Vina Del Mar, Chile

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 9: Chilean Food, Greek Customs

Buenas Dias!

This week has been a good one! We have been super busy so it has gone by super fast! I know I have been doing my part because every night my body is dead and I fall asleep instantly.

Anyways, Monday we visited a less active lady whose husband and son were going to be baptized a couple years ago but stuff happened and it fell through. Her family is going through super difficult times but we were able to talk to her and help her out some. We are going to try to help and teach her husband and son. (The other day when we visited her as we were leaving she stood up to shake our hands instead of staying seated, which is a super big sign of respect and love here, and she said we are her VIP's which touched our hearts). After the visit to her we went to a Family Home Evening with a member family which was good, especially because we had pie ;)

Tuesday we met with a family who has been taught for about four years, so we have been very direct with them so that they don't become eternal investigators. They aren't married and have 4 or 5 kids (Just like half of Chile) and we taught them the importance of marriage, especially a marriage in the temple. Then we had lunch with a family who was absolutely hilarious! We were dying of laughter and they even gave us 2 references! Then we went and visited a less active family and had a lesson and cake. I am probably going to get at least a little bit fat here, but I am fighting it as much as I can. Finally we ended by teaching a man named Javier who was a street contact that we ran into as an answer to a prayer, So i hope everything works out with him. The lesson went well and we got a return appointment.

Wednesday was a good day as well. We had our district meeting and it was good. Our district leader is awesome and has lots of animo (Encouragement/is encouraging/enthusiastic). There isn't a single word direct translation for the word animo haha. Anyways after the meeting we had a lunch with a member except she was a woman alone in the house so we couldn't eat there so we ate with her neighbors who were inactive members and we taught them. One seemed super interested in the message we had. After that we helped get Juan to his baptismal interview which he passed! It is so funny, whenever you ask him what the sabbath day is he always says "Well you have a good lunch, then you take a nap and then you spend time with family and eat a good dinner." After that we have to ask him " And what do we do in the morning?" he will immediately reply "Go to church!" That is how it happens every time and it is super hilarious but super awesome. After that we did some contacting and taught and talked with a man named Fernando who is very catholic and we got a return appointment which is good.

Thursday was a good day. We had studies and then weekly planning. Then we went to lunch and had lentils and I actually like them quite a bit. After that we went contacting and I personally gave out my first Book of Mormon! After that we had two awesome lessons that I actually started participating in which was great! Then at night we ran and got some completos as a late night snack! It was a good tiring day.

Friday was a pretty good day. After our morning preparation and planning we went to lunch and the lady fed us so much food! Chilean's are like the Greeks and constantly are offering you food and insisting that you eat it and eat more, and if you refuse they get offended or offer you the other food items they have until you eat something haha :) After lunch we went and held one of her ducks!! So I held a duck on Friday :) After that we did work and visited some people. Finally we went looking for the bishop at the church because there was a going away party for a family and we thought he would be there. He wasn't there, he was at home sleeping after a long day but the members invited us in and offered (Insisted and made us eat) food and dessert haha, the Chilean Greeks ;) While my companion was talking to someone I saw a ton of youth playing "Just Dance" a dancing video game so I started to do the dance where I was and started to get into it. 30 seconds later I looked over and saw the bishop's wife, the relief society president, and another hermana watching me dance and laughing, but they all gave me a thumbs up so my dancing must have been at least somewhat decent ;) It was so funny and probably made my day haha :)

Saturday was a long day. We went and helped people move from 11-4. It wasn't too bad but I was in the sun so my neck and arms got fried!! My face was okay because I put sunscreen on it. It is hot and sunny during the day (The sun is really strong here and burns me easily) and pretty humid, so I sweat, but it isn't as hot as Idaho during the summer. After that we went and got food because it was 5ish and we hadn't had food yet because our lunch appointment canceled on us. We had two appointments Saturday night. One was with Juan and it went well, but the other one canceled on us which was super frustrating because it is a 20 minute walk to her house.

Sunday was a great day! After a ton of stuff going wrong (The hot water not working, The font having problems, the location of the baptism changing multiple times, People bailing on the talks they promised to give, etc.) we finally got to the baptism of Juan. I had the great opportunity to actually be the person to baptize Juan. Like I said the hot water didn't work so the water was Ice freezing cold, but we did the baptism anyway. After being super nervous and doing the baptism in Spanish It was over and I felt so happy! I asked Juan if he was cold because he was soaked with the freezing water and he said "No, I am not cold at all, I am actually really warm right now." That almost made me tear up because I knew that the spirit was burning within him. After the baptism a little girl who is 3 or 4 years old (Whose family we have a Family Home Evening with every week) came running down the hall to say hi to us and was super excited to see us (which made my day even better) and I squatted down to shake her hand and she flung herself around me and gave me a big hug. I am pretty sure she has a crush on me because she always gives me flirting looks and giggles when we teach at her house. But don't worry, I am resisting temptation and not flirting at all on the mission ;) She is such a cute little girl though!

That was my fantastic week! I am super tired but I love my life as a missionary!
I love and miss you all!

Elder Nielson
Picture is Juan and his family (Daughter and granddaughter and grandson)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 8: The devil isn't in the details he is in the dogs!

Buenas Dias!

I am loving being a missionary! It is so awesome! True, there are ups and downs, but it is so worth it!

Anyways this week has been a good one! On Tuesday we had our normal proceedings such as study, lunch with a member, and contacting. We also had a meeting with Juan the old man who we are baptizing this Sunday! He is so faithful and is making so much progress.

On Wednesday we had Interviews with the mission president which is normally a pretty big deal but it has only been a week since I last saw him so my interview was basically a "How are you doing, and how are you liking it?" It was good to have though. It was kind of a frustrating day after the interviews because all of our appointments fell through.

Thursday we had a zone meeting from 9 until 2, yes, it was 5 hours long! It was actually pretty good, we learned some temporal and spiritual lessons and then had some practices. The practices were scary because our zone leader was watching and listening to ours the whole time. Afterwards we went tracting and had no success.

Friday was a pretty normal day. We went out and had a lesson with a less active lady who has had some hard experiences, but she seems like a sweet lady. Then  we had a lesson with Juan who like I said is making great changes in his life.

Saturday, was the day of the devil dogs! All morning every dog that saw us would bark and charge at us and try to bite us. Thank goodness for shoes, bags, and Books of Mormon. There is one dog who everyday charges us and attacks us, he is THE DEVIL DOG, and we try to avoid him the best we can. But Saturday we had many lessons. One with a man who has no job and plays an online game all day while his wife works (Boys, this is not how you score women). He is slowly progressing, but hopefully will come through. Then we visited the family Araya who owns the local soccer field (All the soccer fields here are dirt fields). The lesson with them went well and I believe we will be able to have success with them. They also said we could use the field whenever we want during the week (P-day here I come!). Then we had a lesson with Juan. While we were there his daughters sister and her daughter decided that I look like Michael Bublé, but I don't see it ha ha :) Juan also said the funniest but most heart warming thing ever. He was at the Hospital for Dialysis and was offered Tea and Coffee. He said "I can't drink that, I am not catholic, I am a member of the church with a long name that I can't remember." I was dying of laughter but it made my night that we was living the commandments.

Sunday was a great day as well. We woke up and went to church. Before it started a stray dog (There are MILLIONS here) ran into the church and I spent 5 minutes chasing it out. Lots of members found it humerus and watched and laughed as I struggled to get the dog out of the church :) Then my companion and I were waiting for Juan because he said he would come. Church started and he still wasn't there so we were worried. Finally he showed up. Apparently the member who was supposed to pick him up forgot, and because he is too old to walk to church  his daughter said they should just try again next week but he said "NO! We are going to church!" after that he hitch hiked his way to church! He even made it in time for the sacrament! IT was awesome to see that he had that much desire to go to church and showed me how important church really is. After church we dropped our clothes off at the Mamita's house. Here in chile we have a lady in the ward called the "Mamita" and we pay here and she washes our clothes every week :) (So mom, all that time you made me wash my clothes to practice for my mission... Well I didn't really have to do that ;) )

To end I well relate a funny story from this week. 
My companion went to the bathroom, and whenever one of us goes to the bathroom the other tries to cram in a power nap. So I was about to take a power nap but decided I wanted to try to be funny. I grabbed the scriptures and opened them and underlined the verse where is said "I grabbed Laban by the hair and smote off his head with his own sword" I then put the book open with that verse underlined on my chest along with a big knife "My sword" and then went to sleep. When he came out of the bathroom he found me sleeping with that verse underlined and my "sword" He then died laughing and pretended to cut off my head. It was super funny!

All is going well here in Chile! I appreciate all the prayers and support. I love and miss you all!

Elder Nielson
Elder Cropper and Elder Nielson
Apartment where we are stayin
Bedroom, notice that the beds are made!!

Our Kitchen

The ghetto fix to the broken toilet handle
A pack mule seen from our balcony

View from balcony
Sweet Crackers (cookies)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 7: It is chilly in Chile

Buenas Dias!

This has definitely been a super interesting time!

We left the MTC at midnight and flew to the Santiago airport and got there about 10 a.m. My companion and I didn't sleep very well so we were super tired. We met our mission president and he gave me a hug which was nice. We then drove to Vina Del Mar and took some pictures. After the clock picture that you received our mission president paired us up, gave us a Book of Mormon and told us we had to place the Book of Mormon and find our way to the mission home (he gave us the address) and then he left. It was kinda nerve wracking but I had a native companion for the activity so it was pretty good. We placed the Book of Mormon and made it to the house safely. 

We spent the next couple days going through orientation and learning a bit about the mission. Until Wednesday when we received our companions. My trainer is Elder Cropper from Iowa and he is super cool! He is awesome and is super helpful. We are serving the the zone achupallas and we are in Villa Dulce (Sweet Village) 20 minutes from the center of Viña.

The people here talk really fast so it is super difficult to understand them. But my Spanish is slowly improving and making progress. I have already had to help give lessons and participate in spiritual thoughts.

Here they only eat 2 meals a day, Breakfast and lunch, then at night they have a snack. The members feed us lunch every day so we only have to worry about breakfast. But whenever we visit a member they feed us something, regardless of what time it is, so I am never going to go hungry :) I had my first complato this week and it was delicious! (Hot dog in a homemade bun with tomatoes guacamole mayo and other toppings). 

The weather here is interesting because you can tell it is transitioning from spring to summer. It is super cold in the mornings (The houses don't have insulation) and during the day it is chilly but starting to heat up. Because we are by the ocean ish we  have a nice breeze.

Chile is definitely very hilly and there are dogs EVERYWHERE. Most of them are nice and just lay there or walk by you, there has only been one really mean dog, but it is all good. 

Almost everything here is different than the U.S. All of the houses have fences around them so instead of knocking on a door we stand at the gage and yell "ALLO". The houses are small and look really ghetto from the outside but are decently nice on the inside. We are staying in an apartment building that is pretty nice which is fantastic.

My companion and I are Whitewashing the area, meaning both of us are new so we don't know anyone. We started to get to know the members and some people and they seem pretty nice :) 

Spiritual story of the week. This week at church a lady came up to us and asked us to do a Family Home Evening with her and her 75 year old father. We agreed and went. When we went we found out her father wasn't a member but wanted to know more about the church and maybe be baptized! It was awesome and by the end of the lesson he wanted to be baptized, so he has a date to be baptized the 26 of September. But the thing that was the coolest was after he agreed to be baptized his daughter bore her testimony and  in it she said that when she saw me at church she knew her dad was going to get baptized, because she had had a dream where she had seen me, Elder Nielson, baptizing her father. She had a dream about me baptizing her father, it was so awesome to hear that. Because of that I know that I am supposed to be in Chile and that I am here for a reason.

I am loving every minute of my mission and am so glad to be here.
I miss and love you all,
Elder Nielson

Being picked up from the Santiago Airport

Bus ride to Vina

At a beautiful park in Vina
Mission President and his wife

"I never take a bad picture" Barney  -How I met your Mother

Better Picture of more of the new missionaries at training

Training Fun

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 6: Arrival in Chile

Taylor did not send out a letter this week because he left Monday evening of  October 8th for Chile. Arriving Tuesday morning. We did receive this email from the mission home.

Dear family,
Your son is now with us in the mission field and he is ok, we are grateful to have him here.

This is a picture of him. 

Mission President and wife with all the new missionaries arriving in Vina Del Mar on Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Week 5! I will survive!!!

Buenas Dias!

It has already been another week which means I get to embark on an adventure into the real world soon! I am so excited to finally get out of here and into the mission field! The CCM has been great but I'm excited to experience the real thing :) Now onto the dealings of the week

On Thursday we had a special devotional by a 70 and his coworker who are over the missionary program and they gave good talks about being bold but not overbearing, and talking with people not to people.

On Friday night it was raining super hard and there was lightning (Which isn't uncommon here) but suddenly the lights went out. We went outside to watch the storm because it was too dark  inside and found out that the power went out in the whole CCM. It was pretty cool just to watch the lightning flashing everywhere. By the time we returned to our casa the power was back on.

On Saturday after lunch we started fasting because here they fast dinner and breakfast instead of breakfast and lunch. So it is a complete 24 hour fast. It is nice to fast, not only because of the blessings we receive, but also to have the extra study time when our meals normally would be. I've made it my goal to finish reading the Book of Mormon while here. I encourage all of you whether you have read it or not, to read the Book of Mormon in its entirety and listen to Moroni's promise and pray with a sincere heart to know if it is true. I know that if you do, you will receive a burning in your heart testifying that it is true.

On Sunday we were walking to our classroom and then hear hermanas scream so we ran to see what was going on and there was a mouse! We had a plastic cup so we caught the mouse and it was actually pretty cute. We decided to let him go because it looked like it was about to have a heart attack.

Monday morning Elder Wright (one of my roommates) told me that previous night he couldn't fall asleep and it was late and I was kind of mumbling in my sleep and then I yelled out "Claro" which means "Clear/I understand/Of course" in Spanish. So apparently I am dreaming in Spanish even though I don't remember my dreams! :)

Today I played soccer and eventually my district left to play volleyball so I stayed and played soccer. I ended up being the only white... I mean pink... kid with a bunch of Mexicans. It was so much fun because they were good and I played up to their level. I scored every goal for my team except for 2 (13 for 15 isn't too bad) :) By the end they all loved me and have my name memorized :) I even got to talk to a kid for awhile while I was taking a break and I understood probably 90% of what he was saying. He was a Mexican who didn't like soccer but loved football (Who would a thought?). It was soooo much fun and made my day.

I love you all, continue to do the best you can and go for gold :)
Elder Nielson
Elder Nielson and Elder Yuit

Not all soles can be saved!

Here is to better days! Duct tape oh yeah!