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The streets of Chile are extremely lively, and you will oftentimes hear a mix of Reggaeton, Chilean rap, and international music. This attests to the Chileans and their playfulness; they are extremely friendly people who will be happy to talk with you and may even invite you in to hear the message you represent.
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 in this part of Chile is very small but very strong. The leadership is experienced, and many of the leaders have seen decades of church service. The members have a strong desire to follow the commandments and be worthy examples. Once the members trust you, they will readily aid you in any way. They will hold you in high regard as a representative of Jesus Christ, and they will love you. The members also love to see the church grow, and they will be helpful in finding and retaining new members.
In this mission, the church hires “Mamitas,” or member women who cook for you everyday. Every Sunday you eat at a different member’s home. The largest meal of the day is lunch. In the winter the members eat lots of soup, called cazuela, which is made with rice and vegetables, yams, potatoes, and corn on the cob. In the summer members eat a lot of chicken with rice or potatoes. At night you eat “once,” a small meal that may include a ham and cheese sandwich with herbal tea.
Most of the missionaries in this mission travel by foot. A few missionaries drive trucks. However, buses are always available, as are collectivos (little black cars that follow an exact route but operate like taxis).
If you follow the rules and stay with your companion, you should feel safe, especially outside of the bigger cities. In the bigger cities, be wise and ask the members what you should do—they will teach you what is best.
Chileans are very hierarchal. Mayors, bishops, and any other leader should be treated with respect. Fathers are respected as the head of the household. It is important to give the father a strong handshake and to treat him warmly. When you eat with company, it is important that you do not stretch out at the dinner table (it is considered bad manners).
Chilean Spanish is unique in the way that it drops the final syllables and “S” sounds from words. Also, when they say “L” they make the “R” sound. One word you will hear commonly is “Wheyyyy!” (no way!).
It may be wise to invest in rubber shoe covers, or boots, because it rains very often.
Receiving packages takes about a month. Though it takes awhile, the shipping system is well-trusted, so no need to worry in sending packages.
Facebook: Mission Osorno Chile
What items were hard to get or not available?
In the cities they have a variety of stores, you can find most anything you need
What did you eat the most of?
Baked potatoes, and french fries
What is the craziest thing you ate?
Cochaiuio, a type of algae placed in soup, but I only had it once…
What was most surprising about the culture?
The people keep their houses really clean, they are constantly deep cleaning, and waxing their floors.
What advice would you give to someone going to this Mission?
Don’t be intimidated by anybody, and enjoy every conversation you have
What do you wish you had known before you served?
The mission is not easy, but find a miracle every day, keep yourself motivated