Monday, September 30, 2013

I am living in Chile! Like, What!?!?

September 30, 2013
Angamos, Chile (Elder Said)

I am living in Chile! Like, What!?!?

It is really weird but sometimes I will be walking around and I will have a very profound realization, like "I am living in Chile!" I feel like I should be past that feeling by now but it gets me a lot haha. Tuesday after District meeting we spent the whole time making posters for the zone car wash we were going to have on Saturday. Then we walked back to the pension and ate with the mamita. I have been really concerned about how we are going to find new investigators here in this sector seeing as it has been very difficult here lately. So on Tuesday Said and I had plans to go out and contact a bunch of old names we had in our area book all over our sector. We split up to go out with some of the youth in the ward and after walking all over the place all day, doing a ton of contacts, we met back up at the end of the day with nothing. Very frustrated I began searching through my agenda for any other references that we maybe had not contacted. That is when I came across a name that Elder DeGraw had given me a few weeks earlier. DeGraw is notorious for giving out the worst references so at the time that he gave it to me I paid it no attention. But now, a few weeks later and very desperate, I gave Eduardo Mendez a call. He told me that he had been very concerned that we had not called him and that he had been waiting for us. So on Thursday we went over to his house and the very first thing he tells us is that his wife is less-active and he wants to get baptized and then sealed in the temple. Wow. So we have a date with him for the 19th of October and he is very, very excited. So despite the fact that I am still very concerned with finding new investigators I am very happy about the discovery of Eduardo.

(Elder Degraw and Gunnar started out together in the same apartment and are great friends; he kids

Our convert here, Victor Vega, told us that he was moving back to Santiago and I was pretty sad about it. He was baptized the week before I got here but I very much consider him my convert. He is dating a girl in the ward and he told me that he has plans to get married in the temple next October in Santiago. So depending on where the dates fall that could be something I would very much like to do next year. See him get married. Apparently he is staying here until at least the end of October so that is good. He is a really cool guy.

Friday I went to the Civil Register to take out my Chilean identity card where they told me that my visa was rejected in Santiago. To tell the truth I was very concerned about this but after speaking to the mission secretary, Elder Chacon, he explained that all I have to do is all of my paperwork over again and that we will do it on Wednesday and he will help me out with all of it. So I am not getting deported, that is good. 

(I am always asking Gunnar for apartment shots including the bathroom.  I didn't really mean a close-up of the toilet)

Saturday morning we had a free car wash in the zone and invited everyone that was passing by. It was really fun but we were outside all day and I got pretty badly burned. But I am fine.

So I have still not received any of the packages that I am waiting on but whatever, I will just keep waiting. What else can I do. 

Yesterday we had lunch with my favorite member family here, the Salas Family, and this family always has a jar of green olives for me because they know how much I love them. So yesterday I ate the majority of a jar of olives with the help of their 7-year old daughter and one of the sister missionaries complained to the mom that I had eaten all of the olives and now they could not put them into the spaghetti. To this the mom said "Oh they were not for the noodles, they were for him because Elder Peters is our favorite child." Haha, alright I am okay with that.

Well I love you guys. I should be here for a little while so write back!

Elder Peters

P.S. The family in the picture is the Colque Family. We ate lunch with them and President Dalton on the 18th

(Not a lot to add to this letter except the number of typos I have to fix has dramatically increased)

Monday, September 23, 2013

One Year Left!!

With transfers being on a set schedule Gunnar should be done September 23rd next year.

18 de Septiembre

September 23, 2013
Angamos, Chile (Elder Said)

18 de Septiembre

(September 18th is Chilean Independence Day and the whole country celebrates for a week solid. That means parties all week long and most businesses are shut down for the entire week so everyone can go to the parties. It is really hard to get any missionary work done because everyone is just focused on the celebration. So while they do what they can, it is a very slow week for missionaries. And FWIW, this letter is delayed this week because Gunnar’s Grandfather had his appendix out on Monday [in town here], we had the sewer back up in our bathroom on Monday, and I threw my back out on Monday too. So a very full day and his letter got put aside.)

Well a lot of exciting stuff happened this week so I am going to start with Tuesday. Tuesday was basically just another p-day but we did not really have anything to do. Eventually we just ended up walking to the office along the coast talking and just chilling. We chilled in the office for a little bit before we headed back to the house. As we were walking along the coast we noticed some large crabs down on the rocks. I told Hamblin that I wanted to catch one. He kind of thought that I was joking. But then I jumped down on to the rocks and he asked "Do you really want to get this weird?" to which the answer was obviously yes! So after fighting for about a half-hour we were finally able to catch a decently sized crab. So we bring the crab home, boil it, and then we eat it. It was actually really good, a lot more meat then I thought it would have. Really good stuff. Tuesday night we go and play some basketball at these courts down by the beach and there were fireworks and everything. So that was really cool.

Wednesday we had district meeting and it was the first tag-team district meeting that Hamblin and I are going to have. The assistants were there and it was all chill and everything. During the district meeting Hermana C tells me that she invited President to our September 18th lunch that we had planned with a family here. Wow . . . We were invited to like 4 different places so out of pity we invited them to one of our lunches. Then they go ahead and invite President Dalton . . . cool. So we had a good lunch, tons of food, tons of meat and it was fine with President and everything. We were there eating the majority of the day.

Thursday we had to go sing at this funeral service in the stake center here. We were hungry so we decided to walk back through centro (the downtown) to see if something was open. We finally find this place and it is really, really good. Now there is a bottle with chili sauce in it and I want it. But it is not coming out of the bottle. So I squeeze a little bit harder and KABOOM. The bottle exploded and all four of us are covered in chili sauce. Also all the walls and chairs anywhere near us are also covered. So that was pretty exciting. 

Friday and Sunday night we had an open-house in our chapel with the entire zone because the big Independence day fair was taking place right outside of our chapel. We would invite people in to watch a short video and then share pamphlets and what not. It worked our pretty well and we probably had about 40 people come in each day.
So that was my week for the most part. Very interesting haha. 

Love you guys!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Way Better

September 16, 2013
Angamos, Chile (Elder Said)

Way Better

So to make a short story from what has happened this week all I have to say is a repeat of something that happened last week. Hamblin is now living with me and it is so much better then it was. So much better! First off Said has chilled out quite a bit and really enjoys chilling with Sunderland and Hamblin, and Hamblin is one of my best friends. It has been a very fun week here in the pension and also just in general.

This Saturday the ward had their 18 of September party and it was really fun. There was an incredible amount of food and it was so good. They had a bunch of classic Chilean games and they had a lot of traditional Chilean dancing. We were there just about all day but it was so much fun and pretty much the entire ward was there so it was a really good day. I ate so much especially on Sunday when we had tacos with a member family. So much food, but soooooooo good. Really good time.

We have been able to find some good investigators but the work is still slow here in Angamos but it is picking up . . . slowly but surely. All of our investigators told us that they will not be able to meet with us at all this week because of the patriotic festivals. Independence day in Chile is a weeklong festival and President today basically told us that if we cannot really work this week that is fine. So it will be an interesting week.

(From what I have seen online Chile literally shuts down for an entire week to have a party. They go all out. Think of a large July 4th party that would go on for a week straight. I hear it is quite something to experience. We will just miss it because as of Monday [23rd] Gunnar will have one year left on his mission; so we will be showing up just as it ends.)

Very interesting about **. One of the missionaries in the mission is Elder Brent Packard and his parents are the mission presidents of that mission. Also on of my good friends, Elder Kyle Vallace, is from New Hampshire and his ward is in that mission as well. Good for him.

(One of Gunnar’s friends had a false start on his mission and had to come home to regroup for a while. Well he was reassigned and just flew out to his new mission this morning)

Not a whole lot to say this week. Just that everything is better than it was last week. WAY Better! I also got an email from my RA from school congratulating me on my decision that he read in my email so that is cool. I should be on for a little bit longer so if you have any questions. I do not know how to yo-yo, going to learn. Still have not gotten any more packages . . .

Love You Guys,

Elder Peters
(Happy again!)

Pictures courtesy of Sister Catron's blog

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tall guy in short country

Saw this picture on another missionary's blog (who is also serving in Chile, but a different region than Gunnar).

It really demonstrates what it is like being a tall Norte in South America.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Can I say that?

September 9, 2013
Angamos, Chile  (Elder Said)

Can I say that?

So there has been something happening here that I have not been telling you about and I feel like it is something we were all expecting to happen eventually. So basically, like I told you a couple weeks ago, the missionaries here in Angamos have given up on missionary work for a while and were not really working at all. I just did not realize how bad it had gotten. A couple weeks ago I walked into a members house for lunch and the other two missionaries were sitting there in street clothes playing FIFA on the members Xbox. My companion joined in on the playing and I had a long talk with him afterward about how we do not do that stuff. I thought that was the end of it. 

Well I hear that the other two have been playing video games with a couple of different members but there was nothing I could say because they always tell me not to be a pain when I tell them anything. So then it gets really bad on August 30th. We get home and there are 3 of the soon-to-be-missionaries in our pension with pizza for my birthday. Although that is not okay (for them to be in our pension) I just kind of brushed it off because it was my birthday, whatever. Well I go to sleep but I go to the bathroom in the night and they are sitting in the pension with the 3 kids playing FIFA on an Xbox in the pension. The next day they played more at another members house. I started to feel really bad because of the absolutely terrible example that this was for the soon-to-be-missionaries. They would not listen to me though, so I had to go to President.

(Okay, Angamos is quite wealthy and thus it is very hard to do missionary work. Pride often comes with temporal success and that will make you unreceptive to hearing a message of the Savior. So you can either continue to work hard with little success or you can just give up and screw around. These other two missionaries chose the latter, and this is particularly bad for Gunnar because as the District Leader he is responsible for them. It seems the straw that broke the back was the terrible example they were setting for a few of the future missionaries in the community. These would be a few of the teenagers getting close to their 18th birthday. Plus it is definitely against the rules to have non-missionaries in your apartment if you can avoid it. Nothing good comes from that.)

We had interviews and then he sent Elder Said and I away and kept the other two there. Four hours later they call us and tell us that both of them got sent home. Turns out that was a lie just to make me feel bad but they told it to other people in the community as well and that they were going home and it was all my fault. So they stayed in the pension for the last week of the transfer, very angry with me, and then they closed Angamos A and took out the other two but are keeping Elder Said and I together. There are a few families in the ward that really do not like me because they loved these terrible missionaries and it is my fault that they got transferred.

(So basically the Mission President waited a week and broke up the problem companionship and closed the area – that means Gunnar’s area and the Sister missionaries areas absorbed it. I am willing to bet that for every person unhappy with Gunnar for turning those two in there will be twice that many happy he did so. And do you want to guess whose respect you would rather have? I am sure that was an awkward week though. It just confirms what I was taught about leadership back when I was a missionary; you are called to be responsible, not popular. And a lot of people shrink away from that standard when they come face to face with it.)

Well to quote dad "The #%$@ really did hit the fan". I am not sure if I can say that, or the other things that I said about the whole story but there it is. The good news is that I am still here and still a DL and not going home and I am also not in trouble at all. So that is good.

(And I think it will show he earned the respect and confidence of a lot of people in the ward and his Mission President. Enough that it will be a boon to him and the work.)

Brazilian BBQ

Saturday was Brazilian Independence day and a couple Brazilian families in the ward invited us to a Brazil party with some really, really good food. Elder Hamblin and his companion, Elder Sunderland, are moving into our pension with us and I am very, very happy about it. This is the last transfer for Elder Hamblin so it will be good to spend this time with him. Hertler finished his mission today. He came by the pension with the assistants at 3 am last night to say goodbye to me so that was cool.

(The longer you serve the more people you know who go home. The same with life too. Hamblin and Sunderland are the missionaries from the office and are great guys; so it should be a fun transfer.)

I did get one package with 3 shirts, the yo-yo, the beef jerky, and the m&ms so thank you for that. I am headed to the office a little bit later to see if any others have gotten here. 

(Gunnar had three packages from us en route when the Chilean Postal Service went on strike. That lasted a month and finally broke up last week, so the mail and packages should start trickling in as they clear their backlog. As they are beginning to enter spring Gunnar requested more shirts, specifically short sleeve ones. So I got five and then split them up over two packages. So he got the one with the three shirts in it – yeah – and now he is waiting the other two shirt package and his birthday package with silly stuff. Plus I know one or two of you out there have sent him a package too.)

So basically what happened from my letter to President about Hermana *** ended up with Sister Dalton thinking that Hermana *** and I are in love with each other. Good . . . oddly enough they kept us both in the same ward. 

(I am guessing she saw that Gunnar was really concerned for her welfare and thought it must be love. He must not explained the part wherein myself and another person on the list insisted he talk to the Mission President about her. I am gathering she must be doing a little better then she was, so in the end it is all good.)

I have decided something : What is the point of being average when you can be awesome? I want to be awesome. I want to play piano well, dance salsa and samba, know how to fight, know how to use guns, play the fiddle, speak a lot of languages, and just be awesome. There is a phrase that has been very prevalent in my mind here lately: It is necessary to get the losers out of your life it you want to live your dream. That has been very prevalent this transfer.

(Gunnar is 20, the verge of being a fully independent adult. Hence his mind has been on his future a lot. Good for him; I wish more 20 somethings would spend a little time thinking about their futures before impulsively just jumping on the latest bandwagon. I related to him about a young man from Austin who seemed to know exactly where he was going from the first time I met him – he was in elementary school. He always seemed driven and undistracted from his goals and he just landed a dream job at Nike here last month. If you pick great goals and stick with them through the good and bad, you can achieve great things.)

Well I should be here for a bit longer so write me back. That really sucks about Moose . . . let me know what happens.


(Our little guy Moose – Shih Tzu – disappeared last night after 6 pm. Even though we spent half the night looking for him and posted all over social media we had not located him by the time I wrote Gunnar today – or when he had written us. The good news was he turned up on our porch at 3:30 this afternoon naked and stinking to high heaven. So who knows what sort of partying he got up to last night but we are very blessed he made it back home again. So we bought him a new collar and gave him a bath and all is good again.)

P-Day in the hills hiking

 With Elder Storey (his last comp)

Elder Peters

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Short One

September 3, 2013
Angamos, Chile (Elder Said)

Short One

Well this was a very interesting week with a lot of interesting stuff that happened. Basically, I turned twenty, ate a lot of food, climbed up a mountain to receive revelation for the next decade of my life, and am currently writing you from the mission president's computer. The things here in Angamos have taken a turn for the worse lately as far as the missionaries are concerned and I had to tell him, couldn't keep it secret anymore. Don't worry, I am not going home and everything is fine, I just had a few things to talk about.

(When Gunnar arrived in the area the other Elders there really did not like each other and that has been an ongoing problem. Plus he had the Sister missionary demonstrating some anxiety issues last week. So he had to go in and talk with the boss and get some advice. Since he is on the office computer he is unable to spend the time to elaborate, so we will have to stay tuned for next week to get the inside scoop. I think by keeping it a secret he meant he was trying to work it out himself and not get the president involved, mainly because you hate to see someone else get in trouble; especially when they are causing their own problems. But as you get older you realize that “telling” on someone can sometimes be the best thing you can do for them.
Plus climbing a mountain to gain personal insight is good for the soul – everyone should try it sometime.) 

In lighter news, I really enjoyed my birthday, had cake with 2 different families and it was really, really good. I thought that I had broken the camera because I could not get it turn on for 2 days (that is why you did not get any pictures last week) and I seriously thought that it was broken. Fortunately it is not but there will be no pictures this week either due to the fact that I have a very short amount of time to write you.

Well I love you, lots of pictures next week!!

(We have heard that before – we will see.)

Elder Peters

Zone Conference