Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

I usually have a small list of things I want to tell you but I left the list at home today so I will just answer questions.

It is good that you are getting some rain. Utah definetly needs it.
Jake wants a computer? Really? I am sorry but what does a 10 year old need a computer for? Maybe when he turns 13. The party sounds like a blast. I wish I could have seen the trick candles.
The same four-point buck two days in a row? Better be grateful for those blessings you get while I am out here. We actually had a lesson in Elders Quorum yesterday about being grateful for what we have. So while Jake may be sad about missing the icecream science presentations he should be grateful for the chance to go hunting with dad. 

Is it really SEP week already? I just got your letter saying you had been in school for 2 days! Still no package by the way. I think I should get it in two weeks when we have Zone Meeting. 
I actually had an earthquake too. I think it was also 6.1. I was actually in the shower when the first earthquake hit and it just felt like the room was shifting a bit. Elder Stratford was in Iquique when the big earthquake hit there so he gets a bit nervous whenever we have an earthquake. 6.1 is a small earthquake here and is barely news worthy. 

I hope Grandma Hunter enjoyed her birthday. And it is great that we have another red head in the family. It is supposed to be warming up here pretty quick but it was a bit cold this week. Elder Stratford sent his sweater to be washed so he borrowed my sweater this week. (oh yeah, I bought a grey sweater). A lot of the members and investigators told me I should be careful in the cold weather and I should wear something to stay warm. All while Elder Stratford sits next to me in my sweater. It was pretty funny actually.

Investigators are okay. We did have more lessons this week and we had 2 amazing lessons with Jose and Lydia. The allowance we get is usually sufficient but we have to pay the water and electric bills for our pension each month. We get reimbursed (not sure how to spell that) but it takes a while to get the money back. After christmas just send me some pictures of everyone. Maybe a little cash. I dont want you guys to have to send big packages a lot. I have some stuff to send to you guys but I dont know how the mail here works... so... you might get it a bit late. Mammita is doing better. She went back to work this last week. She is our food mammita. The clothes mammita sometimes irons if she has time. It depends each week.

Elder Pineda is from Panama and has 13 months in the mission. He is almost a polar opposite from Elder Cardozo but its good. He does not understand english as well as Elder Cardozo did either but maybe that is for the best. I am taking pictures so dont worry. We had some small miracles. We try to have a Noche de Hogar (FHE) with a young man named Juan (or Juanito) every week. He is a fairly recent convert but only he and his younger brother are members. For the first time on Friday, Juans mom listened when we taught. We also showed a short video called "Thanks to Him". Very powerful video by the church.

I am looking forward to conference this weekend. I will be watching it live and in english apparently. It starts at 1pm here and the priesthood session should end at 11. There is only one night every year we can stay out past curfew and that is Saturday. WOOT! 

I love you guys and you are always in my prayers. Stay safe.
Elder Hunter

I hope you got a good part too. The weirdest thing I ate was either mote con wasillo or carne de burro... both tasted great but they were a little weird. I took pictures of the streets with everyones Chilean flags out and I took pics of the Ward Party. I hope I can find a way to show you the video of us singing. I didnt get it on my camera... sorry. I was preoccupied with singing a song we had learned and practiced for only 30minutes the night before.

The weird name of the week is CP-30. One of the members gave all the elders names from StarWars. We have Han Solo, Anakin, Luke, CP-30, and Mace Windu. Also, people call Elder Stratford: Elder Strong, Elder Stanford, Elder StarWars (and thus the other nicknames), and most commonly Elder Transformers.

It has been winter here so the sky is always overcast. I have no tan. I have bought a coin purse to keep my coins for the bus in. That is about it so far. I took some money off my personal account 2 days ago and I bought a few other things but I may need to draw out more cash again because I want to buy more socks. The ones I have are fine but if the Mammita is slow with the laundry I have to rewear socks. Fortunately I only have to do that with socks but still it is annoying.

I think I will wait til later in my mission to buy souveniers for everyone so I dont have to carry them to each new sector. I will buy Moms nativity scene if I ever find one but the stores are just getting ready for Halloween. It will be a while before the Christmas stuff is available. 

Have fun with school, sports, and life. Love you too sis. Elder Hunter

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sept 22, 2014
It was a rough week for teaching. Everyone had guests over and did not have time for the missionaries to teach. It was good though. The ward activity was a huge success. Investigators and less active families came. The missionaries did a song called Rapa Nui, Mi Amor. There were games, dances, food, and a lot of people. We had Zone Conference on Friday. I finally saw President Dalton again and we spent the better portion of the day in meetings. It was good and I saw Elder Hinton again. There are four redheads in our zone and three of them are from Arizona. Go figure.
I have eaten barbaque almost everyday for the past week. And if not then I ate empinadas. And if not then we had mote con wasillo. (think that is how you spell that). Anyway it was a fun week if nothing else. We had transfers on Saturday and Elder Cardozo went to a different sector. The new Elder comes in this evening. I think he is from Panama but not sure.
Two days ago we went to visit one of our less active families that came to the activity. Hermano Gonzalez reminds me of Uncle B with his sense of humour but the spiritual part of the evening was the lesson we taught with his sister who was visiting. She is not a member but she knows a lot about the church. I have never felt so calm when bearing my testimony in spanish. All we did was challenge them to pray about any doubts or questions they have about the church but the spirit was strong.
I think it is unfair that you guys go on another trek after I leave. I never got a chance! I do use the handkerchief and I believe we watch conference in English at the chapel. They have two rooms set up. One for the Latin Missionaries and any investigators we have and the other room is for Gringos.
I don't know about paintball but there is a lot of grafitti here. 40% is actually art, 20% is 3D words, 20% is love message, and 20% is just defacement of public property. I still don't understand all the words in the grafitti but that may be a good thing. I found out that the computer places are Cibers(not cybers) and that the coffee substitute is Ecco. The spelling of everything here still confuses me sometimes.
No package yet and I wish Jake a happy birthday. Someone asked me if I was related to Matt Hunter. Apparently he is the Chilean version of Justin Beiber. Know anything about him?
You and Dad are accident prone. You need to be careful! Glad you are both healing up nicely. I did not get to see the re-dedication but it sounds like it was a great experience.
Tell Jake I have to pay for each time I want to use a computer so going one day without wifi is not too bad.
This week was rough because the 18th of September is a big holiday in Chile. The whole week is a party. Lots of good (and strange) food but little teaching. Pray that some investigators will actually go to church. That is all I ask.
Love ya sis and tell Jake Happy Bday. 

Gotta go but Love you all and I am praying for you. Elder Hunter

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sept. 15th
Well, not to brag but we had rain too. Not nearly as much as you guys but it was a lot for Antofagasta. Some homes were flooded (because of the hill everything goes downhill) but we are fine. It was refreshing even to walk in the rain. Also, there are no private lawns in the middle of the city so no one has to mow here. I can see the benefit but I miss seeing green too. 
Too bad about the last game but Jake is tough. He will get back on the horse. The water sports sound like a blast. Sorry you crashed hard but I do hope he got it on film. I want to see when I get home! 

There is a lot of kissing in Chile. If two women greet each other they kiss on the cheek and hug. Same if a man greets a woman. If two men greet each other and they sometimes do the cheek kiss but it depends. If they are really close then they might give a short kiss on the lips (this goes for everyone:male-male,male-female,female-female). Usually men do a handshake, hug, handshake though. The missionaries do not kiss anyone. We do the double handshake thing with the men and just a handshake with women. Members, less actives, and old investigators all know this rule but some other people in Chile don’t know. I have been kissed once so far by the mother of one of our investigators. We let it happen the first time and then explain that we have a standard as missionaries where we don’t do that. I also got a kiss from the daughter of the Mammita for our clothes (she is about 3).  

We work with the youth a little. We taught a seminary class a while back. There are not very many youth though. Primary is slightly bigger but not much. I work in the Bolivar Ward. There are four missionaries in this single ward. I honestly don’t know how big our sector is. We have walked most of it by now. There are about 120 active members. The Ward Mission Leader is great. He has a great sense of humor and is very passionate about the work. He is a recent convert of not quite a year. He and his family have been very kind to me as the new missionary and have helped me quite a bit with the language. He works for turn at the mine. He works 7 days and then has 7 days off so he only comes to church twice a month. (just about everyone here works for turn at the mine but they have different turns) We have some great members here that have been very helpful but progress with investigators has been little and slow.

Our main investigators are Cristian (24 from Ecuador), Josè and Lydia (He is less active, she is non-member), Maria Jose (she is a less active single mother with 4 unbaptized kids), Ariela and Paolo (Mother and son, he is a drug addict who wants to change) and Manuel (Catholic grandfather but likes to hear about Christ). 
We teach what is in Preach My Gospel according to the needs the investigators have. We also work a lot with less active members and their families. I have met the Mission President only on those first 2 days. We keep in touch with a weekly email. I will see him this friday for Zone Conference though. Transfers are every 6 weeks. I will likely be here for 3-5 transfers. I do not know anything about the temple dedication. I do not believe I will get to see it but I am not sure.

We got the shower fixed (thank goodness). I do not know if I have tried guava but pineapple juice is pretty common. I don’t know where they grow the tomatoes but they always eat tomato here. I can usually eat the "Chilean Salads" if I add salt and lemon juice. The avocado is fine too. The main foods of Chile usually involve tomato, mayonaise, and bread. I have eaten fish only once. They also have a type of olive down here that is in a lot of foods but very few of the missionaries from the states eat it. I think it is called an aceituna. 

Thanks for the BDAY list. That should be fine for now. I have heard from Matt and Braden, not Brycen. The package has not arrived yet. Tell grandma not to worry about the no punctuation. I can understand just fine (usually). I do not know if I know a Sis Simmerman. It sounds familiar but I can’t place a face. 

Tell Dad to be more careful. He is getting banged up and it is not even his hunt! I am glad it was not more serious. That is great that they got a big Bull. I would say I wish I could have been there but it sounds like this elk was more trouble than it was worth.

Sorry but this next paragraph will just be a mess of everything else I wanted to say this week.
I had my first sick day in the field. Well, Elder Stratford was sick so we did not go out in the morning. That was on Thursday I think... days kinda blur together now. We managed to get out for the evening though. We see Mammita Estrella a lot more now. She is on bedrest for her pregnancy so she is always home when we go over for lunch. I drank coffee. Well, actually it is a coffee substitute called Echo (not sure if that is how it is spelled but that is how the name sounds). It is a wheat based drink. I can never find hot chocolate here so I may buy that so I can have a warm drink in the morning. Elder Stratford gave me a grammar card to help me with conjugations. I am getting fairly proficient with the present tense but the others still need a lot of work. The 18th of September is a HUGE holiday in Chile. Bigger than the 4th of July in the States. I dont know all the history but I know that it is NOT their Independence Day. Our ward is having an activity on the 18th at the Stake Center (our chapel is still being remodeled). We hope to get the investigators and less actives there to become more familiar and comfortable with the ward members. Apparently there will be a lot of good food this week as everyone prepares for the holiday.

That is about it for this week. I pray for you guys and I love you. Stay safe.
Elder Hunter

School just sucks in general. Honestly I thought the college classes were easier. Maybe I was just used to them by then. Anyway, good luck with that.
Good luck with ballet too. I thought I was getting in shape from walking all day but really I wasn’t. I played soccer today on a full size field. I am sore. There are definitely different types of "being in shape".
I am in the driest area in the world. What makes you think I had rain? And yes. It actually did rain and they don’t have a gutter system here (because it never rains) so there was some flooding in certain areas. 

I don’t know how I prepare. I just go and try to understand what they are saying and then respond with a gospel principle. I do not write my testimony in the Books of Mormons I hand out. I usually carry 2 to hand out. I usually have pamphlets and a list of the ward members with their addresses.
Love you too sis. Elder Hunter

I have eaten a lot of soup but no chili. And we do go downhill eventually but by then I am really tired so it feels like I am going uphill anyway.
I actually do have some stuff to send home but I think I am going to wait to send it. I am afraid your bday present will be a bit late. Possibly two years late... we shall see.
I don’t ride a bike. I walk. Everywhere. They have not replaced shoes with anything new and hi-tech so I think you might just be out of luck little man.
I pray for you too bud. Love ya.
Elder Brock Hunter

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sept 8, 2014
Hola familia,
4:30 church was a bit rough but we had a great testimony meeting anyway. Well, at least the other elders say it was great. I did not understand most of what was said but I could definetly feel the spirit. 

Antofagasta is the biggest city in the mission. There are about 50 missionaries throughout the city. Last Tuesday we had a Zone Meeting and I found out we have 16 missionaries in our Zone. Plus on Wednesday I had my first Intercambio. I went with one of the Zone Leaders and stayed a day in their sector. We did service by painting a house and managed to teach 2 lessons. They live with four elders in their pension too but it is 3 latinos and 1 gringo so there was A LOT of spanish that day. As for the city, concrete jungle. But there is only one area in the entire mission that is really green. The majority of the mission is just brown whether or not it is a concrete jungle. We have a lot of sand here. In Antofagasta they try to maintain a few city parks with grass and some houses have potted plants but other than that... we do have a lot of grafiti though. Some is actually pretty cool. My sector is closer to the mountains than the coast so we do a lot of walking uphill. It is nearly impossible to keep my shoes shined because of the sand but I try to shine them regularly. 

I am trying to understand all the missionary programs so we will learn things about technology together. I might buy a nativity set but I have not seen anything like that yet. As for the speaker... I have no clue. Good luck with that.

The tomatoes are fresh and apparently a little sweeter than the ones we have in the states. A Chilean Salad can consist of tomatoes and onions or tomatoes and avacado. Sometimes we actually get lettuce but only 40% of the time. We do get ketchup and mustard here but they come in bags usually. Not bottles. Same with the shampoo. We can buy snickers and oreos and most other big brands here. We drink a lot of bottled water in the pension but we usually get juice or soda at other places. I have tried so many kinds of juice here. I even like orange juice now. The sodas are half and half. Some are the same but others are different. The most common that we have in the states are Coke, Fanta, and Sprite.

We did a tie trade in the pension last night. I traded two and got five. I did not trade any in the CCM but Mom was right. Missionaries trade a lot of ties in the field. And our water heater (or south american equivelant) went out so now we have cold showers. It is just like my first week at the CCM. Except now I know I CAN have warm showers. I hope we can fix it before I get hypothermia.

When I talk about the Bybees or the Callahans with the people here I just refer to them as family. So Karen and Shawn and Lindsey and Corey are now my Aunts and Uncles but Brycen is still just my friend serving a mission in New Jersey... it was easier to explain that way with the spanish I have right now. Speaking of Brycen can someone give me his mission email? Also can I get a list of everyones birthdays? I know Mom and Dad have had theirs and that Jakes is coming up but I want to be able to write everyone a short note for their birthdays. Also, HAPPY ANIVERSARY!!! Well, in three days from now but this counts right?

They have Daylight Savings Time over here too but because we are in the Southern Hemisphere it is the opposite of the states. So I was 3 hours ahead but soon I will be 5 hours ahead. How do you like that? 

Finally, can you get on my Facebook and change my secuirity settings? I have members that want to friend me but my page is blocked to the public. Normally this would be a smart secuirity measure but when I meet people from another country... it just makes things annoying. My profile is my email and the password should be on the list I left you. Just make my profile open to the public and leave it as Brock Hunter. I just want to be able to accept their friend requests when I get home. You can just continue posting mission stuff on the blog. I dont need it on facebook too. At least not yet.

I have eaten some questionable chicken. I like my chicken white, not red, but I am not dead yet so I guess its okay. I have no injuries to report from Chile except some papercuts. Glad the school dance was fun. Good luck with the ballet auditions. 

Good luck to all the Hunter Men on the Elk Hunt. Hope Dad feels better and that he can get his work done AND have a good time hunting. Elder Stratford, my companion, has never been hunting before. That seems so odd to me but I guess he went to the beach at least once a week so... you really do get to know all kinds of people on the mission.

I think the mural depicted Utah Pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley. We can get ketchup and mayonaise but I have not seen miracle whip yet. 

I recieved the snail mail letter last Monday after I wrote. I cant find hot chocolate anywhere. But otherwise I am living comfortably. 

Love you all. I am praying for you. Good luck with School, Work, and Sports.
Elder Hunter

Dear Jake,
I am glad you are starting to like reading. I only have one Harry Potter book I believe and that is book seven. I got the rest from the library. I might have a few others but I know I do not have all 7. I do have all the Percy Jackson books though. They are down in my closet. I cant remember if I have Fable Haven 5...

I hated practicing the piano too bud. But you know what? They did ask me to play the piano at a District Meeting (have dad explain what that is) and I was gonna play at a baptism for one of the ward members but I ended up leading the music instead. Also, one of the ward members asked me to teach their son piano. I am not sure if I am able to yet but it could happen. Playing an instrument is a great talent to have and one day the girls will love that you can play the piano. Remember that Jake. 

The meals here are different. I cant finish lunch sometimes because it is so big but then I am starving by the time we go home for the day. At least you guys get leftovers.

Try not to break Moms new phone before I get to see it okay? Good luck in school and sports little man.
Elder Haunter (like that one purple ghost pokemon because apparently it is pronounced the same way here)

Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1, 2014
Estoy aprendiendo mucho aqui. Vida en el campo misiònal es differente que vida en el CCM pero yo pienso que los dos son bueno. En el penultimo domingo, uno de nuestro investigadores asistieron a la iglesia por la primer vez. Sin embargo, nadie asistieron este semana.

I am learning a lot here. Life in the missionary field is different than life in the MCC but I think that both are good. In the penultimate Sunday, one of our researchers attended the Church for the first time. However, no one attended this week.
Now that you think I am smart I will tell you that I was using google translate. The language is coming and everyone says I speak well (for pronunciation and such) but the problem is I struggle to understand the people. Some are better than others but usually I am just trying to comprehend the overall message and I miss details. After each lesson I try to review what I understood with what Elder Stratford knows they really said. Sometimes I get everything. Sometimes... not so much. I try to talk to my companion in spanish whenever I can but sometimes english is necessary.
I used the cash from Aunt Meche to buy the sheets. I tried to use my card but the machine at the store had issues. I use my mission card for groceries. When I decide to buy souveniers or clothes I will use my personal card.  The church is apparently pretty impressive for Chile but it just looks like one from Utah on the outside. It is surrounded by a large fence though. Everything is gated or fenced in here. The interior is a little different from the chapels at home but they are remodeling it starting this week. For the next month we will go to the Stake Center for church. It normally starts at 11 but for the next few weeks it starts at 4 30. We will see how that goes.
The Get Sexy Plan has suffered a bit. He manages to get the exercise in but the diet falls to pieces. He tries and he can sometimes get one night of success but never two in a row. At least not yet. We are waiting to take pics of the sector because we want to know the best spots first and then just take one day to do it. I do have pictures of my pension though. (because some missionaries are in houses, apartments, the houses of members, ect. we just call them all pensions).
I have seen 3 other tall people so far. Most of them seem to be the size of Aunt Brenda or Grandma Hunter. It is a cultural thing to not get married. Most people are "con vive" meaning they live together. They will live with one person for 7 years and then switch. I guess they do it to avoid the hassle of divorce. Some people are con vive for 20 years though. It doesnt make sense to me but it is a real struggle for the missionaries here to get their investigators married before baptism.
Great to here about the other future missionaries. Tell Brycen to write me when he gets to the MTC. I am glad their talks went well. Tell Dad thanks for the advice. I have not struggled too much with my companion yet and I hope it lasts but much like Mom and her new phone we will have to wait and see.
Congrats on the victory Jake but be careful about those concussions. Futbol Americano is a great sport but there is a reason that the stereotypical football player is not very smart. Kaitlin, keep up the work on soccer. Your opponents are not from South America. At least you have a chance. By the end of my mission though I might be better than you if you dont work hard...
I have not been sunburned yet but it is winter going into spring here. It is usually foggy. The days when the sun is out I try to stay in the shade as much as possible because it does get hot. My companion has been all over the mission from the most northern city to the one furthest south and the weather changes quite a bit apparently. He was actually in Iqueque when the earthquake hit too. So while I dont have an amazing mission story, my companion has a few. I have witnessed a few small miracles already but I will save those for the homecoming talk.
We try to avoid nicknames in the mission field. In the Missionary Manual (aka White Bible or Guìa de Èxito) it says to refer to other Missionaries by their proper title as a way to show respect. Though for some reason before the mission Elder Stratford said "Brock" instead of "Bro" so he finds it hilarious that my actual name is Brock.
I hope that answered everyones questions for the week and I hope everyone does well with school, work, and sports. I am praying for all of you everyday but remember "Prayer cant fix stupid" so stay out of trouble! Love you all.
Elder Hunter
Also I have annointed two people with oil in the last two days. It is a bit different in spanish and everyone here has four to five names so that makes it tough but I did it. Plus I forgot to answer two questions.
First: It is actually usually cold in the Pension so I keep my jacket on to stay warm sometimes. The other Elders have a space heater in their room but we dont have anything like that in our room.
Second: P-Days are the same as every other day until 9 30. Then we can do whatever we want. usually we spend the morning playing soccer, then we go to a "Cyber" which is a business with public computers so I can send my weekly emails. we get our shopping for the week done (at least we try to. we have made exceptions for necessities like toilet paper and bottled water. Tap water is not safe to drink or cook with so we have to use big 20L jugs). We also try to finish other things we need to do like shine shoes, clean the pension, or sew to fix buttons and pockets.sometimes we go out to lunch and other times we go to the mamitas house. One of the other Elders in the Pension, Elder Malan, is trying to get me into Magic the Gathering. It is a very nerdy card game but he has cards in english and spanish so it becomes a stress reliever and language study. Sometimes we just hang out and talk (sometimes gospel doctrine, sometimes life before the mission, sometimes what life will be like after the mission, ect). At 6 30 we go back to work like it was a regular day. We visit investigators and less actives and then when we get home we plan for the next day and go to bed.
When you ask questions I will try to answer but I sometimes I do miss a question. Just ask me again next week if I miss it. always ask questions because otherwise I dont know what to write about... Love you all. Take care.
Elder Hunter (again)