Monday, November 18, 2013

I want SOOO badly to believe the rumor mill

November 18, 2013
Angamos, Chile (elder Ramirez)

I want SOOO badly to believe the rumor mill

(This week’s letter opens up with a discussion I was having with Gunnar about last week’s friendly football game between England and Chile. I let him know it was his fault England lost because he abandoned his heritage and cheered for Chile. So you are getting a paragraph of football talk.)

CHI-CHI-CHI LE-LE-LE CHILE! CHILE! CHILE! Haha, well I did not actually see the game we got into a house right as it was finishing and heard the final score. I was pretty surprised by it to be honest. 2-0, I mean Chile is a good team, but come on, it is England. Yeah the celebration was good but people are way more excited about the amistoso with Brasil tomorrow. They are saying that one will be the real test, so we will see what happens. Chile also plays Germany here in a couple weeks.

(amistoso is Spanish for friendly. A friendly is an international match used for preparation for a large tournament. So the game means nothing (beyond national pride) is it doesn’t count towards anything. So Chile and England have both qualified for the next world cup and then scheduled a game with each other to get ready for the tournament. Also Gunnar is spelling Brazil the Spanish way too.)

So the rumor mill is running like crazy and the biggest one is that President finished the transfers 2 weeks ago because he wanted to spend time with his son who just got back from his mission. So if that is true that would be crazy. The most powerful rumor is that I am on my way back to Calama to be with a Chilean named Elder Spolman. The second most popular is that I will head to Arica Centro to be with Elder McConkie. But I do not have a lot of hope because all of the North American missionaries that are done this next transfer finish two weeks early so there is going to be a big special transfer on New Years day, so we will see what happens. I need to do something to excite me about the work here in Angamos. I am so restless here, looking for a new perspective and change of area. At most 6 weeks more, but that is a lot of weeks. Oh I want to believe the rumor mill that I am out of here in two weeks.

(Even though he is ready for a change I think he might enjoy Christmas in a ward that knows him)
I love this picture, not only the very pretty girl he is next to, but also the nonplussed girl to the left

So on Wednesday we had the most over-hyped and anti-climatic zone conference ever. Three weeks ago I ran into Elder Jimenez of the Seventy on the street and he told me about a conference that we were going to have with Elder Soares and Elder Zeballos. I started calling around to see if anyone else had heard about this and no one had. Congleton called me and asked if I had heard any interesting rumors lately and I told him about the conference. Well turned out to be true and I was informed that I was not to tell anyone because it was only going to be Antofa, Calama and the ZLs and that no one else was going to be able to come. It was so under wraps that my comp and I were the only elders outside of the office that even knew it was going to happen until the day before. Well the conference comes and . . . not as exciting as the build up . . . it was two hours in which they squeezed in prayers, hymns, Sister Dalton, President Dalton, Sister Zeballos, Elder Zeballos, Sister Soares, and Elder Soares. Then they left. Apparently they were only here for a short meeting the night before and President Dalton was able to convince them to do this short conference before they had to catch their plane. The good thing was that Elder Couch stayed with me the night before so that was really fun.

(His complaint was the speakers did not have enough time to really speak; they were all cut short to get everyone in the 2 hour block. Think about this – Gunnar was disappointed that a church meeting was over too fast. He’s changed.)

Today we had a district activity to go play beach volleyball. It was pretty fun, still do not really like volleyball but whatever. I also bought some shoes, have not really used them yet seeing as my other shoes still work alright. Very difficult to find size 47 here in Chile.

(Size 47 equals size 13 here in America. Not a lot of size 13’s in Chile.)

 When I say Gunnar is a District Leader, these are the missionaries he is responsible for, the district.

Well I love you all! Should be here for a little while longer.
Elder Peters

Monday, November 11, 2013

To Report

November 11, 2013
Angamos, Chile (Elder Ramirez)

To Report

Well this week I spent pretty much all my time rehearsing with the different Stake Choirs for whom I was going to play at the conference this weekend. So the big days come and no General Authority shows up. Needless to say we were all pretty disappointed. The conference was very good though. All three members of the Stake Presidency talked all about supporting missionary work and getting involved. Seeing as all three of them live in my sector I am thinking about visiting them this week and making them put their money where their mouth is. But we will see.

(There had been speculation one of the General Authorities was going to show up)

Gunnar & Ramirez

I am really hoping for a transfer. I am getting burned out in this sector, the district, the zone, the city, everything. I love Angamos for the members but success is so hard to find here. The district is so frustrating, the zone is almost worse, and I have been in Antofagasta for forever!! Last night the Zone Leader talked to me for 40 minutes about the district. He said we need more unity and that it all starts with Hermana ** and me. He then said "Think about it man, you have AT LEAST 9 more weeks there with her": WHAT!?!?!? You sound awfully sure about that Elder Packard. I swear if I get the call telling me that I am staying I am going to tell Elder Newman that that is great but I have already bought my ticket to far away from here. Sigh . . .

(Six months is forever when you are 20. I told him to look forward to being in the same job for ten years.)

My eyes are much better and as far as I know Elder Couch is still here in the mission, for now. I will see him again at Zone Conference Wednesday. Living in the pension with me are Elder ** and his companion **. 

(These are follow ups to last week’s letter)

Well I am not quite sure what else to say, it was a really boring week. I filled a memory card for my camera and I have moved on to another one so that is good. I feel like I am good for Ramirez in the sense that I always talk about my dreams and all the big plans that I have for my life and he is simply blown away by the fact that someone is that decided on what they want to do and what they want to be. He told me he always just thought about getting married and working a normal job and that is it. Not me. If the mission has taught me anything it is that I want to be someone. Not sure who yet but someone. Still working on the details. Well I should be here for a little while if you are around.


Elder Peters

(We have definitely hit those long middle days of the mission. He is slightly over halfway done but still has almost a year left. He is in the mood for a transfer and is getting a little stir crazy. He just needs to ride that wave for a little bit longer and then he will have a new area and then it will be under six months left to go. And as he cruises down the back end hill the speed at which his mission will pass will just keep getting faster. Right now he has been out forever and he has forever to go; hence the slight doldrums expressed in his letters. A perfectly normal phenomenon.)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sad , Sad, Sad

My mission trainer from back in the late 1980's, Mark Schenk, passed away this past week.

I am still sharing the lessons he taught me with my sons, especially Gunnar.

Mark & I (with President and Sister Garff) on my first day

Mark Sunderlin Schenk
Mark Sunderlin Schenk, 46, passed away on October 28, 2013 in North Haven, Connecticut. Mark was born November 2, 1967 in Norwalk, Connecticut to Larry Schenk and Lana Eldredge Schenk. Mark is the third of five children. He is a cherished son, brother, husband, father, uncle and friend whose unconditional love, generosity and compassion will be dearly missed. 
Mark, his parents and 2 older siblings moved to Las Vegas when he was 10 months old. Mark spent his early childhood playing with his brother Steve and dear friend J. J. Heaton. The family then moved to Frankfurt, Germany when Mark was 7 years old. While living in Germany, Mark was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Returning to the United States, they made their home in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mark attended and graduated from Brighton High School where he was an avid learner, involved in sports, earned his Eagle Scout and created lifetime friends and memories. Mark served an honorable mission to the Coventry England Mission where he grew to love the people and was dearly loved by many. He went on to graduate from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business Management. He furthered his education and zest for learning by attending the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) in Glendale, Arizona graduating in 1995 earning his MBA. Mark was an endless entrepreneur, successful businessman and highly regarded by his colleagues throughout his career. 
In 2000 he married Rachel Grove in the Salt Lake Temple. They have two wonderful children, Sara, Joshua and stepson Chandler Collins. 
Mark is survived by his parents, Larry and Lana Schenk; wife, Rachel and children, Sara and Joshua; stepson, Chandler Collins; his siblings, Lynda (Randy) Coombs, Steven (DeeAnn) Schenk, Tonja Schenk, Lara Schenk; nieces and nephews, Spencer and J.T. Timmons, Allyssa Bottomly, Conner, Kailee, Jake and Crew Schenk, Emilie and Sophia Bero; and many aunts, uncles and cousins. 
Funeral Services will be held to celebrate Mark's life on Wed. Nov. 6 at 11:00 a.m. at the LDS Church located at 2925 East, Bengal Blvd in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. A visitation will be held at the Cannon Mortuary 2460 E. Bengal Blvd (7600 South) in Cottonwood Heights, Utah from 6:00 to 8:00 Tuesday Nov. 5 and the day of the services at the church from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. Interment will be in the Mountain View Estates Cemetery. 
Online condolences
Published in Salt Lake Tribune from Nov. 3 to Nov. 4, 2013

My Eyes are Burning

November 4, 2013
Angamos, Chile (Elder Ramirez)

My Eyes are Burning

Well the big news from this week is that I am fairly certain I burned my eyes. All weekend I have had incredible amounts of irritation in my eyes and it looks like I am constantly on the verge of tears. They are very uncomfortable and are making it hard to sleep, read, etc. My vision is not effected but it is just very difficult to keep them open and to read things. I spoke with the mission doctor today and he bought me some eye drops and says that in 5 days I should be fine. It has been very uncomfortable.
Today I went with Elders Newman and Congleton to go pick up Elders McCusker and Couch at the bus terminal. Apparently Couch is having some major issues with his back and that being home for Christmas is not out of the question for him. It sucks pretty bad, I mean he is my kid. Him going home would suck for him, for me. It would just suck. It was really, really good to see him again and McCusker, obviously, but I really hope everything is going to be alright. 

(Gunnar trained Elder Couch in Tocopilla)

BTW, the other AP (Elder Villarroel), cannot drive. Neither could Hertler when he was AP. So not impossible, the other one just has to be able to drive. Not really worried about that though.

(I was giving Gunnar a hard time that he could never be AP as he doesn't have a driver’s license)

Arica has 3 Zones, Iquique is split into 2 Zones with Alto Hospicio as another zone (The two cities are a 5 minute bus ride apart), Calama is a zone, Antofagasta is 3 zones, Chañaral is a zone that is basically a combination of small towns. Then Copiapo is 2 zones and Vallenar is 1. I would very much like to go to Arica but I could live without going to the South. The North is just way cooler. I miss the north of the mission just from my time here in Antofagasta.

(I think Gunnar just guaranteed he will be going to Vallenar this next transfer)

My companion stresses out a lot, especially when he makes a mistake. He seems to believe that the only way he can be happy is by being completely obedient at all times and that if he makes one mistake he loses it. I am working on it and he always tells me that he feels really good as my companion and is excited. Between my eyes and a pretty bad lactose reaction I had it was a pretty slow week and I could tell he was not feeling it. 

(Missionary work is a lot more than talking to people about the church)

Gunnar & Elder Couch

It is funny. All through the mission we meet Chilean high schoolers who all they do all day is play soccer and that is all they want to do with their lives. They have no future plans, no other thoughts, just soccer. They are somewhat few and far between but every missionary has met a few.

(I see that in the states with kids who just want to play a sport and their whole life plan is based on that. Or my favorite, they are going to be a video game designer so that is their excuse to play video games all day.)

Elder Ramirez

Well people are getting ready here and pumped for the Chile-England game. All very excited. We are getting ready for stake conference this weekend and the rumor is that either Elder Holland or Elder Christofferson will be at the Antofagasta Stake Conference but I will believe it when I see it.

(Both Elder Holland and Christofferson are members of the 12 Apostles. Elder Holland actually lived in Chile for several years.)

Love you,
Elder Peters


Picture was sent without comment

Monday, October 28, 2013

Plans for afterward?

October 28, 2013
Angamos, Chile (Ramirez)

Plans for afterward?

Last week I met an elder from Arkansas named Elder Cabrera. He is the Zone Leader in the zone in the north of Antofagasta and he is a really cool guy. We have only talked twice but we are already really good friends. Well he asked if I was going to BYU after the mission to which I replied, yes. He freaked. He has only two transfers left and he has already begun looking at classes to take and he is so pumped about it and talked my ear off about it. Talk about wanting to go back to BYU. I am so excited about going back to BYU after the mission and here in the mission it has really hit me about having to do work back in BYU. I cannot just sit back and do whatever, I got to lay it all out. So that is really the only plan I really have although I have had people invite me all over the country for that time when I get home. Plans October-December 2014: Work locally (hopefully I can just walk back into Hy-Vee but with my Spanish maybe something else, better, will open up), drop the mission weight (I went running today, played some good basketball, and did a yoga workout with one of the elders here who was a yoga fiend before the mission. I feel really good and can tell that I am thinning but am soooooo tired), catch up on movies and TV so that I am not as distracted at BYU, get the driver’s license ASAP, play the piano a lot, etc. I am pretty sure I will be sticking around for that winter but after that winter . . . no promises at how much time I will spend at home 

(I was talking with Gunnar about his plans once he gets home from the mission since school doesn’t start up again until January. I said the smart thing to do would be to work that fall and save some cash for school, but I was also trying to prepare Lisa if he decided to go out West early. Anyways it looks like he is finally catching the vision of how much time he “wasted” prior to his mission. It is amazing how much you can get done when you actually try to get things done.)

Elder Newman is the Assistant to the President (AP) right now, that is correct. The AP’s are also attending Angamos ward for church now as well so I will seem him every week. 

( I noticed in Elder Newman’s blog that he got transferred and had all the duties of an AP but he did not explicitly say he was AP. Newman is the Elder who also started in Iquique 6 months ahead of Gunnar, so Gunnar literally moved into the Iquique apartment the day Newman moved out.)

It is funny that you say Arica because I have had two elders this week tell me that they think I am going up to Arica Centro to be with Elder M (yes there is a relation) since I will have 6 months in Antofagasta after this transfer, but that is just speculation. 

(Gunnar presented one theory last week that he would return to Calama next transfer and I using the same “brilliant” logic presented an alternative wherein he goes to Arica. As he says it all comes down to speculation and we all love doing that. Elder M is from a well-known LDS family. )

Elder Ramirez, my new companion, is fairly new in the mission and he is a great guy, great missionary, loves to work hard, have fun, etc. but he lacks self-confidence. All of our comp studies have been focused in our purpose here, what it means to be a good missionary, and how you need to enjoy the mission. He has repeatedly told me that he feels way better in this sector than in his last one and is excited and ready to go. But at the same time he is having struggles a little.

(Sadly serving a mission is no guarantee from everyday problems.)

As far as a box a book and a puzzle (or two) would be great. Oh, oh, oh!!! A Rubik’s cube!! I learned how to do one two weeks ago and I am addicted. The sad thing is that Elder Hamblin took it with him so now I do not have one. My best time is 3 min 21 sec. I feel like it is pretty slow, but hey I just started. The candy is good but something interesting. Usually a lot of the stuff is kind of melted our was melted and resolidified in camino but I got a package from Carol Carolan (BTW thank her for that for me) which had a bag of Peanut butter and Pretzel m&ms (Love both of them) and they were not melted at all. I do not know if it was the packaging because she used the basically same type. I do not know.

(I was discussing getting his Christmas package together and what silly stuff he wanted; or any different foods. So a Rubik’s cube will be the center piece of the box. Interesting that given he is color blind.

And below Gunnar talks about the missionaries in that Iquique video I just posted this week.)

Hermana Morales was in my district in Las Rocas. She is a very cool girl but is also 29 . . . She is from Mexico (I mentioned she was a real cutie). Medrano and Sharp (and Perez, I think) are all finished with their missions and have gone home now. Crazy how that happens, missionaries that were so young when I got here are done already. Kennedy is in Chañaral right now and I have only met her one time. She has strong feelings towards an Elder in Arica, Elder **, and her feelings are well known throughout the mission. She was started in Angamos.

(BTW Elder in Arica not Jake!)
They both seem quite nice?? That is like saying "She has a sweet spirit" or "She is a covenant keeper" (I do not know if that has been said before, I thought maybe I made it up. As a way of making fun of my favorite general auxiliary leader Elaine S. Dalton). I can look up pictures of them from the church website, going to do it. 

(Gunnar is making fun of my verbiage here. Bothe the Hermanas seemed cute too. All the sisters are looking cute now-a-days. Either things have changed or I have become way more appreciative with age.)
Sucks about Cenneidigh. A whole year of recovery . . . wow. Well I love you all. Write me back with anything else!

(I let Gunnar know about Cenneidigh probably not going to Chile with us to pick him up as she has some bad foot problems that will require surgery and then 12 months of recovery; so no walking tour of Chile for her.)

Love you,
Elder Peters

(Gunnar and I got into a discussion of sports because I sent him two articles; one about game 4 of the World Series involving his Red Sox winning; and one of a Chilean player scoring a winning goal in league play in Europe. He really go into the football news and I made fun of him for changing, but then told him he must cheer for England with their upcoming friendly with Chile. His reply:)

Oh yeah I heard about that. Chile has got a really good team with two of Europe’s better scorers in Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez. Sanchez is from Tocopilla. His family still lives there. Eduardo Vargas is also quite good. I would say they are the second or third best team in South America behind Brazil and, maybe, Argentina. Argentina has a really good team but Messi does not play very well on the National team so they have to rely on people like Di Maria. But then again England is England. I guess we will see haha
(He has changed)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Saratov Approach - Theatrical Trailer

The scary side of missionary work - new movie based on the experiences of two missionaries in Russia back in the 90's.