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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Week 34 – Teno, Chile

Hey guys!

This week has been pretty awesome.  Crazy, but awesome.

First of all, our water got cut last Thursday!  As a missionary, you get receipts and bills on the gate, then what you have to do is take them to the zone leaders, and they will take them to the mission office to be paid.  The problem with this is that we have forgotten to do it, ha ha, so we didn’t have water.  It was pretty lame!  We weren’t able to shower, do dishes, clean, etc.  We went to the church a few times to do sink showers and wash our hair!  And then we also had some 2 or 3 liter bottles that we filled up at the church to do dishes, clean, etc.  We finally got water last Monday.  It was pretty disgusting.

But then the next day, Tuesday, our electricity was cut!  So, sure, we could shower and do dishes, but at night we couldn’t see, ha ha.  The bigger problem is that here in Chile, house insulation doesn’t exist.  And it’s getting pretty cold down here.  The only thing that saves us is this little electric heater, but we didn’t have any electricity.  So for the whole week, we could see our breath in the house!  We kept calling the electric company, but they said there wasn’t anything they could do.  Then Saturday, they sent someone over, but all they could fix were the lights.  Last night, our branch president came and fixed it!  So now we are good, ha ha.  We have electricity AND water!

Also, this week, we had zone conference.  It was way good!  Pretty much what we did for that is we went to Curico, to the stake center.  Then all the missionaries from the two Curico zones came and we had presentations from our mission president, his wife, assistants, etc.  They are usually about how we can increase our teaching ability or improve as missionaries.  President Harris talked about personal study.  It was way good.  He related it to us in our teaching and stuff.  He also gave us a bunch of ideas on how we can focus our personal study.  It was great.  Then the assistants and the zone leaders did their stuff on the focus of the mission, which is working with members.  Then we also did little practices with our districts about it.  It was a really awesome zone meeting.  I learned a lot.

We also had interchanges this week, too.  I went to Rancagua with Elder Aguillar.  It was incredible!  We were contacting in this really nice area, and things were going pretty slow.  No one really wanted to hear from us, it was late, and we were tired.  So we stopped, said a prayer for guidance, and then continued.  Literally, the next house we went to a person came outside!!  Then we told him we were missionaries, and he let us in directly after that.  We sat down and talked with him.  HIs name was Juan.  He was super nice!  Then we gave him the lesson.  I basically just taught him about the restoration, and the Book of Mormon.  At the end, he just looked at us and said, “Wow, that makes sense!  I am going to read this book and ask if it’s true!”  It was absolutely amazing!!  He was the most really prepared and receptive investigator I have ever seen!  Now I know for sure that God does prepare people to receive his gospel.  We don’t know when, how, why, etc., but Christ is in all places, and at all times.  Miracles are real.  God really does answer our prayers.

I love you all!  Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Halverson

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Week 33 – Teno, Chile

Hey guys!

This week has seriously been awesome.  First of all, we had a priesthood activity on Wednesday.  What we did is meet at the church and think about the families that are in need.  We then divided up and went to visit each of the families.  It was great.  I went with the branch president to visit a couple members.  It was really special.  I got to know him a lot better and definitely now know that he is a beast.  It is so awesome to be working with him.

We also had interchanges, too.  I went with Elder Gutierrez in his sector.  He is a great guy.  We had some lessons together, and even though we aren’t comps or we don’t know each other too well, we clicked!  It definitely showed me even more the power of the Holy Ghost in missions.  We really aren’t the ones teaching.  We are just instruments in God’s hands.  Overall, it was a good day with him.  I learned some good things from him.

Also, we have new investigators!!  Remember that drunk guy we met last week?  We had a lesson with him and his family!  It was so awesome!!  We basically just had a basic lesson about the love of God for us and the husband actually is inactive, but he remembered a lot of stuff.  He introduced his wife and his daughter to the Book of Mormon and we talked about baptism.  The spirit there was so strong, and the mom expressed a desire for her daughter to be baptized!  It was great.  We’re pumped to see them progress.

Have a great week!

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Week 32 – Teno, Chile

Hey Guys!

This week has been so awesome.  Things here in Teno are seriously amazing.  This past week, we had an interview with our mission president.  It was so sweet.  President Harris is such a good guy.  We mostly talked about our work here in Teno and he gave us some pretty good ideas to help us.  Overall, it was great.

Also this week, the missionary work has been fantastic!  We met some really good future investigators!  Last night, we were walking back to the house and there were two drunk guys calling us to come over.  Not going to lie, I was pretty scared.  They both had hands in their pockets, and I was really nervous, but we went with it.  It’s not unusual to have drunk guys talk to us, but usually we just pass by them.  This time, we went and talked to them.  I started talking to one of them, and Elder Smith talked to the other.  At first, I was a little apprehensive, but this guy started opening up.  He told me that he was the biggest drug dealer in Teno!  He talked about his life, too, and even though he was drunk, I felt impressed to keep talking with him.

We’ve talked to drunk people before, but this guy seemed different.  So we kept talking, and he said, “I want to change my life for Christ.  I’m ready to change.”  Then we handed him a Book of Mormon, and our number, and he almost cried!  Then the guy Smith was talking to turned out to be a less active who wants to come back to church, go to the temple, etc.  And even though they were totally drunk and a little freaky, we both really felt good about it (Smith and I).  It made us think about the story of our branch president here in Teno.  Like ten years ago, he was the same.  Just a bum in the street, with an alcohol addiction.  He talked to the missionaries and turned his life around.  Now he is one of the most faithful members and our branch president!

It just really helped me understand everyone’s potential.  Every single person, no matter who they are, can completely change their life through Christ.  Also, the Lord really protects his children and puts people who want to change where they need to be.  I don’t know where these guys will go, if they really are ready to change their lives, but as missionaries, it’s our job to look at people not as they are, but who they can become.  There is a Mormon Message from Dieter F. Uchtdorf about this topic.  I would love if you would look it up and watch it.  It’s a great video.

Also, it was Mother’s Day this weekend.  It was a lot of fun talking with the fam over Skype!  My mom, of course, was crying the whole time ;-), but overall it was great to see their faces and stuff.

Yesterday, we went to a family’s house for lunch and it was delicious.  We had some really good lunch.  They fed us lasagna and soup.  Then the dad pulled out this giant cake that he had made!  It was so delicious.  It was manjar, which is like this caramel thing, and then piña (pineapple).  We loved it!

Have a great week!  Love you!

Elder Halverson

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Week 31 – Teno, Chile

Hey Guys!

So this week has literally been fantastic!  I am here in Teno now!  It is so awesome.  Teno is pretty sweet.  It is kind of like my last sector, Doñihue, but not quite as country.  It’s more suburbs.  I love it!  I also got my new comp, Elder Smith.  He is an absolute stud.  He is a really hard worker.  He’s so dope.  He’s from Utah, and his actual name is Joseph Smith, ha ha.

Teno is a lot of fun though.  It’s a smaller branch out here, so it’s a lot of working with members.  It’s so cool though.  I’ve only been here a week, and it’s amazing to see the blessings of the gospel.  There are some great families here with some fantastic faith, and it’s awesome.  At the same time, there are a lot of inactive families, as well, so we are working with them, and it is cool to help them try to come back.

We also had stake conference on Saturday and Sunday.  It was awesome.  They had a ton of great speakers.  In fact, there wasn’t one part of it was was boring, ha ha!  It was definitely the best stake conference I have ever been to.  The spirit was there during every speaker.

After that, we went over to a member’s house and made sopapillas.  It was so great!  They are named Familia Jare.  It was so fun.  The mom, Alejandra, was baptized four years ago, and the missionaries who did that came to visit from the US!

It was pretty fun.  It was cool to talk to him and his wife.  Also, they talked about their conversion a little bit and it was great to hear about how Alejandra got converted and everything.

Overall, it was just a great first week here in Teno.  I am pumped to be here with Elder Smith, and to keep working with the people here.

Love you guys!  Have a great week!

Elder Halverson

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Week 30 – Doñihue, Chile

Hellloooo!

Well, this week is transfers.  I am leaving!!  I will be going to Teno tomorrow in Curico.  My new companion is going to be Elder Smith, a white guy!  I am so pumped!  I have been in Doñihue for about six months now, and I am excited for a change.  Pretty much what will happen tomorrow, Tuesday, is all the missionaries in Rancagua will meet in the big bus station.  Then the zone leaders will work out who is coming or going, and they’ll just tell us which tickets to buy and what bus to board.  Curico is pretty south in the mission, so it’ll be pretty cold.  Definitely not looking forward to that, ha ha!

We had our last lunch yesterday with Hermano Willie.  It was a ton of fun just to talk and laugh with him and his family.  They are so great.  I am going to miss them a ton.  They are always so kind and nice to the missionaries.  Overall, Doñihue was a great experience.  It was a pleasure to work there.  It definitely was a hard sector, but I learned a ton there and made a ton of memories and friends.  Everything really does happen for a reason.  Whether it was good or bad, I am grateful for all the experiences in Doñihue.  I am excited to apply it to the rest of my mission and life.

Love you guys!

Elder Halverson

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