Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 24, 2013

Hello kiddos!
We bought a few minutes of internet--yay!

We asked our neighbors about mail here--They don't have any (what?)  If they were to get something and it were to be delivered and they lived in town the mail carrier would simply toss it over their fence into their yard.   Dale-correct me if I miss understood any of that.  To pay their bills they just all go into town and pay their elec. bill.  We call a 'gas man' and they deliver big cylinders of gas that we take into the house and hook up to the water heater and our little Estuva (like a gas space heater).  We pay in cash about $34 for each of those and I think they last almost 2 weeks. So to mail us anything just send it to the mission office in Vina del Mar.  

We are adjusting to all the farm animals squawking and barking at night. The road on the other side of our house (the Hwy)is pretty busy at times & that has made it difficult for me to escape and find a place to walk. There is No Shoulder to the road and walking in weeds etc isn't very fun.

The stores have a very limited selection of food. I've been scouring it looking for a tiny container of Crisco (to make cookies--somehow the previous owners left a bag of chocolate chips)-- but no luck.  Nothing like pretzels or coolwhip to make Courtneys moms famous Pretzel Jello.  We also asked all over for a Crock-Pot with no luck.  We can't drink our water (it's Well water) and it's been hard to remember to spit it all out when brushing teeth.

Love you all and am missing you very much!

Mission Office:
Chile Viña del Mar Misión
4 Norte 1112, Casilla 631,
Viña del Mar, Valparaíso, Chile

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Illapel,Chile 7/18/2013

Dear Folks;                                                                                                       
Just a quick note to let you know we made it here to a little town called Illapel in Chile, after about a 34 hour journey that left Carolyn as sick as she’s ever been with that cough (she had at the reunion) and a migraine and seasickness (a very winding mountain road).  After our first week she was no better so we went down to the corner drugstore and bought some arithromyacin that the mission nurse recommended.  It looks like it is pretty easy to buy stuff like that without a prescription.  She is feeling much much better today, 3 days into her antibiotic.
Our assignment  is to work with and strengthen the leaders and members of the Illapel District.  There are 4 branches in this district, Illapel, Salamanca, Los Vilos and Canela… 1226 total members, of which only 157 attend sacrament meeting, or 13%. Carolyn is serving as the YW President in the District and I am a counselor to the District President, who reports to our Mission President.
It is a little different here.  We’re in a small ranch house outside town with a tin roof and about 20 chickens, ducks, geese and dogs roaming around inside the fence around our house.  Our dog (actually, she is the “house’s” dog, is named Diana, a german shepherd who is very friendly and does a great job keeping us safe by barking all night.  In the morning, it is not the roosters that wake us up.  The roosters are kind of lame, but the geese make a terrible racket when they get up in the morning.
We attended a Zone Meeting yesterday.  An all-day training and motivation event conducted by the Zone Leaders (Elder Nunez from Paraguay and Elder Reyes from El Salvador) via my laptop and an overhead projector.  It had probably a hundred slides and a dozen motivational church videos and was interspersed with role play excercises.  I know they put some time into preparing it, but I think all the Zone Leaders had the same agenda/presentation, and because of the quality of it, I’m also wondering if it wasn’t prepared on a larger scale than just our mission.  I’ve been pretty impressed how the church is using data and technology and modern efficiency improving techniques to standardize and make more effective the work of the missionaries.
We have 18 missionaries (12 Elders, 6 Sisters)  in our Zone not counting us, split between the 4 branches. 12 of the 18 are NOT from the U.S..  From what we’ve seen so far, that ratio is probably good throughout the mission.  Most missionaries in our mission are native Spanish speakers, and they are in every respect as good as any other missionary you’ve ever seen. They have all been trained in various CCM’s (The Spanish translation equivalent of an MTC) scattered around Central and South America.
We have a Toyota Corolla to use… one of only 5 assigned to couple missionaries in all of Chile, so we feel lucky.  We have already put it to good use in assignments to 3 of the 4 cities in our District.   The chapels are big and beautiful and well equipped, and pretty much cold and very empty.  No heat, so everyone wears coats.  The biggest three branches only have 40-50 attending.  Our mission president, President Kahnlein and his counselor Pres. Vergara, whom we will be working with, are salt of the earth kind of people who you love immediately  and who would do anything  for you.  So we have some good support.

Well,  I’m at my self imposed 1 page limit.  So much to tell.  All is well here.  We hope all is well with you back home. We’ll be praying for all of you.                       Love Dale and Carolyn

Monday, July 15, 2013

Journal Entry #1 Cuz, Cuz, Chile

I know I kept saying that they could stick me in the middle of the Mountains in a tiny remote village, but I don't really think I expected it! We are in Cuz, Cuz (outside of Illapel) by the Palto Wacho (Lone Avocado Tree) Stop #9, at least that is what we tell people if they want our address.

 We have a gated & fenced in year like everyone else here in the country.  At first I thought it was for security purposes but it is really more to keep the livestock and poultry and MANY dogs from escaping.  There is graffiti everywhere in town and all the little stores along the small narrow streets are boarded up and closed off & on during the day.  It was hard to locate the church because it's gate looked like so many others.  But once entering it we saw a beautiful little patch of green lawn all neatly manicured.  It has a small Basketball court out back which doubles as a soccer court and parking lot.  The building is fairly large, as at one time the church membership was too.  Many of the members are 'less-active' so we have lots of work to do in helping them return and remember what they once had. 

I don't know how long we will be here in this branch in our assigned district.  Our Miss. Pres (Kahnlein) may prefer us to live in the Oceanside village of Los Vilos, where there is a larger and more active membership to work with.

I have been ill since our arrival (actually since before we left Charlotte) but am slowly recovering.  The good news is they haven't sent us packing yet so they must want to keep us!  Today is our first 'P' day - for me that means Pants!!
~Sister Schramm
 Drying clothes
 Diana, the dog
 Vina del Mar
We have heat!

Yes, we made it...

We're in a little shack with chickens and ducks and dogs and a donkey outside, outside Illapel. Our responsibility is this whole district, which includes Canela, Illapel, Salamanca and Los Vilos.  We will probably be moving to Los Villos shortly.  That is where the mission president wants us.  He wants us to serve in district presidency positions to strengthen the leadership and branches.  

Illapel is in a beautiful mountain valley, not too high in the Andes.  The snow covered Andes are in the background.  Our branch here has 480 members, only 40 attend.  The house is cold.  We have a fireplace and no other heat.  Hot water only if you light it and undo the propane take from the stove and hook it to the in-line water heater.  I washed some clothes and hung them out on the line the other day and all the ducks and geese in the compound came running over thinking they were going to get a handout. They're worse than Sophie (our old dog).  The girl that lives in the house in back of us is named Sophia.  The dog that guards our "compound" of two houses fenced in, is Diana.  She barks all night to keep us safe, but is otherwise a harmless and nice german shepherd.

I'm sitting outside the church in our car on the street so I can get internet.  Its busy and noisy and full of people and vendors.  The chapel and storefronts are right on the sidewalk in typical S.A. and European style. Your Ma is home in bed.  She got very sick with cough/flu/seasickness/dehydration/tooo tired on the way down here.  We travelled from SLC at 2 pm till 10PM the next night to get here. She's back at the house sleeping.  Yes I can leave my companion.  The church has wireless.  No internet availability at the house except via cellular.  I bought a wireless pendrive, but don't have a Chilean Tax # so can't get it initiated. 

Mom is getting much better, but still gets tire easily and has to take a nap, like right now.  She's been a champ through it all, smiling even when she feels terrible.

The mission president and wife are very nice. He finagled a car for us, one of only 5 in the entire country of Chile that the church has for District type missionaries like us.  We pay a monthly fee for it plus gas and all.  Gas is about $8/gal.

Gotta go.  We're loving it and the people here and having fun. Might get to go on a district temple excursion bus ride down to Santiago tomorrow if Mom feeling up to it.  Its probably about a 6 hour drive one way.


P.S. Calvin, those one-match fire making skills have  come in handy!

Send Off to Chile!

Here they are opening their mission call:

Elder & Sister Schramm entered the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Provo on July 1, 2013. They left for Chile the next Monday on July 8.