Sunday, January 5, 2014

Southern Chile

Southern Chile is a different world. It is a world of rivers, lakes, snow capped volcanoes, luscious green vegetation, dairy production, and of course lots of rain.
Ladd and Nyleen Livingston from our stake in Coeur d'Alene are currently serving as senior missionaries in the Chile Santiago West Mission. They came to visit and we were together from Friday until Wednesday. On Saturday we took them to Penco, Tomé, Dichato, and Concepción. On Sunday we all went to the small Retiro Branch where all 4 of us had the opportunity to share our testimonies with those sweet people there. After church and "almuerzo" at our apartment in Chillán we headed south to Osorno. It is about a 6 hour drive. When we got to Osorno we called President Rappleye of the Chile Osorno Mission to see if it was possible to meet with him and show him our program for finding lost members. It was the first time we had ever spoken to him and he was a little hesitant. He said that he was slammed all week but could meet with us on Monday at 11 am.
We showed up at 10:30 at the Chile Osorno Mission Office.
The Chile Osorno Mission consists of 5 stakes and 6 districts. Two of the districts and one of the stakes are only accessible by flying. The Punta Arenas Stake is the southern most stake in the world.
At 11 am we met with President and Sister Rappleye, the assistants, office Elders, and a senior couple Elder and Sister Poulson. It is a small world in the Church. Elder Poulson was a counselor with my dad in the bishopric in Yucaipa in 1970!
We were very nervous making a "cold call" on a mission president but it only took about 5 minutes before the smiles and nods of approval began. President Rappleye was totally on board. We were really surprised when he asked us to do three districts on our way home on Tuesday. He also said that he wanted us to present the program to the Osorno Coordinating Council (Mission President, Area Seventy, Stake and District Presidents) on January 26. He suggested a schedule for Tuesday.

  • 10:00 am - La Unión District with Elder and Sister Stott
  • 1:30 pm - Los Lagos District with Elder and Sister Erickson
  • 4:30 pm - Villarrica District with Elder and Sister Biggs
We had never been to La Unión or Los Lagos, didn't know where the buildings were, but we found everything on google maps and we took off Tuesday morning. We consider it one of those "mission miracles" that we arrived at each appointment within a minute of the appointment time! It was incredible, travelling to places you had never been and arriving on time.

When we got to each location Sally started training the senior couple on how to use the program. While she did this I was given access to the district computer and I obtained the necessary file from MLS. I uploaded the file into our server located in Curicó at the home of Brother Ben Ingram and initiated the data processing. Within about 1 hour we had the database results produced on a google doc spreadsheet ready for use!
The comment we kept hearing from the senior couples was "wow." It is truly amazing what Brother Ben Ingram has accomplished with the database and producing the results in an online, share-able spreadsheet. And now I can do everything on the fly without Ben involved at all.

Elder Stott is the brother of Alan Stott of Lancaster. Alan and I were partners from 1980 - 1983 in Lancaster and our children grew up together. Our son Mark and Jared Stott are lifetime friends.

The next stop was Los Lagos and the Erickson's from Seattle Washington.

The stop was Villarrica. It was cloudy the day we were there but we have been there before and it is beautiful.
We finally made it home by 10:30 pm Tuesday night after a very successful day of training with 3 great senior couples in three different districts of the Osorno Mission.
After our meeting with President Rappleye on Monday we went around Lake Llanquihue.

Here are some photo highlights of the beautiful scenes we encountered.
Puerto Octay

Lake Llanquihue - Volcán Osorno is hidden by the clouds
63% of Chile's dairy products come from this area of Chile. There were cows everywhere.
These wrapped bundles of hay sure look like giant marshmallows.
Elder and Sister Livingston were our travel partners

A quaint church on the road around the lake
Petrohué is a huge attraction and very beautiful

 We ate dinner in Puerto Varas at a restaurant recommended by President Rappleye. It was very good but a little hard to find. A beautiful rose garden at the restaurant.

Las Cascadas was located at the end of a gravel road. We had to hike in about 40 minutes to get to the waterfall.


  1. How fun to see that you posted pictures of Keith & Barbara Stott. Keith called us this week to tell us that they had met you two. They were very impressed with the work you are doing to locate the inactive members. I don't know if they told you, but Keith & Barbara are serving in the same mission (Osorno) where Alan & Keith's dad served as Mission President over 30 years ago. Pretty awesome stuff!

  2. Love the photos! Thank you for taking great care de las hermanas! Out daughter Hermana Hannah Peterson told us she had homemade bread and freezer jam at your home and was in heaven! The work you do is amazing and Chile is richly blessed to have you there! As a mother of a daughter serving there, I am so grateful for your service and care for the young missionaries as well! Thank you!
    Amy Peterson in AZ!

  3. It's so fun to follow your adventures as you took a little "working vacation" to southern Chile. I so remember visiting some of those same places with you 20-some years ago. Can you believe the experiences you have on this mission and how you have been enriched in the name of missionary work? What a wonderful church we belong to that trusts our senior couples to go all over the world "doing good" while having a blast. Love your blog! I'm sharing this one with Steve.