Monday, April 25, 2011

Alex's 36th email from Chile 4/25/11

The weather is changing. I had to smile when I saw he  was wearing his gloves. This is the boy who told me he didn't need to take any gloves with him :)

Hola Familia!!!

This week was awesome. Monday we had a sweet Noche de Hogar with Alan and Hermana Jessica. We made some french toast which they had never had and they loved it!  They ate soo much.  I brought some peanut butter which they had not tried either and they fell in love. I ended up giving it and they finished the whole container in two days!  We watched the new Joseph Smith movie with them and they loved it. 
 Elder Leavitt & Elder Sellers making french toast.

Basically this week was a blur for me. It went by so fast it is hard to remember what happened.  I keep getting all the days mushed together in my head. One day it just rained like crazy.  We are definitely in fall now.  So I brushed off my rain coat which I had not yet used yet and it worked to perfection. So something interesting about Chile ya. They hate waking up in the morning.  For that I am positive.  We wake up at 7:00 in the morning compared to the 6:30 for other missions. On normal sunny days people don't wake up until like 11 or 12.  Well apparently when it rains it is even worse.  We got to our lunch appointment at 1:30 and no one answered.  We were confused cause we had talked to them the day before and they knew we were coming.  So we called them and they still didn't pick up.  Finally after like 20 mins one of the sons answers the door. THEY WERE ALL STILL SLEEPING!!  That is just ridiculous to me that the whole family; kids and parents included were all asleep.  Well about an hour later we got our lunch haha but it was just a sign of things to come.  We ended up walking alot that day cause no one wanted to come outside to answer the door.  
Alex wearing his raincoat for the first time.

Something cool that I should take a picture of sometime that I think is cool is here in Chile you will find a ton of street performers. Jugglers, dancers just anything. I think its the coolest thing. But ya back to my week.  We met a lot with Diego he is progressing a lot he is awesome. He is a chef and said he wants to cook some Peruvian food for me.  I do like Peruvian food.
Elder Leavitt & Elder Sellers eating lunch at the church after their Sunday meetings.

But Sunday was super cool.  So this Tuesday is changes and surprise! I have changes.  I am pretty excited about it.  But Sunday we had that cool sacrament meeting.  He called up all of the ex missionaries up to share their testimony and some experiences from their missions. I think there were a lot more than he was expecting cause we ran out of time and so me and elder sellers didn't talk but that was fine.  It was cool and perfect timing because we had Nacho there who is 19 inactive but we have been talking to him about serving a mission.  After we had lunch.  Oh in the streets there were a lot of parades of congregations from other churches for Easter and what not but besides that it really wasn't all that eventful. But we went to Nacho's house to talk to him about mission stuff and we ended up having a pretty awesome conversation with his mom.  It came up that I very likely could be leaving so she takes this vase dust it off and gives it to me as a reminder of them and Chile.  It is of the same material of that bowl I sent you guys and famous down here it is soo legit I love it.  Only problem is is that I have no idea how I am going to transport this sucker cause it is kinda big.  But I was blown away cause these things are not cheap and she just gives it to me.  She is really sad I am leaving though.  I have been working a lot with their family. After we went over to Paul's and took him to the chapel where he had his baptismal interview where he passed!  And then asked me to baptize him.  Unfortunately I will not be here so Elder Sellers will. I am just happy that he is being baptized.  He is a super good kid that just wants to do what is right.  He will be awesome I know it. 
That is a lot of Coke!!!
Our other son's went to Mexico on their missions and they drank a lot of Coke there also.

Then when I got the call last night that I had changes I called Alan and his mom picked up. I told her I had changes and that I would be coming by today to say goodbye and asked if she could have Samantha there too.  She said she could but then started crying on the phone it was soo sad.  I love that family.  They are truly a modern day miracle.  They are fantastic.  I will miss them so much.

To answer your questions there really was nothing special or different about Easter here only the parades of Evangelicos and the Catholics did a reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus which I thought was a little weird. In Malloco we really only yelled or alloed haha.  Here we do both but we do do a lot of actually knocking on the door as well.  I did get that copy of my setting apart thanks a lot it was legit to read it again. Hey can you send me the Kooyman's address I would love to write them a little note.  I love that family.  I miss those guys haha.  I still think she easily could be the best girlfriend I have ever had. (Olivia Kooyman is 4 yrs. old and that is who Alex is referring to as his best girlfriend).

Well family I love you and I will talk to you all next week!

        Elder Alex Leavitt

Monday, April 18, 2011

Alex's 35th email from Chile 4/18/11

Querido Faimilia!

This week was awesome but weird, sad, and amazing all at the same time. One, it seemed like this week took forever but went by super fast at the same time I don't know how to explain it. First, last Monday we got word that a missionary who had finished his mission like last change just died.  Both his kidneys failed at the same time.
We had a huge zone conference this last week in Republica.  It was cool. I got to see some of my better friends in the mission there which is always fun to do.  We learned alot about needing to work more with the ward and the Bishop and then fully turning over our hearts to the Lord so we can become the best missionaries that we can be. It was super cool. I really enjoyed President King's lesson on all of that stuff it was legit. 

Tuesday night we had a meeting with he Bishop where he gave me an awesome compliment. He said he has loved how I have really focused on trying to get the youth out with us and work. He said the youth have left more with me than any other missionary and that I have had good relationships with the young men in our ward and that they look up to me. We are going to have a special Sunday next Sunday where it is all going to be focused on missionary work and they are going to have us give talks and have like a question answer type thing haha.  It was cool.  Also he said our ward has grown a ton in the last couple of months with baptisms and alot of inactive families starting to come back.  He said on Sunday to that they had been talking to the stake president and they may actually be adding on to the chapel because it is a small chapel and we are starting to fill our biulding and not have room for everyone.  The church owns the lot next to the chapel so they will use that to expand it.

I had a super cool experience on Friday. Friday I had divisions. I went with Elder Sanchez the greenie from Peru in my sector. It was awesome, well although a ton of our citas fell through we did a ton of contacting.  Now I generally don't enjoy doing contacts.  But this was the first time where I felt like I was doing awesome. I had confidence and took the lead and was being super stubborn and not letting people say no and we had a ton of people say we could come back and visit with them.  Now who knows if they will let us in then but for the contacting part it was awesome and a little miracle for me in my life as a missionary.  I don't know if I explained that well enough that you get it but for me it was a super cool experience.

Also I had been told this before, but Elder Sanchez told me the same thing after our divisions were over that I like to (Dar Palos) when I teach.  Now in English it means that I like to give beatings when teaching. Basically that I just teach straight up and in there face and it can make some people uncomfortable.  But I have come to realize that at least for me, that people Understand a principal when it is given straight to them.  For example this was me giving the Palo on our division. We were teaching an inactive kid about the Holy Ghost.  Now we know that we have the Holy Ghost when we are obedient to the commandments. Lots of people just teach that principal and hope the person gets it that they are not being obedient and therefore they don't have the Holy Ghost with them. I told him straight up that he did not have the Holy Ghost with him, explained why, and then asked him to think back to when he last had the Holy Ghost in his life as his companion. Then explained why we need it, and the blessings from having it with us. Personally, I have come to realize that more people "get it" when you teach like that. The Gospel is simple, if little kids can understand that one needs to be obedient to recieve blessings anyone can and we need to teach straight up and clear so people are not left with questions or doubts.  Then it is up to them to make the change in their lives. Some people are not comfortable with maybe offending someone but personally I think it would not be fair to them if us as missionaries do not teach clearly even if they may take offense if you call them out on some things.  Sorry if this didn't seem relevent but it was just on my mind and came out.

Saturday we had a ward lunch it was good.  We have a Mexican in our ward that made some delicious chicken. It made me miss Mexican food. Also we are truly having a weather change. It does not start getting light until like 8:30 in the morning it is crazy!!

Sunday was amazing!! We had a ton of our inactive families we have been working with come to church! It was soo cool to see and especially for me to see this ward just grow. But the miracle was that last week we had recieved a refferal of this lady from a member.  He saw this lady carrying bags and offered to help her carry them. He took them all the way to her house.  She was struck by this and asked who he was.  He explained he was a member of the church and what not and she said she wanted to learn more.  We had passed by her house but was not home so we left a card with our number.  She called us during the week and said she would come to our church service Sunday and she came!!  Also she made the comment that she would like to join herself with our church haha its awesome truly a miracle.  Her name is Estrella and we will meet with her again this week.

To answer your questions: Yes I have saved a good amount of my Easter candy for this weekend :)  We have stopped going by Daniel he just could not ever remember what we taught him and never wanted to complete with our commitments. Diego is still progressing he is awesome, Jessica is amazing as ever.  That family is just amazing. Paul was not able to come to church so I probably will not be her when he is baptized :( but the important part is that he is baptized so its ok. Maximuss and his wife are just always super busy so it is hard to meet with them. Favorite things to eat; I love Completos dinamico style, but better yet is the As which I told you about at Christmas.  Also I love empanadas.  Speaking of which, it is starting to be empanada season again.  I am excited. No worries I am taking plenty of photos or at least I think I am no se. Umm off the top of my head I can't think of anything that I am in need of if you think of anything go for it haha.

Well I think that just about does it. Mom just remember Elder Uchtdorf's talk about speed bumps and slowing doing don't get too stressed :) I am glad to hear how awesome everyone is doing and what not. Is the Tyler that asked Sarah to prom the one from volleyball??  Man the mission is just so legit.  I am loving.  Ok guys I will talk to you all later!!

Con Mucho Amor,
                            Elder Alexander Leavitt

P.S. Alex received an email with pictures from Elder Pedraza thanking him for all he did for him etc.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Know Your Chilean Sandwich Types

The completo is a type of hot dog eaten in Chile. It is usually served with ingredients such as avocado, diced tomato and mayonnaise. In this form it may be known as an "italiano" (Italian Completo) or Tomate-Palta-Mayo (TPM [Tomato-Avocado-Mayonaise]). With the common addition of sauerkraut, known locally as chucrut, it may be called "classic completo". Ketchup, mustard and Aji chileno are the typical condiments.

Chileans love to each sandwiches, frequently called sánguches. These aren’t small sandwich bites or plain, boring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Chilean sandwiches have history, character, personality, flavor, and can be so big you need a fork to eat them.

Sandwich Shops

There are various restaurants, cafes, or “soda fountains” (fuentes de soda) that specialize in favorite Chilean sandwiches. At Donde el Guaton, for example, you can get a massive sandwich that fills an entire plate.

Classic Chilean Sandwiches

When you see a menu at a cafe or restaurant, you may encounter some of these classic Chilean sandwiches:

Barros Luco – thinly sliced beef and melted cheese sandwich named after Chilean president Ramón Barros Luco who always asked for this sandwich at his favorite eatery

Barros Jarpa – a ham and melted cheese sandwich named after President Barros Luco’s cousin, Ernesto Barros Jarpa who frequently requested this sandwich variation

Lomito – pork sandwich often served with mayo, sauerkraut, tomatoes, avocado, and more. The lomito is probably the most famous Chilean sandwich

Chacarero – typically a thinly sliced beef sandwich usually topped with green beans (porotos verdes) in addition to tomatoes and chili pepper. I’ve also seen this sandwich with chicken or pork.

This is one sandwich if you can believe it??!!

Bread Types

You may also get to choose the type of bread for your sandwich. Typical choices include frica (a round roll), molde (from a loaf baked in a pan), or marraqueta (kind of like French bread). I’d recommend you try the frica bread.

Sandwich Variations

Building on the basic sandwich, you can get a variety of toppings to customize your sandwich.
For example, you can ask for a sandwich clásico, completo, or italiano, all with different ingredients.

Clásico – just the sandwich

Completo – “complete” will include everything but may vary based on location. Be prepared for tomato, avocado, mayo, sauerkraut, and more.

Italiano – sandwich topped with avocado, tomato, and mayo.

Whatever you get, it will be tasty. Enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Alex's 34th email from Chile 4/11/11

A view of the Andes Mountains from Alex's apartment.
Hola Familia!!

Well this week has been a blast and I have had a lot of things happen this week  I love the mission :) 
First! I was kissed by a drunk guy again....on the neck. I don't even use spray or anything just stick I don't know why they feel the need to kiss me so much. 
This week we found this guy named Daniel.  He is 74 his wife died about a year ago and has no kids.  He is super lonely. We were able to teach him three times last week and like I said we found him last week.  He is super awesome, it is just going to be super slow teaching him and I am sure he will progress slower too. He is super Catholic and has those belief and traditions but he is progressing. We are really focusing on the Plan of Salvation and how he can live with his wife again after this life if he is obedient to the commandments that God has given us. So that is Daniel. 
Also we found another new!  His name is Diego Alveres and is his sooooo legit.  I am super excited about him.  Like I said we have been really working on reactivation here in Lo Ovalle.  So we saw there was a Family Alveres who were not active and hunted them down. Well turns out her husband is not a member and has been super interested in taking the lessons!!  This guy is Golden!!  He is soo awesome he is always just super into our lessons has all of these awesome questions.  It's weird to explain but when we teach him it is just easy.  Just easy he gets it all gets how it all links together.  I just love him.  He couldn't come to church this week because he is Peruvian, and Peru had their presidential elections this past Sunday and the polls were open only during church well at least here in Chile. But he said next Sunday si o si or yes or yes.  I love the Guy.  Weirdly though he said I have a Portuguese accent when I talk.  So now I am confused before I was Russian and now Portuguese.  I personally think I still sound Gringo. 

This week did have a big downside though. I got super sick on Wednesday.  That whole night I was vomiting (from both ends) like crazy.  It was terrible I probably didn't get more than like an hours sleep.  So Thursday I was just out of commission. But I slept a lot and have been progressing.  But I am good now so that's all that matters :)  Then Saturday night it rained like crazy but was done before morning but it was just crazy overcast all day and colder which was ok with me because of how hot it has been.  But now Monday its back to normal sun out not a single cloud in the sky. 
"Chilean Sunrise" another view from Alex's apartment. 
Sunday Paul couldn't have his baptismal interview because his dad was sick and had to take care of him.  So his baptism is being pushed back another week :( makes me sad.  So now it should be on the 24 of April.  Awesome News!! Jessica officially on Sunday has not smoked for a week and participated in the Sacrament.  She was very excited and has said she really only had one day where she wanted to smoke :)  That family is amazing.  
Today we had a little zone activity in the chapel and played various games and activities. 
(Check out the video below of part of the zone activity the Elder's had today.  They refer to Alex as "LeBron James."  That would be LeBron James of the cheese puff game - at least it looks like cheese puffs to us)

We have interviews with President King every other change. Elder Sellers didn't confirm Samantha the bishop did. I got your package mom last week thank you for the chocolate.  I haven't barely touched it cause of being sick but no worries, now that I am all better it wont last long. We have not been able to catch Maximus in House which makes me sad but he and his wife just have a super crazy schedule its hard too.  I heard Winter should be kicking in here full force in about another month or so.

Well that was my week as best as I can remember.  Hey one thing, we haven't been given times or anything to be able to plan anything but we need to start figuring stuff out for the Skype call coming up for mothers day :) so just let me know or keep that in mind. I love you all I pray for you guys every night :)

Con Mucho Amor y Cariño,

                                         Elder Alexander Thomas Leavitt

I totally forgot an awesome story!! So we were at Alan's house and Hermana Jessica was like "I want a man."  I totally just started laughing.  She was like "what!" I said "nothing just make sure he is a member hermana".  She asked where she could find one.  Then I was like "hey I swear there is like some LDS singles site you could sign up on."  So one day we made Hermana Jessica an LDS singles profile it was so funny. While she was making it she was like a giddy little school girl.  It was the funniest thing ever.

Also since this is a short thing here are some injuries and other random photos I haven't shown you guys :)

The guy in the Colo-Colo jersey was a drunk in our apartment building who is a fanatic of Colo-Colo and got super excited when he saw a gringo was repping his team and insisted on taking a picture with me.

Full moon shot

Monday, April 4, 2011

Alex's 33rd email from Chile 4/4/11

This is how Elders play ping pong......with their journals!

Hola Familia!!!

This was an amazing week filled with tons of blessings. It was just awesome. We have been working super hard as always and I am loving it.  Me and Elder Sellers are having a blast and we get along super well.  Our Zone leader today actually told me today while we were playing soccer that he has noticed how good of a companionship and how close we are.  So I thought that was cool. 

Tuesday was the "Dia de Jovenes" or the "Day of Teenagers", there are like two every year where kids storm the streets and just cause public damage type stuff and go crazy.  The whole day everyone was telling us we need to get into the house early and we said as soon as we see something we will go right in. Luckily we live in a good part of town I guess cause no one was in the streets that night.  Everyone is so scared nobody left haha.  We were honestly the only ones out but I guess in another part a house was burned down crazy!

Also we had interviews with President this last week!!  I love that man. He said I have progressed a ton especially in my Spanish it was cool.  Also I asked him if he knew how Elder Padraza has been since going home.  He didn't know but then told me that when he took Elder Pedraza to the Airport he told him to tell me he loved me and was thankful for everything I did for him.  That really meant alot for me to hear that and was one of those tender mercies from God :) 

Hey really quick before I forget.  What do you mean Sarah was better than all the kids with her teeth? Do you not remember I went to a dance the same night I got mine out??? I was golden and didn't even swell up psh.  How quickly you forget haha!

Ok back to my week. So we taught Paul this last week he should have his baptismal interview this Sunday. We told him about conference and got super excited and was like "Hey can i come?"  He wanted to go to all 5 sessions but couldn't come Saturday cause it was his dads turn to have him. 

Alex loves to play ping pong and it looks like he can improvise when there are no paddles.

Elders listening to conference and taking notes in their journals.
Conference was amazing!!!!!!! I loved it and they go by soo quick on the mission it is ridiculous!!  I have never taken so many notes while at conference.  One of my favorites was during the first Saturday session.  It was from a 70 and I can't remember his name right now but his talk was about pain and our need for pain in this life.  It was really cool and I liked it a lot.  I have a lot of notes on it.  But also something super random happened too during that talk.  Well I guess not super random, but I have been set on being an orthopedic surgeon for awhile but during that talk the random thought came into my mind that maybe I should be an obstetrician the Doctor that works with pregnant woman and the birthing process.  Thinking about it I think it would be super cool to do.  But who knows, I have awhile to think about it.  Apparently I know I need to be some type of doctor.  Alan went to all 5 sessions of conference and loved it he is an amazing kid.  This past Sunday was probably the best Sunday I have ever had in my entire life. 1. it was conference, 2. Paul came to conference and loved it!  He was just super excited and I asked him what talk was his favorite and he couldn't decide he liked 3 or 4 of them and the coolest part was he was telling me all about them and why he liked them. 3. Samantha Limni salvo Guzman was baptized.  She is adorable.  I love that girl. The only part that didn't please me about the baptism is that her dad's family came which is fine but some came drunk.  They didn't act bad but it's like "come on it's a baptism" and if you are in the state you are not going to feel the spirit of it.  When I baptized Samantha one of them stood up and started clapping crazily.  I did laugh a little at that but still.  But the poor girl they didn't have hot water and the water was freezing. She almost started crying but as soon as I started the prayer she calmed down and it was beautiful.  After she was confirmed and given the Holy Ghost. 

After Conference we took Paul home then went to Samantha's house.  They invited us over.  There was alcohol there so we grabbed a couple of churripan and headed on our way.  I feel so bad for that little girl.  Her dad and his whole family are way into drinking and I mean hard drinking.  She was just sitting in a corner just trying to ignore it all.  But after we left Hermana Jessica asked us to come over.  So we went over to her house where she told us because of President Monson's talk she is going to drop smoking that night.  Remember that we had made a calendar for her to stop smoking?  But because of the talk she is determined to just stop.  Then she asked us if we could give her a blessing and directly asked me to give her one. Now up to this point in my mission I have tried to just kind of hand it off to my companion because although my Spanish is way better I just don't want to mess up someone's blessing. But there was no getting out of this one. So I gave my first blessing in Spanish and it was awesome.  I was definitely assisted by the spirit on this one and it was such an amazing spiritual experience for me and for her.  It was just way neat and now I for sure don't have any fears for giving blessings in Spanish.  I love this gospel and how it just blesses and how we can receive strength and help from our heavenly father.

Lunch at the church between conference sessions.

Look!! They have Canada Dry in Chile!!!

Paul is great as I have said.  Maximus and his family are good we are going to try and pass by for their place this week. Alan's dad I am pretty sure is a member I think that is what he told me.  If he is he is not active. I got Dad's package this last week.  I don't know if he did it on purpose but he put two copies in there so I gave one to Elder Sellers haha!   Elder Sellers is awesome and the other two are doing good.  I think Elder Sanchez is a little home sick.  Every night he while in bed he looks and pictures of his friends and family.  I don't know how common that is.  I never did that.  Like ya, I miss you guys but I am just stoked and excited to be here.  The only other person I have seen just constantly looking at his photos was Elder Pedraza.

Elder Sellers, Samantha & Elder Leavitt

Well guys I love you all a ton. I do miss you but I am just so happy to be here doing what I am doing. I pray you are all safe and loving life. I will talk you next week :)

Con Mucho Amor,

                              Elder Alexander Leavitt

P.S. Alex sent two more little emails after this one.  Here they are:

"Oh forgot to tell you that you two were blessed to have me as a child. I tested your patience and helped you two progress as children of God. That's what conference said.  I can't remember who said it though look it up haha"

"Also the guy sitting next to me had an email that was in English and asked me to translate it for him which I did legit!"