End of Conferences, Beginning of changes!

Is there something that you need for your birthday?

  • I think I am fine. I like hand written letters even though I know that I am terrible about writing others. They are simple and I really don’t need anything. When I leave the mission I am already going to leave a significant amount of things behind, and I don’t see a reason to get more stuff for the moment. Save any gifts for Christmas 🙂

Do Chileans make a big deal of birthdays?  How do they celebrate?

  • They are not a huge deal. But they celebrate. They normally throw birthday parties. It isn’t terribly common here that they are going to celebrate it just as a family, but instead with a typical, balloons, cake and games type of party. Is appears a lot like the typical US Birthday party. They do have some fun traditions though with the cake. The person who is having a birthday holds the cake in their hands for a picture and then while they are taking pictures someone comes up behind and shoves the face of the birthday boy or girl into the cake. The impression left by the face of the person is then their piece of the cake. the funny thing about this tradition is that it is acceptable almost everywhere. High class, low class, young or old, just go for it.

How often do you speak English?

  • With my companion in the apartment so that he can learn how to speak English well and occasionally with President  and his wife because they likes to practice as well.

How often do you run across tourists from the United States?

  • All the time. But, we do not interact very much with tourists.

Share something that was humorous, or made you laugh this week?

  • I made myself laugh. On Friday several new missionaries from the US got here. They arrived a couple days ahead of what was originally planned, so we had to make a couple of emergency adjustments. Not that big of a deal. However, in the afternoon, we sat down to talk with them and answer their questions. One of them asked about hugs. Now, here in Chile, the typical hello between men is a handshake, a hug and then another handshake, and if you leave out one of the parts it is a little weird. So I explained to them the importance of a hug and how to do it and all that and then I realized how much I have never liked physical contact with people. During my life, I have always had a personal space bubble that don’t like having invaded and as a missionary I have gotten used to it and rather enjoy it. It was a change that I hadn’t noticed and I think I remember saying in several occassions that I was never going to change. But time made a liar out of me. Realizing that change, made me laugh.
  • Last night there were several missionaries traveling that had trouble with their luggage at 1:30 in the morning and called me. So I answered, half asleep and tried to help them. Their problem was that there wasn’t any more space in the bus and so the luggage was going to have to be sent another day. So I ran through a quick verification of a couple solutions such as, being more insistent, looking for another bus, bribes and various others that normally work but nothing resulted. So I woke my companion up and asked him what he thought. But he said “Why don’t they just ask a member to bring them?”  The thing is that they live about 4 hours away. HAHAHA. When I told the missionary the solution he just started to laugh and told me to go back to sleep and that he was going to find a solution for himself, which he did.


What obstacles or challenges did you have?

  • 2 separate groups of missionaries got here with less than 2 days of beforehand notice.
  • Our enfermera [nurse] was out of town for a week.
  • A family of investigators that is progressing towards baptism just had one of their children admitted into the hospital for a serious and contagious viral infection.
  • The heating in one of the building didn’t work during a conference, and we all caught a cold.
  • This week was also Chilean independence week. The 18 of September is their independence day, but they celebrate from the 17-20.  So for the 19 when we went out to work, we could walk 10 minutes in the city without being able to contact anyone because everyone was in their house or in large festivals.  It was absolutely nuts.

Share whatever is on your mind.

Changes. As far as my changes go. I am staying here as assistant with my companion for change number 3 together. But it really depends on if my companion passes his drivers test on Monday. Because if not. There are good possibilities that he leaves at some close point, and that I get a new companion. I am excited to just keep working. I have learned a lot and have been blessed to see some big changes in the way we do things so now we have a lot more time to go out and teach, to be able to do our daily scripture study and various other things that we couldn’t do before.


This letter is relatively short, but I wish I could tell you about some of the experiences that we have had in the last couple weeks with investigators and less actives.  Remind me next week to write about.

-La Familia Medalla: Atributes Activity

-Familia Rojas – Chicken pox and family home evening

-Loreto y Constanza – Baptismal interview.

Hugs for all,

Elder Tonkinson

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