Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Week 17 - Feliz Navidad

December 23, 2013

Dear family,

       I've survived another week in Chile. Surprised? I am! From the Christmas party asados, the week without steak (I'm actually going on two now) and the fact that I'm just about to go to another breath taking trip to Ojos del Caburgua with the Biggs! My life is so HARD! Jk

It's been an interesting week since last Monday, I've been trying to get to know Elder W____ and I'm still trying to show him the area and how things work around here. We taught some lessons but the majority were on doorsteps and in the street so they were just for numbers, which I really hate. I think Elder Holland put it into better words when he said, "the people you teach are the children of God, our brothers and sisters not a Baptismal statistic hidden behind a face." I get planting seeds but when you’re doing it just to make it look like the area's not dead just kills me! We did meet one good person though on a doorstep, and he really made the week worth it. His name is Sebastian and when he stepped out I'm not going to lie, the tattoos, swastika, and the crucifix he was wearing really seemed to clash and it kinda threw me off... Turns out he's an inactive 20 year old who loves to climb and is a sponsored triathlete. He loves Utah and really wants to become a guide in Zions. He also really misses the church, and while his father hates it, he and his family want to come back. He also wants to become a missionary, because he feels like it's the right thing to do. I think I'll have to reactivate him first but it sounds great to me! Other than that we've been trying to get a hold of Sergio and some other investigators who have just seemed to disappear. We also got Olga to come to church again and we blessed her son and stepchild? I don't know she's in a weird/depressing situation. She lives with her ex-husband and his wife and son. This would already be pretty weird except for the fact that they're all living with her (Olga's) Mother! Either way I'm thinking this time she'll stick, or at least I hope so!

Other than that I went to my first asado! It was for the Branch Christmas party and I learned a few things about BBQ! The Asadores (bbqs) are huge 55-gallon oil drums, cut in half with an interesting two tree adjustable rack height system.  The charcoal is home made and you can tell that it is made out of random sticks and branches in someone's back yard! We cooked about 50-60 chicken thighs and they were amazing and perfectly cooked by hermano Puentes, this amazing 70 year old Argentinian member who we go over to lunch for quite a bit of Sundays, although it's usually fried chicken. The next day, (Sunday) we went to church at 9:00 for the Executive Priesthood Meeting. We were it, so I had some more personal study time. We went to sacrament meeting, and hermana Fuentes (our abuelitta) was crying. Turns out that her brother died and that she wasn't invited to the Christmas dinner. I tried to help but there really wasn't much I could do. After church we went to the Puente's house in their flat bed. Not much has changed, the food is still amazing and the home is the prettiest I've seen here, even compared to the rich homes. They did get some new puppies though. One of their dogs named Mancha had them. I told them that they should name one of the puppies Don Quixote (Don Quixote de la Mancha!) only sister Puentes got that one!  Lunch was great. We picked cherries and ate fried chicken with the Puentes and the Molinas and finished off with some of the best watermelon I've ever eaten. We came home and started to look for investigators and didn't find anyone but we bumped into Jesse who was just leaving to go hunt some rabbits with his daughter on his property. He's doing pretty good and has watched some more of Uncle Bengt’s stuff. He still loves it. We went home, went to bed and now I'm here! It’s been a good week, can't wait till Christmas! Love you guys!

Elder Washburn

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 16 - Christmas Party!

December 15, 2013

It's been an interesting week, 9 days till Christmas (thanks for the advent calendar!) and it’s in the high eighties over here. Tuesday we woke up and helped Elder Renshaw get his bags packed, called a taxi, and headed to the bus station because we had a region conference. Took the 7:10 bus to Valdivia and we arrived at 8:40. Elder Renshaw didn't want to waste money on a taxi so we ended up dragging his luggage the 3 miles to the chapel... The conference was great! President and Sister Rappleye always make good speakers. At lunch we had soup and pollo rosada (pink chicken) or at least me and Elder Moreno did (awesome guy from Costa Rica and fluent in English..remember, he gave us the Jelly Bellies at the last meeting)but his wasn't pink, it was bright red and had a pulse! After lunch we had some more training and had a Christmas party! Unfortunately my memory card is full and the 16G cards don't work in my camera, (I'll look for some new ones but what I'll try to do is get a card reader so I can just transfer the files to the bigger cards and use them as hard drives.) …so I don't have any hilarious pictures of me in a red Santa hat... Now Elder Renshaw does, so I'll be waiting in fear for the day that those come out!  After the caroling and gifts from the Rappleyes, (first time I've been happy for socks! They gave us some candy and a cool wood fish bowl thing too.)  me and Elder Renshaw said our goodbyes and parted ways. Took a bus to Loncoche which is actually in the ConcepciĆ²n south mission and took a micro bus from their home.

Elder Moreno and Elder Gubler

The last few days have just been pretty normal. It's hot and we walk a lot and I'm trying to get used to the new companion. He's an interesting guy and I'm really trying to get to know him better. Nothing too special has happened this week. We've taught a few lessons but we still can't get anyone to come to church. Saturday we ate lunch with the Mamita and family. We had pizza, it was good.  Almendra bit me and I am getting to the point where I can understand about half the words that come out of Papito's mouth. My Spanish is coming along and I'm really starting to get close with the family. Although, Almendra's idea of a friend is a punching bag! Sister Fuentes, our Abuelita (mother of papito) showed up and the first words out of her mouth was “Elder Wachito!“  We laughed and had a decent conversation (now that I can talk). We basically tracked until our sita (appointment) with Barbara. As usual they fed us way too well! This time it was ice cream. I love once (family home evening) over there! Her mother still calls me Elder Wachito! My companion hates it and thinks I've told people to call me that, but to tell you the truth I love it, and it's really become a part of me. Saturday with Barbara, the family told me that they would always remember their one and only Elder Wachito! After the lesson with them Elder W (beginning to love the irony) forced us to sprint home even though we were already late. This was funny because he can't run... and was a little too out of breath to tell me to slow down. Yet even with the minute it took to fight off a pack of neighborhood dogs... I still cut 8 minutes off the average 10-11 minute trip back home!

Sunday was not so fun. None of our investigators could come to church and (one of them)  is drinking again. Mildly depressing to say the least, sort of like Pete’s moderately extraneous....Sacrament was great, it was only the first meeting because of elections and we didn't have to speak. (President just called, Renshaw's last present was to set his ringtone as the choir from the Phantom Menace. Scared the crap out of me! I told President “hi” from Sister Hillam though) Had lunch with the Nevarettes, it was delicious like always! Didn't really do too much actual work wise because next to no one was home. But afterwards we took the Biggs to Claudio Lopez, one of the district big wigs and gave him fruit. It’s always fun with them!

Pretty good week, trying to get along with the companion and show him around before I leave. I think I'll be leaving during the next transfer since I have a stepfather and that's usually what happens.

Love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Washburn

Christmas Party for the Zone

Week 15 - Sobre Cambio

December 9, 2013

Hey guys, how's it going? It’s been a pretty dull week over here... except for the fact that I had my companion stolen from me and I now have a stepfather. Other than that phone call, not much has happened. So I'm glad that my package got there. I would open it now just to make sure that everything’s ok, but that’s just me. I haven't gotten mom’s letter but that could be because we haven't checked the mail in a while.

Anyway, back to the stepfather thing. We got a call from President Rappleye at like 8:00 in the morning telling us that Elder Renshaw was going to be the new financier in Osorno, and that he would be leaving today, not really the news you want to hear.  Especially when you've got an awesome once in a lifetime trip planned on that Monday. Well everything worked out and Elder Renshaw isn't leaving till tomorrow and we got to see the ojos in Pucon.

I am sitting with my new companion right now. We're in a tripanionship right now. Other than that the week has been pretty great I had another intercambio with one of the ZL's and this time it was a former missionary From Villarrica, Elder Castner.  So, we ended up visiting all of his former investigators and inactive baptisms. We took a trip up to the Ojos of Caburge, which were to say the least, amazing! I got a couple of amazing shots and still can't believe just how beautiful it is here. The water is so blue clear and deep and we bushwhacked it out so we got to see even more waterfalls that you usually can't and got to skip a 20-30 minute walk. I wish I could send you some pictures right now but my stinking computer isn't working ugh! Well it’s been a great week!

Love you guys!

Elder Washburn

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Week 14 - Happy Thanksgiving!

December 2, 2013

Thank you so much for that HILARIOUS story! His dad told him about the shock he experienced the Sunday after Thanksgiving when he went to put on his freshly pressed white shirt and couldn’t button it around his neck, then noticed it was quite tight around the chest also.  He concluded that maybe he had eaten too much over Thanksgiving and had put on a lot of extra weight in just a short time!  He was very relieved when he took the shirt off and realized it wasn’t his shirt but one of Hayden’s that had been left behind!  Sadly, he still had to wear it because he was late for his meeting and he didn’t have another pressed shirt!  That just made my week!

 Well the weeks been great!  I didn't have a 25 pound Norman Rockwell turkey but my Thanksgiving dinner wasn't half bad. I cooked up a half kilo of American steak that I had been saving. Usually I can only afford to have a little 5-6 oz portion so that was great and I felt sick afterwards just like Thanksgiving, I think that might have been the best part! Also, dinner with the Biggs was great, they took us out to a really good wood fired pizza joint.  I've got some letters coming, I never seem to run out of weird stuff to put in them and I keep having to put in another!

This week we bumped into a great investigator and his family! It was about 9:21 pm and we were just shooting in the dark trying to get contacts before we went home. Well we came to the end of a cul-de-sac and yelled. A man came out and lit a cigarette and told us he was an evangelico. Well I winced and was about to do an about face when he told us he left his church because it was corrupt. We start talking and he opens up about his family and his job. We shared some of our beliefs about families and he asked us to come in and meet his. Well we come to find out that in the last 7 years he's lived in his house that he has let one close friend into his house once. But he told us that he liked us and thought that there was something different about us. We taught a bit of the first lesson but unfortunately we had to haul home because we were already 21 minutes past what were supposed to be out (it was exactly 10:21). That was the highlight of the week but that day we also did a ton of service out in the country, and learned how bad these evil little caterpillars are. If you accidently smash one with your hand it will burn and be numb for the entire day! That happened to our friend Jesse the day before. Well besides that not much happened.

Well I didn't write in mom's Thanksgiving Gratitude book and we all know that no one gets out of that so I figured I would write you guys my Thanksgiving spiel…….

"I'm so grateful for a family that loves me, a dad who has been the best example of a father I could ever hope for and who loves us and works for us and spends the little free time he has with us. A mom who loves and more importantly feeds us, is ridiculously patient, and when we're threatened a true mother...grizzly down to the core!  A sister who's talented, smart, funny, and from what I've been told cute! Qualities I can be proud of even if none of them were learned from me.... A little brother who is creative, quirky, funny, and when it comes down to it very loving. He just wants everyone around him to be happy! Here in Chile I'm grateful for a roof over my head, good shoes, a warm bed, and a lot of other things that I've found aren't as common as you would hope. I’m thankful for a good Mamita and Papito who make me feel like I’m almost back home.  A missionary budget that lets me constantly treat myself, and a companion who is much better than the last. Last of all I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who is blessing my family when I'm away and an older brother who's suffered for and with me for every hardship and mistake and this gospel which I've been given the honor to share with the wonderful people of Chile."

Please write that down for me.

I hope you have a great week!

Elder Washburn