Thursday, May 15, 2014


Hi, All!

Trent was able to get on at about 5:00 today and we talked to him for about an hour and 45 minutes with Travis on group Skype.  Trent's pic was dark at first and he had to switch from the ipad to the computer and turn on another light for us to see him better.  His pic was still a bit blurry, but we could tell it was him!  He and his companion were Skyping from a member family's home.  The Munoz family is the family with whom he celebrated his 19th birthday.

First off, he did get his birthday cards from MI, IN, and FL, but the one from CA (Travis) hasn't made it.  Travis said he sent 4 candles and a birthday button in his, so we are thinking it may have been confiscated!!  Thank you to those that sent cards to him or birthday checks to us.  He knows of your generosity and additions to his savings account and thanks everyone for your thoughtfulness in remembering him.  The missionaries are kept super busy, so he only has about 90 minutes on Mondays (his weekly preparation day) to read e-mails and respond.  He would love to respond to every e-mail, but apologizing for not having the time.

I wrote down a dozen or so questions for him to answer and will share his responses and comments here.

1 -  He did not feel the tremor in Mexico City until they were directed outside and he saw the light posts swaying.  Trent said northern Chile had another during-the-night quake a few days after he arrived.  Some of the locals said they felt it, but Trent and his companions slept soundly and only heard about it later!  Good thing Chile has a 2500-mile coastline and he's better than halfway down it, huh?

2 - His first assigned area is in Concepcion, not more than 20 minutes from downtown (el Centro).  Two sets of missionaries share the apartment, and he has been told that this is the BEST apartment he'll see during his mission, so he's going to enjoy it while he can!  Although missionary transfers occur at 6-week intervals, the first assignment usually lasts 5-6 months because they have 12 more weeks of training and cultural adaptation in country.  Their apartment complex has 4 floors and they are on the top one.  They go through a locked gate and a locked door to enter the building so feel pretty secure and not likely to be burglarized.  Their joke is 1st floor - outer darkness, 2nd floor - telestial kingdom, 3rd floor - terrestrial kingdom, and 4th floor - celestial kingdom.  LOL.  They can get a peek of the Pacific Ocean from their kitchen balcony.  Being the newbie in the apartment, he's gotten the top bunk.  The saving grace in that is no flea bites for him!  Fleas seem to be a chronic problem in the kiddos' apartments down there . . . Don't know why that goes on year after year.

3 - Daily schedule changed to the winter schedule on his birthday.  Summer schedule was 7:30 AM - 11:30 PM and he is now 7:00 AM - 11:00 PM.  It is shower, breakfast; personal study from 8:30 - 9:30, companion study 9:30 - 10:00, and then they are walking, walking the rest of the day.  A member family will feed them for lunch and they arrange their own evening snack or light meal.  Their church allowance is 100,000 pesos a month (Trent guesstimates about $200 US).

4 - They drop off their laundry at a member's home on Mondays and each elder pays her 4,000 pesos/month for laundry soap.  Trent said she doesn't keep their laundry separate so he's already missing two pairs of socks and some of his temple garments in 2-1/2 weeks.  The boy will be sockless in about 3 months at that rate!   Any way, he put his Sharpie back to work enlarging his initials.

5 - Lots of rain and pretty chilly for late Fall.  He's making good use of his winter jacket with hood and his Gortex rain gear.  His waterproof Rockport boots have become his go-to footwear. No central heat in the apartments, just small space heaters and three wool blankets per missionary.  I would think it's COLD getting showered in the morn, but Trent said he's fine and makes it work.

6 - Yes, there are dogs everywhere!  Trent said the ones wandering the streets are pretty easy going, but the dogs in people's yards are another matter.  They must be a cheap security system  and are pretty snarly.  His companion got tagged the other day leaving someone's home, but it didn't break his skin or cause bleeding.  They have to report any bites to their medical nurse of sorts as that is a big thing and they want to ascertain that the dog is up-to-date on its shots, etc.
He takes the Dog Dazer I bought him most days, but not always.  Some dogs respond appropriately and others don't , so . . . It's still a crap shoot!

7 - All in all, Trent's very upbeat and excited to be serving The Lord.  They have a store called Leader (like with the Walmart logo) and it seems to have most everything.  He hasn't had much time to compare prices yet, but will get his suit back from the cleaners there tomorrow.  Hope-fully it still fits since the gray suit is his favorite.

8 - Each missionary has to have 10 contacts per day.  Trent said if they run short, they jump on a bus, ask the bus driver if they can share a quick message, pass out pass-along cards, and then get off at the next stop.  Sometimes, it 's a 20-minute walk back to where they started.  Sometimes, they pay the bus fare and at other times, the driver will let them board for free.


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