Monday, September 24, 2012


¡Hola familia!
Wow, has it really been over three months since I left? I have a hard time believing that. I love being updated with life at home, although I feel like I'm missing out on a lot. I guess that's the same for you when you think about me though! 
We met this week with the area president, Elder Arnold, and it was really good. He's really big on obedience and gave me some great ideas to improve my missionary work. Dad, I haven't used the Wilford Card yet, I need to try it!  Mostly everyone I run into here in the ghetto is disillusioned about religion and doesn't give it a second thought. It's tough - and that's an understatement. Everyone either lives in apartment complexes where missionaries aren't allowed or in houses surrounded by gates, which makes a door approach super hard. The only possible way to conduct successful missionary work is through the members. Thankfully, there are great members in this sector, but it's still hard even for them to find anyone, and Elder Smith and I know because we've talked to them and they try and try. On the bright side, I think Elder Smith and I are invigorating the members even more. We use ward activities as a tool to bring nonmembers to church.
Speaking of ward activities, our investigator Ignacio is doing so well! He actually reads what we leave him to read and more! He's super analytical though and said he's studying the Old Testament with the Book of Mormon to check all the facts like Nephi's reference to Jeremiah and such. He loves the ward though, has been to church twice and to two ward activities. He actually lives outside our sector so we're trying to hand him off to the missionaries in his sector by introducing him to them and sending him to institude where he can meet people in his actual ward.
We accidentally invited someone with schizophrenia to a ward activity on Friday haha. Elder Smith and I just finished some service and were walking back to the pension to change before the activity and this one man came up and started talking to us. He was with a friend of his who is a less active member and they asked us when the ward plays volleyball (since we played last Monday). We told them we didn't know but that there was a ward activity in 20 minutes. They looked at each other and said "Vamos," [let's go] which caught me by surprise. After we got to the church and sat down, the bishop pulled Elder Smith and I aside and told us that they're both schizophrenic... We ended up having to babysit them basically that night to make sure nothing bad happened. Then, the one that was the worst of the two showed up to church yesterday! Although I know you should never turn someone away from church, Elder Smith and I might need to figure something out if he keeps coming. He's nice, but he could possibly become dangerous really quickly and he's already drawn too much attention to himself. So, those are my "best" and "worst" investigators for the week haha.
Spanish is going well, I'm just trying my best. I'm always getting better even though I don't always feel like it. It's kind of like working out. Sometimes I get so exposed to Spanish and I try so hard to learn it that my brain gets tired and I feel like I'm doing worse. But later after some time and rest, I find that I've learned a lot. Hopefully by Christmas I'll be good to go!
I gotta go.
Con muchisimo amor,
Elder Hill

Wednesday, September 19, 2012



Life is good here! Elder Smith and I are neck deep in the Work. Sometimes it feels like we're neck deep in water and other times in molasses haha, but we're doing what we can to make the Work move forward. I think we're starting to spark the whole ward into missionary mode. :) Yesterday, none of our actual investigators came, even when we went by their homes the night before and then in the morning before church. BUT, the members brought three investigators that we met for the first time yesterday! One of them looks like he has a ton of potential; he seems very interested in the Church and we have an appointment set up with him on Thursday. We are very excited. :) His name is Ignacio so keep him in your prayers! Our investigator Raúl might not be able to make it to baptism sadly. We talked to his cousin who came for the holiday, who was actually a bishop, and he told us that Raúl is really good guy. I think our less-active members are starting to come back to church more! Yay!
Elder Hill with his ward


Our little volleyball champ ;)

On Tuesday, Santiago went crazy. On 11 de Septiembre here, people form mobs and run around Santiago. Most people do it just to do it, but I think it started as a way to celebrate their freedom that was taken when Pinochet (Chile's former dictator) took over a couple decades ago. We had to return to the pension early because there were gun shots heard for hours and some people threw chains on the electrical lines to take out the power. It's so widespread that the cops don't do anything about it really. Elder Smith and I just bought some "pan" and returned to the pension and had a nice "once" (chilean meal after dinner) while listening to Elder Holland and the gunshots haha. I went on divisions Thursday and had a great time with Elder Krewson. There was a demonstration in his sector so while we were walking to an appointment, we walked through a cloud of tear gas! When we realilzed what was happening, we got really excited and I took of video of us, since it was a new experience for both of us. ;) I saw how being a friend as a missionary makes up a HUGE component of being a missionary. He made everyone he visited laugh but was able to teach the Gospel in a serious way too. I hope to be like that.

The ward in our sector put on a huge party on Saturday for the holiday. People danced the "cueca" (national dance of Chile), we had "mote y huesillos" and empanadas (so good!), and there was a talent show. People in Chile can dance! Today, we played volleyball with some of the people in the ward. I'm really beginning to fellowship the members and investigators, even though I still can't speak super well. I talked with one of the misioneras on the phone today though and understood her perfectly. Like you said Mom, I can understand a lot better than I can speak haha. The language is a process. I hope the way I interact with others leaves something more powerful than my words.

I'm loving it here. I love the ward, the people, and even the drunks (one drunk kissed me on the cheek last night, which was interesting...haha). Tomorrow is the big 18 de Septiembre, which is Chile's independence day!

I love and miss you all!

¡Hasta la proxima semana!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Seth with Giovanni

In the streets of Chile!!
Hi everyone!

This week has been really good! Elder Smith and I were only able to meet with each one of our investigators once this week because of scheduling conflicts, which was a big bummer. On the bright side, we still visited with and saw a ton of people. One less active hermana in the ward actually came to church yesterday because we have been visiting her! That was a huge plus. :) I'm inviting everyone, including less active members of the Church, to come unto Christ. This week is Chile's independence day, so everything is a little crazy here (¡tiqui tiqui ti! - do you remember that, Dad?). We actually have to return to the pension [apartment] early tomorrow night because it gets super dangerous. But we have the Lord's protection. Something interesting the Elder Smith just told me is that the previous mission president spoke to his parents and told them that Santiago is an R-rated city that is full of temptations, but the the Lord shields his missionaries. I found that to be true because I don't notice anything of that sort haha.

Elder Smith and I are really trying to get the ward even more involved with missionary work. We're going out on a lot of divisions with the Priests and Elders and even have a schedule for the month now. I think the testimonies of the members will help us so much when we teach our investigators. The Priests have a tradition in this ward that after divisions, we go to this small restaurant called El Guatón and we get some completos [a Chilean hot dog usually served with a ton of avocado, a Chilean staple] and talk for a little bit. The Priests here are really great.

On Wednesday, we ate cena [dinner] at this one younger man's house and Giovanni came over too, it's always so good to spend time with people who are strong in the Church. Noche de Hogar [Family Home Evening] and zone activities with missionaries are really great for that reason too.

We have a new Mission Leader in this ward, and so far he's an all-star player in missionary work. I'm excited to work with him more. He also served us brownies and hot chocolate in our first meeting! So, I have no doubt he'll be amazing. ;)

On Saturday while we were out contacting, I saw this woman ahead of us on the sidewalk. I told Elder Smith that we have to talk to her and I said a quick prayer in my heart, asking Heavenly Father to let her be someone we can teach. She turned out to be super interested in the Church. She was especially interested in the resurrection, because she said her son was murdered as a child. It was a super emotional conversation. We're planning on meeting her this week.

Spanish is coming along fine. It's pretty apparent to me now that I can understand more than I can speak. I'm working on pronunciation, but it's hard to overcome my gringo-ness haha. There's an elder in our mission who everyone talks about because he's American but has a perfect Chileno accent. They say it's because he's very musical and has a good ear to notice small things in how people speak. I'm trying to listen and imitate people, but it's quite a process.

Oh, something else of note: I successfully gave myself a haircut today! And it looks pretty good!  [He didn't send a picture of it.]

That's all for now.  I love you all so much and I miss you! You are always in my prayers. :)

¡Que le vaya bien!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


His Pension (Apartment)

I can't believe it has been two weeks already! I'm working very hard and teaching as much as I can! I attached some more pictures of a family here, Elder Smith and I celebrating his birthday with dingdongs, and a little bit of my pension [apartment].

Elder Smith and I have been going on divisions [splits] con Giovannni, an RM. He is incredible and I have a lot of fun with him. I can understand Spanish much better than I could last week. I follow a lot of conversations as long as it's within my vocabulary range. After being around rapid-speaking Chileans, the native Spanish-speaking Elders are so easy to understand. Saturday night, we went out to teach with Giovanni but couldn't get in any houses. So, we went back to his home and I ended up sharing a spiritual thought with Giovanni's family, who aren't members. He bore his testimony on Sunday and expressed a lot of gratitude to me for that service. Even when some days are hard, teaching someone like Giovanni's family at the very end of the day makes the whole day worth it.

We're teaching Raúl, who we committed to baptism on the 30th of September! We're also trying to find people we've contacted and we're trying to contact more. It is so difficult to contact here! It's a big city so everyone keeps to themselves. I've made a goal to talk to at least three people about the Church everyday so I hope I will contact more with that goal in mind. We go to a family every Monday for Noche de Hogar (family home evening) and it is a lot of fun. Either Elder Smith and I or the misioneras [sister missionaries] give the lesson and then we eat and talk, which is a lot of fun! The family's daughter has friends who she went to visit in Potomac Mills! Small world huh?

I love it here and often think of the scripture where Jesus tells His apostles, "My peace I give unto you." I am learning how to have His peace in cualquier momento acá en [at anytime in] Chile, y I hope to help others have that peace also.

¡Les quiero! ¡Que estén bien!