Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Trip to Lebu

On Tuesday the 22nd of July, Lothaire felt that we should take a trip down the coast to Lebu - one of our areas that we had not yet visited.  I was a little reluctant since we had just been on the road for most of the last two weeks, but he felt strongly about it and I agreed - trying to be a good companion:).  Turned out to be an inspired trip, in my opinion.  The little town above is called Curanilahue (try saying THAT 5 times fast!).  Crammed full of houses, but so picturesque!  This was our first stop.

This is a bus stop, or a "parada".  They come in every shape and size and are in the most random places!!  You can see the ocean in the background.

Not quite like the beaches in California or Hawaii, but a beach nevertheless!

Our first stop was at the "casa" (apartment/home) of four great Elders.  Elder C and Elder G are sitting in front of the map of their sector, studying their scriptures and planning out their day.  Funny story:  while trying to find our way in to their apartment complex, Lothaire turned left in the wrong spot, apparently.  There were lots of honks and a few heads shaking at us and next thing we knew, a "carabinero" (police officer) pulled into the parking lot behind us.  Lothaire was all smiles and apologized for not knowing the streets and explained that we were strangers to the town.  Apology accepted, and no ticket - this time:).  Quite the entrance!  See the box that says Estufa Infrarroja?  That is what most of the missionaries have in their casas to keep them warm.  Little gas stoves.  Elder G, on the right, is from northwest Brazil.  So his first language is Portuguese and he is learning Spanish AND English.  18 years old - first time away from home - and happy to be here serving the Lord.  These missionaries inspire us!  And speaking of inspiration - our visit.  Elder C, on the left, is from the northern part of Chile.  He has some medical issues that are very concerning to him and he was so grateful to have Pres./Dr. Bluth there in person to calm his concerns.  He gave him a big "abrazo" (hug), and I could see the relief flood over him.  I was so happy that we had come!

Next stop, the little town of Los Alamos.  Four Hermanas (sister missionaries) live in this home and have their very own guard dog:).  There are dogs EVERYWHERE in Chile, and this one has taken a fancy to these Hermanas.  They don't feed him or pet him (flea risk right there), but he still watches over them.  Good boy!  

Here are Hermana T, from Utah, and Hermana L, from Virginia on the inside of the casa. There is one more bed to the left, so all four Hermanas sleep in this room (their front room) with a little wood burning stove to keep them warm.  They were both coughing and a little bit sick, but happy and hard-working.  Their apartment was so well kept!  Another inspired visit:  they had run out of wood for their stove, and when they went to the bank (not close to them!) to get cash for more wood, the bank was closed. We were so grateful to be there to extend a little loan so that they wouldn't suffer from the cold!

We drove on to Lebu - a bigger city by a river and the ocean.  On our way, we came upon the remnants of burning roadblocks that had been set by the indigenous Mapuche tribe, who are trying to regain their land.  The traffic had been blocked for hours - we lucked out and got through!  And here in Lebu we found Hermana F, from Utah and Hermana R, from Columbia.  They have a great kitchen!  So much bigger than most.  No stove, but a fridge, microwave (behind them), and a washing machine - unheard of!  Cute little casa inside, and, again, very well kept.  Another set of incredible missionaries!

Outside of the casa - the owner of the property also owns a funeral home and parks his hearse in the carport next to them.  A little morbid, but they are okay with it.  Inspired visit:  they had been hoping for someone to give them a blessing to deal with some issues with the people they were working with. They were so grateful that Pres. Bluth arrived and could do that! 

Beautiful "campo"(countryside) as we head for the town of Canete!

Foreground - a little memorial for what must have been a fatal accident.  These are frequently found along the highways.  Background - the most modern and unusual hospital I have seen in Chile!  And in the middle of nowhere!!

Two of the town dogs in Canete.  Guarding the bank!

As we waited in the Plaza in Canete for the missionaries, the young man on Lothaire's left, came running up after us.  He introduced himself as Matais, and said that he had been in Temuco at the huge Youth Conference three days before - where Lothaire and I had both spoken (imagine my very sincere but very broken Spanish).  He had become an inactive member of the church, but decided to attend the Conference anyway.  He said that he had been touched by our remarks and was going to return to activity and work and save to serve a mission.  He was amazed and delighted to see us appear in his little home town!  Inspired visit - I will never question my companion when he feels prompted!

Here is Matais in his candy shop!

And here are our four Elders in their neat and tidy apartment in Canete - from the left:  Elder F from Hawaii (hang loose!), Elder M from Ecuador, Pres. Bluth!, Elder P from El Paso, and Elder N from Utah.  Fantastic Elders!!

Elder N showing off their neat little kitchen and their stovetop that doesn't work:).  Good thing that kind-hearted members of the church feed most of these missionaries their "almuerzo" (lunch) each day!

This is the back of the pretty little chapel in Canete.  Here is where I had my FIRST DRIVING EXPERIENCE in Chile!  Two of the elders were in the car with us as we approached the Chapel.  Lothaire needed to go in and do some interviews, and I needed to find a little birthday cake somewhere for one of the Hermanas whose birthday was that very day. Can't have a birthday without a cake, right?!  SO - we dropped Lothaire off in the front of the chapel and the Elders directed me to a nearby Pasteleria (bakery).  I think that they were more nervous about me driving than I was!  Remember, they are 18 and 19, and haven't driven very much themselves! Elder P nervously asked, "Hermana Bluth, did you drive very much back in the states"? I assured him that I had pulled a four horse trailer in my day and had driven many a Suburban full of noisy children.  He seemed to relax.  We got the cake, then returned to the Chapel.  So this is how parking works at these little Chapels.  They are always completely fenced and gated to prevent vandalism.  Someone opens the gate and you drive down the narrowest passageway you can imagine that an SUV can fit through.  Then you park on the back basketball/soccer/volleyball/tennis court, which serves as the activity area for the members.  And THIS driveway was the smallest I had seen so far! The boys were sweating and were quite sure I wouldn't make it unscathed, but I surprised us all.  Especially Lothaire, when he tried getting back OUT of that narrow passageway! He has a whole new respect for me now:).

Baby it's COLD outside!  Remember - it is Winter here in Chile!!

We went on from here to our last stop for the day before heading home.  And that was to go back to Los Alamos, where Lothaire had many faithful members waiting to be interviewed for Temple Recommends.  I had taken my knitting with me (note the pink bag), thinking I would have nothing to do.  But I am a bit of a spectacle here in Chile - tall, blonde, English speaking.  So whenever I am in the midst of a crowd, there is a great deal of curiosity around me!  I SO wish I had a good handle on the language so that I could communicate better!  The Chilenos speak a little different form of Spanish!  They speak faster than should be humanly possible, and they leave off a lot of the endings of the words.  And then they look at me, waiting for a response:).  And always want photos.  So I practiced my social Spanish until my head hurt, instead of knitting.  I know I have mentioned this before, but the people are so warm and friendly here.  At first meeting they treat you like a long lost friend, with a kiss on the cheek and a big hug.  We Americans could do better in this area!

Our last experience for the evening (by now it was about 7:30 PM and very dark), was to go to a teaching appointment with two of our Hermanas there.  They were teaching a sweet little 81 year old lady by the name of Erva.  She was a delight!  She was very Evangelical and considered herself a bit of a prophetess and a healer.  But she had read the Book of Mormon and had felt the truth of it burn within her.  The Hermanas were teaching her about tithes and offerings tonight - they were SUCH good teachers, and so patient with her interruptions!  They taught with love and sincere caring, and we could see that she could feel that.  She enjoyed asking questions of Lothaire, and was so pleased that we had come all the way from Concepcion to teach her!  Another inspired part of our trip to Lebu.

After the lesson, she proudly gave us a tour of her little casa, and presented us with some freshly baked little sopaipillas, and some pan amasado (baked bread).  We left wondering what would become of her, and found out on Monday that she had gotten baptized on Sunday!

Just let me say that I LOVED our inspired trip to Lebu today!


  1. You have me bawling like a baby. What wonderful experiences you are having! I hope we can do the same someday. I love the people of South America. Oh, and when you're feeling cold and miserable, just remember how hot and miserable we are here : ) . Miss you guys!! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Wish I could blow some cool, rainy weather your way!! And you will be AMAZING missionaries when your day comes!!

  2. THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES! How wonderful to see the Lord's hand in all these lives!!! Yeah for missions and mission presidents (and their awesome wives)!

  3. I'm am the mom of Elder N and I am loving your pictures! Thank you somuch for this wonderful blog. It is like a gift for all us missionary mommas:). And thank you for your wonderful service in taking care of our sons and daughters. I can tell they ( and we ) are so blessed to have you there. I know what a sacrifice you are making. Leaving those sweet grandchildren couldn't have been easy. You and your family will be blessed for all you are doing!

  4. Dear Hermana Noel, It is wonderful to hear from you! I remember how much I longed to hear about my boys and their missions when they were serving, so if this blog helps at all, then I am happy to do it! We were with your son yesterday at the Mission Conference. He looked great and seems to be happy and doing well. He has a fantastic new companion, and new responsibilities to fulfill as a District Leader. You can be a proud momma! Love, Hermana Bluth