Friday, February 27, 2015

I have learned a lot about life, why we're here and I relate everything to gospel things now.

Feb 25, 2015

I had a pretty good week, pretty normal. Sorry we are writing so late this week, we have a pretty late day today.  I know the feeling of always being tired. Missionaries are always worn out. Things are going great, as well as the lessons. We are at the time of the year where almost everyone in Chile goes on vacations, so almost all of our investigators are on vacation, so we aren't having a lot of lessons. It's okay though, they will come back haha. The next transfer is March 8th, and I should be getting a new companion, but I'm not completely sure.

Tootsie is a good dog haha. Especially compared to the dogs here. But even the dogs here are pretty loving, even though they are all abused by the people. It's crazy to think that she's turning two this week though!

Our mission is a really low baptizing mission. I think that last year, there were only 50 or so baptisms the entire year. Our mission focuses mostly on reactivation. The truth, is that the less actives hardly know anything about the gospel. They were baptized without knowing hardly anything, and that is the problem here in Chile. They don't even understand the basic principles. Some haven't even heard of the plan of salvation. The members help a little bit, but not much. We are supposed to have six divisions every week with members, so we get to know a lot of different members.

I got the books yesterday!  I want to start reading Jesus the Christ soon. I think that I want to read the New Testament before I read that though, it will help me understand a little better.

Josh and Shelly already know if it's a boy or girl?? This early?? Heather and I also think that it is going to be a boy. We will see though. I think that being an uncle is going to be awesome :D  I'm super excited for them, hopefully everything goes well. Haha it would be funny if the baby recognized me from photos.  Are they capable of an actual thought process at 11 months? I don't know anything about babies haha. Why are you so sure that they are going to have a boy? I have the same feeling that they are going to have a boy too.

That really sucks that Cody has had kidney stones, I couldn't even imagine pain like that. It's funny how I start relating everything to gospel things now. Just remember that Jesus has felt the same pain and suffered it for every person, and when we are resurrected we aren't going to have pain any more :) I think I'm gonna be super weird when I come home.

We study the plan of salvation a lot because we teach it a lot. I have learned a lot about life and why we're here and all that stuff. When we teach the plan of salvation, we teach a lot. We teach about Adam and Eve, Pre-earth life, earth life, and all the stuff that happens after death. I feel like I understand the gospel way more now, and I'm super grateful to know more.

Being a mission president would be super fun, it would probably be pretty hard too. Are you guys going to have missionaries in the house at some point? It would be super awesome. I love the members that we live with, they are super awesome.

I want to cook more too. I have just had a feeling to cook more haha. We haven't had a lot of new food. Our ward mission leader is from Colombia, and his wife always cooks this stuff called arepa. I don't know if it's from Chile or Colombia, but it's really good.

Also, this week I was reading in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 28-33. I was really touched by it. It's all prophecies and it is all coming true. I challenge you to read those six chapters and really think about life and the importance you can make in the world.

Well the mission has been awesome so far, super hard as well, especially with all this heat. It's alright though, summer's almost over.  Thanks for writing me and for all of your love and support! I will talk to you again next week. Love you!

Elder Stam         

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Earthquake, Members have a huge impact on the work!

February 18, 2015

Dear Mom and Family,

I think that it would be super fun to live in California. It would be a totally different lifestyle, but I think that it would be fun. I've seen pictures of Chilean beaches and people tell us about it. It sounds really nice, and they say that the ocean is pretty warm. It would be super nice to go there some day haha. (Caleb's mission does not include any areas along the ocean)

My week was pretty good! We burnt the stuff a few days ago. I took a video of it, so I don't really have pictures, but I will try to find a way to send the video to you. The one guy didn't come to church, he had to go on a business trip. We have a few of our less actives coming which is good. We should have two more reactivations soon. We don't teach a lot of lessons, about 12 each week. We should have more, but there are a lot of things that we have to do. We have a two hour meeting with our ward mission leader every week, we have mutual every Friday for two hours, and we just have a lot of things like that which take time out of our week. We have a list of all the 1200 people in our ward, and when we don't have a set lesson we usually go to the houses and try to find the people. That is one of the reasons why we don't have very many investigators, only less actives.
Tie, shirt and pants burned for each 6 months in the mission.  

I look forward to getting those books! haha. My birthday isn't for five months haha, but it will probably come and go before I know it. Murray Swim took 2nd in state?? Where the heck did that come from?? I guess Dale really knows what he's doing. That's good for them! Jared is going to Sweden huh? That should be really fun for him!

The other churches are just so dumb and they don't understand. Elder Purnell in my house has a Jehovah's Witness Bible and the stuff it says is just so dumb. We have learned how to deal with the other religions pretty well. In the Jehovah's Witness Bible, there are a few scriptures that they just decided to take out, because they didn't like them. So for them, we just ask them to read those scriptures. And they can't. Then we read the scripture that says that God is the same today, yesterday, and forever, and that shuts them up pretty quick. We didn't go to the Evangelico church because we had to go do something else, but we might go tomorrow. President said that we should take off our nametags before we go in.

Yeah Joshua and Shelly told me about the baby! I'm super excited for them! How does it feel that you are going to be a grandma?? That's super good though, I'm super excited. I was pretty much sure that I was going to give mom the first grand child ;)  S/he is going to be 11 months old when I get home, that's crazy. That feels like such a long time haha. I will be sure to pray that everything goes well.

Nothing specific to pray for, maybe just that they will all progress!

Wow, that's a really cool story about tithing. I want to have a story like that haha. Tithing really is something that can give you a lot of blessing, just read Malachai 3:10. I think that that scripture is the best way to teach tithing.

 Dad, what do you guys do in the meetings? It sounds like some of the meetings that we have here with the wards, but here they don't actually do anything. They talk about doing all this stuff, but then it never ends up being done. Only the missionaries actually do stuff, it's kind of bad.

President Hutchison is awesome haha. I think that he is a really good president. As a missionary, I have learned a lot that the missionary work is not going to be very effective without the help from the members. We are supposed to get 6 divisions with the members every week. If we get an investigator to come to church, and they feel excluded and no one wanted to talk to them, then the lessons with them stop and they don't want to investigate anymore. The members don't realize how crucial and how much of an impact they have on others.

This has been a pretty good week though. On Friday, we had interviews with President. He's such a good guy and he knows exactly what the missionaries are going through. I love talking to him, I think that we are getting along wonderfully. We talked a little bit about the Evangelical church and he told me some things that we should do if we do go to their church. I have two little stores from this week. Yesterday at the district meeting, there was a mini earthquake. It was super short and not powerful at all, but the earth was definitely moving haha. It was the first time that I had felt something like that. Apparently there have been a lot the last little while, I just haven't felt any of them. The other story is we were walking to a house after lunch, next to the freeway, and a call pulled over on the freeway, and just burst into flames. The guy that was driving got out and just started screaming for help. We couldn't do anything because there was a huge fence in the way. But a ton of people pulled over and helped put the fire out. It took about 10 minutes to put it out, and then the cops and everyone else came. It was pretty weird haha.

Well thanks for writing me once again, I hope that you have a good week!

Elder Stam

Monday, February 16, 2015

We have to learn to not react...

Feb 11, 2015

Elders Tecun and Stam washing the dog of the people they live with. 
Mom and Dad,

The beach. I'm so jealous. There are a lot of people here that are on "vacations". That is where the work gives them like a month off so they can go on vacations. There are a lot of people that go to the beach. I'm so sick of hot weather. It's weird that it has not been cold there.

These six months have gone super fast, and super slow. I feel like I just got here and at the same time, I think that everything I have done I have to do three times again, and that just feels like forever. Time is just a funny game. I am going to try to take of video of the burning of the tie. The other elders in my house are completing 18 months and a year, so we are burning pants, a shirt, and a tie. We want to burn them all together, so I want to take a video of it. Our investigator didn't come to church, but neither did his daughter, so I think that they had to do something. We will find out though. He's not home very much because of his work. Tithing can be hard, and it is a weird idea, but the people just don't realize why it's necessary. It's okay though, he'll understand someday.

Wow you already sent those books? Awesome haha. I love the Book of Mormon and the Bible but they are all that I've read for the last six months, I want to read something new now haha.

I really want to be a trainer, I think that it would be really fun. I think that I am only going to have a new president for the last 3 weeks of my mission. They are probably going to be the strangest three weeks of my mission haha. There aren't really a lot of stories with our investigators. Our mission is a really low baptizing mission. It's almost all reactivations.  I don't really have any stories with really cool stuff to be honest haha.

 The members that we live with have a pretty funny conversion story. They were Catholics and they just walked past a Mormon church one day and the dad said, "Let's go there" so they went to that church and they just stayed. Then they got baptized and here we are about 35 years later. I think that it's a pretty funny story.

The Spanish is going good. It's just the vocabulary. There are just way too many words to learn and I feel like there's no way I'm going to learn them all. But I'm trying haha. Chilean Spanish is just all idioms, so it's pretty hard to understand because they don't make any sense normally. Our house is good.  I live with Elder Purnell and Elder Melander. We had more divisions yesterday and I went with Elder Melander in our sector. We had 5 lessons and 2 divisions with members. I just realized that Elder Tecun doesn't really know how to lead a sector. We usually only have 10 lessons a week, and yesterday, when I was leading, we had 5. He just needs to recognize the opportunities that there are to teach.

We are teaching quite a few people, but we only have like 3 investigators. The rest are less actives. Our ward list is like 1,200 people. Almost everyone here already knows the missionaries, it's a little bit like Utah. I really like the photos by the way. It looks like Papa is doing really well. Oma too.

Well this week I want to talk a little bit more about the other religions. Here in Chile there are Evangelicos (Protestants), Catholics, and Jehovah's Witnesses. They are all very different religions. They all like to preach in the street. We had a few encounters with Evangelicos this week. One of them came up to us and asked a little about our religion, then he just started talking all this crap about modern day prophets, the Book of Mormon, and even America. It's sad how little they actually know. Then the same day we were walking past a few evangelicos preaching in the street and they just started yelling about false prophets and telling us to repent. It's so tempting to read Mathew 6:5 to them. But we have to learn to not react. I'll explain a little more about them later. We might be going to a Evangelico church tomorrow, because we were invited to go, and President Cook said that we could go to other churches if we were invited. It is going to be interesting.

Have a good week and I will talk to you again next week! :) Thanks for all your love and support, and for your emails.

Elder Stam

When you work really hard, time goes fast!

February 4, 2015

Elder Stam at the Buin Zoo in Santiago, Chile
Dear Mom,

Yup six months in just over a week! I think back to the day that you drove me to the airport and that seriously feels like it was two weeks ago. I really think that the mission is going to be over before I know it. I can testify that when you work, time goes fast. That happens all the time in the mission field. If there is a day that we do nothing, it is a slow day. But if there is a day that we work really hard, the day goes by incredibly quick. Languages are a really weird thing. I have learned that Chilean Spanish is a lot different than traditional Spanish, so Cody and Josh might not to able to understand me perfectly when I get back. At 6 months we burn a tie. A year is a shirt. 18 months is pants. And the two years is a suit, but I am just going to buy a $5 suit in the ferria. You already talk to your mom for hours, I have no idea what you can possibly talk about for that long. I hope you have fun on the trip though!

My week was good, and the investigators are good too. We have too many investigators to tell you about all their lives, mainly because I can't remember every one and it would take too long to write every one too. A lot of them have been keeping their commitments though. We are teaching a family and they all were inactive, and we have gotten the daughter to come the last two weeks and we got the dad to promise to go this week. The people here just really hate paying money. This week we lost an investigator because of tithing. He was blind, and he doesn't feel much support from the church. He brought up tithing and he was really steemed about it and he told us not to come back. So we have to respect what he wants and we won't go back for a while.

Missionaries are always a little home sick. I like being away from home though. It's a new experience. And I can deal with change really easy. So it hasn't really been a problem for me. My patriarchal blessing talks a little about temple work too, so the temple is something I want to do a lot of when I get home.

I have read a little bit of Jesus the Christ here and there, and it's pretty hard to understand, but it is still really awesome and I want to study it a lot. Oh another awesome gift would be a Rubix Cube. Elder Purnell has one and he taught us how to solve it, so I want one of my own now haha. Lindsey posted a video of her singing?? Wow I wouldn't expect her to do that haha, and at least she is admitting that she can sing now haha. I have been thinking a lot about swimming and water polo lately, especially since it's a million degrees outside and there are a ton of houses with a portable swimming pool haha.

The Superbowl happened?? Man we don't hear anything here. I didn't want the Seahawks to win again haha.

This week I had divisions again with our new zone leader, Elder Peck. Another great guy, I am pretty sure that President Cook makes the best choices possible when he picks leaders haha. We had a really good day though. He came here with me in our sector, so I lead the sector and we had the most lessons that I have had in one day here. We had four lessons in one day, and we did a lot of contacts and got a few new people to teach. It was overall a good day, and he's another really good leader.

Today for P Day we went to the Buin Zoo, and that is definitely something that we have to do when we come here. It's pretty expensive, about 8,000 chilean pesos, ($15) but it was totally worth it. It was just a little bigger than the Hogle Zoo. It was awesome though, so I have three things that we should do now.

Well thanks for emailing me again, and have a great time in California. Tell the family that I say hi.

Elder Stam         

Elders Tecun and Stam at the Buin Zoo in Santiago, Chile