Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween in Chile

Now that Alex is in the city I think he might see stores like this.
Halloween in Chile is a great example of globalization and Chilean’s local adaptation of another country’s tradition.
While Halloween is October 31st in Chile, that day wasn’t always celebrated as such.
In fact, November 1st is All Saints Day and is a national holiday in Chile where people will visit cemetaries to honor their deceased ancestors.
In 2008, the Chilean government, recognizing that All Saints Day was a Catholic holiday, established October 31st as “Day of the Evangelical and Protestant Churches” for those of Protestant and Evangelical faiths.
Despite the days around Halloween being set apart for religious holidays, Chileans have slowly adopted the Halloween practices typical of celebrations in the United States.
Large global companies and their pervasive marketing have accelerated the imagery and traditions of a Gringo Halloween in Chile. This includes large displays and decorations at retail stores across the country.
Today many Chileans go Trick-or-Treating in their neighborhoods just like their North American counterparts.
Chileans will dress up in costumes and go door to door proclaiming dulce o trucowith the hopes of getting some candy for their neighbors.
So if you are in Chile on Halloween, don’t be surprised to see little ghosts and goblins wandering the streets.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Alex's 62 email from Chile 10/24/11

Elder Mlazgar & Elder Leavitt

Alex forgot his camera this week but Kim Mlazgar sent some pictures and I have a video from a different mission blog I will include.

Hola Familia!!!

I had a CRAZY WEEK!!! To start it out you know how I have seen my fair share of public urinating?  Well I think I just topped it all off. I now have seen everything. The other day this girl was peeing by a tree. I say girl but it was like a 15 or 16 year old girl peeing!

So on Tuesday Elder Mlazgar and I went on divisions and it was awesome. I am pretty upset cause I forgot my cámara and I was going to send pictures to you guys. But it was way fun we did alot of contacts talked alot and had some good appointments. The kid is a stud.  While we were on divisions a guy almost robbed me!! This dude just comes up behind me, puts his arms around me and starts feeling my leg. He askes me if  I had a phone I told him "no", then a grabs me wrist and looks at my watch and asked me what type of watch was it. I told him I bought it here in Chile for a mil which is almost nothing and then he just leaves. Elder Mlazgar lucked out cause he had his phone and a nice watch on and he didn't even touch him.
Camilo, Elder Leavitt & Sebastian 
(this was posted on his facebook by a member in Chile. I'm assuming from their t-shirts this was taken at the 50th Anniversary Celebration)

OH! we saw all the carabineros (police) just lined up with protests shields and everything ready to fight the students it was awesome!!! So I told you all that I have La Legua which is the most dangerous part of Santiago right?  Well Elder Carcamo and I have started to go in and contact it up. I just felt like we should so thats what's up. We found a couple inactive members who have been inactive for like 15 yrs and we found a couple of new investigators in there. It's so insane it's like walking into a different world. There is a huge wall that just seperates it from the rest of the city so you have to walk in just super obvious haha
I can't remember where I got this picture from. But this is at the 50th Anniversary Celebration with some of the youth he knows. I'm sure this is after when they all stormed the field. He is holding one of the props from one of the dances.

 This week was just amazing.  We tore it up we had overall the best numbers for this week in our district.  We found 8 news in total we had 26 lessons in total and the standard of excellence for the mission is 20 in total. And best of all we set a baptismal date!!!!  His name is Luis and he is super legit.  We were with him yesterday and visiting with his family.  His mom was like "he is only baptizing himself in your church because he likes you guys and the members." Luis turns to his mom and says, "No mom, I am  baptizing myself for their doctrine, it's the closest doctrine to what Christ taught that's why I am getting baptized." It was way awesome!!! Basically in Spanish we are "sacando la mugre!" it's a little vulgar but it explains it all :) Elder Carcamo is just awesome. I love this guy we get along soo well. On Friday I had my first leadership meeting.  We met up in Maipu and had a meeting with all the zone leaders district leaders and president. Remember Elder Braddy? He is from the MTC. We are district leaders together in Republica!!! How sick is that!! So we went together.

Me and Elder Carcamo have been contacting the heck out of this sector and one time we were knocking doors and this lady had a dog and it got out during the contact and just leaps at me, I kicked that thing so hard in the face! The lady then takes her dog and went inside haha she was not happy with me haha. But hey, I was not about to get bit by her dumb dog haha. On Sunday I went on divisions with the our zone leader and it was legit.  We tore it up in my sector at the end we did the whole how did it go thing and his first comment was how impressed he was with my work ethic and how quick I win the confidence of the members and investigators :)

I live in an appartment of 4. My comp and I,  Elder Enamorado and Elder Tognetti.The zone was La Cisterna in the ward or sector of Lo Ovalle. I am now in the zone of Republica but in the ward or sector of Carlos Valdivinos. It is actually the last sector of our mission! I am the farthest away from the coast in my mission. Ya we are still working with some of the news we found last week. I am thinking we can set another baptismal date with this girl we are teaching named Rocio so say a prayer for her this week. This week was good. We had 80 people at church this ward has 500 inactives!!!! insane!!! I am in Republica Zone and we do a lot of zone activities. Today we went bowling!!!  It was sick I bowled a 148. I was very proud of myself. They don't have different accents or dialects the only thing that changes is that in different parts they use diffferent saying and different words thats about it, or at least what I have seen.

Well guys I am working like crazy and with Elder Carcamo we work super well together and get work done. I am way tired though UGH! I just pass out at nights. well I love you all a ton talk to you later!!!

Con Mucho Amor

Elder Alex Leavitt

Here's the video link hope it works. If you look at the bottom row/first row of missionaries and count about 6 in from the end towards the middle and then go up about 6 rows you will see a missionary in a bright orange tie. That is Alex. You can see him from .02 - .15 on the video. At about .14 a missionary walks into the row in front of me and stands in front of him the rest of the time. At least we can see him that little bit. I swear I can hear him singing!!!! :) (This was obviously a practice and not the real event)

50 Year Celebration Singing Missionaries from Mary Ann Essig on Vimeo.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Alex's 61st email from Chile 10/17/11

Can you spot Alex? 
He's about 4 rows up, bright orange tie, turned sideways talking to the Elder next to him. There is a sister with blonde long hair in front of him.

Hola Familia!!!

Wow, where do I begin? Well Monday I finished saying goodbye to my branch. I am not gonna lie. I have never felt so loved by a group of people in my life other than my family. Everyone was crying when I said goodbye. On Tuesday as I was waiting for the bus I got a phone call from President King. He was like "hey I forgot to call you last night but I would like you to be District Leader in your new sector". So now I am district leader crazy eh?

I am now in Republica, in Carlos Valdivinos. My apartment building is on the street Mozart and it's like 200 something. I will try to get a better and more precise direccion for you if you can't find it. My companion is Elder Carcamo he is from Peru and is a greenie. My last 3 companions have been greenies. I have 6 months of training! His original trainer was Elder Sellers my old companion but he finished the mission last change. Small world. Elder Carcamo is awesome and is a super obedient and hard worker. Now all I am trying to do is teach him to have fun at the same time :) haha My sector is relativly big but I am now in one of the, if not most dangerous sectors in our whole mission. As soon as I heard I had La Legua I was like "I was wondering when that part of my setting apart will kick in when I feel like I need to get out of an area and protective angels and what not". La Legua is the most dangerous part of Santiago. The police don't even go in there. But I told Elder Carcamo I feel like we should go in so this week we are going to go hit up La Legua.  No missionaries have gone in there for a long time and it takes up about a 3rd of our sector.

My District is AWESOME. I have such a cool district. I am the oldest by far. I am the only one who has more than a year. I didn't know any of them before either. Mom I think I am famous in the mission because of you. Our mission is super young and at changes I kept having people saying "Hey! you are Elder Leavitt! I read you blog before the mission!" I guess they got their call, searched the mission via google, and the first thing that pops up is my blog.  It's funny you looked up Santiago norte and look for pictures and all my pictures come up. By in my district I have 5 missionaries to take care of, my comp, Elder Tognetti 5 months from Iowa, Elder Enemorado 6 months from Honduras, Elder Mlazgar 8 months from Mesa Arizona, and Elder Sosa 5 months from Argentina. My District is hilarious and I am so happy I have them as my district.
Alex & Elder Mlazgar from his district.
They are about 4 rows up, standing up, and have their hands over their eyes to shade from the sun. They are both looking at something.

My sector super flaite though. We have a bunch of apartment building that are deemed unlivable from the earthquakes so the goverment built little earthquake communities outside of the buildings.  Funny thing is the people just use the houses and their apartment to. I always feel weird when I walk into a building when it has a huge sign that says unlivable. Also I got to see a protest! Here in Chile the last few months the students have been protesting a ton where they fight with the police. They want free or cheaper studies or something. One time I got a little bit of tear gas haha it was cool though.
The stadium where the Cultural Celebration took place.
Can you see the Andes mountains with snow on them in the background?

Friday we basically spent all day at the practice for the huge activity on Saturday. Only the city sectors got to go to the practice but the whole mission got to go Saturday. The activity was amazing!! It started out with 3 speakers they didn't talk very long only like 20 mins or soo but Elder Cordbridge talked again. The dancers were amazing the skit was amazing. The soloist was one of my missionaries ward mission leader haha he is just good. I heard the two missionaries were missionaries from the north mission we were in their mission but they were gringos I know that. What white flags are you talking about? I know when Chileans dance cueca they twirl white hankerchiefs you talking about those?  When we were singing and right after yes, former mission presidents and some of the earlier missionaries went up onto stage. All of our mission went, the east mission, north mission, some of Rancagua and Vina del Mar went too. There were no genral authorities.  I knew alot of the youth who were in it. I didn't see Alan though. I saw Derrick (his sisters brother-in-law from a different mission in Chile)and I saw Jaromy Holland too (a young man from our Stake who is in yet another mission in Chile). Crazyness he is still a greenie. He just got here how lucky is that?
One of the traditional dances from one of the countries.

It was awesome after the activity ended all the missionaries stormed the field with all the youth. I saw families from Malloco, Lo Ovalle, and basically my whole ward from Talagante came and hunted me down. They were all soo happy to see me. It was sooo amazing the whole thing. Only downside was our seats. I couldn't see anything on the projectors or screens so we did miss alot and I couldn't see the stage very well either. But it was amazing. I hope they sell copies I have no idea.

My ward is kinda of an older ward. There are not many youth. My sector has once again 0 progressing investigators so it's to contacting once again but this last week we found 4 new investigators. Doing tons of contacts. It's not as dead as Islita was but it's there. We will just work hard once again. Not anything new for me now haha but now President threw in some other factors, dead sector, training, and district leader. Let's see how it goes. Pray for me I need it. But now I am trying even harder to be more obedient and more diligent. One I need the blessings in such a dangerous sector, but I need to be an example. But I have faith everything will be ok :) I love you all. It's just insane how fast the mission goes.  I need to get a move on or it will end before I am ready. Love you all soo much. Miss you guys I am praying for you all.

Con Mucho Amor,

                                 Elder Alexander Thomas Leavitt

 P.S. Alex didn't send any pictures this week. The pictures I have I took off of the Chile Santiago North Mission Blog that is kept up by the Mission President's wife. I was thrilled to see Alex in so many of the pictures. I also want to include what she wrote on the blog. She wrote:

"We had a wonderful opportunity to participate in a celebration of 50 years of the mission in Chile.  Last Saturday. we started off with a fireside with the Area Presidency, along with a wonderful youth choir.  Last night was the cultural celebration and story through dance , music and dramatizations. There were over 3000 youth that participated in the event.  Many have practiced every Saturday for the last 3 months.  They showed us dances from several Latin America Countries.   It was a wonderful evening ending with the introduction of the missionaries who had served in Chile, those who are now serving, and the future generation of missionaries in Chile.  Missionaries from the Chile Santiago North, East, West Missions and some from the Rancagua Mission participated.  They sang “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go” to the audience.  It was quite a site to see over 500 missionaries singing!  Hopefully, in 50 years, many of our missionaries can participate in a similar event.  As you look through the pictures take a good look at the beautiful Andes Mountains in the background.  Our mission includes the stadium we are in and into the Andes Mountains.

One of the sweet experiences is the number of missionaries who had brothers or sisters or cousins serving in a nearby mission.  They had a chance to get together with each other during the practice and evening event."

We had the opportunity to watch it and it was pretty amazing. We also got to see Alex singing in the choir. It made my day!

 The missionaries singing "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go"

I LOVE this picture of all the missionaries 
holding up Books of Mormon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Alex's 60th email from Chile 10/10/11

This sunset is so beautiful!!

Hola Familia!!!

This week was just fantastic. On Tuesday we had interviews with President King which were awesome. In my interview he talked a ton about how I have progressed as a missionary and what not, basically told me right then and there that I have changes, and then once again talked about my natural skill and ability to work with the youth of the church. He told me I need to keep focusing on that skill and build it up and it will be a blessing for me and for the church in the fufture crazy eh?

This was the week of noche de hogar. Basically every family in my ward wanted to have a noche de hogar with us. Honestly I think we had like one everyday of the week. Although I honestly can say this was the hardest sector for me it has been the hardest one to say goodbye to.  And if you have not caught on yet Yes, I have changes. More than anything I will just miss the families here they are all so amazing. I have gotten super close to like 4 or 5 families in the ward that basically are calling me like everyday of the week cause they want us to come over and visit them. One of them is the family Gomez who took us to the mine and we reactivated them. The dad Miguel yesterday as I said goodbye to them took me aside and told me I was the best missionary that has every knocked on his door. I know it's not true but it meant a ton to me. I love that guy, we have worked super hard together. It's just I have not gotten so close to a branch or ward as I have this one. But like another family said it just means that in another place more families are waiting for me and its true God needs me in another place. I am going to finish my goodbyes tonight.

On Saturday we had the divosional for the 50 years of the Chilean missions it was pretty sick. Crazy that you guys got to see it. It is this Saturday where we are having the party. And All the missionaries get to go!!! How sick is that?! In fact our mission is going to sing "I'll Go Where You Ask Me To Go." But it should be awesome and if you can watch it look for me. I am going to wear my shiny orange or salmon tie that I wore for my farewell talk.

Basically this has been a week of thinking and pondering on the time I have had here in La Islita. And I am happy with the work I have done. And that is the best thing I can do no regrets rights? I have accepted the fact that I am a reactivating missionary not a baptizing which is just as important. But as of right now I am just praying for a legit compañion.

Isn't this sunset AMAZING?!!! You can see the vineyards.

I don't know where I am being transferred yet. I will find out tomorrow. As of right now, all I know is that I am being transferred. President could call and change that but lets hope not haha. I will be able to say goodbye to everyone I want to.  They changed the transfer system up. Now we find out Saturday and have Sunday and Monday to do goodbyes.  Before they called Sunday at night and we only had Mondays. Jose and his mom didn't come to church Sunday for their interviews sucky. So the minimun their baptisms will be put on hold for another week. Umm Christmas wise I have no idea what I would want. Just be sure to put in a good amount of candy :)

Ok family I love you all and will talk to you next week.

the pictures are of me and Elder Chase chillin on divisions, and then me in my sector in La Islita with a sick sunset.

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Alex Leavitt

Alex & Elder Chase. 
This must be at Elder Chase's place because Alex's room has 
pink cinder block walls an no carpet on the floor.

I had an email from Sis. King this week.  I will include a paragraph from that email and three sweet pictures she shared with me :)

"We just had interviews with Elder Leavitt this last week you should hear him speak Spanish he was even interpreting for me. He is so much fun and always so happy he gets along with everyone, we all love Elder Leavitt. He showed me his nephews so cute so proud."

President & Hermana King
Alex with his nephews
So for family home evening Kira & Justin traced Landon & Evan's bodies so that Alex could see how much they've grown.  The boys colored them :) Kira wasn't too thrilled that Evan insisted on having a gun in his hand and Justin was more than happy to oblige.

Sis. King labeled this "Group Hug"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chilean Completo – The Ultimate Hot Dog

Once you eat a Chilean completo, you’ll find it difficult to eat a regular, boring hot dog again.
The completo literally translates to “complete” and is everything the name describes.
While there are variations of completos, the basic version consists of:
1. A large hot dog roll, about twice as thick and long as the whimpy store-bought hot dog buns I ate as a kid.
2. A typical hot dog, usually cooked in boiling water.
3. Diced tomatoes spread across the hot dog.
4. A generous helping of smashed avocado (palta).
5. Too much mayonaise to resonably fit on the roll.
Completos can also sport some sauerkraut or chucrut.
Regardless of the topping, the completo will be the messiest thing you eat all week. The toppings outweigh the hot dog by a significant margin and almost overpower the roll which holds it all together.
I purchased my first completo from a street vendor and ate it outside trying to stand such that the mayo and avocado which oozed out with every bite would drip on the street and not my clothes or shoes.
Ask the locals near where you live or are staying where to get the best completo. They may just point you to a street vendor with a small kiosk. You’ll find yourself trying to wrestle with something that seems too large and messy to reasonably eat, yet is indescribably delicious. That is the Chilean completo. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Alex's 59th email from Chile 10/3/11

Alex at the mine. Look at the clothes in the background. Does someone live at this abandoned mine?

*Just a note; Alex sent another little email saying their mission address changed again. That's the third time since he's been out. I updated it here on the blog so if you are mailing anything please take note.

Hola Familia,

This week was amazing!!!!!! This week was just fantastic. I don't even know where to begin. On Tuesday we had an awesome lesson with Rapheal. He is just progressing so much. Hhe is reading the Book of Mormon asking good questions and praying. He is just a champ and I am soo happy for that family. Our days are just soo full now. Everyone wants us to come over to their place. Especially now because everyone knows that changes are close and that I have a 99% chance to have changes. We litterally just have everyone calling us to see if we can come by.
Alex inside the mine.

This last week though, one of the highlights was that we now have 2 investigators with a baptismal date!!! How awesome is that? There are a mom and son whose dad is a a less active member we have been working with!! Their dates are for the 16th of October so I am really happy and excited for them.

On Thursday we had a meeting with President King where we learned about how we need to better focus on the spirit of the story of Joseph Smith and how we need to better relate his story to the feeling and situacion of the people here in Chile. It was a rather neat class and I enjoyed it alot.
Some pretty flowers growing randomly at the mine site.

Have I mentioned just how tired I am. I am physically drained everynight. I use to to be able to come home and chat with the other Elders but now all I want to do is go to bed as early as possible. I am just soo tired.

We also got permission to go to the fondas or the fair! It was cool but I am telling you there are rides there that are deffinantly not legal in the States. I felt like I was going to die on some of them.  Hopefully I can send you some pictures next week.
In front of the opening to the mine.

But conference was amazing. We saw all of the sessions including the preisthood session. We all went to the stake center in Talagante. All the gringos watched it in English in our gringo room :) Conference was amazing. One I liked how they talked a ton about missionaries and missionary work :) and two it was just all around amazing and all the talks were great There really is no point in me writing what I liked about conference because I don't have time but I will leave it at that I loved it.

Elder Merchan loved the basketball jersey. As far as I know with Carolina everything is working out with her work. She just moved out of her old place and I think is working on moving over to her new one and rafeal is doing awesome. Yes, we can go to the temple with the families that are getting sealed but I will never have the chance. I have never baptized an entire family :( With Miguel we are talking about them getting sealed and they are working on it they are doing awesome also. I sang with Elder Chase and Hermana Chelson and we sang in Spanish.
The thing that hit me most at conference is how we need to always be worthy. In everything we do being an example to the unbelievers. Elder Holland talked in the priesthood sessions about how the missionaries need to be worthy because we cannot be hypocrites teaching people to repent and follow the commandments when we are not. I don't know I just found it one of the main themes in this conference and it hit me pretty hard how we need to always be watching ourselves and make sure we are giving our best effort always.

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


 Elder Alex Leavitt