Saturday, December 20, 2014

Transferred, New Companion! and Loved the Concert.

December 17, 2014


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.

Elder Stam

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Motivated to be a better missionary!

December 10, 2014
Elder Caleb Stam in Santiago, Chile


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.

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


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.

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


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!

Elder Stam

The missionary experience is really awesome!

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


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.

Elder Stam