Monday, September 29, 2014

Biting dogs and a hungry Elder

Great to hear from Elder McAlister today.  Sounds like he had a great week, and a few funny experiences to share.


Hey McAlister Family,

Thank you everyone for the letters that you guys sent to me. I really enjoyed reading them and I love to hear from you guys. Sounds like dad had a pretty good birthday and I’m sorry that you were sick this last week. I do have to say that I really want to eat some ribs, so that sounds really good to me right now. Congratulations Todd for passing the test and what happens now? Do you just continue in the class? Sounds like Luna is getting out of control and are you working or just chilling in the house? Jessica ate sushi! What is going on back home? How did that happen? But I’m glad that you liked it. Send me a picture of the wreath. Mom glad everything is going well and that tells me that you are taking great care of the yard. Sabrina the next volleyball star sounds like she’s a pro now (HaHa). Love ya little sister 

This last week was really good and really rainy. It pretty much rained every day of the week and I was cold. I really thought that we were going into summer now, but that's a lie. We worked really hard this week to have success and we did pretty good until Sunday came around. Nobody came to church and it was really sad. Mirta went to the hospital on Sunday in the morning, and she couldn't make it to church. We know that she not terribly sick and we will be passing by for her this week a lot. Then the rest of them are getting harder to teach every time. Johana we can only find once in a while and then Nicolas we can only talk over the phone with him because he was working a ton this last week and studying. So it’s kind of a struggle with the investigators that we have in this moment. We did a lot of work with our menos activos this week and we brought 11 to church. We worked really hard with them and we applied the atonement of Jesus Christ in every lesson with them. We had a really good week and I learned a lot. 

Well this week nothing crazy really happened but my companion did end up getting bit in the leg by a really small dog. So here’s what happened. We were contacting some future investigators in a passage way and there are two dogs just in the middle of the street. We pass by the first house and nothing happens, but one of the dogs is barking at us and just seems like he wants to attack us and the other dog is just sitting there quiet and being our friend. We go to contact the neighbor’s house and I talked to them but they didn’t want anything. So we turn around to go and this little nice dog bits my companion’s leg and he acts like he was shot. He was really worried and was limping like he was dying. So I looked at his leg and there was nothing, not a bit mark or blood. So Ii told him not to worry about it. It took me about an hour just to calm him down and now he is really scared of dogs.  But now he thinks it’s funny!

Also Elder Hoopes had a mini cambio this last week and an elder from Canada came to our house and he is a little different. He always tries to do different weird voices and he thinks everything he says is super funny. But he is an awesome missionary and he is pretty smart but he’s just a little weird. It was night and we were in the house eating and the Elder ate a whole box of cereal and two things of pasta and a package of pancakes of Elder Hoopes. Me and Elder McAllister had no idea what to do and he just ate and ate and ate. Then he just acted like nothing happened and we had no idea what we were going to do because he a ton of Elder Hoopes food and after that he started using Elder Hoopes clothes and razor and it just kept on getting worse and worse as time went on. But it was super funny how Elder Hoopes acted after the mini cambio and he was going crazy! It was really funny for us!!!

I really can’t wait for General Conference this week and I can’t believe that this is my third in the mission and how time is flying by. I am not sure if I will watch it in Spanish or English I can’t tell but I am excited. I really can’t tell you guys how fast time is flying by. I feel like a week is 2 days and they are so fast. 

I love you and I can’t wait to hear from you guys next week. You are always in my prayers and I miss you guys. Have a great week and I can’t wait to write you guys next week. Be safe and I love you guys a lot. 

Read Alma 36 because this is my favorite story in the Book of Mormon!!!

Elder McAlister

Spiritual thought time! In a talk by Robert D. Hales, "Personal Revelation: The Teachings and Examples of the Prophets", he says:

"We prepare to receive personal revelation as the prophets do, by studying the scriptures, fasting, praying, and building faith. Faith is the key. Remember Joseph’s preparation for the First Vision: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God. … “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” By unwavering faith, we learn for ourselves that “it is by faith that miracles are wrought."

What a great lesson.  If even the prophets need to follow these steps, then why shouldn't we.  They give us the example we need to follow.

No pictures this week, so have a great week,

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fiestas Patrias week!

Sorry this is a little late getting posted. I have been feeling under the weather the few days.  Elder McAlister learned some valuable lessons from a Zone Leader, and with it being the Chilean Independence last week it sounds like they ate well.  We are going to have to try some empanadas, as Sean suggests.


Hey Everyone,

Oh it’s good to hear from you guys! Sounds like it was a fun week and everyone is okay. I totally forgot that Halloween is so close (HaHa), but I really like the mask and Sabrina looks scary (HaHa). Sounds like so many things are changing at home. Also, sounds like the dedication of the Ogden Temple was really cool and the temple looks amazing. Glad to hear that mom had a good week and work was a little bit nicer last week. To answer mom’s question, it was an experience that was very cool and I will never forget it. Dad I hope that you have an amazing birthday this week and I want you to know that you’re the best dad ever and the best example I have in my life.

Cumpleaños feliz, Feliz, Feliz
Te deseamos a ti, a ti, a ti
Feliz cumpleaños papá,
Que los cumplas feliz.

Have a great birthday party. About the cemetery, it was a service project for all missionaries and all members close to Concepcion, and it was a really cool service project. Jessica sounds like you had a good birthday and keep on being cool (HaHa). Brooke sounds like you just hang out with Luna all day. I hope that everything is going well for you guys in Oklahoma. Sabrina the big bum, you look so much different and you look like you’re having fun. I hope that volleyball and school are fun. I need you to do a favor for me, play with Tillie for me!    

This last week was really good and I learned a ton. We did end up having a ton of success this week even though it was a party week and everyone was gone. We did walk in the streets a lot and we talked to a lot of people, I almost talked to more than 200 people in the street by myself, so we talked to a lot of people this last week. We did end up finding Mirta again, and guess what, she wants to get baptized and she came to church. We are really happy with Mirta and I hope that we can keep on having success. If you guys could pray for Mirta, Nicolas, Patricia, and Johana so that they can progress this week. Thank you guys!!!  

Well I had a mini cambio with one of the Zone Leaders, Elder Catrón. I was really nervous because he is very strict. But we had a really good time! I really learned a ton from him and I have changed how I am working since the mini cambio. I learned how to be more direct, but with love. I change my energy as I work. I work as hard as I can until the end of the day and I get to the house exhausted. So I am giving it my all. I learned what I need to do in my sector, for my district and how I can help them. More than anything I need to be the example.   

Here in Chile they are now having Empanadas, BBQ´s and other types of food, in this week of independence, which is different than the United States they celebrate for 4 days and it’s just party, family and party. Theirs a ton of meat, empanadas and alcohol. Well this last week we kind of made a goal to get empanadas from people. So on the 18th, 19th and 20th we were seeing how many empanadas we could receive. On the 18th we only got 2 in total which was kind of sad for us, and the same thing happened the 19th, but on Saturday we ended up receiving 12 Empanadas (HaHa). So this whole week we ate a ton of meat and 16 empanadas and they are so good. Mom you need to make them, I’m guessing they will be a little different but they are so good. 

On the 18th of September we had an activity in the ward and it was awesome. We had a lot of meat, sopipias, people danced and there were games and horses for people to ride. There was a game where you need to throw a metal disc as close to a rope in a mud pit. It’s really fun and there are pictures of it but I can’t remember the name of it. We also did some potato sack racing, and I fell down a ton, but it was still fun. Also there was dancing and karaoke. It was really fun and the sad thing is this will be my only Independence Day in Chile because I got here right after the last one last year! But I loved it. 

I love you guys and I am doing great. I am excited in what I am doing and I can’t believe the time goes by faster every week, I swear I just wrote you guys like three days ago, but no! Have a great week and Dad have a great birthday, I love you a ton and eat some cake for me. I can’t wait to hear from you next week!

Love you and miss you guys!!!  

Elder McAlister

P.S. Send me some goodies!!


Spiritual thought time! I thought this is a great thought for Sean to use with investigators and members they are working with. Boyd K. Packer, in his talk "Revelation in a Changing World" said:

    "The Holy Ghost communicates with the spirit through the mind more than through the physical senses. This guidance comes as thoughts, as feelings, through impressions and promptings. It is not always easy to describe inspiration. The scriptures teach us that we may “feel” the words of spiritual communication more than hear them, and see with spiritual rather than with mortal eyes."

 It's so important for those learning the gospel to understand how the Holy Ghost works.  They too often don't know when the spirit is bearing witness to them, because they don't understand how the spirit communicates.  This is such an important thing to teach investigators, and help them recognize when the spirit is there. 

Well, have a great week everyone, and enjoy these pictures from Fiestas Patrias…

Raising the flag at the chapel for Fiestas Patrias.

Dancing at the ward party for Fiestas Patrias.

Horse riding at the ward party for Fiestas Patrias.

Playing "Rayuela", a traditional Chilean game, typically seen outside of Chilean cities but it makes an appearance during the annual fiestas patrias independence celebrations. 
Sean playing Rayuela.

Elder McAlister and Elder Letelier with some Huasos (Chilean cowboys) at the ward party.

The four Elders doing sack races at the ward party,

The four Elders doing sack races at the ward party, with Sean wiping out!

Traditional dances at the ward party for Fiestas Patrias.

Enjoying some food at the ward party.

The Bío Bío River.

Flags flying for Fiestas Patrias.

The empanadas they collected during Fiestas Patrias.

Pizza, Pizza!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dead refrigerators and cemeteries?

Sounds like Elder McAlister had a much better week than last, and that things are going well in the area and the district. If you want to learn more about the two celebrations Sean references in his email, check out the following Wikipedia links:

Fiestas Patrias

1973 Chilean coup d'état

Now enjoy this week's email...


¿Hola como están?


Cumpleaños feliz, Feliz, Feliz
Te deseamos a ti, a ti, a ti
Feliz cumpleaños Jessica,
Que los cumplas feliz.

Que baca Jessica, no puedo creer que usted cumplió 25 años. yo espero que usted puede tener un bueno cumpleaños. sí yo hice el brazo en el aire! pero tenga un bueno día y come torta para mi! jajaja. But really Jessica I hope that you have a great birthday! Love you so much! Glad to hear everyone is okay. WOW the USA destroyed all the other teams in the FIBA tournament, that's pretty cool. I really miss watching some good American football (HaHa). Sounds like dad is getting better little by little. Do you have to go every day to PT? I am glad that you are making progress. Mom I am glad that things are cooling down at work and there is not that many changes to our Ward. Thank you for the little messages of the talks I really like them! Jessica have a great birthday and eat some brownies for me (HaHa). Brooke I hope that you and Luna are doing well in Oklahoma and I don't know if you knew this but Luna in Spanish is moon! Sabrina you are so much bigger than I can remember stop growing (HaHa), I hope that you are having fun in school and I hope that you have a lot of new friends!!! Best family ever!!!

This last week went really good. We don’t have a lot of investigators, but we worked a lot with the menos activos and we had a lot of progress with them. I was really happy with our week and my district is doing a lot better, so I am happy with them. The sad thing was we didn't bring any investigators to church. More than anything in this moment is we need to find, and I am hoping we will find this week. The 18 of September is this week which is like Independence Day of Chile. It is like a week-long festival and all they do is eat empanadas and other traditional food.  

The 11 of September was pretty crazy! Nothing really happen in our sector, other than people started a fire in the middle of the street not to let cars pass by. We heard other parts of the country went out of hand. We had to enter our house early this day because this date deals a little bit with the United States. Nothing happened to us and we just chilled in the house from 8 until night time. To explain this 11 of September, in the year 1973, I think, Chile got out of control and the government was killing people here in Chile. The Government bought guns from the United States and so a lot of Chileans blame us for what happened. Its better if you guys looked it up and you could learn a little bit more.

So funny story, we had an old refrigerator in our house and it was bad, someone cut the wires in the back. The fridge had a ton of mold and smelled terrible. So we put it outside on the curb and said that it was free and within 3 minutes someone took it. The funny thing is we put bets down on how much time it would take for someone to take it, and we all lost. They took it so fast it wasn't even funny! It was super funny for us!!! 

I can’t believe it that another month passed in my mission and now time is really flying by. Every day is super short and weeks just fly by, it’s kind of crazy. I am so happy that I am here in Chile. It’s the best mission in the world! We eat bread everyday here, so I will probably be good for bread after my mission! (HaHa)

I can’t believe that another week has gone, but i can’t wait to hear from you next week. I love you guys a lot. I hope that you have a great week and I hope that you guys are studying Spanish so I can talk to you after my mission. Love you guys a ton!!!

Elder McAlister


Spiritual thought time!!  This week comes from Elder Boyd K. Packer in his conference talk titled "The Witness".  He said:
"Like most things of great worth, knowledge which is of eternal value comes only through personal prayer and pondering. These, joined with fasting and scripture study, will invite impressions and revelations and the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. This provides us with instruction from on high as we learn precept upon precept."

He makes it pretty simple for us to know how we should be learning the gospel.  Study, prayer, fasting and listening to the Holy Ghost. It takes time and effort to learn the principles of the gospel, whether we are long time members, or new and learning things for the first time. These are tools we can all use throughout our lives.

That wraps up another week.  Everyone have a great week, and enjoy a few pictures Sean sent from Chile.  There was no explanation with the pictures, but it appears they are doing some volunteer work in a local cemetery as a district.

Cementerio De Chiguayante

The other Elder McAllister

The Chiguayante District...doing volunteer work at Cementerio De Chiguayante?

Outdoor crypts at Cementerio De Chiguayante

Cementerio De Chiguayante

Mausoleums at Cementerio De Chiguayante

Monday, September 8, 2014

Patience, love and charity.

Sounds like Elder McAlister had a hard week.  Just as in everyone’s lives there are high points and low points, but we need to work though the hard times, and that is what it sounds like he is doing.
It is amazing how much he has grown over the last year, and what a great learning opportunity a mission has been for Sean. It’s hard to hear when your kid is having a hard time, and you can do little to help, but I know he is in the right place serving the Lord.   I am very proud of him.


Hey Everyone,

Thanks for all the letters and what you sent me it really meant a lot. I am glad that everyone is doing well and I am glad that the Steelers won their first game of the season. Mom I hope that work calms down a little bit and thanks for the message about angles. Dad I am glad that you are doing okay and I love the sports update so keep on doing that for me. Brooke I love the videos of your dog, they are pretty funny! Jessica I am glad you didn't have a boring week and tell Derek thanks for the ideas and we call that invasion here, but that is something that we need. Sabrina I hope you are having fun at school and I want to build a snowman!

First off, thanks for all of your guys emails they helped me a ton. This last week was probably one of the hardest weeks in all of my mission. We had a lot of problems working with our members this week and we lost all of our investigators, other than 4 of them and 2 of them we found this week. So it has been pretty hard with the work right now. Also, a lot of the less active members don't want to talk to us anymore. Me and my companion also crashed, and it was a hard week. Then last but not least my district had a really hard and struggling week! I had a little bit of stress this week (HaHaHa). Sunday me and my companion talked it out and now we are back to good. Also we got some good plans to help us out this week. Then we will be having a good district class this week! I hope! (HaHa) And to answer dads question we haven't been able to find Ricardo for some time now.

If you guys could pray for Johanna and Nicolas. We found them both this week and Nicolas lives with his parents and is working as a doctor, but he has a lot of questions about the church. Johanna we found at the last moment on Saturday and she was awesome she really wants to have the spirit in her life. She accepted a date for baptism and said she would come to church with us. So the next day we passed by and its pouring rain and we get to her house and knock on the door. Guess what! She tells us to wait. So we wait for ten minutes and we knock again and she tells us to wait again. So we wait and wait and wait. But she never came and so we just left, and so if you can pray for them that would be great. 

I learned a ton in this week with patience and love and charity. I really am hoping I can change even more than what I am in this moment. I really want to help the children of god. Now I have a really good goal and how I can change.

Elder Hoopes did end up buying an American football so we will be playing a little football today, and yes it feels great to throw a football. The great thing is we have a lot of people that like to play football so we will be playing some real football.

Thank you guys for everything and all the support that you give to me. I love all of you and I hope that you guys will have a great week. Love you a lot and I can’t wait to hear you guys next week.

Love you guys!

Elder McAlister


Spiritual thought time! I was reading a 2011 Conference talk by Russell M. Nelson called "Covenants", and there were two quotes from it I really liked concerning, oddly enough covenants. He said: 

"Children of the covenant have the right to receive His doctrine and to know the plan of salvation. They claim it by making covenants of sacred significance."

This teaches us the importance of the baptismal covenants we make, and then the covenants in the temple. Then he said:

"Through the ages, God has made covenants with His children. His covenants occur throughout the entire plan of salvation and are therefore part of the fulness of His gospel. For example, God promised to send a Savior for His children, asking in turn for their obedience to His law."

Here we learn that covenants are part of the plan of salvation, and if we do our part, God will do his part. That's a comfort to know that it’s that plain and simple to receive god’s blessings, although it doesn't mean it will be easy.

We until next, everyone be safe and enjoy your week.  Here are a couple pictures from Sean today….enjoy.

Pizza time!!

A well marked up set of missionary scriptures.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Pancakes and Eggs

Great to hear from Elder McAlister today.  He’s learning a lot from his new responsibilities as a District Leader, and this will be a great experience for him to have the additional responsibility to serve the missionaries in his District as well as those in his assigned area.


Hey everyone,

I’m glad to everyone is okay and doing well. It’s awesome to hear that dad is making good progress and keep on working hard dad! Your leg looks pretty crazy. Mom thanks for the update on the ward and that's awesome that Erik is going to Brazil! Brooke I like your new puppy and she is very cute and I hope Todd is doing well in the academy and the house looks great. Jessica you need to write me some cool stories (HaHa), no but I love reading your emails and how your life going. I hope Derek is doing well in school also.  Sabrina you look like you are getting so tall and you look so much older than what I can remember (HaHa).

Well, being a District Leader is a lot different than I thought and lot more stressful (HaHa). They just throw you into the position of District Leader and they don’t really tell you what you need to do. So that makes it a little bit harder. Also, I have one of the most crazy zone leaders in our zone and he loves to tare people down and he’s just about numbers. I felt like he tore my head off last Sunday when I told him the status of my district. Part of my district is new to their sector and the others ones are doing pretty good. I had a district class in the last week and I taught how to find new investigators to teach. The class was pretty good and I was happy with it. I did accidentally end the class about ten minutes early, but I thought it went good. Maybe Derek, Todd, Or Dad have some good tips for me! They would be appreciated!!! 

We worked really hard this last week but we didn't have much success. We worked with finding news investigators this week and we wanted to find more less actives. We are still working with Bastian, but he will not be baptized this week because he still needs a lot of help and he now doesn't have very much support. We are working with Yamil still and he is a great old man. But he doesn't want to get married. Other than them, we didn't really have much progress with the other investigators and I hope to have more success this week. 

This last week we decided to change things up a little bit. So we went out and bought some eggs and we made some Omelets. Now every morning we are making omelets and pan cakes, which are really cheap, but so good. I feel a little spoiled every morning when I get to eat, but the pancake mix cost less than a dollar and the eggs are super cheap too, so I am super happy. It took me about a year to change from cereal (HaHa).  

I feel like I have been learning a ton in my mission and there is a lot more to learn. I have been studying chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel and it has really been helping me change. This chapter is really meant to help us follow Jesus Christ and it has been a great blessing in my life and I feel like I am changing as a person. It’s amazing and I hope that you guys could study chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel, because as members and missionary's we need to strive to be like Jesus and this is our guide for us. 

Yesterday we had an activity planed, and it went really good. We had all the members search for less active members that live in our sector and it was amazing the success we had. The bad thing about this activity was on Saturday Elder Hoopes called me and said that the list was not ready for the ward and we had to do it ourselves. So we printed out a list of all the members in the sector of Chiguayante. We had to cut each member out and glue it on another paper with a glue stick (HaHa). We spent a lot of time to get this list done. We didn't finish and we had a ton more to do. So on Sunday we woke up at 5 in the morning and finished up the lists and got a presentation ready for the ward. We did end finishing it and the activity went really well. But it was crazy. 

Also, I finally made my cookies from my birthday (HaHa). They we amazing and tasted so good. 

Thank you for the letters and I love to hear what’s going on. I hope that you guys are doing great and have a good week. Please be safe and keep on being a cool family. Can’t wait to hear from you next week. 

Love you guys!!!

Elder McAlister 


Here is the spiritual thought I shared with Sean this week. In his April Conference talk "Love—the Essence of the Gospel, "Thomas S. Monson said:

"Love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar. His life was a legacy of love. The sick He healed; the downtrodden He lifted; the sinner He saved. At the end the angry mob took His life. And yet there rings from Golgotha’s hill the words: 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do'—a crowning expression in mortality of compassion and love."

Sometimes I just take for granted the example of Jesus Christ’s life.  If we ever need to know how we should be living our lives and how we should be taking care of our fellow brothers and sisters, he gives us example after example to follow. As funny as it sounds, but the bumper sticker "WWJD" has it right, "What 
Would Jesus Do?" We follow that advice, and we would all be doing the right.

Everyone have a great week, an fun labor day, and enjoy these pictures Sean sent today...

Out for lunch.


Birthday Cookies

Working on the sector in active list.

Working on the sector in active list.

Elder Letelier and Elder McAlister