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The Chile Concepcion mission is a place where investigators can be found with relative ease. According to returned missionaries, if a companionship makes strong goals, they can teach lessons every day and, if they are faithful, can baptize every month.
Missionaries can use street contacting and door-to-door contacting as tactics for finding investigators. Since most people believe in God, and the culture has a rich religious “history,” and street contacting can be very effective. The Chilean people are religiously faithful, so initiating conversation about religion is something Chileans are used to and usually willing to do. Because of the religious history of Chile, Chileans are familiar with the ideas of God and Jesus Christ.
The younger generation is very media-heavy and harder to reach. The middle-aged population is generally a little more religiously oriented.
Snapshot of Chile – Spanish is the national language of Chile, though other indigenous languages such as Mapudungun, Aymara, and Quechua are also present. Chilean spanish is unique in the way it drops the final syllables and “s” sounds from words. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest religion in Chile, accounting for about 60% of the population. The LDS church claims about 3% of the population, though many are inactive. Several other Protestant churches are also present, and about 18% of the population is irreligious. Modern Chilean culture primarily mixes Spanish and indigenous influences, though the south also has some influence from German immigrants. A wide range of music is popular in Chile, including rock, hip hop, and traditional folk music. Soccer is Chile’s most popular sport, though basketball and tennis are also somewhat popular and rodeos are popular events, especially in rural areas. Skiing is also practiced in some southern areas of the country. Chile is a large consumer of meat and bread, and rice and pasta are common side dishes. Empanadas and hot dogs are popular fast food items. Other popular dishes in Chile include asado (a type of barbecue, in southern Chile often made with lamb meat) and cazuela (a beef, potato, and pumpkin stew).
The Church is well-established in South America. Chile is home to 622 congregations and 577,716 members. However, the inactivity rate is very high, with only about 20% of members actively attending church meetings according to the Cumorah Project. Working with less active members is a large part of missionary work.
The church reports it has 577,716 members in Chile, about 3.3% of the population. The LDS Church the single largest denomination in Chile after Catholicism. There are currently nine missions in Chile.
Chilean food stems from Spanish food and is famous for its variety of flavors and ingredients. According to returned missionaries of the Chile Concepcion mission, food is not what one may consider “typical” central american cuisine. Beans and rice are prevalent, but not served as frequently as other South American countries. Chileans and missionaries eat a lot of rice and chicken. One signature dish of Chile is Empanadas, a stuffed bread that is fried or baked. Because of the coast, seafood is also prevalent in some areas. Chile is well known for seafood soups. Food is geographical in the Chile Concepcion mission, meaning that missionaries serving on the coast will eat a noticeable amount more of fish than other missionaries in other regions.
Further, corn is a key ingredient in Chilean cuisine. According to one returned missionary, the Chilean bread is “something you will remember for the rest of your life. It will make you fat but make you happy.”
Missionaries are not given cars in Chile. Most do not have a bike either. Missionaries walk and take public transportation. Buses and taxis are in all cities and in most small towns.
There are a number of cars that run the same route all day, like small-routed taxis are called collectivos. They are cheaper taxi-like cars that function as public transportation. Collectivos are similar to a bus, but are faster and smaller. Though there are well-established public transportation routes in almost every area, missionaries walk many places to save money.
While some parts of the cities and towns are considered dangerous at night, Chile Concepcion is a very safe place. There have a been a few instances when missionaries have been robbed, but returned missionaries said they never had any threat to their lives or sustained injuries.
One major adjustment missionaries learn early on in this mission is the custom of the Chilean schedule. People generally stay at home in the morning time, businesses close for lunch time, and there is an after-lunch period when people “shut down” for the day.
Missionaries often teach people in the morning when Chileans are waking up, or getting lunch ready. People begin to “shut down” for the day in the after-lunch period.
Other customs include using the “formal” verb conjugations when addressing other people and being very respectful to people as you enter their home. The chilean people respond very well to good manners and kind conversation.
fome – lame
bakan – cool
cachaí – “Get it?”
It is important missionaries have something good and sturdy to carry scriptures in on day-to-day basis. Hip bags or satchels are common and very useful. Other essential equipment are a warm and rainproof coat or jacket and good walking shoes that can last through four seasons of weather. It can get cold during the rainy months, (even though it doesn’t snow) and a warm comfortable and dry jacket will be very useful. Some missionaries will wear out the soles of their shoes from walking, so it would be wise to either bring an extra pair. Or, be prepared to buy another pair of shoes. There are also shops where shoes can be re-soled.
Shipping packages: Flat rate shipping boxes work well with the U.S. Postal Service, and it is normally very safe to send packages to the mission.
Castellon 1063 Oficina Norte
There is a Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/Rmchileconcepcion/) and blogspot address (http://chileconcepcionmission.blogspot.com/)
What items were hard to get or not available?
Peanut butter. Nothing necessarily essential that you cannot find. it is a very well-developed country.
What did you eat the most of?
Rice and boiled chicken.
What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Nothing too crazy, except for cow stomach a few times.”
What was most surprising about the culture
“The medicine.” Chilean people have a lot of natural and “weird” remedies for illnesses, no matter what it may be. “If I ever told somebody I wasn’t feeling well, they would go pick some weed from there back yard and make me drink it. I learned pretty quick to not tell anyone I wasn’t feeling well…”
“…But it shows they are really willing to help and are very loving”
What advice would you give to someone going to this Mission?
“Be prepared to work hard, be prepared to be uncomfortable sometimes because you’re going to be hot and tired. If you go with the spirit and your heart and head are in the right place, you’re going to have success and it’s going to be the best experience for you.”
What do you wish you had known before you served?
“I would have put more emphasis in my personal studies and in my personal life, on the Atonement. There is just nothing else that will reach the people the quickest than with the message of the Atonement. Study the Atonement, know it, be prepared to teach it in every lesson and be prepared to bear testimony of it power.”
“I did like the adventure aspect of going to Chile and not knowing everything that would happen, but on a practical side, I would have loved to have known there was going to be an earthquake…but you can’t really predict those…” (In 2010, there was an 8.9 richter scale earthquake struck Concepcion at 3 a.m., followed by a Tsunami)