Monday, December 30, 2013

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!‏

It was a great Christmas last week because we got to Skype with Sean for 2 hours!  It was fun to be able to hear some of his stories and experiences.  He looks and sounds healthy and even though things can be tough on a mission, he always has a good attitude, and looks for the positives. 

He seems to like his new area, and his new companion.  There is a lot of work to do in the area finding people to teach, which he mentions multiple times in his email.

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Hey Everyone,

It was awesome to talk and see you guys on Christmas. You guys look like you’re doing well and had a great Christmas. I forgot how our house looks, but it looks really good. Looks like Sabrina had a good Christmas and Tillie sounds like Tillie. I love the picture that Brooke sent me of Tillie (haha) she is so lazy. I forgot to say happy anniversary for Jessica and Derek, but looks like you guys had a good time at the Roof. So happy late anniversary!!! Yeah 1 year!!!

After I talked to you guys, we went over to the family Novoa and they forgot about the dinner. We didn't want to remind them about it, so we just shared a message and left. So the rest of Christmas we just went walking around contacting and we went to some of the member’s house which was okay. That was pretty much my Christmas, it’s like a normal day of work. The only difference is I got to talk to you guys. I got to enjoy my food in the night which I loved. 

The day right after was like Christmas never even happened. So I have decided that I like Utah Christmas´s much better. Honestly this week we just search and search and search for new people. We have found a few but I don't think any of them are promising and we have only had one or two lessons with them. A funny story happened about two days after Christmas. We are out contacting and this one house just lets us in and we are thinking sweet a baptism! Within 5 minutes we find out he is a preacher of the Evangelico Church (I don't remember what the word for Evangelico is in English). He starts to yell at us, telling us to repent because we have sinned. So my companion just says thank you for your time, here is a picture of Jesus, which is one of our pass along cards. Then he says you know what we will just pass by a different day. The preacher was going crazy and yelling at us. I thought that we were going to die (haha). 

Another story, so in our sector we have a really poor area and a lot of people don't like Americans that much, which is a problem for me! This last Saturday we are going through this area contacting. There are a couple of guys walking towards us, and they look like they think they are all that kind of group. Well turns out they really don't like me, because one of them spits on me. Now I want to punch him and my companion doesn't know what to do. All I could do was say thanks and we walk away from them. Now I almost showed my American Karate Kid moves that Mr. Miyagi taught me, but he is lucky that I’m a missionary. It wasn't fun, or what I ever want to happen to me. But hey its part of the mission. 

Something funny, but super gross. Someone asked me on Christmas what is the worst thing I have eaten here and I told you guys the Mote with something. But this week we had a thing called pan pudding (bread pudding). I thought I have had this before, and I’m like cool I want some. The lady takes some pan puts it in boiling water and puts some sugar and mayonnaise in it. I’m sitting there watching her with my jaw open thinking I’m going to throw up and thinking her poor kids are eating nasty food. I totally forgot I was going to be eating it. After 2 hours of pure torture I finished it and was sick for the rest of the day. It was the worst thing in my life I have ever eaten!

Most of our time right now goes to contacting and searching for some new people. We have put some time in with the less actives in the Ward and they are doing really good now. It’s just we need to find people to teach and this population is hard to find people!!! 

I love you guys, and thanks for everything that you guys sent me for Christmas, it really showed me how cool my family is. I hope you guys will have a good New Year party and make some good goals. I will be in my bed sleeping when New Year’s happens. I love you guys. Thanks for your love and support 

Love 

Elder McAlister

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Spiritual thought shared with Sean this week is based on something I read to do with Christmas. I was reading a talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf called "You Can Do It Now!", and he said:

"We have a champion, a Savior, who walked through the valley of the shadow of death on our behalf. He gave Himself as a ransom for our sins. No one has ever had greater love than this—Jesus Christ, the Lamb without blemish, willingly laid Himself on the altar of sacrifice and paid the price for our sins to 'the uttermost farthing.' He took upon Himself our suffering. He took our burdens, our guilt upon His shoulders."


It’s incredible to think of what our Savior has done for us!  Until next week, everyone have a great New Year, and enjoy the latest video and set of pictures from Sean…


video





Not sure what Sean is doing, but the little space behind him is their kitchen!



Dinner with some members



House they tracted into...the poverty can be amazing sometimes.






Treat from his Christmas package!



Hualpencillo, Chile



Elder McAlister with Hualpencillo, Chile in the background.



Elder Coronado



The dog is alive, just taking a siesta.



Elder McAlister with Hualpencillo, Chile in the background.



Superman taking off in flight!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

¡Feliz Navidad!‏

With the hustle and bustle of Christmas I am a day late getting this posted.  It sounds like Elder McAlister is doing well in his new area, and there is lots of work to do.  We now know where his new area is (in the southern part of the mission, just north west of Concepcion, and we know who his companion is.

We get to Skype with Sean on Christmas day, which is really exciting and will really make it a special Christmas day.

Sean sent some pictures again, and they are at the end of this post.

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Hey everyone,

Looks like Utah is cold and everything is all ready for Christmas which is really cool. I want to wish you guys a Merry Christmas and I hope that you guys are having a good time this Christmas season. I am really missing the things we did around Christmas and I miss the cold weather around Christmas tambien. I did get the package and I haven't opened any of the presents inside but I did open the box. I might of ate one of the beef jerky`s and that was really good. Right now we are looking to Skype you guys between 1 and 3 your time, not Chilies. I hope it works out, I will be making my Skype account on Christmas. It’s going to be cool seeing you guys this Christmas!

Chile is a little bit hot but, where I am is like the perfect temperature and cold in the night. I kinda told you guys the wrong place last time, which is my fault. It’s actually Hualpeneillo and I have my house address also. Hualpenecillo, Noruega 1753. That’s the address for the house. but we live in the back of this house. Right now I live in a house for only two people and it is so small we have a room for our beds and bathroom and a kitchen for only 1, But it works for two missionary's. My new Companion is Elder Coronado who is a really good missionary. He ends his mission in 2 months. Hualpenecillo is really cool the members are really cool and super fun, I already like it here like I did in Linares. We only had to investigators when I got here, so there is a lot of work to do this cambio. I’m thinking we will be able to build this area and make it better. 

This last week we had the cambio and it’s been a crazy but super fast week. We had three activities in our Ward this week and they were all super fun. Our Ward is really cool like I said and the cool thing is we have a family named Novoa who are amazing. They have 5 sons and three of them have gone on missions and the other 2 are only 10. They are all doing missionary work in the area and they are the perfect example of how members should be. The other day they had a noche de hogar which was super fun. While one of the sons is teaching he runs out of the house grabs the person that is walking by and invites her in the house for noche de hogar. Right now I am hoping I stay in this sector for a long time because of the members. Like I said that we have nothing and it’s only us two missionary's in this sector so it’s really time to work our hardest. 

I don't know what else to say right now because I get to Skype you guys soon, in 2 days to be exact which is awesome. I talked about it a little in this email, but I am going to try to contact you guys between 1 and 3. Then we get to have an hour and a half to talk to each other. I’m hoping everything goes well!

I want to hear what you guys are doing from Christmas and I want to hear what you guys got. I will record me opening my present on Christmas day and try to send it to you guys next week. Sabrina I hope that Santa comes by and eats all the cookies and milk that you will have for him. 

Thanks for you guys emails I love hearing from you guys. It always makes the mission a lot better to know that everything is going well. I will talk to you guys on Wednesday and I wish you guys a Merry Christmas and have a good time with each other because Christmas is really cool especially with our family!!!!

Merry Christmas!!!

I love you guys

Elder Papa Noel 

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Here is a simple, but important, spiritual message about Christmas shared with Elder McAlister this week that comes from President Monson:
"Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than things. To catch the real meaning of the “spirit of Christmas,” we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the “Spirit of Christ.”"


Merry Christmas to everyone and enjoy you time with family and friends.  Here are some pictures for Sean to enjoy.

































Tuesday, December 17, 2013

First transfer...leaving Linares

Short email from Sean this week, as he found out he is being transferred to Waltencio tomorrow, and he has a lot to do before going off to another chapter in his mission.  I sounds a little sad to be leaving, and I am sure he will miss Elder Donoso who has been such a great companion and teach to him.

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Hey Everyone,

Oh the good old Christmas traditions that I miss. I hope the play was funny because usually they are. Its not a shocker who won the ginger bread house competition. But I Think we all know that me and Brooke had the best gingerbread house ever, because we were creative with putting the house backwards. Also it looks like its getting really cold up there, and here it is getting hotter and hotter, and I don't like it. 

Today was when we found out who is leaving and who is staying in Linares. I am leaving Linares and I'm going for Waltencio which is in Concepcion, we think, and we know its in the Chile Concepcion South Mission. So right now i'm not really sure who is my new companion, if he is Latino or Gringo. I will find out tomorrow which is when I leave Linares. I´m sad that I am leaving Linares because I really like it here, but I have no choice. Elder Donoso is going to be training again, but he won't find out until tomorrow if he is training a Gringo or a Latino. Right now I really want to know who will be my companion and what does my new sector look like!

This last week was pretty good! On Monday I had a mini-Cambio with Elder Larsen. He is from Texas and we had a really good time. I learned a lot from him on how I should focus on the lessons and not the Spanish in conversations, because that will come soon. Right now in Linares it looks like we are losing our baptisms, and I wont know what happens. We are starting to find really good investigators and the work is really starting up right now. The people are starting to accept us and start listening to us. I guess that I was the planting seed missionary for a lot of people, but I also got three baptisms which was cool. 

I will send you guys a picture of this plate of food I got the other day. Alicia, who is a recent convert for the other missionary's and is really rich loves to cook for us. So in the of the pictures I will send I literally have a small chicken to myself, and she gave me more meat after i finished. She loves Gringo´s and she says I´m to skinny. Because of her I feel like I have gained weight but I have know clue if I have.

For the Skype on Christmas day, right now I have no idea what is going on. They have only said we get to Skype for an hour and a half which is cool. I will tell you guys more when I find out, but right now i´m not really sure. So maybe next week I can tell you guys more about Skype.

Today I don´t have a lot of time to write because I need to go say goodbye to people. So it hasn't really felt like a p-day,  but that's alright!  

I want to say thanks for everything, and for the letters. I hope that you guys are having fun in the snow, because i miss it. I want you guys to know I love you all and I am learning Spanish, which is a blessing and I think is really cool.

I love you guys,


Elder McAlister 

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A spiritual thought shared with Sean this week can again from President Thomas S. Monson. President Monson wrote the following:

"Born in a stable, cradled in a manger, He came forth from heaven to live on earth as mortal man and to establish the kingdom of God. During His earthly ministry, He taught men the higher law. His glorious gospel reshaped the thinking of the world. He blessed the sick. He caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. He even raised the dead to life. To us He has said, 'Come, follow me.'
"As we seek Christ, as we find Him, as we follow Him, we shall have the Christmas spirit, not for one fleeting day each year, but as a companion always. We shall learn to forget ourselves. We shall turn our thoughts to the greater benefit of others"

I hope everyone is having a great Christmas season, and until next week enjoy these pictures Sean sent with his email.

"We are consecrated missionaries" Elder Donoso and Elder McAlister


Part of the District Sean is serving with.



Christmas time



Elder Donoso



All this food for one person!



No idea what to say about this picture.



The District



The District II

Monday, December 9, 2013

P-Day at the Beach!

Another update from Sean today.  Sounds like a normal mission week with plenty of ups and downs. The message he shares from the talk at the District Conference is a good one.

After the email there are a bunch of new photos from his last p-day and other events which are great to see, a picture truly is worth a thousand words, so there is a lot said in these pictures for me.

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Hey Everyone,

Its sounds like you guys will have a snowy Christmas and I will have a very hot Christmas! I wish I could have gone to the festival of trees, that sounds really fun and looks like you guys had a good time. I hope that Dad will get better from whatever you had. I can’t believe that Christmas is that close!! Here it’s totally different, not much Christmas lights, so far I have seen a few houses and our house. 

This last week was good and bad at the same time. So I will tell you the bad news first. Our investigators are being stubborn right now. We had to move all the baptism dates back. Our first baptism this month is now going to be on the 20 of December and the rest after that. Also we lost one of the baptisms and we are starting to lose the other one. So this week has been hard with that and still looking for good investigators. The good news is that Javiera is still going good for a baptism, and she is the one on the 20 of December. Claudia is doing well she keeps on going to church and she is doing everything we ask her to do. She went from smoking a pack to only two cigarettes in the night. We have seen some blessing with her, now our only problem with her is she needs to get married. We are praying for her and this week we are meeting with her and her boyfriend to talk about a date, and we hope that everything goes well.

On Saturday and Sunday we had our District Conference which is like the Stake Conference in Utah. The President of the Mission came up and talked to our Rama (Ward) and the other Ramas. They talked a lot about working with the miembros and how they are the key part in conversion of investigators. The talks were really good and the spirit was strong. The cool thing was I understood almost every talk really good. One of the speakers said, "Why are we scared to work with the missionaries, why can’t we make time, why do we not want to work with the missionaries? This is not the missionaries work, this is the Lords work, if he has time for you, and then why can’t you make time for him! These are the last days and we as members need to help every missionary with saving peoples souls and bringing them to their salvation," I thought that this quote was really cool and how everyone in the church needs to work together in the last days to save every soul we can.

Also this week we had to mini cambios which is when I work with a different Elder for the day. The first mini cambio was with Elder Sierra which was really good, but he and his companion are having a hard time working and Elder Donoso is the district leader so that one was really good. The other cambio was with the Zone Leaders because we need a baptism interview for Javiera. Which went okay and I was with the other Elder in the house all day because he was sick and that was super boring and felt like the longest day of my life. I would rather work then sit in the house all day.

This next Monday is our cambios so I will get a new companion and I might leave Linares but I will find out next Monday. This cambio was really fast and the time in the mission goes by super fast, it’s not even funny. The days go by so fast it’s like I woke up and then 5 minutes later I’m back in my bed. It has been going so fast i can’t believe it. I have 4 months in the mission and almost 3 months in Chile! 

This Christmas I don't get to call you guys! I get to Skype instead which is so much better. I get to Skype for about an hour and a half. So I can’t wait to see you guys. Its sometime after 11:00 AM in Chile, and I don't remember how far ahead Chile is to Utah, but it should be really fun and really cool to Skype you guys and see the good old family.

Thank you guys for everything and the love that you guys have for me. I hope you guys have a good week and I want you guys to know that I love you and think about you all the time.

Elder McAlister

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The spiritual shared with Sean this week comes from something I was reading the other day on the life of Heber C. Kimball.  He said:

“Let me say to you, that many of you will see the time when you will have all the trouble, trial and persecution that you can stand, and plenty of opportunities to show that you are true to God and his work. This Church has before it many close places through which it will have to pass before the work of God is crowned with victory. … The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within himself. If you do not have it, how can you stand?”


I think this speaks strongly of what Elder McAlister is out doing on his mission and something for us all to think about.  Until next week, enjoy these pictures from Chile…








This looks familiar!



Mission bike?






What's being studied here?



What's in the bowl?



P-Day at the beach.



P-Day at the beach.



P-Day at the beach.



P-Day at the beach.



Elder Donoso and Elder McAlister



Dinner?



P-Day at the beach with some of the branch members.



Not sure about this one..


P-Day at the beach.



P-Day at the beach.



P-Day at the beach.



P-Day at the beach.



Joe Cool



P-Day at the beach.



CHILE