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 . . .