Tuesday, May 14, 2013

730 Kilometros and Black Necked Swans

This past week we went on a mission road trip, again.  We visited missionaries from the ocean towns near Concepción, to the farthest, north, and west towns of Teno and Licanten.  It was such a long trip, we spent the night in a "rustic" motel on Ruta Cinco, so we didn't have to drive all the way back to Chillán and then go back north again the next day.  We just couldn't meet with all the Branch Builder missionaries we wanted to without taking two days.  We had heard of a beautiful lake outside of Licanten, so after training the Elders, we went on a "wild swan chase".  On the map, the roads look like they are normal, but, actually, most of them are dirt, except for the major roads through the towns.  The rain started as we began out "scenic drive".  It ended up to be worth the side trip, because it reminded us of home.  Is was a beautiful lake with nice, large homes around it.  It hardly felt like Chile!  The best thing was, instead of Canada geese, there were black-necked swans on the water!  So, in three days, we helped the Branch Builder, missionaries in 8 different towns.  We were pretty tired after all that.

After we visited Dichato and Bulnes on Wednesday we took off on our 2 day trip on Thursday. Our first stop was in Retiro, a small branch of about 100 people. Their Sacrament meeting attendance is over 50%!  It is a tribute to the great work that Elder & Sister Mora from Puerto Aisen, Chile are doing as senior missionaries assigned as the branch president. While we were there I interviewed a couple who are going to the temple for the first time to be endowed and sealed next week. This is the second couple I have interviewed in Retiro for their own endowments and sealing in the past few weeks.  Great work Elder and Sister Mora!

The Mora's feed the missionaries every Sunday.  We ate with them last year.
The next stop was Longaví and then on to San Javier. Sally picked up a new hobby while I trained the missionaries on finding and mapping the less-active..

We bought our own loom last night and she is hard at work weaving on her loom right now as I am creating this new post.
Our next stop was Curicó where we met with Brother Ben Ingram, my co-conspirator in our project in finding the lost sheep. After a 3 hour meeting we checked into our hotel.  In the morning we met with the missionaries in Teno, a branch of 536 with attendance of about 40.  Lots of less-active members to find there. Then it was off to Licantén. Lincanten is the most, out of the way, branch in our mission.  It is a tiny branch, in a tiny town.  The church rents a store-front on the main street of town and has a plaque on the outside saying, "La Iglesia de JesuCristo...". They have 197 with attendance of 37.  It seems like the smaller branches have higher percentages.
From Licantén we took our side trip to Lake Vichuquén. We would love to see it in the summer.  It really reminded us of Coeur d'Alene.

The main store at the center of town, across from the tiny plaza.

There is a little village called Llico right on the Pacific Ocean. I doubt that there are 100 people living there.

And then there were the black necked swans, hundreds of them. They are beautiful fowl and carry their young ones on their backs.

We asked a carabinero about the best way to get to Hualañe and he told us to follow him.

Just because a road looks good on a map doesn't make it a good road.  Our car was proof.

Chile is a beautiful country.

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