First and foremost, one of the biggest weekends of the year is almost upon us. It´s the grandaddy of grandaddies. The weekend to end all weekends. I am so stoked out of my brain that I get giggly like a school girl just thinking about it. It´s as if the Super Bowl and World Cup were combined into one. Joyous glee will sound throughout the world. It´s going to be the party of all parites. Cholestoral raising amounts of food are going to be bought. And then we´re setting up a giant big screen high def projector in the church and watching--you guessed it--General Conference!!!!!!!
I really hope you are all as pumped as I am.
This week we worked way hard trying to get as many with members lessons as possible to keep ourselves surviving in the March Madness competition. Although we doubled the amount of with member lessons we´ve ever had in Bowen, our Zone fell short and it looks like we won´t be advancing any further. The other Zones put up ridiculous numbers and it seems as though that dinner with President is slipping through our fingers like sand on the beach haha.
I have a couple good stories for this week. The funniest one happened when we were teaching a less active member who can´t go to church because she´s sick. We were trying to get references from her and were just talking outside. Her Marido (that´s the word they use that´s kinda like husband but when they´re not married and have just lived together for forever) came out and walked by us and the back of his jeans where half way down his butt. I don´t even know how that happens. He had a belt and the front of his pants were snuggly on his waist but maybe he just forgot to pull the back of them all the way up in the morning or something. I just glanced over and saw him and then had to turn away because I was laughing so hard. Then he got on his bike to go buy something and when I looked and saw him riding away half his Argentine crack was proudly being revealed to whoever he happened to drive by. It was quite comical.
We also saw the Argentine version of Robert Downey Jr. this week. After we walked past him Elder Robinson and I just stopped and were like woah...what? I wish I could have taken a picture because the resemblence was incredible. I also noticed this week that there is an actor in the Finding Faith in Christ dvd that looks like Demetri Martin. It´s in the scene where Jesus heals the man who had Leporsy. Look for it and tell me what you think haha. On another random note, I saw fireflies for the first time since I was like a little baby! There were only a couple of them but it was still way cool. There was a lightning storm in the distance which made it even more...illuminating?
On Sunday night we usually take a bus to Oeste and spend the night there before we go to Alvear for P-day. And I was finally able to make that birthday cake you sent me! It just so happened that the Elders there had these two other pie things there were going to make and we had bought two Pepsis the day before so we made everything and had a giant sugar rush. The cake turned out wayyy good, so thanks again for that. One of the Elders even had these giant ballons that said happy birthday on them that he hadn´t used so we blew those up and had a little celebration. It was way fun even though it was like a month late haha. So much sugar though...
Well I think that´s all I have for now, don´t fall asleep during Conference ;)
With all the love of the fattest walrus in the world, Elder Lousnbury
Igualamente is a saying that they have down here that basically means "you too." Like someone will say "Que le vaya bien" which basically means like "I hope everything goes well for you" and then someone will respond "Igualamente" and return the salutaion. Anyways, this week we were opening up the mouth with the lady and her two little kids and we just talked about her family and how the gospel will help raise her kids and bring success. When we were done Elder Robinson said "Good luck with the kids" and just out of custom or habit she responded "Igualamente" haha. Get it? We don´t have any... It reminded me of the Brian Regan joke of "You too!" and I thought it was funny because it was happening to me in another country and in Spanish.
This week for March Madness we had a focus on Assistances (Attendences) and little Bowen pulled through and helped our Zone to another win with 5! We played these kids at soccer and whoever lost had to buy the other team a soda. We lost (except not really because this kid always changed the score) but we said that we´d have their soda along with banana bread at church the next day haha. They´re friends with members so it wasn´t too big of a deal for them to go but they did and even their mom came as well. So that was pretty cool, I think we´re going to try to start teaching them this week.
So the reason I´m writing this a day late (again) is because we had interviews with President yesterday in San Rafael. We had a sweet game of soccer against the Zone from San Rafael on a full 11 vs. 11 field. Zone bragging rights were on the line. They started out well with a 2-1 lead early on but Zone Alvear doesn´t give up. We fought back and ended up winning by a lot actually haha. It was way fun. Interviews with President kind of took a while so we didn´t get back home until pretty late. He just asked questions to kinda get to know me better and he said he´s going to try to find a stud latin to put with me next transfer so that´ll be a fun change. I think I´ll only have one more interview with him before he leaves and the new Mission President comes in.
On another Spanish note, I learned the word for tuna this week. However, when I asked Elder Robinson about it the member we were eating with asked what I said and then said that in some places that´s a bad word. Haha. I don´t really know where exactly but I guess if you´re ever in a Spanish speaking country, be careful to discuss tuna very much. haha.
Other than that this week was pretty normal. We found a couple more solid investigators to teach, one of them is Flipa and her husband who have been to church before and almost got married so they could get baptized but I think moved before anything happened. So hopefully we can finish what other missionaries started for us but we´ll see. Teresa didn´t get baptized yet but we´re hoping to try harder for this Saturday. Vamos a ver. Other than that we´ll still working with the husbands of all the Bolivan sisters. Two of them need to get married and one of them needs to quit smoking. We´re making progress but it´s kinda slow and delicate because we don´t want to mess anything up and do something that the members will get offended by or something. Also, the mission focuses so much on finding new people to teach that sometimes it´s hard to really focus in on a lot of people and go by their houses close to everyday so we have to pick only a couple of people to really focus on and then just help the others progress a little at a time.
This month, in honor of college basketball, the mission is having its own March Madness. All of the Zones in the mission (there´s 12 of them) compete against each other and whoever wins gets a to take a trip up to Mendoza and eat with President and his wife. Various points are given for different aspects of missionary work. Points are awarded for how people are in church, how many lessons we had with memebers, etc. We won last week and won again this week so we´re looking really good. It´s kind of a cool thing because it´s something that the whole zone can rally behind and give everyone a little more incentive to work harder.
On Sunday night we met the Zone Leaders in Oeste and went on Divisions to try to boost our numbers a little bit more. I went with Elder Barra who is from Buenos Aires and a member from the Barrio in Oeste so it was 4 hours of nothing but Spanish. I actually understood almost everything that was being said though so that was a rather pleasant surprise. I learned a lot from him, he is way legit. In under 4 hours we got 11 new investigators, which is almost as much as we´d usually get in a whole week haha. It´s easier when that´s all you focus on but it was still really cool. There were a couple times when people looked like they were going to be really stubborn and closed and who didn´t want to talk to us at all but somehow he got them to listen and open up and by the end of it we were able to hand them something and actually teach.
At one point we were at an intersection in the middle of this campo and he asked, "Alright Elder Lounsbury, which way does the Spirit tell you we should go?" After I chose the way there weren´t any houses for a while and it started looking like a dead end. Then when we finally got to a house no one answered. I was like shooooot, this is so embarrassing, now my Zone Leader probably thinks I´m a terrible missionary who doesn´t know how to listen to the Spirit haha. But we walked a little further and found this guy named Fabiano who seemed way prepared for the gospel. He listened to us and was open to what we had to say and then accepted a fecha right there. The cool thing is that it wasn´t even his house, I don´t actually know why he was there but he lives way further out in the campo so that might have been the only time we could have found him. It would wayyyyy legit if he got baptized.
Oh, and I had a wild pomegranate on the way back. Also, I don´t think I spelled that right. But it was way yummy in my tummy.
This week in Bowen was still a little slow, we have a lot of people in our teaching pool but they´re just progressing slowly because it´s hard to find very many people we can teach consistently still. We do have this old lady named Teressa who is supposed to get baptized this Saturday but she´s had a baptismal date like two times before so we´ll see how that goes. Maybe the third time is the charm. She feels the Spirit while she´s at church but on Friday or Saturday we found out that some people from other churches had been basically trying to scare her out of it so hopefully we can help resolve her concerns.
We are also teaching this guy named Juan Gomon who is wayyy nice. He always lets us in and buys soda and cookies for us. We´ve been teaching him for a while and we think he´s starting to understand the Restoration and baptism better but he´s still not super commited. Those are the people who are the closest to being baptized right now.
Usually when Elder Robinson and I are walking around we try to nutmeg each other with rocks and pebbles and whatever else is on the road. So far he holds the record for 6 in a row, but I´m gonna break it before he leaves. For the past couple weeks I´ve tried expanding my horizon. So far I have nutmegged him with random fruit we pass, a plastic bottle, a cereal box, a broken bike pedal, a shoe, a purse, and this last week I even got him with a dried up dead toad. I don´t even know where it came from or why it was so dried up and dead, but I took full advantage of the opportunity. It was magical to say the least.
Also, our Zone just got done with a little fishing adventure. We bought 5 peso bamboo fishing poles complete with a hook and line that was about two feet long, walked like 20 mintues to this ¨river¨ that was more like a large stream, and caught absolutely nothing. haha. It was still really fun, we made a fire and skipped rocks which is what I usually end up doing when I´m fishing so it was just like home. I also found a skull of a dog head and proceeded to nutmeg Elder Robinson with it. haha. Que vergüenza.
Oh! I almost forgot, I finally got your birthday package! It was fantastic, the American chocolate is like gold down here. So good in my mouth. Thank you all very much. We have yet to make the cake but I think we will for sure next P-day.
First of all, sorry I didn´t write ya´ll yesterday, it was a random Argentine Holiday so all the places where we go and do internet were either closed or full of kids who had the day off from school. So here we are. I have some good stories this week so hopefully that´ll make up for it.
The awesome thing about Argentina is that we have some pretty freaking sweet summer storms. The day will start out sunny and throughout the day more clouds will start moving in and then by 8 or 9 there´s lots of lightning and it´s just pouring rain like crazy. The not so awesome thing about our pench (apartment) is that aparently it´s not very waterproof. Let me explain. Our pench is basically a giant trapazoid made of cement and our doors are all made of metal. I am fairly confident we could be bombed and come out fine. The roof starts out high enough to have two stories (which is where we sleep) and then gradually slants down until it meets a verticle part of the building where a sign could be placed, about 6 feet above the sliding metal door we open for church. On the inside there´s a rectanglular section of sheetrock to hide all of levers and chains we use to pull up the garage door. There´s a couple lights on the bottom side to make everything look better.
On Saturday this giant storm started coming in, and we were all excited because we usually have fun watching them and whatever, storms are cool. After it had been going on for a while we realized water was starting to come in under the door, where there´s a space of a couple centimeters. At first we were like, "oh that´s cute Mother Nature, too bad our pench is impenitrable" and we stuffed a couple towels under the door to stop the water flow. Then water started coming in from above the right side of the garage door. We started taking matters a little more seriously but we were not about to get beaten. It was Man vs. Nature at it´s finest. We abandoned our battle front at the door and started using the squeegy to push water from the right side of the building to the left, and out the door. We thought we had everything under control, we thought we were invincible. Then water started coming down from one of the lights in the sheetrock. At this point we realized the war was slipping out of our hands. We were bombed from the right flank, a huge peice of sheetrock and gallons of water fell down. We were shelled from infront, water flowed out of the lights in our sheetrock. And through it all we were trying to control and push out the water still coming in from the door at our left flank. Chaos insued. We realized that although water was dripping out of the lights in the sheetrock, water was coming in the pench faster that it was coming out of the lights, so the whole of this rectangular sheetrock thing was filling up with water and would probably fall like the other piece did. We were forced to sacrifice some of our own. We punched holes in the sheetrock and forced the water out of the ceiling and out the door. The battle was fierce but in the end the storm passed and after our soldiers worked with the squeegy for about half an hour, our fortress was more or less under control again. Although it´s very humid and has a weird smell now. haha. Oh, and then the next day we had church here. It was quite the adventure.
In other news, breastfeeding down here is super weird. They have no shame at all, very few people make an effort to cover up. It´s really awkward. This week we were teaching a mom and her 16 year old daughter and 12 year old son. The 16 year old has a 6 month old baby and the mom has a 2 week old baby. First of all, that in itself is really weird. The daughter has a kid older than her mom´s kid.. At one point during our lesson both were feeding their kids. It was very uncomfortable to say the least. Sometimes it´s hard to keep from laughing because the situation just seems so weird. haha. Also, I don´t know what it is about down here but they have like a statue of a lady breastfeeding in the city plaza and there´s this famous painting i´ve seen a couple times of this baby breastfeeding off of her dead mother. I don´t really get it, but maybe I´m just missing something.
Also, we had a Zone training meeting this week and it was the best church meeting I´ve ever been in, in my entire life. We got to watch Kung-Fu Panda. haha. It was soooo legit. It had a really good message that we applied to our work as missionaries and if any of you haven´t seen it you should definitely do so right now. I was laughing the whole time. But that might be because it´s the only entertainment I´ve had in 4 months so maybe don´t get your hopes up too much.
Well, if I had more time I´d tell you more stories but I guess that will just have to wait for next week. Our investigators are doing alright, it´s really really really hard to find people who we can consistently teach. But I guess all of them are more or less progressing, just slower than we would have hoped.
Thank you for your prayers and love. And don´t let your dad´s eat pie!