Monday, October 28, 2013

Week 9 - "Somos Mormones"

October 28, 2013

Dear Mom, Dad and family,

Well this week was pretty good. Met my first evangelio, actually my first 5, which is kinda funny because they're apparently pretty rare. The first and third were pretty annoying but the rest were actually cool. The first guy was hilarious, I saw him putting on a coat and sweater before he came out the door and I had a feeling we were going to be preached to and not vice versa. Dude was so patronizing and condescending and talked down to us like "your about the lords work? Thank you," but at the same time looking at us like we were going to burn. Not really a faith breaker, if anything it kinda strengthened me. He wasn't that smart he was just persistent and really belligerent and unyielding. Stop. I'm over this guy all ready! The third one was kinda the same way but she didn't act like we were going anywhere but down stairs and constantly asked us if we believed and worshipped Christ and felt the Holy Spirit which we both replied “yes,” but she begged to differ. The other guys were great though, one was an American that we talked to for a while. He didn't want us to preach but we got in a little any way. He invited us for waffles and a bbq with smoked brisket. He also told us about the other gringos living here in Chile. Tell dad to look up Clive Maund, he's a really good stock analyst who is world renown and lives here.

Met another really good family who randomly let us in, their names are Filipè, Lorena, and Nicole. They were really nice, pretty receptive and best of all made sopapillas for us; they were so good!

Another random thing that happened this week was we bumped into some foreign girls who randomly started asking about our religion. At first they thought we were Jehovah’s Witnesses and my companion told them we were from "La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias." That seemed to confuse them even more so I finally said “somos Mormones,” which seemed to have an effect. Turned out it was for a school project, but it was still pretty funny.

Not much other than that and a few lessons have happened this week. Oh but I almost forgot, it was my companion’s birthday! He finally turned 21! So, it started like any other day, except I forgot to make a huge breakfast for his birthday, totally forgot, but I got him the next day with a huge batch of chorizo eggs, aji, and toast. Well we didn't teach anyone that day and headed to the chapel for the branch family home evening after a short lesson on patriarchal blessings by Elder Biggs. We essentially had a birthday party for Elder Renshaw and Hermana Olave (who's birthday was last week.) The branch was awesome and we had tons of food and drinks and then they brought out two cakes! We thought it was over and were heading out when we were stopped by our district, they dragged us down to the kitchen downstairs where we sang happy birthday to Renshaw and Hermana Olave and Lee pulled out like a 5 kilo, no bake cookie thing. It was insane and all 11 of us only managed to eat like half of it. We were given the rest of it which we barely finished yesterday, we were given it on Friday, holy cow! But when we came home we cooked Elder Renshaw’s birthday steak, doesn't that just sound awesome? Well it was! I rubbed that sucker with black pepper, sea salt, and some garlic. It was so good and tasted exactly like a Montreal seasoned steak, I know this because the man was awesome enough (and crazy enough) to give me HALF!

It was a slow couple of days after that but today's been awesome! We went out to Lican Rey, which is on the Calafquen Lake, and took an amazing hike. This place looks like Oregon, Hawaii, Utah, and the Bahamas mixed. It is INSANELY beautiful! The water is so clear you can see like 30 feet down and it was so tempting not to take a dive off a couple of the out looks we were on. The mountains are everywhere and seem to surround you and everything IS SO FREAKING GREEN!!!! I love it! The hike was great and then we made completos as a district and came to email. 

Mom, my companions great! More than great, in fact he's fantastic. Absolutely love him. He's one of the most chill guys I've ever met. He simply refuses to get mad and treats every trial like an obstacle that he can just walk around. My area is fantastic, besides the fact that no one's ever home and we don't teach as much as we should (it's been a slow week.) The area's amazing, I walk 50 yards for one of the most beautiful views I've ever seen and the weather is now incredible, if not a little hot. The people are amazing and I've only had one door truly slammed on me and have only met 1 or 2 rude people and I think they were drunk. The door was slammed by a 6 year old who just wanted to tease us.

Well it's been a great week, just want to tell you guys that I love and miss you but I'm loving it here!

Elder Washburn

Lican Rey,  Calafquen Lake

Villarrica Volcano

View just outside our house

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Week 8 - This Weeks Gone Really Well!

October 21, 2013

Dear Mom, Dad and family,

In my last letter I left off on Saturday of my first week. The Lumberjack Day…. So I was clearing the trail ahead with this cool, hand forged machete that looked a lot more like a giant kitchen knife than anything else. I was doing this because in Chile apparently everything that’s green has thorns on it, which means clearing the trail was one of the most painful, funny things I have ever done. After we got to the decent lumber, we started cutting trees. I was a little behind and cutting trees into smaller pieces with some other guys with the chainsaw. When I was finished, I realized that I hadn't heard a tree fall for a while so I went to check it out.  As I'm walking down the trail I hear someone scream "caer!" (or to fall). I look up and see a fairly large tree coming at me at a decent speed. I got out of the way a few seconds before it hit but it still scared the crap out of me. That’s when I found out that these other guys didn't really understand how to swing an axe and that they really had no idea where the trees would come down (i.e. Elder Washburn). So that’s when I started cutting which was really fun and wasn't what I was thinking when they mentioned a day of service. After that we were fed this awesome meal, which consisted of a goulash/lasagna type dish with chorizo and french fries on top. After that we went home to study and then left for Ramone's (a kid in the branch) farewell party. He's going to the Mexico MTC and I told him that he's going to love it! We came home, tracted a little bit, threw rocks at a pack of mean dogs and returned home.

P.S. Also the Chileans eat this awesome fungus that grows on trees. It’s everywhere, delicious, and tastes like portabella mushrooms. They’re called dihueñes and look like white little fruits and yet are bright orange and look like an orange when you open them.

Day 48
First Sunday was pretty good. Woke up, almost got out of bed, but it was ridiculously cold so I stayed under the covers and said a thirty minute prayer... not lying, I promise I stayed awake! Then I got out of bed and it was still really cold. Got ready and headed for the chapel. We got there and guess what? It was COLD! We’re all sitting there freezing to death and even the natives are talking about how cold it was. Well what happened is the Branch President couldn't make it so the heater wasn't on. The good news is no one died and it was one of the most alert meetings I've ever been to, no one was asleep!  The branch is really small, maybe 20 people total and everyone lets their kids run around so it’s really hard to pay attention, but it makes for a fun atmosphere! During the first 5 minutes of the meeting they randomly asked me to get up and talk about myself. I did all right, although I said next to nothing, but it still went ok. I then went to a gospel principles class where there was a heater (it was fantastic) and then was really scared when I heard that Elders Quorum was in the freezing chapel again. I survived, but on a funny note that was the first time I've been to Elders Quorum and I've been an elder since February... After that, ate lunch with a member (its the big meal here) we had this awesome almost miso soup and then wine seared beef stroganoff with rice and some homemade fresh strawberry juice on the side. I love all the food here!  We then went tracting where we taught two lessons and got 8 references in 4 hours, killer day! Also walking away from the reference house (she gave us 5) this mean dog came gunning for us, I picked up a rock but it was still coming I pulled back my arm and he flipped a 180! I threw a hail mary anyway and surprisingly nailed him in the ribs 50 yards away full run! I hear USU needs a new quarterback... jk. Still felt pretty good about that one though. And that was last Sunday!

This week though has gone really well. We’ve been called to a couple of meetings to Lanco, a 4-6 hour trip, so our numbers have been sucking because of that.  But other than that this weeks gone pretty good, especially considering that. Finally got to teach one of investigators, Sergio he’s really loving the gospel but we haven't been able to reach him because he's been forced to work double shifts at the casino where he works security. But we taught the 3rd discussion and I invited him to be baptized, he said yes without even batting an eye, only to ask when. SO AWESOME!!!

On a sadder note I had my first rainy day.  It started at 11:00 am and hadn't stopped once we went to bed. To say the least, it was cold and miserable and we didn't get to talk to anyone. Missing my umbrella. Finally found out what my nickname in the ward means Sunday (yesterday). Everyone’s been calling me Elder Wachito. I had no idea what it meant until Elder Renshaw told me. (*Note from mom:  I looked it up and as far as I can tell, it is a compliment.  I think they thought it sounded close to Washburn.)  I'm ok with it though, you can call anyone anything as long as you add an ito or ita on it. It's said with love. For instance, everyone calls their wives here gorditas or little fatties, (kinda like fat mom... ) So, Wachito it is!

Either way, this weeks gone really good. I'm eating well because of our mamita and learned another important lesson yesterday. When talking to Brother Puentes, the man who started my nick name, about Chileans talking fast, he asked who I had been talking to, I told him I couldn't understand my papito for the life of me, he then told me that he couldn't understand Christian (our papito) at all on the telephone. Big confidence boost right there. Either way, things are going great! Missing you guys a lot but that’s the usual!

love ya,

Elder Wachi...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 7 - I'm loving it here!

October 14, 2013

Mom, Dad, and Family,

This is a kinda “real” letter.  I’m doing a journal thing again, too much happened!

Day 42-3 (Monday – Tuesday)
OK, the last two days have been a bit of a blur. Had a really good last class, managed to pack and leave by 8:00. Left a little late because Johnson didn't wake up till 7:00 and I couldn't pack while he was sleeping. Left breakfast and headed to class where we had personal study for a little longer than usual because Hermano Smith was a little late. But after that we talked a little about Daniel and had a Q and A until 12:00. Had a good rest of the day. Played one last game of Ping-Pong in which I finally beat our District champ (Johnson). Left for the airport afterwards. Got there in time to buy calling cards but our bus was stuck for like thirty minutes because our driver got lost... kinda funny! We also got stuck watching everyone’s bags for an hour and a half while they found something to eat. So I was starving, but I got to call, and that’s what was important! Got on the flight and got to sit by/preach to this awesome girl from Reno, who was going to Chile for a 3 month excursion into Patagonia and then a 2 month vacation to Brisbane Australia. She was way nice and a history buff so we got a long really well. I talked about the church for quite a bit and she was very familiar with it and had read most of the Book of Mormon but just wasn't seeking religion right now. She liked how understanding and accepting I was and told me that I would do well, because I wasn't narrow minded or too pushy but I just talked about and explained my religion and beliefs without condemning her own. Got to Santiago, hauled butt to immigration, then baggage claim, then back through security where they confiscated my umbrellas…still kind of mad about that. Still made my flight. Sat next to another group of elders from the Santiago MTC on Peruvian named Elder Santisteban and a Chilean from Vino del Mar named Elder Rivera.  We all made jokes and had quite a few laughs about my gringo Spanish... but they told me my accent was really good. First glance over the mission was breath taking I've never seen anything as beautiful! At first we could only see what I thought were entire mountains coming out of the bottoms of clouds. Turns out they were only the top quarters. Then we got to see the gorgeous lakes and rivers that go all over the countryside. We headed over to baggage claim and the first people we saw were the the President, his wife, and the APs who had driven 2 hours just to meet us and get our bags, how awesome! Me, Johnson, Elder Crautzer and the sisters were lucky enough to get into the car with the President and his wife so we had about two hours to talk with them and that was awesome.  They are so nice and funny. The countryside is so beautiful here! The grass is truly greener on the other side... of the world and it even mows itself! …or at least the cows take care of it! Went to the mission home had a 3 course lunch of an awesome salad, lasagna, and then brownies and ice cream. I then had an interview with the President where I found out that I'm being sent to Villarrica, an awesome touristy town and that my compañero is Elder Renshaw!  Everyone’s been telling me how awesome and hilarious my companion is and that he’s addicted to juice. We had completos afterwards, which were fantastic! And that was probably my favorite part of the day!

Day 44 (Wednesday)
Didn't have time to write too much about yesterday so I'm doing it now. Just woke up in a hilariously sketchy or “tueco” hotel but it wasn't horrible. Went to immigration and had a hilarious conversation with the Peruvian and Chilean who I flew in with about man eating sirens and mermaids in Chiloe, ghosts in the hotel last night, and the lisps of Warner Brothers and Lucus films actors. Apparently they speak with a theta. Got the passport stamped and understood the joke that the other Elder Johnson (a hilarious office missionary who like me was also “born” in Villarica ) was trying to play on me so I told him that I had memorized the necessary phrases. He was sadly disappointed. Here’s some “need to know” lingo so my letters make sense.

1 born: where you started your mission
2 father: your trainer
3 mother: your second compañero
4 grandmother/father: your father's or mother's, father or mother (I met both of mine but they died my first day, how sad!)
5 brother: your trainers other son (I'm his first so I don't have any yet)
6 uncle: trainer’s brother
7 died/death: ended mission
8 killer or murderer: last companion of the deceased.

Took a bus to Villarrica, got home at 7ish.  Took a little time to meet the Branch President, talked with an inactive, and then ate some delicious chorizo and headed to bed.

Day 45 (Thursday)
Day two on the mission, woke up and froze my butt off! During personal study kept going back to the clothes room for gloves, a coat, another pair of socks, until finally I just took the largest blanket off of my bed! Studied till 12:30 and then we went to the mamitas to pick up lunch. She was nice but didn't talk much. Her daughter was hilarious! She called Renshaw a nudist liar and shot him with a fake gun! After 4:00 we went knocking and hit up a couple of amazing rich homes, but didn't teach anyone. Had a couple close encounters with some of the dogs but nothing too bad. Got to see how beautiful this area is. The volcano smoking in the background, green everything, a huge lake with a beautiful island in the center, and simply fast gorgeous water everywhere. Met our ward mission leader at 7:00. The man is hilarious. I've never heard anyone talk that fast. I tried to listen but eventually just spaced out. Everyone talks fast here but not nearly that fast or as fast as our papito who is simply ridiculous! I'm still not sure if he's actually saying something... headed home went to bed.

Day 46 (Friday)
Got my first door slammed on me today, he was 6 so I think I'll cut him some slack...
The people here are so nice I don't think anyone slams doors.  Took the dog dazer out to day, more fun than effective. Shuts the barking ones up but if they want to come up and bite they will, (*note: I see a dog every second of every day!) also it didn't work on a really scary bulldog which rushed us, creepily silent. Some rocks kept it at bay though. Went up to an insanely rich house trying to get a good picture of the volcano (I did) and ended up bumping into a really mean looking German Shepard and her owner, who we thought was with security (her name was pepper and her owner was just as friendly and a little more receptive to the gospel...) So we talked to him about the gospel and he was really interesting. We'll hit him up this week. Talked to some nice people in the apartments but everyone was busy watching the Chile game. Everyone’s been pretty happy this week because they won... Threw a rock at this black dog with a messed up eye which always tries to bite us and totally nailed him right between the eyes! He hasn't even barked at us since. Finally  taught a lesson. This woman's father was in a wheel chair and her daughter had downs-syndrome. She was really receptive and was reading the Book of Mormon. Afterwards, we went to a woman named Negali's house where we taught her English, which I thought was ironic. Went to bed.

Day 47 (Saturday)
Service day today. Not to mess with Auston… but I AM the lumber jack! Took a bus into the countryside and then walked a couple of miles to this old run down shack of a house, where we were given chainsaws, axes, and machetes and told to cut some trees down for wood. SOOOO COOL!! I have pictures and more to tell but I'm out of time. So next Monday I'll finish. Sorry!

I love you guys so much and can't wait to hear back from you! I'm loving it here! I love my companion, I'm starting to figure out the language and love everything about my mission! Talk to you soon.

Elder Washburn 

View of Villarrica volacano
Elder Washburn with view of the Lake in Villarrica