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


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!

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!  


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.

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!


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

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

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.

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. 


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.


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

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.

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   


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.

Elder Stam