Monday, March 16, 2015

We survived!!‏

I guess that shouldn´t be too much of a shocker but we made it! A whole week in downtown Santiago.I´m not really sure where to start! 
I´ll say that it wasn´t has hard as I thought it was going to be, I think because of your prayers. Thank you so very much. The spanish came easier than I had thought it would the talking and the understanding. I still catch myself making a lot of mistakes but they understand me and I can understand them. I may not be the best teacher, that´s an understatement, but I know I´ve been called by a prophet to be here so I know I can do some good.
We definitely had to figure out the ropes here but it isn´t as hard to manage the streets and our area as I thought it would be once you have the names down it´s okay! And there are millions of people here so you just gotta ask one of them and they usually help out! 
We didn´t have the highest numbers this week but we were able to meet quite a few members and some of the investigators and a couple recent converts which is somewhat of progress! This week we will definitely be more efficient.
A couple of really cool things did happen while we were getting our bearings though! I have seen God´s hands in our work this week and I know he puts us where we need to be. We were trying to find a members apartment and we were down below so we pressed the doorbell/intercom sort of thing of his apartment to see if he was home, or better said, to see if it was even the right apartment. We were patiently waiting when two women came up to us. They told us that they were from Antofogosta and had come to Santiago to receive better medical attention because one of the women has a pretty serious problem with her eye and brain and they said they saw us from a little ways a way and came a runnin´ they asked if we could give her a blessing and we said of course! But the problem was that was where they were staying wouldn´t let us in the building so we gave them the address of the church so that they could come to the church and receive a blessing. They came and were able to receive it.
Another time we were walking past a park so we decided to go see if we couldn´t do a couple contacts. We saw this 20 year old guy or so like three different times kinda chilling on his bike in the park and I kept getting a feeling we should talk to him. Finally the third time we saw him he was sitting underneath a tree on the side of the path with his bike next to him. So I went to talk to him, he had actually just got into Santiago that Tuesday(a day after us) and we were able to talk to him we were actually able to bare a little bit of testimony about why we are in our church and missionaries and it was super cool because he is like this really punk kid but he said thank you to us so many times like thank you guys for coming and talking to me and telling me all those things I don´t know why but I really feel good right now and I´m glad you guys came over. He even gave us his number so that we could meet up again! 
While we were talking to him another lady came up to us and said how she had just moved from Peru and is a member and wanted to know where the church was so that she could come! That day we were really where we needed to be I believe even though we didn´t do a whole lot like lessons and things we were still able to help quite a few people out.
This week I decided I was going to try walking around with just a brand new Book of Mormon, like the ones we give out, usually I have my backpack that has my folder with important papers, my Book of Mormon, little pamphlets, sometimes my camera, and just things that I might need. But I wanted to try just going about with a Book of Mormon. I was a little scared because my BoM is all marked and I have the scriptures that I like with tabs and others that have tabs too to help me out in certain situations. It has actually gone really well! I did it for like three days and I think I will keep doing it. I like to do it here because everyone has a backpack and tons of people are in shirts and ties and so there isn´t a ton that really really sets us apart besides our plaque, well and that we say hi to people, but I´m hoping that made people can see the Book of Mormon and maybe ask a couple questions. 
I actually had a pretty cool experience by carrying the it around because I was able to give it to a member that had stopped going to church for over 7 years. We were past a museum and there was a man on a bench and we walked past him and said hi and whatever but then I was like nah I´m gonna talk to him. We got talking and after awhile he told us that he is a member and a high priest and use to be very active. He had lost is Book of Mormon when he and his wife went their separate ways and has never read since because of that. At the end of the conversation I gave him the book I was carrying around with a little marker in a place I wanted him to read and then he asked which ward we are in and told us that we will see him in our ward one day. I hope that comes true.
I think that is all for today! It´s about all I have time for I think so thank you for the prayers! Thank you for the support! Have a wonderful week.
Elder Gunnell

Monday, March 9, 2015

Drastic Change

Drastic, such a good word choice Elder Gunnell, looks like my english isn´t quite as bad as I thought it was. :)
So I am surely convinced that I had the most drastic and big change this transfer. Keep in mind that I was in my little town, Catemu, without stop lights and a couple stop signs, hardly any cars and just a whole bunch of small houses. Wanna know where I am now? I am in the HEART of Santiago!! And it is the most FANTASTIC thing in the world. Haha it is sooooo sweet here. I mean I have been here for like a couple hours but it is still so cool. When I say the heart of Santiago I mean right in the dead center. We live right by the Plaza de Armas which is the biggest plaza in Santiago. All the government buildings are here too. I don´t know how it will be to work here as a missionary because all we have in our area are departments and so we can´t go knock on doors to make contacts or things like that because the gaurds down below won´t let you in unless you are visiting someone specifically and if that someone says it is okay. So the Sister missionaries who were here before said that we will do a lot of contacts in the parks and plazas but it is still hard because most the people that are out and about are from different countries so it is super rare to find someone and then actually start teaching them, but I have faith! 
I am almost certain that we will get lost for sure but there are millions of people around so we can just ask and ask and ask until we find our apartment again or something. Oh! My companion! My companion is Elder Richards from Las Vegas, we were actually in the same district in the MTC! Which is pretty neat! I think it was daring of the President to send two somewhat new missionaries to a new area that neither of us knew but that just makes it all the more exciting! Haha we are going to learn a lot I think because (since we are still somewhat young to this whole mission thing) we both don´t speak amazing spanish and we have always had an older companion who could do all the talking or take charge in the lessons and now we just got eachother. I am wayy excited to see how it goes! I am certain it will be hard but I think I am ready for a challenge... I hope.
When ended up getting the apartment just fine from the Mission home. We took a taxi and he dropped of us like a block from the apartment building. We were struggling a little bit with our suitcases and there was this big black guy near and he was like, ¨Hey what´s up man?!¨ in English and just grabbed two of Elder Richards´s suitcases and asked where we needed to go. He told us he was from Haiti and had lived a lot of his life in the US and now here. I asked if he spoke spanish and he said, ¨yes very well¨. I was like, ¨maybe you could help me out cause my spanish isn´t too good.¨ Then he asked, ¨Well are you trying your best?¨ I said yes and he said, ¨if you are trying your best you have nothing to worry about, you will be fine. That´s all you can do is do you best and it will come.¨ Then we got to our building he shook our hands and left. It was a good little reminder because as much as I am excited, I´m a little nervous/scared too but I know that God is right by my side.
This last week was a super busy week with the activity we had. It was one of the best church funcioned activities I have seen in a loooong time. I am pretty sure there was around 100 people there and that is more than we ever have a church. It was a huge hit with all the dances from the countries, the presentations, and the food! It was killer trying to make all that food... Making that many cinnamon rolls and homemade rolls takes FOREVER especially when you have such a small oven, kitchen, and so little bowls, pans, etc. The branch helped out a lot because a lot of people lended me pans so I could cook everything. I was super glad it all turned out good and the people like it all! I have got to say thanks again mom for the recipes and teaching me to cook. The mission is making a little recipe book soon so I will send you a couple of recipes from there so you can make a couple Chilean dishes!
It was soo very hard to say goodbye to the members of that branch and to Adela, and Carolina and her two little girls, and all the people that we have spent time with. I can honestly say I love them. I really do hope the best for them. I met some of the strongest most faithful people there in Catemu and Llay-Llay and they will forever be examples to me. All day Sunday we went and took pictures and said bye to everyone. It was sad and a couple people cried. I´m going to try to send little notes here and there to some people.
I would send some pictures of where I am at but there aren´t any USB ports in this internet cafe so I´ll try to get them to you another time. If you want to look up my apartment building we live on the corner of the street Teatinos with the street Rosa(s) I don´t remember if there is an ¨s¨ or not. 
Tonight we are going to try to meet up with the Bishop(weird I have a bishop again, not a Branch President) and the Mission leader of the ward and if they can´t today I think we will try to meet some of the recent converts and basically just kind of get our bearings here in the middle of this massive city.
Let Trevor and Tylyn know that I wish I could be there and that I hope everything goes well!!

Elder Gunnell
 Cultural activity!!! It was a blast and soo fun! The relief society went crazy on the Brazil stand. 
 In our stand we had the poster Elder Bennett made and some balloons than I made 166 cinnamon rolls, 125+ rolls, and a huge `ol thing of homemade chicken noodle soup. It was way fun to say the least!

The Brazilean dish. Dinner and a show!

We also celebrated Elder Bennett`s and Martina`s birthdays with homemade apple pies and ice cream!

I ate bunny for the first time this week too! The table is a table that the brazilean lady made for her husband it`s pretty

Two Things I never thought I would do on my

March 2, 2015

1. Understand Portuguese.
2. Be in charge of making the deserts of a wedding.

Before I get into those I want to share a little about a fun little family home evening we had last Monday! We taught a family that are less active but we visit them a lot(they have the little boy that looks a like Drey but with black hair) anyways we had a really good activity about the atonement of Christ and then I taught them how to make homemade personal ice cream! Haha it was such a blast and they loved it! We finally got Christain (12 years old) to come to church again with us yesterday so that was really good!

Now to explain the understanding portugese thing. We had contacted a man when we were trying to find a house. He said that we could come by another day so Tuesday we stopped by their house and a woman came to the door. We said we were looking for Jaime and she said okay hold on a minute, but she said it with a super thick accent. So when she went to get him Elder Bennett was like dude she has got to be from Brazil. I had no idea, I just knew it was spanish with some sort of accent. Later on we got to know all of the family. Well the three of them Jaime(dad), Liduina(mom) and Luna(daughter). The mom is actually from Brazil and speaks hardly any spanish. We talked to her more than anyone else that day and I can tell you that the gift of tongues is real. I have a hard time understanding spanish and I have never once studied portugese but somehow we could understand her and could answer her questions and everything! Who knew we would find someone from Brazil in this little town of Catemu?! Tonight she is going to make us food from Brazil and I am going to make something the US to share!

Now for number two. I don´t remember what day but I think it was like Tuesday or Wednesday. One of the sisters in our Branch called me and said there was a problem with the wedding of two people in our branch and that a lot of the plans failed so she asked if I could be in charge of making all the deserts for the wedding. I gladly said I would love to do it:) So I made a huge ´ol list of the things I needed and then went and got them. I spent that whole day cooking, it took me longer than I thought but I finished in time!! It was a blast! And I felt pretty good when all was finished and set up looking pretty! Haha anyways I made 60 strawberry shortcake cupcakes, 48 salted caramel chocolate cupcakes, 3 pans of cookie dough brownies(the people are in love with brownies here), 3 chocolate fudge strawberry cakes, and like 80 or so sugar cookies. It was fantastic. Then some members came in a car to pick us and everything up and then when we got to the church(where the marriage was at) I was able to help the chef guy finish off making the dinner part of things! So all in all that was a way busy and fun day! The bummer was that we had to leave at 9 at night and they started at 8:30 so we actually didn´t get to eat anything! I was hoping that everything tasted good! But a couple people at church told me the things were tasty so I guess all went well!

A little update on the family that was coming to church and everything, Nelson, Cecilia and Patricio. They are alright. They don´t want to commit to anything and I scared to get out of their comfort zone which I understand but I want their wonderful family to have what my family has, an eternal family. So I will not give up on them. We are going to do more service for them tomorrow morning. I´m hoping that one day they will be able to feel our love enough and realize that all we want is the best for them and the best thing they can do is make covenants with God and take a step of faith outside of their comfort zone so that they can receive so many more blessings.

Thank you for all your support and love! Also a big huge shout out for Court and her call to Mexico! 

Elder Gunnell

P.S. This next Monday we have transfers! I don´t know if I will stay or go but whatever happens I know it will be good for me!