Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tasting Art

I never knew food could look and taste so good. Our branch President who knows just about every decent place to eat in Mendoza (and it shows) recommended a bunch of different restaurants to us this week. So, we took the liberty to try one of them out a couple hours ago and it was about the best experience of my life. It was on the 14th floor of this hotel so you could see out across the whole city. Mendoza is a way legit city because there are giant trees on about every block so the whole view was just buildings surrounded by trees with the mountains as a backdrop. It was definitely a lunch worth savoring. This week was Stake Conference and since it´s at least one bus ride away and people here don´t have access to transportation so easily, it was hard to get investigators to church. We at least got one, but only because he came with his great grandma who is a super solid member that lives in another part of Argentina. We´ve been trying to work with his family but sometimes they´re hard to find and other times they don´t seem all too interested. We think they just listen to be nice and because their mom/grandma is a member so they let us in for now. But we´re going to keep go by in hopes that they´ll start progressing at some point haha. Other than that...that one family that was progressing SO WELL is acting way weird now and we have no idea what happened. I guess sometimes when something seems too good to be true it is.. And that other family that came to church had a family excursion this week so they didn´t come. The dad is kinda progressing but he sometimes doesn´t seem that interested either soooo we´ll have to see how we can help him out this week. The good news is we´ve starting teaching another family who seems pretty legit. The mom is way evangelical so sometimes she´s kinda got a few weird ideas but for now she´s pretty open. The husband doesn´t have as much of a religious background but it seems like he might be more open just because he won´t have to stop going to a church and leave behind people he knows like his wife might have to do. We´re really trying to help her understand the importance of authority but I don´t think she´s quite got it yet because evangelicals think about it in a way different way. But as she gains a testimony of the Book of Mormon we´re sure everything else will fall into place. Welp, I think that´s about it for now. Kinda weird to think that next monday will probably be the last time letter I write home... Welp, With all the love of art in my mouth, Elder Lounsbury P.S. tell Cheryl and the kids thanks for the letter that they sent...2 months ago?? Just got it this week...good thing they didn´t wait much longer to send it! haha..

Monday, October 29, 2012

I never did like rollercoasters

This week was SO WEIRD. Remember that great family I was telling you about last week? Yeah, well the disapeared from off the face of the earth. We went by like 4 times this week and had no luck at all. We´re really afraid something happened and they´re just ignoring us but we can´t think of what possibly could have happened to make them do that. They seemed SO PERFECT. Maybe we just got really unlucky with when we went by the house and when we called them but I guess we´ll just have to see how it all turns out. On Saturday we had an appointment with the other couple we´re working with where one of the parents is a member and the other isn´t. Usually the dad is all smiles and jokes but when he opened the door he just blankly looked at us and then turned and loudly asked if the wife was going to talk to us. He kinda just walked to to the back of the house and she talked to us a little bit and then he left and walked out the door. We were just like uh...what in the world is going on? We thought that he was mad at us but turns out we just showed up at a bad time haha. The whole family showed up to church on Sunday. We could not believe it. We had invited the mom before we left on Saturday but it was just a weird situation and we didn´t really expect anything to come from up. That kinda weirdness just sums up the week. But I guess we can´t complain too much for unexpected miralces haha. We had the primary program this week in both branches and as always they were some way funny parts. It was kinda cool how they did it though, little kids said the beginning and closing prayers and there was this little kid who introduced all of the kids who were going to get up and talk etc. It was great. The kid who did the last prayer (who is the son of our way legit next door neighbor family) started out very loudly saying "When I was baptized my dad baptized me." Hahah. I don´t know what kinda pray starts out like that but it was hilarious. Other than that things are pretty normal. We´ve been finding and teaching a lot of people who have a lot of potential but we´ll have to see if they can make some progress this week and come to church so that they can get baptized on the 17th. With all the love of a primary, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spring Showers

Well family, this week has been pretty incredible. We have been teaching people like crazy and I love it SO much. We´ve had some really great lessons and we´re starting to see progress with a lot of people. One of our investigators that has been progressing the most is the wife of a less active member. I think we barely just found them last week but every time we show up she´s read all of the pamphets that we leave for her and understands everything way well. She´s started reading the book of mormon right now so we´re really hoping next time we go back she´s already read a decent amount and prayed about it. She has a baptismal date for the 17th (my last Saturday) so I´m REALLY hoping she makes it. She was way commited to coming to church this week but her husband got called into work Sunday morning so she didn´t make it. We´re also excited because his whole family are inactive members so if we get him to start going maybe we can start working on them as well. She´s also got a lot of family members who live close by and she´s already starting explaining to them everything she´s learning. His family and her family could be the spark that our tiny little branch needs. Other than that some of the other investigators we´ve been teaching since last month have kinda gotten cold. Two of them are the daughters of a recent convert and even though they both feel like everything is true they still have doubts about getting baptized right now. I know we should be content recognizing we planted some giant seeds there but sometimes you just want to see them take that step to follow Christ. This week was Elder Drennan´s birthday so I made him some pancakes in the morning and we had a BBQ at a members/investigators house to celebrate in style. Also this week we had zone conference which meant we had to get up infront of everyone and give a little training segment. We basically just talked about how to better use our missionary planners and how to be more organized with all of the information we have to handle as missionaries. We were going to give it on something a lot more interesting but the assistants selected two chapters from Preach My Gospel so we ended up talking about that haha. Welp, I think that´s about it for now. With all the love of rain on monday morning, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, October 15, 2012

Messi in Mendoza

The world´s current greatest soccer player graced Mendoza with his presence on Friday when the national team played Uruguay about 15 minutes away from our apartment. And guess who got his signature??? Not us... On Thursday we had a meeting in the Mendoza stake center and while we walked there from the bus stop we passed this block infront of a hotel that was fenced off by police officers and a couple swat teams. Given the fact that the Argentine national team played the next day and that there was a bus with the national team logo on the back waiting to leave the hotel it wasn´t hard to figure out that the national team was about a football field away from us. But we had more important things to do than get a million dollar signature....right? The meeting went pretty well at least. There´s a new focus in the mission about teaching complete families, and especially about focusing on dads. So we talked about how we can better focus on teaching whole families even though it might mean giving up an appointment during the siesta and scheduling it in the evening when the dad is home. Sometimes that´s a lot harder than it sounds because it´s hard to find people to teach durning the siesta and if someone wants us to come by it´s hard to say "No, we want to come by when all the family is here" but in the long run it´s what´s best. We´re still talking about the importance of referrences and working with the members and the asistants want us to talk about it some more this Wednesday when we have Zone Conference. Soooo that´s going to be fun. Hopefully it doesn´t turn out too borning haha. This week we had a way interesting lesson with one of our investigators. We were trying to figure out what her doubt was because she didn´t want to commit to being baptized even though she pretty much agreed to everything else (Word of Wisdom etc.). We basically asked her all of the baptismal interview questions and she answered correctly to all of them....but still said she didn´t get baptized. She said she didn´t know why and even when we asked her if she´d do it if God told her that she needed to she still said no. Sooo that was pretty depresing. We´ve been working with her FOREVER. I think we´re going to give her one more chance and really focus our lesson on how to get a testimony but if she keeps up we´re going to have to drop her... The good news is we´ve found two LEGIT couples. One has two kids and the other has three (all similar ages) and in each of the couples one of them isn´t a member and the other one is a less active member. Their both pretty open to listen to us and we´ve got a lot of hope for both of them. The only problem is that they should be apart of Boulogne Sur Mer which is the super tiny branch with hardly any members we can use so that these investigators have more friends in the church. The classes and overall feel of church is just way different too so they´re going to have to get really good testimonies haha. Anyways, that´s the update on that. Welp, I think that´s about all I got for now. Hope you all are doing great! With all the love of Messi, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, October 8, 2012

Curbside Prophet

I love General Conference. I always leave wishing it never ended. I think my favorite talk of the conference was by Elder Holland. I don´t think he´s given a single talk I don´t love to death. If any of you missed it, go watch it right now. haha. How crazy that young men can now leave at 18 and that girls can leave at 19! I also LOVE the new youth teaching program, Come Follow Me. I think it´s a great improvement and will really help the youth have a stronger conversion. From what I understand it will be a mostly online-based program allowing for updated links to new Genereal Conference and Ensign talks. Pretty much it´s a brilliant idea. I´m way excited to see its effects. In preparation for conference my companion and I made some root beer from extract his family sent him AND IT WAS DELICIOUS. Although it wasn´t your typical A&W quality, it sure tasted like it after going rootbeer-less for so long. I also found a giant bar of Hersheys Cookies and Cream in Walmart. IN.CRED.I.BLE. This weekend was pretty great. We had four investigators come to conference which was fantastic, but it seemed like either they didn´t understand everything or got a little bored because they didn´t have much to say afterwords haha. I walked out feeling like I was in the clouds and they were like, "yeeahhhh, I guess it was good." Haha. I couldn´t believe it. But at least they´re exercising their faith. They´re just still making WAY SLOW progress. But we´re not giving up quite yet. If Nephi would have given up the first or second time he attempted to get the plates from Laban he never would have succeeded. The harder something is the better the reward will be. We were actually late to the first session of conference. While we were about 3 blocks away, this guy asked us to help him carry his luggage (which he referred to as his cross). He looked about 27 and was wearing worn out clothes. At first I thought it was just that "worn out" style that a lot of clothes have but his patched beard and odd smell made me consider differently. He told us it would be three blocks but I figured it would be a lot more. And I was right. On the way he told us he was a Jewish missionary from Chile (which seemed a bit weird because he was looking for a Catholic church). We asked him if he believed in the New Testament and in Jesus Christ and he said he did. We were pretty confused. I felt way bad for Elder Drennan because he had to carry this giant duffel bag that apparently was full of bibles and study books and I only had a medium sized bag that rolled on wheels haha. After various blocks he started talking to us in broken English. Our weird conversation in half English and half Spanish got even weirder when he asked two men behind us where the closest Catholic church was. Turns out they were both Catholic priests, one was from Argentina and the other was from Scotland. The one from Argentina was fluent in English and I think the one from Scotland at least understand Spanish. I had no idea if they knew the guy with us understood English or if they knew we understand Spanish but the conversation that followed was quite strange. I wonder what conclusions they made from two Mormon missionaries practically held captive by this self-called "Jewish missionary" looking for a Catholic church on a random street corner in downtown Mendoza. After their instructions we walked where they hadn´t told us to go (obviously) and our journey ended when our friend found the "white cross" he was looking for...which was really the logo of a pharmacy. At one point he told us to walk on the yellow curb because yellow protected him from satan. And before he left I thought he mutter something like "we have been discovered." I wonder if the cop car that had pulled over and parked had anything to do about it... haha. It was the most bewildering experience of my life. Oh, transfers were today, and...I´m staying! Which means I will end my mission without getting to know the other two providences in the mission, but I´m alright with that. I was pretty sure that I was going to stay and I´m glad that´s how it turned out. Elder Drennan is staying too which will be great because we get along good and work well together. Welp, I think that´s about it! With all the love of patchy beards, Elder Lounsbury

Potato Soup and Spaghetti

Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out. We tend to turn a day without lunch into an opportunity to put a little American twist in our Argentine cosine. On Thursday we found ourselves in such circumstances. We decided to make some improvised Sloppy Joes using some spicy ketchup we´ve found here and while buying the needed supplies we had the inspiration to buy some mashed potato packets in case the Sloppy Joes didn´t suffice. My companion took care of cooking the meat so the task of making the mashed potatoes fell upon me. I knew after I had boiled the water and added the milk that the proportions of liquid to potato packet seemed to be erroneously uneven, but I didn´t understand how this potato packet was going to turn any liquid into mashed potatoes so I ignored the hunch. This potato stuff must be more magical than I thought. I affirm that at some point when I was pouring the packet in the liquid that the mixture reached true mashed potato consistency but by the time the not so magically mix had been absorbed by the water I was left with something that appeared more like potato soup than mashed potatoes. I figured I´d boil out the extra water that had mysteriously gotten in but after about 20 minutes, a burnt pan bottom and a few potato splashed on the oven we decided just to scratch the whole idea and eat some soup with our Sloppy Joes. Fail. 22 months on the mission and I still can´t successfully make fake mashed potatoes. It was pretty hilariously though. On Sunday our scheduled lunch texted us during church asking if we could move it to next week. Given the fact that we had nothing to eat in the pench, that it was Sunday and we couldn´t buy anything, and that next week we have lunches every day, we said yes. Somewhere in the back of the cupboard we pulled out half a bag of spaghetti noodles and a homemade bottle of tomatoes that an investigator had given us. We rolled up the sleeves and tucked in the ties and prayed for a modern-day food-version of turning water into wine. It didn´t really work. We tried spicing the sauce with a packet of taco seasoning. Nothing. Once on the noodles we tried adding tobacco sauce. Nothing. BBQ sauce. Worse. Finally my companion ended with putting ketchup on his and I put old Fritos-like chips on mine. It was so funny. We were just dying. It´s great finding stuff to laugh about. We had a great week with investigators. Those two girls didn´t come to church and we´ve kinda started thinking about dropping them for a week and seeing if it makes any difference. BUT, the great news is seven other people came to church this week so pretty much we´ve got a lot of work in front of us. Five of the people that came to church came with the help of members which is GREAT. We´ve started teaching the family of a recent convert and a couple friends of a this reactivating family. And besides those seven who came to church we´re also making some progress with the kids of an inactive (and offended) member because they come to play soccer every Wednesday now. We need to start teaching them but they´ve already got friends in church and one of them even remembers going to our church before. They´re way cool kids. I really hope I stay here for my last transfer, it would be pretty weird for me to leave but it always could happen... Welp, with all the love of a failed cooking, Elder Lounsbury P.S. this week I had a dream that I came home and Emma and Madeline had turned like half emo and had all kinds of lip, eye and nose piercings. It was pretty terrible. Please tell me it won´t be like that haha.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monsters Under the Bed

On Thursday our weekly planing session was interrupted by the discovery that we weren´t alone in the apartment. We were in the middle of a little chocolate break when we spied the intruder. A series of tactical strategym was discussed and developed. Precise SWAT maneuvers were carried out. The culprit was detained. However, the imprisonment was a little anticlimactic because the convict was already dead. It still way freaked us out. The thing had 8 eyes and 8 legs and was about as big as the glass that it had been trapped in. We´ve been a little uneasy for the past couple of days because of the experience. We shook out all our sheets and blankets and looked for other monsters under the bed and in the closets. So far we only have one prisoner. Although I´m not really sure if that´s a good thing or not. It either means our little roommate was a rare exception or that we just haven´t found his buddies yet... I´m hoping it´s the first. This week we feel like we´ve made progress (however little it might be) with some of our investigators that are SO close to getting baptized. Pretty much we have three people that have testimonies and that are keeping the commandments but that don´t want to get baptized...yet. They all admit they´ll do it in the future, but two of them have been saying that for the last couple months... The interesting thing is that they all agreed to have someone do the baptismal interview with them. So we´re REALLY hoping whoever does the interviews will be able to work some miracles and help these people see that it doesn´t make any sense to put off a bunch of blessings until later if they´re ready for them now. So we´re really praying they´ll get over their fear or whatever it is that is holding them back. That´s pretty much the biggest news this week. We´re starting to see some results from playing soccer on Wednesdays with all the kids that go. One of them who has been inactive for a while came to church last week and just seemed like he was way happy. And we´re starting to gain the trust of a couple brothers who aren´t members but who have family that is. We´re hoping we can start making the spiritual part a little bigger so that´s they develop more than friendships when they play. The father of some of those kids came for the first time in a long time so we´re way excited. His wife starting going to church like two months ago and gave a talk last week which was also way cool. They shared desires to go to the temple in a year so we´re way excited to see them making giant leaps. Welp, that´s about all I got. With all the love of a spider, Elder Lounsbury P.S. Zoom in on the eyes