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Mission History


First Missionaries to Chile - 1851

The following information was published in the LDS Church News 7/13/96:

The first stitch in the tapestry of faith in Chile began with the calling of Elder Parley P. Pratt of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder Rufus Allen in February 1851, just four years after the arrival of the Pioneers in the Great Salt Lake Valley.

Elder Pratt took his wife Phoebe, and the three arrived in Valparaíso, Chile, Nov. 8, 1851. Three weeks later, on Nov. 30, Sister Pratt gave birth to a baby they named Omner. The infant lived until Jan. 7 and was buried in a private cemetery. Hedged by a civil war and an inability to communicate with the people, the missionaries departed on March 5, 1852.

No convert baptisms were recorded by the missionaries. While in transit from Chile to San Fransisco, Elder Pratt wrote a letter to Brigham Young, dated March 13, 1852 in which he stated, "We embarked on this ship bound for San Fransisco, without a sufficiency of the language to turn the keys of the Gospel."

In this letter Elder Pratt expressed his desire to more fully learn Spanish so that he could translate some of the important texts of the church into that language. Then he added,

As these contemplated labors would be, under the blessing of God, a furtherance of the great work of laying the foundation for the restoration of unnumbered millions of the house of Israel and of Jospeh - even of many nations extending over a large and important portion of the earth - I feel to labor with patience, and to take time to prepare the way before me and before those who will, in due time, be sent unto them in power; knowing that God, who has said certain things, will cause those things to be performed in due time.

Presumably, the "certain things" that Elder Pratt referred to as having been promised by God have to do with the flourishing of the gospel among the Israelites in general and among the Lamanites in particular.


First Convert Baptism in Chile - 1956

More than a century after the Pratts and Elder Allen left, missionaries were again sent to Chile. The first baptisms were performed on Nov. 2, 1956. Ricardo García was the first person baptized in Chile, followed by his wife and two others.


Church Humanitarian Effort in Southern Chile - 1960

The following appeared in the LDS Church News 3/22/97:

The Church first came to southern Chile in 1960 following a destructive earthquake that took a great toll on human life and buildings. As medical supplies and personnel arrived from the United States to provide relief, Pres. J. Vernon Sharp of the Andes Mission sent missionaries to interpret for relief workers and assist in the relief effort.


Beginning of Missionary Work in Southern Chile - 1964

In November, 1964, Carl Beecroft, President of the Chilean Mission, travelled to southern Chile. He met with the mayor of Puerto Montt on the 20th of November. Sister Helen Beecroft recorded in her journal that her husband received a "warm welcome from the mayor."

The local paper announced their arrival and said that the delegation hoped to start a branch and build a meetinghouse in the community.

In December Elders Gary Parnell and Norm Whiting were sent to Osorno and Elders Noel Roundy and Alan Winder were sent to Puerto Montt.

The following information was supplied by Gary Parnell:

In December, 1964, Elder Norm Whiting and I were sent from Santiago to Osorno to open up the city to missionary work. We first stayed in the loft of a four story pensión just off the plaza and later, when another set of elders arrived, rented a small apartment and began to hold church meetings in the cramped living room.

After about a month, Brother Ricardo García, the first person to join the church in Chile, moved from Curicó to Osorno with his wife and family and took over from my companion as Branch President. We next found a larger home on a hill above the main part of the city. It had a number of wood stoves, including one in each of the large bathrooms and a wood cooking stove in the kitchen with a tank on it for heating the bath water.

Several good families were baptized in one of the near-by rivers and we were able to put on a "Man's Search for Happiness" display in the basement of the City Hall. When I left in May, 1965, there were six elders working in Osorno and another four in Puerto Montt.


First Stake in Chile Not Organized - 1970

The following information was supplied by Paul Anderson (uncle of the creator of this site) who was serving in the Chilean Mission and was present when the first stake was not organized:

In January or February, 1970, then apostle Gordon B. Hinckley traveled to Santiago with the apparent intention of organizing the first stake in Chile. After evaluating the situation, Elder Hinckley announced to the congregation crammed into the Nunoa Chapel (standing room only), that there were not enough worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders to organize a stake.

I left in May and there was still no stake in Chile.


First Stake in Chile Organized - 1972

The first stake in Chile was organized November 19, 1972 in Santiago by then apostle Gordon B. Hinckley.


Osorno Mission Formed - 1977

The Chile Osorno Mission was formed in July of 1977 in a division of the Chile Concepción Mission. The president of the Concepción Mission, Lester D. Haymore, moved to Osorno and served for one year as the president of the new mission.

The following account is from Guillermo Antivilo, who was serving in the mission office at the time:

I was in the Concepción office (Adm. Assistant to the President) when President Haymore announced the creation of the Osorno Mission and he said that he would be the Mission President. Since that day most of the missionaries wanted to be transferred to the south part of the mission.

In June 77 President Haymore traveled to Osorno to buy the Mission Home and the Office. He got both the house and the office in the last week of June so when we arrived in Osorno, the office was not ready. Because of this, we used the mission home as an office. My desk was by the kitchen which was an excellent place if you consider that the heater and the food were there. Some elders were in the garage for almost a month.

I remember that it was raining in Osorno for the whole month of July 77, so many missionaries wanted to go back to Concepción.

During July 77 and Dec 77 we traveled a lot with President Haymore reorganizing the branches. We divided the big cities into several branches like Osorno, Temuco and Puerto Montt. In these cities we went from one branch to three or four. We created about 20 branches in the first 6 months.


President Caballero Called - 1981

Following is a newspaper clipping from the LDS Church News which announced the calling of President Caballero:

Leaders Called to Preside in Chile, Portugal and Italy

New mission presidents have been called for the Chile Osorno, Portugal Lisbon and Italy Catania missions. The new presidents are Fernando Caballero (Fernandez), Harold G. Hillam and John G. Lahadarne. They will enter the mission field on or about July 1, 1981.

FERNANDO CABALLERO (FERNANDEZ)

Fernando Caballero (Fernandez), 34, recently released as president of the Valparaiso City Chile Stake, has been called to preside over the Chile Osorno Mission.

He was born in Valparaiso, Chile, a son of Herman and Yolanda Fernandez Caballero. He married Myriam Eliana Correa Diaz Nov. 23, 1973, and they are parents of three children. They are members of the La Florida 1st Ward, La Florida Chile Stake.

President Caballero received bachelor's and master's degrees from Brigham Young University. He has been employed by the Church Educational System since 1970, and a is currently director of the Santiago Chile, Institute of Religion.

In addition to serving as stake president, he has served as a high councilor. He served a mission to Uruguay from 1967-1969.

Sister Caballero was born in Valparaiso, Chile, a daughter of Abel and Hilda diza Lopez. She was recenlty released as stake Primary president and has served as a teacher in the Primary and Relief Society.


Santiago Temple Dedicated - 1983

The following information was supplied by Mike Anderson:

I was lucky enough to be in the mission field at the time of the dedication of the temple in Santiago. We were informed serveral weeks ahead of the event that we would be attending one of the dedicatory sessions. Later tickets were distributed to the missionaries.

On Friday, September 16, 1983 I boarded a train in Osorno along with the other missionaries serving in that town. As we rolled along, we stopped in the other mission towns and picked up other missionaries. This was quite enjoyable because we were able to see missionaries from all over the mission. The train was not exactly first class. When I lifted the lid in the bathroom, I could see the railroad ties going past (which altered by view of walking along the train tracks for the rest of my mission). It also had no sleeping arrangements other than bench seats that could be made to recline (sort of) and so it made for a long sleepless night. We boarded the train in Osorno at 7:00 PM and arrived in Santiago at 12:30 PM the next day.

Santiago Chile Temple dedication We had a few hours to kill and nothing in particular to do, so Elder Kron and I and one other missionary headed out to get a bite to eat and to look around the area of the location of the temple.

The dedicatory session started at 4:00 PM. It was the last of 10 such sessions. President Hinckley performed the ceremony since President Kimball was in poor health. Also present were, Bruce R. McConkie and Boyd K. Packer from the Quorum of the Twelve along with three or four other General Authorities.

The dedication itself was obviously terrific. During the meeting, President Hinckley announced that those present at the meeting would be allowed to walk through the temple after the dedication was complete. This was great news and came as a complete surprise to me.

The picture shown was taken at the dedication, Sept 17, 1983.

That night, the norteamericanos stayed in a gym which was owned by the family of one of the missionaries. The gym provided the needed shelter and the basic facilities, but of course, beds and bedding were completely absent. I "slept" in my suit and trench coat.

The following morning, the norteamericanos boarded another train. The native missionaries stayed behind in order to perform temple ordinances for the first time. We boarded the train at 8:00 AM and arrived in Osorno at about 1:00 AM that night.


Punta Arenas Stake Organized - 1984

In July(?), 1984, the Punta Arenas Stake was organized and became the 40th stake in Chile.


Death of President Haymore - 1990

Following appeared in the LDS Church News 9/8/1990:

Lester D. Haymore, 66, director of the Mexico City Missionary Training Center, died Aug. 28 in Mexico City of natural causes.

A former missionary to Argentina, he was president of the Chile Concepción and Chile Osorno missions from 1975-78. During his career, he was employed by the Department of the Navy and Bureau of Land Management. He also founded his own realty company and was active in real estate organizations.

He and his wife, Edna Grace, lived in Salt Lake City. They began serving in the Mexico City Training Center last January.


Chile's 100th Stake Organized - 1997

Following appeared in the LDS Church News 3/22/1997:

With the creation of the Puerto Varas stake March 9, Chile joined the elite group of nations with 100 stakes.

So great was the excitement among the local members that the meetinghouse where the stake was created was filled to capacity. Some 300 additional members stood along the walls or hallways to witness the historic event.

Chile's 100th stake was created in south Chile, about 25 years after the first stake in this South American nation was organized in 1972.

Only four nations have 100 or more stakes: the United States, with 1,241; Brazil with 154; Mexico with 152; and now Chile with 100. The next nation likely to reach 100 stakes is Peru, which currently has 77 stakes.

The Puerto Varas Stake was created in a division of the Puerto Montt Stake. According to the article, Church membership in Chile as of March, 1997 was 431,000.


President Jose A. Garcia called as Area Authority

Following News Release was released by the Church on April 5, 2003:

Area Authorities
37 new Area Authority Seventies were also named. Area Authorities give voluntary Church service in support of Area Presidencies within their assigned geographic areas.

Called as Area Authority Seventies: ... José A. García, 57, Panama City, Panama...

(Read the news release here)

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