Monday, April 15, 2013

First Letter From Viña

Letter From Sam WHATS UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy Cow this is like the craziest thing I have ever done! Ok so I don't even know where to begin. By the way I am in the middle of nowhere with a keyboard that doesn't work too well so if i am missing a letter chill out. So let’s begin at the airport. We were late getting to our flight because of the infamous Elder Roberts or something like that. He just didn't show up so we left like 45 min. late to the airport. We got to SLC and it was confusing because we had showed up so late that half of us were locked out of the system (I was not which was nice) we got to the get where we were chewed out by all the flight attendants for being late I don't even know. The flights were good. We arrived in Atlanta and I had a chance to talk to Mom and Dad. If you want more info about my time in the Atlanta airport ask Mom and Dad. After I hung up the phone with Mom and Dad I walked over and got on the plane. We switched around some seats so I ended up sitting next to people in my district which was fun. I was nervous on the flight over but I did sleep a little. I was very nervous because the Church had given us things to memorize when we went though customs We were supposed memorize the phrase saying who we are, and a phrase saying how long we would be in Chile. We were not supposed to say 2 years! We were supposed to say that we would be in Chile for 90 days until we could get a religious visa. We got off the plan and I was like aghhhh! We went and paid our tax thing for being Americans and entering Chile, then after we went to customs. The guys basically spoke English to me and was very nice so it didn't matter. We got out of customs found our bags (Mine were BOTH there which was lucky because one girl had neither of her bags) We then went through more security and then out into the airport area where our president would be waiting. Sadly he was not there. It turns out our flight had arrived like crazy early so we waited. I of course, being the way I am, decided to grab Elder Huntsman and catch the other 30 missionaries that would be coming out in spurts and tell them where to go (we were the fist to come out of security). After a while of doing that President Kahnlien showed up with his wife and two assistants. He is very tall like at least 6 foot 7 or something like that. The assistants gave us some passalong cards and told us while we were waiting to go hand them out. We were all nervous and everyone didn't want to do it so they just got in a circle and stated talking. Elder Seamons and I however decided to do as they asked and go find someone. I was super nervous because I don't speak Spanish. Well, I didn't speak Spanish. Elder Seamons was from the Intermediate class so he had better Spanish than me so he initiated the conversation with someone. He said a lot in the one contact we did but I did explain a little bit about the Book of Mormon. We gave him a passalong card and we got his number. We were proud of ourselves that we did that. Once everyone was ready we took a quick picture in the airport and then went to the bus. It was hot outside and I was in my jacket. The Elders helped load the bus which wasn't easy because we ran out of room so some of the suitcases had to go on seats. I was sweating a lot when I got on the bus. 

There were actually already people on the bus about 15 or so. All of them were natives so I thought they were our trainer but then I realized that they were actually missionaries reporting to the mission that day from the Santiago MTC. I sat in the back and talked with them which was fun. They taught us some Spanish and we taught them some English. The trip from santiago to Viña is about 2 hours. One we got to Viña it was crazy. They stopped the bus on this mountain and we were able to take pictures of the whole city and coast. Super cool. They then took us to the famous Viña flower clock where we took a picture which is on the blog. the blog is This is the cool part. They then took all 30 of us and asked us who wanted to go do some missionary work. I raised my hand along with a few others and they called us to the front. They then divided us into companionships (I got paired with one of the natives from the Santiago MTC) gave us book of Mormons with the mission home address and said go find it and don't come home until you've given that book away!!!!  Crazy right. So anyways, they dropped people off in other parts of the city (now we know actually parts of the city closer to the mission home). But my temporary companion and I just left right from the flower clock. It was hard to communicate but we were able to do it. We found an old woman taking her groceries home and we decided to help her and teach her about the Book of Mormon. My companion talked a lot but I said some things too. We ended up getting her address and giving her the Book of Mormon. We asked from directions a lot after that but we were eventually able to find the mission home. We then had pizza for lunch which was good. After lunch we had a ton of business things to do. Some of us stayed to be interviewed by the president, others were interviewed by the nurse, and others went to the consulate to sign some stuff. We all had to do all three, it just depended which order we did it in. I interviewed with president first which was fun. He said I had a powerful testimony which I liked. I just told him about my life so he could get to know me. After that I met with the nurse Sister Hugie. She is older and is from Utah. After I had finished filling out a bunch of papers and doing all the interviews I went with a group to the consulate to sign some things. Once we had all finished in my group of six they told us to gather our stuff put it in the van and they would take us to an apartment for the night. We slept in the nicest apartment (pension) in the mission that night . It’s the apartment some of the office Elders stay in. It was actually a pretty nice apartment. In my group there was a mix of native elders and English elders so we had fun hanging out and getting to know each other. They don't have dinner here but at around 9 the Office Elders came back with snacks for everyone which was awesome.

The next day we had orientation at the institute building in Viña which was cool but not to crazy so I don't need to say much about it. Now for the fun stuff! Right after orientation (which went like all day) around 5 we had transfers. They had all the new missionaries sit on the stand and they called transfers one by one. My Companion is Elder Powner! He is 20 years old (one month younger then me his birthday is in March). I serve in the Las Americas Ward in the (I think) Villa Alemena Oeaste stake. I think it’s that stake because that’s the name of my zone. We are about an hour or so, maybe 45 min., east of Viña Del Mar. We took the Metro to get here which was cool. Our ward has about 100 active members and they are really glad we are here. They completely white-washed this area which means they took out the old elders and put in new ones. The plus side is the ward is happy because they feel better but us then the old Elders. but the downside is that we don't know the area so these last few days have been focused on that. If you want to know where I live go to Google maps a type in Las Americas, Villa Alemana, Chile. My ward basically covers all those nice little houses and then way out there in the boonies. Scroll in on the (A) a little more and look for that green streak going through my area. That’s a creek and a couple blocks below that is a road with train tracks next to it. If you can zoom up on the M of the train station for Las Americas but not to far to the bottom left you might be able to see a big supermarket it’s called Unimarc. RIght next to it and I mean right next to it is the chapel we meet in. I would tell you where I live but it would take to long and I don't have much time. We live in what would be considered a house here. It actually is pretty nice but just a little dirty so were excited to clean it today. Mondays ae our P-days. Tuesdays are zone coordination that Elder Powner has to go to because he is DL. Wednesday is usually District meeting but this Wednesday is Zone conference. Thursdays are normal and so are Fridays. Saturdays we usually have service in the mornings and Sundays we have Church. Lots of people say my Spanish is very good. They say they can understand what I am saying which I guess is a really big deal. They also say I understand a lot of what they are saying which makes me feel good. This is my companion’s first time training but from what he has said about his experience being trained I am doing a thousand times better which makes me feel good. I am doing well so don't worry about me. I left my camera charger in the MTC so unless they send it to me which I don’t think they will I might need a new camera. I can’t really do anything about the issue here so that’s on you guys. If you want to know where to mail letters or packages scroll back to my Facebook history with all the address. If you can’t find it then maybe you can call the mission or the church and they can give it to you guys. Love YA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Cropper

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