Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The big earthquake was fun.

Sept 23, 2015

Dear Mom and Dad,

Haha, you sound pretty excited to meet your grandson. I think that you are going to like this next week a lot. Hopefully their trip goes well, without problems haha. This conference is going to be quite different, they have to call 3 new apostles now. Kind of sad that Elder Richard G Scott died too, but it's life. Jackson is gonna be a little trooper when I come home. Almost a year old, but not quite. Wish Shelly and Josh luck in the move. 

This photo is a kid that we are teaching. His name is Alonso. It's kind of strange, in the schools here the kids are required to dance the national dance, which is called la cueca. So in school they all dress up and dance. We saw him in the street and decided to take photos with him haha. I bought that Chilean shirt at Santa Lucía, that hill that has a big store area at the bottom. I actually arrived in Chile the 23rd of September, just after all of that stuff. It was kind of lame but I still had a 18 party last year. Things are still going well with that family. Their last name is Inastroza Jorquera, there are four of them, but they have a son of like 3 years, so he can't get baptized obviously. The other three though really like the church and they participate in everything. This week the branch had an activity and they went and had an amazing time. They're practically members already.

Haha yes I felt the earthquake. I actually thought it was pretty cool. The big earthquake was fun, we were on the second floor of an apartment building when it started to shake. We went outside and there were a few people that went absolutely nuts, it was like they thought the world was coming to an end. It's understandable though. We recorded a little bit of it. You can't see anything though. It lasted like two minutes. Nothing happened, there was no damage or anything here, but there was quite of bit of damage up north. I don't even know how many little quakes there have been though, I've seriously felt like 20. It's kind of cool, makes things different. Yes we had a conference with President yesterday. It was about a few different things. The first part we learned about self defense. They got some Chinese guy to come and teach us how to fight haha, we talked about some other things as well. President game us some instruction on the First Vision and how to teach better about Joseph Smith. It was good, I learned a lot. Haha you have been talking with Elder Melander's mom?

 Kayaks, that would be fun haha. So we could take them out on the river as well? I would actually really enjoy that, I liked the other river trips that we have done before. What river could we take them out on that is by our house?

Christmas gifts? Goodness mom, we're only in September. Nooo I don't want more hot weather for reals it's killer here. It's okay, suffer with joy, a saying that the missionaries have here. At least the summers in Utah aren't going to be so bad after.  The part that I'm in right now is called Los Cristales. It's the streets Condell, Balmaceda, Sta. Mercedes, and Los Morros or Ave. Padre Hurtado. Inbetween those streets in my sector, it's really small. Keep doing exercises as well, I need to start doing them better as well, even though I haven't put on any weight hah.

Yeah, we lost another apostle, but we all saw this one coming. He was sick for quite a while. At least now he's not sick anymore. No the world is definitely getting worse. In my opinion the people are just getting stupider and more ignorant, we just have to be different than everyone else. Lucifer is dumb. President Cook once said that everyone will have a chance to accept or reject the gospel, and that they can't really reject it if they don't know what it is. So everyone will have an equal chance to get to know it.

Thanks for the email, hope that you have a great week this week with your new grandson and Shelly, love you.

Elder Stam

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Keep the Lord as your number one.

September 16, 2015 

Dear Mom and Dad,

Haha you sent me a million pictures of Jackson. He's a stud, gonna be just like me one day ;) Have they been doing alright always having another person with them now? Jeez he is going to be almost a year old when I get home. Lame. That's okay though, this work is important. Sounds like a better plan for Shelly to fly home. Shelly is going to fly with the baby then? I sometimes wonder if babies actually know a lot more than we do, they've just forgotten how to communicate. Strange thought.  How does it feel to be grandparents?   Yeah that sounds like a pretty fun tour to see the Church History sites, I would like to do that. I would learn a lot, so let's do it!

The week has been good, a little bit crazy. The 11th of September here is pretty much a day of just straight craziness. The people protest against the government and do all sort of crazy things. We had to stay inside all day. It's just a day of sin. I don't know how many gunshots I've heard this week, it's a little scary, but nothing has happened really that we know of. We found a family of gold a couple of weeks ago. They came to church for the first time this week, and we have baptismal dates for them already. I couldn't believe how prepared they were, it was unreal. They're awesome though, they participate in everything. Our branch has had two activities since we met them and they have gone to both of them. Tomorrow there is another activity for the independence day of Chile and they are going to go to that too. That building in the photo was a building on the hill Santa Lucía. We have to go there for sure when we come to Chile. There is a huge area when they sell stuff that have to do with Chile, so we could buy cool things there. The rain in the Dominican Republic is insane. It's not that bad here, it just floods here, they have pretty bad drainage. It's fun though, I like water. I assume we are at the end of winter. The last few days have been pretty cold, the wind has been freezing. I would like more of winter though. The duties are the same being Senior, you just have to lead a little bit more that's it. Yeah an Elder gave me that tie. I've got a ton of ties. We buy fardos, 45 kilos of ties. It comes with about 2000 or so ties, and we take out the ones we like. That's how I have so many ties. It's okay if you don't send me ties, I have plenty.

Yes,  I think I've lost weight, but I don't remember how much I weighted before. I think I am a little bit lighter, but not a ton. I was buff? Haha I was slim but didn't have very much muscle!! Everyone here talks about the Minions movie, for reals I want to see that movie so bad. It looks so hilarious. I love those little guys haha. Elder Henderson and I just saw some people with a bunch of wood tablets outside and we asked to help them move them, and we ended up building a house. It was a really small house, maybe just the size of our living room, but still. It only took about 10 hours to do in total. Yeah there were a ton of Dutch names, go back only a few generations and they are all Dutch names! It's full and queens and kings of weird places too, but it's still pretty cool. I didn't know that Heather had asthma. Hopefully she is alright. I think she would really struggle here in Santiago, the air quality is horrible. The rain is really a blessing here because it cleans the air.

Haha those seeds sound exactly like the faith, you have to keep taking care of it so it grows. I have really found that to be one of the best ways to teach the faith. It's a great example. Last week President Cook talked about the faith and he compared it to the mustard seed, he showed us a picture of a mustard seed and it's a lot smaller than I thought. I know that you really like your garden, so you will really like the greenhouse I think.  That is how most of the missionary work is I think. Without seeing the results. Elder Holland has a pretty awesome prophesy about Chile that I'm sure will happen here. If you don't know it, look it up, it's really powerful. If you really want to serve a mission one day, just keep choosing the right. The Lord is good.  It would be pretty cool if you guys learned Spanish. It would be fun having a lot of Spanish speakers in the family. Just a suggestion. You'll retire one day, just keep the Lord as your number one and he will help you with everything.

The most memorable thing was September 11th. We just stayed in the house but we had a ping pong table in the house so we played a lot of ping pong. It was still crazy that day though. Yeah I already have a bunch of friends here, this sector is awesome, I like it a lot. I don't get to play piano that often now, only sometimes. I would like to sing in college, it would be a lot of fun. I kind of miss choir.

Well I hope that you have a great week, thanks for the weekly letters, they are awesome for real and I appreciate it. Thanks for all the updates as well!

Elder Stam       
Santiago, Chile

Monday, September 14, 2015

I know that I have to give the better example.

Sept 9, 2015

Mom and Dad,       
Elder Stam busy teaching and making friends.

Haha I was going to say that you could probably just have formatted your computer and it would have been fine. But it's okay, now I have another option ;)

Still no baby. Lame. It's coming though. I expect photos next week. If you don't send me photos, I will never send you a photo here in the mission again haha, yes, that is a threat.

Things have continued to be great in this new area, I really like it a lot. It's been fun here, the people here really are super awesome. I hope that I stay here longer as well. I'm going to be a little frustrated if I have changes again, I don't like changes very much. It'll be okay though, the Lord knows better than me, right?  Technically I was senior companion with Elder Calvillo, but he was older than me and was leading the sector, I'm also senior companion with Elder Sosa. I find it really weird to be the oldest here. In el pino, I was the youngest. I've been one of the youngest almost my whole mission, and now I'm the oldest, it was a pretty strange change. I like it though, I know that I have to give the better example.

 Where do you guys want to serve your mission? And what places would you go visit? That sounds like a pretty good retirement. Traveling would be really fun to do someday. It costs a lot though. Haha I would love if you gave us (me and my future wife, kids) the house for a few years, that would be pretty awesome. and truthfully it would probably help us a ton. Haha I'm not going to stay out here a couple more years. Two years is enough, I will have paid my 10% tithing of life by the end. Maybe one day I will serve another mission when I'm older as well, I would enjoy it.

Finally putting up the greenhouse up huh? How big is it? How many plants would be able to fit inside? I think that you will like it, you can have your tomatoes the entire year! You should make homemade salsa again. What else are you going to put in it? I don't know if I told you this or no, but when I was in Portezuelo with Elder Henderson, we pretty much build an entire house. Not a house like in the United States, just a really small one, but still. We had to level the floor, put the floor in, put up the walls, frames, the roof, everything. It was actually pretty fun.

 That's a pretty awesome story dad, for real. I've never met another Stam before. I remember looking at my family tree a few months ago and it was actually really filled. I found my way all the way to Adam and Eve twice. It was pretty cool. I don't know if half the people were legit people, they were some crazy names and the dates were way off, but maybe.

You think Heather will be next to have a baby? Maybe, it's possible. I've also never really been a big fan of running. In our house we are doing T25 and P90X Insanity every morning. It's time to lose that little stomach that I got before I came out here. I think that when I get back into swimming, I just might die. I'm so out of shape here. I'm working on that though. The weather here has been so bipolar lately. Last week it was super hot, pretty much summer, and this week, rain and cold. I don't understand the weather here. I like the rain more. It's so much easier than heat. Everything floods though. The streets turn into lakes and rivers.
Flooding in the streets from normal rain fall. 
Yeah, I got a list of Chilean sayings. They speak in pretty much only sayings here, and if you don't understand the sayings, you won't understand what they are saying. I think that when we come back, if Josh and Cody come with us, they might have a pretty hard time understanding the people. They speak really fast and don't pronounce well at all. It's Chilean culture. I'm used to it now though. Thanks for the emails and the stories, they are pretty entertaining!

The black guys in the photo are Willy and his friend. Willy is on the right. I don't know how things have been for him lately, hopefully good. There are actually quite a few dogs here like that. We call them zombie dogs. They're really gross. It's pretty unfortunate, I want to start a list of books that I want to read. Today for P Day we went to downtown Santiago and there was a poster for the second Maze Runner movie. The Scorch Trails I think it is in English. I'm going to miss two freaking movies from that trilogy. Frustrations. At least I'll have two movies to watch when I come back haha. Thanks for all your love and support like always, have a great week!

Elder Stam

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Success is based on dedication and consecration

Sept 2, 2015

Mom and Dad,        
Elders Stam and Henderson

Things are great here in Los Cristales. There were quite a few people that went to church here, more than I expected because it's a branch. This week there was an attendance of 53. Changes keep things interesting, but it's hard learning a new sector and then having to leave it right away. It's also kinda sucky having to leave the people that you just met. It's alright though, the Lord knows best. Elder Sosa and I get along really well, he's been out for about 8 months now. I'm actually the Elder with the most time in Los Cristales, it's all young missionaries here haha. It wasn't much of a piano, but a keyboard. It was fun though, he's just starting to learn, so he struggles, but he's getting there.  This last week we have been busy with mostly finding a few new people. We are teaching a lot of people, but you can always find more. I like living with two other Chileans because I am learning a lot of the Chilean sayings. There are a lot. Seriously. A member from Portezuelo gave me a list of like 400 of them.

 Preach My Gospel says that your success isn't based on numbers. You could have a thousand baptisms but if your heart isn't in the right place, you weren't a very successful missionary. Preach My Gospel says that your success is based on your dedication and consecration. If you come back a person converted to the gospel, than you were a successful missionary. President here says that most missionaries won't gone home with leadership positions, but there's still a few that do. The leadership positions don't mean that you are a better missionary. It just means that you need to give an example to the others. If you are a missionary, you are equally important as every other missionary in the mission.   

Weeks do go by fast, I'm writing on the exact same computer as last week and it feels like no time has passed at all since that time hah. We didn't even have a winter here, it's been kind of lame. The last few days have been really hot. I guess you'll have to hear my complaints about it being hot again haha.  The temperatures here only change if it rains. It was pretty chilly in the morning a month ago, but other than that, it's been pretty warm, and I am not excited to have another summer here, I about died last summer. It's already starting to feel like summer here again and we're technically still in winter.

Retirement will be fun, doing nothing every day, right? Zach leaves today?? Wow that was quick. His adventure has started haha.  Usually what you said is true about former or inactive members being prejudiced. It's different here, but I think that in Utah, if a member stops going to church, it's for a reason. Something happened to them that got them mad so they just decide to go against the church. It's kind of sad. It's pretty much just a lack of testimony. Hamburgers. That's what I'm missing. A good American hamburger. I was trying to remember some of the other food that we always ate, but I really couldn't remember many at all. New foods, not many. I pretty much ate an entire fish whole the other day. It was interesting, but really good.
Wow my nephew is going to be born so soon! That's awesome, I'm excited. So they are going to buy a house when they move home? A house house? That's good, houses are better than apartments, that's for sure. They are just really expensive. I remember that Real Estate class I had, it was a pretty interesting class.

Heather and Joshua don't write me every week but every once in a while they do. Tell them that no one else can get pregnant for at least three more months so I can be there when the baby is born. I'm not going to miss another one haha. When should Cody finish all of his schooling? I feel like he's been going to school for a while too now.

Nothing super cool for the last few P Days. We have pretty much just played soccer the last few. I like soccer, I don't play too bad. I'm obviously a gringo, but not a horrible gringo haha. Look at that mom, you're more trunky than I am but it will be nice to have us all together again when that time comes.

 Dad, that is a really good story, it's true that the last door that you always knock on is the one. The mission of the assistants is pretty much the same here from what I know. They are in the office a lot doing work for the mission, and they don't do much tracting. My companion from the CCM, Elder Walker, is in the office right now, he's in charge of all of the missionaries houses, and the only missionary in the mission with a car. He doesn't get to do a lot of work though. Thanks for the story though, I liked it.

I would actually love to read that book (Putting on the Armor of God). Who wrote it? I've found an interest in reading things by the church now. Before the mission, honestly I didn't care much about reading stuff like that, but here in the mission I've found a love for things like that, so I would love to read it.

I got the pictures, I liked them, they were awesome! Well I hope that you guys have a great week, thanks for the emails every week!

Elder Stam                    
I assume one of those poor dogs Caleb is always telling us about?  I thought it was a monkey at first-yikes!