Monday, July 27, 2015

The Haunting of 1220 Club Hippico

Well I don't think I ever believed in ghosts, or super natural stuff, I honestly thought it was all movie magic and fairy tale lies. I have never seen anything nor had any reason to believe that they exist, but there is something in our house and I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared. I didn't start asking questions until about week 2. There was something different about our house, though I just couldn't put my finger on it. You would walk in and kind of just feel something, something dark and just cold. I tried my best to ignore it, and mostly just to not think about it, but I cannot deny that 1220 Club Hippico is haunted. That's only the beginning until I found out more of the story. This is a true story, it's up to you to believe it, but having lived in that house, I know it's true. 

Now our house is old, really old. It's not the greatest work of construction either, but hey it's four walls, and it's warm enough. It just so happened that about 20 years ago, the grandfather of our landlord lived in the house. He lived alone for many years until he died in the house. I didn't understand the exact details of the story, but he was elderly and whatever sickness he had, ended up being too much for his body to handle. I'm not in the least but afraid of staying in a house in which someone died, but he died...and didn't really leave. The landlord's daughter lives next door in a smaller house. They were going to move in, but they couldn't stand to live in the house that their grandfather died in. 

Elder Salgado's last companion and him had a lot of problems with this ghost thing. Elder Salgado said for his first 6 weeks he couldn't sleep in the house. There would be pounding on the wall, or the paintings would shake as they said their prayers at night. Doors would open and close on their own, and the house, thought it had heating, never got warm. They took a kind of childish step to get over their nerves, and they covered the house with pictures of Jesus and biblical stories. The attempt didn't last long, because the "disturbances" kept coming. 

After being too terrified to sleep and caught up by the consequences of insomnia, Elder Salgado and his old companion left in the middle of the night to sleep in the house of the district leader. They ran from the house that night because they were so terrified. They decided to confront someone because the situation was clearly not getting better. The stake president was called to come and give the house a blessing. That was about a week before I got here. So far it has been pretty good. I have trouble sleeping sometimes because there's a lot of wind blasting against the house, but I swear I see shadows running across the room. It would be something normal if there was a window in our room, but there's not. 
But there's one thing I can't's back. 

Love to you all,
Elder Haddad

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ohh Blessed Pday

On the mission you live Monday to Monday. It's like I blink and it's already Monday, but wow a break is well needed. The title of this email comes from the chant my companion says every Monday morning, right before we go out for the day. 

This week was great, I only fell twice. It actually took us about 2 hours to walk 2 miles or so because of how icy the ground was. We have been getting this awesome snow and rain combination that makes it feel like you're walking around a ice rink with someone chasing you with a leaf blower. 

Dare I say it but we are going to have a baptism here. We have a golden family here in Estrecho. They have come to church twice already and are preparing to get baptized on the 1st of August. This is a miracle, but this miracle only came through the result of hard work and obedience. This sector has never seen success like it has in the last three weeks. We have gotten more new investigators in the last weeks than this sector has seen in the past year. We have taught more lessons in the last weeks than in the last 6 months. I know numbers don't indicate success, it's dependent on your desire to find people and bring them to the gospel. This place broke me down, just door knock after door knock after rejection after rejection. I didn't let myself make any excuses that this sector is dead, it's alive and thriving. The work only becomes involving if you put you're willing to put your whole heart into it. We are working as hard as we can with the members, and it has paid off. When people ask me how my mission was, I will probably respond, I was just always cold. But here, that's what success feels like haha.

Short update this week, have a great week everyone. 

Elder Haddad

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Winter I tried to escape

Well, we are right in the middle of winter down here in Punta Arenas. It's actually kind of pretty, but considering everything is covered in a layer of ice, it makes it extremely difficult to walk. I only fell twice this week though...I've also tried walking like a penguin, it doesn't actually work. But anyway, this week we had a lot of snow come down, more than there has been in the last 20 years or so. At first, it was actually kind of fun playing in the snow, but when you spent 8 hours a day contacting outside, it's not the greatest thing anymore. 
I've attached a photo of the snow. My companion told me to smile, but I said I wanted to make it more realistic. I never expected my mission to be like this. It's unbelievable cool that there are all these different environments, I honestly feel like I'm in a new mission. 

The work is moving slowly here in Estrecho, but it's coming along. We have had more success in the last week than this sector has seen in the last couple years. We haven't had a baptism in a couple years, and Elder Salgado and I are blessed enough to have a couple families with a baptismal date. We are really excited and working as hard as we can to help them progress. Attached, is a photo of my companion. He is hilarious, never a dull moment! He pretty much only talks in English, which I also find hilarious, it has been the first English prayers I have heard in quite some time. But hey, talk to the Lord in the language you are comfortable with. Anyway, Elder Salgado is from Texas, his biggest fear on the mission is losing too much weight too fast. He claims he doesn't want to have to buy new pants every week hahah, so we have to be careful. He's a big guy, no secret there, biggest missionary in our mission. This transfer, we have a goal to get into shape, we have started a workout program using T25, which should be interesting haha. Also this week I had the opportunity to speak in church.

I have found a lot of myths about Punta Arenas...I heard there were ropes on the sidewalk, and the only way you could walk was with these ropes, because its too windy. That's not actually true. There aren't penguins either, which is sad. I thought they would be like running in the streets like dogs or something. People also told us that there's only sunlight there for a couple hours a day, because you're just so down south...that's not true either. The final thing I heard was that there are no fruits or vegetables. Although they're expensive, we have all the fruits and vegetables you could dream of. We actually have a Super Walmart here! It's such a blessing to be able to go to the store and buy peanut butter. As a missionary, you hear a lot of things that aren't necessarily true hahah. 

Have a great week everyone. 

With love,
Elder Haddad

 Elder Salgado

Monday, July 6, 2015

First Week in the End of the World

Well I arrived safely here in Punta Arenas only to discover that it's pretty much a mini United States! The last week has been absolutely crazy, we spent the night in Puerto Varas Monday and Tuesday, packed up everything in Frutillar, and left for Puerto Montt in the morning on Wednesday. I don't think I'll ever forget that experience. It was 7:00 am, pouring rain, and since the 4 of us who were leaving had too much luggage to take a bus, we had a member help us out. The son of one of the members, Yerson, who is 18, picked us up in the van that they use for their fruit stand. Though I was still half asleep I just remember sitting in the back of a van, with Elder Peterson, with all this seat belts or anything, and just having all these vegetables and old fruit fly in my face as we ascended and climbed the bumpy city of Puerto Montt. We were also really late, so we may or may not of been speeding...But anyway, the flight went great, and after a short time being stranded in an empty airport, somebody finally came to our rescue. 

Though we had a couple hiccups on the way, I know you are all probably dying to know about Punta Arenas. I'm not going to lie, it's bizarre but this place feels like a different mission, it even feels like a different country. That's how a lot of the missionaries describe it, because everything is different. It's kind of luxurious, and parts of it are very rich. My sector where I'm serving has a great view of the Straight of Magellan, and Porvenir...yea...the Straight of Magellan. It's pretty interesting here, and actually this past week the weather hasn't been so bad. It was bitter cold the first day, then it rained, and now it's snowing. 

Here's a list of the differences here:
  • Everything runs off gas here, so heating our house is almost like heating a house in the US.  We have unlimited gas in our house, which is such a blessing. We have a similar estufa like we did in Frutillar, but there is just a gas pipe in it. Sadly, we can't leave the gas on at night - due to safety hazards, so it gets really really really cold at night. 
  • Some of the houses here heat their house with their stove, just imagine lighting all 4 burners of your stove and just letting it go for hours and hours, definitely something different. 
  • Almost all houses here have an electric doorbell and loudspeaker.
  • There are so many classic cars laying around on the streets and in people's backyards. Nice cars too, which makes sense because of the port city
  • The downtown here looks just like San Francisco, I often wonder if I'm even in Chile.
  • We pretty much just wear sweat pants and rain coats to proselyte, its really nice. 
  • Our ward is really different too, last week we had an attendance of 13. The members here, though there are very few, are strong and devoted. It's actually really amazing having such strong members in our ward, they want to help us as much as possible. 
This week Chile won the Copa America, and we actually got to watch it. After the game ended, the streets erupted. I have never seen so much chaos before! Everyone stormed downtown and ran outside screaming in the rain. These people have pride in their country, and soccer. I wouldn't be surprised if they made July 4th a holiday in Chile too, because it's the day they won the Copa America. 

I honestly don't have a lot of pictures, because it's too cold to take my camera out. More will come :) 
With love,
Elder Haddad

This is downtown Punta Arenas

Snowy day today with Elder Salgado my new companion. I know...not a great photo of him, but it's all I got at this moment. He's from Texas, has 14 months in the mission, has been in Punta Arenas for 6 months, and is an amazing missionary. 
The great zone of Puerto Varas, which has now been taken away. It's arranged by time left in the mission, by the way