Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year 2010

January 2, 2010 (the start of a new decade)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! Wow, I still can’t believe it’s 2010 already! Can you believe that this year I’ll already be coming home from the mission? It’s all passing by way too fast. But, I’m enjoying every minute and learning a ton! This mission has been and is the greatest experience of my life. I am excited for the upcoming transfer, though I have no idea what’s going to happen. I guess we’ll see in a couple weeks!

How is everything going in Albuquerqueville 2010??? Here in Antofagasta, for the New Year, we had a great and spiritual baptismal service for our investigator Javiera Jamet. On Sunday, after her confirmation, we had a Family Home Evening with all the family, and the spirit was really strong. Leah, one of Javiera’s cousins, has also decided to be baptized in 2 weeks, and the family is just blossoming. It is amazing to see the fruits of the gospel in families like the Jamets!

For New Year’s Eve, we went to the Mission home and again ate a huge Turkey dinner. It was great, and afterwards we enjoyed watching fireworks from our apartment’s balcony. Then, for New Year’s Day, we went to the mission home again and had an awesome lunch: steak, lamb, chorrizos, and more meat, all cooked on the grill! I really love President Urra and Hermana Urra; they are great examples and are such wonderful people. During our dinner on New Year’s eve, they served us wasabi, and you know what happens with missionaries and wasabi! We had a wasabi contest, and it was really funny. We got it on camera too. I’m not sure who won, but President’s son Marcelino left running to the bathroom after about 10 seconds with wasabi in his mouth. He said that he laughed while it was in his mouth, and it started to go up into his nose… Poor guy. :) Anyways, that was pretty funny for a New Year’s Eve game.

On Friday, for the New Year, we also went to the beach again, like last week. This time, we had another great day as Elder Galli, Elder Mortensen and I got a little lost in some caves down by the shore. It was an awesome little adventure. Then, we again played volleyball, and Elder Galli sent out a boat with a pamphlet of the Restoration out to sea. It was great fun.

Anyways, I’ve got to get going already! I love you all so much and hope that all is well! Let me know how everyone is and what some of your New Year’s goals are. :)

Have a wonderful 2010, and let’s make it the best year of our lives!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Chistmas 2009

December 26, 2009 (The Day After Christmas)

Since we got some good talking in yesterday, I’ve decided to send you a ton of pictures today and just let you know what’s going on here in Antofagasta. Just last Saturday, we had an awesome baptismal service. As a mission, we had a goal to have 4 baptisms for every companionship within the last three months of the year (October-December). In Antofagasta Centro, we reached the goal last Saturday and had our 8th baptism (there are 2 companionships working in Antofagasta Centro). I had the wonderful chance to baptize one of our converts, Paola Vega, who is from Iquique. She has developed a really powerful testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I am very grateful for the privilege I had to help her find this joy in her life. Today, in just 2 short hours, we’re also going to have a baptismal service for Javiera Jamet, an awesome and smart 11-year-old investigator who we have taught for a few months now. The field really is white, ready to harvest. I love being a missionary and having such awesome experiences!

On Monday, I got a call from our mission president with a special assignment for the morning – to drive some of the sister missionaries to their Christmas activity at “La Playa Escondida” (The Hidden) near Antofagasta. I went along with Elder Madrigal, Marcelino (the President’s son) and the mission president’s wife (Hermana Urra). When we got to the beach, I miscalculated the density of the sand along the shore, and sure enough, the little Ford Ranger I was driving got stuck in the sand! So, while the sister had their Christmas activity, we also had a fun activity digging the truck out of the sand! At the end, we finally got the truck out. We ended up tying rope to the hitch of the truck and hooking it up to the President’s Explorer. When this didn’t work, we found out we just needed a little more lift in the back, so my companion drove as I lifted up the back of the truck with all my might. It was lots of fun. :)

On Christmas Eve, for the “Noche Buena,” we had an awesome Turkey dinner and ate until we could hardly move. Then we opened up gifts from our Secret Santa. Elder Romero was my Secret Santa, and he gave me a great little leather wallet and pocket notebook with my name burned into it, along with pictures from Antofagasta. It was great! Later that night, back in our own apartment, we all opened up the gifts we received from our house and from members. It went really great! Thank you so much for the package that you sent, the sweet backpack and awesome shoes, and all the treats and socks and love! It really was everything I could ever need as a missionary – thank you!

On Christmas day, we went out teaching, caroling, and visiting with members and investigators at our Ward Christmas Party. That also went awesome, though we were again given a ton of food. It seems like we have enough goodies now to last until the end of next year! We are really blessed in the gospel and as missionaries here in Chile.

Today, we had a fun activity at the beach as the office staff. We went and played with water guns, volleyball, soccer, and all that jazz. Please forgive me for the picture that’s a little scandalous, the one of me almost diving into the water at the beach. I was really just washing all the sand off my face after playing volleyball... :)

Well, I have had an amazing week. I’m now off to teach and preach again! Thank you for always being so awesome; we really do have the greatest family that I could ever ask for. We have been blessed exceedingly by a loving Heavenly Father. Let’s all live in Thanksgiving for what we have been given, remembering always the pure and simple truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I know that we’ll be able to live together forever in love and happiness. This is the greatest blessing we could ever ask for!

Christmas News Letter from Sam

Beloved Friends and Family,

I still can’t believe we’re coming to the close of another incredible year. It has been one of the greatest years of my life, and even though I miss being with all of you, I know I am where I am meant to be.

At the start of this year, I was still with my trainer here in the Mission Chile Antofagasta, Elder Cañellas.

We worked hard and had much success, even though I still didn’t have much control of the Spanish language. We worked in a ward called Simón Bolívar in the beautiful coastal city of Arica: La ciudad de eterna primavera (The City of Eternal Spring). I felt God’s hand in my life every day as I struggled to learn a foreign language, as I became accustomed to a new culture and felt the love of the Chilean people. It was a time of miracles and great joy for me. The greatest miracle that I witnessed wasn’t the gift of learning a new language, as I thought it would be before leaving to serve here in Chile. It was the simple gift of love that came as I lost myself in the service of these wonderful people. I was also blessed to serve with two extraordinary missionaries: Elder Cañellas (from Asunción, Paraguay) and Elder Knackstedt (from Seattle, WA).

After talking with my family on Mother’s day, I had been in Arica for 6 months. I received the dreaded phone call informing me that I was to be transferred to the city of Copiapó, an 18-hour bus ride from one side of the mission to the other. It was there that I met my new companion and great friend, Elder Rivas (from San Salvador, El Salvador). We worked hard in our little ward, Los Pimientos, and saw many miracles as we grew together spiritually and physically: Spiritually as we learned to follow the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, and physically as the loving members gave us mountains of food and as we came to adore Chilean sweets (including alfajores and manjar... Mmmmm).

However, after just one transfer (1.5 months) in Copiapó, I found out once again that I was to be transferred. But I know there was a purpose in my short time in Copiapó. Before I left, one loving member of my ward told me in the sincerity of her heart that she felt I was called for that short time to Copiapó just to help her and her family in a time of crisis. I know that I was meant to go to the beautiful city of Copiapó and that there really were many people waiting and ready to hear the message of the gospel from me. What a great blessing it is to be an instrument in the hands of God!


When the transfer in Copiapó ended, I received an unexpected phone call from the mission president. He extended to me my first assignment in the mission – to be the financial secretary. For me, the mission was about to change dramatically. I made the 8-hour bus ride up to Antofagasta from Copiapó and began to learn my role as financial secretary. In the mission office, I was blessed to work with some of the greatest missionaries that I know. The greatest blessing was to be close to our mission president, Presidente Urra, and to feel of his wisdom and genuine love for all of us.


As I worked in the mission office with Elder Hansen (my financial secretary trainer from Las Vegas, NV), Elder Brandau (secretary from Talagante, Chile), Elder and Sister Steed (Commissary and Historian from UT), Elder Shirley (AP from CA), Elder Galli (AP from Argentina), Elder Romero (AP from Chile), and later, to my great surprise and joy, Elder Rivas (Commissary and Historian), I learned more than I have ever learned in such a short period of time. I have not only learned economy, finances, and accounting (all in Spanish!), I also learned about families, patience, service, and love. I have enjoyed every moment of my service as the financial secretary, even with the many difficulties we have had. We have also worked hard in our proselyting sector, Antofagasta Centro, and have had much success in bringing souls unto Christ. It is a great blessing and privilege to be a missionary for the only true and living God and His son, Jesus Christ. I love the work here in Chile!

I have recently begun to train a new financial secretary after 6 months of service here in Antofagasta. My new companion, and the new financial secretary, is Elder Mortensen (from Salt Lake City, UT), an amazing missionary who was in my group in the MTC! We are working hard and having much success, as well as a great time together. I know this is God’s work, and I know that He loves His children. I have come to love the people in every sector that I have been, and knowing that I will shortly be leaving Antofagasta Centro hurts me, but I know the Lord is preparing people and opportunities for me in other places here in the mission. I don’t know where I’ll be after this transfer has ended, nor do I know what I’ll be doing. But I do know that I’ll be in the service of my God, and that is exactly where I want to be.

I love this Christmas Season here in the hot Atacama Desert – the same spirit of love and rejoicing is in the air. Though my only wish is that I could be with all of you this Holiday Season, I know I am where I am needed. I send you all my love and a Merry Christmas to all! Thank you for all your support, your love, and all that you do for me. Each of you has had a great impact in my life.

With all my love this Holiday Season,

Elder Samuel D. Hobbs