Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Alex's 67th email from Chile 11/28/11

Santa looks the same in Chile.
Alex, Elder Mlazgar, Elder Braddy, Elder Carcamo & Elder Sousa

Hola Familia!

This was a good week. Although we didn't have 258 contacts again we still had a decent week. We were just wiped from the other week and now we both are pumped and ready to go for this week. Just a cool little thing, the hottest pepper here in Chile is called the pucha madre and I ate it this last week it was pretty hot but I held my composure way better than everybody else even the latins. I was proud of myself. Hey mom, I was just walking one day in the street and started think about the Turnwall's. How are they doing? I don't know, could you go visit Hermana Turnwall this week? If you do how is Nate doing?

This week we taught Rocio a ton and I came to a conclusion. Mom, she reminds me a ton of you. Obviously I didn't know you when you were 16 but I would say you were probably alot like Rocio. She is awesome and maybe something that helps is that she plays on a all guys basketball team, but its more than that. She has such a strong testimony and has been waiting for the gospel in her life. This week we were preparing her for her baptismal interview and we told her she can't have her belly ring and so she took it out and gave it to us haha. (hey did you get the pictures I sent last week I was having problems sending them. There was a picture of Rocio and me) Well part of the deal is I told her if she gave us her belly ring I would give her something of mine and I know that you probably sent me my package mom but if you could could you send me another basketball practise jersey. I have at least 3 or 4 hopefully but I think she would love it seeing that she plays basketball. Well she had her baptismal interview this Sunday and passed! My zoneleader who did the interview told me that she was the most prepared investigator he has met and that the interview was awesome and Rocio asked me to baptize her!!! I am soo pumped! She is so tight has such a strong testimony and just ready for her baptism. I told her she needs to find Alan and get married jaja My two golden baptisms married that would be tight.
Alex & Rocio
During this week random story we saw a dead guy. He jumped from a 5 story building and we happened to just walk by right after it happened so that was weird. But also this week I had to give my first chewing out as district leader.  So that wasn't fun for me but it had to be done.

The district t-shirts he talked about last week. 
I think this group is pretty serious about their ball skills. What do you think?
For me it's not weird having a hot Christmas. I have never really had a cold one in my life so I don't know it's normal. We have lost contact with Giovanni :(  We have met with like 2 or 3 of our new contacts from last week. Rocio is getting baptized this Saturday and I am pumped! at 1 o clock. No there are no weird bugs here only in the campo but even then not alot there really is nothing here. Elder Braddy yes is still the district leader. Also remember Elder Merchan from Spain, when I was in La Islita? He is the new zone leader here! So we are pumped. I am reading the Bible in Spanish and I only have like 60 pages left!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will try and finish it this week. I have not gotten any packeges yet :( hopefully this week.

So I have officially decided that if someone is worthy, giving a blessing is one of the coolest and most spiritual experiences and things you can do. I absolutly love it. I gave a blessing this week to a lady in our ward who had surgery and it was awesome. To just feel like you really are standing in for Jesus Christ, because if he were here he would be doing the same excact thing, healing and blessing the people. To be a vessel of Gods love here on earth is just something I have grown to love and appreciate alot. To literally feel like you are doing his work, the things he would do, trying to help all of his children here on earth work, learn, and progress towards their celstial home where God is waiting for them. I love this work and I am so happy to be here. To be doing the same things Christ would do. Everyone says in the church they want to become like Chirst. Well I think the fastest path to do that is the missionary work. It is something so special and if someone feels they are needing to align their lifes road a little closer to the one Christ gave us as an example, they need to just share the gospel and show the love God has for all of his children here in this world. I am so happy to be a missionary and participate in the Most Important Thing that is happening on the face of this planet which is sharing the plan that God has prepared for all of us to come back and return with him in celestial glory. To reign with him as the Princes and Princesses we are to the most High King, our Heavenly Father. I love you all and pray for you everyday. I miss you, Love you, and will talk to you next week.

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Alexander Thomas Leavitt

Monday, November 21, 2011

Alex's 66th email from Chile 11/21/11

The Republica Zone with President King.

Hola Familia!!!

This week was rediculous! La Rocio is doing awesome!!! On Monday she called us and asked us to come over. So we rushed all our stuff to end p-day we got over there and were wondering what happened. Well turns out she couldn't meet with us on Tuesday because she was having the young woman over to her house and wanted to have her lesson with us on Monday! what 16 yr old does that?  We met with her like 4 or 5 times this week. She is progresing sooo much!! She came to church and loved every second of it. I am so stoked about her. Her family also just loves us we were walking in the street during the week and a car pulls over and it was Rocio's mom. She was like "hey you guys should come over later tonight" so we were like "sure we will see what we can do." An appointment fell threw and we went over had completos and shared a lesson with Rocio. It is so nice when you have the support of the family.

Well me and Elder Carcamo have broken a record here in Republica. I want to know if there is one for the mission but this last week we did 2 58 contacts! and found 14 news! HOW LEGIT IS THAT??? but I will be completly honest, by Sunday night I was just dead tired.  We worked so hard this last week I am so dead. We set some high goals this week and went and got them. It was awesome but seriously I am so tired. We went on divisions alot with the youth in our ward. I left with Dary he is tight. We have a sweet handshake I will have take a video and send it to you guys.

So this last week obviously like I said we did a ton of contacts but we contacted alot in La Legua this week and while we were there we were hearing some gun shots and what not it was pretty crazy. Also we found this family where the grandpa is dying. They let us in so we could give him a blessing. Turns out he listened and was very active in the church and with the missionaries 10 yrs ago. Well he got cancer and the whole family was like "wow you guys showed up at the excact time, the perfect time." The doctors said he will go at anytime and really we were there the last time he was concious and he started crying when we walked in the room. It was such a neat and spiritual experience. Last thing I heard him say was that he was at peace it was way neat.  So cool to actually feel like you are tools in Gods hands to help his children be happy and feel his presence. His family was like "wow we haven't even gotten people from our church here and you guys just showed up." so sick!

So the change ended and our new change has begun. Elder Carcamo and I are going to be together for another change. I am so pumped! In fact from my entire district not a single one of us has changes!!  Our district name is los encapuchados! Those are the students that fight against the cops here haha. and we made district shirts!!! They are pretty legit. Elder Mlazgar is pretty happy so am I haha. We are going to take the trash out on this next change. Changes are excactly this Tuesday but they tell us on Saturday before so you have Sunday and Monday to do goodbyes.

The email that was sent with these pictures read:
"Enjoy these photos and remember to always raise the banner of freedom - The Book of Mormon"

Dad's last blog was a repeat he sent the graduations again and then when Sarah came home for like a week or something. In the Bible I am now like halfway through 2nd Corinthians

OK family that was my week a ton of work and lots of success I am dead tired but here comes another change  hagamos lo!
 lets do it!

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Leavitt

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Alex's 65th email from Chile 11/14/11

Elder Sosa & Alex in the remains of a car they found. 
He said it was burned during the student riots in Chile.

Hola Familia!!

So another great week! So I know God has listened to my prayers! Because I knew Rocio had great potential. She finally came back from vacation and we had an awesome lesson with her. It was cool her mom told us that she really likes me and Elder Carcamo compared to the other missionaries that come by. But After an awesome lesson Rocio accepted a baptismal date!! We went by two times this last week 1st time we set a fecha with her for the 3rd of December and second time we had another awesome lesson. I love Elder Carcamo he is an amazing missionary who is very inspired and has the spirit always with him. He was talking with Rocio and her mom about different gifts God gives us and then stops and says "just look at Elder Leavitt, One thing I have learned most from him to to be happy. I have never seen a happier person in my life and I know that is a gift God has given him, and another is he has a gift to work with the youth and get them inspired and work in the gospel." Elder Carcamo is very humble and patient some of the reasons I love him.

On Wednesday we had President King acompany us for our district meeting. I had to give the Proposal in the meeting and after shared my testimony that is we always remember our purpose as missionaries we will be happy. I have just been happy if you guys couldn't tell and after President thanked me for my testimony and that he loved it. Funny story, in pouch I got a letter from some random girl alyssa gray I think. Apparently she found my blog and decided to write me. Well I wrote back lets see what happens. (Hey mom before I forget Elder Carcamo wants a picture of the San Diego temple so if you could get him a cool one and send it some time that would be tight.) He saw all my pictures and loves the San Diego temple now. Also if you can email Hermana Dorius & Brother Dorius asked me how Brother Riley is doing, the organist player, I told him he moved from the ward a long time ago to like Montana if I remember correctly. I said you know more than I do.

On Friday we had our greenie meeting and it was awesome although the worst timing. I don't know why it was like this, but it started at 1 in the afternoon and ended at like 6:30. I didn't get back to our sector until 7:30 and then there was no work because Chile was playing against Uraguay at 8!  So Friday we really did not do anything! lame.

On Sunday morning we went over to Rocio's and made her some breakfast as she got ready and then we went to church! So I was pumped she finally went. She is really starting to do the stuff right. Her mom really likes us haha so it's good she is on our side.

People are not yet leaving. That all starts up the end of January and Febuary when school ends. In the Bible I am almost done with Romans! That's what's up I only have 200 more pages to read!!! Other investigators we don't have many progressing so we are focusing on trying to find more people to teach. I was on a rock at a pond at Parque O´Higgins the whole zone was there and it was cool. In the summer is when all the corn comes out and strawberries and melons. Man we eat so much corn in the summer! This change has gone by soo fast! It's the last week of the change already!!! Elder Mlazgar asked President King if he can stay another change. He doesn't want to leave the district haha. I don't want him to go either.

Buena familia I love you guys so much and I can't wait to talk to you next week!

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Alex Leavitt

P.S. One car we found burned after a student riot, this is Elder Sosa Elder Mlazgar's companion

The rest of the car pictures Alex sent.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chilean Empanadas - A Delicious Food Tradition

Don’t leave Chile without eating a classic Chilean empanada. While empanadas in some form are found all over Latin America, Chile offers up its own variety. An empanada is a type of turnover where a thin pastry shell is stuffed with a filling and then cooked before serving. Chilean empanadas typically come in two popular variations: oven-baked meat-filled empanadas and cheese filled, fried empanadas.

Empanadas de Horno
As you walk through a local feria market or see a vendor on the street, you’ll hear cries of “empanadas de horno“. These are oven-baked empanadas. A traditional empanada de horno is also called an empanada de pino.

These empanadas are filled with a meat mixture consisting primarily of ground beef, onions, raisins, a slice of hard boiled egg, a whole olive, and seasonings. The pastry shell is sealed up and baked in the oven.

Recipes vary so don’t be surprised if you taste a something different in your empanada. Empanadas de pino are typically large enough to constitute a meal even though they often are served only as appetizers.

The first time I ate an empanada de pino I bit down on the whole olive (pit included) and nearly broke my tooth! Use caution when eating fresh empanadas as they will be really hot inside.

Cheese Empanadas
Cheese empanadas are simply cheese inside a pastry shell and then fried. These are so easy, you can make your own cheese empanadas. Since these are fried, you get a different texture and flavor. Cheese empanadas are also typically smaller than their meat-filled cousins. So you’ll be tempted to eat several at one time.

As you travel around the country, you’ll find different variations of the empanada. Look for seafood empanadas or whole wheat empanadas in more trendy restaurants.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Alex's 64th email from Chile 11/7/11

I'm sure Alex was excited to see this sign!!

Hola Familia!!!!!!

This week was fantastic. Also I have officially decided also that this week has gone by too fast and that the mission is going by to fast. So much has happened this week I don't know where to start. Elder Carcamo and I are working super hard. But it is getting sooo hot here now.  The other day it was 32 degrees C I was dying. But ok lets see, So Elder Mlazgar and I went on divisions last week ya, well we were walking and this Hawk was just eating this pidgeon in the middle of the road. I was just watching this happen when we were stepping down from the side walk and stepped in a hole and rolled my ankle!!! I fell right there in the middle of the street pretty embarresing haha. But the hawk was tight. My ankle hurt for like 2 days and now its fine. Also I had TACO BELL the other day!!! I had a crunch wrap supreme. I have missed sour creme so much. It doesn't exsist here and at taco bell was the first time I have had it since I got here to Chile.
Elder Leavitt & Elder Mlazgar

We had a special divosional this week with Elder Snow from the presidency of the 70.  It was pretty cool. The whole mission went so I got to see some people I have missed.  I also got to take a picture with my 3 kids of the mission. At the divocional they talked a ton about have the spirit and teaching by the spirit. It was tight.  I translated the whole thing into English for the senior couples!!!

Elder Leavitt & his three sons: 
Elder Florez, Elder Carcamo & Elder Garcia

Also during the week we had a capacitacion especial from president King and it was really good. He taught about working more effectively and focused alot on planning well. During district meeting I got a ton of letters from La Islita from lots of different families saying how much they miss me and how I left a hole in the branch it was cool. (Speaking of which mom there is a Camila who is sad because she has not yet been accepted on facebook)
I don't like La U I like Colo colo but this graffiti is sick
there is alot of graffiti like this in Chile

On Saturday after the divocional Luis was baptized!!! It was awesome!! Adolfo a guy in our ward (Just a quick side note it takes me sooo long to write these letters because I keep throwing in spanish words and have to correct myself ugh!!!!) baptized Luis. His family came who are hard core Catholics. They are not super happy but support his decision to be baptized. But it was awesome. The spirit was super strong and I gave a talk. Sunday he was confirmed and his family came again. His sister was crying so we may need to look into that one haha. We had 5 investigatores come to church this week!!! Which is a lot compared to the fact it was the first time we had some come since I have been here!!! But 2 of them are going to get baptized. They are Colombians but need to get married lame, but they have the desire and shared some awesome testimonies on Sunday!! Soo excited.
Elder Carcamo, Luis & Alex

Giovanni we didn't visit this last week because of all the meetings we had. We will hunt him down this week. In the bible I am about half way through John. Rocio has been on vacaciones and will get home this Tuesday and we are already planning on going to visit her that same day. We have this kid come out to work with us alot. His name is Dari pronounced daddy and he is so tight. He shared his testimony on Sunday just saying how much he loves leaving with us and shared his testimony about the missionary work. This kid you would never have expected this from him but since I got here we have been forcing him to leave with us and now he calls us to see when he can leave. Awesome. I have not gotten any box packages yet. I have gotten a few big envelope ones.
Elder Leavitt & Elder Braddy
MTC buddies on the metro heading to a training meeting. 

I just want to end saying how happy I am. We were in the street and I just said to Elder Carcamo and Dari I am so happy right now I don't know why. But really I know it's because I am here in the mission doing the most important thing I could be doing with my life. I get so many comments about how can I always be smiling and laughing. I know I have always gotten comments like that throughout my life but right now I know a hundred percent why I am so happy. To see your impact in peoples lives, watching them accept this gospel, and later be filled with more light and knowledge and change their lives brings me so much happiness. To know I have helped just a little bit in the work of God. I am just soo happy to be here and I feel like I am losing time to do everything I need to do.  Well I love you guys so much and I am so happy to hear how blessed and happy everyone is.
Alex on the metro

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Alex Leavitt

P.S. I wanted to tell you guys this, I am not chueco or crooked it's what they say here for a disobedient missionary. But just soo you know and can get to know what type of music I will listen to when I get home, I love Don Omar especially dutty love and hold ya. Look them up it is tight! And if you are wondering I have heard them in houses of investigators and in the street and have asked people what songs they are. Love you and enjoy!

I decided to look the guy up and here is one of the songs Alex was talking about:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Alex's 63rd email from Chile 10/31/11

There is a very cool video and sweet story at the end of this email. It's a link - Enjoy!!!

The Anniversary Logo
Alex & Elder Mlazgar

Hola Familia!!!

This was an awesome week. Elder Carcamo & I are tearing it up. Love this Kid. I like how I called him a kid when he is 24 haha. S this week we were blessed with a visit from Elder Zebaillos and it was sick. They talked about how we need to maximize our time as missionaries cause it is short. How we need to have fun and be happy on our missions or what is the point. It was overall a very cool  meeting. He also said something very cool, he was at one point talking about the importance of latin missionaries to learn english and the importance for gringos to not forget their spanish. Well he then said that any person that can speak spanish and english can communicate with 80% of the church members and if you can add portugese 90% (ben) crazy eh? I thought that was really cool. When we were at this meeting I found the missionaries from Lo Ovalle, do not remember their names, but I asked them about Alan and it sounds like he is doing awesome. I love that Kid. He is soo awesome and faithful it is ridiculous.

 Republica Zone 
with Elder Zeballos of the Quorom of the Seventy & President & Herman King
*Alex is dead center in the third row next to the missionary with the red tie

This week I have done 2 divisions with elders and on divisions now with Elder Mlazgar. I love divisions but hate them at the same time. Love them because I get to know more people and missionaries better, but hate them  because to really see how the missionary works and give them pointers and advice, I need to go to their sectors and see them work with their investigators ( my opinion) but I hate leaving my sector. I know it's probably bad to feel this way. I don't want other missionaries teaching my investigators. I just don't want something bad to happen which is terrible to think but its like "I am teaching them. I know them. I know how to teach them. I know I work hard in my sector and if anyone is going to mess it up I want to do it." I don't know,  those are just my feelings about leaving my sector. I just don't like leaving my work in the hands of other people.

President & Hermana King at the rehearsal for the 50th Anniversary Celebration

Speaking of my sector, last week a guy was gunned down in my sector. The thing that freaked me out was that we were actually outside working at the time crazyness. This sector is so much different from my other ones. Last week this random girl came up to me and my companion and says to me "hey I wanted to say hi to you" So I shook her hand and she was like "no,  here in Chile we kiss." I told her we could not kiss as missionaries and she just says "no, kiss me." I said I couldn't and she said "lame" and walked away! I was just like "did that just happen?" This sector is sooo flaite!! I am in the hood. This weekend Colo-Colo and La U played - big time rivals.  After the game people were fighting in the street haha. Some old guy was like "hey elders don't take the metro it's too dangerous right now." I thanked him and told him we were not planning on taking the metro that day.

Elder Leavitt, Elder Adair & Elder Braddy 
MTC buddies happy to see each other at the rehearsal.
Elder Crowley with the 'peace' sign. 
He is our daughter's brother-in-law. He's in the mission that borders Alex's. Small world eh?

On Sunday I did my first baptismal interview as a district leader and guess what? she didn't pass!! So I am not starting off with a good track record. This lady is super repentant, but we have rules, and when it is a certain situation we just have them have another interview with President King. Same day Luis passed his baptismal interview and he is getting baptized this Saturday!!! I am so excited!

Some of the 3000 youth participating in the celebration

The protests have been non-stop since 6 months ago. It started because the students want free studies and the protests are always going on. Halloween we have the same work schedule.

Elder Mlazgar took this picture and his Mom shared it with me.

Our numbers were not as good as last week mainly because about half of our plans fell threw but it was still a good week.  We found 5 new and one of them is soo legit. His name is Giovanni. He is like 21 and lives in La Legua. I asked him why he wanted to listen to us and he said because he use to have a friend that is a member and always wanted to know what he believed. I later said "everyone of us has problems and challenges in life and that our message can help us get over them (something like that)" He said "good" because he had a painful experience happen about a year ago and is still trying to get over it.  Turns out he had his baby die a year ago so I asked him if he wanted to know where his kid is. He said "yes" and we shared Moroni 8 and talked about the plan of salvation. It was soooo AWESOME!!! The spirit was so strong and it was just awesome.

The district is awesome. We formed a team and played soccer against my ward today. In the New Testament I am in Juan haha John something I don't remember excactly.  Ummm I would like to know excactly how everyone is doing.  Say "hi" to Frank for me. Tell him we need to play ping pong because I think I can beat him now haha.

I love that the missionaries are participating in this part of the program. I don't even think it's when they sang.

Ok guys, I sent pictures. Hopefully you get everything cause the internet sucks today. I love you all soo much and I will talk to you next week.


Elder Alex Leavitt

Here's the link to the video and neat story: