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 church...at 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's...er...Elder 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!