hey all you cool peeps! i dont have that much time to write today because elder hansen and i are cranking away at this whole training thing. but ill talk a little bit about the highlights.
so i had the cool opportunity to spend christmas in the office!1!!11 it was actually super fun.
on the 24th, hansen went back to one of his old wards to eat, and i was at the office with madsen for the whole day while silvaggio and payne were out with the hermanas singing. it was cool because we got to get some work done and we talked about trunky things for a hot second, counting the days down for when we get to see our families again (you know, as missionaries do.) then we had to go find hansen from doing divisions with his old compy in his old sector and there were a lot of bonfires happening in the streets and a lot of drunk people that were roaming around. it was scary, but it was cool to go and save him from across the mission!
when we were all back in the office, we thought that we needed to have a little chill out session somewhere because it was christmas for crying out loud. what is also cool in chile is that when its christmas, everyone illegally buys fireworks and shoots them off the night before. we thought that we would bring a speaker and a blanket to the roof of the church and watch the fireworks! it was soooo fun. we talked about the Christmas traditions that we did back at our homes, and watched the fireworks off in the distance. such a cute little office party.
then i had the chance to talk to my family over skype!! that was so much fun! we talked about my time in the office and where im going after this change (i cant say where im going yet because there are people from the mission who read my blog and i cant leak the changes just yet lollll). the worst part about the call when my mom was like "i know you dont want to talk about this right now, but i need to know what classes you want to take when you come home for byu" i almost vomited. i only have like 5 and a half months!!! its going to be a crazy couple of months until i come home! we also talked about the cool spiritual experiences i had while i have been in the office. you would think i would be sad after i said goodbye to them, but to be honest, i felt super recharged, and ready to finish this mission strong! i am SOOOo excited to go to my next sector and preach the gospel to the people in the "____________" sector! i hope all of you got to have an awesome christmas! and i hope that all you missionary parents had a sick time talking to your missionaries wherever they may be in the world!
gotta scram..heres some pictures to compensate.
love all of you!
thank you so much for the package fam!
lush.....if you want to sponsor me yet that would be great thanks
hermana salas gave me some scratch paper for christmas...so nice!
the hermanas in our ward tried coming into the office to prank us, so we got them back with some fake snow in a can..clean up on isle 10 please
you would think a normal week in the life of an office elder would be something like: do visa apps, maybe buy a new house for elders, sometimes go to centro from some random chore that president gives you...
mine went like this.....
we went to a service for the "todo por una sonrisa" and i got to paint faces and help kids feel better about the holidays this year. we went to the poorest part of our mission and we were able to give them little presents and candy and do games with them. it was such an amazing service to do! i can say that my gingerbread men on kids faces looked like burnt cucumbers, but they were happy none of the less.
president gave me a call late at night and told me that i am going to get booted out of the office on the second of january, (yay, transfers!) and that i need to train someone to take my place in the office! my new companion is elder hansen!!! he is actually from my MTC group, so its going to be so fun being able to teach him everything that i know for the job, so that he can run the mission smoothly!
this is where things got interesting. i had to pick up luggage for the missionaries that were going home a little early so they could make it to their houses for the holiday season. so, i organized the majority of my sunday to go and pick up bags on sunday night. i start this process at around 5 o'clock. i get to the first house, nothing was overweight, everything was good. take the bags. second house, the elder was a little over weight, but thats just because he wanted to take some chilean wine with him back home (why he did, i dont think ill ever know, but he ended up getting rid of it and giving it to his neighbors). the van was filled up with the bags, so i drop them off at the chapel. i get a call from the matron that we have to take the van to go and pick up some sisters from a near by chapel...it was dark and a little too dangerous to go on the bus. this is at around 7:30 ish. so we grab the sisters from the south part of the mission, then we have to go CLEAR across the mission to drop these sisters off. k, drop them off, and its now about 8:45pm. we continue on with bag pick ups....on to the next missionaries house to grab her bags. we get there, and the majority of the bags that she had were all underweight. her big bag though was about 10 kilos over, which in pounds was about 22 pounds over...so we called her and told her to come back an take out all the useless stuff she isnt going to use when she gets back home. we sat there and watched her take out sheets and rocks and fetching proselyting cards for AN HOUR AND A HALF. its about 11:00pm by this time, mind you i have to start picking up the human missionaries (not just the bags) at about two in the morning if we are going to get them on their flights ok (the earliest flight was at about 5 in the morning and the latest was at about 8 in the morning, but because its easier to just take them all at once, i started at 2am). so we take her bags, go to the third and fourth missionaries houses, and their bags are all good to go. its about 12:15am at this point, and our van is full. we go back to the mission office, drop everything off, go to the last house which is in the most southern part of the mission....we get there and HIS BAGS ARE OVERWEIGHT. ugh. so we wait for him to try and rearrange clothes and all that mess. he took another hour and a half to get his things changed around. when he finished, it was about 1:30 in the morning....total count for being awake: 18 hours.
so, we started grabbing people. i grabbed the second missionary from his house, and came back to the office so that a van service could grab all the bags that i picked up and take them to the airport. i sent the two missionaries i picked up with the guy who was taking the bags so they could get to the airport and watch over them while we were coming. i grab the forth and the fifth missionary. its around 3:30am at this point, and we had to be in the airport at around 4:15 to make sure everyone was checked in and everything before their flights left. we grab the fifth and the sixth missionaries. we were already pushing 4am... im not going to say that we sped on the freeway, but ....anyway .....
so we get to the airport, the bags are with the two elders i sent with them, and my companion and i split up so that we could divide and conquer the amount of people we had to check in. i checked in the hermana that had a 5:50am flight, got her all settled and sent her through security. 1/6 done. its about 5 in the morning: 20 hours awake almost. my comp had to wait in a line THE SIZE OF CHINA to get Elder Leles checked in (his name is going to come in later in the story, hold on). i went on and checked in the two people going home to peru. super easy. super fast. i sent them through to the customs line while i helped out the two argentinians going to buenos aires. as i was checking them in, i got a call from president that made my heart fall out of my chest:
"elder wattles, the visas of these two elders going to peru have been expired for two days...they arent going to let them through to their flight." side note...if your visa is expired, then you are considered being in chile illegally, and they wont let you leave the country.
i cannot tell you how scared i was in the moment. my mind raced so fast on what i should have done. as i was running around the airport with these two elders, trying to beg with the people from the immigration office to extend their visas, president was checking in the two argentinians. i got the whole visa thing squared away with the two peru elders, and they finally made it through and they both made their flight. so in total, 3/6 are through. Elder Leles is still waiting in line to get his bag checked...at this point, he had about 45 minutes to get on his flight and make it to san paulo. he finally made it through the huge line of check in (which took about an hour and a half), and then he went through customs. he made it past customs and had about 10 minutes to get to his flight. we see him running to his gate, and then disappear....ok 4/6 done. sleep count: 23 hours awake.
we send the argentinians through, and they get to the customs counter, and they get sent back because their visas had also expired like a day before they were supposed to go home. so, my heart fell out of my chest again and i was running around the airport again...we begged and begged some more, and got them squared away and everything, so they made it to their flights, and made it home....6/6!! right?
NOPE. elder Leles missed his flight.....gosh dang it
i was speechless. i was literally so scared. his poor family was going to be waiting at the airport for their son to get back to their home, but now we have to send him at another time....president and i had to work together to get him another flight that day! we booked him one for 2 just hours later...we had to stay at the airport with him while we were looking for his bags that got taken onto the flight that he didnt make (fun fact: one got taken to his destination and the other one he was able to carry onto the plane).
time awake: 25 hours.
BUT HE GOT ON HIS FLIGHT SO HE WAS GOING TO GET HOME SAFE.
my companion and i drove back home and we ate a little bit. we got back home at around 11am. total time awake at that point: 28 hours.
took a nap for 4 hours, then it was time for second wave of missionaries to get to the airport.
apparently, part of the the problem earlier was that i didnt take a special paper that the immigrations offices gave us through an email, so i printed them off this time for all the people, and made sure that everything was going to be ok.
so we do the whole bags run, grab elders and what not. there are three more this wave, so
we get to the airport FREAKISHLY early, to make sure that nothing bad would happen to them when they went through customs, and i get them all checked in and stuff. i send them through the customs booth, and you can see them when they get to the counter and they are checking all the visa stuff they have. the three elders get to three different counters all at once, and i see two of them start to look confused, and another put his head in his hands.....I WAS LIVID.
they all got sent back because even with the paper that i i printed out, their visas werent "extended at the right time". (all of theirs expired about three days before they were supposed to come home). i was freaking out again. i could not begin to tell you the amount of prayers that i was making in order to make sure that everything would be going ok. it was literally in the lords hands at that point. we all went to the extranjeria downstairs in the airport, with about and hour and a half until they were supposed to get home, and the processing man was VERY NICE in extending the visas for these guys. so i sent them all through once again, and they all made it on their flight, and they all made it safe to their houses! time awake in total for getting people to the airport; 36 hours. (with a 4 hour nap)
i was completely dead. i crashed that night, and i slept in so hard with permission from pres. you would think that the drama would stop right there. 9/9 people made it through the gate in santiago to go to their houses....
i got a call from president at about 9 in the morning.....
"elder leles missed his flight in rio de jenero and we need to get him another flight for him to get to his house. he is on someones phone in the airport using facebook messenger, and you need to get over there fast because the man who is lending him the phone needs to leave in about 45 minutes and leles needs to know the info for the flight."
I THOUGHT THE TORTURE WAS GOING TO END. i literally ran to the office, called the travel agency, got him a flight, used a members phone to contact elder leles on facebook messenger......he got on his flight to go back to his house in sao paulo. ok, now 9/9 home to their families!
but i feel physically dead still because the amount of sleep and stress i went through was SO MUCH. happy that its all over though. elder payne (who accompanied me through this whole thing and stayed awake with me for that long of time) and i went to a cool spot in santiago for pday while the others did jobs in the office, because we were so dead and deserved a little break.
well i have to scram. crazy week down here in santiago LOTS of stress and panic attacks but 9 missionaries are home for the holidays with their families! love you all to the moon and back! merry christmas next week, i cant wait to skype with my fam!
happy faces before things went downhill...
so this was us when we were running off of like 27 hours of sleep. we got crepes in a near by mall
so the place we went to for pday let us take some ski lift cars and let us see all of santiago. it was soooo pretty!!!
we also made some fun purchases
new companion that is taking over my office job in 2 weeks
hey all you peeps on the other side of the world!! sorry for not being able to email last week! there wasn't a lot of stuff that happened last week, and i had like 0 time to write...but this week some stuff happened!
so president, every change, has a little theme or a topic that we are supposed to study for the month. the topic that he assigned to us was joy! so, i dedicated a little study on it and it was so good!! it was really cool to look at what the definition of joy was in the scriptures. basically, i learned that joy can only come from obeying the commandments. but than the question sparked,"wait can we even have eternal happiness in this life? like is that even possible??" so i did a little research and in alma 29:9 talks about how you can get joy by sharing the gospel, and in dc 101:36 talks about how our joy in this life is incomplete without the gospel. so, i was thinking, that we can really only feel a true type of happiness if we live the gospel and if we help other people figure out for themselves what the gospel is about. i mean, whenever i help someone get baptized, or when i help someone finally realize that they can have a repentance of their sins, i get SO GIDDY.
also a legit miracle happened this past week. just to give you guys a little bit about the situation that happened. due to the secretaries before me, there were two elders who never got their visas. i was doing extensive research on the two of them and why they never got their id cards, and it said that there weren't some needed papers sent in with their application. they are called judicial antecedents, which basically is a legal document saying that they havent committed crimes. so i called the visa center, and they were like,"so we think that your application period has expired, so these guys are def illegal." i was literally freaking out. basically, the process that would have had to happen was them going to the police station and turn themselves in and getting A FAT ticket. i was like "wait how expensive is it going to be" and she told me "oh around $600,000 pesos each person" (in dollars, thats like $1800). i was literally freaking out. there is no way in heck that the mission has enough to cough up 1.2 million pesos. i got the feeling that they should both go to the visa center in centro and try and resolve it. as they were going up there, there were a lot of prayers said. they went through the lines and stuff, and i got their calls back. "ya so they said that we are legal actually, we just have to send in those papers that werent in our applications is all."
I ALMOST STARTED CRYING. i was so grateful that we didnt have to pay that fat fine and screw over the budget for the mission while we are at the end of the year
some funny things that happened this week: my comp forgot to fill up the font for a baptism that our ward was having. he was supposed to fill it up at around 12 to get it filled at 4, but people started coming in at 3:30 with 0 water in the font. we grabbed as many pots with water as we could and we straight WENT TO TOWN. i slipped and ate it because there was just so much water all over the place. my pass-a-long cards fell in the font, so we had to use a colander to try and strain baby jesuses out of the water. we grabbed the fire hose that is connected to the wall and started filling the font with a fire hose, some pots of boiling water, and some tea kettles. normally these things take around 5 hours to fill, but we did it in one and a half. *death drop*
also there were some members that brought in a snake into the office and i got to hold it and then i tried to take a picture of it and it jumped at me and bit my lens. needless to say, i had to change my pants after that traumatic national geographic episode.
gotta scram. love you all!!
my christmas package came..thanks mom and dad!
Elder Karson Wattles
Chile Santiago South Mission
apartado postal No. 544
San Bernardo, Chile