Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Picture taken as I was landing in Santiago, Chile on July 31, 2012 as the sun was rising

 ***August 6, 2012 (First Area of Mission-Renca, Chile) Companion: Elder Weigel***

Hola Familia!!
Chile is so crazy!!! It's such a different world here. I can't even really describe it. I will just start telling you about my first day here and then go from there.

First day... so after the longest flights of my life, I finally arrived in Chile! As soon as we arrived, we had to walk through the airport and find our way to pay a 160 dollar tax for using the airport. That was covered by the church. I walked up to the counter and the lady just started rattling off all kinds of Spanish and I was like uhhhh, here's the 160 dollars! haha. I gave her my passport, she stamped it, pút the receipt in the booklet and I was off to customs. We waited in a pretty long line for that. When I got up to the customs counter (la policia de las investigaciones), pretty much the FBI of Chile, a man started asking me all these questions about why are you here, how long are you here, how much money do you have with you, all kinds of stuff and he told me to stand up against the wall while he looked at my information. One by one the 21 missionaries that were going to Chile that day ,that were on my flight ,came and stood right next to me. It was actually pretty scary. After an hour and a half of just standing up against the wall, they finally let us go... from there we got to find our baggage and then had to fill out some more paperwork. We then met President Essig and his wife! They're such great people... (just like I said in my letter that got sent home my first day here). We traveled through the city of Santiago to the mission home. Santiago looks kind of the same as a city in the US, but a lot dirtier, and there are dogs EVERYWHERE! There are 3 or 4 dogs on every little street you walk down. Haven't gotten bitten yet! At the mission home we did our usual interviews, had a nap and then the trainers came! It's really fun how everything works. They present the trainers and then we come in and sit down next to them, but in a seperate spot. The trainers were singing Called to Serve as we walked in, (in Spanish of course). We joined in for the last few verses and then it began. President Essig announces the trainee and they stand up and then the trainer is announced and everyone goes nuts for every single one of the new companionships. The trainer runs over and gives the trainee a huge hug and then they sit next to each other. After about 10 trainees were called President Essig called my name, "Elder Jenson", and I stood up and then President said... Elder Weigel!! (pronounced why-gle) Elder Weigel came over and gave me a big hug and we sat next to each other. Elder Weigel's from Arizona and his year mark is in 4 days! Crazy. Elder Weigel's Spanish is soooo good. He speaks very well and understands everything. I'm so blessed to be his companion. This week we have accomplished a lot and we have worked very hard. After the ceremony where we knew who our trainers and new companions were, we grabbed our lunch and our bags and headed to our area. My area is called Renca. It's a very poor place outside of Santiago about an hour by bus and subway.

Renca is a commune of Chile located in Santiago Province, Santiago Metropolitan Region. It was founded on May 6, 1894. Renca spans an area of 24.2 km2 (9 sq mi) and has 133,518 inhabitants (66,253 men and 67,265 women), making the commune an entirely urban area. Average annual household income: US$17,278 .Population below poverty line: 19.2%. The currency circulated here is the Chilean Peso .

Metro de Santiago

Bus to Renca, Chile

Elder Weigel and I took the subway first and then caught a bus which took us to where we needed to be. I asked my comp, "Where are we going to be staying?" and he was like, "a house". I was like, "With how many Elders?" he's like, "Just us". I was like, "uhh ok". In my mind I'm thinking a house like in America and I'm like, "Wow that's awesome!" We finally get to the street where our house is and I'm just following Elder Weigel. He stops at this little house (if you can call it that). I call it a casita! ha. (I made a huge mistake and didn't take a picture outside our house, just pics of the inside. Pictures of the outside will come in the next email). We walk inside "our house" and I'm like," This is what we're living in for the next few months... nice". I pretty much just drop my luggage and Elder Weigel gives me the little tour of the house.

Front entryway of my "new home" in Renca, Chile

Kitchen of my "new home" in Renca, Chile

Bathroom of my "new home" in Renca, Chile

Elder Jenson and his "new bedroom" in Renca, Chile

Elder Jenson's companion, Elder Weigel, in the "new home" study area

There's no heating at all in my casita! In the mornings and at night it's so freezing cold. After we shower in the mornings, we come out of the shower seeing our breath and try to get dressed as fast as possible because we're so cold (were putting on ice cold clothes as well, remember?) It's definitely a change from the US to say the least! We had a little bit of time after Elder Weigel's tour of the house before we went to a family night at a members house named Hna Pati. She's great! We first picked up an investigator (Maria) that Elder Weigel had been teaching and brought her to the visit. During the visit at Hna Pati's, we watched a video about the Restoration (20 min vid). Then we taught Maria a little bit more about the Restoration. She had received the first lesson before this visit, so it wasn't new to her. We were just helping her understand what happened. We asked Maria to be baptized and she accepted! Her baptism date is on the 19th of August! We had 4 investigators set with baptisimal dates yesterday, but two of our investigators didn't come to church, so they lost their baptisimal date. In this mission (Sanitago North), investigators have to come to church 3 times before they can be baptized. We have to make that happen. After that, we went back to the house and went to bed which capped off my first day in Chile.

I don't have a ton of time left because I had to write a letter to President Essig and spent time trying to figure out how to get these pictures on the computer and send them to you. I will just tell you about my thoughts and about my investigators..

Maria- The one who came to the family night with us.
Guillermo- He's been to church twice, but needs time to quit smoking to be able to be baptized. Baptism date- 8/26/12.
Amauri- Came to church for the second time yesterday. He's great. He's greatful for the missionaries and is growing his faith. He just needs to get married to be able to be baptized. His girlfriend and he are trying to make plans to do that soon.
Victor- Haven't met him yet, but he is the brother of Amauri. Apparently, he really wants to get baptized as well and has already commited to a date- 8/19/12.

We are finding people more and more, but those are the investigators that have a baptisimal date and that we are really trying to help out and focus on right now.

As for the Spanish, I showed up here and literally the Chileans don't pronounce anything at all. It's really hard to understand them. I'm understanding more and more every single day. I'm participating in the lessons pretty well and Elder Weigel is really helping me with points that I need to make in every single lesson and with all that I do.

You have to watch where you step here. There's dog "droppings" everywhere. I think I step in like 2 dog "droppings" every single day! It's horrible. Definately have to watch where I'm walking! Something else interesting is that the houses are conjoined where I am living and all the houses have fenced off gates to them.

Overall, I love Chile! I'm really developing a love for the people here. The investigators are so great and I'm blessed to be working with them to help them come closer to Christ. Ok, I don't have any more time. I hope your week is going great! I'm loving it here and all is well.


1 comment:

  1. Sounds awesome!! What a great experience. Those first few days and weeks on the mission are so exciting.