Monday, January 31, 2011

A week already!

Sweet Lady Gaga this week has gone by fast. Thanks for the emails and
updates, as always I love them.

Okay, so I gotta answer some of your questions before I forget. For
laundry we just take it to a member´s house who has a washer and then
I think they just hang them out to dry. The only down side is
sometimes they take a I still don´t have my clothes from
last week back so I´ve been wearing the same white shirt all
week. It´s so gross haha. Next time I´ll split it up and give her like
half. What else.. Yeah we don´t ride any bikes here, but everyone else
does. Almost everyone just rides their bike to town and a majority of
people have motorcycles and then a couple have cars. Usually if
you want to travel to another town you take take a bus. That´s what we
do on P-day or for Zone Conference.

Speaking of Zone Conference, we had one on Friday and it was the bomb.
We kinda had to wake up really early to get there but it was worth it.
They had all the missionaries who hadn´t been to a zone conference
before get up and introduce themselves and then Sister Lindahl gave a
super awesome talk about not looking back. She started it out with
that New Year´s Mormon Message I told you guys about a while ago and
then shared some cool scriptures and stories. Then we broke off and
the Assistants taught us a lesson about how to help reactivate
inactive members and finally President gave this awesome lesson about
being in ¨holes¨ and how even though they´re incredibly hard they
shape us the most and if we work hard we can see miracles. Both
President and Sister Lindahl are cool.

This week I also had my first baptism! Her name is Agraciela and she´s
8 haha. Her sisters have been baptized but her parents haven´t. It was
a small service with not a lot of people which was good for me because
I had to give a talk. My pronounciation is very gringo but I wrote it
out to make sure I got all of my conjugations right. One guy
complemented me and when I asked him if he could understand he said
yes so I guess that´s good haha.

Also....on Sunday I had cow intestine and heart!!! haha. I was so
excited, Elder Robinson hadn´t ever had it before and he only has like
4 more months and I get it in my second week. The intestine was super
rubbery. Like you couldn´t really even chew it like you would normal
food, you just kinda had to swallow rather large chunks. Plus it
hardly had any flavor at all. I wasn´t a huge fan but it wasn´t bad.
The heart was actually kinda good, the inside was way better than the
outside though. We also had lamb which was superrrrr good. Anyways,
that´s one adventure for this week.

On Thursday we went on Divisions so the District leader could come
down and interview Agraciela for her baptism, so I went to Oeste and
worked with the District Leader´s companion. We finished our open the
mouths (we have to talk to 10 people on the street every day) and were
going to do a FHE with a family but forgot the keys to the pension
with the District leader so we couldn´t get any of the stuff that we
needed. We saw a member, recent convert, and his friend on the street
and they invited us to play soccer, and it was incredible. First of
all, I didn´t have anything but shorts to spend the night so I looked
like biggest goof ever. We had to run like a mile to the chancha
(court) we were going to play in and I was flippin running in my dress
shoes and socks, my orange shorts, and a green tight underarmor shirt
I borrowed from a member. hahah. The court was legit, it was basically
all dirt in the middle and a bit of grass on the outsides. The whole
thing was surrounded by a fence and then on top of the fence was a net
probably like 20 feet high. So I started playing as it was getting
dark, in my dress shoes and socks, and completely clashing outfit of
green and orange against these young teenage boys. I´m just going to
brag for a little bit and say that I started out the game by
nutmegging this guy, and passing the ball for an assist. After that
they killed us haha. It starting raining like sooooo hard and there
was thunder and lightning and I was in the middle of nowhere Argentina
playing soccer in the mud. I felt so legit.

Also, this week at lunch I heard the Phineas and Ferb theme song come
on and I about flipped out. Sure enough they have Phineas and Ferb weird. It shattered my entire universe. It was an episode I
haven´t seen before either which is hard to belive haha. Another funny
story is that this week we opened the mouth with this guy who was
wearing like these boxer shorts and had white socks with green
elephants on them. I think madeline would be incredible jealous. He
also said I had weird eyes haha.

One last thing, the stars out here are super crazy. They are so
flippin bright because we´re just surrounded by farm land. Also,
everything is backwards, like if you look at the stars at night with a
mirror that´s how I see them. Not really, but I bet some of you might
have believed that. haha. We can see O´ryans belt super good, and I
can´t see the North Star. Crazy right?

Well, hopefully I covered all of your questions, sorry if I left stuff
out. I love you all and hope you are all doing spendidly!

Love, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, January 24, 2011

This country is real!!!

Holy cow, so much to say, I don´t even know where to start. First of
all, this keyboard is a little different and kind of throwing me off
but that´s off subject. To make this a little more interesting I´m
going to start off with some True or False questions and you can see
how much you get right. The winner gets a pat on the back or

1. I saw Messi in Buenos Aires on my first day here.
2. I am the first missionary in my area.
3. I live in the chapel.
4. My companion only speaks Spanish.
5. I shower out of a bucket.
6. I´ve heard both Shakira, Fergie and Lady Gaga here.
7. I´ve got bitten by a dog already.
8. I make up 1/4 of the Priesthood holders in my branch.
9. I already have a baptism.
10. I have seen clips of the shows Zac and Cody and the Goofy Movie.

Alright, I think that´s all for now. I´ll answer the questions
throughout the email and then all again at the end.

Okay, well I guess I´ll just start from the beggining. Flying over
Argentina was wayyyyy too legit to quit. Right as we hit the border
the sun began to come up to the right of us and to the left of us
there was a thunder storm. It was soooo legit. You could see these
giants plumes of clouds just light up, it was insane. It was love at
first sight. haha. Trying to get through customs and find our luggage
was a little confusing. It was kinda sketchy because the only
instructions we had were to find some random guy named Albierto that
was supposed to pick us up and give him a white envelope. haha. Weird
right? But we eventually made it through everything. They took us from
the international airport to another airport in Buenos Aires for
flights within Argentina. We didn´t get to Mendoza until like 7 or 8
because our first flight was delayed--it was this tiny airport with
only one luggage belt thing. Anyways, we met president and his wife
and assistants there and they took us to the mission home. We had some
dinner and talked for a bit and then slept in Mendoza in this pench
(apartment) with some other Elders.

The next day we met our trainers, went street contacting, had lunch
and then I had to take another 5 or 6 hour bus ride down to this tiny
town called Bowen. I have no idea if you can find that on a map
anywhere but that´s where I am. I live in the church which is really a
building that looks like a storage place from the outside. There´s a
decent amount of room when you walk in which is where we have church,
a tiny ¨kitchen¨ that is about 4 feet by 3 feet and then a tiny
bathroom all in the corner. The bathroom is about 5 feet by 5 feet and
has the toliet, sink, and ¨shower¨ without anything seperating them.
Technically I could take care of business on the can, wash my hair,
and shave at the same time. I have yet to try that though. Speaking of
showers, I shower out of a bucket. I guess it´s a little more than a
bucket...but not really. It´s attached to the wall and you fill it up
with water and then plug in this cord which heats up the water. When
it´s done you unplug everything and turn this tiny knob at the top
which opens up a stream. You basically have to shower in parts. Turn
the knob, wet yourself down, turn it off, soap up, turn it on, rinse
etc etc. Every once in a while you have to take this squeegy and
squeegy the water into the drain so it doesn´t run out under the door
and into the kitchen. So legit. We sleep upstairs where we have a
closet for our clothes, some shelves for our food and a fridge.

Okay, the ward. Well really it´s a branch. Actually it´s not even
that, it´s a branch of a branch. The real branch is in another town
but since most people just walk everywhere and only a few people have
cars they hold meetings for the people in our small town in our
building. Once or twice every month they drive a van down from where
the main branch is and pick everyone up. But on all the other sundays
it´s just us. The most people ever to have come is 25. We´re going to
try to break that record but the time transfers are over. On Sunday we
had 20. Missionaries have only been in our town for a year so it´s not
quite established yet. At all really. Most of the members are 3
Bolivan sisters and their families. For church we have sacrament (one
person passes) and then the main branch sends someone down to give a
lesson and then church is over. No talks, no classes, just one hour of
the sacrament and a lesson. It was crazy. The guy who blesses has been
a member for a while (and by a while I mean almost a year) and the guy
who passed the sacrament was just baptized a while ago. Other than
that Me and Elder Robinson are the only other Priesthood holders--and
the only Melcesidek holders.

Elder Robinson is way cool. As you can probably tell from his name, he
doesn´t only speak Spanish. He´s from Texas and we get along pretty
well. He only has like 4 more months so he´s almost out of here. He
says he can put in a good word and get me with an all Spanish speaker
next transfer. He says I´m ready but I definitely don´t feel like it.
The language is hard, I´m getting better though. I can generally tell
what people are speaking about but sometimes I´m completely lost and
usually I don´t know the details. It´s hard because I want to have
relationships with the members but I don´t know what´s being said and
I´m shy to start with so it´s hard. It´s annoying becuase like little
3 year olds will be trying to talk to you and they know way more than
me haha. But it´s coming...

The culture here is pretty different. The members are really nice and
so far the food has been good. A lot of meat and potatoes, but not
much flavoring. They drink a ton of soda (Coca-Cola, Sprite and that
Orange kind are the main ones) and I think I´m going to be addicted
when I leave. The watermelon here is amazing. They eat so much food
though. Like it´s ridiculous, I have no idea how the people aren´t
like so fat. It´s hard to eat as much as they do, especially when I
don´t want to offend the members. They just keep filling up your plate
of like 3 giant servings of whatever. It´s even harder because usually
I´m so thirsty so I drink a lot of soda and end up just being more
full. Like so big, I wish I could describe it better, but it´s like
Thanksgiving every lunch. Oh, yeah, we only eat lunch with members.
Part of the reason they eat so much is because they hardly have
anything for breakfast, they eat a ton for lunch, and then hardly
anything at dinner. The ice cream here is pretty good. It´s not a ton
different than the states but it´s a little lighter and they sell it
with like multiple flavors in the box.

What else. They live in pretty small houses and like the really really
well of people have sofas and couches and stuff. Everything is made
out of concrete. I think less than 10 roads in our city are paved and
the rest is just dirt. A truck comes around every day or so and sprays
water on them to keep the dust down. I´ve only seen air conditioning
in a house like once or twice--most people just have fans. The weather
here is kind of like an Oregon summer. It´s not like dying hot but I
think the last two days were 96 and 98 so it was pretty hot when
you´re walking around in slacks and a button up shirt. During siesta
most of the town sleeps. A couple people will be out and about doing
whatever but mostly everyone´s eating and sleeping. That´s when we
have lunch with the members and then go back to our pench and study.
The people like american music and shows, I´ve seen parts of Zac and
Cody and the Goofy Movie in members´ houses during lunch and at least
one family we met with was obsessed with Hannah Montana. I´ve also
heard Lady Gaga, Fergie, Shakira, and Train. The Black Eyed Peas are
playing right now in this internet cafe too....

I don´t know what else to say really, mail takes like two weeks to get
here but I only get it about once every six weeks because that´s when
the zone leaders travel to the mission home and get it. Sooo yeah...
Also, I´ve been told twice now that I look like Riley from National
Treasure. I think it´s the glasses because I´ve never been told that
before the MTC and now. What do you think? I don´t have time to send
pictures now (so sorry) but I´ll try to do it some other time. I think
the computers here should work so that´s good news.

Oh, real quick, soccer today was so legit. The church has this court
ouside and we played with the members of our zone and one guy they
invited off the street. He was pretty good but I stole the ball from
him a couple times and felt pretty legit. In the second game I had a
hat trick so that was way fun. I can´t way to do it somemore. There
are make shift soccer fields everywhere, but I hardly ever see people
playing on them. Probably because it´s so hot, but I´m hoping to get
some pictures and send them to you. It´s hard because we´re only
supposed to have our cameras with us on P-day but i´ll try to get some
and let you all see how Argentina looks like.

Well, I love you all, thanks for the the support and love, I think
about you every day and have your picture on the fridge. Stay sweet.

Love, Elder Lounsbury

1. False, I wish though.
2. False, almost though--missionaries have only been here for a year.
3. True. Except it´s not a real chapel, it´s just a random building.
We sleep upstairs
4. False. He´s from Texas.
5. True. Well, technically it´s more than just a bucket but still.
6. True. I´ve heard ¨Hey Soul Sister¨ by Train as well.
7. False, but super close, I had to block it with the bottom of my
foot. There´s dogs everywhere.
8. True. Crazy right?
9. False, but we have one for next week.
10. True. They also like Hannah Montana haha

Friday, January 14, 2011

Oh, hey there

So not a whole lot happened this week...and by not a whole lot I mean EVERYTHING happened this week. Holy Moldy Peaches and Cream. First and foremost, we got our TRAVEL PLANS!!!!!!! Yahoo!! Here's what's going down: I gotta be to the travel office by 8:00 am here at the MTC. They'll give me ticket and ship me off on a shuttle to the airport. I'm in a group with 5 other people going to Mendoza (including Elder Sargent and Elder Summers). We fly on Delta Air Lines flight 1912 at 11:00 am to Atlanta GA. I should arrive around 4:35. Then I have at least 3 hours to call y'all, so that should be deliciously delightful. I don't have a calling card so if you wanna try to send one here the last time we get mail is Saturday morning, if not I'm sure I can find somewhere to buy one, either here at the bookstore (I have no idea if they have them or not) or somewhere in the airport. Then I leave from Atlanta on Delta Air Lines flight 101 at 7:50 pm to Buenos Aires....ARGENTINA!!! ....and I'll get in around 7:50 am. Yeah, that's right, 12 straight hours on an airplane... and 24 straight hours of traveling at least (we'll only in Buenos Aires, which is kind of on the other side of the country from Mendoza). It's cool though because the others who are going to Rosario will be on that same flight to Argentina, even though they're on a later flight the Atlanta. Sooooo I'm not really sure what happens after that, we dont' have any more flight plans so either they're going to give us some in Buenos Aires or we'll be driving for a longgggg time. I'm stoked out of my mind.

What else happened this week... OH! I sortof kindof barely dreamed in Spanish!! and by that I mean I said one phrase, "Puedo ayudar usted tranducir?" Which means, "Can I help you translate?" Like I could help anyone translate who wasn't speaking in basic spanish about gospel principles haha. I don't really know what I was thinking but I was stoked that I at least said one phrase in Spanish. I want most of a dream to be in Spanish soooo bad. Speaking of Spanish, it's coming along well. I can understand practically everything in Preach My Gospel, and am getting better at understanding the Scriptures too. I have to look up more words when I read the scriptures and it took a while to get used to the different conjugations (the scriptures use vosotros which is kind of like the old english "ye" but we never go over it because you never use it in regular conversation) but I'm getting better and better. I want to be able to start doing my Personal Study in spanish scriptures and be able to get as much out of it as I do in English. I also want to be able to understand a talk in Spanish by the time I leave. I'm getting better and better at it, but right now I can somewhat pick out the main topics and a couple full sentences here and there. They use such a larger vocabularly than what we've been studying which makes it hard. I think I'll start reading a talk first and look up words I don't know and then try to listen to it and see if I can understand most of it then.

Another awesome thing this week was the Devotional last night by Elder Holland. It was off the hook blow your brain out good. For some reason Tuesdays days are never that great, they're not horrible but for some reason that's like the time of the week for me to get a little discouraged, haha I don't know, it's really strange--but in a way I love it because without fail the Tuesday Devotionals and our District Review (it's just a meeting where we all go around and say what we learned or what we took from the talk) always bring the Spirit like a boss. All Elder Holland had to do was walk in the room and my feelings changed, which I don't think I can say has ever happened before. It was pretty decent. He starting talking about how Preach My Gospel came about and how its whole focus is to convert the missionaries and then they can figure out how to teach people. I sometimes wonder why God gives goofy, immature, awkward 19 year old guys who really have no idea what they're doing, the responsibility of carrying out his greatest and most important work. But he talked about the importance to change and become what the Savior wants us to become. He talked about Peter, and told the story of when Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Jesus more than his nets, or more than his past life and wordly things. He talked about how Peter had denied Christ three times and then didn't know what to do and went back fishing--how he didn't really get it--but how when he said that he would leave behind the things of the world and do what his Savior wanted, at that moment he changed into the incredible Apostle that he was. I thought that was such an interesting story to tell. I've thought a lot about change and what it takes to truly change and I think the major thing is our desires and having our desires swallowed up in the will of the Father. Anyways, it was a really powerful talk. Sorry about that mushy missionary stuff, I'll try to keep it to a minimum next time haha.

Well I love you all, sorry I didn't more about what all is going on at home but it sounds like you are all doing fantastic so keep up the updates!! I cannot wait to talk to you all in a couple of days.

Much Love, Elder Lounsbury

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

This week has been pretty dang fantastic. How about all of you? I hope everything is going splendidly.

What did you all do for New Years? We had our own little New Years party and it was off the hook. First, we went to this room that has a piano and two of the sisters played hymns while everyone else in our District studied the Scriptures. Then we went around and kind of had a combined companionship/district study session where everyone shared something they had learned, it was wayyyyyy tight. I cannot express to you how much I love my District, it's like a perfect combination of funny and spirituality. Anyways, that was really cool and studying to music was like 17 million times better for me. It was kind of funny to think how completely opposite our New Years Eve was compared to the majority of the world that got drunk and partied. We partied too, just in a cooler way haha.

Elder Sheen's Mom sent him this processed hostess fruitcake that was about 8 inches long and had 2000 calories in the whole thing. It looked like a colorful, well shaped peice of poop. So after our study session I had the idea to go back to our room and have everyone try a bite of it, for tradition or patriotism or something. Haha I don't really know what I was thinking but it was absolutely hilarious, it was literally the most disgusting thing I've eaten in my life. Practically everyone took a bite and then gaged and spit it out into the garbage can. It was so funny watching everyone try to eat it, there was a look of complete disgust which turned into laughter because we saw the reactions of everyone else. Elder Summers and I forced ourselves to eat it while fighting the overwheleming urge to vomit/laugh because everyone else was making such a big deal of it. I really think I'm ready for cow stomach, hoofs and ears or pig eye balls or whatever else they feed me in Argentina because I don't know if anything else can be so repulsive as that fruit cake. The only other thing we did was that when we went back to our residence we had some Martinelli's and a short silly string fight. Then we cleaned up the silly string fight haha. That was our New Years Eve. All before 10:15 haha.

Some other cool stuff happened this week. First, I finished your tape last Wednesday and got to the part where Autumn Papritz said she'd be at the MTC on that exact day. Then I saw her like a couple hours later at lunch haha. It was really cool. I saw her again at the temple walk on Sunday and we took a picture together and she told me how she'd babysat Noah and Enoch like just a week ago which made me a little jealous haha but it was cool. She bore her testimony to me and it sounded way legit, like I could understand a couple words but most of it sounded like she was making it up haha. I like crazy sounding languages though. I actually just saw her coming back from our temple session this morning.

This week we got one of our old teachers back who had been on vaction for the Holidays and it was way good to have him back. He always stressed Spanish more in class which I love about him. His very first day he commited us to 100% Spanish for the next two weeks until we leave. It was cool because coming from me no one would have done it, but coming from him they were more willing. Then he said we need to have some accountability, and since it's easy when we're only accountable to ourselves to stop speaking or just stop caring, he said we needed to make a commitement with God. We knelt down as a class after everyone had thought that two weeks of Spanish was reasonable, and then he gave an awesome prayer basically making a commitement to God and asking for help. It was really neat. That was on Monday night so we've only had one and a half days with that, and although we haven't been perfect, we've definitely been better than previous weeks so that has been nice. Hopefully we can keep it up. Also, this week the oldest zone left and one of the Elders gave me his extra pillow so now I have two and it's flippin fantastic.

I totally didn't even think to send you all pictures! I can't do it from these computers (hopefully I'll be able to in Argentina) so I'll have to go to the store and print them off, but hopefully I can get some to you soon. The only other thing I think I might need is shoe glue, those black indoor shoes I have are kinda coming apart, but besides that I'm good. It's crazy that Dad is making all of those changes in the garage and everywhere. It's going to be cool to come back and see all of those. Also, tell him i did get the gloves and thank you very much. Their definitely being used.

Welp, that's about all I have to say.

Love, Elder Lounsbury.