Noticias Artículo: 50th Anniversary Chilean Mission Celebration
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1 September 2011
Dear Alumni and friends of the Chilean Mission,
The 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Chilean Mission is fast approaching. We write to you today with some updates, convert contact information and travel notes.
There are several websites that contain information about the Celebration. The website for information for former missionaries of the nine Chilean Missions is http://www.sivasparachile2011.com/. The Spanish version of the website is http://www.three-peaks.net/sivasparachile2011/castellano.html. Here you can find airline information about flights to Chile. The principal airlines that serve Chile are American Airlines, Delta Airlines and LAN Chile. There are links at the above website to these airlines. We have arranged a 10% discount promotion with American Airlines. The average round trip cost from Salt Lake City has been around $1,640.00 round trip. The prices are now lower, at about $1,250.00 with the 10% discount.
We suggest that you visit the Church’s official website for Chile: http://www.lds.cl/s/. On the left hand margin of the homepage there is a link titled, “50 Aniversario Misión Chilena.” Click where it indicates, “Click aquí.” This will direct you to the official blog of the Celebration: http://celebracionmisionchile.blogspot.com/. There is also a facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002357318717. (Sorry, the site is not accepting new “friends” – it quickly reached the maximum of 5,000 friends.) The website, the blog and the facebook site are open to the public and are all valuable resources if you are still considering attending this once in a lifetime event. The blog contains many pictures, videos, etc. of the preparations that are underway for the October events. They will inspire you!
Many former missionaries have inquired about the possibility of locating their converts. As you are probably aware the Church has strict guidelines regarding the members’ private information. The same policy applies in the U. S. and in Chile. The Area Office has developed a way in which former missionaries can make contact with their converts. Attached here is a blank spreadsheet that you can use to submit to the Chile Area Office. Instructions for its use are found on the attached document, “Member Locator Instructions.”
If you are interested in locating your former converts, whether or not you are able to attend the events in person in Chile, you are welcome to complete the Locator Form and submit it as indicated in the instructions. With the widespread use of the Internet, social networking, inexpensive long distance calling plans, Internet video conferencing (Skype, Windows Live, Gmail Chat, etc.) and YouTube it is relatively easy to make “personal” contact with former converts once you get in touch with them. We encourage you to make use of this opportunity to locate the families to whom you taught the gospel.
A brief outline of the events surrounding the 50th Anniversary Celebration is as follows: On Saturday, October 8, 2011, there will be a Historic Mission Devotional broadcast to all of the stakes in Chile. It is anticipated that there will be one or more speakers from among the 12 Apostles and First Presidency, but at this point it is not known who will be in attendance. This broadcast will take place at 5:00 PM Chile time and will originate from the La Reina Stake in Santiago. On Saturday, October 15, 2011, there will be Cultural Celebration that will take place at the Santa Laura stadium in the community of Independencia in Santiago. This stadium has historical significance in that Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to the saints at this stadium on at least two occasions. This event starts at 7:00 PM in Chile. The stadium is located about eight blocks from the Einstein Metro Station on Metro Line # 2.
All former missionaries who come to Chile and who live in Chile are invited to the stadium on October 15, 2011 to participate in the program. You and your service will be honored during the program of music, dancing and story. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to be recognized for your service to the saints of Chile. You are part of the program! The cultural celebration will be broadcast live to all the stakes in Chile. A production crew will be on hand to record the event and a DVD will be available for purchase at a later date.
Sunday, October 9, 2011 will be Fast and Testimony Meeting in Chile (the Sunday after General Conference). If you plan to attend the events in Chile and would like to attend a particular ward or branch, you can locate the address and meeting times on the Church’s website: http://lds.org/maps/index.jsf?lang=eng#x=find&m=google&lat=-33.81672705192638&lng=-70.7493245601654&z=18&t=3&places=temples. It is easy to locate meetinghouses by simply entering the city or community and entering “Chile” in the country box and then clicking on “Search.” You can also click on the box titled, “Other wards and branches” and this will return all of the meetinghouses in the general area. You can also enter the name of a current ward or branch in the section that is titled, “Find a ward or other LDS place to worship” and it will direct you to a chapel or give you a choice among multiple chapels from which you can choose the correct one.
Several alumni have inquired about ATM / debit card and credit card use while in Chile. First of all, we suggest that you contact your bank and credit card companies for their current practices, policies, fees and charges. We can tell you this that there are ATM machines everywhere you go in Chile. All of the banks have 24 hour ATMs and many supermarkets, pharmacies, bus stations, malls, etc. have ATM machines. Chilean banks do charge for foreign ATM use, an average of $5.35 USD per withdrawal (2,500 Chilean Pesos). It is likely that your bank or credit union in the U. S. also charges between $1.00 and $5.00 per foreign ATM transaction. Some U. S. banks also charged a foreign currency transaction fee that can vary from 1% to 3%. This means that if you plan to use your ATM card to withdraw cash at ATM machines in Chile it can become expensive especially if you withdraw cash in small amounts.
The current exchange rate Chilean Peso (CLP) to the USD is about 460 to 1. For example, if you withdraw 40,000 CLP at an ATM machine this will equate to about $87.00 USD plus bank charges (at both ends) of $10.00 or more. The impact can be reduced by taking larger amounts of CLP, up to the limit in USD per your bank’s withdrawal limits. In other words, if your bank’s daily limit per ATM card is $400.00 USD, you could withdraw about 180,000 CLP and you would be charged the $5.35 by the Chilean bank and $5.00 or more by your U. S. bank. This is a better approach than multiple small withdrawals.
There are generally no charges for using your ATM card as a credit card or for using your credit card, with the possible exception of exchange fees and charges. It is good to check with your bank so there are no surprises later. One other important point is that it is a good idea to notify your bank and credit card companies of your intentions to travel, the dates, etc. This will prevent them from blocking your card in the event there is sudden and unexplained usage different from your normal pattern of purchases.
Others of you have inquired about traveler’s checks and exchanging currency while in Chile. Traveler’s Checks are no longer as widely used as in the past. Typically, a better exchange rate is paid for currency rather than traveler’s checks. If you plan on bringing USD currency with you it can be exchanged at a number of legitimate “Casas de Cambio” (Currency Exchange Houses) located throughout the country. One major chain is AFEX. Its website is: http://afex.cl/Home.asp (this is provided to you for reference purposes only and not as a recommendation or endorsement). At all times it is a good idea to avoid displaying currency in public places. We have one other word of caution regarding exchanging USD for CLP or vice versa while in Chile. The airport is generally the worst place to exchange currency in terms of the exchange rate. If you are considering purchasing pesos in advance at your bank in the U. S. be advised that you will not receive a very good rate of exchange.
IMPORTANT REQUEST: We have been asked by the committee that is organizing the 50th Anniversary Celebration events that we inform them of how many former missionaries are planning to attend the events, especially the Cultural Event on October 15, 2011, in which those who attend are invited to take part. If you are planning on coming to Chile, please let us know at the official email address for this event: firstname.lastname@example.org. The committee would like to know who you are and how many family members or friends will be traveling with you. Thank you for furnishing this information as soon as possible.
We hope you find this information helpful. If you have questions or suggestions please contact us at email@example.com
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