The missionaries in Chile in the 1970’s live in “pensions”. This was a room rented from a family, usually in their house, that most of the time include meals and sometime laundry.

For my 22 months in Chile, I lived in eight pensions. They included living with very humble families, with no hot water,  were the “mamita” would boil water several times a week on a wood stove so we could have warm baths. Other times we lived with very wealthy families where we had a room that opened to a large courtyard, and we had our own private bathroom. This was not the norm, and usually we shared the bathroom with the family.

There were no specific rules on what we could rent, and normally we would just stay in the same place the previous Elders had rented. Some towns had pensions that had been rented for years and years by missionaries. Only one of mine was with church members, all the rest were non-member families.  Some were young families with little kids we’d grow close to, and play with. Others were older couples with teenage or older kids. Several of the families had teenage girls, which was not against any rules we had.

Some arraignments had us eating with the family for the lunch or evening meal, and other times we’d be served separately. Three times we lived with a single mother, and our rent money pretty much paid to run the household.  Once we found a new pension with a family, and they then hired a maid just to take care of us.

We got to know some of the families quite well, and would call the lady of the house “mamita”.  We rarely talked politics with the families, but one family in Concepcion (Lorenzo Arenas barrio if anybody is familiar with the area) told us their oldest child was living in Germany, because the Pinochet Government  had an arrest warrant out for him., labeling him a communist.

A wealthy family we with lived with in Talca had several maids, and on our P-day when we were not at breakfast at 7:30 (because we were sleeping in), they would bring us breakfast in bed about 8 am on trays. This only happened a few times, but is a joy to re-tell to visiting missionaries when we have them for dinner!

Overall my living arrangements were mostly equal to what I left at home in California. I just wish I had taken some photos of my rooms. I don’t have a single photo of inside any of my pensions.

What were your living arraignments like on your mission? Can anybody beat getting breakfast in bed on P-day?