Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sally's Journal

Another week has flown by and it's hard to remember everywhere we've been and who we have visited. It's a good thing we put all our appointments on the calendar.

We had a great Thanksgiving at the Mission Home. I got to cook in a big kitchen with two ovens and 5 huge cookie sheets. I made 92 orange rolls and they were delicious. Now I am really famous. The Humphreys want me to come for Christmas so I can make cinnamon rolls! There were 3 couples and 8 Elders at our dinner. There are no pecans or Karo syrup here so I couldn't make a pecan pie. We all missed that. The worst was not having any yams! The food was still good and the company was fun. We missed all of you and tried not to think about home.

We left the Mission Home early Friday morning to go to a missionary training meeting that went from 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. After that we went with one of our favorite sets of Zone Leaders to a Noche de Hogar, (Family night). The whole family was there; Mom, Dad, 3 daughters and a son. We showed the Bible Video of the baptism of Jesus, and all bore our testimonies. The missionaries asked the father if he would be baptized on December 15th and he said he would do it for his family. Their one daughter got baptized on Sat. Their son also committed to be baptized. Our Peruvian Elder told the people it was the best day of his 18 months on his mission. We found out today that the family went to church Sunday and the Dad cried in Priesthood meeting and said he knew he needed the gospel in his life. Pretty cool.

Over the weekend we had a District conference, which is just the same as Stake conference only fewer people, and the mission president presides. We got there early enough to meet and greet every one. It is really fun. Most of them call me "Hermanita" when they give me their kiss. I kissed every woman and child in the building. I will be a really good greeter when I get home to Coeur d'Alene 3rd ward!

Tonight was terrific. Two Elders in Talca asked us to go on 2 visits with them. One visit was with a family with 3 children. A boy who is 16, a girl around 10 and a cute little 3 year old girl that spoke the cutest, clear Spanish!! The Dad was there also but had to take her out so the others weren't distracted. He is not as interested but is coming around. The Elders taught about the Word of Wisdom and the woman looked shocked when she found out she couldn't have coffee. She said that the spirit told her the night before that she shouldn't smoke. She said she smokes one cigarette a day and her husband smokes 20. They must go outside because their houses don't smell like smoke, more like mold! There was a great spirit there. The 16 year old boy had his friend there and they all said they would come to church. The friend said the missionaries could come to his house on Wed.! Invite your friends to hear the gospel! It is a great feeling to have the missionaries teach someone you care about.

Our second visit tonight started at 9:00 p.m. A 13 year old girl is interested and her Mom has been inactive for 30 years or so. This Noche de Hogar was held in a members home and they invited other members of the ward. It was so good to have some of them bear testimony and tell how they knew the church was true. The converts have a much better chance of staying active if the members of the ward are involved. There were about 14 there. They had good refreshments. The member Host makes banana bread and sells it to stores. They had yummy platters full of it spread with manjar. Manjar is like condensed milk cooked down and kind of carmelized. They love it here and even squirt it into churros! They also had the Cheetos, potato chips, and they also made crepes, spread with Manjar and rolled up and sliced. Don't forget the Fanta or Sprite at every house!

The Spirit was strong tonight at both the visits. It is great to share in this important missionary work. We feel so blessed to be here and love doing this everyday. Each day is a new experience and we pray we will always go where we are needed most.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

President & Sister Humphrey, Pulsiphers

President & Sister Humphrey have been awesome to work with.  They are doing a terrific job. Their schedule is unbelievable.  When we've talked about it he just says it has been non-stop for the last 2.4 years.  Here is just a sample and we don't know all the details.  All we see is the calendar.

  • Monday November 12.  Preparation Day - well sometimes it is.  Final interviews with 1 Elder and 1 Sister going home.  Take them to the Airport and whatever else they do for missionaries going home.  200 emails from the missionaries hit your inbox today.  You need to answer each one individually.
  • Tuesday November 13.  Cambios (Transfers) - That means you have already spent a good amount of time in thoughtful prayer figuring out who should be paired up with who, knowing these decisions must be inspired and have eternal consequences.  You only have to figure out where to send each particular missionary so they can find the person they were supposed to find. (no pressure).  5 new Elders and 3 new Sisters arrive, pick them up at the airport, make sure each of them know you love them, interview them, hold a training meeting with them, assign them to their first areas and companions.  They all are like deer caught in headlights only they are dogged tired from an all night flight from the US.  Yes, they go to work that afternoon.
  • Wednesday November 14.  District Meetings.
  • Thursday November 15 - Sunday November 18.  Time to get ready for the upcoming conferences and meetings.  Work on personally answering the 200 emails that you get every week - Yes EVERY WEEK!!!
  • Monday November 19.  Mission wide District Leaders Council in Chillán - 3.5 hours.  You are the main speaker and trainer for 3.5 hours.  Be ready to inspire and teach the district leaders.  They hang on every word you say.
  • Tuesday November 20.  District Meetings.  Better get working on the 200 emails from the missionaries that filled your inbox yesterday.
  • Wednesday November 21.  Special Training Meeting for the Penco and Andalien Zones - 3 hours.  Yep, you're the main speaker and trainer.  Subject - teach the missionaries to teach like the Savior taught.  Still have not finished all of the emails.  Pulsiphers arrive at the mission home.  Treat them like they are special guests.  Get ready for tomorrow.  Follow up with Pulsiphers on misisonary who had symptoms of appendicitis - Pulsiphers took him to the clinic in Talca and arrived late at the mission home.  BTW, Sister Humphrey is the mother/nurse to all 200 missionaries and is dealing with health issues nearly everyday.  She also has to speak in all the meetings.  Pretty interesting since she never spoke any Spanish before her mission.  We are now helping her out some with the misisonaries in the northern part of the mission.
  • Thursday November 22, Thanksgiving.  Only having 14 this year.  Meeting with assistants during the day, do not forget those emails.  Work on meetings for next week.  Need to have the new theme including power point presentation  ready for a monthly mission council meeting with all the Zone Leaders next Monday - another 3 hour training meeting.
  • Friday November 23.  Special Training Meeting for Parral and Linares Zones - 3 hours.  You again.  Teach them how to teach like the Savior.  Emails?  Go to Almuerzo (main meal) with the Pulsiphers at 3 pm in Talca.
  • Saturday November 24.  District Conference in Parral this weekend.  Meet with district presidency at 3 pm.  4 pm - Priesthood Leadership Meeting.  You're the Mission President/Presiding Office/General Authority.  You have to take most of the time.  When did you prepare for this meeting?  6:30 pm Adult Session of Parral District Conference.  You are given the last hour.  Better be inspiring.  Several members need to meet with you after the meeting.  1 hour drive after the meeting to the hotel in Talca.  Go to grocery store at 10:30 pm to buy enough cookie packages for everyone (about 40) that comes to conference tomorrow from Cauquenes by a chartered bus (1 hour).
  • Sunday November 25.  Parral District Conference.  Nearly 300 attend from the 4 branches of the district.  You take the last hour.  Very inspiring.  Spend an hour after the meeting greeting everyone.  Hope you remember their names from the last time you saw them.  Pass out the cookies to the Cauquenes members going home on the bus.  After about 2 hours I remembered that 2 of the speakers at the conference were members that I had given temple recommend interviews to about 2 weeks ago.  I knew they looked familiar.
  • Oh, did I mention that you have to do all of this in SPANISH, which you haven't really spoken much in over 40 years?
  • Tomorrow you get another 200 emails.
When I was a stake president a member of my stake naively asked me, "What do you have to do to become a mission president?"  If I could only remember his name.........

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sally's Take

This past week is almost a blur. On Tuesday we drove 11/2 hours to a district meeting with just 4 Elders in Cauquenes. They loved the homemade cookies and ate them in a nanosecond. We then checked out their apartments and took them to lunch. In this small town there is not a fast food, "Top Dog" or anything, so the Chilean Elder said he knew of a place to go. It was owned by a member of the Branch. So, you walk in and it looks like a banquet room, with the tables all set with cloth napkins and everything! There were even deflated Halloween balloons in the corner.  There was not another customer to be seen.  We sit down and they don't bring a menu, they just ask what you want. We let the Elders order for us. There wasn't a smell of anything cooking, but when the owner went back to the kitchen you could hear the knives chopping like crazy. I think they started the whole lunch from scratch. The final result was a huge pile of fresh french fries piled with sliced chorizo and some other kind of unrecognizable meat, sauteed onions and a sunny side up, fried egg on top!  Oh, man, the missionaries loved it. I will never eat it again. The Chilean Elder squirted mayo all over the top of his platter of fries and meat. The next course was right up my alley. It was freshly chopped lettuce with some parsley chopped in it and tossed with oil and lemon. It was delicious. I eat the lettuce here and I've never been sick. We hardly ever go out to eat. I'd rather have a tomato and avocado than anything in the town. The Chilean salads are the best thing I've found.  They usually consist of tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  They also slice up beets with your salad platter.  They are also delicious.

After our lunch, we went with 2 of the Elders to visit an investigator. We are showing Bible videos on our Xoom wherever we go. They are short and so good. This woman, (Norma), was really impressed. She wants to get baptized but has to leave home and work in the fields to make some money. She is a Grandma and about my age. She also needs to quit smoking. She was very nice and I had a chance to bear my testimony--again.  They all seem to like my awful Spanish and 4 sentence testimony.  Less is more, right?  

We went with 2 Elders on Saturday to visit another investigator.  She is getting baptized on Friday.  We showed her the Restoration video.  She loved it.  I bore my testimony again and tried to change it up and called her a grandpa.  Yes, I'm having a blast learning Spanish!  We then took her to the Stake Relief Society "show off your crafts" activity.  The pictures below will tell it all.  

On Sunday we went back to the Branch in Cauquenes and Doug and I both spoke.  I carry my 1 page talk around just in case.  They asked me to say the closing prayer in Relief Society and it took me half the lesson to figure that out.  Not what I would say but that they had asked me to pray!  I don't pray very good in Spanish.  I guess I had better learn!  They told me they got my intentions.  Oh, well, my head aches by the end of Sunday.  Other than that, Spanish is great!!  For a good perspective on learning Spanish read this blog.

We are here on the Lord's errand.  He has many things for us to do and the little miracles happen every day. It seems we are always ready and able to accomplish  whatever comes each day.  This morning we had 3 calls from missionaries needing something.  Off we go....

Friday, November 16, 2012


Magician at Intersection from PulsiphersinChile on Vimeo.

During a red light at an intersection you will find performers for your entertainment.  They work for donations only.

Juggler at Intersection from PulsiphersinChile on Vimeo.
Mime in Talca from Douglas W Pulsipher on Vimeo.

Street entertainment from Douglas W Pulsipher on Vimeo.

Juggler in Plaza 002 from Douglas W Pulsipher on Vimeo.

Chileans are generally a happy people that like to have fun.  There are very few beggars but quite a number of performers who work for donations.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Colectivos by McDonalds from Douglas W Pulsipher on Vimeo.

This is the only McDonalds in our mission and it is here in Talca.  We NEVER went to McDonalds!  Now it is different.  Instead of the 100's of buses of 44 years ago there are private cars "colectivos" that pick up and drop off passengers along their regular routes.  They cost about $1.  Each car holds up to 4 + the driver.  The backseat can be cozy for chubby Chileans.  Close quarters for strangers.  Can you imagine Americans sharing the back seat with strangers everyday?

Colectivos 2 from Douglas W Pulsipher on Vimeo.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A seed is planted

A little seed is planted 43 years ago.

 At the Talca Stake Conference a brother came up to me and said, "I think I know you.  He pulled this picture out of his wallet.  On the back of the picture it says, Alegria Family, I feel grateful to have known you and watched you grow so much in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I esteem you a lot and know that your day of baptism will be your happiest day in your lives.  Stay firm in your faith and never stop going to church.  Lovingly, Elder D. W. Pulsipher"

Carlos Alegría was a 8 year old boy 43 years ago and his little sister was about 6.  The family wasn't able to be baptized at that time because the parents weren't married.  Divorce from previous marriage was nearly impossible to get back then and there were a lot of common law marriages.  The family was finally baptized in October 1971 - 2 years later.  In December 1971 the Constitción Branch was closed after some photos became public of the destroying of Catholic "imagenes" by some unwise missionaries.  It would be 5 years before the branch would re-open. I asked Carlos how his family stayed faithful during those 5 years.  He said his dad would read to the family from the Book of Mormon.  "We didn't have the Church but we had the principles."  Carlos was the second missionary to serve from the Constitución Branch in 1979.  The first was Roberto Caceres, another young man we taught.  When Carlos returned from his mission he was the branch president for 12 years.

Here is more of the family.  His children have served missions and are faithful in the gospel.

Carlos and his sisters are now grandparents

Then I got another surprise.  A sister came up to me after the Sunday session of stake conference and asked, "Do you remember me?"  Fortunately, I did.  Hemana Caceres, the mother of the first missionary from Constitución.  We baptized her along with 2 other sisters in October 1969 in the Maule River.  

She cried and hugged Doug like he was her long-lost son.  It was fun to witness these joyous reunions with my own eyes and capture the moment with a photo.

This is not her baptism but the same location a few weeks before she was baptized.

Personal Service!

Les Miserables or barber?  You decide

I offered to cut Sally's hair but she decided to take the risk.  On the other hand there is not much risk in a shoe shine for 500 pesos ($1.10)

No, I didn't ask him if he would like me to make him some dentures.
And that is not his motorcycle.  He is just guarding it for someone.
You can get anything you want laminated while you get your shoes shined or any other time.  This is in front of a government building.
No need to look for a car wash.  They come to you.  Just about anywhere you go and park your care someone is close to wash it.  It will cost you about 2000 pesos ($4.40).