Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Christmas in Chile

Christmas is a big celebration in Chile. Many, many homes are decorated - inside and outside, most homes have artificial Christmas trees (no place to grow real ones in the desert), and nativity scenes are common in the cities.

This is our next door neighbor's home.

This is in within our condominium community & they were about the first to put up their tree...outside.

At this mall in Iquique they have this beautiful display for the children to visit Santa. The tree is two stories tall, and the area is so festive for the children.

                                   Even we had our little tree to enjoy throughout the season!

                                                         Our stockings hung with care!

This is at another mall - there are 2 in Iquique. Another large tree, a place for Santa, and a mailbox for the letters to Santa.

Over by the food court in one mall we discovered this little nativity/Bethlehem scene and loved it!

     Off in a corner was the nativity scene. You can see the camels/wise men working their way down.

                                       Some of the youth and young adults in the Los Aromos Branch.

    Elders Acosta/Peru, Palpa/Peru, and Adams/UT were the live wise men in their nativity program.

One very fun tradition that happens only in Iquique and Alto Hospicio is where the big businesses travel throughout the city throwing candy to the children. They go to their employee's homes and take gifts to those children. We had several entourages come down our little alley-way street. They were still coming as late as 11 pm!

The main vehicle - sort of like a float in a parade - comes first and is decorated with a theme. This one was a Star Wars theme. Many cars follow...honking (so fun at 11 pm)...their cars are decorated or at least have Feliz Navidad painted on the windows...and enjoying being part of the party! Sometimes there was an additional float-type vehicle behind the main one that had several people on the float in costumes and they'd be the ones throwing candy to the children. The elders told us they, too, had candy thrown to them. They'd yell "Misioneros" and toss them candy.  'Tis the season!

                                            Christmas decorations in Pozo Almonte.

                           We loved their lights down the middle of the main road through town.

These lights & decorations were at the roundabout we always use when going to Iquique each week.

We spent Christmas Eve with Rene and Silmara Lopez and their sons, Joao and Vini (3 months old and sleeping). The turkey was delicious and we enjoyed many different foods from Brazil as that's where Silmara is from. Yum!!

                               Several apartments were decorated as well and it was fun to see!

Finally, Alto Hospicio has quite the lights! We loved driving past them throughout the season!!

Of course, they, too, had a beautiful nativity scene. While Santa and elves were popular decorations, it was so wonderful to see a nativity scene in every city and town!

On Christmas Day we had the zone over, in groups, for pulled pork sandwiches, chips, watermelon, and cookies. This is one of the groups.
 Elders Jara/Chile, Reyes/Nicaragua, Pezo/Peru, Masariegos/Guatemala, Ercanbrack/UT, Shill/FL.

 Elders Duke/CA and Barrington/UT spent a little time relaxing before leaving for an appointment.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Missionary Life in Alto Hospicio

There are so many wonderful experiences we have each week as missionaries. For Thanksgiving we cooked a Thanksgiving feast for our zone and loved sharing it with them. The American elders were excited, the Latin elders were more than happy to learn about this American tradition. We go to district and zone training meetings, we help young men and women work on their forms for serving missions, we visit members and share our love of the gospel with them, we attend many baptisms, and we share our testimonies to everyone we can. The following pictures show some of our experiences in the Chile Antofagasta Mission.

Marco Coloma is currently serving in the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission.

Jessica Barraza (left with mission call  packet) and Tracy Mendez opened their mission calls the same evening. Jessica is called to serve in the Argentina Rosario Mission and reports Feb 11th. Tracy began her mission this week on Jan 13th, and will serve in the Brazil Piracicaba Mission. They'll both be great!

Mauricio Hernandez received his call to serve in the Argentina Resistencia Mission and began Dec 30th. He had 5 weeks to prepare!!

Mauricio with his parents Julio and Ema, his sister Melisa and niece.

Wilson Castillo has been called to serve in the Utah Provo Mission and will start in March.

Wilson with his parents, Wilson and Alejandra, and his 4 sisters. 

We love our zone of elders! We're the only zone in the mission that doesn't have young sister missionaries - not safe enough for them at night.
Front row: Elders Jaramillo/Chile, Camino/Argentina, the Lawsons/CO, Palpa/Peru, Masariegos/Guatemala
Middle row: Elders Jara/Chile, Erickson/UT, Phillips/NV, Barrington/UT, Parpal/Argentina, Duke/CA, Reyes/Nicaragua, Shill/FL
Back row: Elders Court/UT, Scoffield/UT, Reid/UT, Ercanbrack/UT, Prada/Columbia, Adams/UT

The elders enjoying their Thanksgiving meal. Standing in line: Elders Barrington/UT, Duke/CA, Erickson/UT, Adams/UT, Palpa/Peru, Ercanbrack/UT
At the table: Elders Oakey/ID, Camino/Argentina, Court/UT, Rincon/Columbia

                                                               Great group!!!!

Elders Adams/UT and Jara/Chile trying to break the wishbone. It was too soft so they did it the following week.

                              Elders Duke/CA, Barrington/UT, and Adams/UT.

A baptism in Pozo Almonte for Jorge Cerda, the husband of Yarela. It was a very special day for them.

A Tarapacá Branch activity.

                                                        Another great zone picture!!
Front row: Elders Palpa/Peru, Masariegos/Guatemala, Jara/Chile, Shill/FL
Middle row: Elders Camino/Argentina, Acosta/Peru, Rincon/Columbia, Reyes/Nicaragua, Parpal/Argentina, the Lawsons/CO
Back rows (combined): Elders Erickson/UT, Pezo/Peru, Ercanbrack/UT, Duke/CA, Adams/UT, Court/UT, Scoffield/UT, Oakey/ID, Barrington/UT

Weddings are special occasions. Silvio Añasco and Anyela Hidalgo's was a special one for us to share in. Anyela served a mission in Mexico and returned about 5 months ago. Silvio and Anyela were married on Friday, Dec 18th and flew to Santiago the next morning, getting sealed in the Santiago Temple that day.

Another baptism for our branch. Raimundo was baptized and Elders Duke and Francis were very excited to see him decide to join the Church.

                                                  Gabriel Gonzalez baptized Raimundo.

                                  Our zone today! Another great group of elders to work with!
Front row:  Elders Erickson/UT, Shill/FL, Palpa/Peru, Fernandez/Peru, Rincon/Columbia, Duke/CA
Middle row:  Elders Melim/Brazil, Jara/Chile, Chang/Chile, Acosta/Peru, Mendoza/Mexico, Camino/Argentina, the Lawsons/CO
Back row: Elders Burnthorn/TX, Pezo/Peru, Oakey/ID, Court/UT, Scoffield/UT, Francis/UT