Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28, 2011

OK well it was normal until last Friday, just like every other week, no joke. I was getting tired of the same thing week after week and to be honest wanted a little bit of a change, was thinking that maybe I would be leaving Lebu but hey I got something else.

So you know Stephanie, our awesome golden investigator. Well as you know we haven’t talked to her in 2-3 weeks, well all of that changed and got crazy, we also found out why:

She took a job in Los Alamos and worked every day from 7am-10pm so we didn’t talk to her for a week because of that. That was tough on us and her.  The next week she was back in Lebu and talking to her dad, who has not been part of her life for like 17 years.  He has been kind of awful to her which is why she moved to Brazil with her mom and later Spain by herself.  Anyways, Stephanie and her father began to fight and it got really awful apparently (this is all according to her because we had no contact with her as you know). So she got so upset and flagged down the first collectivo she saw (those are like taxi cars that run on bus routes, all over Lebu) and asked the guy how much it would cost to take her to Concepción right then. He said 40 luca (about 80 US dollars) and she said OK and did it, just upped and left. (Just so you know, when we go to Concepción we take a bus, and those cost 3.7 luca [about 7.50 us dollars]) While in Concepción she turned off her phone for a week.  She then turned on her phone after that week while still in Concepción and got a call from her dad, he asked her to come back so they could work some things out. So she went back to Lebu to talk with her dad.  

That leads us to Wednesday of last week, so I’m going to start now from our eyes because the story is much better that way: We were at a missionary conference in Concepción on Wednesday and the assistants had an activity we had to do. They split the room in half and had half write down an investigator we were having problems with, or that had a doubt. We were on that half so my comp. My companion, Elder Gibbs wrote down Stephanie’s name, wrote down a quick background and her doubt about the Church.  We went into the gym and the other half of the room had blindfolds on. The activity was we had to go to a random blindfolded person and talk to them, find out their doubt, and commit them to baptism.  So me and Gibbs sat down with someone, and started doing just that.  As we were talking we realized that the person they were acting like sounded familiar and realized they were acting as Stephanie.  Out of all the people we pick our investigator (By the way,  the gym was filled with people, one third of the mission was there).  So we start talking and doing the activity kind of thinking it was weird. Gibbs then grabs his phone to see what time it was and how much more time was left in the activity, the screen comes on, and we see Stephanie is calling us. Now realize at this point it has been 2-3weeks since we have heard from her, and we are teaching a random elder that is acting as her at this exact moment. So we rush in excusing ourselves because we needed to take that call soooo bad. Stephanie says it’s been a while and she has missed our amazing lessons, can we stop by tomorrow?  We say of course.  That made our conference.

We go over the next day to her home and she tells us the collectivo Concepción story and it all makes sense to us.  We set a baptismal date for the 9th of April and leave, what a great  Thursday. Friday morning we get a call from her saying we are not allowed to go to that house anymore, and that she was being kicked out that day and needed to find a house to live in right away. (Long story about why she was kicked out of her home) We had a huge problem because if Stephanie didn’t find a house, she would have to move up to Concepción and live with her other grandma. So we had to find her a house to rent, that day, for 40 luca a month. There are 2 problems with that:
1) there are no houses in our sector for rent.
2) Most houses are rented for 80 luca a month in Lebu. She can only afford 40, that’s huge.
We start looking Friday, all day. We find nothing. So we call her to see how she is doing. We also decided to fast for her. We call her again later that night to see how she is doing, and she says she found a house and gives us the address. We go over and she tells us her story: she was walking all over looking for a house and asking everyone in the street. She asks this one guy and he stops and thinks, then says no sorry, and she continues on. She asks for about 3 hours more and she said she prayed the whole time, then she just got too tired to move and thought “well, God will provide. That’s what those missionaries keep saying.”  She started to walk back and she ran into that same guy on the way back and he asked if she had any luck. She said no and he told her she needed to come in and talk to his wife who explained they had a house that Stephanie could rent because they can’t use it at this time. They have to live in the husband’s father’s house because he is on his death bed and needs them. They show her the house, she of course says yes, but how much, and they say for you, 40 mil (mil is another word for luca) a month. We helped her move the little stuff she has yesterday and she was so happy and content with life. She knows God is blessing her because of her belief and willingness to listen to our message. We went on a walk with her and her little son (2-3years old) and some collectivo driver yelled to her, she went over and talked to him, then came back all happy. She explained that he remembered that she needed a job and heard that on Monday there would be an opening at some place in the plaza, and that if she went and applied Monday she would get the job.
And that is the story of Stephanie.  One more great thing,  she wants to go with us to all of General Conference.

Here is a picture of Elder Gibbs, her Grandmother, Stephanie, her son, and me. 

One more story about what happened last night with another. There is a member that we hang out with named Jessica. Her daughter is a member, but her mother and "husband" (not married but live together) aren’t. So we visited and gave them a lesson. They are an amazingly fun family and we love them. So were with them last night and the husband told us that he had a dream 2 nights in a row. And for some reason my companion Elder Gibbs had this feeling like he knew what the dream meant. He told the husband straight up and interpreted his dream, the husband said he felt like what Gibbs said was correct and true. The husband then said, ok when is this General Conference and he is going to go when he is up in Concepción working this weekend.

These are the missionary stories that you hear about and kind of doubt their reality, and never think you will have a moment like this.  But they are 100% true. It was a crazy week and my testimony of the power of what God can do for us has grown so much. It was crazy and amazing and scary at the same time. But it all worked out in a crazy way and we are all overjoyed that it did. Remember things like this do happen, it’s weird and crazy but they do!

I love you all so much and miss you very very much.

Missionaries from my zone in the MTC.  We got to see each other at the conference in Concepcion. 

Elder Kyle Allen

Monday, March 21, 2011

March 21, 2011

So we had a conference with the 1st Counselor in the Area Presidency on Friday, so we left Lebu at 5:45 AM and went up to Concepcion for a 2 hour conference that started at 11-12ish, even though they said we needed to be there at 930am to be in our seats and quiet, but I guess someone forgot to tell Lebu about the change in time or something, anyway, we did a lot of sitting and waiting. So they gave us lunch and that was amazing, it was like a mix between a completo (which is a loaded hot dog) and brisket. It is called ass. We didn't end up getting to the bus station until about 3-4ish and then we didn’t get a bus until 5:30 PM. We didn’t get back to Lebu until like 9:30PM ish and we were beat. Long day.

Tuesday was the day of cambios so Steele was with us all day; we did some contacting and drank a coke, then went to the bus terminal and met Elder Castillo. He is from Peru, and loves eating food.  So I’m still with Elder Gibbs.  Elder Elder left and Steele has a new companion.

Wednesday was normal, we worked and contacted and really nothing special. We found some new investigators on the street that seemed really great, but went by their house and was given the address to a mini store. So we contacted around there and we think we found the real house, but no one was home. We are planning on going back this week and visit them.

Thursday was about the same, we did a lot of planning of what we want to teach Estephania and Patrick if we ever see them again. And went by their houses. We think Patrick is avoiding us, because he won’t call back, but his phone is always on. His parents told him they don’t want him to be baptized so I’m guessing they also told him not to talk to us. He believes in the church and that it’s all true, which is the saddest part because we haven’t talked to him in weeks.

Saturday we contacted and visited a member’s house that we have become good friends with. Finally a family that we like and more importantly, that actually likes us. And the best part is Jessica’s husband and mother that lives there are not members, so we teach a lesson and have fun. She is making them go to church every Sunday and they have since I was with Goddard. They just all of a sudden started loving me and Gibbs so we have a lot of fun, and take once (have a mini dinner) with them when we go over.

We didn’t teach much this week, the first lesson to Jessica’s husband once and the word of wisdom to another investigator Carol, who conveniently smokes, drinks alcohol tea and coffee. But hey, no illegal drugs that we know about so not a complete strike out.

I’m thinking about ordering the church movies from the distribution center. Like the Restoration, and the Testaments. Me and Gibbs have taught with them and they are really effective and bring up lots of good questions from the investigators. I really enjoy doing that. Also investigators love movies. I want the Legacy and the Living Christ, just all the movies. Because they ask for them (like if we have any other movies) and we leave them and then we have a return lesson cause we have to pick up our movies, and we get to see what needs they have more easily, if any.

This Wednesday we have another meeting in Concepcion, it’s a mission conference so that’s a long one, should be fun. Some Elders from my MTC district are now in the north part of the mission as well so we hang out at mission conferences because I’m in the North technically. And one Elder got moved into our zone, and is in our district. This will be a fun cambio with him and all.

So yah that’s been my week.

The Lebu River is nothing anymore; I don’t know if I would even call is a stream. It’s so sad, it’s almost at the point where we can walk across it and not use the bridge. The city has been destroyed in that aspect. Fishing is on a down, and that’s the industry of the whole city. So yah that stinks and all. I bet people are going to start leaving because that’s all Lebu is.
But yah next cambio I’m leaving most likely so you get to finally update that where I’ve been and the map in the house, exciting? I hope I go south to be honest, I want to see Temuco, I heard it’s amazing. And the Pizza Hut tastes like legit American pizza. Oh man, everything is better in America.

Well I love you all so much and miss you. Think about you often
Love Elder Kyle Allen

Monday, March 14, 2011

March 14, 2011

Well tomorrow is the start of my 3rd cambio in Chile, and yep, 3rd cambio in Lebu, so I’m staying.

Nothing new on cambio department for me. Elder Elder is the only one leaving and he is becoming a zone leader in Los Angeles South so that will be awesome for him, and hey I lived with a zone leader, that’s awesome. Goddard was one for a while too; look at all these great guys huh? We are getting a Latin moving into our house to be Elder Steele’s comp. so less English for us; not exactly excited about that but I’m sure all of you are for me.

Ok so about that awful earthquake, all the missionaries that are here and were here for the huge earthquake last year can’t believe it’s no longer the 3rd strongest earthquake in recorder history because of the Japan earthquake. I just feel awful for all that destruction from the tsunami. Speaking of which, not sure if you heard or not, but all the coastal cities in Chile were evacuated the day after the quake because of a tsunami warning. They related it to dropping a rock in the bath tub, the ripples at the edge may not seem as strong or destructive, but still can be really felt and there is a big difference then the norm. So we were evacuated at like 9pm and we had to sleep in a tent in a member’s backyard that was on a hill above the city. Because the river had no water pretty much (effect from the Chile earthquake) the waves filled the river up, and houses along the river took on little damage. But the crazy thing is after the waves hit Chile, all cities could go back that next morning except for 5 cities, and Lebu was one of them. They wouldn’t tell us if there was any damage or what happened, just that we could not go back into the city. We ended up getting the green light later that day/evening. Sadly there is no service to be done anywhere cause nothing really happened, but apparently Lebu just wasn’t safe for some reason, we got like 3-6 foot waves or something like that they said, not sure what exactly but hey, I now have a story. I survived the Lebu tsunami and was evacuated and made to sleep outside the city. It was crazy. And a lot of fun surprisingly. I’m not going to lie.

That was the highlight of the week.

We said goodbye to Frankson, one of my zone leaders. And that was my zone for cambio 2.  I’ll find out who comes in and all that stuff tomorrow at the zone meeting we have every Tuesday.

The videos are of our fun last few days with Elder Elder because he is leaving, and yah that is a video of us jumping a drunk guy, trust me that will never go on YouTube or anything.
But there was no one around or watching or anything and Steele used to do it all the time in his other zones, so we did it. And I’m not going to lie it was really fun, ha-ha.
We are having trouble with Patrick and Estephania because Patrick now has parents that don’t want him baptized. He knows it’s true and all but they say no, and he’s 16 so we can’t do anything. The parents won’t talk with us either, so we don’t know what to do there, just continue teaching him and hope and pray. We are going to show him the testaments and the restoration this week. Estephania just got a job in Los Alamos and works every single day, no joke, until 10pm, when we need to be in the house. kind of stinks huh. So we are trying to meet with her but it’s not looking good, we want to show her the testaments and restoration because if she gets a testimony of the BOM or Joseph Smith, that should help up with her trying to get Sunday off or just something for us to work with. But we have nothing right now with her and it's awful. Don't know what we are going to do this week to help her.

That’s our investigators for you or the progressing ones at least. We have new ones but they are not home or just don’t want to talk to us so that isn’t encouraging. I kind of actually wanted to leave Lebu this cambio, not leave Gibbs but just Lebu because the people are cold to us, there is no service we can do for anyone, and it’s just tough work. and I wanted a change. But then again, I get to stay in the nicest house in the mission so it’s all worth it in the end.

What’s up with all you, like Trevor beside that he is sick, ha-ha. yah that’s sad and bad but like how else is he doing and all. And Andrew how have you been? What’s up with Tillie as well? 

But yah,  for a while that tsunami was scary but then it was more of a dud and lots of waiting more than anything but still fun. Fun meaning the camping part.

Well that’s all I can think of and this guy next to me smells really awful, like he walked through dog crap for a long time. I miss you all so much!

Love Elder Kyle Allen

Monday, March 7, 2011

March 7, 2011

Very busy this past week with travel and lots of other activities.

Here was my past week:
Monday (not today but you know) Elder Steele and I went to Coronel (up north) for p-day and had some fun with other Elders in that sector.

Tuesday we went to Cañete for zone/district meetings like we do every week, but when we got back we ate a quick lunch and then had to head out as soon as we could to go to Talcahuano because Wednesday we had a conference with President, and there are no buses that leave Lebu that early to make it there in time.

Wednesday we had conference from 930am till 5ish pm and then we went straight over to the bus station to go back to Lebu that night.

Thursday we had to go to Tirua to drop off my comp, the district leader, to do a baptismal interview down there, and I took Elder Merrell back to Lebu with me for an exchange. We worked for about 2 hours because that took all day.

Friday I had to meet my comp in Cañete because he needed to pick something up from the zone leaders.

Saturday was the only day we got to work all day, and because of that our investigators didn’t have the drive we wanted from them to go to church the next day, so we did awful getting investigators to church on Sunday.

We have 2 fechas por bautizmo and they are for Patrick and Estephania (the woman that studied in Spain).  They are awesome but we are seeing troubles pop up because their date is for 2 weeks. Patrick’s mom doesn’t want him to be baptized anymore, and Estephania is having problems adjusting to life in Chile and her kid keeps getting sick. It’s annoying but we all know why it’s happening now.
The picture is my zone leader Elder Frankson and Elder Steele. Elder Frankson is very allergic to bread.  If his spoon touches something bread related like a tortilla or just bread straight up, then he puts it in his mouth, his lungs will close up and he will die within 5 minutes if he doesn’t get his shot. Very scary stuff. Elder Steele wasn’t sure if he touched a tortilla or not with some leftovers Elder Frankson made him (all this was while they were on a split btw) and so Elder Frankson was a little mad and stuff, but he was ok. So Elder Steele said he did it so that Frankson wouldn’t eat so much because he is getting fat (jokingly) and Frankson grabbed a pillow, put it under his shirt and started yelling at him like a mad man. Soooo funny!

Scared about cambios next Tuesday.  I’ll find out this Saturday what the damage is. Lebu 2 might be closed, a lot might happen.   I guess I now know what a legit combio feels like, and I don’t want to leave Gibbs and Lebu, as challenging as it has been I love it here.

We had a zone activity in Lebu today and watched a Disney movie in the church.  We had some hotdogs (like everyone makes, hahaha) and yah that was fun.

Oh it’s come to my attention that I forgot to tell you about something that happened last week.  I was chased by a cow. You know that field we walk in to get to our sector? I took a picture of a cow and Goddard. Yah it got mad for no reason, we were walking by like normal, nothing different. It just charged me, and chased me to the neighborhood. It was crazy, like seriously a stupid cow. hahaha, good times.

We traveled a lot and my body is dying from it.  Look at the maps of where I went this past week. We don’t drive directly, but have to go through other cities. There are no freeways or highways in Chile. That’s been my week. 

I love you all so much.  Elder Allen

February 28, 2011

Well today I am in Coronel, my comp and Elder Elder needed to go to Los Angeles for a district leader capacitation so me and Steele spent the day yesterday working and today went up to Coronel to see some other elders.

I’ll talk about the pictures first: so the decorated gym pics are what the branch did for an activity, I just want to point out a few things, first the streamers on the ceiling. Do they look nice? Well, they look as nice as they can be, FOR BEING TOILET PAPER.  That’s right, there are no such things as streamers in Chile, just toilet paper.

It was a branch activity and they planned and executed it and all. Great, we asked if they needed help and they didn’t. We asked if we were needed and they said no. Great, no big deal. We then asked if we could invite investigators to it to get to know the branch.  It would be a great way to open them up, break the ice for the investigators, and build relationships with them. We were told no, only for baptized members of the branch, ummmm, ok? That seemed kind of weird and rude at the same time, to us at least.  We didn’t want to make waves or point out anything to them because the branch thinks missionaries are just a burden on them and sometimes have a hard time supporting the missionaries. 

A convert of Elder Elder´s called him and said she wanted him to go with her (with his comp of course) and help her break the ice with the branch because she wants to be a member and not just a person in the room you know? So Elder said yah why not, and decided to call and ask just so they knew he would only be there to introduce her.  They said to him absolutely not that he cannot come and that no missionaries are allowed at all.  It is obvious that we have our work cut out for us to help this branch catch the spirit of missionary work.

The other picture: I was with Elder Steele and we saw an inflatable slide in the plaza, and had to use it OF COURSE, how could you say no to an inflatable slide?  He took out some kids on that, lots of people got out their cell phones and took pics of a missionary gringo (that’s how it’s actually spelled, found that out this week) going down an inflatable slide with kids, in Chile.

About this week.  We visited the woman from Spain a lot. Taught her the 3rd lesson, but we spend a lot of time answering her questions. She has millions and wants to meet with us all the time to answer them. and they are deep questions so I don’t say much at all for those long lessons because it’s too hard for me to understand and then if I could understand, responding would be almost impossible in Spanish, hahaha. Gibbs loves them because it’s like conversing with a good member. She instantly accepts anything we say to her. Tea is bad for you. Ok I understand, will you take all my tea for me? I’ll go buy some herbal tea today, and drink lots more juice. Just like that, no questions about it.  Only thing is she wants to know the religion inside and out before baptism. Not just the lessons but all the technical stuff like why blacks couldn’t have the priesthood for a while (that was my bad... we were talking about the priesthood and she asked if women could have it and I said, "no" then "but all men now can hold it" I have no idea why ahora came out of my mouth, but yep, she asked "now?").

Other than her and Patrick we don’t have much. Patrick was gone all week as well so we did a butt load of door to door stuff, which I’m not going to lie, I really hate. Long week but the combio is almost up so I’m scared what will happen. I could very well leave. No idea.

Love you all so much,

Elder Allen