Week 44 – Teno, Chile

Hola!  Cómo estás!!

This week has been a good week.  On Tuesday, we went on interchanges with the zone leaders.  I went with Elder Johnson to his sector in Bombero Garrido.  It was honestly super fun.  We basically just did contacting the entire day, but I loved it.  We don’t really have too much time in Teno to go and contact, so it was a blast.  Something that we focused on that day was just having some fun while doing it because it can be boring.  We gave out some church movies and pictures and pamphlets that we usually don’t have too many chances to hand out.  But we figured that we have all our materials for a reason.

We also tried to be more bold, so I invited someone to be baptized in the street and Elder Johnson recited the First Vision in a contact!  We didn’t really teach any lessons or anything, but we set a goal that we would talk with everyone and it was great to complete it.  Just a great interchange!

On Saturday, there was a baptism being held in Curico, so we decided to take Maralino and his family all there because his daughter, Paz, is going to be baptized on the 19th of August!!!  It was a great experience.  Ava Maria, Paz’s mom, was pretty much crying the entire time.  The spirit was there so strong!  Paz is super excited and super ready.  It was neat that they were able to see how the ordinance of baptism will be carried out.

Also, I don’t know if I had mentioned it before, but we do the weekly mutual for the youth, and this last mutual, we cleaned the church building.  It was so dope.  The church isn’t cleaned on a regular basis, and it was a while since it had been cleaned.  It was really gross and stuff, but with the help of the youth and their friends, it went by pretty fast.  And then we made completos afterwards.  It was sick!

And then the cleaning paid off, too.  At church yesterday, we had 56 people in total!!  It was great.  There was a baby blessing and a new deacon who received the priesthood.  And it was a great fast and testimony meeting!  It was just a really powerful Sabbath day!  Everyone loved the meetings and the classes.  People came up and said how clean the church looked!  I just started a trend!

God really cares for all his children and really strengthens our testimonies, but only after the trial of our faith.  I hope that you all have a great week.

Love,

Elder Halverson

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Week 43 – Teno, Chile

Hey Everyone,

This week has been pretty awesome.  We had changes, and I am still in Teno, but now I am with Elder Buxton.  He’s pretty cool.  He’s from California and he’s got about a year and 2 months in the mission.  I think it’s going to be a pretty good change together.

We’ve been pretty busy.  Right now, we are working with a family who is super good!  It’s actually Marceliano, the guy we contacted in the street, who was drunk, a little while ago.  They are progressing really well.  We actually just got a baptism date with his daughter!!!  It’s so amazing to see the gospel changing their lives.  When we first met and visited them, their house was just a little bit messy, and it wasn’t a good environment.  But now it is really clean, and all three of the family look so good.  Plus, they are reading scriptures, and having family prayer, and coming to church!  They have changed so much and I am so grateful that we have had the opportunity to teach them.  I know for sure that the Lord prepares the people he wants us to teach.  But we will find them on HIS time, not on our time.  So it’s important that we have the hope necessary to be able to always be looking for people and always be praying to know who is ready.

It’s super crazy – I’ve been in the mission for almost a year now, and I am still only in my second sector.  A lot of my friends from my group, the people who came to Chile with me, are going on their third or fourth sector.  But one thing is for sure, everyone is called to a sector for a reason.  Sometimes, I kind of wish that I could go to different sectors to get to know Chile more, or know more missionaries.  But then I am looking back right now, and I feel so grateful for every experience that I have had, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without each sector, companion, etc.

My old comp, Elder Bernal, actually just went home.  He just finished his mission!  That is honestly insane for me.  But it’s like this one hymn, “I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord, I’ll say what you want me to say…I’ll be what you want me to be.”  As missionaries, we are only called to do the will of our Father, of God.  So whatever situation comes our way, whatever trial, test — we trust in God that He has a plan.  I love being a missionary so much.  Hope you have a great week.

Love,

Elder Halverson

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Week 42 – Teno, Chile

Well, we have the changes this week… Elder Smith is leaving and going to Talca, and I am staying in Teno. I am going to be with a guy named Elder Buxton. Also, I am going to be district leader this change, too.

I was definitely pretty surprised and honestly kind of disappointed that Smith is leaving.  I have been focusing myself really hard in the branch these last two changes.  Elder Smith and I have been really blessed in the mission work because we have gotten investigators in really crazy ways.  Right now, we have a really good groove going, and now we’re getting separated.  I honestly feel a little overwhelmed.  I feel like I’ve been working well, and have my rhythm, but like every change I have more and more things to deal with.  When I came to Teno, I was really worried about being a branch counselor, but I got the ropes down.  Now I have to be a district leader.  I am nervous, but I think everything happens for a reason.  I know there is more that I need to learn and do, so I will just keep learning!

Love you guys so much.  Have a great week!

Elder Halverson

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Week 41 – Teno, Chile

This past week has been pretty awesome!

On Saturday, we had this really cool training that we did.  Right now, we are working really hard to help everyone in the branch do their visits, whether it’s home or visiting teaching.  As a branch, we put on our own training and basically taught the members how to do visits, why they are important, and some key parts, etc.  It was great.  We all gave a little part, and then there was lots of participation from everyone.  It was more like a discussion.  I think everyone learned a lot, and I hope it will inspire them to do more with their visits.  I was kind of worried that no one would come, but we had a decent show.  Overall, it was a great experience.

Then the other day, we went over to this meros activos little completo restaurant.  His name is Diego and he’s pretty cool.  We’re working with him to try and get him coming back to church.  He has this little Chileno diner, so sometimes we stop there to eat.  He sells this really big churresco, which is pretty much this roast beef sandwich with tomato and avocado.  It’s really good.  Elder Smith said that one time he ate one all by himself, so I wanted to take him up on that challenge.  I bought one and ate it all!  In the beginning, I was loving it.  It was so delicious and tasty, but by the end, I felt like my stomach was about to explode, ha ha.  It was good overall.  Definitely worth it.

I’ve just been looking right now for a good little spiritual thought to share with you guys, and there’s one that caught my eye.  One of my favorite scriptures that I’ve grown to love is in Mormon 9:31.  Right now, Moroni is writing to those who don’t believe in Christ, and is telling the reader that he shouldn’t condemn the people who wrote this book for the weaknesses of the prophets, but rather we should learn from these men so that we can be “more wise than they have been.”  For me, that really called my  attention because when I think of prophets, I think of very intelligent men called of God to help us.  But right here, Moroni is full out admitting his errors, mistakes, etc., and is telling us, “I’m not perfect, so learn  from me.”  From this, I learn a couple of lessons.  Moroni is a fantastic example of humility.  He has been called of God to write in the Book of Mormon (a very, very important responsibility) as the LAST righteous person from the Nephites.  So for me, the fact that he admits his faults to us shows how humble that he was.

Another thing that I am realizing is that we can learn from everyone in one way or another.  Because everyone has strengths and things that they’re good at.  But also people have made mistakes before, so we need to learn from the mistakes of others, so that we don’t have to fail and learn for ourselves.  Basically, we should all try to take the good from everyone and leave the bad.  For me, I want to be better on this.  If we think, “yeah, I’m good, I don’t need anything from this comp, district leader, etc.,” then we are being ignorant.  If we are constantly trying to become better people, we will be humbled and realize that we are not perfect.  As Ether 12:27 says, that is our way to make weak things strong.  I know that all of us can become better people.  We need to just keep humbling ourselves and continue learning from EVERYTHING.

I love you guys a lot.  Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Halverson

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Week 40 – Teno, Chile

Hey Everyone!

This past week has been seriously amazing!

Elder Smith and I have been working like animals to get this “Special Sunday” planned out, and we had it yesterday.  The idea was that we would have a really well-planned out sacrament meeting and classes so that we could tell everyone and they could invite others.  This past week, Elder Smith and I visited people – a lot of less actives and part-member families, and we invited them to come.  Also on Saturday, the missionaries from our zone came to Teno and we left and did divisions with some members to remind all the less actives to come.  It was a lot of work, but it was all worth it!

Ever since I’ve been here in Teno, we’ve had an average of 33 people coming to church more or less.  But yesterday, we had 53 people!!!  It was absolutely, incredibly awesome!!  Also, we got a member of the stake presidency to come and speak.  And I directed a choir of the youth!!!

It was also great – after the sacrament meeting, we went to go talk with the less actives who came and we could see the spirit touch them and the love of the Lord be felt in their hearts.  A lot of people were affected yesterday, including me.  The Lord gave a tender mercy to us yesterday.  He softened the hearts of a lot of people so that they could come and participate in His beautiful gospel.  I learned a lot.

If we have faith in the Lord, and we do all we can, God will show us miracles in our lives.  We actually had a really great zone conference that talked about this.  Through our faith, our devotion, our diligence to serve the Lord, we are “opening the heavens,” so to speak, and inviting the Lord to bless us.

I know that if any of us have goals or ideals of things that we want to accomplish, the way that we can do those is through Him, and only Him.  I also know now that Jesus Christ really recognizes and has felt any sacrifice that we give.  He literally knows what it’s like to go through the hard times.  When we feel discouraged or alone, we can remember that our Savior knows us.  He’s already suffered it.  And through Him, we can receive comfort.

I love the mission!  I am grateful for everything that has happened.  There’s nowhere else I’d rather be than right here in Teno, Chile.  It’s hard, and sometimes there’s moments that just really suck, but this is the most rewarding experience I’ve ever been able to be a part of.  The most happy, joyous moments that I’ve had so far in my life have been here on the mish.  Call it basic, but it really is the best two years.

Love you all so much.  I miss you guys.  Hope that you are enjoying your summer!  Have a great week.  Hasta la vista, baby.

Love,

Elder Halverson

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Week 39 – Teno, Chile

Hey guys!

This past week has been pretty good.  Last P-Day, we tried to go to this placed called Siete Tazas, which means “Seven Cups.”  From what I’ve heard, it’s this really cool waterfall that’s pretty famous in Chile.  We went with our branch president, President Rojas, and his son, Seba.  It was about an hour away or so, and it was like a road trip.  It was fun.  It had been raining like the whole week, and also that day, but we weren’t worried.  It was so pretty as we were driving up – just out in the middle of nowhere with nature and trees and rivers.  It was cool!

When we were driving, we stopped by this cool waterfall that was called Cascada del Velo de la Novia, which translates to Bridal Veil Falls!  Just like the one in Utah!  Matthew Hendrix and I have good memories there, ha ha.  But it was so pretty.  Just a ton of water gushing down.

Then we kept going, and when we got to the entrance to go to Siete Tazas, they were closed.  That was kinda lame.  But it was cool.  We explored around the entrance and walked around.  There was a river pretty close to us with some dope rapids, so we explored that some.  Then we decided to head back.

The awesome thing is that on the way there, we saw like a ton of places to stop and get food.  So we stopped at one of these places.  We were pretty hungry, and we ordered some empanadas de pino!!!!  It was cool.  The place we went to had all these records hanging on the wall and they were playing the Beatles.  It was awesome.  Overall, a great P-Day!

Then the craziest thing happened.  One of the members here who we visit sometimes served his mission here in the Chile Conception mission.  And he always shows us photos of his mission, which is cool.  The other day, he was showing us his Christmas mission book, which has all the pictures of all the missionaries who were serving at the time.  I looked and there was my bishop from home, Bishop Bujnowski!!!!  It turns out they were serving at the same time, and even more crazy is that the member, David Jara, trained my bishop!  It was insane.  We were freaking out!

Also crazy is that a family we are working with lives outside of Teno, about 20 minutes, and lives in the campo. They are awesome.  They have like a ton of animals like goats, and sheep, and cows, and even some hedge hogs.  We went over there and we played with the animals a bit.  The husband is like a hard core Chileno cowboy.  He is a really good rodeo guy, so he has a ton of photos and books and medals for all the rodeos.  He even gave Elder Smith and I a rodeo book and one of his 1st place medals for each of us.  It was so awesome!  This family is so great.  Only the mom is a member, and we’re working with the rest of the family to have them come to church and get baptized.  I love them so much.

Overall, great things are happening in Teno.  I love it here!  I hope you guys enjoy the 4th of July!

Love,

Elder Halverson

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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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