Troy’s Letter: February 7, 2011

7 02 2011

Summer in Chile...winter in the states!

Hey family!

It was great to hear from you all.  I can’t believe it is so cold down there—haha.  It is absolutely gorgeous here.  This has been one of the most interesting weeks of the entire mission—so much change!!!  I really don’t even know where to start.  So, being a zone leader is a new experience that I absolutely love.  I have learned a ton from it.  I am in a dream right now.  It’s awesome…let me tell you why.

So Viña, is the complete opposite from Ovalle.  In fact, they are actually extreme polar opposites—haha.  So, Ovalle was really small, really hot, and way dusty.  There weren’t many people who lived there and there wasn’t any tourists or anything.  Here in Viña it is very different.  I work and live right next to the beach and right in the middle of the city.  My sector is seriously just full of skyscrapers right next to the beach—haha.  It’s literally the biggest tourist attraction in South America.  Every other person is a tourist.  We have talked to people from all over the world.  I actually ran into a family from Utah that started speaking to me in English.  Our house is like a summer vacation house.  It is huge and the walls of the living room are pure glass so you can see everything.  It seriously looks like one of those houses you could win on HGTV—haha.

The Merino family in Ovalle...a family that I absolutely LOVE!

It is very different working here.  All of the houses are apartment skyscrapers and we can’t enter the buildings to knock on doors or anything.  So, we knock on almost no doors here.  I’m going to have to learn a lot of other creative ways to find new investigators here.  Our sector is all of the city.  The other mission sectors in Viña are up in the hills, just like it was for me in Valparaíso.  The view from up in the hills is just absolutely gorgeous—the coolest thing I have ever seen.  I took photos but I don’t have my camera with me right now.  I’ll send them next week.

It’s very different working as a zone leader.  We are so focused on the other missionaries that we have almost no time to work in our own sector.  So on Monday night, I said goodbye to Elder Arredondo and took a bus with another Elder to Viña.  We arrived early in the morning and the mission president’s assistants had me direct all of the changes.  It was ridiculous!!!  Like one hundred missionaries came to the office and Elder Urbina and I were in charge of getting them to their zones on time and shipping them off.  It was a long day.  Then I got to meet all of the new missionaries coming in.  It’s pretty cool being here in Viña because the office elders are in our zone.  So we get to see all of the changes and we know when things are going to happen before they happen—haha.  I got to see all of the old missionaries leaving and all of the new missionaries coming in and a lot of other interesting things.

Friday was a sweet day; it was the day of Zone Leader Council.  It’s a big meeting with all of the zone leaders in the entire mission, the assistants, and the mission president.  We talked about the needs of the mission and the vision the mission president has for each zone.  It was super interesting.  I feel like a lot of it went over my head, but I learned a ton.  The coolest thing was that I got to see all of my old senior companions! I got to see Elder Batty, Elder Suazo, and Elder Bohorquez because they are all zone leaders too now.

Our ward is really different as well.  Usually more than two hundred people attend here in Viña, and they are all super rich.  A lot of tourists come to the ward, too.  There’s an office missionary who’s been in this ward for four changes (twenty-four weeks) and still doesn’t know who is a member and who is a visitor—haha.

I have also got to know our investigators here.  We have one woman, Elizabeth, who is going to get baptized the 19th of February.  She is already really prepared and ready.  Her story is amazing.  Her nephew served a mission and sent her a letter and she loved it.  Immediately afterwards, she decided to be baptized.  We’ve got a few other investigators that may progress; we’re going to start working towards our goal for March.  Our zone is doing really well.  Our zone’s February goal for baptisms is nine.  We are looking like we’ll reach the goal. If we reach it as a zone, Elder Urbina and I are going to bring the zone on a special trip to go see a sight, but we’re not sure which sight right now.  There are fourteen missionaries in the zone but four of them are office elders, so they don’t work that much—haha.

My companion is hilarious. He is super short and super sarcastic—haha.  I have laughed so much with him.  He only has two changes left.  It’s very possible that I will be “killing him”—a term we use for the last companionship.  This should be an interesting experience—haha.

Well, I love you all.  It was great hearing from you.  I love the mission with all of my heart,

Elder Teeples

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