Thursday, March 12, 2009

Friends and stuff

Here are a few pictures of my friends.

Here, Hna Lily and Hna. Aurora are getting things ready for Manuel's going away party.

We're all excited about the shiskabobs, if you couldn't tell.

The men in the office: Manuel, Hno. Alfaro and Hno. Nuñez. They are a kick in the pants!

This is Nichol. He cracks me up. I love this picture; the coloring is perfect!

Here we are waiting to go do baptisms in the temple. I'm getting better at this long shot picture deal. I'm with Nataly and Eduardo.

This is Hna. Centeno who's going home to Argentina. That's why her eyes are closed because she doesn't want red eyes in the picture! She was a great missionary.

This was a fun pool party in Lo Cañas. This is Jermain, Cesar and someone else - don't know her name :-/. It was so fun!

This is me with Sis. Vicki Matsumori from the Primary General Presidency. She and Sis. Barbara Thompson from the RS General Presidency came to speak in Santiago. They are so cute!

This is what it looks like in Santiago when it rains, which isn't very often. We even hear thunder!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Success Stories

Reneé ringing the bell.

I gotta include some of these amazing stories that just make me so happy!

Success story #1 (of many)
Reneé is from Peru and came here only two weeks before we met her in the office. Before coming to Chile, she lost both her father and mother within two months and so needed to live with some relatives in Chile. But needing to be on her own and have a job, she came to the LDS Employment office and we put her in the Workshop. She came and participated, but with the help of another sister in the office, she got a job cleaning a woman's house. She was so excited and so she rang the bell in the office. It really gives people hope when they do that! She came into the office on Friday and she was notably happier and calmer. It was great!

Success story #2
Lucia, another sister from Peru, was in the same workshop as Reneé. After completing the workshop, she came into the office and said she got accepted to work at a large supermarket here in Santiago. I saw her in the temple the other day and she looked happy too!

Success story #3
Remember the Haitian family? Well, here's the rest of the story. When Jonas came into the office last week, he saw a job offer for a seamstress and mentioned that Maya sews really well. The problem was how to take care of their son. Maya asked me to call the lady to find out if she could bring him to work. I tried all week calling the lady and finally got a hold of her Friday. I asked her about it and the lady said that it should be no problem. I was excited and so I gave her Maya's name and number. On Sunday, I asked Maya about it at church and she said the lady called her and she starts work today! So happy! She looked relieved!

Success story #4
This is a little different because the sister looking for a job was a little particular about the job she wants. Ester Diaz had been coming in every week looking for a Monday through Friday job (she works in the temple on Saturdays and will not change that at all!). Every time the phone would ring and we would jot down notes about a job offer, she would run to the desk where I was at asking about it. I would tell her the specifics and the requirements, which I knew she didn't have (we're talking about job offers like truck drivers and teaching positions - she wouldn't have those). She would return to her seat, just waiting for the phone to ring. It was sad. I went to where she was and talked to her about what exactly she was doing to find a job, because (I didn't tell her this), sitting there waiting for a job offer wouldn't help her in the slightest. I helped remind her to keep her "line in the water" all day and to keep increasing her network and do her contacts. I asked her if she's ever done the workshop, which she had, but later asked to be enrolled in the career workshop again (she took it a long time ago). I felt better knowing that I was doing something to help her instead of just watching her sit there every time she came in.

Well, on Friday, a job offer for a housekeeper came in from an elderly gentleman. He needed someone Monday through Friday from 9 to 2. I took down the offer and sent it to the other office in town to put with the other job offers we receive. Later on, I saw Ester and she was talking with another sister in the office. I thought of the job offer from that morning about housekeeping and I told her about it and she took down the number. After talking with the gentleman, she left right away for an interview with him. Saturday I saw her and she said she starts work today as well!! She looked relieved, yet again! Wahoo!! I felt so good!

Stay tuned for more success stories!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Missionary work on the side

I love splits with the sister missionaries! I've been visiting this family with them lately if I'm not doing a temple grounds tour. Jonace and Maya are from Haiti and they're absolutly wonderful! They have the cutest baby (I couldn't even tell you his name!), and he's normally happy. I think in this picture he was getting fed up with the lesson and sitting still and he was probably hungry. They've been to church like three times, but they still have some doubts. Jonace has been in the Employment Resource Center and we're working on getting a job for Maya as a seamstress. I hope it works out for them!

I've also had the privilege of meeting some wonderful older missionaries. This is the Santiago MTC mission president here with his wife, the Ferrels. They are a neat couple! This isn't their first mission. About 30 years ago, he was mission president of the Ecuador Quito Mission, back when the whole country was one mission. The Ferrels told me they went back to Ecuador in 2006 (when I was there) for a reunion with their missionaries. The cool thing is that during my mission when I was in an indigenious community called Otavalo, I remember hearing about a mission reunion taking place in Quito and Guayaquil. One of our sweet helpers, María Díaz was going to the reunion because her mission president was coming - I'm pretty sure the Ferrels were her mission president! Neat little connection!

This is a neat sister missionary who I found out was leaving for home so she could heal a broken leg. So I went to visit her before she left and we had a wonderful conversation (after finishing the movie "Superman") about her family, especially stories about her young grandson who still wets the bed! But it was nice to spend some time with her before she left.

These are the wonderful sister missionaries who have helped us in the office, but now, they're in the office in Republica. But we get to see them every Monday evening at the Family Home Evening the senior missionaries have (we're special guests!).

Sis. Mehew and Sis. Graham

Speaking of Family Home Evenings with the senior missionaries - what a treat! They have all sorts of crazy, wacky adventures, including dressing up like a crazy bag lady! Actually, what she was doing was passing on the responsibilities of planning the FHEs to another senior couple because she and her husband are leaving in 6 weeks or so. Bless your little heart, Sis. Snow!

Every week is so wonderful - Jody and I never leave an FHE without getting emotional. The senior missionaries have such a wonderful spirit and they teach us so much! Jody and I have said again and again how much we admire them for the sacrifices they make to leave home and family to go on a mission to a place like Chile and learn a new language! We want to be just like them!

This past week, they talked about tender mercies of the Lord in regards to missionary work. They shared stories of time and again how the Lord blessed them or the younger full-time missionaries in their work. It reminded me to take stock of the tender mercies of the Lord in my daily life and to write them down.

Isn't she so cute?

Monday, February 16, 2009

What the world needs now, is love, sweet love

Things have continued to be interesting here in Chile - Jody and I went to Belloto for part of the YSA conference. It was another dance, which is always an interesting sight. But we met up with some friends from the ward and we had fun!

Here we are with two friends Pancha (Fransisca) and Nataly. This other picture is with the ward plus some extra friends. Yes, there was another gringa in the group. You had to feel bad for the whole group - they were so tired from a week of playing on the beach and having fun together! Jody and I spent the night there with them (on a hard, ceramic tile floor, I might add - at least we had a sleeping bag...) and then left the next day for the beach. Victor, our ride/guide took us to Valparaiso, a port city not too far from Belloto and Viña del Mar.

There we saw some interesting sites such as this:

Everyone was getting pictures by this guard guy. So of course I had to go along with it.

This is Pablo Neruda's house, a famous Chilean poet who won the Nobel Prize for literature. He was also a very good politician and ambassador. However, he was an awful husband who cheated on his wife. Our good friend Victor took us all over the place. It was a tranquilo Valentine's day.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Taller de Autosuficiencia Laboral!

So this is our most recent group of workshop attendees. They were so amazing!

From left to right: Me, Fabian, José, Leonardo, Fabricio, Nickens (from Haiti), Jody, Daniela, Maria, and Janeth.

Success stories: José got hired to work for a company even before we finished with the workshop! We were so excited for him because he had been out of work for 2 months. He rang the bell in the office, giving hope to other desperate individuals without a job. Our other success was with Leo who was making a phone call our last day (something we challenge them all to do) and so he made the phone call and landed an interview for Tuesday! He looked so happy! He is an amazing young man who's only been a member of the church for 8 months or so. He has plans to go on a mission, but plans have been put on hold because of some complications. But he is so pumped and so excited. He'll make a great missionary!

This was our group from the week before last. They were amazing as well and we enjoyed some missionary success as stated in a previous post of mine.

From left to right: Me, David, Iris, Renato (the non member), Yerko, Andres, Walter, Herman and Jody.

Here am I answering some question Herman has about power statements.

Answering another question, offering feedback. That's what I do.

The beautiful Santiago Temple!!

Me thinking of a certain temple trip in the future.

San Cristobal

We took another trip to San Cristobal, but this time, we hiked up the hill instead of taking the teleferico like we did the first time. Oh by the way, all these pictures are by Jody. I can't take any credit for any of these amazing pictures.

Jody and her infamous self portrait. These are the plates of wood.

Here's the group: Lautaro and JuanJo joined us.

The Boy Scouts de Chile.

Beautiful Santiago!

Me being pensive and missing my handsome man.

Doesn't he look like a latin Ben Stiller?

In the glow of the sun.

Someone is getting in my bubble and I don't like it!

Mote con huesillo: a certain kind of grain with peaches and peach juice. It was really good!

Super Bowl! Steelers win the Cardinals!

Okay so we watched the Super Bowl. Not something I normally do, but we had lots of fun and made some friends from our ward. Okay, from the Elders Quorum.

It was really funny how into it they got. South Americans aren't into football. But they are into fútbol, o sea, soccer. So we divided up and some were for the Cardinals (me) and some for the Steelers. It was some friendly competition. It was great.

Viña del Mar!

It was beautiful!

Jody is so talented! She took that picture and got all three of us! Nell, 0ur friend from the ward (who's also a gringa) joined us.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Happy are we!

Meanwhile we all wait for me to post pictures, I'll bring you up to date on the goings-on down here in Chile.

So we are into our third set of workshops and Jody and I have never been better. Once again, our class is very diversified, which keeps us on our toes. Another man from Haiti has joined our group and he has done really well participating. Today of course we did our mock interviews and mock calls. They are all so smart and are just seeing the benefits to each activity. They are also lots of fun and we find ourselves laughing frequently.

I think the best part is how Jody and I have found our rhythm in teaching. We're having fun and therefore our students are having fun. We've implemented a little cheer from Brazil (Mira, mira, mira hola with two claps) and they've enjoyed that. We've enjoyed a little missionary success. Eight out of the nine are members of the church and Daniela, the non member young woman, showed some interest yesterday during lunch. The other women in our group (who had introduced themselves as inactive members of the church) were each sharing reasons for why they joined the church and explained certain differences between ours and the Catholic church. Jody was there for most of it and added her testimony to the other women. She also invited Daniela to learn more through the missionaries. She said yes! It was exciting for all of us, especially since Jody and I are pretty sure she lives within our ward boundaries.

Today we challenged them all (well, more like told them all) to make a phone call tomorrow. So now they are forewarned of that expectation and I hope it goes well for them. It will be exciting because they each have unique circumstances and needs! One man is in the process of getting ready to be sealed with his family in the temple. He's been without work for two months and recognized this as a test for him and his family. He said this is the time when the devil is going to work the hardest on him and his family. It was interesting because he had such faith - working extremely hard to find a job to support his family while maintaining an optimistic vision of the future of an eternal family. Trust me, I was touched by his words.

Friday, January 30, 2009


I think this is week #3, if I'm not mistaken. Sometimes you can lose track of things like that when you're having too much fun. And fun we had this week with our second official workshop. What a difference in students we had! This week, we had more PEF students and most all were members. One, Renato, was not a member, but they all were so good to him explaining things about the church and about missions, because most of the guys in their were returned missionaries. By the end of the week, he offered the very last prayer after we taught him how to pray. It was such a neat thing to see!

They all worked very hard in their participation of the activities and we did our part in having much more activities for them to participate in. We improved 100% this week in our teaching. It also helped that the class members just caught on to things so quickly. They were a smart group. I think our highlight of the workshop was playing a game "Jefe, Jefe" (boss, boss) which involves rhythym and constant awareness of your number. If the boss calls your number, then you have to respond without skipping a beat. Then you call out another number. If you mess up, you move to the end of the line. For those of you who might now, it is also known as "big booty" or something like that. It was a hit! We asked them what they learned from the activity in regards to networking. They mentioned various things such as paying attention to who you're close to becuase you might miss opportunities. It was very useful, thanks to our pre internship training and an idea from a fellow intern!

I almost didn't make it for the last day. Wednesday night, I had gotten sick from one of two things: food poisoning or a flu that has been going around. I came into the workshop late, but was able to finish it up. Don't worry, I'm on the mend!

Jody and I have also spent our outside time doing splits with the sister missionaries in our ward which have been so neat. It's been nice to be a "full-time missionary" once a week (not to be confused with the idea that every member a missionary all the time. I just don't do street contacts quite like the sisters do outside of that time ;) ). We met a chilean who practices Islam and it was such an interesting conversation. We tried to do some teaching with him, but he was very obstinate. As we left him, he said "Que Allah les bendiga", a change from "Que Dios les bendiga" which is a common saying they tell people as they go (something similar to "God bless".) I had never heard that before, so one for the record.

I had my first competo last night, a hot dog with a mix of a green salsa and salsa of tomatos (not to be confused with ketchup). Apparently, it's not a "real" completo, as Jody was telling me, but at least I enjoyed it.
This is what a completo looks like, except the one I had didn't have guacamole. Oh well. Next time.

Sorry no pics other than the completo that I pulled off the internet ;) - Jody has all the ones I want and I haven't gotten them from her yet. Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Weekend/ New week

Sunday was Jody's birthday! So Monday we had two parties for her: one in the office and one at home. It was so nice of the Hermanas in the office to prepare two cakes and a plate of jello for her. We all enjoyed each other's company, especially the dear Hermana Lily who made sure we all had our pieces of cake. Poor Hermano Nuñez has to spend all this time with women! He always makes comments about our "women talk". It's so funny! But the best part was when Hermana Lily was passing a piece of tres leches to Hermano Nuñez when the cake fell to the floor! We all gasped as Hermana Lily said "SH**!" Twice! We all laughed so hard (those of us who understood English!)

The second party for Jody was also fun as friends from her mission, from the ward and from the workshop came to our tiny apartment. Lots of friends, but too much food was left over. Why oh why?

Today was our second taller (workshop in Spanish) and we improved so much from last week! Most of our class consists of students who are members and then two non members - one man from Peru and a Chilena. I have high hopes!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Big sigh of relief

Another week has come and gone!

This week was our first time teaching the Career Workshop. Needless to say, Jody and I were nervous as ever. We were surprised at who were in attendance: two Columbianos, two uneducated Peruvian women (who arrived a couple hours late), three returned missionaries for the PEF, an older Chileno who was also uneducated, a young Chilena who just finished her studies, and two Hatian men who spoke very little English and Spanish. We knew we were in for a doozy. Our first day, we fumbled through the new ideas and concepts (to us, at least) in Spanish. Towards the end of the day, we realized that we rushed through the explanations a little too fast just to get to the activities, but in doing that, the class was confused and we would have to go back and explain again the objectives. It was harder than we thought.

The second day was so much smoother than the first, but then we ran out of time for all the activities we wanted. We started with filming practice interviews. They didn't like it too much to be videotaped, but they saw the importance of seeing themselves and what they could work on. We were also surprised when mostly everyone returned. All came back except for the Peruvian ladies and one of the Hatian men. That was a good measure of our "success". The last day, some made phone calls to actual companies and one PEF applicant left with an invitation to an interview! We were all excited.

Even though not everyone was as successful, I think they left with greater confidence. Some more than others, though. Since each one came from different backgrounds, it was a challenge relating to their specific needs. Pedro, the elderly Chilean man, was looking for work after being taking care of the bulk of his life by his parents. We are still unsure about how that exactly worked for him, but now he's paying for it by trying to get a job with very little work experience. Jean Goodson, the Haitian man, still can't work here legally (he moved here two months ago), but he made the effort with every activity we gave him, even with the practice interview! It was actually funny since I was the one "interviewing" him. The last question I asked was "Do you have a question for me?" (As if I were the actual employer). He said that he speaks very little English and very little Spanish, and then said "No cachai" a Chilean phrase meaning "get it." But how he said it was so sweet and simple, everyone laughed, including him. It showed he has what it takes to do everything in his power to get a job. One of the Columbians, Ricardo, wants to run for president of Columbia in 2012. His high ambitions will help him along his way as well.

At the end, I realized how much I cared for each one and their success. I hope that they will keep us informed as to their successes and even failures!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

First week

This week has gone by too fast! Our alumnos finally finished their workshop and even did some calls to companies - man, were they nervous! As you can see, we had a fairly large group. One young man continued making phone calls and by Friday, was hired by a wine-making company. I'm not sure what his position, but he seemed very excited about. So were we!

Thursday, we enjoyed a night at the temple, where I ran into one friend from BYU-Idaho (she's engaged to a Chilean) and then the Rapid City South Dakota's mission president's sister. It was a pretty random night, but fun seeing the temple and participating in Spanish! Here, this is the view of the temple from behind. The MTC is right there too, along with the church office buildings.

Jody's mission friend Eliazar's mother had a birthday, so we braved the metro to his house for a surprise party. That part of town resembled more of mine and Jody's missions - a poorer section of town and without the skyscrapers.

Here, this is Eliazar's dad holding his grandson, Andres who was so cute!

Here's Eliazar's mom surprised to see us all there.

I was the lucky one holding the cake! It was so cool mingling with the family and friends of Eliazar. They were all really nice! We found out that his mom isn't a member, but his dad is. We thought it would be neat if she were baptized by the time we left :D! This also gave me a close up look at the Chilean people and how wonderful they are. I can't wait to get to know more!