well certainly a crazy week. first I’ll start out with the week.
Elder H and I had a sweet NDH (FHE) with a family. We brought a lot of members from the word to visit with them. I think it went really well.
We had an awesome lunch with our mamita (lady who washes our clothes) She is very rich because her husband is a doctor. She is such a nice person since she really washes our clothes well and irons them that I suggested we buy her flowers and write her a card. We bought her her favorite flower and wrote her a card (using the ones Shalise gave me so thanks for that) During dinner there was a huge fire in Viña, a gas station caught fire and they were super worried about it. We went up to the roof of her building to go look at it. Nothing crazy happened, nobody died either which was good. After that we laid in the sun for a bit on top of her building. It was a nice day.
By far the most uninteresting day of the week. Usually if you are getting a new assignment they call you on Tuesday. My old ZLs told me that had recommended me over Elder J the other DL to be ZL. But I didn't get the call so I assumed Elder H would leave (because he had a ton of time in the area) And I would go. Wednesday morning they called me (in the shower) to give us changes. They told us we were both leaving (white washing our area) I felt pretty bad about this because I had felt like I had failed and that’s why they were whitewashing it. I also felt like I had Failed as DL because they were going to move me (not unheard of to get moved as DL but usually you stay in the same area) Nonetheless we continued with our day, we left to go to Viña centro to get my Carnet (license) which just shows I have a visa and am legal. While we were walking down the road president gave me a call, which made my heart beat like a million times per hour. He told me that God had called me to be one of the Zone Leaders in the mission, and said that even though I was very young in the mission he knew i could do it, and he felt that I was a natural leader and that’s why I was being called so early. Well--it was nice because I wasn't as nervous as when I was called to be a DL. I told president I accepted and then asked him for advice, I think he told me to baptize or something like that.
Anyways, we came home and packed our stuff because we would both be leaving. Said goodbye to some members, it was sad to leave, I liked that ward, then we went to the change meeting. President was sick and was not in the change meeting so his second counselor did the changes. I already knew I was going to one of the Zones in the north because the assistants called to tell me I was and that I needed to put my bags in a certain place. At the change meeting Elder T, one of the assistants and also my grandpa in the mission (just means he trained Elder P) came up and congratulated me and asked me if i was excited and ready for La Serena. Lol the dude told me where I was going before the change meeting even began. He felt bad that he messed up and told me, but he later told me he was super excited because I’m like his grandson and I was going to be a ZL, and starting in the zone where he started as ZL a year ago. All mission family stuff. Anyways, I got to see all of my friends which was nice. Elder S and Elder H, elders from my MTC group, got called to be District Leaders and train this change which is super cool, More difficult than the situation I was in. Elder S and I never got along in the MTC but I still went up to congratulate him. I asked him if he wanted any advice just to be silly and he gave me this really weird look. I don’t think he knew I had already been a DL. Anyways, I didn't want to just tell him right out so I just laughed it off and told him he do a great job, whatever.
Anyways, after the change meeting I got on the bus to the North. La Serena is 8 hours away from Viña. The rumor is that president only puts missionaries he can trust in the north. I didn't think that was true at first but every missionary in my zone is like rock solid so Idk. I guess it would make sense I mean we are super far away from president. I rode on the bus with my best friend Elder R (he is also my grandp, he finished Elder P’s training in the mission) He goes home at the end of this change but we are best buds. I also chatted with a completely new missionary who was coming to my zone. Ugh he’s a boss I am recommending him for DL the second they ask me for one.
we arrived early that morning into La serena. There were a ton of missionaries there because La Serena has two zones. My zone is La Serena the other is La Serena Norte. La Serena means the “serene” or however you spell that. It’s a vacation spot and is really pretty. I work in the center of downtown which is awesome. It looks a lot like Germany in certain places. Lots of cool buildings and Catholic churches. My companions name is Elder L. He grew up in Florida in a city north of Orlando, but now his family lives in Utah. It was cool to talk with him because he actually knew he would be training me as Zone Leader like 2 weeks ago. Every month Zone leaders and Sister Training leaders go south or just go to Viña to have a meeting that’s just called mission council or something like that. That’s where president talks about new rules or protocals, and he gives a message. Elder Larsen said that during a break during this meeting president pulled him aside and told him he would be training a VERY young Zone Leader but that he knew Elder Larsen was the right person to do it. he told him that he felt together we would accomplish great things. Anyways kind of cool to know that all of it had actually been decided weeks in advance. Elder Larsen came in the same group as Elder P and Elder B. That means of my 4 companions 3 have been from the same MTC group. Obviously I need to learn something from that group. Thursday we just worked.
We had our first Zone Meeting this day. Its the most stressfull part of the month for Zone leaders. It’s the one meeting that we are in charge of and its super long. Basically for Zone class we present what president presented to us in the Mission council this month. I had not been to this meeting obviously because I was a new ZL so It was pretty difficult. None the less, I still think the meeting went really well and I felt like presented at least half of the thing. Another funny thing that happened that day was we helped this drunk guy. There was one drunk man helping another more drunk man to a Hogar de Cristo which means house of Christ. It’s basically just a homeless shelter. We helped both of them get there and then got into a bible bash with some people there. Elder L likes to bible bash. I struggle with it because it wastes time. He says he likes it because we are defending the faith. Who cares about defending the faith when people aren’t going to listen.
Saturday we had that awesome breakfast with our American ward mission leader. he works for a company that’s basically owned by the church. Its that huge farming company. This company has a ton of property in Chile so he lives there with his wife. He speaks Spanish but his wife doesn't. Saturday morning we always have our weekly meeting, and they make us breakfast. They are super nice, but they don’t treat us like there children. They are super polite and don't ask to much about our lives. THey are a little weird. I wish they would kind of treat us like their kids (the other elders do too) I mean we are the only Americans for miles. Breakfast was super good but there wasn't enough of it so ugh dang.
Went to church, felt the spirit, good stuff.
So that’s my week, it was pretty eventful. Well my goal as district leader was to figure out how to be the best district leader. As Zone leader its very different, and I really feel like we don't do very much. I have presented a number of ideas to Elder L of things we could do but he always doesn't really want to get on board with them or shoots them down because he says that the DLs job. A lot of the things I present are things my old ZLs did. I don’t know, I just feel like we don't do very much. I also am realizing that I was a very different DL then another people. I called my district every night, got numbers every night, and tracked all of it on paper. I would also call the ZLs every night and give an update and pass off numbers. Our district leaders sometimes don’t call us every night and they deffinatly don’t pass off numbers. Its just all so different. I’ll just have to observe more this week and if i really feel like the things i want to do need to be done I’ll just do them, even if Elder L doesn’t want to get on board. I struggle with Elder L sometimes because he’s just crazy obedient. He’s not very funny so I am not really having a good time with him. he also doesn’t like talking after 11 (when we are supposed to be in bed) because of that I don’t feel like I know him that well. He’s got kind of a dry sense of humor, for example he just started laughing because his dad told him he had to get a colon scan. I don’t know--we will see what happens. I probably just need to serve him more. I really don’t want companion issues this change.
rock the zone leader and figure out how to do it perfectly. (dad) id like to know what you did as ZL...so let me know.
Don’t have companion issues and become close with Elder L.
Thats all i got for this week.
You all rock love ya.
This is a nice message from the Ward Mission Leader in La Serena, Chile
Springtime is coming, ready or not. The early blooming trees are already in full flower. It's overcast today, so it doesn't look like we will get out of the 50s. We regularly see the mid 60s in the sunshine.
I am the Ward Mission Leader of the La Serena 1st Ward. We have some new missionaries here in our ward. I try to send an email when new missionaries arrive, so you can see how your son is doing and know where he is.
From left to right in the photo...
Elder Cropper from Bettendorf, IA. He arrived this past Tuesday (transfer day) in the wee hours.
Elder Larsen from Draper, UT (companion to E. Cropper). Elder Larsen has been with us for several weeks. Sorry, but I think I may have missed sending an email when he arrived.
Elder Newbold from West Jordan, UT. He arrived in company with Elder Cropper and others (for nearby wards) on Tuesday.
Elder Pickett from Oceanside, CA, who arrived a couple of weeks back, when I was out of the country.
Don't they look great? They are all doing well. We are glad to have them here with us.
This picture is just before missionary coordination meeting. We meet in my home each Saturday morning, and provide cooked breakfast afterwards to make it worthwhile. This morning, a dozen eggs, a pound of bacon, toast, potatoes and juice. They can really put it away!
La Serena, Chile has an adjoining city called Coquimbo. The two cities combined have a population of about 500,000. That means we have several Walmarts (called Lider here), 2 McDonald's, a Subway Sandwich, a Pizza Hut, and all the local fooderies too. It wouldn't surprise you to know that the fast food is adjusted for local taste preferences (>sigh< not really the taste of home).
It's a blessing to associate with your son in the missionary work.
Mike (and Kelly) Thompson