Monday, December 29, 2014

So I´ll start by describing what happens here in Chile for Christmas! They celebrate it a little different then we normally do. The big thing for Christmas is the dinner on the 24th. All the family get together and the eat dinner really late at like 10 or 11 and then after dinner they open all their presents and go to bed really late. And in the morning they wake up and the kids can play with their toys and I´m sure the parents just sleep in! Haha

Our day for the 24th included a whole ton of eating. We had our District class in the morning in San Felipe where we ate cupcakes that I made and cupcakes that the second counselor in the stake´s wife made and other treats for chirstmas and then right after that we went to a member´s house, who always makes way good food and a lot of it, to eat lunch. Because we our class ended late we didn´t have time after lunch to go back to Catemu so we stayed in Llay-Llay and studied until six and after 6 we had our free time for Christmas! So we met up with the missionaries in Llay-Llay and ate dinner with a member at 7:30(he had the best meat) and then at 9:30 we ate dinner with another member. Soooo much food. I almost didn´t make it. But it was a lot of fun! 

Christmas day was basically just a normal day other than we could wake up an hour later and we had time to Skype! In the morning I opened my presents I got from my family and also I got the package that Grandma Debbie sent me, thank you so much!! So that was Christmas! The best present obviously was talking with my family! It was so good to hear and see you guys again! I am so very grateful that Drey still remembers me!

We had an activity as a mission on the 23rd which was very fun and really good! Elder Ceballos of the Seventy and his wife spoke to us. Also I got to see all my friends from the MTC (including Sister Sarmiento from Columbia) and she is just fantastic! Haha

We´ve been teaching a less active couple and they are fantastic. He works in construction so we got to talk about that a little which was a good way to connect with him! But they accept us very gladly and every single time we have gone to their house and shared with them the spirit has been so strong. We gave them a Book of Mormon and he was soo excited about it. He said that he had read it two times when he was younger and when we gave it to him he couldn´t put it down. It was neat to see that because he has such respect to the Book of Mormon he really truly knew the value of what he was holding in his hands. We also showed them a Mormon Message(I love the Morman Messages) about living underneath our potential. And the video spoke right to his heart because he feels like he isn´t living up to his potential. Everyday he wakes up and goes to work at eight then works for 12 hours and comes home, showers, eats, and goes to sleep just do it again. He feels like he doesn´t have time to become more or spend more time with his wife or anything else. And the video helped him realize that there is more in life then work and nothing more. I think it started a little fire in him and with time we can help him increase that fire until it´s burning really good. AND at the end of the lesson his wife said the prayer and she really really didn´t want to but as soon as she started everything got really quiet and then she just started talking and started giving thanks for soo many things. It was a very powerful lesson and I am excited to help these two find the join and happiness that we once had. I heard a talk one day and it said how out of all the things we do in the church it is to find more joy and help bring more joy to others. 

Thank you for all the Christmas emails I hope that Christmas was one to remember for all of you. I definitely won´t forget mine! I only have one more Christmas left in the mission! Ahh wayyyy too fast! Haha

With love,
Elder Bayler Moab Gunnell

P.S. No Chilean can say any of my names... Thanks mom and dad... Haha no I love them so really, thank you!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Lots of Christmas Pictures

We sent Bayler a new camera for Christmas and it has wifi so he can email pictures right after he takes them.  It's been fun to get random pictures in my email from him.  He made these chocolate salted caramel cupcakes and gave them out to investigators with the notes (below) attached.  

 This was their Christmas lunch
 Bayler's companion talking to his family.
 Bayler talking to us
This is what how we saw him on skype
 Blueberry muffins he made with fresh blueberries

Monday, December 22, 2014

¡Feliz Navidad!‏

I hope this week is absolutely wonderful and full of snow! That´s a huge bummer that there still isn´t snow. Here the weather has been weird too, it´s been pretty cold! Especially in the mornings and the night. I have felt like I have to drink hot chocolate to celebrate Christmas a little bit and take advantage that it is a little cold... I don´t even like hot chocolate... But I think for la Navidad it will be pretty warm still! I think that is part of why I don´t feel homesick, it doesn´t really feel like Christmas!

So we have been visiting a family and we teach the mom and her two daughters. This family has hardly anything. They have to shower outside they don´t have shoes and I´ve only seen food in their kitchen twice in the 3 months that we have been teaching them. I don´t think they have running water in their house and they don´t have a fridge. They are incredible though. She loves going to church and it is very important to her. Why I bring all this up is because at the end of our last lesson with her she brought out two presents. One for each of us. Our investigator that has the littlest, thought of us and bought us each a present for Christmas. It was one of the best gifts I have gotten. I couldn´t believe it. And I have no idea how to repay her. It was something so very sweet and kind.

Yesterday we had an activity with our Branch where we rounded up a choir of like 15 and a couple vehicles and we went and sang to a bunch of less active members and families where only a few are members. We did it from 4:30 until 9 pm. It was a lot but it was really something incredible. The spirit of Christmas is real, even here in Chile, even though there is no snow and it´s hot(kinda). It was neat to see the change in the people after we sang and while we were singing. Some instantly started crying, some who weren´t so grateful that we were there at first were very grateful afterwards, some the whole family just hugged eachother. It was very pretty and I am really glad that we got the chance to do that and that the some of the members were willing to spend their whole Sunday singing.

We did some service this week and I have loved it! It feels good to do some manual labor again. Haha believe it or not Brett McEvoy I miss working. Maybe I don´t miss working every single day, not yet, but I do miss working. We made cement one day for an addition to a house and then the next day we helped a Sister clean up her yard because there were a ton of weeds. 

I really hope that this Christmas is a special one! Don´t forget why we have Christmas and what we are actually celebrating. But also I hope that you were all good so Santa can bring some good presents!

I am sorry I didn´t reply to a lot of personal letters today but I will try to get around to it! Thank you for everything!

Monday, December 15, 2014

¡Me quedo hasta Enero por lo menos!‏

I am staying here in Catemu for at least six more weeks! And I am so excited! Elder Bennett is still my companion which is sweet because we both know the sector and the people really well so now we can work even better and more efficiently. He is still District leader and now I am just his companion because 
I´m done with my training weeks! 

Every week is good, I can´t ever complain! All the cooking went over well this past week so I was very grateful for that. 

The thing that I noticed most this week before I knew I was going to stay here is the love that I have for the people. When I realized that there was a possiblity that I could change sectors I would get sad because these people here are incredible. They are my best friends and soo nice. All the investigators, the less actives, and recent converts. They are incredible. I was not ready to leave them all and so I am extremely glad that I have another six weeks here. But I think that just means that it will be even harder to leave... But that´s okay! I´m going to do all I can in these few weeks!

It has been really neat to see the progress of the people and they have given me a lot of encouragement in how much I have progressed with the language! Haha it is kinda funny but they tell me how when I was first here they hardly understood a thing I said but now I can tell stories(kinda) and they can understand and things like that. It makes me feel good that they can see that I´m progressing!

Something pretty dumb and funny that I did this week was burn my hand from the rack in the oven. Haha Elder Bennett has to laugh everytime it comes up and he loves to tell the story! Haha it was pretty funny though. I went to move the rack down for the angel food cake(the oven was already preheated obviously) and usually I have two oven mits but this time Elder Bennett had one and I completely forgot so I went to grab the rack with BOTH hands and yep, burned my hand pretty good, he says I screamed like a girl. I don´t believe it. Then I sat with my hand in a bowl of cold water for like an hour while I studied. Haha 

That just about sums up the week I think! Thanks for all the emails!

Love always,
Elder Gunnell

Monday, December 8, 2014

Where did the time go? It´s already December and it doesn´t feel like time is slowing down! 

Not anything terribly exciting happened this week but in general it was a very successful and fun week!

I´ve still been doing some cooking and this week our zone leaders asked me to make something for all our zone because it is our last week to be all together before some go home and some change areas! So I´m making a couple pies and no bake cookies! Then another missionary called me and asked if I could make a cake for a less active member for her birthday and then some other little things, I´m excited! 

Something that happened that was a first for me was an investigator that I really like decided that she didnt want to continue with the church. We are still going to pass by her house because her daughter still wants to keep learning. When I heard about this I was very sad because that kinda hurt. We found them almost two months ago and have become very close friends. They have really hard lives and I know how much the Gospel could help them and I really truly want the best for them. I hope she will change her mind.

Next week is our transfer week so I don´t know if I will still be in Catemu or in a different part of our mission, either way I am very excited!!

Thank you for everything!

Elder Gunnell

Monday, December 1, 2014

 Me making cheese empanadas! Also these fotos are from elder bennetts camera

 I put rocks in the middle so that that cake wouldn´t lift up the cup when it cooked, I didn´t know if that would happen or not but I did it in case! haha
My cake(small)

This week was a little stinky. I some how came down with a fever on Tuesday but it was anything too bad. Haha so don´t worry mom! Just a lot of laying in my bed and nothing more. I guess it was nice to get some extra rest but now I realize how grateful I am for my health! Being a missionary is way funner when you can leave the house and actually talk to people! When you can´t do that, it´s a huge bummer. 

I hope Thanksgiving was fantastic for everyone! We had our zone conference on Friday and that was the closest thing to Thanksgiving we had and it was soo good! The conference was in San Felipe this time which was incredible and there is an empanada restaurant that if you are anywhere near San Felipe you have to try it becuase it is so good. It´s called Sonia´s and the mission had them cater us! Ahhh I was so stuffed afterwards and it was super tasty!

Haha my mom said something about my last letter and how it was all about the food, I just really like to make things! It´s not that the food here is bad in fact I have loved every meal that we have had! But I like to make treats for us and others! And because we live kinda far away from everything we don´t have lunch with members everyday which means I get the opportunity to make something! Speaking of that, we didn´t have lunch yesterday after church so we made cheese empanadas(Elder Bennett´s first time, he says that I have to teach him how to cook so that he can impress girls after the mission haha) and teriyaki chicken(thank you for the recipe mom!) and rice! It was pretty tasty. The deli chicken is pretty cheap here, I like buying that better. Also it was a birthday of an investigator so I HAD to make a cake of some sort so I made an Chocolate Angel food cake! Well I made two small ones. And double chocolate chip cookies!

We found an incredible family, actually dos, but I am very excited to keep teaching them! They are funny humble and soo sweet. It´s a family of three. Their house consists of one room and a bathroom and nothing more. They have beds in one part of the room, a table to eat and cook, an oven, fridge, tv, and the normal needs. But it isn´t anything weird if anything it has made them a very close family and they are fantastic! 

Have you seen the He is the Gift video? That video is so good and the mission is doing a lot with that video. I am way excited for December and Christmas here! It´s such a good time to share the Gospel. We have shown that video twice and it is so powerful and brings the spirit so strongly. If you haven´t seen the video yet, watch it! And share it! I love it! Haha

I think that´s all for now... So happy first of December! I hope you get a ton of snow and enjoy it a lot!

Love always,
Elder Gunnell