Week 37 – Teno, Chile

This week has been a pretty solid week.

Remember the random Haitians that came to church last week?  We actually went back to visit them.  But the thing is, they don’t really speak any Spanish.  There is a recent convert in a ward from Curico who is Haitian and speaks perfect Spanish!  It was really cool.  On Saturday, we went to pick her up and then went back to Teno to see the Haitian people.  We got there, and to be honest, we hardly did any of the teaching; it was pretty much all Fafu, the recent convert.  And it was all really good at first.  She was basically teaching about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and they were pretty receptive (we didn’t understand what was going on, because she was speaking Creole, so she paused the lesson a few times to catch us up, ha ha).

Then, she talked about the Plan of Salvation just a little bit, but as soon as she started, one of the Haitians stood up and started yelling and hollering back about it.  Turns out she was a very, very, very extreme Pentecostal lady, so it started to turn into a full out Bible bash!  Except the bad part was Elder Smith and I couldn’t calm down the situation because we didn’t speak their language!  (Plus it didn’t help that Fafu is more sassy than my sister Hannah, lol).  But eventually it died down, and apparently Fafu roasted them, but the good news is that they are going to read the Book of Mormon (Fafu brought one in Creole) and we are going to come back every Saturday to visit them.

So that was the  craziest thing that happened for sure, but I think for the rest of my letter, I’ll tell you about some of my favorite foods here in Chile.  My dad is coming down in August to go skiing (we won’t see each other, don’t worry!), but I made a list of the foods he needs to try.  I’ll share a few of these with ya’ll.

To start off with, there’s the most famous, completos.  Super good and super simple.  It’s basically just a hot dog with tomatoes, smashed avocado, and mayo on top.  Then you can add ketchup, mustard or hot sauce.  Also, they are cheap.  You can find completos for easy less than 2 bucks.  Then my personal favorite are empanadas del pino.  What it is is like this savory stuffed pastry with this delicious ground beef and sautéed onion mixture with an olive and a slice of hard boiled egg, all inside, then baked.  SO GOOD, even coming from a guy who hates olives and hard boiled eggs.  The next is called Pan Amasado!!!  It translates into “kneaded bread” but really just means homemade bread.  It’s this kind of circular disc bread, about 4 inches in diameter, with holes poked on top.  When it’s all warm and right out of the oven, it is so darn good.  Not all bakeries will have them, but when they do, it’s so good and so cheap.  You can get one for like 15 cents.  Throw some jam on that or ham and cheese – so delicious.  The only bad thing is that they hardly have peanut butter here, so you can’t make PB&Js.

Well, that’s about it guys.  I love it here and I am so grateful to be serving the Lord.  Have a good week!

Elder Halverson

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Week 36 – Teno, Chile

Hey!

Well, great news this week!  It turns out that Smith and I are both going to be staying together for another change.  This whole week, we have been contemplating whether or not he would be leaving or staying, or me leaving, etc.  It was a pretty stressful week for Smith, but we’re both just glad we are here together in Teno for another change!

In the missionary work, things are going fantastic.  This past week, we used the mission area book to find some old investigators.  We visited a few of them, but we found someone who wants to continue receiving the missionaries!  Also, Smith had an awesome idea.  At the beginning of every month, our phone gets more minutes added on.  On the last day of May, the idea was that we would call every old investigator contact that we had in the phone.  That way, we don’t just waste minutes.  It worked!  We were able to set up some appointments with some old investigators.

Also, the district class we had was super fun!  First in the morning, before it started, Elder Gutierrez, our district leader, came in and made us arepas.  He’s from Columbia, and it’s a Columbian breakfast with thick corn tortillas with sautéed tomatoes, onions, peppers, and fresh cheese stuffed inside.  They were so good.  Then the class was hilarious.  We have a hermana that is going home tomorrow, so last Tuesday was her last district class.  What happens in the mission is that if someone is going home, you say that she is dying; it’s pretty funny, but it’s also a little weird.  And when someone goes home, a lot of people roast them that like they’ll be married in two months, going on lots of dates, etc.  And then that hermana, Hermana Steenblik, pretty much had that happen to her.  There is a part in the district class where we write all our investigators on the board and talk about their challenges, our goals for them, etc.  So Smith and I wrote her, Hermana Steenblik, on the board, ha ha, and that her goal was to get married, go to the temple, give out her phone number, stuff like that.  It was pretty funny.

Also, the craziest thing happened yesterday.  We were just hanging out before church started, kind of like normal, then these three Haitian people just walked in out of nowhere!  We talked with them after sacrament meeting and they were really nice.  The problem is they hardly speak any Spanish; they speak French.  But the good news is that Smith used to speak French more or less, so right now he is trying to relearn it, and then we can talk to them.  So that will be cool!

It has been such a pleasure to be here in Teno with Elder Smith.  I know I say this all the time, but I seriously am learning so much.  One I know is that I definitely was a total noob before the mish.  And I know that I still am, but I am so grateful to be here.  Smith and I were talking about it last night – he hits his year mark this change.  And then I’ll hit mine IN TWO CHANGES!!!  That is seriously insane!  I seriously still feel like I just got here to Chile.  But we were talking about all the things that have passed, the many times we felt the stupidest, when we didn’t know what we were doing.

And these times both pumped us up.  Everything in the past has happened for a reason, but we shouldn’t focus on the past.  We just have to learn from these experiences and become better, then focus everything onto the future.  I promised myself that I need to just focus this next year-and-something-months on being the best version of myself that I can be.

Overall, it’s just awesome.  I think I’ll end with my testimony in Spanish.

Se con todo mi corazon, que Dios es real, que el nos ama.  Yo se que Jesucristo vino al mundo, para sacrificarsa por cada persona.  Él nos conoce, sabe cada dolor, cada pena que heros sentido.  Estoy agradecido por la opportunidad ser misionero.  Les quiero y les amo.  Que tengan una buena semana.

Con Amor,

Elder Halverson

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Week 35 – Teno, Chile

Hey Guys!

Wow!  This week has seriously been awesome!

On Friday, the first counselors of the General Relief Society Presidency and the General Primary Presidency came to Rancagua to give a training!  Elder Smith and I are the counselors of the branch presidency here in Teno, and I work with the women’s organizations (RS, YW, Primary), so we were invited to go!  It was a fantastic training!  They divided the people into Relief Society and YW/Primary so Elder Smith and I went to the YW/Primary.  We had Bonnie H. Cordon train us.  It was seriously so good.  She talked about some things we can do to make us better leaders, how we can help the people in our organizations.  She gave her talk in English, but it was translated into Spanish for the members.  Elder Smith and I got all the jokes in English and laughed before everyone else.  It was hilarious.

It was kind of funny – at the beginning, she asked the people for each organization to stand up, as she said each one.  I basically had to stand up for all of them, but when we got to Young Women, and I stood up, she was like, “Look, we even have a young man working in YW!”  She called me out, ha ha!  It was kind of awkward.  But she really did a great job.  I was blown away.  I haven’t really had any opportunities to see the women’s side of the church, other than conference talks, but I am impressed.  Our leaders for the women are very, very good.  It was also cool because basically all the presidencies were there from all the stakes and districts of my mission.  I got to see all the members from Doñihue, my last sector!  I saw Hermano Willie!  It was so great to see him.  He teared up when he hugged me.  I love that guy.

Then on Saturday, we got to participate with the youth.  Every year there is a fundraiser to help burn victims, like a collaboration between the church and the organization.  We went to the church early and made breakfast for them, which was bread and eggs.  Then they went out to collect money.  It was great.  Then we went to Curico to participate in the stake family history activity.  We basically put on this little theater, to show what happens in the spirit world.  It was pretty good.  A good number of people came, so that was cool.  Then that night, we visited an investigator who worked at a sushi place, and she made us sushi!  It was fun.

Then on Sunday, we had a huge attendance!  There were two baby blessings, and an amazing testimony meeting.  The spirit was there so strong!  Then afterward, one of the families invited us to their party for lunch to celebrate the baby.  It was pretty good!  These members are converts, and it was definitely a real Catholic party, ha ha, but it was great.  It was the closest thing I’ve seen here in Chile to a classic Texas BBQ, lots of meat, potatoes, etc.

Overall, it was an awesome week!  Great things are happening here in Teno.  We get transfers this week, and I hope nothing changes.  Elder Smith and I have been going great.  This has been his third transfer in Teno, so it could be possible, but we’ll see.

Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Halverson

(P.S.  Click over to his website elderhalverson.com to see a fun video he shot while out on the streets.)

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