Congratulations on receiving your mission call to the Chile Osorno Mission!! There may not be a better mission in the entire church: the people are nice and receptive to the gospel, there are a lot of members to help with missionary work, the food is good, the country is fairly modern so you will enjoy basic comforts and technology, and you get to learn a useful foreign language. I loved serving in the Chile Osorno Mission.
One additional bonus to serving in the Chile Osorno Mission is that it is absolutely beautiful. Within the mission are islands, volcanoes, lakes, glaciers, mountains, and breathtaking scenery. The vegetation is green and lush. I doubt the Garden of Eden was much prettier.
Chile Osorno Mission Rain
Unfortunately, the reason why everything is so green and beautiful is that it rains. It rains a lot. It rains and rains and rains. And then it continues raining. During my life, I have lived in several very rainy places around the world. However, none of these places came close to having the type of rain I saw in Chile during the winter. Not only does it rain hard, but the wind blows hard too, so the rain comes horizontally at you. During the winter, plan on it pouring almost every day. It will also be cold, and if you serve in the far south, it will snow and be very cold. There are even penguins and glaciers in southern Chile.
The reason I am writing this article is that I went on my mission being very unprepared to face the elements. I also had a lot of companions who were even less prepared than I was. Many of us bought all our mission gear at missionary stores such as Mr. Mac, Pomeroys, Men’s Wearhouse, etc, which is probably fine for a normal mission, but not this mission. It wouldn’t be a mission if you didn’t suffer a little, but I don’t want any more missionaries getting soaked to the bone every day and being miserable when it can be avoided with a little planning.
This article lists all of the things I wish someone had told me beforehand to take with me to the Chile Osorno Mission, all of which are economical, high quality, and easily attainable on Amazon.
What I Wish I Had Brought On My Mission
Every missionary has a coat that will protect his upper body from the rain to varying degrees. However, very few think about taking rain pants. If you don’t have rain pants, your pants will get soaked when the wind blows the rain in horizontally, and you will be walking around cold, wet, and uncomfortable. What’s more, rather than take pity on you and invite you in, many people will not want you to come in their home if you are dripping wet. Even the sturdiest of umbrellas (like what I mention below) will be unable to completely protect your pants from the winter deluge. I bought the best pair of water pants I could find in Chile but the material was not very good and holes started appearing after about 3-4 uses, defeating the purpose of them.
I really like the Columbia Men’s Thunderstorm II Pant available at a very reasonable price. It is waterproof, breathable, looks great, and folds up nicely so that you can carry it around in your backpack and only pull out when you need it. When you enter a house, you can easily pull them off and enter without your regular pants dripping water. It also prevents moisture from coming in while allowing heat to escape.
Extremely Sturdy Umbrella
I actually took a pretty sturdy umbrella with me on my mission. My aunt bought it for me at some high end store rather than a missionary store. In fact, I never saw another missionary with an umbrella as good as mine, yet mine only lasted about 6 months before it broke. An extremely strong wind one day broke it like a popcicle stick. I had companions who seemed to be buying new umbrellas every other week since they never had a solid umbrella. A missionary store umbrella may work in Seattle or Portland but not in Southern Chile. Additionally, an umbrella that gets blown inside out means something vulgar in Chile, so get one that won’t.
I really like the GustBuster Metro 43-Inch Automatic Umbrella. I have owned one of these for a while now and it is incredible. I would have killed for an umbrella like this on my mission. It is very economical, yet extremely sturdy. It also folds up very compactly, is wind-tested to 55 miles per hour, has an amazing 43 inch canopy, and has a lifetime warranty. There are not many umbrellas out there like this one.
You can be wearing a great coat, have great water pants, and an amazing umbrella, but if your feet get wet, you will be cold and miserable. Unfortunately, I found this out the hard way on my mission. I took good, comfortable shoes with me on my mission that I had sprayed with some spray that was supposed to make them waterproof. It didn’t.
I like the Dunham Men’s Waterproof Oxford shoe as well as the Dunham Men's 8000 Waterproof Oxford. Both are reasonably priced, waterproof, look professional, and are comfortable, everything you would want on your mission. I can't say enough about having good waterproof shoes rather than the typical shoes everyone buys.
Fortunately I never bought one of those hideous trench coats sold at missionary stores. Not only do they look awful but they will not provide ample protection from the rain. I bought another coat from a missionary store that was better than a trench coat. It was basically a rain coat with a removable liner on the inside. Great idea, except that when it poured outside and I got really wet, some of the water would pass through the coat. It also smelled like a wet dog after getting wet so many times.
Take a look at the Cianni Men’s Single Breasted Black ¾ Length All Year Round Raincoat as well as the Cianni Men's Single Breasted Black Full Length All Year Round Raincoat. The only difference between the two is the length. Personally I think the 3/4 length would be better for a missionary, but that is just my preference. Both have a removeable warm inner liner that can be used during the winter and removed during the summer. The coats look very professional (unlike some of the trench coats you will see), can be worn over a suit jacket, and are sold at a shockingly good price.
Best of luck on your mission. You will love it. You will love it even more if you go prepared for the weather you will face in the Chile Osorno Mission. Now that I am not a missionary, I don’t need many of the above items anymore because I drive or stay indoors when it rains. You on the other hand will not have that luxury during your mission. Plan accordingly. These and other affordable, high quality products are easily attainable on Amazon.