Monday, February 28, 2011

Time is flying

It has been a whole flippin transfer. I can hardly believe it. Like it´s soooo crazy to think it´s gone by that fast. I´ve been in Argentina two weeks less than I was in the MTC, but it seems likes it´s only been a couple of weeks.

This week was interesting, it was the biggest week for the cosecha, the harvest, so everyone was busy. Everyone. Our investigators, the members, everyone was working. So it wasn´t as successful as we were hoping but it was still good. On Friday and Saturday there was a big festival celebrating the Plum haha. We went on Saturday for like half an hour and just looked around, it was kinda like a way smaller version of the state fair. There were a couple little rides for kids, and a lot of booths where people were selling watches, hats, gancho stuff (that´s like the Argentine Cowboy), soccer jerseys, and just all kinds of stuff. Then they had a live band and chorizo which is like the Argentine version of the hotdog. Anyways, turn out to church the next day was super lousy because everyone was at this festival until like 4 or 5 in the morning. We had a member who was selling clothes there who didn´t come, and all of investigators were there late sooooo in the morning there were 5 people that went in the traffic with us to Oeste. haha. I think the Oeste meeting was small too, they said it´s usually way more full but still, there were more people there then we usually have in Bowen and we had three hours of church which was kinda new for me. It was the first time in three months that I´d been to a regular 3 hour church meeting with families. Anyways, I´ll try to go through our investigators like you asked.

Pedro y Lucas: The hardest thing for them is just finding time to teach them, they go swimming and study a lot and now that school has started I´m sure they´re going to be studying a lot more. Pedro is the one that went to church by himself that one week, and his older brother is named Lucas. They are like 14 and 16 I think. They´re way outgoing and whenever we see them, if they see one of their friends, they don´t hesitate to call them over and have them talk to us. We really need some youth in Bowen (among lots of other things like Priesthood) so it would be way cool to get them but we just gotta find time when we can consistently teach them.

Omar: Omar is the one who was really sad his family left him and had a big smoking problem. He´s been to church twice but couldn´t go this week because he stayed up way late at the festival. The good news is his family and wife came back so he´s a lot happier and is excited that we can teach them now. I think the big thing this week will be talking about smoking, because both him and his wife smoke a lot. He has a lot of desire to change and become a better person though so that´s way good to work with.

Jonathan: This one is kind of a cool story. He´s about 17 and we opened the mouth with him one night like 3 or 4 weeks ago and he was way good. I thought he was just kinda going to blow us off but he ended up stopping and talking to us for like 10 mintues about questions he had about the Book of Mormon and what we believed and stuff like that. We gave him a pamphlet that describes the Restoration and asked him to read about it and then pray. We tried to set up a time when we could stop by and talk to him but he said that his dad wouldn´t like it. He knew a member so we were thinking we could maybe have lessons with the member but never really set up anything solid. Anyways, we were knocking doors on Saturday I think and we got into this one house and started talking to and teaching this guy and then Jonathan walked out! Turns out we had knocked his dad´s house. Well the good news is his dad is actually really nice and didn´t have a probably talking to us. They have doubts about the Book of Mormon and the dad doesn´t really understand the importance of being associated with Christ´s church, he just kept saying that all he needed to do was believe in God and didn´t really understand that if the Book of Mormon is true, it means he needs to be baptized into the church. But it was good that we found out their doubts and can now start teaching to them, that´s what´s so good about asking people to be baptized on the first lesson, even though it sounds kinda crazy, it helps a lot. Jonathan is going to read the Book of Mormon and just put it to the test and pray afterwards, and you can´t go wrong with the Book of Mormon so I´m really excited to see what´s going to happen. He is way solid though.

If I had more time I would go through more but we´ll see what happens after this week and I can give you all more info on all of our investigators. We have so many it´s hard to know who is going to progress and who isn´t.

Last week we realized that we needed to work a lot more with the families in Bowen, in a couple different aspects. There are only two families who both the mom and dad are members, and both of those families have inactive sons, so we don´t really even have a complete family in the branch. Since the missionaries have only been here a year, practically everyone can be considered a new convert, because they haven´t been growing up or living the gospel their whole lives. To help the families out we´re trying to shift some of the teaching responsibilities to the parents, instead of having us doing FHE in the church, we´re going to train all the parents so they can have their own FHE in their own home. We printed off some suggestions that we got from and then a story about how FHE helped a family and a calender where they could mark if they did FHE on Monday, if they did family scriptures and prayers on the other days of the week, and finally if they went to church on Sunday. We´ll see how it goes, hopefully it´ll start strengthening the families and family relationships though, because they are the most basic structure of the church, and if Bowen is going to survive it´s going to need some strong families. Next, we want to start teaching the three husbands (for lack of a better word because only one is actually married) of the Bolivian sisters who are active. One of them is Angel who got in a pretty bad car accident a while ago and now is looking really open to the missionaries. Another one is Cristian who is actually with one of the daughters of the Bolivian family who really has a desire to change and improve his family. And lastly there is the one husband who is married but is more apathetic to the church. It´s hard because he would be the easiest one to baptize because he´s actually married and the others aren't...and he´s the one who doesn´t seem to have as much of a desire to change or improve his life. Hopefully once the families start doing FHE the husbands will feel more of a desire to join the church, and hopefully the sons who are inactive will start becoming interested as well. It´ll also just help the children who are semi-active but aren´t really strong, because there´s a lot here that are like that too. Anyways, there´s a lot of work to be done haha.

They annouced transfers today and I´m staying with Elder Robinson so I´m pretty excited about that. I just need to work on speaking more spanish with him because I feel like I´m not doing enough in that aspect to improve my language. This week was pretty cool though because there were a couple days where I just stopped worrying so much about whether I said something wrong or not and just tried to talk. I asked a couple different questions to people that I wouldn´t have normally asked and talked to this little kid for a while which was pretty cool. I´m excited to be with Elder Robinson though, he is a really good teacher and we get along well. He´s funny and easy to joke around with so life isn´t boring and we keep things excited. He´s a hard worker and we had pretty good numbers this transfer so hopefully we can keep it up. So far we´ve taught 101 people some principle of the gospel. Kinda cool huh? Oh, also, on the topic of transfers Elder Summers who was in my MTC district is going to be in Oeste next transfer! Haha how crazy is that? It means I´ll see him every P-day when we do stuff with our zone (our zone has 12 Elders, and our District has 6) and then whenever Oeste and Bowen have activities together.

On a side note, Bowen has some kind of fruit canning factory or something so there´s a couple neighborhoods we walk through every day that smell like when mom is canning peaches. Haha, it´s kinda weird. Our schedule is never very set because no one else really has a very set schedule. We´ll schedule to come back to a house at another time and 90 percent of the time they won´t be there. Probably because they knew they were going to be gone and didn´t want to listen to us haha. We have a couple investigators that we go by at the same time every day but other than that we just kinda go by investigators whenever we think they might be home. We very rarely go tracking door to door, maybe maybe once a week, if even that. It depends on if we need new investigators or if we don´t have anyone else to teach but usually we stay busy teaching. We have Companionship and Personal study in the morning, and are out the door by 10:30. Then we work until lunch which is at 1. Then we go back to the Pench and have language study until like 4 because during the sista everyone is asleep haha. Then we´re out and working until like 9:30 at night. Right now we´re supposed to be in bed by 11 and up by 7 but it changes in the winter to the usual 10:30 and 6:30. Hopefully that answered most of your questions...I think I covered all of them.

Have a fan-flipin-tastic week.

Love, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dog Week

This week was Dog Week, it´s kinda like Shark Week but with dogs and in Argentina. I have two stories but first you need some background information. There are dogs everywhere. I´d say about 90 percent of the population where I´m at right now has at least one dog. There are also random dogs that just kinda roam the street, they just chill downtown, take a nap on the road, sleep by a store, they just kinda do whatever they want. But all of the dogs that I´ve been around are all bark and no bite. I´ve even seen two watch us coming, climb back under or through their fence, and then bark all tough at us, like if the fence wasn´t there they´d have at it. Bunch of wimps. They´re pretty funny.

Now for the stories. We walked kinda out into the campo (the outskirts of town) to try and find some nuevos and we clapped at this one house at the end of the road.We usually clap when there is a closed gate but in this case the gate was open but we clapped anyways because their house was kinda a ways away and I don´t know, it´s kinda like asking permision to keep going. Anyways, we clap and these 4 or 5 giant dogs just come running straight at us like the dogs off of I Am Legend. I about pooped my pants. My life flashed before my eyes. But then it was just kinda anticlamatic and the dogs got a couple feet away, stopped, and kept barking. Haha. The second story is that I saw the biggest dog in the world. Holy Cow. This kid was just walking it on a leash in the street and it looked like a baby pony or something. Like the kid was probably Caleb´s height it and it was up to his elbow. I think he was the dog off of The Sandlot.

Welp, besides that things are going really well. We started teaching a way legit family named Gatica and they´re looking like they´re going to progress really fast. They´ve already been to church and they know a memeber and even though some of the daughters were uptight at first by the end they were like joking with us and it was way cool. They were out of town on Sunday so they couldn´t go to church but they should go next week.

Also, I don´t know if I ever told you about this one lady we´re teaching but if she keeps progressing it would like be the coolest thing ever. Her name is Gladis and we opened the mouth with her one day and she didn´t want anything to do with us, her 18 year old daughter had died a couple months ago and she was just really mad at God. We didn´t give up and had to ask like 4 or 5 times but she finally gave us her address. We taught her a couple times and left one of these little pamphlets we have that explained the Plan of Salvation and when we went back on Saturday she said that her duaghter had read it to her and that she felt ¨tranquilidad¨ or like a calmness I guess. It was cool, afterwords they had some really good questions which means they´re actually thinking about things and that they´re interested so we´re really excited.

We talked to Pedro and Lucas yesterday but they didn´t go to chuch because they were at a birthday party until pretty late. It´s hard to find time to teach them but they would be soooo solid. Whenever we´re with them they just invite their friends over and we talk with all of them too. They would be some really solid youth which is someone Bowen needs.
We´re still teaching Omar and he´s been a lot better. He made a list of all the things he wants to change like to stop smoking and clean up his language and he has a really good desire to change so he´s looking way promising as well. We´re teaching a ton and stay way busy passing by a bunch of different people so life is going pretty dang good.

So a couple more interesting things before I go. At the grocery store when you use a card they ask you if you want to pay in one payment. I think you can split your bill in up to 3 parts but I´m not really sure when they end up taking the others off your card. Also, at the store a USB thing was listed as 2.89 x 17. Haha. So like unless you have a calculator or are really good at math you never really know exactly how much some things cost. Also, no one can really say my name. Usually they can get as fas as ¨Louns¨ but that´s about it. haha. So...thanks Dad.

Welp I hope all of you are doing just splendid. Thanks for the love and support!

Love, Elder Lounsbury

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gettin' a tan in February

How is rainy Oregon doing for you all? I hope I don´t make you all too jealous because I´m getting a real nice tan down here. Also, I have a nice collar half of my neck is white haha. This week was pretty good, it´s insane to think that this week I will celebrate 1 month in Argentina and 3 months on my mission! Time flies.

First off, today was the bomb. We had pancakes at the church this morning as a zone and I had some with Dulce de Leche (that caramel like stuff) which was soooo good in my mouth. Then we played soccer which was fun as always and went shopping to get stuff for lunch. We made some nice juicy good ol´ American burgers with Chedder Cheese, Guacamole, and even a fried egg on it. It was heaven. Also, speaking of food, the Oreos down here are insaneeeeee. At our store in Bowen they don´t even have normal ones, the have duo Oreos with TWO flavors. I know right? One was like banana and dulce de leche which I need to try and I can´t remember what the other one was but i´m pretty sure it was way good too. Also, they have triple chocolate ones with 3 things of cookie and two layers of chocolate frosting. They are to die for. Anwyays, that was probably the best part of my week haha.

This week our Noche de Logar and English classes were way better. Noche de Logar was so funny, we started out doing an exersize where everyone has to stand on a blanket and then you have to flip the blanket over without anyone touching the floor. Except Elder Robinson and I didn´t actually know what the trick is to do it ahaha. So that was funny. Then these two girls had a couple games that we played as well and they were so much fun. The first one was you get a plastic cup and two people race to drink it without using their hands. So if you try to go too fast you end up getting water all down your neck haha. But the next one was even better. It was a race with a cup of water again but this time you had to hold the cup up over your head with your arm straight and try to pour it into your mouth. It´s way to hard to guess where the heck the water is going to go so people were basically just pouring water on themselves trying to aim it in their mouth. I was laughing so hard. Water was spilt and fun was had. We actually had people show up to english class which was good but it was kinda crazy because these one or two kids are really loud. All we did was teach them the alphabet but it was kinda frustrating because it was so hectic and crazy. But hopefully next week will we better.

Also, we got 4 people to church on Sunday!! It was somewhat unexpected but way cool. A memeber brought a friend that we´re going to start teaching this week, and another one is living with a member but needs to get married and quit smoking and drinking before he can be baptized (it´s way hard to get married here by the way, I don´t really know why but it takes up to like a year. And if the people need a divorce it´s even longer so that´s frustrating when you have someone that wants to get baptized. So many people just aren´t married because it´s such a hastle). Anways, the other one was this guy we are teaching who is really sad because his wife and kids left him and the last one is this stud named Pedro who is 13 and came all by himself. We´ve been teaching him and his brother and their both way smart and get everything we teach and even said they felt something when they prayed about Joseph Smith which I think is the first time I´ve had an investigator here follow up on that commitment so was legit. We have a lot of potential again so hopefully we can work with that.

Well family, I´m glad all of you are doing well, thanks again for the emails and love.

Love, Elder Lounsbury

Monday, February 7, 2011

I flippin love this place

Like seriously, this place has so much character. I think I want to
live here for two years..oh yeah, I am! This week was pretty good, we
found a ton of people and our numbers were way high but after 3 solid
commitments from investigadors, none of them came to church. So that´s
basically all we´re going to work on this week. It´s hard because in
Bowen the people are almost too nice, they´ll let you in and listen to
you but sometimes just because they don´t want to say no. Or like on
the streets they´ll act interested and then just lie about their
address. But when we do open the mouths in bigger cities a lot of
people will just ignore you or say they´re not interested. For some
reason getting shot down in Spanish doesn´t bother me very much haha.

To answer your question I haven´t gone to the big branch yet, I think
we´re going to go next week, but I do think they have ¨normal¨
services with 3 hours and different classes etc. The water where I am
right now is okay to drink, it tastes a little weird but so does Utah
water haha. Tang is huge down here, I´ve started putting like just
half a packet in an old soda bottle to take away the taste, it kinda
ends up being like propel haha. Lunches with memebers are the same
every week. So like every Tuesday we´ll have it with one family and
every Wednesday we´ll have it with a different one etc. I just have
cereal in the morning and some kind of crackers or bread with jam for
dinner. We don´t really have a big dinner at all like in the states.

A couple way cool things happened this week. I had my first banana
split ever. It was so good. Like so good, we might go to the same
place today. But really, words can not even describe how beautiful it
tasted in my mouth. Also, there was one lunch appointment where I
understood like most of what was going on. It was a cool contrast
because it was the same family that I had my first lunch with in
Argentina 3 weeks ago so it was cool to be able to gauge the
difference. Being able to understand what´s going on helps me be
myself because for the past couple weeks I´ve just been really quiet
because I won´t know exactly what´s going on haha.

We started a Noche de Logar and English classes this week. Noche de
Logar is Family night but for the ward, so it´s kind of like mutual. Our
first attempt was soooo hectic. Like holy cow. Haha it reminded me of
home or some kind of family reunion because there were a ton of loud
kids. It was probably more hectic because I had no idea what they were
saying haha. Anyways, hopefully that will be better in the future but
we´re trying to think of ways to get the ward together and create
opportunities where investigators can make friends with the members.
English class was a fail because this furnititure store opened up
across the street and was like thowing a party for their opening haha.
It was strange. I swear like half the town was there. They had this
band play and were giving away matresses and tvs and stuff so I think
everyone who was going to go forgot and watched the party haha. Oh

ALSO, holy cow, this country is so cool. in 2010 they made 5 special
pesos to celebrate their 200th year anniversary and the pesos just
have like engravings of famous places in the country. Anyways, one of
them has A WALRUS on it, not even joking. It is the coolest coin I
have ever seen in my life, I got one this morning and it made my life
complete. I´m not really sure what place it´s depicting haha but I´m
guessing it´s somewhere way south where they have penguins and
walruses apparently.

Welp family, thanks again for the love and support

Love, Elder Lounsbury

P.S. Happy belated birthdays to Dad and Isaac!!

P.S.S. If you have any really good FHE ideas send them to me and we
can try doing it with the ward. K I think that´s all, PEACE