September 9, 2011
So today we got our travel plans, which has been the most exciting thing to happen so far. We leave the 19th, our first flight departs Salt Lake City at 1:50pm and arrives in Atlanta at 7:40pm. From there we leave at 10:00pm for Santiago and arrive in Santiago at 8:35am Tuesday morning. Oh i found out that we can call our families at the airport, so I will call you all from Atlanta since that is our longest layover. It would probably be around 5:30 your time when I can call. I’ll figure it out later. I’m also the travel leader for our group, which will have 16 missionaries. I might have to send a package home my last day here, since I don't know if I’ll be able to fit everything, it will mainly just be a few thing i don't use. Anyways I’ll email you later with more details, since i gotta get off now.
Love you all
September 15, 2011
So I’m now down to 4 days before I leave! Tomorrow we have this infield orientation thing, and Saturday is our last day of class! And Monday morning we are out of here. It’s so nice to finally be done with the MTC Today I’m going to send home a packet with my camera card, and some letters. SD cards have to be sent in padded envelopes. Oh, when you send my iPod down to Chile, make sure that you tape some kind of picture of like the Virgin Mary or something onto the package, apparently occasionally people will go through your mail down there, but we talked to a teacher here who got back from our mission about 11 months ago and he said that they are pretty superstitious about Catholic stuff like that and they won't bother your mail if that’s on it. Make sure that some pictures on the package. As for my iPod, wipe it and restore it, and put on as much Mormon Tabernacle and classical and gospel music as you have. Make sure you send it with a working sync cord and a wall charger if possible.
Oh on Tuesday night for my last devotional here, elder M Russell Ballard came and spoke, it was pretty awesome. I was in the same seat as I was for Elder Holland, which was about ten rows from the front. So I had an amazing seat both times.
See if you can find out more about the riots in Chile. i wonder if Momo knows about them. Tell her not to worry. Try googling Chile Santiago riots, and look at the images. It’s pretty intense.
Oh we found out that we are allowed to email anybody from back home, so send my email address to our extended family so if they want to write me they can just email me.
I love you all and I’ll probably be able to email you later this week, like on Saturday or Sunday. I’ll call you all from Atlanta, but if I have time, I will also call from the Sal Lake City airport around noon. Make sure you have Momo over Monday night so she can talk to me too.
I love you all so much,
September 17, 2011
So I got my ties yesterday, I love them their pretty awesome, thanks so much to you and Momo.
We leave on Monday, I’m so excited! We finished our last day of class and now we just have Sunday and then we are out of here! it’s so weird to think that two months ago Uncle Jim was dropping me off here. Time really has flown by. One really important thing!! I still haven’t picked up my other suit from the dry cleaners yet so I’m going to do that Monday morning. I don’t know if you have put any money in my account yet but if you haven’t, I desperately need you to do that before Monday.
After dinner tonight we did most of our packing, except for one load of laundry that I am going to do Monday morning, right before i leave. I’m gonna send a package or two home on Monday, just with a few things that i didn’t need. Also I am sending home my temple clothes, since all temples have clothing for the missionaries. I’ll get on tomorrow and let you know what time I can call home at on Monday for sure.
September 26, 2011
Oh man where to begin?
So Chile is awesome! I am in the city of Nuñoa, I think that’s how you spell it. All the houses are completely gated, they are like minnie fortresses, due to high theft rates. The stake right above mine is the super rich area. My area is pretty cool. I can barely understand anyone though. Except for my bishop, he is Columbian so he speaks a lot clearer than anyone else. My companion is really good, he is very helpful and has for the most part completely mastered the language, so he does most of the talking.
Right now we have to main investigators, Yael, she’s 18 and we have her committed to baptism, but that doesn’t mean a lot, and José Farize, he is in his 50s and he’s doing pretty good as well. The houses are a lot smaller here, but some of the people have pretty nice cars, so your house size doesn’t mean a whole lot. They use the Chilean peso, and the exchange rate is about 500 pesos to a dollar.
Food prices here are similar to back home. If i skimp, I can get away with only spending half of my food money. The members feed us pretty well, here we always have lunch appointments, and some of the members feed us a ton. By the way, remember that time that Uncle Ben and I think Grandpa Grant or Mike or someone came for dinner and ate a ton of lasagna? Well yesterday I put them to shame. Since people take offense if you don’t clean you plate, I have to eat everything, and I have eaten some pretty weird vegetables. So yesterday for lunch the lady that was feeding us brought out our plates and on each one was about 40-45% of those pans of lasagna that you make at home. And yes i ate it all. But we do so much walking that we are always hungry. 3 out of 6 lunch appointments that I have had so far, we have had chicken and mashed potatoes. The food here is pretty good. Empanadas are pretty good too.
So far I really like Chile. The Andes Mountains are pretty cool, they still have snow up at the top of them. There is a ton of smog here though. They don’t baptize nearly as many people here as I thought, since when the church was established here in the 60s or 50s it was almost a fad to join the Mormon Church, there was a ton of competition between missions for higher numbers. Several years back Elder Holland came here and got things under control. Quite a few people ended up getting excommunicated for lying regarding numbers and other stuff. As a result there’s over half a million members on record in Chile, but only about 10% are active. The ward I am in has a pretty high active rate compared with the rest of Chile, we have a little under a 100 active members, around 400 inactives. Supposedly there are wards here that have as many as 1500 inactive members, so reactivation is a huge thing here. We got this inactive lady to come to church yesterday, her parents that she lives with are also inactive, they hadn’t let missionaries into their home for over 15 years, but they decided to let us in. Her parents were gonna come, but her dad was feeling sick, he is pretty old. Before he went inactive, he was a freakin’ temple worker for 12 years, and had done the temple work for a couple thousand of his ancestors. Ill update you more next week, my time is almost expired.