March 29, 2010

Hey there

Elder Pitcher reporting from Chile... today we are in Concepcion.  This is actually the first preparation day I've spent in Concepcion.  Its a pretty big city.  I love being here.  I love my companion. I love Frutichato.  I love Chile.  I love everything about it.

Yesterday we were able to have a baptismal service for two kids. Danilo and Constanza. They are great kids. They are from a menos activa familia that we have helped come back to church. The family is absolutely awesome. I baptized Danilo (12) and Elder Keller baptized the little sister, Coni (9). It was funny because when we asked them who they wanted to baptize them we thought Coni was going to pick me and Danilo Elder Keller, but they surprised us.  Coni is a cute little girl and Danilo is a kid that loves soccer.  They were able to give their testimonies after the baptism and they truly have testimonies of the church. I remember when we asked them how they felt after they prayed and asked if the church was true. Danilo said he felt really good and his heart started beating really fast (he put his hand on is heart and started hitting it) and Coni said she felt a lot of peace - like no one was bugging her in the moment.  They both got up and gave their testimony and said how they knew the church is true because they prayed, and God sent signs to their hearts... I realize more and more how the natural man is an enemy to God and will be for ever and ever. There is only one way to over come it -- listening to the spirit and becoming like a child.  Becoming humble as a child.

Ulysis and Fernando live in a different city.  I will have to let you guys know how they are next week because next week the missionaries will tell me.

We went to Dichato again on Saturday.  Most of the missionaries and people stayed and started sweeping the city, but 6 of us went up and started doing more of the tarp stuff, covering tents.  This time the old men missionaries were there, they are a hoot.  The one just makes fun of the other for the entire day.  I like them both... but I like grandpa a lot more.  How is gramps doing? When is he going to start the orchard?

Speaking of baptism... I hope that next week we will have an interview for a baptismal candidate. His name is Neftalí.  He is 23 years old.  We have been sharing with him for a long time.  Actually Elder Keller and Elder Sarmiento taught him before I got here, but just recently he is starting to progress a lot.  He came to church yesterday for the first time.  He is just scared.  His whole family is Evangelical and we never meet in his house, only in the church. 

There is also a lady named Margot.  She is about 40.  She has two boys, but one doesn't live with her, he's 20,  and one is 3 years old.  We have taught her a couple times.  We usually try to go with an hermana named Mabel.  Mabel is incredible... I hope you meet her some day.  Margot came to church yesterday also.  She really liked it, but wasn't able to stay for the baptism.  She started talking to us at a time when she just wanted a church in her life.  She used to go to an evangelical church, and she just wanted to get back to a church again... she didn't realize that she was getting into the only true church of God and on the earth.  She is realizing that more and more and is having more and more questions, but I love questions.  When people have sincere questions its the best thing a missionary can ask for.  We will keep working with her. 

This week we will be having mission conference.  I am very excited as always.  We will also be listening to General conference baby :) I cannot wait.. I can't believe Nat got married by L Tom Perry.  That blows my mind.  I hope she is doing good... she's awesome, well, our entire family is awesome. I LOVE our family.

Love you all, thanks for everything.

Tell Meg I got the amazing sauce, and thats why I want more! I already ate it all.  When I opened that box and saw that sauce I was in shock, I was so happy.  Tell her thanks... I haven't sent letters since the earthquake, and I wasn't able to send any today, so tell her lots of thanks for me.


March 22, 2010

Family, friends, and conocidos
(I can’t remember that word-its like people you know but you’re not really friends)

Things are going here in Tomé. Today we got the calls for transfers. Frutichato (Frutillares + Dichato) is staying the way we are. I’m very glad. I didn’t want a new companion; I wanted to stay with Elder Keller.

So we went to Dichato a couple times this week to work. The people are living in a campsite basically. One day we went out there with Pres Chavez and Hna Chavez and a lot of the missionaries from the zone of Penco. I missed three people very bad that day... Dad, Matt, and Grandpa.I missed Grandpa a lot because there were two senior missionaries working with us... we were constructing a bathroom for some people and the two old guys kind of took over. They were funny and they knew what they were doing, but grandpa is way funnier and he probably would have done it better then how they do it. I was thinking about gramps all day though. That was a fun day. There were a lot of laughs as we were working. Oh and one of the assistants broke a pipe to a shower that they made in the camp.... it was just funny with the old guys yelling and telling jokes and trying to communicate to the Latins and everything. That day I was just doing as I was told all day, but then the next day we went back out again, but not so many people, and different people went. We have been cutting down trees trying to get some roofs above some of the tents the members have... the church gave us a lot of tarps... think Dusty’s Kennel but on a HUGE scale. Plus it rains a lot harder here and the wind blows way hard, and we are trying to protect women and children... not Dusty (Dusty was a beast... he didn’t need protection... do you remember the size of his paws?!?!?!?!?!?)

One of the days this last week the church news was here... I guess they were doing a tour from Santiago to Concepción, taking damage and all that stuff... they filmed us doing some things then ended up interviewing us... the four from Frutichato. I don’t know what will happen with it. I basically testified we are lead by a prophet. I don’t even remember what I told them more.

I am very excited for General Conference in a couple weeks :) Right now, in this moment, we have a ton of investigators that are kind of at a stand still. This next Sunday we are baptizing two kids from a family we are reactivating - Danilo, a 12-year-old boy and Constanza his 9-year-old sister. I like them - I really like their family. They are a good family. The dad reminds me a lot of Uncle Adam. I swear they even look alike in a really, really weird way.

I love teaching teenagers because a lot of them have sincere desires. They won’t freak out because they already have their religion, but they are searching for the real one. We are teaching a lot - Ivan and John (I hope Ivan goes on a mission) Javiera and Juan (boyfriend girlfriend) Neftalí y Isaac (cousins) and even more than that. There is so much potential here for the church to grow. I honestly see Chile becoming like Utah... members on every street and block. I’m excited for that day. I’m also excited for the temple... that will help them so much. I love being here...

Cleaning up in Dichato

March 15, 2010

What a good week...

I'm not really sure where to start. I think I’ll start by saying I love you a lot, Mom. I was thinking about you this morning when I was washing some dishes. You’re just pretty awesome and I love you.

So, for a long time we have been trying to get permission to get into Dichato because the military took control of it and wasn’t letting anyone in. Last Sunday night Elder Keller and I were talking to a Carabinero(it’s like the police force) and to make a long story really short, we got permission for the church to enter Dichato. Right then I called stake president and told him that we were now able to go. So Monday we went - Elder Keller and I, the Dichato missionaries and a bunch of members from here. We worked on cleaning the church. That place was a wreck. The water had hit and entered in to about chest high three different times. It blasted through the two, big front doors and filled up the church with mud and fish. However in the chapel it only entered about 4 inches... there was still a lot of mud. We ended up taking out all of the carpet and just stripping the church.

On Tuesday everyone went back and worked but we couldn’t because we had interviews with the president. Wednesday no one went to Dichato because we were basically waiting for the chapel to dry. Thursday we went back out there and finished everything up basically.

Now you have to know that on Tuesday President Navarro from the stake presidency told me to inform everyone that we would be having stake conference. We were telling everyone stake conference, time and place... however on Friday he called me and said, ¨We can’t have stake conference because the area presidency didn’t approve it, plus Elder Amado (the area president) wants to go visit the Dichato ward. So we had to go tell everyone again that we were wrong and the time and place were different now.

Now Dichato doesn’t have anything, so they were going to need to borrow our sacrament trays. Church starts at ten for both of us, but they have sacrament at 10, we have it at 12, so they were just going to send the sacrament trays with someone. So... Sunday came :) we went to church at ten, Dichato was in their church. It was a great day of church so far. I hadn’t ever seen so many people in Sunday School, and the teacher was on her GAME. She was nailin’ it. Talked about Joseph - you guys probably did too. 12 o’clock rolls around and it’s time to start Sacrament Meeting. We are outside waiting for some investigators when, all of the sudden, I see Elder Amado pull in. I tell my companion and we are just kind of giddy happy. The congregation was singing prelude, everyone was in the chapel. We walked in the front door and he walked in the back - there is only one hallway in the church so we were just walking toward each other - He says, “Elders, you’re looking good today” with a big smile on his face, he gives us hugs and I asked him how it went in Dichato... he said, “Great, just great, now let’s go to work.” or something like that and we entered the chapel. He went and sat up front.

Then we go and work for the rest of the day. Night time rolls around and it is pretty dark... we are actually teaching a lesson when the power goes off. At that time it still wasn’t too dark, but the sun was already down. We are walking up the hill when we meet up with the elders from Dichato. It’s about 9:00 and it’s dark. We find out the power is out from the 2nd region and below... almost all of blackout.

I love being here. I love this work. I do not want to be in any other place.

Love, your son,
Elder Pitcher

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

We are not in the church anymore; we are in our house with the elders from Dichato. They are ok. They are wearing our clothes. Today we have interviews with the president. I had talked to the president last Tuesday. We went to Concepción on Saturday the stake presidents and bishops had a meeting with the area presidency and then we got to talk to them a bit. We have electricity - water is iffy. Curfew is from 9 to 10.

Yesterday we went to Dichato to work all day. (Elder Keller, myself and the missionaries from there.) We worked all day... visiting people and teaching some. Everything is fine…
Love you all, peace.

March 4, 2010 - The Phone Call

Nate called at 7:41 this morning and asked if we could call him back at 3:00pm our time.  Of course I said YES!!  He gave me the number to call, which I repeated back several times, to make sure I had it right.

When 3:00 rolled around we started trying that number.  By 4:20 and after much frustration and trying two other numbers with NO luck, I sat down to send him email saying, "I don't know what happened.  We tried - it rang forever - but no body ever picked up."  Right then the phone rang and it was Nate!  We still don't know why we couldn't call him.  He said he had been trying to call us for the last 2 days.  We even tried to call him right back -- it didn't work -- so finally, we just decided he would have to be the one to make the call.  We spoke for 25 minutes.  Having had all day to think about what I wanted to know, I typed a list of questions so we could cover everything -- and not forget anything -- in a short amount of time.  I also took notes as he answered those questions and gave his account of what happened.  I know, that is SO like me.  I needed to be organized and methodical about this as I knew many people would be asking for details.

So, here goes.  Without getting too wordy...

The good news is that all is well in his sector.  He said there was no harm at all to people or buildings in that sector.  He was happy, laughing and ready to get back to work.  THAT is so Nate.  It was great to hear his voice and feel his positive attitude.

WOW!  We love that kid!  =D

March 3, 2010

ok.... i don't have anytime, but yes, the sea left in tome but the thing is it didn't flood the chapel... even though the chapel is right, and i mean right, next to the beach.... no water entered the chapel... there was a little puddle of about 6 inches by 6 inches that entered the chapel... right now we are in our chapel with like 5 families... everything here is fine but people are starting to rob and jack things up... plus no one has communication so we have 10 missionaries together right now.... um we have some non members here so we are going to teach them right now... i have lots of stories and details but who knows when I'll get to tell you... tome was fine because of the geography, a city called Dichato was like a shield for us... if you look on a good map, you'll see its like a shield for us - but Dichato DISAPPERARED.... completely disappeared.  three tidal waves hit that place pretty hard.   I'll try and write you another time... peace.  
i love you all... don't worry :)

P.S. the huge catholic church in tome is about to fall down

March 2, 2010 -- We FINALLY heard from Nate!!

Hello family...

I'm fine... don't worry.  I love you all.  Things are crazy but everything is OK - I promise.  We have a curfew from 6pm to 12pm... we have zero communication with the presidente but we are OK... peace.

I'll try to write you later... but no promises.

Elder Pitcher