Saturday, February 23, 2013

New Mission in Chile - Domino Effect

Today the Church announced the creation of the Chile Santiago South Mission.  They have taken the stakes that were in Santiago and part of the Chile Rancagua and moved them into the new mission.  Here come the dominoes!  Chile Rancagua Mission takes the Curicó and Talca Stakes from the Chile Concepción Mission which in turn takes the 2 stakes in Talcahuano from the Chile Concepcion South Mission - and that is where the dominoes stop.  Chile Concepción South Mission is smaller by 2 stakes.  Here are some pictures that show the changes.

Soooooo, where are we going to end up?  Well, there are new mission presidents coming July 1 to both Chile Concepción Mission (Kent J. Arrington) and Chile Rancagua Mission (Thomas R. Warne).  I serve as 1st counselor in the Chile Concepción Mission Presidency and while we live in Talca we do not have any specific assignments in Talca.  Our assignment is as a counselor in the presidency.  But it would be a little different being a counselor in a mission that you don't live in.  We will see what happens.  Maybe Pres Arrington will have a new assignment for us or will Pres Warne try to lay claim on us.  Who knows?

Now for the real important news!
Something huge is about to take place in Chile.  There are over 540,000 members of the church in Chile.  Unfortunately only about 10% attend sacrament meeting each week.  No that is not a typo.  It is a tragedy.  And to complicate the problem we don't know where most of the less-active members live now because the membership records haven't been updated since they were baptized.  We just completed the first phase of this project in the Piduco Ward here in the Talca Stake.  The ward had 796 members of record.  490 had addresses that were out-of-date or their name was misspelled.  33 were dead.  How do we know there were 490 members who had incorrect addresses or that their names were misspelled?  Because of this fine fellow from England, Brother Benjamin Ingram.

Brother Ingram is from northern England near Scotland.  He served a mission in London.  Some years after his mission he met a beautiful Chilean returned missionary living in England.  They got married in the temple and lived in England for awhile.  After the first baby arrived she did what all Latin girls do when they become mothers.  She came home to her family here in Chile.  They now have 2 beautiful daughters and live in Curicó.  He has a bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering and a PhD in Computer Science.  He is a professor in the engineering department of the University of Talca in Curicó.  They came to Chile 3 years ago and he has been forced to learn Spanish.  He teaches Chileans.  I'll bet they have fun with his English accent.  I guess we're not the only ones that had foreign professors in school.  He is brilliant and a very committed Latter-day Saint.  He is the Stake Membership Clerk in Curicó.   His parents joined the Church in 1962.  He knows their conversion story well.  They were taught by a missionary named Randall Turner.
I said, "you mean Randy Turner, the dentist and former stake president in Southern California?"
"Yes, that would be the one."
"I know Randy Turner.  He just graduated from Northwestern Dental School when I started.  He was just finishing his assignment as stake president when I was starting mine.  I knew his family where he grew up in the north suburbs of Chicago.  I dated his niece, Wendy Payne."
It is a small world in the church.

Ok, back to the subject.  Brother Ingram was frustrated with the condition of the church records here in Chile so he did something about it.  Registration for voting is automatic and mandatory here in Chile for everyone 18+. The government published online a list of all registered voters including their names, addresses and RUT (personal ID number) in 346 pdf files.  Brother Ingram turned that list into a searchable database.  That database plus the civil registry of Chile (births, marriages, and deaths) has been researched to give us updated information on the 490 people in Piduco Ward with incorrect information.  Now the missionaries just need to invite these people to come unto Christ again.  My goal is to get this implemented in the entire country.  We can give over 450,000 less-active members another chance to come back.  It will be too late for over 20,000 that we will probably find have passed away.  There were years in the 80's and early 90's when over 25,000 Chileans joined the church every year!  Some missions baptized 900 people a month!!  It was an insurmountable task to absorb and retain so many new converts.  The church is still young and immature in Chile.  But it is getting better.  I will post our progress on this huge effort to rescue the less-active.

I know that as the missionaries seek out the less-actives they will find more opportunities to teach.  Just last night I got a call from our zone leader, Elder Wade, in Curicó.  He was seeking out one of these less-actives and she was not interested.  She was now an evangelical.  They asked if she knew anyone who might be and the less-active member told them of a neighbor.  The elders visited her and she is golden!  She said she wants to come to church and wants to be baptized!

Brother Ingram  is teaching Elder Wade and Elder Glazier how to use the results of the database search to seek out the less-active.

Yes, computerization is being used to build the kingdom of God.  Both for the living and for the dead.

10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;

13 And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!
14 Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!  (D&C 18:10, 13-16)

Which soul is more valuable, the new convert or the less-active?


  1. WHAT?!? That is crazy! Crazy to be right in the middle of it I guess. We'll be excited to hear what exactly you will be doing for the rest of your mission. We know you are doing great work there and pray and think about you often. Love you!

  2. What an exciting time to be there with all the changes. I love reading your blog, and learning about your exciting excursons! Sounds like the Lord is watching out for you. You two look happy and very healthy, the mission must agree with you. I look forward to reading more. Keep on!!

  3. Hi Kay,
    Thanks for your comments; it's like getting a note from home!

  4. Dear Pulsiphers-

    My name is Laurie Glazier Oldroyd and I'm the mother of a sister missionary entering the Provo MTC this Wednesday for two weeks and then off to the Chile Concepcion misison. We came across your blog while trying to prepare and I love it! I love senior missionary couples and you look like you are doing such a great work! Thank you for such detailed and inpiring posts and information about Chile. I also needed to find out about the Elder Glazier in the photo. That is my maiden name and so happy to see him serving there. We must be related somehow. Carry on!

    Laurie Oldroyd
    Orem, UT

    1. Your daughter is very blessed to be called to serve in Chile. She will have fantastic experiences and love these sweet people. Glad you enjoy the blog.

  5. Doug,

    please forgive my faulty memory, but were you companions with Elder Ashton in Independencia, in 1968? You can answer me at Just curious. Thanks.

    --Mike Dalton

    1. No, I arrived in Chile in December 1968. I believe Elder Ashton was an AP when I arrived. I never served in Santiago. I served in Villa Alemana, Constitución, Calama, Melipilla, and Los Angeles.