Saturday, December 24, 2011

Feliz Navidad!

It´s the most wonderful time of the year! There will be fireworks lighting and BBQ cooking when loved ones are near!

Christmas here is way different. It doesn´t even really feel like Christmas. I think most of that was because it´s been mid 80s to mid 90s all week. There´s just something weird about a Christmas where it´s not cold or rainy haha. The big traditions here are to light fireworks, cook an asado (the BBQ here) and be with friends and family drinking all night. I´ve seen a couple Christmas trees in businesses (fake of course) and a couple small ones in houses and I think I remember one house that had lights. So that´s been a lot different too. No hot chocolate, no candy canes, no gingerbread houses, no sugar cookies, no eggnog, no warm fire or ugly Christmas sweaters; it´s just a complete different atmosphere. In one way it´s nice because obviously all of those things are not what Christmas is really about, but in another way it seems like tomorrow is going to feel just like any other day.

Even though caroling is pretty unheard of here, a group of us are going to go caroling tonight. We´re going to stop by a couple investigators and give them some gifts and then sing. I´m super excited. It´s gonna help with that whole trying to get it feeling like Christmas thing. We were invited to eat at President´s house tonight, so that´s going to be pretty incredible. Elder Resek (the member of the 70 who lives here in Mendoza) and his wife are going to be there, along with the mission presidency and their families, so things are going to be quite packed. But, it´s a pretty cool privilege that we get for working in the offices.

This week we had transfers so it´s been pretty busy. There´s always stuff to do when people come or go and on top of that we´re getting close to the end of the month so I´ve been plenty busy entering in baptismal registros. Since I´m starting my fourth transfer in the offices we thought I was going to start training a replacement but....I didn´t. I love the people I´m with and the progress I´ve seen as a missionary here but I´m also going to be ready when all I have to focus on is the missionary work. The strange thing is that Elder Oster did get a trainee. So we´re going to be in a three some for a transfer. I have mixed feelings about that, because sometimes those can feel awkward, but we´ll see how it goes. I´m guessing I´ll finally get my replacement next transfer but that´ll put us in another three some situation so it´s going to be weird to see what happens.

Like I said, I love the people I´m with. This week Elder Ostler and I have ran 32 kilometers. It´s been great. I´ve also starting trying to eat healthier, lately for breakfast I´ve been eating a fruit salad I made the day before. Elder Christensen has got us all committed to living healthier haha. I don´t know how he got me but now I´m kinda glad he did. It´s awesome because there´s a running path about half a block away from our apartment so it makes things sooo easy. I´m currently snacking on peanuts and raisons. It´s delightful.

Besides that this week has been pretty normal. Hopefully you´ll have lots of questions for me tomorrow when we SKYPE. I´m super stoked.

With all the love of a firework,

Elder Lounsbury

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Middle Distance Runner

Woah! How is everyone doing?? Things over here are just going great. It still blows my mind how fast weeks pass by, but here we are again.

So, remember last week (at least I think it was last week) I was telling you all about the new Bible Videos that the church has out? Have you watched them yet? We invited a couple investigators to watch the Christmas fireside (they played it a week later in our stake because the other week was stake conference). Anyways, the fireside is where they showed a little bit of the videos they´ve made and our investigators absolutely loved it. They both said it was their favorite part. And when we went by later one of them told us she wants to come to church. We hardly ever hear that, but it´s like music to the ears. Not junky radio music either, we´re talking Jonsi, Passion Pit and Tokyo Police Club kinda music here. Turns out those videos really work haha. I don´t know who´s in charge of them but if I could I´d give them a shout out and let them know what they did helped change and investigators attitude towards church. I can´t wait until they come out with more.

How is the Christmas season treating all of you? It just keeps getting warmer and warmer down here but we´re loving it. Christmas time also means Christmas packages, and when there´s almost two hundred missionaries receiving those packages you gotta get a little extra help to pick it up. The senior missionary and Elder Falcon are usually in charge of getting the mission´s mail every Tuesday, but since we´ve been getting like 30 or 40 packages at a time they´ve called in for backup. So the last couple weeks Elder Ostler and I have gone with them to help carry everything. Since we´re getting close to Christmas and we stuff all of the mail into a bag that looks similar to that of Santa Claus, we thought we´d play the part. We put on a couple of the Santa Claus hats and gave M&Ms to the workers there haha. I wish you could have seen me crossing a major street in downtown Mendoza with a giant back of mail on my back and a bright red Santa Claus hat on my head. The picture I sent has us holding the packages that came that week, but in the past we´ve gotten way more than that. (From left to right it´s Elder Packer, Elder Falcon, Myself and Elder Ostler).

The title of the email has to do with some goals we´ve made this last week. We basically all want to get into incredible shape and have bulging 8 packs haha. So, I set the goal to run at least four times every week and to cut down on some of the sweets. Usually in the morning we run about 2.2 miles, but since today was P-day and we had more time we ran 5. On the 30th we´re making plans to run like 9. I was dying at the end of the run today so I don´t know how I´m going to survive that run but it´ll be fun and rewarding....after it´s over. Elder Ostler and I have adopted the phrase, "our future wives are going to love us." haha. It definitely helps with the motivation factor.

We had interviews this week which was really cool. It was my first with President Avila because the last time things got hectic and we just never got around to it. He is such an inspired man though. It´s really a privilege to have a mission president like him. I also found out that I will be getting an Argentine driver license. I am stoked out of my brains. It is going to be so legit. I mean how many people get to do that?

And lastly, but not, I get to skype you guys!!!!!! We found out a couple days ago that the Area Presidency had approved it, so we´re all pretty excited about that. Church is only an hour long so I´ll be ready anywhere after like 10:30 my time. You just give me the word and I´ll be on. If you want to look for me use my mission email.

I hope you´re all enjoying this holiday season. Don´t forget about Christ!

With all the love of an Argentina asado, (which I am going to go eat right now)

Elder Lousnbury

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Driving Privileges

Well, this week was crazy. End of the month registros were insane as normal. I found out two days before they were all due that we were missing two more but didn´t know who they were or what area they came from so I had to go through all of the zone numbers of the month and figure out what I had recorded and what they had recorded and find the difference. Needless to say, it was a mess. But in the end I got it all figured out and everyone can rest happy. We´ve also started this new retention program and I had to fill out on these excel sheets whether or not a convert was going to church and if they had the 5 lessons taught to them after their baptism. And I had to do that for every convert in the mission over the past two years. So that was also a blast. But it´s good that we´re starting to work towards better retention because the retention here is horrible. There were a couple barrios where none of the converts in the past two years were actually going to church. Typing in all of those number really gives you a unique perspective on how strong the wards are here. Some wards had almost all of their converts coming and others had hardly any.

I got to drive in Argentina this week. The mission just traded out their old minivan for a newer one, the problem is that this newer one is stick. And Elder Ostler, who drives the car a lot to do errands and renew visas, didn´t know how to drive stick. So, on Thursday we had to drop some packages off at a nearby stake center where president was doing interviews and since we had just gotten the car the day before and Elder Ostler didn´t know how to drive...I got to drive it. It was so legit. I felt like a boss driving stick again. After that we had to drop some stuff off at a pench and then I taught him how to drive. It was pretty cool. Although I kinda wish he didn´t learn because it would have meant I get to drive more...but that´s alright haha. It was a pretty cool experience igual.

Yesterday night the Ward had a really cool Christmas Party. It was slightly unplanned (I spent a good half an hour trying to help them hook up a computer to the projector in the cultural hall) but a lot of people came and we had 4 non-members and a couple less active members come so it was great for us. Ward activities are the perfect time to invite friend because it´s a little more casual than church and they have better opportunities of getting to know everyone else and feeling comfortable. We watched the movie Joy to The World which has clips of the savoir ´s life while the Mormon Tabernacle Choir signs Christmas carols in the background. It´s a way cool movie.

Speaking of cool church movies, we got an email from the distribution center that I read about the new Bible Videos website the church is in the process of making and watched a couple and they are absolutely incredible. Right now there´s only 6 focusing on the birth of Jesus but they´re going to add videos gradually until there´s around 100. If you haven´t seen any of them you have to watch it. Now.

This week has been bitter sweet with Adriana. She is just so stubborn and doesn´t want to change because she says being catholic feels like home. It doesn´t make sense because she´s told us multiple times that she thinks the Book of Mormon is true etc. but we got to the point where we didn´t know what else we could do to help her and she wasn´t progressing. She loves us though, she´s gave us these mugs that say Mendoza on them, a key holder that has this saying in Spanish on it, and yesterday at the Ward Christmas party she gave us a poem she wrote for us (she used to be a literature teacher) and a Christmas Card. She is about the nicest person in the world but maybe it just isn´t her time quite yet.

Welp, that´s about all I got for now. I hope you all have a splendid week!

Love, Elder Lounsbury

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Alrightyyy familia. This week was pretty normal. It´s been a little busy for me because it's the end of the month (which always means lots of fun entering in baptismal records) and we have interviews next week so I gotta do aguas de cuyo. Which I haven´t started Monday is gonna be a blast haha.

This week we focused a bit more on finding new people because the people that had weren´t really keeping their commitments or progressing. we found a family that looked pretty cool at first but when we went back yesterday there friends were coming out with like 6 beer bottles to go fill up again and this guy who was either high or really drunk came out to talk. Even if the family are angels it´s hard to get baptised when you´re surrounded by those circumstances. We did however talk to the son of Carmen and his wife and a couple friends for a good 45 minutes one day. We went by and the door was open and we just started up a conversation and they were soooo nice. They invited us in and said it was his birthday and gave us some soda and they just seem really open (the wife actually listened to missionaries for a really long time when she was younger) and we´re really excited about them. The only somewhat downside that we have is that Carmen is leaving to Chile for a week with Florencia. So we can´t teach Carmen´s son with her there, which would have been ideal, and obviously we can´t teach Florencia because she´ll be in Chile. However, Florencia is coming to church with her mom tomorrow and we´re gonna try to get Carmen to go to chruch in Chile and also go to the temple because it´s only like 20 minutes away from her house. So that would be a cool experience for both of them. And we´ll just have to go by with a different member to teach her son and wife for this week.

The only mildly exiting or different thing that happened this week was that I got a police background check thing done so I can get my visa renewed soon. That´s a lot of what Elder Ostler does so it was interesting seeing how all of that gets done. He knows like everyone in the government buildings we have to go to because all 200 missionaries we have get their visas renewed at those places. Usually the ladies at one place teasingly/not really teasingly complain and tease him because he always brings so much work for them to do haha. But their still our friends. Sometimes we bring facturas (those donut like things) so that they like us more. Food is the way to win any friend.

We had a super good lesson with Adriana yesterday. She´s told us that she thinks the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet but she says that the Catholic church feels like her home and she doesn´t want to commit to change religions. We re-taught the apostasy and focused on getting a spiritual answer from God. We testified a ton. It was a great lesson. We put a goal for her of getting baptised on the 10th which is gonna require a miracle but it´s all in God´s hands now. She committed to really studying the Book of Mormon and praying to see if it was true so I have hope that she´s gonna make it. She should also be coming to church tomorrow (which is stake conference) and there´s gonna be a sweet choir singing christmas songs so hopefully she really feels the spirit there.

Other than that we´re working with a couple other people but their not really progressing a ton. Jorge for example just isn´t really following through on anything he says he´s going to do. We had an awesome planning session this last thursday so we´re excited for next week. I´m having a blast with Elder Ostler. I love how we work and teach together, we just get along really well and have had some really cool lessons together. I really hope I stay with him another transfer. He would be the first companion since my trainer that I would have more than 1 transfer with. We´ll see what happens.

With all the love of a hot December,

Elder Lounsbury

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Man, I can´t believe another week has gone by. Do you all realize we´re almost in December? That is blowing my little mind. This week was pretty great. On Tuesday some of the zone and district leaders had a training meeting and I absolutely loved it. It was so great. President is an incredible teacher. He talked a lot about the responsibilities of a district leader and basically just all of the things we need to do. I learned a lot about the importance of the small things we sometimes don´t pay very much attention too. They also introduced a new retention program that comes from the area 70 so we´re excited to get that going because there are sooo many inactive members. When Elder Aidukatis came he mentioned helping the church actually grow, not just increase our numbers. This retention program is focused on the missionaries teaching the new converts the lessons again, after their baptism. So hopefully that´s going to start making a difference of the people who get baptised and stay active in the church. They also introduced a 5-5-5 program where the ward focuses on 15 families who are inactive and tries to help them by asking them if they´ll listen to the missionaries. If they say yes, we go by and start teaching them everything all over again and try to get references from them. And once they´re active we move our focus to another family. Elder Ostler and I are working really hard to get the ward to have ward council because apparently (and this happens with various wards) they haven´t had it for months, if not a whole year. We´ve got an awesome bishop though and we´re excited to start making a bigger change in the ward. It seems like there are not very many people who do their home teaching, which puts a lot of work on us because we have to find new people who want to listen and try getting less active members to come. But, we´re excited to change some stuff.

Soooo one of the things I´m grateful for this week is that we got to eat at an American´s house with american food. It´s a super odd story but this guy named Leo who is from Argentina, lived for a long time in the states. He met this girl but then got deported. She followed him down here, and they got married. He got baptised like a year ago. Now they´re kinda stuck here waiting for a bunch of paper work because they want to live in the states. Anyway, she made us tacos, complete with way awesome state seasoning and ranch dressing. For dessert we had chocolate chip cookies and milk. Of the course the milk still tasted kinda weird but the cookies were like gold, if you could eat gold and it tasted good.

Carmen has been doing great. On Monday and Tuesday we went by her house and helped her daughter Florencia study for English test. We also started teaching Carmen lesson 5 (which you teach after baptism) and she said she really wants to be a visiting teacher and bring all the inactives back to church. I wish all members could have that kind of enthusiasm. She´s just awesome. We haven´t had a ton of time to teach Florencia very much but she committed to read part of the book of mormon. We tried going by yesterday but neither of them were there. She should be done with tests though so we´re hoping to find more time to teach her. The only thing preventing her from coming to church is her work schedule so we´re going to talk to her about trying to always get Sundays off so she can go.

Adriana is doing alright. She says she doesn´t want to change religions but at the same time has told us that she thinks that Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but we think she´s saying more logically than spiritually and we´re trying to get her focused on reading the book of mormon and asking for an answer. We think she´s pretty afraid of the change and she´s not very social to begin with so it would be a lot new things in her life but we explained to her that everything depends on if the book of mormon is from god or isn´t.

Oh! Last of all, we celebrated Thanksgiving today!! You won´t believe this, Sister Packer cooked a turkey for us. And stuffing. Oh. My. Papercup. It was incredible. We walked into the offices and the most delicious smell of cooked turkey loomed into my nostrils. I can´t believe how lucky I got to be here during thanksgiving. Especially since turkeys are hard to find, I highly doubt any other group of missionaries celebrated like that. Did I mention she made pumpkin pie too? I am currently experiencing that wonderfully horrible sensation that comes after eating more delicious food than my stomach has space to hold. However, I didn´t get my yearly dose of American Football I guess I´ll just have to wait til next year..when I´ll beat dad..

Welp, I think that about wraps it up for me!

With all the love of Columbus,

Elder Lounsbury

Monday, November 21, 2011

Planning and other fun activities

Well, this was week was alright I guess...nothing big happened.....except Carmen got baptised!!!!!!!!!!!!! So pretty much this week was amazing. It was such a cool baptism. She just wanted a small meeting with a friend, her daughter us and a priesthood member from the ward but it was just fantastic. We watched the Restoration right after and I felt the spirit way strong. Then we sung a couple songs and you could tell Carmen was just loving it. None of us wanted to leave haha. We sat around for a little bit with a couple of the other Elders and just talked and laughed and it was just great. We´re super hoping her daughter felt something different and that we can start working with her. This next week we´re going to be going by Carmen to re-teach her the lessons so we´re hoping we can invite Florencia (the daughter) to listen to those when we´re there. We´ve gotten to know her pretty well so hopefully she feels comfortable around us because at first she seemed really timid. But she is super pure and already lives all of the standards and we feel like all she needs a testimony of the Restoration and she´ll be set. We´re going to help her study on monday and tuesday for her english exam on wednesday and then throw in some lessons after the english haha.

We´ve been as busy as walruses and time and just been flying by. I think part of the reason this week has been so cool is because we´re planning wayyyyy better. When Elder Aidukatis came he taught us a ton about planning. Before we´d take maybe two hours to plan and we´d only talk about what we wanted to teach the people or what we needed to do to help them but since he came it´s been completely different. Now we do everything we did before but instead of vague ideas and goals we want to reach, we write appointments in pencil for the whole week and lesson plans on what we want to teach for every investigator we have. Then we go back and make plans for every investigator AGAIN but this time focusing on how we can help them get to church. Basically by the end of our planning we have our whole week filled out with appointments and back ups. We probably spent about 8 hours in total doing our weekly planning last week. But that´s because we´re not very used to it. Hopefully we can get it down to 5 or 6. Then for our daily planning we go over the plans we´ve made and try to solidify them. We probably have around 10 phone calls to make every night now to confirm appointments and try to schedule times when members can go with us to teach. And all of those are on a check list we make during weekly planning. It´s super opened up my eyes to how powerful this stuff is. When Elder Aidukatis talked about it when he came he said that if we don´t plan we´ll only be the outcome of circumstance. And who wants to be that? We´re loving this new way of working and I´m super excited when I get home to use it and conquer the world!

I´m trying to think of other delightful things that happened this week. Oh yeah, I´m a year old now! Elder Oster and Elder Christensen bought me 12 alfajores (for 12 months) and 12 snickers because they know how much I love them. So that was a fun little way to celebrate. I don´t feel a ton different but it is a little strange to think it´s been a whole year since i was a little baby crawling into the MTC and trying to figure out what was going on haha. Everyone says the second year just flies by so I´m stoked to make the best of it.

Welp, that´s about all I can think of.

With all of the love of a yellow submarine,

Elder Lounsbury

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Viento Zonda

Hello from Mendoza!!!!!!!!!!

I hope you all are just doing spaztastic. I sure know I am.

To start off, this week was crazy. And I loved it. On Tuesday there was a Viento (wind) Zonda (pronounced sone-da) which is basically the name of these giant wind storms that Mendoza gets a lot. A member explained it to me a while ago so I´ll try to do the best to explain it to you all. Basically what happens is as air travels over the mountains that border Argentina and Chile it drops precipitation and by the time it reaches the top it´s super dry. Then it starts going down the other side really fast causing friction with the mountain side that creates some kinda energy in the air (it´s supposedly also called the witch´s wind because apparently a lot of people get agitated or sick when this happens). Usually there´s just a lot of dust and there will be a surprisingly warmer air flow (in the winter or fall for example) and that´s how people know it´s a Viento Zonda. But a couple times a year the viento zonda comes with super-extra-duper strong winds. We were teaching in the house of an investigator (lucky, because it would have been horrible to be outside) when the wind really started to pick up. By the time we left it was pretty much over but the damage was incredible. Full grown 25-30 foot trees were literally blown down. Some smaller trees were split in half and the majority were missing branches. There were leaves everywhere. You can imagine the mess it was for power and phone lines.. I wish I had better pictures but I only had my camera after the fact so I only have one decent one, and it doesn´t do the situation justice at all. It blew my mind (ha, get it) to see how wind could do so much damage. Me and my comp made a nerdy scripture comparison about how we need to have deeper roots like the trees that didn´t get blown over. It was great fun.

Also, this week we took a weekend trip (since we have P-days on Saturdays now) to this man made lake in the mountains. One of our investigators wanted to go and to try and make our friendship better we decided why not. Just so you know a little about her, her name is Adriana, she´s about 45 years old, she´s in love with her two dogs, listens to and knows how to play a couple songs by the beatles, was a literature professor andddd is a terrible driver. Haha. We got permission from President to leave our area go with her and a priest in our ward who is about to go on a mission. To be honest the lake wasn´t that great, I mean it was all lakes...but the surroundings were more mountainous and dead-looking like Arizona and the super boring parts of Idaho you drive through to get to Utah. Not exactly the luscious green Oregon forests I love so much. But, it was definitely an adventure. At one point she pulled out in front of a Semi coming down a hill and then didn´t really speed up at all to account for it. He ended up passing us on a double yellow line. I´m grateful to still be alive and do not plan on driving with her again haha. The good news is after telling us she didn´t want to come to church or listen to us much anymore, she came to all three hours and loved it. We´re being super persistent with her so hopefully something will come of it.

While we´re on the topic of investigators, I should probably tell you we plan on baptising a lady named Carmen next Saturday! We´re super excited. It´s ironic because probably a little over a month ago I was supposed to give her a baptismal interview but her anti-mormon kids freaked out on her and sent her to Chile (that´s where´s she from). The funny thing that when she showed up the missionaries were teaching the family member she was going to stay with in Chile! Apparently he has completely changed his life (stopped smoking and doing drugs, leaving all his friends etc) and we don´t know what happened but when she came back from her trip she had changed. Before she was really afraid to be baptised and said she didn´t really have a testimony even though before she had said she knew it was true etc. And now she´s totally and completely committed. We´re way excited.

Going along with the theme of storms, Saturday night we were caught in a giant thunder storm. We were teaching this man named Jorge who we randomly contacted in the street this week. Turns out all of his family are members and that he already has a testimony of the book of mormon and Joseph Smith. He should be getting baptised the week after Carmen, if he´s not too good to be true (we still haven´t really found out why the heck he wasn´t baptised before). We walked all the way home in the pouring rain. It was delightful. Elder Ostler is from Washington so we both felt at home. Anyways, the point of the story is that we had invited Carmen´s daughter named Florencia to come to church the next day but she said she couldn´t because she works. BUT, apparently it rained so much that her boss called her and told her to come in late on Sunday, so we got a nice little surprise when she showed up at church with her mom. We have high hopes for her as well, we just gotta find a way to get her work off on Sundays.

Alright, the last couple bits about this week is that Hermana Packer (the nurse here) made rootbeer from extract and I had rootbeer and rootbeer floats. A sweet reunion was made between two long lost friends. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I had raw fish on Sunday. Apparently they put it in a ton of lemon juice to kill the bad stuff but that means it was just weird fish meat that tasted like lemon juice. Haha. But, it all adds to the experience.

With all the love of fish eyes,

Elder Lounsbury

Monday, November 7, 2011

5 transfers, 5 areas, 5 companions

Welp, the area bouncing continues once again for me. We kinda saw it coming because now that no one is training in the offices we´re down from 6 companions to 4 and therefore one companionship has to leave their area. So, now I´m with Elder Ostler in Godoy Cruz Centro. He is a really cool guy so I´m excited to be with him, hopefully we´ll learn a lot this transfer. It´s kinda strange because he´s the zone leader and I´m his companion but I´m still district leader. Which almost never happens but I guess the offices are just weird like that.

This last week was pretty busy. President is in Buenos Aires for almost all of this week for a Mission Presidents meeting so all of the stuff that was supposed to happen this week happened a week earlier. Tuesday we had consejo, Wednesday we had a Trainers meeting, Thursday there were oldies getting inteviews here before they went home, Friday they left and the new group came and then Saturday we had to get the new group set up with their binders and cards and copies of their passports and all the important stuff like that that they need. It was also the very beginning of the month which meant I spent most of my time making sure we had all of the baptismal registros in. This week is going to be a lot more tranquilo so I´m super excited for that.

In the offices there´s not a ton of new things. We´re in the middle of getting internet that is 10x as fast as what we have so that´ll be great because it´s terrible slow right now. We´re also trying to get everyone using the calendar in Microsoft Outlook because apparently up until now they´ve done all their calendar like planning in excel, which does not make any sense at all. We´re also trying to make sharing information easier with something called evernote. It´s cool because I can put my search program up (offically named Google Mendoza haha) and everyone in the office can always have access to an updated version. There´s smaller things like a daily balance of how much money all of the missionaries have that we used to print off and now we just stick it on evernote and can access it whenever people call.

Yesterday was a pretty eventful day. I went to church in San Ignacio where I got to see Matias get the priesthood and then bless the sacrament so that was way cool. He is such a stud it just blows my mind. He´s coming to all 3 hours of church now and I can tell he´s starting to feel more comfortable with everyone in the ward. It´s just awesome to see that. At night I worked a little bit in Godoy Cruz Centro, although it was somewhat disappointing because the baptism we apparently had lined up for this Saturday is encountering a lot of opposition from her husband who used to be an active member and now is completely anti. Her wife loved church and wants to get baptised but he´s let Satan completely win him over with lies. It was the first time in my mission I´ve come into contact with anti stuff, so it was an interesting experience but it´s just so sad coming from a returned missionary who once had a temple marriage.

On a more random note, as we were leaving we saw a car break down. We went over to see if they wanted us to push them and they said no, and then signalled for the truck behind to inch up until the truck´s front bumper was touching the car´s back bumper. On the green light the truck literally pushed the car until it could get enough speed to start on it´s own. It was so Argentine. Elder Ostler and I had a good laugh about it. Then later that night we had a car of guys drive by us staring yelling "BYU, BYU." We had no idea who they were or how they knew about BYU but I thought it was another weird Argentine experience that I´d share with you all.

Alright, I got one more. Elder Christensen and I just back from eating at this fancy restaurant downtown that had some of the most incredible steak I have had in my life. They practically gave us butter knives to cut with....and they worked just great. The meat was so good. Anyways, that´s not the story. The story is that on the desserts menu they had written "Hoe-made flan" (flan is like a bready pudding). haha. Definitely think they meant to say "home-made". I love english here.

Welp, I think that´s about all I got for this week.

With all the love of an Argentine steak,

Elder Lounsbury

Monday, October 31, 2011

Playing Secretary

Things here this week after Tuesday were super tranquilo. Tuesday was a little insane though. Like I said last week, I had 7 hours of meetings. Elder Aidukaitis was really interesting. He was VERY straight forward and blunt and a lot of missionaries didn´t really like it but I learned a ton so I felt alright. I think it also helps that I´m not quite half way there yet and still have a lot of time to improve on the stuff he talked about. The big thing he focused on was planning. Apparently up until now we´ve been doing it all wrong...haha. So I guess it was good to start realizing that and start trying to do it the right way. He basically said after our weekly planning that we should have practically all of our agendas filled with appointments and plans for our investigadors. Before we´ve just kinda written down plans in another place and we haven´t done anything nearly as detailed. He read a couple scriptures where it talks about how God planned to create the world and how he´s such a good planner he knows the end from the beginning, it was a really cool priciple and he illustrated it well. I definitely need to get better a not just setting goals but planning out weekely and daily steps that I need to do to reach them.

Other than that this week at the offices was super calm. President and his wife were off doing zone conferences in all of the other zones and Elder and Sister Packer were out with an area doctor and two other office elders who were translating for them touring hospitals that the mission wants to use in the future. So, basically there were only 4 of us here for most of the week. We went rampant like kids with no parental supervision. We untucked our shirts and undid our ties and only ate chocolate for lunch. (see attached picture). haha. Nah, but it was super quiet here and I almost ran out of things to do a couple of the days because my programs are pretty much done. With no programming to do I feel like a soul with less purpose. We´re going to start working on a system that will back up all of the computers daily though so I guess that´ll give me something more to do haha.

I did get to play secretary for a little bit this week since Elder Ostler was out going to all of the Hospitals. I helped an Elder´s mom buy tickets on the same flight as him so after she comes and visits for a while they can go home on the same flight. It was kinda fun doing something different. I was kinda the middle man between her and this guy in Buenos Aires that buys all of the flights.

Also, since last Monday was a little crazy trying to get everything ready for Elder Aidukaitis we didn´t have much of a P-day so President gave us a P-day on Saturday. They just opened up a Burger King in our zone (I think right now it´s the only one in Mendoza) so we went to eat there. It was so classic, they had a McDonalds literally right next to it. They´re both in the super nice mall that also had an Authorized Mac Retail Store soooo I got to touch my first iPad. They also had the biggest most gargantic ginourmous screen I have ever seen in my life. It was love at first sight. But really, it was like the size of a tv.

Besides that this week was kinda boring. We have transfers on Saturday so it´ll be interesting to see what happens there. I don´t think I´ll be companions with Elder Falcon anymore and I might change areas (again!?!?) since we´re going from 6 Elders in the offices to 4 (remember two are being trained like I was last transfer) so one area is going to have to be washed. I´ll let you all know how that turns out next Monday!

With all the love of Burger King,

Elder Lounsbury

Monday, October 24, 2011

Elder Aidukatis

This week has been pretty busy because we´ve been getting ready for a visit from Elder Aidukatis who is in our Area Presidency. It´s going to be pretty intense... Tomorrow the office staff has a short meeting with him for 30 minutes. Then afterwards all of the Zone and District leaders have a meeting with him so I´ll have another two and a half hour meeting. And THEN we have our zone conference, also with Elder Aidukatis. So, basically tomorrow I will have 7 hours straight of meetings with a general authority. It is going to be one crazy day...

This week I got a lot done. I finished making the cards for everyone in the mission that we´re going to start using with this program so that when people come to buy stuff we´ll just scan their cards (which have a bar code on it that corresponds to their Missionary ID) and then scan whatever they´re buying and then we´ll be set. We have almost two hundred missionaries in the mission right now so as you can imagine it was quite the project. I also finished and sent out to everyone an updated program of what missionaries fill out when they´ve had a baptism. It just a couple new things like the numbers of the wards and stakes automatically get filled in and there´s 6 sheets on the bottom to fill out more than one baptism and small stuff like that. I had to make two different versions because some stuff I had in there won´t work on the older versions of excel. Anyways, it was nice finally sending those off because it´s something I´ve slowly been working on ever since I got here. I also finished a search program that we can use to easily find where missionaries are or what their number is etc. It´s really nice because you can type in the initials of a zone and see easily who all is in that zone or type in ZL and easily copy all of the email address to the zone leaders in the mission. Closed projects are always the best. I also had to do aguas de cuyo this week (the mission newsletter thing we have) because zone conferences are this week. Presidente wrote like a two page message so I had to change the whole format and print it out on bigger paper that can be folded like a brochure to fit everything in. Haha.

While I was do augas de cuyo I was checking where all of the newbies are and who they´re with because that´s something we put on the newsletter. I was looking up a missionary who had an arrival date this month but it turns out he´s working in the states waiting for his visa to come through. And he´s comps with Austin Paptriz in Wisconsin right now. I KNOW RIGHT!?!?!!??! Oh man. I flipped out. Such a small world. I realized that this morning I sent out an email to him (because I sent one to the whole mission and even if he´s not here he still gets included) and how crazy would it be if Austin looked over at the computer screen at just the right time and saw this email with my name at the bottom of it. haha. I´m excited to talk to him when he finally gets here.

Other excited news this week is that I did my first baptismal interview! I was a little nervous but in the end it was a way cool experience. In the beginning I asked her how she met the missionaries and just kinda asked her to tell me her story. I always love hear conversion stories. Sometimes the people are like afraid of/hide from the missionaries until one day something changes so the can be kinda funny but at the same time really spiritual because they recognize how God guided them to the truth. The girl who I interviewed had a rough life growing up and for a while didn´t believe in God/was angry at him for stuff that had happened. But she went to school with this mormon girl and she told me her friend would talk to her about the church while waiting for the bus and that her friend just seemed to always be so happy and she wanted to know why. And so her curiosity led her to learn more and more and then talk with the missionaries and now she´s baptised. It was a pretty cool experience to hear it all from her. I wish I could have videotaped it because it was just like those testimonies you see on, especially since they don´t have very many in spanish haha.

Also, this really common grocery store down here called "vea" now carries Snickers and I am in heaven. The first time I saw them in there I seriously bought 25 because usually you can only find them in walmart or the Argentine version on walmart called Carrefour. So....I guess that was the best part of my week.

With all the love of the public bus system,

Elder Lounsbury

Monday, October 17, 2011


Last week Elder Falcon hit his one year mark in the mission so we celebrated by cooking an Asado. I don´t know if I´ve told you all about the Asados here but they´re comparable to the BBQ we have in the states. The biggest difference is that instead of cooking over an open flame they start a fire and wait until there are coals to put the meat over it. They usually only flavor it with salt and maybe some other seasonings but this time we found a cheap version of BBQ sauce and put that on and it was about the greatest thing I´ve had in my life. Maybe it´s just because I miss BBQ sauce but this stuff was incredible.

Also, yesterday was Mother´s day here in Argentina. So, to celebrate the Avila family invited all of the office staff to their house to have dinner...and it was just amazing. They are such an awesome family. They had a ton of food there too haha. We had BBQ pig which was my favorite (you can never go wrong with BBQ right?) then they had some chicken and salads and little half moon sandwich things and it was just a lot of fun being together with everyone. After dinner we just sat around and talked and sung some hymns and sister Avila shared some experiences with us and oh man, I was having a mas o menos day but it just was a 180 turn around. It was way cool. Presidente Avila is hilarious, he´s always cracking jokes. Some are funnier than others and the ones that aren´t funny still are funny because it´s our Mission President that´s saying them haha. We just had a great time.

The week in the offices finally slowed up a little bit. Well, kinda. We didn´t have anything like consejo or random missionaries come or any training meetings so it was rather tranquillo. But that doesn´t mean I didn´t have a lot to do. We got a giant shipment from Buenos Aires which included 50 boxes of Books of Mormon and about 20-30 other boxes of random other stuff so it was a great test for my program to add it all to the inventory. Before I had about 5 spaces you could scan a bar code and then press a button and it would enter all the information in. But I found a way so that there´s just one space and right when you scan the barcode it automatically runs, which makes things go faster. Figuring out a faster way to do things is always great but it means I have to go back and change everything from the slower way to the faster way. I also added something called "Pedidos" which is for people who are in far away zones who call up and ask for things before president or someone else from the offices makes a trip to that zone. We have to keep it separate from the compras because if they don´t end up buying it the inventory numbers get messed up. So, I made a different part of the program where you can put those in and the Pedidos will show up on the corresponding zone list that can be printed off and signed by the people when they actually get the item they asked for. Super fun stuff...

Also, I gave my first district meeting this Tuesday. I was pretty nervous because BOTH the Assistants AND the Zone leaders are in my district so I felt like a little puppy in the midst of grandpa dogs with faces covered in the wrinkles of wisdom. I definitely felt a little inadequate trying to teach them because it seems like there´s nothing I would know that they wouldn´t know but...I think I did alright. I talked about opening our mouths which we call "abrir la boca" here. I read a little bit of what Elder Holland talked about in Priesthood session about how Satan´s "effort to stop the work will be reasonably well served if he can just bind the tongue of the faithful" and later he even talks specifically about missionaries and it´s just a great a talk. Anyways, we just discussed that a little bit and read some stuff from Preach my Gospel about how to talk to the people and I think it all turned out alright. It´s something that sometimes is hard to do in the offices because we only have half the day to work and sometimes we can get caught up in only trying to knock doors or something when we still need to talk to the people around us. Now I just gotta figure out what I´m going to teach tomorrow...haha

Well family. I was great to hear from you all as always.

With all the love of a barcode,

Elder Lounsbury

Monday, October 10, 2011


Alright, so I´m just going to jump right into it...the big news for this week is that MATIAS GOT BAPTISED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh man, it was like the best day of my life. It was seriously sooooo cool to see. He actually got baptised after church because he has like barely an hour free on Saturdays in between work but it was incredible. He had his mom and grandma there with him and of course his girl friend and some of her family and also a young couple who is about to have their first baby who are friends of his. He told me he was a little nervous as I was talking to him before it started but it was kinda of a cool contrast because I talked to him at the end and asked, "how do you feel now?" and he said, "like a new person." ahh, it was just too cool. The baptismal service went really well, we had some nice talks by people and watched a cool video on the book of mormon while they were changing but I think my favorite part is that after we had a little time for people to bear their testimonies and his girlfriends mom got up and kinda told the story of how she got to know Matias and his family and just bore her testimony and I think it really touched Matias mom and grandma because afterwards they were just bawling haha. The last song we sang was "I know that my Redeemer lives" and the spirit was there really strong for that too. We´re hoping Matias is going to be the example for his family and that someday they´ll get baptised too. After it was over he was hugging his mom and they were both crying and you could tell they felt the spirit and I´m just way excited to see what will happen with that family. All because of a 16 year old girl mind you. I went up and congratulated him after it was all over and he just kept saying thank you and he just seemed really grateful and it was just awesome. He´s going to be such a stud.

President Avila even came because he talked to Matias on the phone once and we had talked with him about Matias´ situation. President is such a loving man, it´s incredible. He just takes time to make people feel appreciated. The other day after he had been in a meeting all morning and most of the afternoon with trainers showing them the new training program he came back to the offices and went by everyone´s office and just kinda sat down and talked for 10 minutes. And like yesterday he could have gone to church with his family but he showed his support and love for Matias by going to church in San Ignacio. He took the time to talk to a lot of people there too. He´s just a really genuine person. His wife is really cool too. We don´t get to know her very well because she´s not in the offices as much (she as three kids still in school) but when she´s in her she´s way fun to joke around with. They are both really really cool people.

Besides that not a ton happened this week. I got all of the registros in which is a relief although it was frustrating because soooo many were incomplete and I had to make calls and bug people for information and there was just a lot of stuff that came up but now it´s over and I´m stress free haha. The beta version of the oficial Mision Mendoza Store was tested this week and....everything turned out surprisingly well. We had about 100 compras made in an hour and the financero told me it was going to save him about 7 hours of work so that makes all the work I put in seem worth while. Now I´m working on putting all of the error messages and stuff in Spanish because the Materialista (who is the one who deals with all the materials...if you didn´t figure that one out) is usually a latin and the program does little good if they can´t understand it. I´m also working on adding a part that we can use when people buy stuff away from the offices. For example for zone conference the missionaries will call up and ask for everything they want to buy and then when president and the assitants go they will bring all of that stuff. So we´re going to have some kinda order sheet so we can keep track of what stuff we need to get ready and we´ll pring that and then they can sign it saying they actually got what they asked for and when we get that sheet back we´ll just click a little box and it´ll automatically transfer the compra from the order list to the bought list. Just some fun stuff.

Sometimes there´s some pretty funny miscommunication in the offices. It´s definitely an interesting bilingual atmosphere. One conversation that I overheard this week was Elder Packer talking to President. Elder Packer pretty much always will talk in nothing but English and somehow expect that they´ll understand (which is funny because sometimes he uses words that there´s no way their going to know) and Hermana Packer usually uses a Spanglish mix where some words will be english and some words will be Spanish. Anyways, Elder Packer was leaving and he said to President, "I´m going home to cook some dinner" and President in response said, "Gracias, igualmente" which Elder Packer thought was a proper response to his statement. If any of you remember that email a while back where I talked about that word, you´ll know that basically what President said was, "Thanks, you too" -- which doesn´t exactly make sense with "I´m going to go home and cook dinner" haha. It´s also been fun because my companion is trying really hard to learn English but sometimes says funny things and then I translate it what he said into Spanish and he just starts cracking up because he realizes how silly it sounds haha. For example, he was trying to say "My ears need to get used to [hearing] English" and instead he said "I need to get used to my ear." We had a good laugh about that.

Alright family. That´s about all I got for now. I´m going to go play some soccer and hopefully do a bunch of cañazos (nutmegs) and badly embarrass some people.

With all the love of a dinosaur,

Elder Lounsbury

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mission Store

How did you all like General Conference!? I loved it to death. There were so many good talks that it just blew my mind into space. I had questions answered I didn´t even know I had haha. Saturday Afternoon and Priesthood sessions were probably my favorite but all of them were way good. I learned a lot of things and set some goals and I just want to go out and conquer the world now. I love how General Conference does that to you. I wish I had my notes with me or I would talk a lot more about all the talks but I don´ maybe I´ll just save that for a different time.

This week has been incredibly busy. Like insanely busy. First, on Tuesday and Wednesday we were getting ready for and then welcoming all the new missionaries for this transfer. I had to give them all the binders we make and give a short presentation on it which was delightful. I´m pretty sure they don´t remember anything because I sure don´t remember anything the Historian said when I got to the mission. I couldn´t even tell you who he was haha. But hopefully they weren´t so shell-shocked and got something out of it. This week was also the last week of the month, and that means time to enter in all the Baptismal Registros in the mission.The mission broke the record for number of baptisms in one month (we got 126) which is awesome for everyone except the guy who has to type those all in to the computer...haha. I also completely redesigned a baptismal program I have been working on because it was being moody and I have to present it tomorrow at consejo (which is a training with all the zone leaders) so that was just one other thing on the list.

A little over a week ago I got this super crazy idea to make a program that would help the Mission Store. Right now whenever people want to buy things like scriptures or scripture cases or church DVDs or whatever they sign up a on a little list and write down how much it costs and their name etc. so the financiero can later subtract it from their mission card. But, people don´t always fill it out right and Elder Kammerman is left guessing who bought it and how much he actually needs to take off and stuff like that, so it´s just not a very productive system. Sooo, this week I made a program that is going to basically do the same process but on the computer. Every missionary is going to have their own card (seperate from their actual mission debit card) that has a barcode on it (which we get from their missionary ID number). Now when they come in to buy stuff they´ll just scan their card and then we´ll scan the barcode of the thing they want to buy and it´ll automatically add it to a sheet that the financiero uses to take money of their cards. We´ve also got it set up so we can keep track of our inventory so when people buy stuff it´ll automatically subtract one from the inventory. Then when we get stuff we have another page to enter it all in. That allows us to know the Net Worth of the store and helps the financiero in budgeting. It will also help the Materialista see when we´re getting low on things and need to order more. I also have a page to easily update the database since the missionaries change every 6 weeks. Haha I even added a PIN number, which is just the missionaries birth date in number form. I thought about it so much last weekend that I spent most of P-day working on it and getting it started haha...even though I´m embarrassed to admit that... It´s been a giant project but I´ve learned a ton and I think it´s going to help the mission out a lot so it´s cool seeing improvement like that because of something you did.

So a little quick update about Matias, he didn´t get baptised this weekend. I don´t really know what happened because on Tuesday I went by with a zone leader and we had a lesson with him and set the date for Sunday and he got his interview and then on Wednesday I started working in a different area. But, he came to at least one session of Conference and now has a baptismal date for this weekend to come. So I´m really hoping he´ll reach that. I´m probably going to go on divisions with the elders in that area just so I can by him and try to get everything set firmly.

Oh, by the way, my new companion is Elder Falcon. He´s from a part of Argentina called Chaco and he´s really fun. I think we´re going to have a good time together.

Thanks for all of your updates!

With all the love of a cheese warehouse,
Elder Lounsbury

Monday, September 26, 2011

A bit of everything

Oh man, this week was really busy. It was a bit stressful because a ton of things were happening but sometimes you just have weeks like that.

This week I have mostly been working on getting binders ready for all the newbies that come tomorrow. When they get here we give them a binder with some talks in it and information on health and safety and finances and just stuff like that. Up until now we´ve gone through each individual document and printed it off x many times depending on how many missionaries we have. Then we have to go through and sort all of the different documents we print out and sort them into x amount of piles. Since we have like 20 something missionaries coming this transfer I´d started saving all of the documents as PDF files and then putting all of the PDF files together in order so that I only need to sort out when all of the documents from a binder end, instead of doing that for every single file we use...if that makes sense. Anyways, it was a bit of a project because on top of that we updated the emergency paper we have in the binders and the health guide we put in as well. At the same time I had to do stuff like send reports out to all of the stakes about how many baptisms they had last month, enter in/renew a few temple recommends for missionaries leaving or branches that still pertain to the mission instead of to a stake and send this updated electronic record for people to enter in the information I have to send to Buenos Aires.

AND on top of that, we were trying to leave at 1:30 every day to go by Matias and see if he could keep his baptismal date for this past Saturday. That always takes a giant chunk of time out of our day because of waiting for a bus and actually getting to our area but it´s definitely worth it. On Tuesday we went by and taught him all of the Commandments and he accepted them without any doubt. He had already stopped smoking a few months ago when he met his girlfriend and he is just so prepared. The good news about him is that the whole deal with his sister wanting him to be a Padrino has been settled and there aren´t any problems there. We were trying to keep his fecha for this past saturday but he had to go to the doctor on wednesday and on thursday when we called to verify our appointment he said he´s been up until 1:30 at work and that we´d have to wait for tomorrow. That one missed day made it really hard to help him feel prepared for still getting baptised that Saturday and we tried getting him there but in the end he just didn´t feel ready enough. But, he came to our ward for the first time totally by himself and after church went to a baptism that the other ward was having so we´re feeling really good about him. I think it´s almost a positive that he´ll get baptised this saturday. But, I got transferred to a different area. I´m still in the offices but I´m going to be with a different companion and am going to wash the area where the asistants (who are both leaving) were working. I´m a little bumbed because it would have been nice to work with him right up until his baptism and help plan it and everything but I´m for sure still going to go to it so it´ll still be a cool experience. But still, four areas in four transfers is a little crazy.

Welp, that´s about all I got for this week

With all the love of a bag of sugar,

Elder Lounsbury

OH, hey P.S. apparently starting today (kinda) our P-days in the offices are going to change to Saturday. So we´re taking like part of today as P-day and then part of Saturday (for this week only) and then after that I think I´m going to start just writing on Saturdays. Sooooo....yeah. heads up with that.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Manos Mormonas que ayudan

Hey family!!!

I hope you are all doing scrumptious. I sure know I am. Mendoza is starting to heat up a little bit and I´ve broken out the short sleeve shirts from the depths of my luggage and have crammed those long sleeved ones back in. Spring is just the best.

This week we´ve mostly been focused in on one of our investigators named Matias. I think I might have mentioned him to you all before (he´s the one with the girl friend who is a member) but he is just too legit to quit. Like seriously, he is the most prepared person I´ve seen in my life. He understands everything and is praying and reading the book of mormon every night. We have a baptismal date for him this Saturday but we gotta work out a couple things if it´s going to come through. The only tiny problem we have right now is that he sister asked him to be the Padrino (I think that means god father in english but I really don´t know) for her child. And he doesn´t want to let the family down but it would mean getting the communion and waiting until November to get baptised. Sooo, we had a good lesson with him and just committed him to ask God if the Book of Mormon is true and then to ask to see if this Saturday is the day he should get baptised. We´re going to go by tomorrow so we´ll see how it goes from there. The good thing is he wants to get baptised, we just gotta figure out a way so that he can and still be there for his family. The wayyyy cool thing about his story is that the missionaries went by his house like a year ago and he didn´t want to listen to much. My comp even knocked on his door more recently and he still didn´t want to listen. The whole reason this kid (he´s like twenty or so) wants to get baptised and is so open and prepared is because a member started sharing the gospel with him. So share the gospel with your people, alright!?

In other news, we did a service project on Saturday celebrating the 75th anniversary of...something. I think it was the anniversary of the church welfare program. Anyways, I painted this giant wall like a boss and got a sweet yellow apron thing (the kind you get when your a kid at Home Depot) with the whole Mormon Helping Hands dealio. We just painted and helped fix up this sports complex thing I guess you could call it. It was cool to see a lot of people from the stake there helping out and it was good for the community to see us as missionaries helping too.

Once again back to my nerdy side. This week I made (I was going to say developed but that´s just too much geek for me) this program that automatically updates where all of the missionaries are in the mission and there address and telephone numbers. We used have to do it manually and print it off for everyone so if President or anyone needs to call a missionary they know where they are and what number to call ect. But, updating it manually was a pain, and we found out a lot of the phone numbers were wrong so it really didn´t work that well. But, instead of doing all of that all I have to do is download an excel sheet from online and click a button and it fills everything out. I had some sick nasty code in there, you all would have been proud of me haha. But yeah...that´s about it for the offices.

One lasttttt thing. I am now a district leader. I basically have no idea what I´m doing haha and I feel pretty weird because three or maybe even four of the missionaries here go home in the next two transfers so it´s like, what can I tell you that you don´t already know? But I know I´m gonna learn a lot and figure out how to do everything...eventually. haha

With all the love of my newly ripped jeans,

Elder Lounsbury

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


hey everyone,

This week has been really cool. We´ve found some cool people which always gives us more ánimo. Last monday after p-day ended we went to a barrio to have a FHE with a less active family. Unfortunately the mom wasn´t home because she got stuck at the school of one of her kids doing something. So, instead we starting passing by old investigators and looking for new ones. We talked to this one girl watering the ground (to keep the dust down pretty much everyone does that) and she was open and really nice and even said she´d thought about getting baptised again now that´s she´s older and understands what she´s doing (because almost everyone here is baptised into the Catholic church when they´re kids). Anyways, after we talked for a while we found out that her brother had actually gone to seminary before with some of the neighbours who are members. Unfortunately, as we found out later, the dad is anti-mormon and wouldn´t even let his kid hang out with those neighbours anymore. It sounded pretty intense, he actually threw the book of mormon out into the street once....BUT, the good news (I think it´s good news at least...) is that no one has seen him lately and so we think he doesn´t live there anymore. We talked to the girl again and she seemed a bit less interested but we still have hope and we really want to meet this kids. Then we crossed the street and talked to the grandma of a recent convert who apparently never listens to the missionaries so that was kinda cool (even though later we found out she´s already baptised haha).

We were walking down from that barrio and just barely missed the bus. We saw it from a distance and took off running but didn´t get there in time, BUT a car pulled over like that very second and opened up the door.. He was a member from another ward and he drove us past the bus to a different stop so that we could get on. On the bus I was thinking, "what else could happen today? We´ve found two way cool people, one who´s been to seminary before and when we missed the bus this guy picked us up and saved us." And then this girl came up from the back seat and sat behind us and starting talking to us. She gave us a CD she wanted us to look at (I think it´s somekinda bible study) but then we just talked about God and her beliefs and she is way cool. She believes in the same marriage standards as we do, which is almost unheard of here, and has actually talked to the missionaries before and read part of the book of mormon. She was a little confused about something she read when she was studying the topical guide, but we tried explaining it to her and recommitted her to reading the book of mormon. She just had such an open and sincere desire to find God that it was way cool talking to her. We actually missed our stop to get off just so we could talk to her longer and then it turned out she got off at the same one so we spent a good half hour in the street talking. And none of that would have happened if that memeber wasn´t there at the perfect time and hadn´t have helped us catch the bus. Pretty cool right? We´re going to pass by her later today so hopefully that goes well.

This week I also got to work on a Mac which was just like being in heaven. I´ve missed those things haha. Hermana Packer (one of the senior couples who is the mission nurse) was having trouble backing up her computer so I got to help her on that. She also was going to download the new operating system that apparently is out but is going to wait because there´s a couple bugs in it right now haha. That´s about all that I did this week...

Welp, I hope you all are just having a blast. And loving school.

With all the love of the public bus system,

Elder Lounsbury

Monday, August 29, 2011

Impromptu talks

Helloooooooooo family!

I hope you are all doing as fantastic as I am. I know I probably say this a lot, but this week went by sooooo fast. It was such a strange thing. We didn't have anything too big this week so we've mostly been working on this program in Excel to help with the baptismal records that we have to send to Buenos Aires. It used to be that when someoen got baptized, the missionaries would take a picture of their baptismal record and send it to us. Then we'd have to try to read the sometimes bad handwriting through the sometimes bad quality pictures and fill out an online form that we send to Buenos Aires. A week or two before I came here, the old Historian came up with a program in excel that made our job a lot easier. Instead of taking pictures the missionaries could fill out this form and send it via email. The problem is a lot of people still aren't filling them out right and it makes putting them into the online system a lot harder for us. For example, the missionaries are supposed to fill in the name of the stake and ward they're in, as well as corresponding numbers which were on the right side of the sheet in a chart that they could look up. But some missionaries were too lazy and still didn't fill it in. One person put "nose" (instead of "no sé" which means "I don't know") which I thought was pretty funny. But, when people do stuff like that it means we've gotta get out a sheet and look up the number. And when you have a lot of missionaries doing that it takes up a lot of time to look all of those numbers up.

So this week we've been working on making that program a little better, which has been way cool because before I knew hardly anything about excel. I came with a way so that they can select their stake from a drop down menu and then the corresponding number automatically gets filled in. Then, depending on which stake they selected, they can select a second drop down menu with all of the wards in that stake, and when they do so, the cooresponding number for their ward also automatically gets filled in. That's the biggest change we've made, the rest of the other stuff has been pretty minimal. But we've got a couple more programs in mind that will deal with other tasks that we have to do and hopefully will make those a bit easier too.

Alright, story time. Once upon a time, Elder Lounsbury was sitting in church on a normal Sunday in Argentina. He was happily sitting waiting for the priesthood meeting to start when suddenly the bishop comes up and says to him, "Hey, you know you have a talk today, right?" Elder Lounsbury pleasantly laughs at the joke. And then his laugh turns to sobs when the bishop continues talking and he realizes it isn't a joke. Okay, maybe not sobs, but they definitely weren't laughs. And yup, that's basically the story. So I spent the next two hours of church furiously trying to think of a topic/come up with a talk on that topic before sacrament meeting. Luckily we have preisthood and sunday school beforet sacrament meeting but still, even in english I like taking a lot of time to think through and practice a talk, and I definitely didn't have any time to in this situation. In the end I spoke about the scriptures and how we can recieve answers to our prayers or problems through the scriptures. I told one story about when it happened to me and one story about when it happened to a companion, both through completely random scriptures that seem normal but that in certain situations were a specific answer to a prayer or problem. It was a pretty cool talk if I do say so myself. haha. But I was definitely way nervous... Apparently that sort of thing happens a lot when you're a missionary and someone doesn't show up who was supposed to give a talk, ect. So it was good practice I guess.

Oh, also, my ward is pretty big. I think it's the biggest one I've been in so far. And we even have two wards that meet in the same building, which I've never seen before so that's also pretty cool. We have some way cool families and I think I'm really going to like working there.

Welp family, that's about all I got for now.

With all the love of an oreo,

Elder Lounsbury

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Office(s)

Alright family. This has been one of the weirdest weeks of my life. Maybe the most bewildering week of my life would be a better term. Remember that one time I was in San Martin and expecting to stay because I had only been there one transfer? Yeah, me too. It didn´t happen. Not only did it not happen, but I got transfered to a little place called the mission offices. I was expecting to maybe get someone who has less time than me and start being a senior companion; the offices didn´t even cross my mind. Elder Guillen and I seriously thought our Zone Leaders were playing a joke on us until they came home and told us it was for reals haha. Everyone else here in the offices is going home in the next 4 months....haha. We think that I got chosen because in the picture that the mission uses for everything (they take it when we first get here) I´m wearing glasses.. It´s the only thing I can think of.

Anyways, you´re probably wondering what I do all day now. So am I. My offical title is "Historiador." My first thoughts were "I have no loving feelings towards history" but it turns out it´s not quite as I was thinking. Right now the old Historiador is training me and teaching me what exactly it is that we do here. So far, I´ve picked up on a couple things. One thing I do is fill in a form online and send all of the mission numbers to Buenos Aires. For example, all of the new investigators, lessons with members, baptisms and confirmations, etc. for the whole week get reported to the Area. I also make sure after someone is baptized that we get their records. I fill out a form online for every person that gets baptized, and then I make sure the real record gets sent to Buenos Aires. Apparently I also do a lot of stuff when new missionaries come, like getting these binders ready and I don´t really know what else. I also do something for Zone Conferences, but I don´t what that is either haha. I'm also in charge of random translations between Elder and Hermana Packer (who are a senior couple from the states who work in the offices) and President Avila and his wife. The first few days were absolutely insane, but I think I´m starting to get a little more used to everything.

My schedule goes like this: Monday is a normal P-day, we are free until 6 o´clock and then we go out into our areas and start to work. Tuesday - Friday we're in the offices at 10 after personal and companionship study and we work until 4, then we go out into our areas and work. And Saturday and Sunday we spend the whole day working in our areas. It´s been really tiring so far because President is hoping that we keep lunches to 30 minutes and usually we had an hour for lunch and then an hour and a half of language study, so we got a little bit of a break during the middle of the day and then work straight until 9. It´s interesting because you have to balance two worlds, all of the projects or things you need to get done in the office, and all of the people you need to visit and teach. But I love all the Elders that are here and we´re having a lot of fun. I´m going to learn a lot and that´s what I want!

A couple benefits of being in the office is that when new Elders are coming we get to eat the awesome meals they get. We also have Hermana Packer (who is the mission nurse) who loves to cook. She made Chili on Friday for all of the Elders here. It was heavenly. I´m so stoked to be here during Thanksgiving and Christmas (since it´s practically guaranteed that the office Elders will be here for 6 months).

Welp, as usual, thanks for all the love!

With all the love of a geek,

Elder Lounsbury

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

La tour de Argentina

Welp, this week is the last of the transfer. Once again, time is going way too fast. Can you believe it's been a year since I got my call? It all seems really weird. Also, did you know Madeline is going to be a junior? That just blows my mind in 17 million pieces. Noah is starting kindergarten and Caleb just got the priesthood. . . Time is such a strange thing.

This week I got to ride a bicycle! Which is a really rare thing because a couple years ago they made a rule that we couldn´t. (Which is weird right? since I´m sure white shirts and bikes are what everyone thinks when the picture a missionary) Anywho, I guess we have special permission or something because there´s a barrio (neighborhood) that is super far away. Last time it took my companion and his old companion almost an hour to get there, so you can imagine how long it would take walking. And there´s only like two buses a day and if we miss it we´re in trouble, so bikes are the solution. This time we made in there in like 30 minutes, but we were booking it. I think the last time I rode a bike was when I was like 9 haha, so my legs were burning like the entire time. But Lance Armstrong never quits and neither does Elder Lounsbury.
I think this week we taught one of the poorest people I think I´ve ever taught. We had actually talked to him in the street before and we saw him again and he said he had some time so we walked to his house (if you can call it a house). We didn´t actually go in because there wasn´t room. He basically lived in a tent. There were like four wooden posts covered in plastic that were maybe about half the size of my room and like two pots outside where I guess he cooked when he could. It´s incredibly eye opening and sad to see the difference in living conditions. You definitely get a new perspective and new appreciation for everything you have.

On a different note, we find out tonight if Elder Guillen is going to leave or stay another transfer. And we´re pretty sure one of the Elders in our pench is leaving so either way I´ll be getting something new. But I´ll let you all know about those next week.

I hope everything is going splendid,

With all the love of the Jamaican bobsled team,

Elder Lounsbury

Monday, August 8, 2011

Keep Moving Forward

This week we moved apartments! It was a pretty big project, it took us two full days to pack and clean up everything and actually complete the move. Thursday we started packing and cleaning and then Friday we actually moved. Packing didn´t really consist of putting things in to boxes, instead we just had random stuff shoved into about every plastic bag we owned. It was quite the difference experience than what we get in the states. Moving trucks like we have with nice little ramps to walk up don´t exactly exist here. You can either get what´s called a flete, which is pretty much just a regular truck, or you can get a camion which is more like a dump truck. We would have had to take multiple trips using the flete so we settled for the camion. But, it meant that loading up everything included lifting it up about 4 feet in the air and then sliding it on to the bed of the truck. Two dressers, two fridges and an oven. Luckily one of the zone leaders (who we live we) is an Elder from Panama who wakes up half an hour early just to work out more and easily resembles the hulk.

Loading everything up wasn't too bad, but hauling everything to the second floor of our new apartment proved to be a little difficult. Especially since the normal stairs we use have like two corners. We barely got the first dresser up and in the process chipped off some of the new paint in the stair case and broke a hopefully insignificant bottom piece of the dresser haha. The second dresser was much bigger and heavier. Luckily there's a second staircase in the back of our apartment, and the owner of the panaderia (bread store) let us take this giant dresser through his store because he has access to the yard where our back stairs go to. (That's one of the pictures I sent). This is where the moving gets a bit unorthodox. We figured it would be easier to put the dresser on its back and use the stair railings to push it up, rather than carry it up the stairs like normal people would. So, we flipped the dresser so the drawers were facing up, set it on the railings, and began to push. Then we got to the top and couldn't push it any longer because the stair railings connected in the middle of the gate (I think there's another picture I sent that will help you get the idea of what I'm talking about.) So some of the Elders lifted up the front part of the dresser so we could make it past the gate and me and one other Elder pushed from the bottom. Haha. I was so scared it was going to fall back and I was going to get decapitated. But we pushed it over the gate and once we got it past the middle it flipped down just fine. Seems like some kinda crazy idea Dad would have, but it works, and I'm alive. You can thank Elder Guillen for the pictures, while we were barely holding this thing up he was busy documenting it for our future children haha.

We also had zone conference this week. It was the first one with President Avila. He´s only changing a few things like now our district meetings are on Tuesday morning instead of Monday night. He talked about planning and how to me more effictive with that. He hasn´t made any big changes yet, we can still drink coke and pepsi and play soccer on P-days haha. Oh, one interesting thing is that we´re getting DVD players for our apartments now. Like apparently this is a world wide thing, but now we´ll have those to watch this DVDs called The District which are like training DVDs on how to do pretty much everything you do as a missionary. How to work with the ward leaders, the members, how to teach, how to plan, how to study, it pretty much has everything. So the church must think those are going to help a lot.

Another weird note, you remember how it was snowing last week? Yeah, well it pretty much feels like spring now. I was getting hot the other day in just a long white sleeve shirt. Hopefully it stays this nice haha.

Love you all,

Elder Lounsbury

Monday, August 1, 2011

August Snowfall

Hello family, how are you all doing? To start off the period button on this keyboard is horrible and either doesn´t work or puts like a huge line of periods. But that alright, maybe I´ll just try to use long sentences that never end.

As you can probably tell by the title, we´ve been getting a little bit of snow here. Even though today was actually really nice and we played soccer with short sleeves etc, on Saturday and Sunday we got about one inch of snow. Elder Guillen was excited because it doesn´t ever snow in El Salvador, but I have to admit, he is a terrible snow man maker. Haha. The mountains looked way cool and I´ve got a couple cool pictures so I´ll try to send you some soon. This week was pretty good. We´ve found a lot of people and have had success entering in houses and teaching people, which is a giant improvement from my last area, but we´re struggling in finding a way to have people progress. It´s almost as if we have too many investigadors. We have like over 20 people that have let us in and we´ve taught once or a couple times but it´s hard to focus on any of them because then you leave the other ones out. And a lot of times we pass by and their not home or something so that´s kind of where we´ve been lately.

But we´ve had several people just this week accept baptismal fechas. On Saturday we were looking for an old investigador but ended up running into someone else who had talked with the missionaries before and has a book of mormon. She goes to an evangelical church but she seemed way prepared because she had really cool answers to our questions and told us that she´d pray and that she´d get baptized if she got an answer. Later that day we talked to a different old investigador who had a guest over and at first the guest seemed kinda closed and uninterested but after we started talking a bit he opened up and after the prayer he told us that he´d actually listened to the missionaries before and has a book of mormon as well and that he wanted us to come by. There´s a lot of people here like that, they´re willing to listen and seem really prepared but getting them to follow through on their promises is a bit harder. For example we had like 5 people tell us they were going to come to church last week and none of them came haha. But they have good desires and we just need to learn how to work with those a little better.

I´m trying to think of cool stories that I have for you all but I can´t think of many this week. I´ve learned to play chess and I actually really like it. But maybe that´s just because I don´t have many other forms of entertainment right now haha. I´m also learning how to cook super awesome Argentine food because we don´t have lunches like 3 days of the week and one of the Elders we live with knows how to cook really well.

This sunday was kind of funny. I was supposed to give a talk but on Saturday the bishop told me he had assigned someone else so I was going to have it another week. Then in the first hour of church (we have sacrament meeting last) he told me that person hadn´t come and asked if I could give it. I didn´t have any of my notes or materials so I spent the second hour trying to remember everything I had written down and where all the scriptures were etc. I don´t know why but I was pretty nervous just trying to get everything together. Finally I finished everything just before sacrament meeting started. Andddddd then the first speaker spoke for like 45 minutes. I´m not joking. She took up the entire time, literally. I did not have to say one word because the bishop signaled to me I would just do it another week haha. It was funny because I was supposed to give this talk like 3 weeks ago but for some reason or another it´s just kept getting put off for longer. Also, in the first hour we talked about things we should and shouldn´t do in a talk because people had been just reading old talks or taking too much time (which we talked about) and then this hermana spoke for like an hour. Haha. It was a really really good talk though, and it saved me so I was grateful.

Welp, thanks for all the updates and I hope everyone is doing fantastic.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Aight, I just want to take a bit of time and explain holidays here. I don´t really understand them. They have their normal holidays like we have Indepence day etc, but they have some really random ones too. For instance, Wednesday was an offical national holidy entitled "Friend day" haha. I felt like I lost a bit of manliness everytime I told someone "happy friend day!" but I guess it´s good to celebrate those friends we´ve got. Also, yesterday was a holiday celebrating when one of the catholic saints apparently made the earth tremble. (Did he just fall down?) In the US when we have holidays people celebrate by going out to lunch or to a park or just going out with their friends or family, but here all of the businesses are closed and I think everyone just sleeps because there´s hardly anyone out. So, one again I´m doing internet on a Tuesday, because there were no places open yesterday.

Anyways, this week has been pretty good. Elder Guillen and I and getting along well and working well together. He knows English pretty well and has told me he wants to learn so one of the days this week we spoke in English and I made him tell me stories and stuff to practice past tense etc. Haha it was funny because he got a taste of how it´s like trying to talk in a language that isn´t your own and I got a taste of trying to understand someone who doesn´t always conjugate the verbs correctly ect. It also makes you look at your own language differently.

We recived a lot of references from the bishop this week of old investigadors or part member families and so we´re excited to see if any baptisms come from those. A couple of them sounded really good so we have our hopes high. I really want to baptize because part of me feels like I haven´t done very much yet and I´m already over 1/3 done with my mission. But I try to keep in mind that baptisms aren´t correlated with how hard you work, because in the end the people can choose to accept it or not. Still, it would be nice to have more.

On a different note, I cooked beef fajitas this week with that seasoning you sent me and it was incredible. Maybe the best part of me week.

We also saw some weird stuff. We were walking down the sidewalk to an appointment and we saw a little kid next to his mom, hunched over pooping next to a tree. Hahah. It took me a while to realize what was going on. Afterwords I was half laughing half super confused/trying to figure out if what I had just seen had actually took place.

One last story for the week. We were walking by these kids playing soccer and they wanted Elder Guillen to do some tricks and so I was just standing and watching him and then this like 12 year old girl comes up to me and shows me her phone and asks, "Do you know who this is?" And she had just taken a picture of me on her phone! Haha it was super creepy/a bit stalkerish but I guess they just can´t resist my non-brown eyes haha. Still though, weird.

Welp, that´s it.

Love, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, July 18, 2011


Hola family,

To start out I guess I´ll just answer some of your questions before I forget. The area I´m in now is about a little more than an hour south of Mendoza. You would think that would mean it´s colder because it´s more southern but it actually has almost been like spring here so far. Like in the morning we only wear a sweater and at night we usually have to wear our coats but it hasn´t been that cold at all. Today was the coldest it´s been, it was overcast and drizzling a tiny bit so I felt right at home haha. Elder Guillen is way awesome, he´s like one of the nicest people ever. He always shares his food and candy with me and I think that´s the best quality you can have in a friend haha. He´s also helping me a lot with Spanish slang because whenever we talk with kids or this one family we have lunch with on Sunday it´s harder for me to understand them because they use so many slang words. None of them show up in the dictionary so it´s hard to figure out exactly what they mean but I´m getting better haha. We´ve got one more lunch now, with the bishop every other week, so we´re cooking a tiny bit less but we still have to cook more than I´ve had to in my other areas. The first couple meals were pretty lame I´m not gonna lie, but we´re getting better. When I get back I´m going to be an expert in Argentine cuisine.

Our apartment right now is pretty interesting, it´s a 4 man pench with two bathrooms and two kitchens. Now I know that sounds like it would be amazing but one of the bathrooms and kitchens didn´t have running water until a couple days ago and well sometimes quantity doesn´t beat quality. Actually, one of my stories for the week has to do with the bathroom. It has character for a couple different reasons. First of all, the shower has no head so the water just kinda falls straight down so your like crammed all up against the wall trying not to touch it because it´s really cold but at the same time trying to get the water to rinse you off haha. Also, the very first time I used it the hot water handle came off and water started gushing out of where it was supposed to be. It was just like a movie or something haha. I panic for a second and was like oh no, what the heck have I done. But I guess you can just screw it back it... Oooo, but, the good new is that the members we´re renting from right now need the apartment or something so we have to find a new one. The Zone Leaders (who we live with) have looked at a couple the are closer to the boundries of our area and more central but they haven´t settled on anything yet. So in a couple weeks here I´ll probably be packing up my bags all over again and moving. At least it´ll be an interesting experience haha.

This week we had some people in the church, which was the first time for me in over a month and a half so it felt way good. One of them is a boyfriend and the other is just a friend of some of the bishops daughters. Seriously, flirt to convert works. When I was in the MTC one of the speakers asked people who were converts in the past two years to tell their story and about 80 percent of them started out with "Well I was dating this girl who was mormon..." or "My girlfriend was mormon..." haha. I´m serious though. That stuff works. So I´ll let you know any updates with them. Speaking of the bishops daughters, he has like 7 or 8 of them and all of them but one are really loud. It was hilarious eating with them on Saturday, it reminds me of when Emma or Madeline have like a billion friends over and they´re all screaming except dinner was probably a bit louder. Elder Guillen doesn´t even have sisters so it was an entirely new experience for him but it made me laugh.

Speaking of crazy girls, we talked to this one girl in the street who was pretty crazy. All we did was say hello and she was like, "Did you go by that house" (pointing to a house down the street) and when we told her no she was like "oh good, because there´s demons there" and then went off telling us all these things about demons and witches and wizards and all these documentaries she´s seen at her church and all the things her preacher has told her and how she knew someone who was possessed and how you have to pay like 20 pesos to touch this thing and then you´ll be healed. Then she told us what her preacher had told her about "Jonathan Smith" (I smiled inside when she said Jonathan) and oh man. It´s just sad seeing people so scared like that and how people are making money off of it. We tried explaining to her what we believed but she didn´t want to listen really, just wanted to talk about people who are possessed. It was quite the interesting conversation.

Welp family, I think that´s all I have for this week.

With all the love of an orchestra,

Elder Lounsbury