July 22, 2013Las Rocas, Chile (Elder Storey)
The Transfer to end all Transfers
Well this was a very interesting week. Very interesting. It started on Monday night when we went to Mejillones (I took 66 pictures in Mejillones, so you will be getting almost all pictures from there for the next while) and ended with a frustrating and almost pointless Sunday.
Monday: After I wrote to you I very quickly got on a bus to go the 1 hour to Mejillones. It is really only 30 minutes from Antofa because the first 30 minutes is the slow crawl from the south end of Antofa to the edge of the city on the north. We get there and go to the chapel to eat some Choripán and play soccer. Storey and I, along with Martinez, an Ecuadorian, went to the docks to check out the ocean. There we met the Branch President who works for the Armada of Chile. He let us on to his boat and we took some pictures. We did not go anywhere, we were just off the side of the dock in a military patrol boat. It was pretty cool. I then took a bunch of other pictures in other parts of the city. It is a really cool city, small, but cool. Might be worth a look.
(A Choripán: a grilled chorizo (sausage) and a pan (crusty bread). In Chile it is typically topped with Pebre [a Chilean condiment made of coriander, chopped onion, olive oil, garlic and ground or pureed spicy aji peppers], Aji Peppers [Orange pepper that turns yellow when cooked – heat equivalent to a cayenne pepper], and Mayonnaise; Armada of Chile is the Chilean Navy; and “might be worth a look” is referencing when we pick Gunnar up next year.)
Tuesday-Wednesday: Pretty standard days of a missionary week.
Thursday: Interviews with President Dalton. Wow. Well if we describe President Bruce as being an extreme of one end of the mission president spectrum than President Dalton is the other extreme. They are so incredibly different. I am not even sure how to describe it. He is changing around almost everything that we are doing here and he is doing very, very, very by the book. It will be interesting. My interview was basically "Where is you name from?" I explained that story and in the process explained other basic things about myself. Then he said thank you and ushered me out with a smile and a hug. It was quite odd. Then he decided that the sisters in my district have too dangerous of a sector and kept us late to discuss how to change sectors which eventually ended up in Storey and I having to change sectors with them starting today (Monday). I then went on an intercambio with an elder in my district who has been really struggling. His sector is 100 percent dead. I am not sure how to help him. He is a Chilean who is about 6 months in and is training. He is having a difficult time.
(Mission President interviews are pretty common occurrence on your mission; part of his job is to direct with the 200 plus missionaries and make sure they are doing okay, both spiritually, mentally, and physically. It is a very challenging job and each MP will have jis own style. Gunnar’s first MP was a business/sales guy by career and hence he was a big motivator/go get them type of guy. This new guy I believe has a background in education and church leadership. Very different (my two presidents back in the day were a large car salesman – he had a couple dozen dealerships, and a retired military officer.) What Gunnar is saying here about the Sister missionaries is the MP feels the part of the city they are in is a little sketchy and he would rather have the Elders (men) working there. Intercambios are exchanges, Gunnar worked with the Chilean for the day and his companion worked with the other guys companion for the day. Very Common and breaks up the monotony of serving with the same guy every day, all day. Oh yeah, how Gunnar got his name. One of my favorite companions on my mission was a Swedish Elder. I was out one month before him and we started out in the same district for several months and then we were companions for my last two months and he killed me off. He always liked to say how he was a Swedish elder with an American name (Steven) so when I had my first kid I decided he would be an American kid with a Swedish name. Gunnar is a perennial top ten Swedish name.)
Friday: The rumor mill lights on fire. President Dalton wants to change so many things. He does not want more than one DL per ward so even though we both just got here either Degraw or I will leave this transfer (this upcoming Monday – (today I guess)). I was told by the assistant that it is most likely me, but we will see. Now I hear that the ZLs are coming to my sector and might kick Degraw out and I will stay but I have no idea. Basically there are so many rumors going around it is incredible. Anyone and everyone could get moved, several ZLs are going down and anybody could take their spots. The belief is that this transfer is going be gigantic and almost one person from each companionship could move. But it will end all transfers. This is because President Dalton is a big fan of ward integration and wants to keep missionaries in the same sector for at least 6 months. So anything could happen.
Saturday: A Baptism fell but we still have it planned for next week. We will see what happens.
Sunday: My investigators fell through on me and did not come to church, then you pile on the fact that the next day I have to change sectors to the sister sector and it was just very frustrating.
Today: So we went to go play soccer at a big synthetic field with a bunch of missionaries. It was really fun and afterward, all sweaty and in athletic clothes, we decide, because we are already downtown and to go back to our pension would be a 35 minute bus ride, to go to TGI Fridays. It was really good but I believe once is enough. However while we are there, in street clothes, President Dalton comes with the assistants. We were freaking out, but we got out and heard that he did not see us or know we were there. Dalton is very, very, very big on the whole Missionary clothes in public and that would not have been very good. We got out just in time.
So I am setting up for an exciting week. We shall see what happens. If you have any questions I should be on for a little while more.
(So big changes next week for Gunnar and company. It is like an exciting TV show; you will have to tune in to see what is happening).