of threw up a little in the bathroom, etc.) but I seem to be doing much better already. My stomach feels fine (I was able to eat most of a breakfast at the temple) and my headache/sore throat seems to be subsiding. So I'm pretty sure I just had a little fluke. Hopefully it doesn't resurface!

As far as the music situation goes - I'm really hoping I get to listen to some of it at some point. I've gone 8 weeks without hearing a single song (that wasn't sung by missionaries) and it's really taking a toll. I neeeeeed music, but we can't listen to ANY here. So hopefully that will get better out in the field. I haven't heard anything about my mission president, but I will make sure to be completely obedient no matter what. I hadn't heard that category of mission presidents thing before, so I'm hoping it's not actually like that. We'll just have to see. Sleeping bag - I'm not sure what I'll be able to get down there, but I sure don't want to have more weight than is allowed - waaay to pricey. So I'll just have to bring what I have and make it work. I can alwasy get some stuff down there as well to help out. Darn these weight restrictions!
As for the money in my account - I have NO way of knowing how much is in there (except for keeping track of my receipts), so it would be great if there would be some way for you to let me know what the balance is. I don't know how the bank would like that. Maybe I'll be able to check it online when I get out into the field. Once again, we'll just have to see :).
Photos - I'm not exactly sure what I would do with them, but I guess it couldn't hurt to have them. I've never really sent anyone pictures of myself before haha, so it'll be a new experience if I end up doing that.

Flight plans - I did get them and I sent them to you in a box along with with the Santa Biblia and some pictures of me/my district/and some Elders from my zone who have left already. Just to give you a visual on what some parts of my life here are like. I should be calling between 8 and 9 on Monday though, so let me know what the situation there is - and who I need to call.
Well, that's just about all I've got for this week. Next week I'll be in Chile!!! Ahhhh, it's crazy. I'm feeling a bit nervous and maybe a little scared, probably because I've never been outside the country before, but I am looking forward to it very much. There's nowhere else I'd rather be, so I'll just keep that mind-set and trust in the Lord to help me. Alrighty, can't wait to hear from you again - love you mucho!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September 2, 2009

By way of explanation of his first paragraph, a lady from our ward saw Trevor at the temple this morning and asked if he wanted her to tell me (mom) anything. He said, "Just tell her I love her." She was so impressed with him -- how cute he is, how attentive he was in the temple (his buddy was dozing), how much Kelton's looking like him - even could see a bit of Cami in his eyes.


Glad to hear you got the message! I saw them this morning, I didn't think they would get back to you that fast haha. But it's good to know they did. I've actually been seeing quite a few familiar faces in the temple over the past two months. Two months! It's crazy to think that I'll be out of here in less than two weeks. I only have one more temple visit left before I leave...kind of a sad thought. Maybe when/if you and dad come down to pick me up in two years we can run up to Santiago to go to the temple :). I'll probably want to spend most of the time in Concepcion (if you do come), though, because that's where I'll be familiar with. We'll just have to see how that plays out. I've heard that some of the parents of the other Elders in my district want to come pick them up as well. I'm sure everyone would want to, since Chile is the coolest place in South America and all...hehe.

Thanks for doing all you could with the shirt, I'm surprised all your momma tricks didn't work! It was a dry-erase marker that did the damage. I'm not sure how I got it, but there it is.
As far as packages go, don't send too much more food cause I'll have to just give it away when I leave if it doesn't get eaten. Sin embargo (however), small bags of chips and reeses/oreo packages are always welcome though :). As far as money goes, I've heard, from a returned missionary from Chile, that some places in Chile actually use American money. I'm not sure how that will be in my area, but I thought that was pretty cool. I could use another small deposit in my bank account as I will be replenishing my toiletry stash before leaving, and it would be good if I could get like $20 in cash. I'm pretty sure I'll still be able to use my debit cards down there, but I may have to have you send me new ones depending on when my cards expire.
I'll be getting flight plans tomorrow!!!! Hopefully anyway. We don't need visas or anything so there shouldn't be any delays - we'll be out of here a week from Monday! That's pretty crazy about all the other guys from my age group being all around the world. We just got a new teacher transfered to our class who got back from his mission in Madrid about a month ago. Back a month and he's already teaching in the MTC haha. Good stuff.

Well, that's just about all I have for right now. E-mails always feel so scatter-brained. I did send a letter today as well, so that might make more sense. OH! So the new spanish bible came out, and I bought it. Soooo, I'm going to be sending you the other bible I was using. It's a nice one, so I'm sure you'll appreciate it. By nice I mean it's leather bound, not like the triple I sent you. It has a few markings of my own in it, but it's still pretty blank for all your thoughts ;-). Alrighty, I'll look forward to hearing from you. Love you!