Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Real Chilean Email 8-27-12

Greetings from across the world!

I bet you're all excited to hear from me. ;) Mondays are my Preparation day. Things are going so well here! It definitely is a different place here. Castellano [the Spanish dialect spoken in Chile] here is definitely different from RM Spanish, and that's an understatement haha. I can understand some of what Chilenos say, and I'm learning all their Chilean phrases and everything, which is fun. But yeah, it's hard! Elder Smith is thankfully super conversible in Spanish and helps me out a lot. He's trying so hard to be a good trainer and teach me by example. The ward I'm in is very good; everyone is kind and greeted me very warmly. I gave my testimony on Sunday without anything written and just went by how I felt. Everyone I meet with says my Spanish is very good and I can speak well. After a week, I can understand much better and recognize fairly basic questions such as how I like Chile, where I'm from, and almost anything Gospel related. I'm pretty ahead of a lot of missionaries who come here and can't speak or understand anything. Hopefully I'll become even better in the coming weeks, but I will remain patient of course.

My pension (yep it's called a pension still) [where he lives] is very modest, but it's still very good. Many people here live very humbly, and they're happy. Elder Smith and I visited and talked with a recent convert family, and they are incredible. They might live poorer than anyone else I've met here, but their testimonies are so powerful. I could actually have a really good conversation with them because they are Peruvian, and I've learned that Peruvians speak very clear Spanish--Chilenos talk faster haha. We spoke to them about the temple and the mother said she wants to send her daughters to BYU.

Elder Smith is from Centerville, Utah, and is hilarious, fun, but very focused and serious about the Work. He knows a ton about the Gospel and he says he has learned everything just from being on his mission for a year! His birthday is tomorrow so we're going to try to do something a little bit nicer than the ordinary.

There are two Misioneras in our ward, which doesn't happen too often here. Hermana Zuñiga is from Argentina and Hermana Valeriano is from Peru. They are both amazing and so kind to me. Neither of them speaks English besides what they've studied on their missions, and a lot of times I feel like I get my best practice from talking to them. I'm really grateful for them and how they make every situation bright and happy.

Elder Bahr (from Bismarck) is in my mission! I spent a few hours with his companion on an exchange and then we all met up at their pension and talked about people in North Dakota and such. What a coincidence huh?

I am super grateful that I brought a coat with me instead of buying one here because it was really cold for the first few days!

They have a Walmart here, but it's called Lider for some reason. It looks basically like any regular Walmart besides how things are in Chilean pesos and a lot is in Spanish, but there are many American commodities so I'm not suffering food-wise or anything like that haha. I really like the Chilean food actually. I eat a lot of rice and beans, salad, flan, fruit, and meat. The members feed me very well. I eat lunch in members' homes, but we don't have dinner here. Sometimes, we have once, which is basically tea time. They have a bebida [drink] here called Ecco, which is super good and is basically coffee but not coffee (it's like wheat coffee or something) and we're allowed to drink it. We can't drink maté here though.

The mountains here are striking and definitely beat Utah's mountains hands down.

That's all for now! I love you and miss you!!!!!!

Muchisimo amor,
Seth, with his MTC companions.

Like he said, he was one of the most spoiled missionaries there :)

Seth and one of his best friends, Elder Driggs!

This is what Chile looks like!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

He's in Chile 8-21-12

Dear family,

I'm in Santiago! Everything has been fine so far. On my second flight, my MTC companion and I sat on both sides of another non-member named Laura. She was from France but was traveling around. We had a really good conversation. She was atheist but was very kind and open to what we had to say - I think she was more impressed with us than we were to her openness. We also talked to this other woman before the plane took off who also came to Santiago. Her name was Clara and she was from Germany but her boyfriend lives in Santiago. She's going to live in my mission boundaries hopefully. She was atheist too but it was so interesting to see how many connections Laura and Clara have with the church. They both were fascinated and impressed with us I think. They both left the airport with pass-along cards and hopefully a new-found relationship with the church. I gave out more pass-along cards to others and my MTC companion gave away a Book of Mormon, so I think we had a very productive trip. I saw part of Santiago when I traveled from the airport to the temple/CCM and it's interesting how similar but different it is from the US. It's fun being immersed though so far. One of the first people I talked to off the plane was a worker who asked about my plaqueta and why we were called "Elders". We told her we were Mormons and the lightbulb clicked in her mind. Her accent was so suave that I hope to talk like that eventually. My trainers name is Elder Smith -he's obviously not a Chileno but I'm excited to work with him. He's very nice and is a hard worker. I think I'll do very well being his companion. My mission president is incredible as well. I'm happy to be here. I'll talk to you later! By the way, happy birthday Maddie!!! :)

Elder Hill

[To see the full picture you will have to click on it]

Monday, August 20, 2012


¡Hola! ¿Qué hay de nuevo? Well, this has been a big week, and an even bigger one is coming up! First of all, thank you Uncle Tyler, Aunt Amy, Kalista, Kara, and Teagan for your package! That will definitely hold me over on the 13-hour flight (and I love pretzel M&Ms so that made me really happy)! Thank you Mom and Dad for sending me those things I requested and the cookies! Like I've said before, I am a spoiled missionary. :)  On Friday I had In-Field Orientation to help me be ready for Santiago. It was really good! I'm feeling very prepared right now. 

Quick update on Spanish: I can understand any RM's Spanish and a lot of native speakers, the native speakers' accents sometimes throw me off though. I've been told that Chilean Spanish is the fastest Spanish out there so it'll be challenging for a little while. 

I leave the MTC 10:00 Monday morning and arrive in Santiago at 8:10 Tuesday morning. 

The MTC has been quite a trip. I have been pushed, stretched, and pulled. I've learned a different way of life. I'm sure the mission field will be even more of those things, but I am so grateful to have had experiences here. I feel prepared and I feel like a missionary. I love the Gospel, I know that Christ lives. I know the church of Jesus Christ was restored through the Lord's chosen prophet, Joseph Smith. I know the scriptures are true. I know that the priesthood is real and provides God's authority on the earth, and with it and the revealed knowledge of temples and eternal families, everyone can be saved and exalted in the kingdom of God. And I know that the Lord Himself has testified these truths to me. It's such a blessing and privilege to be one of His missionaries!

Elder Hill

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Hi everyone! This week has been really good! I'm still making more progress in Spanish and with teaching, but even with another week, I don't feel like I'll be prepared enough for Santiago haha.

My companions and I taught a man this past week named José, and it was an incredible learning experience. I've learned how the Gospel, when applied, can change lives.

I received my travel itinerary yesterday and I'm am so excited! I'm flying on the 20th with my two companions and a few other Elders I haven't met (I think they're in beginning language districts).

Mom, thank you for the cupcakes, they are so good! After I eat two or three, I let my zone eat the rest because they're so rich haha. I am definitely one of the most spoiled missionaries here. :)

I feel like there is so much to share about what is going on, but at the same time, nothing is going on except that I'm working hard to be un gran misionero. Zone Leader business is going well, everyone in our zone works hard, is super friendly, and has a powerful testimony of the Gospel.

Elder Driggs [Seth's college roommate] is here!!! I was hosting and saw his car drive past me. I ran down the sidewalk to make sure I was his host haha. He's doing really well right now. He is overwhelmed like every missionary during their first few days, plus, Korean is a lot harder than other languages and he doesn't understand his teachers at all. I went to see him last night and I'm going to try to see him during lunch time--basically as much as I can before I leave. His companion is good and seems really nice too. Elder Driggs looks and acts like a missionary! It was funny because one of the first things he said to me after he got out of the car was that I look "30 years older." That was kind of how I saw everyone here eight weeks ago too. It's amazing how time flies.

I love you my family. I'm continually updated with how things are going at home. Know that even though I haven't written everyone individually too much over the past two months, I think about you all and you're always in my prayers. Keep doing well K, M, and L. I love you so much! Hopefully my mission president in the field will give me more time than 30 minutes to Email and then we can all have great individual conversations. :)

¡Yo sé que el Evangelio es verdadero y que Cristo vive!

¡Hasta la proxima semana!

Elder Hill

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Espero que todas las cosas sean bien con ustedes!!! Que pasa? Everything is going great here. This week, my district and I really committed ourselves to speaking Spanish this whole week, and now I can say from experience that the gift of tongues is real. Even the native speaking districts are pretty impressed! I can understand my teachers nearly perfectly, but probably only because they don't have very strong accents haha. My teaching has improved tons! I can have pretty natural gospel discussions and create open dialogue between myself and investigators. But we'll see once I get to Chile, I'm sure I'm still in for a rude awakening haha. Last night, we were switching up our companionships and teaching ten minute lessons without any preparation. One time, one of my teachers was an investigator for my companion and another friend. He made up the funniest story and kept rambling on and on about it until he had taken up all but two minutes for the two to teach. It was a good time. My teacher said he has had investigators like that in South America, but I'm just praying and hoping that the Lord is preparing others who are truly ready to hear the Gospel. :) My teachers are terrific and I've grown to love them a lot.
I saw Elder Gingrich a couple days ago! He's doing well; I think he's enjoying being thrown into the deep end of the pool language-wise. ;)
I'm beginning to feel like I'm coming to the end of my time at the MTC. I received a notice that says I'm going to be a host for new missionaries this coming Wednesday, which is the job for the "MTC-matured" missionaries haha. I know I still have a couple weeks to go, but since I'm actually comfortable here now, they probably need to get me to Chile haha.
I've been playing "futbol" (it's not soccor in the MTC) a lot here. I'm hopefully getting better... A few days ago someone accidently head-butted me in the jaw so now I have a funny looking bruise on my lip. What's funny about that is one of my teachers was playing futbol earlier this week too and got a black eye, so we kind of match!
The Spirit is so strong here, I definitely know that this is the Lord's Church and I'm engaged in His work. I pray that my desire to serve will bless others' lives for eternity. Thank you for supporting me. :) I love you so much! (Les amo tanto!)
Elder Hill