Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31, 2010

Saying goodbye to the Millahual family


First things first - Cami looked really pretty for her senior thingymajig! And congrats to all that have finished the school-year well. Now don't start rotting during the summer!

I had a grrrrreat a week here in Curanilahue. We live on the third floor of an apartment building, and I'm closer to where the epicenter of the earthequake was (Concepción), so we have aftershocks from time to time. On the third floor it feels pretty cool, hehe. All the Evangelical churches are preaching that there's going to be a gigantic earthquake again in June, so everybody should prepare themselves. I think they're getting that information from some group of scientists or something...anyway, when we talked about it with President Swenson he said that if we look at the history of earthquakes, if there is another big follower earthquake it's usually within 3 days of the first. And here we are more than 3 months later and we're just getting some small aftershocks. From what I've heard the next big one should be in the north... I don't think anything will happen. But only God knows, right?


Cannal in our sector

Turns out this sector has a bit of a history, haha. About 2 years ago there was a big apostasy when one of the members named José Nabarra said that he was a prophet and apostated from the church with about 60 or 70 members. They started a church called ''The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 2''...hahahaha. Gotta love the originiality on that one. So yeah, they were all excommunicated. The branch here is actually a lot bigger than I thought it would be. Before I got here I assumed that it was going to be something similar to how Cabrero was, but it's a lot stronger. The branch here actually functions as a ward (about 125 assist every week) but it's still a branch because it belongs to the district of Lebu. So when Lebu becomes a stake, Curanilahue will be a ward. This week we put 4 baptismal dates with investigators that they already had when I got here and then some more that we found this last week. I'm really enjoying this sector already - there's tons of great people. Curanilahue is a smaller town that's located in the middle of forestry and there's a mine pretty nearby, so everyone works in one of those two things. There's a lot of humble people here. There's also a section of our sector where we can't enter, under orders from President Swenson, because a few months ago the flaites attacked the elders. But that was awhile ago and we've found some good people that live in that area, so we're going to try to get permission to go in there when the sun is still out. It gets pretty dangerous at night, so I don't think we'll be going in there after dark.

My new companion's name is Elder Laurito. He's from Uruguay - one of the 2 Uruguayos (no clue how you would call them in english...) in the mission. So far we've gotten along incredibly well. I'm finishing his training, so this is the second time I've been a mother here in the mission. We're always joking around with each other and he's really eager to learn and get better, as am I, so we make a really good team. ALSO, we have made sopaipillas twice, so we know how to not die of hunger. So that's a plus. In my district there's a mexican-american named Elder Noriega (he's from Arizona), and Elder Galindo (from Honduras). We live in the same house, so it makes it pretty easy to keep in touch with them. Well, my papa, Elder Kester, is an assistant to the president now. So things are changing up here in the mission. In August a ton of missionaries will be leaving, most of them zone leaders, so there's going to be a lot of people jumping up as zone leaders, district leaders, etc. in the next few months. Elder Galindo told me last night that he's pretty sure I'll be a zone leader around that time, so I've got to make sure I'm ready for whatever assignment comes my way, right? I'm looking forward to it thought - more opportunity to learn and progress!

Baptism Sopaipilla (blogger kept rotating it weird...sorry)

Bread with mustard....yummy

Have Dad write me - I haven't heard from him in a good while. Have the rest of the fam drop me a line or two once in a while as well, I'm almost half way done with my mission and I've only heard from them just a few times. OH! Tell Cami and Grandma and Grandpa V that I'm very grateful for their letters. I don't have time to respond today, but I will get back to them. (Note from Janice: I forgot to tell him about the birthday money, Mom and Dad, but I've just sent him that word.)

Well, I had better get some pictures and junk attached to this. I'm pretty sure the conference is tomorrow (the zone leaders still haven't called me), so it's very likely that I'll get that box you sent. I'll let you know next week what went on. Thank you for the letter, I love and miss you very very much!


Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010

Being a missionary is where it's at

We had an incredibly busy week here, as well. Well...every week and every day is busy, but this week felt especially pressured (maybe it had something to do with the fact that it was the last week of the cambio). We found some amazing people this week, and TONS of them came to church with us on Sunday. I took a picture of our Gospel Principles class, I'll attach that after I finish writing. We ended up having 16 people come to church with us, so we were REALLY happy. And 5 of them (soon to be 6) have baptismal dates! The only bummer about that....IS THAT I HAVE TO LEAVE THE SECTOR NOW!!!! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! After 4 months here in Temuco, I'm getting sent to Curanilahue, which is near Lebu (a coastal city). So the elder that will be coming to this sector is going to be VERY happy...grrrrrr. Oh well, I'm glad that my boy (Elder Hall) will get to be there to see all of those baptisms. I'm kind of sad to be leaving here, though - after awhile you get used to a sector, all the members, you know the streets, how the people are, so it can be sucky to have to leave. But such is mission! It'll be good to get to know other places as well, but I'll definitely miss Temuco. Oh yeah, my new companion's name is Elder Laurito. I think he's latino...and I'm pretty sure this will be his second cambio, so I'm going to be a mommy again (first companion - dad, second companion - mom). Or in other words I'll be finishing his training. It'll be fun. Curanilahue, from what I've heard, is a branch, so I'm guessing it will be something similar to Cabrero.

Gospel Principles, May 23, 2010


Saying goodbye to Veronica, Pedro, Cristina, and Pedrito

Zone Temuco Ñielol

So I'm guessing that everyone is all finished up with school by now - lucky them! Everyone here is still in the thick of studies and tests (hehe). But I did send a little bit of our coldness up to you with that snow storm, so happy birthday...stinkers! I'm actually kind of enjoying the colder weather for a change - because we can bundle up and not be sweating all the time like we were in summer. I kind of have mixed feelings about summer as a missionary - we're outside a lot so we do get tan, but then again we're also walking a lot so we sweat a lot...and then you just feel realllllly clean all the time haha. But during winter it just rains everything gets wet...BUT you're not sweating. And our houses don't have indoor heating, so that makes the mornings fun. Hmmm...maybe you should ask me what my favorite time of year is when I get back to the states, because as a missionary here in Chile it's kind of all just the same for me. Meh. I'm enjoying every second of it though, so the weather doesn't really even matter.

Funny story! Ok, maybe it's not that funny, but Elder Hall laughed really hard. So the other day when I was putting my socks and shoes on (yes, I have learned how to do that alone now) I got one of those good ol' foot cramps. You know, when your foot feels like it's trying to fold over onto itself. Yeah...I got one of those that lasted a little longer than I would have liked, so I was like ''Aahhhhhhhhh! Ahhhhhhh! Urrrrgggg!'' It went away, so I tried putting my sock on again...and I got another cramp! So I had fun with that...and then it went away. Third time...putting the sock on...THE CRAMP CAME BACK! AH! It was irritating but kind of funny at the same time.

Here's a neat experience we had this last week:

One day we were walking to an appointment when we ran into a mom and her two daughters in the street. We made friends with them, got their address and set up an appointment to go see them the next morning. So we walked all the way out to where they live (almost at the end of our sector), and they told us that they were busy. Believe it or not, this was not the first time that something like that had happened, haha. We're used to it, so we just started to knock some doors in that neighborhood. The first door we knocked...nobody answered. Shock! So we went to the next door, and a little girl opened the door. Her mother sent her to tell us that she was of these days a parent will regret doing that because their kid is going to get kidnapped...not by us, but by some psycho...anyway. So we were telling the little girl to give an invitation to church to her mom, when the second-story window of the house we had just knocked opened and a teenaged girl stuck her head out. Taking advantage of the situation, I joked around with her and asked her why she hadn't opened the door before. She started laughing and was like, ''No! I was in the bathroom!'' So I told her to come down and open the door so that we could talk to her and her family...and she did! Haha, so that was cool. She, Barbara, lives with her sister Sandra and her family (Sandra's family) of 4 (her husband Oscar, and her two kids Daniel and Tania). We got to know them for a bit, got an appointment to come back and visit them in which we shared the message of the Restoration. They told us that they had never heard anything, in regards to religion, that was so clear and made so much sense. They accepted baptismal dates and came to church with us on Sunday. ALMOST missed them, but Barbara poked her head out of the window and we were able to meet the family.

Well, it sounds like you all are going to have a pretty fun summer! I'll let you know how my summer is going when you get back into your winter clothes, hehe. Send my love to all the family and let them all know I miss and love them. I'm going to try to send a box out to you all this week with a scarf or two for dad, a Chile keepsake or two, and maybe some Bon a Bons hehe. Thank you for the letter this week - it was good to hear from you! I love and miss you very much!

I killed a spider...


Monday, May 17, 2010

May 17, 2010

¡Hola Mamá!

Sí, a mi me gustó el nombre que me colocó. ¿Cómo le ha ido con sus estudios de español? O sea, castellano. No se llama español acá - tendría que ir a España para aprender español. Pero bueno, hacemos lo que podemos con lo que tengamos, ¿no cierto? Me alegre que esté esforzándose a aprender otro idioma - eso ayuda para mantener la mente ocupada. ¡Pero parece que eso no es un problema para ud. porque tiene cualquier compromiso con los colegios y liceos! De tal manera, debe seguir practicando y aprendiendo más y más a fin de que pueda hablar conmigo y mis amigos chilenos. ¿Le parece bien?

It's cold in the morning!

I find it much easier to write some things in spanish nowadays, actually, haha. The other day Elder Hall and I were walking in an apartment complex trying to find a way to get into the buildlings (hehe) when we ran into a girl that had worked in Oregon for 8 months and spoke english really well. But I found that I couldn't really talk as fluently to her in english because I'm so used to talking to everyone in spanish. So I just told her that my english is terrible now and spoke to her in spanish....haha. Good times! When I do my homecoming talk I'll probably just stand up...look at around...and walk off the stand...ha...haha...:) Question: Do I really talk with a spanish accent? I think you mentioned something about that in the last e-mail. I didn't think I had a different accent...neato.

It's interesting to think about Cami graduating...we're totally going to be in the same year in college when I get back. But she'll have to go on a mission so we can put that little gap back in there. Sound good, Cami? ''Yeah, Trevor! That sounds great!'' Ok, cool. I knew you would agree.
Some fun things that happened this week:

1. This morning Elder Hall and I were taking a bus from the center to go to the mall (we were applying for his first visa), just sitting there all normal like when all of the sudden the driver starts pulling over REALLY CLOSE to the light posts and trees and stuff. Oh, and did I mention that he didn't show any signs of slowing down? Yeah, so there we were bulleting it down the street with posts wizzing right by my face, and then we hear a CRASSHHHHHHHH - the retard driver had bashed his side view mirror of hahahahahaha. And he was acting all confused about it; he pulled over to let some passengers off, and he was asking them what had broken, and Elder Hall said, (to me - in english so nobody understood) ''You broke your window of you idiot, what do you think happened?!'' I couldn't help it - I start laughing so hard. But I did it quietly, so I don't think the driver heard anything. I tell you, these drivers here are CRAZY.

2. A few days ago we had an open-house at the stake center, which is located right on the side of a really busy road. Elder Hall and I were put out front to be ''fishers''. Basically we just invited everyone in to get to know the church, what the chapel looks like on the inside, and what it is that we do (family history, all the organizations, etc.). So this group of about 15 scouts passed by in front of us (girls do scouts together with the boys here, by the way - I thought that was interesting) and I made friends with them by making the scout sign, hehe, and they ALL came in and loved it. I never did get my eagle, but I'm glad I remember that three-fingered sign now! Haha.

3. We had a ward talent show the other night, and the hermano in charge of it came up to Elder Hall and I about 3 minutes before it started to tell us that we were going to go first. So we were like....''Yeahhhhhhhhh, did NOT prepare a thing'' haha. But we didn't tell him that. It started...we got up...smiled...I did some magic tricks...sat down...and then Elder Hall stood there and said, ''Mi talento es que soy....ALTO!'' (My talent is that I'm tall!) Everyone got a kick out of that and then he sat down. The majority of the acts were music - I sang two songs: a song called Sabes with Fernanda, and then I sang the Halelujah song that everyone knows from Shrek. The end :)

Playing guitar at the talent show

I would love it if you could come to get me at the end of my mission, but if not, keep saving up and y'all can come back with me to go to the temple dedication when it gets finished :).
Still no package from you yet - I did get some letters from friends and a package (THANK YOU!) from a friend during interviews last week. I'm guessing your box will probably get here for the conference in a few weeks.

Well, that should be just about it for this week. If all goes well we should be having another baptism this weekend - so that should be shweeeeet. I'm not positive yet, but I'm pretty sure that I'll be leaving Temuco next week. I'll know for sure this Saturday. So I'll let you know where I'll be for the next six weeks next Monday. Thank you, as always, for the letter! I love hearing from home. I love and miss you all very much!

The pictures of me making dough for sopaipillas (scones) were taken at the house of a family that we're teaching. We met them one day when we were walking in front of the gate of their house, and randomly the daughter came out and we started talking to her. The mom came out and said that they were a little busy making bread, so I said that I would love to learn. They invited us in, but they were pretty much done making the bread already, so they said that one of these days when we pass by they were going to teach me how to do it. So we visited them last night and...surprise! They had it all ready to make bread. So that was fun. Oh yeah, and they made me put on an apron that pretty much was a dress, so that just made it all that much more fun. Love you!

Sopaipilla dough

Making sopaipillas in a dress


PS. The church is true, the book is blue, and God is a Mormon (hehe, I like that one)

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10, 2010

Heylo there....again!

So there's probably not a whole lot I could write today that I didn't say yesterday on the phone, but I'll give it a shot anyway haha. Don't hate me if there's some repeated stuff - I guess there are all the people who read the forwards who could get something out of it as well.

So my birthday was awesome - we had a baptism (which I got to see my son perform), a got a purdy tie from my friend Fernanda, and her mom Maite gave me a very comfy scarf that she made herself (be jealous, dad!). The baptism was an experience that I won't be forgetting anytime soon, haha. Bishop Dote called me at about 9 the morning of the baptism to tell me that they were going to have a ward baptism at the same time as us to save on water and all that jazz. So I was like, ''Ok, cool. Who is going to get baptized?'' And then he said a name that made me say, ''!!!!!!!'' Haha, I kind of feel bad for saying that (I didn't say it to Bishop Dote, just in my head), but this kid is an absolute nightmare. During the two talks before the baptism he was yelling at them to hurry up and stop boring him and that he wanted to get baptized already. Elder Hall put his arm around him to try to help him be quiet, but that didn't really help at all. At least I understand why people back home did that when I was a little kid now haha. I'm sure I was never as bad as this kid though...the Bishop told him to be quiet several times, but that didn't do anything. And then his dad stood up and walked over to him to tell him to be quiet, but he just punched him in the face. So I was just thinking to myself, ''Why? Why now? Why me?'' Hahaha. Alright, so after the talks finished, we continue to have the baptismal service, and, of course, the little kid wanted to go first. So he ran into the font before Elder Hall (they had Hall baptize him because he was already going to be baptizing Oscar) and was about to start swimming when Elder Hall grabbed him and kept him above water. The kid got baptized, and then after going out of the font he tried to run back in, but Elder Hall picked him up and dragged him out of the font, haha. It was hilarious - I actually did get a picture of it that I will send to you. Oscar got baptized and confirmed the next day, so we're very happy about that. He's a great guy, and his sisters are really faithful members so they'll do great. The mom goes to church as well, but she and the dad aren't she can't get baptized just yet. It's kind of a bummer about that - the dad is married with someone else that took off to Argentina so he can't get a divorce with her. And that stops him from being able to get married to his current ''wife''. So hopefully they'll be able to work that out.

Oscar's Baptism

Elder Hall and his "favorite" baptism

Elder Hall, Francesco, and Oscar

So yeah, next time a bishop asks me if a kid from the ward can get baptized on the same day I will definitely have to make sure the kid behaves better...haha.

It was really great to talk to you all for a little bit yesterday - you don't really realize how much you miss everyone until you talk to them on the phone and start realizing how far away you really are. I'm looking forward to seeing you all again! Yesterday was fun, though. It was Fernanda's birthday, so her dad cooked up some amazing meat and we had some very yummy cheese empanadas and a chocolate cake that had our faces on it haha. I'll be sure to send some pictures.

Coolest cake ever!

Lunch with the Acuña family

It is definitely starting to get cold in the mornings and evenings here - and we ran out of gas for our space heater this week so that's been extra fun. We just have to get out of lazy mode and go buy some more and we'll be a-ok. I've been putting together a little gift box to send home to you all, but I haven't gotten everything yet, so hopefully I'll get that sent off in the next week or two.

My new scarf

I told the Millahual family that you and dad are planning to come down to get my next year, and they're all very excited to meet you; they're pretty much my Chilean family here in Temuco. They're also planning a family trip to the states for Christmas not this year, but next year. So I think that would be pretty fun to be able to turn the tables for a little bit haha. Great opportunities to practice your spanish, mamá!

Well, that's just about all I've got for this week. Once again I really enjoyed talking to you all and I'll look forward to the next call this Christmas! Before you know it it'll be that time again. I love and miss you very very much!

Nothing says "I Love You" like a good Mate.


Oh no!

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 3, 2010


It's kind of wierd to think that my birthday is this week....hmmmm, interesting. I think we'll be calling home this next weekend as I'll have to find out more about that and then I'll try to get word to you. I hope it's on Sunday, because that would be a big help. When we do the call, though, I'll be at the Millahual family's house, so I'll be sure to get you the number just incase you lost it or something. They're such an amazing family, I've gotten really close to them over the past 4 months. We'll be there this Sunday first of all because we have lunch with them every Sunday, but also because the family will be having a little birthday celebration for Fernanda (their oldest daughter - she'll be 21) and me. Mine is the 8th and hers is the 9th, pretty cool, eh? So yeah, it would be pretty cool if we could call on Sunday. But if not, I'm sure it will be Monday for el día de la madre.

Birthday Crowns!

Your little outdoor adventure sounds like it was...a lot of fun! Haha. At least you're just leaving winter though - now you get to laugh and point fingers at me because we're heading into rainy, cold weather while you'll be enjoying summer and all the fun jazz that comes with it. Today it's a bit rainy, but I guess I should just get used to it, because from what I've heard during the winter it rains, and rains, and rains, and rains. In the words of my first companion, Elder Kester, Chile basically just turns into a giant puddle during the winter. I'll still have a great time though, always have, always will!

I'm glad to hear the rest of the fam is doing well - I don't really get any news from them...THEY DON'T WRITE ME!! Stinkers! Good to know the studies are finishing up well. The other day we were at the Millahual's house and they were on facebook and asked all the names of the people in my family so that they could look them up (I think Fernanda might have requested to be friends with mom and dad), so I got to see some more recent pictures :) Made me smile a bit. I'm absolutely loving my time down here, but do know that I do miss each one of you and would love to hear from you once in awhile! Momma sets the good example and writes me every week :)

This weekend will be even MORE cool (what could be cooler than my birthday? psh), because Oscar, Marta and Macarena's brother, will be getting baptized. I don't think there's a better way to pass a birthday in the mission.

Elder Hall and I have been having a great time together - once in awhile I pull a joke or two on him...hehe, just cause he's a greenie. But he's a great Elder. I always try to learn as much as I can from the companions that the Lord puts me with, and something that I have really enjoyed about being with Elder Hall is that he's just full of the spirit the MTC gives you. I remember those 8 weeks of spiritual boot camp, and I kind of miss it. Don't get me wrong, I don't think I'd ever go back, but it's really great to have a companion who is really focused on the spirituality of the work because the language barrier is still pretty big for him. He's learning really fast though, hopefully I'm setting a good example for him!

Me and my boy!

Last one to do this has to say the prayer.

Yep, we're huge!

I love you all very much and I pray for you very often. I'm very much looking forward to sharing some mission experiences (spiritual and funny alike hehe) face-to-face. It's really true what they say about the mission changing your life - it's really put things into perspective and helped me set goals for my life. Not to mention I have gotten to know fleas better than I ever have before, hehe. Well, I think that's just about it for this week. Love and miss you tons! Looking forward to hearing from you next week!