Hey family!! First of all, sorry this is a day late (again) but we had Zone Conference yesterday so today is our P-day! I´m still doing as splendid as a goose. I guess I´ll start out with Zone Conference yesteday. I´ve come to the conclusion that Zone Conferences are kind of like camping. You´re excited the week leading up and the night before you´re up late packing and don´t get very much sleep (in our case because we had to leave Alvear at 4 in the morning). Then the drive over you´re pretty much just asleep the whole time because it´s early and you´ve got nothing better to do. When you actually get there you gotta unload all your stuff and find your way to the camp spot, which for us meant finding our way through downtown Mendoza. The actual Conference was way good, as usually, and I was able to have giddy reunions with Elder Sargent from the MTC and Elder Robinson. Elder Mori and I won cleanest pench for our zone so we got a giant thing of alfajores. Then our zone won this scripture chase competition so we won even more. So our food that day wasn´t very healthy to say the least (once again, just like camping). And then by the time we left I was just sick of feeling greasy and not getting very much sleep and just wanted to see a normal bed again. Just like camping.
Okay, my story for the week has to do with trying to help the daughter of Gladis with her English homework. We were over teaching them and after we were done Gladis brought up the fact that her daughter wanted help with English but was just too shy to ask haha. So she got out her homework and I tried to explain weird pronounciation and our random grammer to her in Spanish. It was just this sheet with a bunch of questions on it and she had to go through and answer them all, so it was pretty simple. Anyways, I could not stop laughing because there were phrases that I´d never heard in my life like "What is your surname?" "When do you lay the bed?" "Do you like the going to the cinema?" and "When do you do the washing-up?" haha. I didn´t even know what the washing-up would be, but she explained to me that it meant washing the dishes, and the question "When do you do the washing?" is just asking about when you wash your clothes. Anyways, I thought it was really funny. I think it´s because there´s two types of English that they teach down her and I think that´s the Britanica type. I also saw a shirt that this guy was wearing in the street that said "Born Loser" and I had to wonder if for some reason he´d want a shirt that said that or if he just liked the colors and decided to buy it.
Things with Elder Mori are still going well. I have a ton of words that I´m learning and we´re getting along well enough. A funny side note though: He is one of the worst soccer players I have ever seen in my life hahah. I feel bad for him because that´s like all our Zone does on P-days because we´re a small Zone and everyone can play at the same time. But he´s a latin and they´re supposed to be good but really, he´s not. haha. He knows how to play the Harmonica though, and does so often in random times like when we´re walking in the street, in a bus terminal, or on a bus. I never really know how to react.. haha. But he´s chill so we´re doing fine.
I hope you all had a happy easter! I didn´t even realize it was easter until the night before because there were a bunch of people by the catholic church in Bowen doing a reinactment of somesort. But I don´t think I ate a single peice of chocolate the whole day so that was definitely something different. But Easter isn´t about the chocolate and finding eggs haha. Oh, one other way cool thing that happened this week was we got 4 people in church, in Oeste! Last week was the first time the missionaries had ever gotten an investigador there in like 4 months and we got 4 this week. It was way cool, wayyyyy more of the members went to (the first week we went I think only like 5 members came) but I think we had around 20--all smooshed into this 15 person van haha. I was proud to be a Bowenian. I am also am the proud owner of a Bowen Football Club jersey and sported it today in Alvear. Gotta represent.
I got the letters and drawings from the boys this week so thanks a ton for those! And all your emails like usual.
My new companion is Elder Mori!! Before I tell you about him, I need to tell the story of how we met, or how we didn´t meet I guess. He called me in the morning on Wednesday and told me he was getting on a bus soon and would be there around 1 or 1:30. But we never specified where he´d be... I was with the Elders in Oeste since Elder Robinson left early in the morning and we assumed (along with our zone leaders) that he´d be getting to Alvear at 1 or 1:30. So we made sure to be there a bit early and 2 o´clock rolled around and we thought his bus was just late. Then two big busses pulled in and we thought for sure this was him. It´s always a bit nerve wracking when you meet a new companion and on top of that he is my first latin so it was a big deal. We were anxiously waiting for him to pop out...and he didn´t. Then four more busses pulled in and we´re like alright, for sure he´s gotta be on this one. Anddddd, he wasn´t. We thought he´d gotten off too soon in another city or something so our Zone Leaders that were waiting with us left and then called back and said there was a bus that went straight to Bowen and that maybe he had taken that one. I had thought about that possibility before and had mentioned to the Elders I was waiting with but they thought he would have mentioned it if that was the case...haha. Anyways, we finally took a bus back to Bowen and found him in the Terminal. He had been waiting there for like 4 hours. By that time I wasn´t even that nervous, I just wanted a companion again haha. He was nice about it, and makes jokes when we tell the story about how he had thought he was going to have to sleep there in the Terminal that night haha.
But, I´m sure you all want to know how he´s like. Elder Mori is from Peru, hardly knows any English, and is shorter than me. haha. The only thing that´s changed from Elder Robinson to him is that I now walk on the right side of him. And what I mean by that is that practically everything has changed. Obviously I speak way more Spanish, I´m doing more teaching and add a lot more to conversations because the people already know me and Elder Mori only has a year on the mission so isn´t as experienced as Elder Robinson was at always coming up with questions to keep conversations going and stuff like that. He always walks like a gazelle. I´m not even joking. I don´t even know how it´s possible because his legs are smaller than mine but it´s incredible. It reminds me of one time Austin and I were late to Pyschology class and he was walking as fast as he could with his giant dinosaur legs and I was walking/jogging to keep up with him. Haha, except now it´s with this tiny little guy from Peru. He also has giant speakers, and we regularly rock out to the MoTab and Alex Boye. It´s way cool.
I can tell my Spanish is getting way better already. Just having to speak all the time and explain past situations of members or investigators and keeping a conversation/getting to know him has improved my conjugations and stuff like that. I´m also learning a lot of random words I never thought I´d learn like tack, seaweed, gear shift, exhaust pipe, drain, and eyelash. haha. We´re getting along well though and I have a lot more responsibility so I´m growing a lot.
The funny story for this week is from the Mexican singer Vicente Ferdandez. We were at our lunch on Sunday and the family had him on the tele. The family had this DVD that had music videos to all of his songs. First of all, he is super Mexican. He had a giant sombrero, black curly hair, giant sideburns, and a giant mustache. Just like something straight out of Nacho Libre. Practically every song of his had some kind of horse in it. The first one I saw he was singing romantically to this horse and stroking it´s hair, it was so funny. I´m laughing right now just thinking about it. In some of his other ones he was singing while taking a shower, and milking a goat. I´m not even kidding. His music video consisted of milking a goat. I could not stop laughing. haha. If you can find it, you have to watch it. I know Madeline would die laughing, I was thinking about her the whole time haha.
Welp family, thanks for all the updates as usually, sounds like everyone is doing splendid.
Probably like 60 or 70 percent in the Bowen do the cosecha (harvest) in the surronding campos. So far I´ve been here while people are harvesting peaches, apples, pears, plums, and now grapes. Maybe I´ve just missed it with the other fruits, or maybe the places where they take them are further away, but there are soooo many grapes. One of the main roads we walk down has been lined almost 24/7 with around 17 dump trucks, all practically overflowing with grapes, waiting to drop off their load at the winery. By the time one unloads everything (which takes a while) it seems like someone else has come from the fields and takes their place. Dump trucks! Filled with grapes!
The other exciting news this week is that I´m getting my first Latin companion!! We found out last night because the Assistants called Elder Robinson to let him know that he´s going to be traveling for his last transfer. It´s such an awesome way to die, he´s way excited. Anyways, I was mildly nervous out of my face last night when I found out but I´m excited. It´ll definitely force me to work a lot more on my Spanish which is what I need. Hopefully by the end of the transfer I´ll be more or less fluent. We also have a couple of investigators that are looking like possible baptisms so I´m excited to work hard and try to get them before I leave Bowen for bigger fish. haha.
I do have a funny story for this week. We went to Oeste for testimony meeting which was wayyyy better than Bowen. (I don´t know if I told you but last time when we were in Bowen only like 10 people bore their testimony including me and Elder Robinson and at one point this little girl got up to go to the bathroom and you could hear everything. It took so much strength not to just die laughing.) Anyways, this time was better. However, Bowen still brought the comical relief. This old man named Lucero apparently bears infamous testimonies, but I still hadn´t heard one of his yet. He got up to the pulpit and then bowed his head and said a silent prayer before getting way passionate about his message and like waving his arms and pounding the pulpit. It reminded me of that one episode of The Office where Dwight gives that speech. I´m happy Bowen keeps things fun.
Welp, the only other thing I got for this week is we taught a way cool neuvo named Jorge Latorre. First of all, I´m way jealous of his name. It´s rolls off the tongue way nice. We just started talking to him one day when we were on Divisions. He looked like he was 55 or 60 maybe but when we asked him he told us he was 77. We were like, "Naw, you´re kidding me" and he very genuinely offered to show us his documents inside that proved he was that old haha. He was like "No I´m serious, you want to see my documents? I have the documents inside!" Haha. Anyways, he was listening to the radio so we started talking about music and he told us he like reggatone (which is funny because that´s like the Argentine rap and he´s 77) but then somehow we got on the topic of dancing and he told us he knew how to tango. We joked around with him and said he´ll have to teach us so when we go back to the states we can impressive all the ladies, and thought that was really funny. He´s really nice and would be a stud convert.
I also bought Alpagatas this week, which are like the originals of the Tom´s shoe brand, so I look like a native now.
Tell Madeline Happy Birthday and that she still needs to stay away from guys for another year. haha
This week practically our whole Zone got sick. Some had it pretty bad and just looked and sounded miserable but I got lucky and didn´t have much more than a runny nose and sore throat. Grandma and Grandpa Lousnbury sent me from cough drops for Christmas in the MTC and I took full advantage of them. They are delicious. The funny thing is, people here really do eat cough drops for candy. Like sometimes they won´t have exact change at a store so they´ll give you what they can and then throw in a couple "candies" to make up for it, but really they´re cough drops.
How did you all like General Conference?! I thought it was delectable. We bought chips and soda and watched it on this tiny tv in the church haha. Everyone else watched it in the chapel on the big screen projector, they don´t have it on regular tv here like they do in the states. It went by wayyyyyy fast for us, and I didn´t even fall asleep once!! (for maybe the first time in my life). I liked Kent Richard´s on Saturday Morning about how pain teaches us patience. I loved Elder Oak´s on desires on Saturday Afternoon and how they shape what we seek in life and who we will become. Elder Uctdorf´s on how we can´t wait on the path to what we can become, but need to take steps of faith and actually start was way good too. And I super loved Lynn Robin´s on to do and to be. Definitely need to read that one again but it blew my mind out of its socket. Super interesting part about raising kids too, maybe the pyschology lover in me is what loved it so much..
The way cool news for the week is that Gladis came to Conference! I don´t know if you remember her but she was the one that was super mad at God when we first talked to her because her daughter had died. She´s progressed so much since then and opened up to us way more. You can tell God is working with her because even a couple weeks ago she wouldn´t even consider going to church. But on Friday we got a solid commitment out of her and then she came to the Sunday Afternoon one. It was so cool, the whole time I was praying she´d have her questions answered. She left kinda fast before we could talk to her so I don´t know how it all went but you can´t go wrong with the prophets and apostles right?
We play basketball with Pedro and Lucas on Saturdays and I think it´s helping them open up a little more. This week we´re going to get some studs from Oeste who are really outgoing and just can be their friends because we don´t have any youth in Bowen of their age. We saw them on Friday night and played Ping Pong at their house for a couple minutes and had a good time and while we were leaving they even asked us about church. I feel like if it was in Bowen they would have gone. So hopefully this next week we´ll get them.
Welp, that´s about all I got for now. Sorry I didn´t have very many excited stories haha, this week went by wayyy fast because of Conference. It was almost like a three day weekend because we have P-day now!
With all the love of a Ping Pong champ in training,