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

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