Saturday, December 20, 2014

Transferred, New Companion! and Loved the Concert.

December 17, 2014




Mom,

I knew that you would be wondering where I am, so it is the first thing I will talk about. I finished my training, finally and I did get transferred. I am now in the sector Portezuelo, in the stake San Bernardo. I am in the south part of the San Bernardo stake. The San Bernardo stake is by far the biggest stake in the mission. The San Bernardo South stake is about a fourth of the entire mission. My sector is absolutely huge, and the people here are extremely rich. Right now, I am in a mall called Mall Plaza Sur. This mall is gigantic. It makes the malls at home look like nothing. I don't really know how to explain it, so just look pictures up. My new companion is named Elder Tecun. He is from Guatemala, he is super short, and pretty awkward. He's a pretty funny kid. He has 15 months in the mission. The only thing that is hard is he doesn't speak hardly any English at all. Literally almost none. I can understand him pretty well though. So far, we are getting along pretty well. He's pretty lazy though, so I gotta work his butt off. The new house that I live in is really small. It's only three rooms and a bathroom, and the rooms are really small. It's hard to live in such a cramped area, but it will be alright. I will most likely be in this house for the next six months. I'll take pictures and try to send them to you next week. One thing that was pretty hard was leaving the old sector. The members there really liked me apparently. Also the Donoso family really liked me. They bought me a whole bunch of stuff and said that I have to go back and visit them. They are one family that we will visit for sure.  The family that we live with has a pet dog too, named Jack, the dog is super nice.

I can call on either the 24th, or 25th, at any time. I was thinking on the actual Christmas day, so the 25th. I can call at any time of the day, so I was wondering what time of day would be best for you guys? I am going to call through Skype, which is pretty much like FaceTime, so I will be able to see you. It should be free, you just need to make a Skype account. You need to send me your Skype username too. Just tell me when is best for you and I will try to make it happen.

Wow you already got my letter and zip drive?? That was crazy fast. Yeah, our first house was crazy nice at least in size. I don't think I'll have a house that nice again. I did have the bottom bunk, but now in my new house I have the top bunk.

I did get the package, the day before transfers. So I had to pack it all up and my suitcases were about to explode. But I didn't expect you to give me so much stuff! I about died when I saw that there were two Pentatonix Christmas albums! I had no idea that they released a second one so I was freaking out haha. I have started on the 12 Days of Christmas gifts haha I think it's an awesome idea. I didn't put the tree up yet because of transfers, but I will put it up tonight.

I have been studying the Spanish like crazy. I understand almost all of the grammar now, it's a ton different. I just need to work on my vocab now. I am almost positive that the Donoso family will get baptized, with time. Our zone was kicked out of doing the Christmas program, so i didn't play at the program haha. But that's okay. The new ward says that I will be playing for them at sacrament too. My new comp isn't dominating though, which is good.

My cold is a little better, just a little stuffy nose now and a headache every so often, but it's better. Send me a picture of that mission plaque if you can. I want to know if you've started demolishing my room yet? You should try and find Elder Walkers mom, because me and him have been together most of the mission. We're in different stakes now. I am actually the newest person in my ward I believe.

Well you will never guess who the new companion of Elder León is. Elder Colvin. I sense a problem with that. (when Caleb was a district leader in the MTC he was in his district and was always a problem).

This last saturday, we got the opportunity to go to a concert at the temple. There was some of the most amazing music talent there that I have ever seen. It was amazing and we actually got the Donoso family to come with us. One of the best things that I saw was a pianist named Marvin Goldstein. He is one of the best pianists that I have ever seen, and I want to learn how to play his stuff. You can find videos on YouTube of the Christmas concerts at the temple. They do it ever year. Last year David Archuletta did the concert, because he was serving here. Love you too mom and family and everyone else.

Love,
Elder Stam


















Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Motivated to be a better missionary!

December 10, 2014
Elder Caleb Stam in Santiago, Chile

Mom,

Don't listen to Jon Schmidt then haha (Caleb's mom told him it makes her cry to listen to the songs he used to play). I have been listening to Jon Schmidt here a little too, and I have been missing playing piano. I sent you the letter with a zip drive that has like 150ish photos. I haven't really had much opportunity to take very many photos. I have like 250 total. The dog bite has healed completely now, but it scarred, which is annoying. It's a good memory though haha. Heather would definitely have a hard time with the dogs. There are a ton of dogs. I have seen a ton a dead dogs, and a bunch of stray puppies, and just a whole bunch of suffering with the dogs, so I know that she would really struggle.

Fabian is 29..i think. He is single, but living with his girlfriend. He works for this company called Movistar, which is just like Comcast. He's improving, but sooo slow. I have been studying Spanish like crazy, and I finally understand how Spanish works. I just need to work on my vocabulary. I still have a little bit of a barrier when I teach because of the language, but it's going away fast. I still just can't understand well enough to teach according to their needs. Things have been very rough with Elder León. This week we got in a fight, and Elder Ware told us that we shouldn't sleep in the same room that night. So I slept in the same room as Elder Ware, and we had an awesome time together. Elder Leon was Elder Ware's old companion, and Elder Ware also had a ton of problems with him. Elder León has a very dominating personality, and he has had troubles with most of his companions because of it. León doesn't let me teach because he wants to do all the teaching. He wants it all for himself. Well yeah, transfers are next week, so I get a new companion next week. The sad part is I am probably going to leave the sector and have to say goodbye to the friends I've made here. We'll see what happens though. I would love to stay.

It's hard for me to wake up because every time one of us moves in the night, our bunk bed squeaks extremely loud, so I wake up like 8 times every night. And right after we wake up we do exercises, and I feel like I can't do any effective exercises without weights or a swimming pool. I was always so tired after school. Nope, we don't get any nap time at all. It was tough when Elder Richards left, especially for Elder Ware. But Elder Ware has a baptism this Saturday, and Elder Richards is going to go to it. Oh and I am also playing the piano at the baptism hah.

The pilot program is where we just made goals for divisions, baptisms, and total lessons, instead of all the other stuff. It's objective was to get missionaries focused on working with the members and teaching as much as possible. I've heard that the church is making a Preach My Gospel 2, which could be involving this pilot program, but I don't know. It would be awesome to get a new Preach My Gospel, because the old one came out when Gordon B. Hinckley was the prophet.


Manjar is just like dulce de leche, and it's so good. I need to learn how to make all the food here, becuase that have some really awesome food. Okay, at the one year mark. I'll make a list of the things that we need to go do for sure. And I'm super excited that I am going to be fluent at the end of my mission. There will be a lot of opportunities after my mission to speak it. And I can speak with Cody, Josh, and Andrew in Spanish too.

I've had a cold for like four weeks. Every morning I wake up and have to blow my nose a million times. It's so frustrating. Have fun at their concert! (Murray High Choirs that Caleb used to be a part of) Tell me how they sound! Just tell him that I said hi!  And that I have been singing a lot here in Chile too haha.

So I just have a random question, how many missionaries are there in our stake? In the stake La Bandera, there are 28 missionaries. I think that there are that many in our stake haha.

I also went on divisions again with Elder Babbitt. The guy is awesome. He is such a spiritually focused missionary and I really have not met a missionary like him. He is definitely the most powerful teacher that I have seen so far, and it's really funny because he teaches things so simply. He's a great guy and he definitely has motivated me to be a better missionary. A bunch of people want to see a picture of our house, so you should sent me a picture of it haha. I love you too mom. Have a good week.

Love,
Elder Stam

2 Nephi 2:6-8     
Elders Raine and Stam

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Our mission has changed missionary work for the whole world in our pilot program.

Dec 3, 2014


Mom,

Thanksgiving here was nothing special. Apparently they don't celebrate here, so it was just a normal day for the missionaries. We were going to do something as a house, but by the end of the day we were all too tired to do anything. So it was just a normal day. I didn't even know it was Thanksgiving until like 3 in the afternoon. The dog bite wasn't that bad. The shots aren't that bad either. My arm is just a little sore afterwards. I need five shots in total, and I have already had three. I still need to return to the hospital two more times for more shots. I was bitten on my legs just a little above my knee in the back. The AP told me that every missionary gets bitten, so I just can cross it off my list now. They don't do anything for the dogs here, and there's a ton of them. I have never seen so many dead dogs in my life either. They're all dying and it's super sad.

Last week really wasn't that bad. Just a lot of walking and the dog bite. Fabian is going good. He doesn't really have a story. So I can't tell you a story haha. The members have started helping a little more, we have had a few more divisions, but that's about it. And at this moment, the ward doesn't have a bishop. Yes I am in La Bandera. Going on divisions with members is just going with a member to teach investigators. Divisions with another missionary is when two companionship's split and go teach. It's pretty much just getting a new companion for a day.  Here, every building is surrounded by gates, including the church buildings. Well, the stake presidency thought it would be smart to have an open house of the churches. All the missionaries were involved. We were just walking around and inviting people to come to the open house, where they had the sister missionaries give a short presentation about a few of our beliefs. It was a pretty smart idea.

Yup pride and likes to be in control are exactly his problems (Elder Leon). He doesn't give me any opportunity at all to teach. I hardly talk at all when we teach. Only when we teach the Restoration do I talk a lot. I am almost sure that my next companion will be better. We all had interviews with the president this week, and he said that I will most likely leave this sector, and that I will most likely have a gringo companion, but you never know. This week with Leon has just been rough. He likes to make fake rules, and enforce them on me. One of his fake rules is, you can only write letters on P Day, and not during your free time on the week days. Problem, he always chooses P Day activities that are all day activities, so I have no time on P Days. So he's screwing me over with the letters. I was going to try and write letters to everyone and send them today, but I didn't have any of them done. None. I am going to send your letter on Friday though, with the zip drive.  He is so strict on teaching the lessons, that he doesn't build a relationship with the people, so they don't really like having us over. I have learned that having a good relationship with the investigators is crucial in the missionary work.

If I get a package, I am not waiting to open it haha. I will most likely get it this Monday, or the next Monday. Yeah I will most likely be transferred, but I have no idea where I will be transferred to. Or when I can call or anything like that. So you will have to wait for that information.

Everything has been great. Just pray so that I can learn the language, that's probably my biggest challenge right now, other than my companion.  I find it easier every time I teach. The language has improved a lot, and I'm starting to understand a little bit better. Getting up in the morning has been pretty hard too, but that's not something that really needs to be prayed about haha. Well something a little interesting happened this week. President called Elder Ware and Elder Richards on Saturday night. And there was a special transfer. Elder Richards was told that in two days, he was going to be in a different sector, and that Elder Ware was going to be training. It was super tough for them because they were practically best friends. Elder Richards has helped me get adjusted to the mission life the most too. Well he's gone now, and now there is a new missionary named Elder Diaz in our house now. He's gringo, and my Spanish is a little better than his, and I can not tell you how great of a feeling that is. He is from Lehi, Utah. He's super chill. It's been nice having really cool missionaries to live with, giving me a break from Elder León.

So our mission has changed missionary work for the whole world too. We were in the pilot program, and when Elder Nelson came down to talk to us, he also came to evaluate our work in the pilot program. They were so pleased with the results, that they are going to change all of the missions in South America to the same thing. Eventually possibly the whole mission world. Which is awesome because it started in the Santiago South Mission.

Oh and the food/candy here called manjar. Learn to make it. It's amazing.

I am going to try and find a bunch of cool things that we can do here when we come back to visit. Today we went to the Cerro Santo Luisa, which was awesome. I am going to try to send you some pictures of it. It's just a big hill with a bunch of old awesome buildings. It's a super huge hill and you can climb it all the way to the top. At the top, you can see most of Santiago. It's something that we definitely have to do. Right next to it, there's a crazy Chile store too with a bunch of Chile things. We need to go there too. I will make a list of things to do here.

Love,
Elder Stam
Elder Caleb Stam

Chile, Santiago
Always having fun, handsome guy!

Bit by a dog and getting the rabies shots.

Nov 26, 2014
Elders Richards, Walker and Stam

Mom,

I'm doing great. We didn´t go to the temple on Saturday, but we did get to go today. I got to do my first session in Spanish, and I was really surprised at how much I was understanding. I understood almost all of it. There were a few words here and there but I seriously understood all of it. Goes to show how bad Chileans and my companion speak, I still can't understand them at all. It did give me a little bit more confidence though. I think that I'm gonna come home from my mission sounding like a Chilean. I have no idea what we are doing for Thanksgiving, and I think that it's just going to be a normal day for us. I think that our house is going to do something though. Elder Ware and Elder Richards both really like to cook, so I think they're going to cook something for us, which would be awesome haha.

The conference was seriously so awesome. I still can't believe Elder Nelson did that. I want to be able to do that haha. I think that when I hit the 18 month mark in my mission, I'm going to start studying either French or Portuguese. Fabian is doing really good! We got him to come to church for the first time, and he really liked it. He is having troubles praying on his own, but he is definitely progressing a lot. I don't know if it costs a lot for couples to get married hah.

Our ward apparently is really bad with helping. The stake is really worried about our ward and they have really been looking to the missionaries for help. They told us to start teaching the members about missionary work, and to make sure that each household has a Preach My Gospel. It would be awesome if you read Preach My Gospel, you can learn a lot from it. Yes we are getting a new bishop. Well if you want to start helping out the missionaries, ask them if you can do divisions with them. Missionaries are supposed to teach lessons with a member present.

The postal thing here is really weird. I feel like they don't even have a real postal thing. They don't have mailboxes, they just throw the stuff through the gates on to your front porch. And when people send letters, they send them to the mission home, and every Monday we get all the stuff that arrived that week. It's weird but pretty easy.

I think I'm at the point with my Spanish where I'm about equal with the understanding and speaking. It's just the Chileans. Put me in Peru or Mexico and I would be practically fluent and I could understand everything. Elder Raine is from somewhere in Utah, don't remember what city, but he is going to Utah State after his mission. Elder Raine goes home in eight weeks. That's so crazy. He only had like 19 or 20 months when I got here. It's almost sure that I am going to leave the area, because we were in a true white wash, and I am just coming out of training. But you never know. Things with Elder León have just gotten worse, then Elder Ware yelled at him because he is super prideful (Elder Ware was his old companion) and he's not helping me out at all. It was awesome haha. But Elder León realized it and he is working on being more humble.

It's super ghetto in my mission and it's really dangerous for white people. If we do come to Chile, we are staying downtown. Seriously, you would probably get shot in our area. Unless we rent a car. But yeah, we have to be really careful if we do come here.

 When we eat at the house, we have to cook our own meals. The eating schedule is weird here in Chile. They don't eat breakfast, then they eat a huge lunch, and in place of dinner they have this thing called once, where they eat just a little. It's weird. And most day we have lunch with members, so we don't have to cook our own food very much. A maid would be nice though, we all clean for like 20 minutes a day and our house is never clean, I have no idea how it happens.

Today has been absolutely dreadful with the heat. It's just getting worse and worse, and it's so dry too. I wake up every morning with a completely dry mouth and it sucks, I would take the cold anyday.  We definitely have to go on some kind of trip when I get back. Two years of doing the exact same thing every day is going to kill me.  I don't think I'm gonna be able to speak English when I get back either. I'm already losing some of my English ha ha.

So funny story, on Sunday I was bit by a dog. I didn't think it was that big of a deal, but we are supposed to tell the mission nurse if we get bit by a dog. It broke the skin, so they said that we had to go back to the exact same clinic that we went to for Elder León. What they told me really surprised me. They said that I couldn't shower for two days, that I have to take antibiotics for a week, and that I need to have five anti rabies shots over the next money. So that is how my week went. The dogs here are freaking crazy. It was a German Shepard that bit me too. It didn't get me that bad though, just barely broke the skin. The funny thing was the dog just came out of no where and bit me for no reason. But yeah, whatever. I'm trying to write you all Christmas letters, but Elder León likes to make up his own rules. He said that I couldn't write letters unless it was P Day. Which is not a rule. But whatever. Have fun on your trip!

Love,
Elder Stam

The missionary experience is really awesome!

Nov 19, 2014
Elders Leon and Stam in Santiago, Chile

Mom,

Fabian is doing awesome. He's progressing a lot. We have gotten him to pray and he is also building in his faith. It's crazy to think that he started as an atheist. He is living with his girlfriend though, so that's gonna be a huge trial for him to overcome and if he's willing to get married. The Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity are probably the biggest challenges here. Everyone smokes and everyone lives with their girlfriend. I would say that only about 1 in every 4 couples with kids are actually married.

The missionary experience is really awesome. That's good that you are doing your own missionary work. We have actually had a problem with our ward not doing anything to help. So we got together as a district and we sat down with the ward and told them what needs to happen. It was good that we took charge. We are meeting with 1 member a week now and teaching them how to do their own missionary work. There are about 6 members that are moving at the end of this month, and that's a huge loss to the ward, considering there are only 55 that go to church. One of them that is moving is the bishop too.

I miss air conditioning so much. It is so hot and they don't have air conditioning anywhere! It's been almost 100 degrees every day. I'm really looking forward to the Winter, only because it's so hot here. And to think that the actual summer doesn't start for another two months. I think that they do celebrate thanksgiving, but it's not super big here. Depending on the thing you are buying most things are cheaper here. There are a few things that are a ton more expensive. But overall, I would say that things are just a little bit cheaper. It's weird going grocery shopping and having it cost $10,000.

We don't have any rats, but we have spiders and we found maggots in our garbage the other day. We do have hot water but it's super weird how we heat it. I'll have to explain it another time, with a picture.

I feel like I can speak Spanish really well now. I can say what I want to say now, but I still can't understand a freaking thing. They speak so bad here. Lol you need to send me a copy of my setting apart talk thing or whatever it's called. I think that Elder Raine is going to be one of my lifelong friends. A big box for Christmas huh? Transfers are on the 16th of December, and it's pretty much guaranteed that I am going to leave, so I'm gonna have to pack all the stuff that you send me haha. That's okay though. I am almost positive that I am going to need to socks.

I am enjoying studying the scriptures a lot. The mission has been reading the Book of Mormon together, and I wasn't reading it. So I stopped reading the Bible to read the Book of Mormon real quick and I'm already on Alma 26. The Book of Mormon is so much easier to read than the Bible. We have a washing machine at the house, so we can do laundry whenever we need it. Remind me to write that email to those choir kids next week because I am almost out of time this week.

So it turns out that I am actually going to the temple this Saturday, with a less active member that we reactivated. So that's pretty cool. I am going to get to do my first session in Spanish, and I'm a little worried, but it will be alright. It's an absolutely tiny temple. The weeks have been going way fast though. I've already been in Chile 9 weeks now.

So Elder León hurt his finger, and we had to go to a clinic in downtown Santiago. It was sooo crazy. All the people in downtown Santiago look white. And it's so much nicer and richer than all of our mission. It was crazy. It was like I was in a totally different country. But it was really cool too. I also had divisions with Elder Richards yesterday, and that went really good too. I feel like all my spiritual experiences are when I'm doing divisions and when I'm with a different Elder. But I am getting a new companion in 3 weeks, and it's about time. I have humbled myself so much these last 9 weeks, but I'm about ready to go insane if I don't get a new companion soon. He just treats me like I'm a nothing because I'm new. But it's okay I'm almost done with him.

Love,
Elder Stam

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

One of the most spiritual experiences of my mission, it was that powerful!

Nov 12, 2014

Mom,

The conference with Elder Nelson was so awesome. The first four talks were in Spanish and from people I didn't know, so I didn't care too much for it. But Elder Nelson's wife gave her talk in English and it was about the premortal life and how we all have a premortal checklist of things we need to do in this life, and how "Serve a worthy mission in Chile" is one of the things on the list. Elder Nelson also gave his talk in English, with a translator, but it was about the Abrahamic Covenant and I seriously learned so much from it. It was one of the best talks I have ever heard. At the end of his talk though, he started to bear his testimony in English, he got about three words in, when he decided to do it in Spanish. I am 90% sure that he doesn't speak Spanish. I seriously think that it was just the straight spirit speaking through him. He wasn't using easy Spanish either. It was one of the most spiritual testimonies I have ever heard and I think that it is going to be one of my most spiritual experiences in my mission, it was that powerful.   Just keep reading the Bible. You'll get through it. There's some good stuff in the Bible too.

Yes, absolutely no air conditioning. I'm used to the sun, but I'm not used to walking around in it all day, in a shirt and tie. It's so terrible. And to think that summer is only just getting started. I think I'm really going to like winter here haha. I don't know if they play soccer year round, and we haven't gotten to watch any. The president didn't even let the missionaries watch it during the World Cup. But soccer here is huge, as to be expected. They have a rivalry that is really really similar to BYU and the U of U. It's between two teams called Colo Colo and la U.  I've decided that I'm a Colo Colo fan. They're just better. But whenever those two teams play each other, it's dangerous to go outside. Everyone just parties and drinks and it's super dangerous. I almost wish that I kept playing soccer now though haha. We play soccer most P Days.  For exercises I usually just do a bunch of ab work outs, then arm work outs, then I ride a stationary bike that we have at the house. It's not much but it's better than nothing. We do walk like 6 or 7 miles every day, so that's good too. Other than that we don't really get to do anything more.

The teaching is going really good. We are teaching a lot of lessons, but also a lot of new people. It's pretty rare to teach someone more than once to be honest. They let us in once, but they don't answer the door the second time. We're teaching this guy named Fabian, who started out as an atheist, but he is slowing gaining a testimony. He is our only progressing investigator. He has a lot of potential. People here have a really bad problem with the word of wisdom and the law of chastity, so it's pretty hard to get a baptism because of those things. We are also teaching this couple who are doing pretty good, but we have only taught them once. It's pretty tough but I think it will be a lot better when I don't start out in a white wash area. The Spanish this week made a huge leap though!   It pretty much just clicked. It's not perfect, but definitely a lot better. It will be a while before I really get the Spanish down. I think once I hit the 18 month mark, I'm gonna start studying Portuguese. It would be cool coming back knowing three languages. Do you think that I can send a zip drive in a letter? If not,  how could I send it?

There is only one other missionary in the mission that played water polo, and I can't remember his name. Elder Babbitt and I just have really similar personalities. I don't remember where he's from but if I remember right he is going to go to school somewhere in Utah. I'm not just gonna forget about the Xbox. I talk with a lot of missionaries about video games. I made really good friends with a missionary named Elder Raine. He's probably my best friend in the mission so far. He's a super awesome person. He's gonna go to school at Utah State, and he is also a video game junkie. So I have a lot of conversations with him about video games, but that's alright. It's just a little sacrifice I have to make to go on a mission. A mission is definitely life changing, and I think that it has already changed my life somewhat.

If you send the package now I'm gonna get it almost a month before Christmas haha.  I don't think that I need anything else right now, but I am probably going to need more socks at my birthday. We walk a lot and I think that I am just going to shred through my socks haha.

The people's yards aren't big enough to have a garden. They really don't have much room for anything at all. The houses here are really weird. Their yards are like 10 feet by 20 feet, and that's their entire yard. Most people don't have a garage either. They can't park their car in their yard because every house has gates completely surrounding it. It's really hard to explain. You will just have to see when we come to Chile. I think it's gonna be a little dangerous coming to Chile too. You never ever see a gringo here unless it's a missionary, and we get made fun of pretty bad for being gringo. It's just getting hotter and hotter. It feels a little hotter here now than it ever got in Utah at the moment. It's hard being out in the sun almost all day.  We were told not to touch the dogs. There's a crazy amount of dogs here. I counted 88 dogs in three hours one day. It's pretty sad, and you even see a dead dog every once in a while.

You should do the lunch money thing haha. I have been eating pretty good. We usually have really big lunches, so I'm doing just fine. I have lost about 5 pounds, which is good because I weighed too much. Our day.. we wake up at 7:30 (don't forget we have a different schedule than the other missionaries), do exercises til 8, get ready and eat til 9, personal study til 10, companion study til 12, language study til 1, lunch, then work, meaning tracking, teaching, contacting, until 10:30. Then we plan until 11, then after that get ready for bed, write in our journals, and lights out at 11:30. That's a typical day. On P Day it depends. We sometimes just play soccer and relax, other times we go downtown or to a mall or museum. It just depends if we have money and if other missionaries want to do stuff. The living conditions are pretty nice. We have our own house, and four missionaries live there together. We have three bedrooms, one bathroom, and a living room in the house. We have to air dry our clothes though hah. And the food here has still been incredible. I want to find a Chilean cookbook.

 I think that a lot of people carry a knife or a gun or something, but I don't really know. It's pretty sketchy here, but the people don't really touch the missionaries at all. They know why we're here and what we're doing, so they don't really bother us too much. They just make fun of the white skin and they love to yell things in English which make absolutely no sense but it's funny. Sometimes I just want to talk really fast to them in English and just watch how stupid they feel after. Most of the people here are really nice. There's only a few people that are the exact opposite.

 Tell me how the Madrigals sound this year too and if you can go talk to Mr. Scott!  I think that we might be going to the temple on the 22 of November. Elder Leon and I are going to have a reactivation in a week or two, and I think that we are going to go to the temple with her. It's funny, all we had to do was just mention the temple and she started going to church again. I don't know for sure if we are going to the temple though. It would be really cool if we did. I want to do a session in Spanish.

Love,
Elder Stam

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Wonderful email, made me laugh. Elders Stam and Leon highlighed in mission newsletter.



Elder Stam is from Murray, Utah.  He has been here in Chile for only 1 month.  He likes playing sports.   He has played water polo.  He loves music and video games.  He has played piano for 13 years and has sung for 7 years.  He is very interested in astronomy, and in two years he will be interested in women.  His favorite scripture is found in 2 Nephi 31:20- Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father:  Ye shall have eternal life.





Elder Leon is from Colombia, on the North Coast.  He as been in the missionary field for 9 months.  He loves telling funny stories.  He likes swimming, baseball and soccer.  He loves the outdoor barbecue.  He loves music.  He loves to learn other languages.  He writes poems and loves talking to anyone.  His favorite scripture is found in Alma 29:9- I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it.  I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord commanded me;yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.









November 5, 2014

Mom,



Well I have survived the first transfer in the mission field. It´s pretty weird to think that I´m already starting my third transfer in the mission. It´s been going really fast. I´m not enjoying the weather. I´m doing whatever I can to get out of the sun. It´s so ridiculously hot. And summer hasn´t even really started. One thing I´m going to miss for sure is snow.  It definitely doesn´t feel like November. I have been writing in my journal every day, writing everything that happened that day, so i don´t think I´ll forget anything. The days seem to be going incredibly fast though. It´s like I wake up, we leave for a half an hour, and the day is over.

 Halloween here was pretty similar as in the states. The only difference was everyone was drunk and partying, and there was a ton more kids in the streets. It was crazy how many kids there were. Other than that it was pretty much the same.  My teacher in the MTC has a pretty freaky story kind of like that, except the girl was actually posessed by the devil and her voice was super low and creepy. The devil is real. It´s pretty freaky.


No we haven´t been able to teach him (Jairo). He´s actually been ignoring us, so I think he´s a lost cause now. We just found him doing street contacts. We´re teaching English lessons to four families. I´m absolutely terrible at remembering names, so I can´t really tell you who. He´s (Elder Leon) practically fluent at English. He lived a pretty good life in Columbia. He had money, and he lived pretty close to the beach. I feel like the Spanish has stopped improving completely. I´m getting pretty frustrated too. I can understand almost everything if it is church related. Anything not church related, I can´t understand it at all. All the other Elders say that I am just going to wake up one day knowing Spanish, but I´m not so sure. It´s crazy. My companion is a little bit better. Not much though. I´m pretty sick of him. I´m gonna love getting a new one.

Yeah the MTC gave us spanish scriptures. Elder Dufour, our old district leader, said that our area is the nicest he´s seen, and he has 19 months in his mission. I assume that our mission is one of the poorest, but I don´t really know. For photos, I have a 1GB zip drive that I will put a bunch of pictures on then send it to you guys.

Once you get to Job in the Old Testament, it gets a lot better. I mean a lot better. I have Jesus the Christ in Spanish, but the book is an extremely hard read, and I don´t know how I´m ever going to read it in Spanish. It´s going to be weird having a niece or nephew coming home. It´ll be cool, but really weird too.


Elder Babbitt just really reminded me a lot of me. He was very, very similar to me, like we just liked all the same things, we did all the same things before our mission, so it was really cool. We had some cool spiritual lessons, like this one lesson we were teaching a girl that knew quite a bit of English, so I got to bear my testimony to her in English, and it was awesome. Teaching in English would seriously be so much easier. But after when we (Caleb and Elder Babbitt) were at the home, we just had a really awesome conversation about the mission and stuff and he gave me a lot of good advice. He´s the missionary I want to become because he has literally just forgotten everything back at home and he has completely dedicated himself to the mission. Which is what I want to do, but it´s pretty tough when every house I go into has an Xbox and Halo haha.  I have some pretty good strategies with contacting. Contacting isn´t hard. It´s just the stuff after contacting. My patriarchal blessing says that I´m going to hold leadership positions, and I think it would be really fun to be a leader. I really like going on splits so I´m looking forward to that.


We didn´t get a choir Cd from the year before, which is a bummer. I seriously think that Spanish music is so cool. It´s absolutely impossible to understand though. Elder Leon said that I would maybe be able to understand Spanish music on the plane ride home. We don´t really have any opportunity to give things to kids haha. Food. Just food would be awesome. We don´t really have time to do much, but food we always have time for.

We seriously missed from a missed field goal?? Ugh that is so frustrating. I wish I could watch the games. The soccer here has been crazy. They play a ton. There are two teams here called Colo Colo, and the U. I´m a Colo Colo fan haha.


Yes, we get a meeting this Saturday with Elder Nelson. We are all way excited, it´s going to be an awesome opportunity. Thanks for putting that in the missionary portal. It´s crazy how much my testimony has strengthened since I´ve left. Especially about the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is seriously so awesome, and it´s key to conversion.


Just a suggestion, you should put like $25 on my card every month, kind of like my lunch money, and whatever money I don´t spend by the end of my mission, I can use it to buy music haha.


Con mucho amor,

Elder Stam





Thursday, November 6, 2014

Caleb says the food is seriously so good he could talk about it all day!

October 29, 2014
Elder Stam and his district the day they left the Mexico MTC

Mom,

I´ve had a pretty good week this week. It´s actually not humid here at all. It´s a dry heat. It feels like Arizona, like when Riley and I went there. It´s gotten so ridiculously hot though. I have a neck tanline from the collars on the shirts, and also a pretty awesome watch tanline.  It´s gonna be blazing hot when it´s Christmas! It´s gonna be a little weird, but it´ll be a different experience haha. It´s the opposite here, it never really gets too cold. It won´t ever snow, so I´m gonna miss snow.

 I think that the missionaries here are having a special thanksgiving dinner with the mission president, so that will be fun! It´s apparently going to be a turkey dinner, just like in the States. We´re not doing anything for Halloween though. I don´t know what we´re doing for Christmas yet. We get one of the Apostles to come and talk to us some time next month though!

Things are about the same with him (Elder Leon). All of his family were Catholic, but they all got converted about four years ago, along with Elder León. I did get my package as well. I didn´t think that you would be sending food for a year, but thanks! I´ll make good use of the food for sure haha. So it turns out his name is Jairo. Just pronounced like Heido. I´ve found that the names here are the absolutely hardest thing to understand. He´s good though. We haven´t had a lesson with him in a while, but I think we have a lesson with him soon. He is really interested and I really think that we´re going to baptize him.  We are teaching two families that I really like, but we might have to dump one of them because they´re not making any progress. It´s a sad thing, but it´s necessary.  Most of the inactives don´t let us in, which is what makes it pretty hard. There are a few families that do though. So it´s not a completely lost cause. We do have like three baptismal dates though, so that´s a little encouraging. We do just about everything that we can to find people to teach though.

I feel like the Spanish is pretty much the same every week. I don´t really know how to improve it. I try to work on vocabulary words, but I just end up forgetting the words. It´s so hard. There are so many freaking words. Everyone says that it just comes, but I feel like there´s more to it than that. Elder León teaches the lessons with me. He´s practically fluent in English. It´s been pretty fun though.

I bought some music, and the thing that holds oil for blessings. I don´t know what they´re called haha. I might want to buy some scripture cases for my Spanish scriptures before the end of my mission, so I might need a little bit more money. I´ll let you know though. Each companionship gets a DVD player.

When we had the gun pointed at us there was just a guy in a car that pointed a gun and drove by slowly. Talking with the other missionaries, it happens a lot. Every missionary I´ve talked to has had it happen a few times with them. The truth is, I´m actually in one of the best sectors in the mission, so I´m pretty lucky where I am.

I´m trying to read the Old Testament still. We don´t have very much time to read. I´m in Psalms though, so I´m more than halfway done. I really like the scriptures, there´s some really awesome things in there. The Old Testament is really hard to read though. It´s pretty boring. I´m excited to read the New Testament though. I also have Jesus the Christ that I want to read. I would suggest reading that book.

Have fun on that trip (back East to see Joshua and Shelly)! It should be fun. After all this package food is gone, I´m gonna eat better and start actually exercising during our exercise time haha. I want to come back from my mission buff ;)

This last week I had two divisions. I went with the Zone Leader, Elder Babbitt on Thursday, and the District Leader, Elder Dufour, on Monday. I had some awesome spiritual experiences with them. They´re really awesome missionaries. Elder Babbitt is the missionary that I want to become though. He reminds me a lot of me. Every missionary has that one missionary that they want to become.

Oh I also had two CDs from when I did Honor Choir and All State Choir! If you can find those two I would really appreciate if you sent those too.

So I could talk about the food here all day. It´s seriously so good. Find the recipe for how to make a food called Churrascos. They also have this thing here called aji. Aji is like a kind of salsa, and it is amazing. You should find the recipe for that too haha. There´s this one lady that sometimes makes us lunch, and she told the Elders that every time she makes us food, she´s going to make us something we´ve never had before. She´s the lady that make us the wata. Well this time she made us hígalo, which is liver. Definitely one of the worst things I have ever had. So I´ve had liver and stomach now, and barely been here a month.

There is a lot of different music that I want to buy, so you should start saving me some iTunes money too. That would be awesome. I´m totally gonna get into Spanish music. I think it´s awesome haha.

Alma 26:35-37

con amor,
Elder Stam

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Caleb is sharing his piano talents!!

October 22, 2014-

The last paragraph really made me happy!  If you know Caleb, you know how much he loves to play the piano!  The gun part was really hard to hear and put me on my knees.  I sent my son because I know God lives.   Caleb wanted to serve because he loves his Savior.   It's an act of Faith for all of us!!
This is the day Caleb opened his mission call!  April 2014

Mom,

This week has been good. I did a lot of different things so it made it go by a lot faster.  It´s weird that Christmas is going to be in the middle of summer, but oh well. Almost half way done with training. I can´t wait for it to be over.  It has sucked haha. Zone conference was good. It started with a talk by the mission president´s wife, then the mission president. We had an awesome lunch, then the assistants to the president talked to us, then we split into three groups and had three short lessons. It was about six hours long. And all in Spanish, so I didn´t get much out of it. Elder Leon is a really good missionary, I just don´t think that he´s very good as a trainer. He´d be a lot better with another latino. I didn´t really get to talk to president Cook, but I´ll just be patient and take charge if it gets any worse. My room mates both know about it.  Elder Ware was actually companions with him about 6 months ago. He had problems with Elder Leon too.  I just have to be patient with him. I also need to step up more and take charge. Because he just treats me like I´m a doll. I went on divisions with other missionaries yesterday, and they told me a few things I could do to make things better. I´ve been patient with him for sure. I haven´t really yelled at him yet, so there´s a start haha.  I would just about kill someone for some alone time. It´s been alright though. I´m adjusting. I gotta get used to it because it´s going to be my life for the next two years.

We have a few investigators now. We have one named... Heido? Jeido? I have no idea how to spell it. But he came to church with us one week and he actually stayed for the entire three hours. And after he was asking about baptism and stuff so he´s a pretty solid investigator.  One thing that has really helped us with finding people to teach is we teach English lessons! We´ve taught like three of them. All the people here want to learn English. I think it´s really cool and I love getting to speak a little bit of English to the people here haha.

 I´ve realized that I´m not learning Spanish.  Castellano is so much different. It´s so hard. The vocab is a lot different.  It has seriously been so hot the last few days. I am sweating like crazy all the time.  I now sleep on top of the blankets too.

We mostly buy food with our money, and use it for transportation.  Not really anything else. A little bit for P Day activities, but not much else. I only use the converter to charge the camera.  I do use everything that I brought though.

 I really hope we get to hear from Elder Holland.  I would die!  He´s my favorite apostle. I don´t think it would be too smart to go to the areas that I´m serving in if we come here. They´re super sketchy, and we are the only white people. Yesterday I went on divisions with a kid named Elder Stokes, and some guy pointed a gun at as at like 9:30 at night. I was talking to a few missionaries that have been serving for a while, and they said that it´s pretty normal here for that to happen. So that´s really scary.  No one has been shot yet though. (Gee, that sure makes his mom feel so much better!)

I don't know how Pres Hutchison can have to entire BOM memorized!  That's crazy! If the missionaries could do that we would be a lot more powerful.  I have all of DC 4 memorized in Spanish and I feel like that´s a huge accomplishment haha. That´s absolutely crazy.  I´m still trying to finish the Bible.  I´m in Job right now, and it´s been pretty boring up until now.  Job is a pretty cool book.

 So apparently in this mission quite a while ago, the missionaries did a really bad job. They taught a bunch of people, and they baptized almost everyone. The problem was, they did a terrible job with teaching and almost nobody was converted. You can look at the numbers here, and in our ward, we have 400 people in the ward. Only 45 attend. My old MTC companion has approximately 950 members in his ward, and only 40 attend. So that´s the problems with baptisms here. It´s almost all reactivation. The people here definitely act a lot different than the people in America, so it´ll take a little while til I figure out the people here and understand their culture. 

Speaking of piano. So I played for the ward right? Well after that, the person in charge of the ward choir asked if I could play for them. So I did. And when I played for them it was during the ward conference, so the stake leaders were there. After that sacrament the stake leaders asked me if I could play for the stake Christmas thing in December. So I´ve definitely been playing a lot of piano here.  Thanks mom love you!

Love,
Elder Stam

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Temple visit, Spanish is tough and Companion trials

October 15, 2014

This is the mission logo for the Chile Santiago South mission!  

Mom,

My week has been pretty awesome. It went really fast, I can´t believe it´s already Wednesday. I´m okay with that though haha. We have zone conference on Monday, so we haven´t had it yet. I am looking forward to it though. From what dad told me, it should be really good. Which would be awesome because things here are starting to get boring. Haha mom I have plenty of food. I´ll start thinking about things I would like for Christmas.

I´m not really hungry. There´s just some days we get a ton of food, and some days we don´t get a ton. But we have plenty of food. We have lunch appointments most days in which we are fed a ton of food. So don´t fret about me being hungry haha. I´ve been making my own eggs and toast ;) My relationship with Elder Leòn is alright. We don´t really get along that much though. He treats me like I´m stupid because I don´t know Spanish. I just don´t really feel much respect from him. I don´t really feel like I´m being trained either and I´m getting pretty frustrated with him. I think that my next companion will train me more than he is. He doesn´t help me with the language much either. Whenever we go somewhere, he doesn´t walk by my side, and we walk in silence. Which I think would be the reason I´m not really learning Spanish. I feel like I haven´t improved. He´s been out 9 months. I love the other two elders I live with. They´re awesome, and both from Utah. I don´t get to see them that much though. Only at the end of the day and early in the morning.

We have a few investigators, but it´s hard to find them. It turns out that our mission is a pretty low baptizing mission. And the people here in Chile work a crazy amount. Most of them are hardly ever home, so we don´t have very many appointments. There are a few days where we have absolutely nothing and we are just walking around for 8 hours. It´s tough.  One of the 12 apostles are coming down here and talking to the missionaries in our mission sometime soon too. We´re doing some sort of a ¨Pilot Program¨.

The bread here is amazing. We had the wata at our house. A member made it for us and brought it to our house. We have a lunch appointment with members most of the time. A few days we don´t, but most of the time we do.  They usually just serve chicken, rice, and a weird salad thing.  I´m making it a goal that I´m not going to gain any weight on my mission.  They have some really awesome chocolate bars here. Nothing Hersheys though, which is disappointing. Hersheys is my favorite kind of chocolate.


The blisters are gone. I popped them and they went away. My feet have stopped hurting all together. I can survive the day now without dying from my feet. It was seriously so pretty up where we went last P Day. I don´t really know what to do about the pictures. Sorry. I don´t email with the other missionaries, so they can´t help me.

 I really hope that we get to watch Meet the Mormons. You should email the mission president and tell him about it haha. Convince him to let us watch it. I´ve heard some really good things about it and I really want to see it. That´d be cool if we could give it to investigators too.

Ah the Maze Runner came out?? I really really want to see that movie. I really like that book. Which is surprising because not many books keep my interest when reading. The weather here has been really good. It´s been extremely hot though. And it´s a dry heat and I´m gonna burn. I don´t think they have sunscreen here because latinos skin can´t burn. So you should sent me that in the Christmas package, sunscreen.

Life is just trials, but with the Lord in your life the trials are nothing. You should find a video called ¨The Atonement and Missionary Work¨ with Elder Eyring and Elder Holland. It´s one of the most powerful videos I´ve seen, and it´s meant for missionaries. It might be tough to find though.  The other day I had a feeling that a person I met I had know before in the pre-existence. We went to the hospital here to visit a man, and I could have sworn that I knew him before. We gave him a blessing and it was a really spiritual experience. It was really awesome.


The language has freaking sucked so far. It´s hard. The Chileans just talk so much differently. It sounds nothing like it did in Mexico. I don´t think Josh or Cody will be able to understand me when I come back. I´m not learning Spanish, I´m learning castellano. It´s quite different, and their vocabulary is quite different too. There´s a lot of different words.

I look forward to Wednesday too just for a break haha. Today, we got to go to the Santiago temple, which was awesome. It´s an absolutely tiny temple though. It´s seriously like a fourth the size of every other temple. We didn´t get to do a session, but we did baptisms and confirmations, and I actually got to perform a few of the confirmations myself. It was really cool. We also got to see a little of the Chile MTC, and I'm actually pretty grateful I didn´t go there. It looked like it would have sucked, it´s tiny! We got to see a little of downtown Santiago too, and it´s a lot like New York City! Almost the exact same actually. We went to a McDonalds for lunch, and it was amazing. It also had three floors, just like the one in New York. We also got a glimpse of the tallest building in South America, which is in Santiago.

Love,
Elder Stam

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Elder Stam is doing well, but this one caused me anxiety!

October 8, 2014

This letter prompted me to send him a box full of breakfast food.  I think he is probably exaggerating the being hungry statement (I hope so) and teasing me a bit.  He was online and I asked him about it and he said "Ya I am a little hungry but it's okay because I had been eating too much",  that's it and he was gone.  It didn't make me feel much better lol.    
No new photos but this is one of my favorites!

Mom,

The weeks really do fly by. I´ve already been out for two months,
which is so weird to think about. It feels like a week or two. I´m sure that´s what it will feel like for me too after my mission is over. Chile is starting to feel like home, so that´s kinda nice. The weather changed really fast, and it´s really hot here now.
 I haven´t had to use that jacket at all for the last week. There are tons of stray
dogs. It´s a sad sight. I´ve already seen two dead dogs in the street.
Yeah he (Elder Leon) just wants me to study for another hour. It´s tough. He is an
amazing missionary, but not the best trainer. It would be a lot easier
if I knew what I was doing, and I spoke the language. But I don´t, and
he´s not really teaching me that much. Spanish is pretty hard to
translate perfectly. Some of it just doesn´t make sense lol. (He is referring to when we try to translate his mission newsletter).

I haven´t really cooked much at all. And I don´t really eat breakfast.
We never have food. And when we do, Elder Leon just eats it all. So I
hardly ever eat breakfast. The water here is safe to drink, but I
still use the filtered water bottle that the MTC gave me. Ecco is made
by Nestle. It´s pretty much just like chocolate milk, but it´s like
coffee. Mate is weird, but I like it. I love having other English
speaking elders. I would go crazy if I couldn´t ever speak English.


For now we don't have an actual baptism, we just set a date for him. He hasn´t been home the last week though, so we haven´t gotten to teach him. It´s
been tough because we were white washed into the area. So we don´t
really have any investigators yet. Most of the contacts have been
really friendly! There have been a few rude, but most have been nice.
Most of it has just been listening, but I get to teach a little here
and there in Spanish.  The mission is tough.  Say the wrong thing and you can screw the whole thing up. 

We were going to watch conference in Spanish, but the District Leader called
on Saturday morning before conference, and said that the new
missionaries could watch it in English! So we got to watch it in
English. It was the first time I was actually really excited for
conference haha. There were a lot of talks that I really enjoyed.  I
went a little crazy with the note taking, I took 43 half pages of
notes. I liked that they started doing the different languages too.

I realized that I forgot to tell you about once. It literally means
eleven in Spanish, but that´s not what it means at all. Instead of
dinner here, they have once. In once, they usually have pan (bread)
and ham and cheese, usually with avocado as well. A small salad, and
Ecco. Usually when we have a late appointment, they give us once. It´s
awesome.

I also had a food called wata on Monday. Wata is stomach. We don´t
know what animal it was, but it was definitely stomach. It was
disgusting. The weirdest thing I´ve had here so far. All the other
food I´ve had here has been phenominal though.

 The mission president actually told us not to carry our cameras with
us. Apparently the missionaries here get robbed a lot. So I don´t
carry it with me too many places. I´ve still had a lot of
opportunities for pictures though, I think I have like 180 so far.
 I really can´t figure out the sending pictures home thing. So
sorry.

Things are going good. The language still hasn´t come, and I still
can´t really understand anything, but I´ve only been here for two
weeks. I still have to translate in my mind when I hear it. If I
can tell the words apart that is. They talk ridiculously fast here,
and they fuse words together. Like if they were to say "Para aca",
they just say "Paraca" and it´s so hard to understand.
We get to go to whatever we want on P Day, with permission of
the mission president. We do laundry, we have a washer, and we can do
it whenever we need it. We haven´t had much opportunity for service,
but we have pulled weeds once. We´re picking up garbage tomorrow. So
just the usual.  I  think that we get to go to the Santiago temple next P Day, so that
should be really fun. They also have a special session in English, so
that´s even better hah.  But today for P Day, 8 of us got to go up to the mountains. We had a little picnic up there, and we got to play soccer too. It was one of
the prettiest places I´ve ever seen. It looked a lot like the Dominican Republic on the ride up.  I have some super awesome pictures of it. It was really really cool.  I had a lot of fun today. I unfortunately have three blisters on my left
foot now, and I can barely walk. I´m starting to get used to all the
walking now though.

Love,
Elder Stam

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Caleb is doing well his first week in Chile! Played the piano hymns in Church!

October 1, 2014-
 No new photos again!  He has to figure it out!  UGH!! But so grateful to know he is doing well and positive.   I am so glad he has been playing the piano, he had to play the hymns in church already!  If you know Caleb, you know how much he LOVES to play the piano and how talented he is.  It's great having a missionary serving the Lord!!  We miss him a ton but we are so blessed this is what he wants to be doing. 
Elder Andrew Rietveld and Elder Caleb Stam at the Mexico MTC.  They are brother in laws (kind of), their siblings married each other. 

Mom,

I am adjusting really well to Chile. I´ve realized that I do well with change, because this hasn´t really had too much of an affect on me. The weather here has been phenomenal. It was a little cloudy the first few days, but the last few days have been hot and sunny. It gets pretty chilly at night though, considering we don´t go back to the house until 10:30. That coat you got me from Missionary Mall has been my best friend during the night. It´s actually warmed up a lot the last few days too. We got a heater for our room, and we don´t even use it anymore. It´s been nice. They also gave us two warm blankets.

Yeah the mission president is very on top of things. He is really good at what he does. Elder Leòn is an awesome guy. I´m starting to get a little annoyed though. He´s making up rules. He got mad at me for reading the Bible during personal study. And he also wakes up an hour early every day and wakes me up and it´s so annoying because sleep is precious. Other than that he has been pretty easy to get along with. He´s 19 years old. And the Spanish is alright. I still can´t understand the latinos, but I can understand the gringos pretty well. Elder Leòn has a pretty bad accent and he is very hard to understand. He actually knows a good amount of English. We are teaching each other the languages. It´s really pretty here in Chile, but it´s a different kind of pretty. Santiago reminds me a lot of Cabo. It looks pretty similar. Except there are a ton more stray dogs here. They are always passed out on the side of the road in the morning, and it´s pretty funny. There are mountains on the east side that look a lot like Utah.

We have a pretty decent house. We have a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and three bedrooms. They´re all extremely small, but it´s bigger than what other missionaries have haha. The food here has been awesome. I´m a little disappointed that they haven´t had avocados as much as I would like, but it´s been awesome otherwise. They have a few different things. They really really like Coca Cola and Fanta here, and they have two other drinks called Ecco and Mate (pronounced Mah Tay). Ecco is a coffee substitute, it smells exactly like coffee, tastes exactly like coffee, but it isn´t coffee. All the missionaries here drink it. And mate is weird. It´s just a plant that they put in a little cup, then they add hot water and sugar and drink it through a straw. It tastes a lot like grass, but it´s pretty good. The other two Elders in our house are Elder Ware and Elder Richards. They are both from Utah. Elder Richards is from South Jordan and I can´t remember the other one. They´re really cool peope as well. Super super easy to get along with. La Bandera is the stake I´m in and La Pensamientos is the ward I´m in. There are six missionaries in this one ward.  There is missionary work going on everywhere and it´s awesome! When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God.

White washed means that both of the missionaries are new to the area, and we have to start from scratch. Most of what we have done has been contacting. Proselyting and street contacting. It´s super tiring because we are just walking around all day. We wake up and do exercises for half an hour, have an hour to shower and get ready, personal study for an hour, companion study for two hours, language study for an hour, then contacting all day. We have taught a few lessons, and we have one person with a baptismal date already haha. November 1st. We have like 6 other possible baptisms, but I shouldn´t be too confident. We don´t have a cell phone yet but we do have a DVD player.

 I don´t have my camera on me so I can´t upload pictures right now, but I´ll try to upload some next week. I have absolutely no idea how the wifi thing is supposed to work here, it doesn´t make sense to me. But I´ll try to upload pictures for sure.  They are a little bit behind in technology in Chile. The iPhone 5s just came out, as long as the Xbox One.

We get to watch conference, but we have to watch it in Spanish, which is a little annoying because I don´t understand Spanish yet. We just attend the ward here, and only about 40 people go. Hardly anyone. Oh and yeah, I actually had to play the hymns in sacrament haha. Kinda funny.  In the October Liahona magazine, there is an article about Chile that´s pretty cool, so you should read it.

Love,

Elder Stam

Friday, October 3, 2014

Caleb's first Day in Chile!

Sept 24, 2013

This photo is after Caleb was in Chile for just a few hours with only 2 hours of sleep.  He says he doesn't understand a word of the Chilean Spanish!  We got this wonderful photo and a very nice email from Pres Cook letting us know he arrived safely, what he did the first day, where he is serving and information about his new companion.  We also get the weekly mission newsletter which is so nice to stay informed and feel a little part of what is happening in the mission.  So glad he is having this opportunity to serve the Lord!
Elder Caleb Stam with President and Sister Cook
Mom,

I really really like my mission president. He's a really cool person. I didn't get to talk to him a ton, but he does seem really cool, and all the other missionaries here love him. There were 21 new missionaries in this mission. 17 of them from the Mexico MTC, and 4 from the Chilean MTC, but surprisingly, none of them are latinos.

 Things in Chile are actually pretty nice. To me at least. It's a little bit like Cabo, just with only houses. Our house is tiny. It's like the size of a one car garage, and there's no hot water for showers. They heat their water super weird too. I don't really know how to explain it and I'm not going to try. Ask Chad Maughn, he probably knows. The flight went well. We were on a gigantic airplane. It was huge. We got two meals on it, but I only got about two hours of sleep. My new companion is a really awesome person. He knows a little bit of English, he's trying to learn English, but he doesn't know very much right now. I don't know how fast I'm going to learn Spanish. I do not understand one word people are saying. I could understand almost everything in Mexico, but here, it's completely different. It doesn't even sound like Spanish. They add the word po randomly at the end of words. So when they say yes, they said sipo. I don't understand a word, and I don't understand Elder León hardly at all either haha. I should learn fast though. There are four missionaries in our house, and they all learned fairly quickly. One of them said that they could speak well after just four months.  It seriously looks a lot like Mexico though.

 None of the houses have any form of heating, and it's cold until noon, and it gets cold again at like six.  My companion says that it's always really cold in the morning, even in the summer.

 Yup, my companion is my papa haha. And I was born in la bandera, which is the place I'm serving right now. We should totally come here some day. I think you would like it here. It's way different. Me and my companion were white washed into the area, so we had to start from scratch. Our first day we did contacting the entire time. Oh and the schedule here is different. We wake up at 7:30, and we go to bed at 11:30. Apparently Chileans stay up late.

Love,
Elder Stam
Elder Andrew Rietveld and Elder Stam at the Mexico MTC before Caleb left.  They are related now cuz Andrew's sister Shelly married Caleb's brother Joshua.  Cool huh!



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Last Day in the Mexico MTC!

Sept 22, 2014   
                  


Mom,

So we got some time today to email. I leave the MTC in about two hours and 17 minutes from right now. If I remember right, there are 43 different missionaries going to the Chilean missions today with me.

Yeah we just barely missed the Chilean Independence Day, but that's okay. There's always next year.  I'm pretty sure my entire mission is in Santiago, but most of it is country stuff. The Chile Santiago South Mission is tiny though. One of the smallest.  It's weird that you're going into winter haha because I'll be going into summer. Lucky me.

I'm sorry that you got sick. You should've kept the Pepto Bismal haha. It seems like everyone in my district got sick again, but I still haven't felt anything. I'm really lucky I guess. They all have really bad symptoms and really bad diarrhea, but I haven't had anything.

It sounds like you guys went on your own little mission. Like in D&C 4, the field is white and ready to harvest. We all made a goal to memorize that entire section in Spanish before we left, and it's been really hard, but I think I almost have it. It's going to be awesome teaching the people in Chile. I'm really nervous about the language though because our Mexican teachers said that the Chileans talk so fast that they can't even understand them. So it's gonna be really hard, but at the end of the two years, I'm going to be better than the Mexicans at Spanish haha.  A mission is definitely going to teach me patience for sure.

Yes I want my mission scripture to be 2 Nephi 31:20. It's a great scripture. One that I can definitely use on my mission a lot. I want to go to that temple too. It looks really cool. I'm not sure how far away it is from my mission, but I'm sure that it's pretty close. I know that it's in the Chile Santiago North Mission, so it couldn't possibly be that far away.

 That's a really good letter from Daren (Caleb's EFY counselor). He's such a cool person. I'm glad you guys went to his reception. I'm sure he's happy with his wife, I remember talking to him about his future wife at EFY with Riley haha. It's crazy how fast time flies. I'm officially 1/17 done my mission now. 16 more transfers to go.

When I get to Chile, it's going to be a totally new experience. It'll be crazy, but it'll also be a lot of fun. I think I'm ready for it. I adapt pretty well to change, so I'm not that nervous.

Thanks for the emails though, I really appreciate it and I love hearing how things are going back at home.


Love,
Elder Stam
                       




Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mexican Independence Day was awesome and Temple was amazing!!

Sept 16, 2014
Mexico City Temple

Mom,

It's seriously so crazy to think that I'm leaving in a week! This last week for me so far has been awesome! I should be leaving next Monday or Tuesday. I should get my flight plans tomorrow. The Mexican Independence Day was awesome! We didn't get to go outside the MTC walls unfortunately, but the MTC hired Mexican dancers to come and dance for us. After they did their performance, President Pratt (the MTC President) conducted the Mexican National Anthem and the yelling of ¡Viva México! thingy. It was really cool and fun. And all the Mexicans in the city have huge parties all night. There was music playing until about 5 AM, and fireworks all night long. According to one of our teachers, Mexicans shoot pistols straight into the sky, and there was 83 deaths last year from falling bullets.
Outside the dorms at the CCM (MTC)

I've been writing in my journal every day.  Yeah, the spirit has been pretty great here. There have been times that it hasn't been super strong, mostly because of Elder Colvin, but other than that, it's been pretty strong.

The Spanish learning has slowed down a lot. I could pray in Spanish like the third day I got here haha. I think I'm at the point where I can't really learn more until I have to start talking to people that don't know English. It's so easy to me though. At least so far. I know that once I get to Chile I gonna feel like Elder Calhoon from the Best Two Years. "That's not the language they taught me in the MTC". But over time it will be okay.

 Earlier today, we had the chance to go to the Mexico City Temple. It's about 45 minutes away from the MTC, so we got to see a lot of the city as we were driving to it. It's crazy how much different it is than America. It's even a lot different than Cabo San Lucas. It's waaay more crowded, and the building are packed super tight. There are 22 million people in Mexico City. It's huge. But when we got to the temple, we had a tour of the visitor's center. The actual temple is closed, but we could still go to the visitor's center. It's an amazing temple, and it's gigantic.  It's was really cool. It's a really pretty temple.

Mexico City Temple
Elders Stam, Johnson and Walker
 They've had a lot of food here that was completely new to me. Some of it is good, and some of it is gross. They've also had a bunch of Mexican candy. I don't like Mexican candy. I don't know what's wrong with these people. They had a sucker made of spices. That's not okay.

 My companions aren't bugging me yet, so that's a good thing. It's only a matter of time until I get a companion that I don't like. HAHA.




Love, Elder Stam

Got this email from him a few hours later!

Mom,

We got our flight plans, and we leave the MTC Monday at 4:00 PM!  Our flight leaves at 8:25 PM and we arrive in Chile at 6:50 AM. The flight is about 8 1/2 hours. I don't know what's gonna happen after that.   
         Love, Elder Stam





Anxious to go to Chile!

Sept 9, 2014
Elder Stam, Elder Johnson and Elder ?

My week has been alright. It's all starting to be the same now. We do the exact same thing almost every day, so it's getting pretty boring. I'm supposed to leave the MTC on September 23rd. Which is two weeks from today. I'm so stoked to get out of this place. I'm so ready for Chile now.  I'm still feeling great. Not sick at all still. Which is good.

I got the package of goodies. Thank you haha. And yes I did share with them. And the cream soda was awesome.  Thanks for the note as well. I'll try to send more pictures later today. I don't have very many pictures though because we can only take them on P Day.

Yes I eat chips and salsa almost every day at lunch. They have the most amazing salsa you could ever imagine here. It's crazy. One of our teachers is also going to bring habanero peppers on the last day for anyone that wants to eat them. I'm up for the challenge. It might kill be but it will be memorable haha.  I've heard that the food in Chile is really good, but it's not spicy unfortunately. I love spicy. It'll still be good though.

 There's been a huge debate in our district over BYU and Utah. Of course, me being the district leader, made it final that Utah was better. I love that they're having a good season so far. I can use that against the BYU fans now too.

 In the MTC, we have the same companion. I'm pretty sure I'm companions with him until we get to the mission home in Chile. I have two companions now, because his other companion went home, so we were put in a trio. It's strange, but not too bad.

I was able to say a prayer in Spanish after like three days haha, so prayers are easy to me. It's just the every day talk now that I can't do very well. We've only learned gospel Spanish, so just talking normally is pretty hard. We don't have the vocab yet. I can say "Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ you can be cleaned of your sin and be worthy to enter the kingdom of God", but I can't say fork or spoon in Spanish.
Having fun with his companions!

Love, Elder Stam
District in Mexico City


Elders Stam, Walker and Johnson

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 3- MTC Hump Day!

Sept 2, 2014- Still no photos of Elder Stam, UGH we need to figure that out asap!

Mother,

The time has absolutely just flown by. It's crazy. Yeah every day all day is study time haha. They haven't taught any culture classes at all. In fact, we haven't heard anything about Chile really. That's okay though. It'll make it more of an adventure when we get there. It should be a lot of fun.

I am doing pretty good. I'm starting to get bored though. We do the exact same thing every day. And we pretty much eat the exact same thing every day too, so I'm starting to get sick of the food. But I still haven't gotten sick, so that's good. Time is a weird game, I could swear we just got here like three days ago, but it feels like I've been here for an extremely long time. And I'm already starting my fourth week in the MTC tomorrow. I have definitely learned a lot, but I'm ready for something new. Chile will be a lot more fun I think. I've been watching the weather too. We get on the computers every night here to do this thing called TALL, which is a language learning thing, and we already check the weather for Santiago. It's been pretty cool there actually. Well, colder than here. It feels a lot like home here though. Elder Johnson is from Kaisville, Utah. Being a district leader has been pretty hard. There's this one kid named Elder Colvin that just doesn't respect me or any of the other missionaries and he's been a real struggle. I'm about ready to punch him. He has major anger issues. But it's alright.

Yes, I have been wearing my retainer. I can't send any more than two pictures an email. I don't have my camera with me, but I'll try and send some pictures later today. I haven't had the opportunity to take very many though, because of the rules here. Maybe you should learn how to play the piano then. It's not that hard. ( I told him I HATE the silent piano)

We don't know when we get to go to the temple until like two days before, so I have no idea when I'll get to go. It'll probably be next P Day though. That'd be really cool! I want to go to as many different temples as I can before I die haha. I am pretty sure that I am still going to be the first one to give you a grandkid.

I started reading the Bible, and it's extremely hard to read. After I finish it, I'm gonna read the Book of Mormon, and after I finish that, I want to read Jesus the Christ.

Wow my fish is still alive?? That's a miracle. Keep him alive as long as possible haha. And I agree, it was nice spending a lot of time with you. I miss the Office haha we have been talking about it a lot here. Well I'll email you again later today possibly.

Love,
Elder Stam