Sunday, January 26, 2014

Girl's camp and sister missionaries

     We had such a great experience this week we knew we wanted to share it with everyone.  On Tuesday night President Warne had been asked to speak at girl's camp for the Tupahue stake.  We were very curious to see what girl's camp would be like here in Chile.  President asked two sister missionaries to go with us and bear their testimonies so we met them at the Tupahue stake center as well as the counselor in the stake presidency so he could show us the way.
     We had a great time visiting with the two sisters for the half hour drive there.  They are some of the best missionaries in our mission; friendly and personable, yet with very strong testimonies and an ability to connect with people here in Chile.  We were all curious to see what the place was like.  After all it hasn't been that long since those two attended girl's camp themselves.
     The camp was a beautiful area with amazing views of the mountains.  The counselor told us that the area had also been used for World Jamboree with 40,000 boy scouts camped there.  Fortunately it was much more peaceful the night we went.  There were about 45 girls plus their leaders, and very typical,

with tents and picnic tables and young women everywhere.  
     We had a short program, where of course the sisters did a great job, and President also bore his testimony.  As usual, I gave great support from the back.  They graciously invited us to stay for dinner or la cena as it is called in Spanish.  It was delicious: we had grilled pork steak, fresh salad, with the Chilean dressing of fresh lemon juice, potato salad and bread.  
     Even though we were only there about 1 1/2 hours, it was a great experience and a testimony to me that the church program works everywhere and is meant for everyone.  We truly are a worldwide church and we are all working towards the same goal: bringing people to Christ and membership in the true church. I'm thankful for leaders who train young women so they can be wonderful missionaries!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Missionary life

We have been meeting with missionaries this week as of course we do every week.  However, as we have spoken with them I have been so impressed by what they are able to do every day.  I would like to share with you some of the facts about these wonderful young people.
They face challenges every day with smiles and thankfulness for their blessings.  Some of the challenges include no hot water, and other difficult living conditions, such as no ovens, washers, kitchen tables, or even comfortable seats.  They laugh about water trickling out of the shower head, mushrooms growing in the shower, or calefactors (water heaters) that leak gas or do not work at all.
They keep smiling during study time with difficult companions, the challenges of learning a new language—either Spanish or English and going out to work no matter what the weather.  It is hot and dusty in the summer and cold and rainy in the winter.  The hours are long and it is often hard to find people willing to listen to their message.
But they face all these challenges with a smile because of their love for our Savior and their willingness to take two years or 18 months from their life to dedicate themselves to sharing themselves and the gospel with the people of Chile.  They are rewarded with miracles, with blessings such as finding life-long friends, learning to know the great things of which they are capable, and the knowledge that they can serve and lead and grow.  The mission time helps them for the rest of their lives and influences not only the people they baptize but also their families and themselves.

We are so grateful for our missionaries and so blessed to be able to serve with them and get to know them during the hardest and yet best time of their lives.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Carnets and P-Days

For this week’s report from sunny, hot Chile, we are going to talk about a very exciting subject or two.  Ok, at least maybe interesting.  We finally got our carnets so we are officially official.  I am going to describe the process for us and all missionaries to be able to stay in the country.
As soon as a missionary arrives the secretaries apply for a carnet or identity card.  After a couple of months, the missionary has to travel to Santiago to fill out papers and keep the process going.  A couple  months later, another trip is required for the government to collect fingerprints and another application.  These trips require a whole day of travel each time, including riding the metro system in Santiago, a lot of walking and a great deal of waiting for your number to be called.  Between six weeks and three months later, the carnet is issued which includes a RUT number, which is like a social security number.  It is required everywhere including the grocery store and the doctor’s office.  Since we hold the missionaries’ passports for them for security reasons, it is good to have the carnet for ID purposes.  The trouble is, it is only valid for one year and then the process begins anew.  For the sisters who are here 18 months, they have to do it even though they only need six months extra, and of course the elders need the second year.  When we apply again we will be allowed to apply for permanent residency which is valid for a period of five years.  That will save us from applying for a third time.  You wanted to know that, right? 
The second subject of interest for today is P-Day or Preparation Day.  For those who are not familiar with the missionary schedule, I am going to fill you in.  Once a week, usually Monday,  the missionaries have a day off, so to speak.  They are supposed to do laundry, clean their apartments, shop for groceries and other necessities, write the president and write their families.  They still need to have regular study time and P-Day ends at 6:30 in our mission and then they are supposed to head out and work a regular evening schedule.  Often, though, they have time for some kind of recreation such as futbol, basketball, or other sports.  They are allowed to wear casual or sports clothes depending on the activity. Sometimes a zone will get together for an outing to a local tourist spot, although in our mission we don’t have very many.  Still the day is a good change from the regular hard work the missionaries do each day and allows them to gear up for the week ahead. 

This week’s picture is of the office elders whom we invited to our house for their P-Day activity.  They put together the new ping-pong table and had a mini tournament.  We fed them completos or hot dogs for lunch and a good time was had by all.  Even the president has sport clothes on--a short sleeved shirt!  Until next week . . .

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Traveling in the Misión Chile Rancagua

This is the first week of 2014, but here in the Chile  The only concession we made was to have our missionaries return home by seven p.m. on December 31 for safety reasons. 
Ruta 5 that runs through our mission
Rancagua mission we worked right through the holidays.

Today we wanted to describe some of the cities in our mission since we spend many hours each week driving to and from each of them.  If you have looked at a map of Chile you have seen it is very long and narrow.  Our mission boundary starts about one-half hour south of Santiago in a town called Buin.  We have two zones there, plus a wonderful senior couple.  Ruta 5 is a toll road we use every day.  Traveling south to Rancagua takes about 45 minutes and includes passing through several small towns with branches.
We have four zones in Rancagua, which is a city of about 200,000.  Further south is San Fernando, 45 minutes with one zone and kind of a gateway to Santa Cruz, one zone and one-half hour, then San Vicente, one zone and one-half hour in the other direction.  Going west toward the Pacific brings you to the beach town of Pichilemu with a beautiful chapel up on the hill.  Back on Ruta 5 we head for Curico, two zones and one hour from Rancagua.  One more hour south leads to Talca and two more zones. 
The chapel in Pichilemu-on the hill. 
The furthest point in our mission is Constitucion, a little pueblo also on the ocean.  It is four hours from Rancagua by car.  The missionaries from Conti, as we call it, travel two hours by bus to Talca each week for district meeting. 
Today we drove to Linderos branch for church which is close to Buin.  Afterwards President Warne dropped me off at home and drove to San Fernando for a meeting.  This month we will do special training and head straight into interviews so we will visit every town with a zone listed above at least twice.  It is a lot of driving!  We have time to do a lot of planning for and thinking about our missionaries.  We love being together so much.