¡Hola famila y amigos! So good to hear from all of you, I´m glad things over there in your neck of the woods are going great. Over here, we´ve had some problems..err..adventures with Cucurachas (cockroaches). I just went blood crazy this week and murdered like 17 of them (for reals, I´m not just saying that because it´s the best number in the world). Luckily are pench has this special Raid that kills cockroaches so it´s pretty much been my best friend. Although, I´m about to give up and just accept them as household pets because one of the Elders we live with used to work a lot in Pest Control and assures me there´s no way I can get rid of them with the Raid. I opened up a cupboard that Elder Hunter had never opened up before and there were like 10 in there. I was screaming like a girl and spraying Raid like it was the end of the world. haha. We have some pretty epic battles. I´m still a little uneasy from all the horror stories I´ve heard (like some kinda bug that crawled in a missionary´s ear once and laid eggs) and random facts (apparently cockroaches can fit into spaces as small as cracks in a laptop) but for now I´m not motivated to take everything out of the cupboards and start a World War III.
This week was incredibly unproductive. Elder Hunter was pretty sick from Wednesday until Saturday night; on Tuesday we did a white storm (where everyone in the zone works in one area to try to help them out) and we had interviews Wednesday in the morning so we weren´t able to get much work done. I went on Divisions a lot with the other Elders that we live with and tried to pass by our most important investigators and find some nuevos so our numbers weren´t all zeros for the week, but it definitely wasn´t the same. I did however, have a lot of time to study. And I have officially completed the first two chapters of Jesus el Cristo which I know isn´t a ton but I´m getting there. On multiple occasions I´ve looked up a Spanish word and not even known the definition in English..haha. But it´s coming along. I also, gave my first talk in Argentina this week. Kinda crazy it would come after I´ve had 7 months in the mission huh? I thought it went alright, I was glad my Spanish is to the point where I don´t just read everything like I did in the MTC. I gave it on the talk entitled something like "What manner of men and women ought ye to be" by Elder Lynn Robbins from the most recent General Conference and then tied in how we can use goals and diligence to improve our progress to become more like Christ. Aristotle said, "We are what we do repeatedly, excellence, then, is not a act but a habit." That guy knows what he´s talking about huh? I talked about how we can focus our goals on more what we want to be than what we want to do. Elder Robbins mentions it in his talk. So you should go back and read it. Way good.
Welp, besides all of that this week wasn´t too eventful. We had our last interviews with President Lindahl which was cool, even though it was only the second one I´ve had with him besides the short one I had when I first got here. We talked about faith and miracles which was really cool. I also asked him about stuff when I get back and advice about what I should do and he said to look him up and he´ll help me out, which is wayyy legit. Also, for lunch yesterday we had fideos caseros with some spaghetti like sauce and meat and it was incredible. Fideos caseros are when they make their own noodles. So legit right? They make the dough and then use this machine to help roll and flatten everything out. It ends up being this super long peice of dough that´s about 7 inches wide. they cut width-wide it into like foot long pieces and put it through the machine on a different setting so it cuts them into noodles. Hopefully you get what I´m talking about. I want to get one when I go home and be legit and make my own noodles.
Welp, I think that´s all I have for this week. Don´t let your dad´s eat pie!
This week I think we celebrated July 4th early by doing/eating a bunch of American stuff. We went to Walmart where I bought a Perry the Platypus shirt (in the little kids section, haha), peanut butter, and Snickers. I also just ate at McDonalds. It was sooo packed and there were two stories and everyone there was dressed nice because it´s actually really expensize and man, it brought back a lot of memories haha. All of those things made me week wonderful. I think I had a peanut butter and honey sandwich every night this week, oh, and all 6 of the Snickers I bought were gone in like 4 days haha. But, my favorite buy was for sure the Perry the Platypus t-shirt. I think he is the epitome of something I´ve been studying and thinking about this week, which is determination. I think in Preach My Gospel it would fall under the "diligence" category but to me it´s practically the same thing. I´ve realized a lot of times in life I gage my progress by who´s around me, but what I really need to do is gage myself on what I think I can be. For example, with Spanish, I can communicate and understand pretty much everything, and am at about the same level as the people around me (who all have more time) so for a while I layed off studying so hard. But Preach My Gospel mentions in the language section about how you shouldn´t stop learning when you get to the point where people can understand you. I think sometimes we do the same thing in life because once we fit in or are average or feel comfortable we´re okay just putting ourselves in neutral and coasting because it´s easier. It happens to us spiritually all the time, we go through the motions and go to church or do whatever but we don´t work hard to apply ourselves and always have our eyes on higher ground. Or maybe it´s just me that does that haha. There´s a way cool quote in Preach My Gospel that says something along the lines of, "if we don´t learn how to set goals and master the steps to achieve them, I´m sure we´ll reach a ripe old age and look back on life to realize we´ve only become a portion of our potential." Haha, holy cow right? I love that quote. But I´ve also learned that just putting goals isn´t enough (I´m really good at that part) but we need to constantly measure our progress and adjust our techniques with the kind of determination Perry the Platypus demonstrates to actually accomplish what we want in life. Anyways, those are my somewhat spiritual thoughts for the week.
This week has been a little hard because Elder Hunter and I are struggling to find people to progress. We thought we had two solid commitments for church on Sunday (which was Stake Conference) and arranged for members to pick them up and drive them and everything and in the end both of our commitments fell through. It´s really easy finding people to listen to a first discussion, but when we return they´re busy or sick or have to work etc. But we´re working hard and I guess that´s the most important part. Stake Conference was pretty cool by the way, there was at least one member of the 70 there (Elder Arnold) and then I think another from the Area 70 in charge of all the missionaries along with our mission President so we made sure our shoes were shined etc haha. They changed the Stake Presidency which is why everyone was the there, and then we listened to a broadcast from salt lake. It was cool because I understood like everything, and last time I listen to a broadcast (for General Conference) when I tried listening to it in Spanish I understood about nothing haha.
Also, I think I´ve failed to mention the fact that we have a Mandarin tree in our backyard. How cool is that? I mean how much time am I gonna have a Mandarin tree to live under during my life? So this week I´ve taken advantage of that and have tried to start out every day by going outside and picking one off the tree and eating it in my mouth. It has been fantastic. Sometimes we gotta enjoy the simple things in life, you know? Just like them snails.
Welp, I hope everyone has a fantastic week!
Love, Elder Lounsbury
P.S. mom, I really hope you got my video but if not, ¡Feliz cumpleaños! ¡Que le cumpla feliz!
These days I´ve been enjoying the refreshingly cold autumn breeze, buying way too much chocolate (they have nutella here!) and eating at fancy restaurants on P day. Elder Hunter has a giant sweet tooth (maybe even more than me, if that´s possible) so we´re not very good influences on each other when it comes to that. We´ve been consuming more chocolate than a fat kid on Easter. We´ve also tried our taste in the fancier restaurants of central Mendoza. Today we ate goat (chivo) that was like their version of a BBQ (called asado) and it was way good. They had some chill french music playing and super abstract art on the wall that I was trying to interpret and I just felt way fancy haha.
This week we´ve been a little sick so it hasn´t been very fun, but we´re working through it. I need to do a better job of keeping hand sanitizer with me and trying not to touch my face because we shake hands with so many people we´re almost bound to get sick again. We´ve been teaching the sister and brother of a girl who got baptized before I came and they both said they want to get baptized so they´re looking pretty promising. They have a hard time waking up and getting to church though so we´re going to work a little more with the members to make sure they feel comfortable when they go. This coming weekend is Stake Conference so it´ll be a little different trying to get people to church but hopefully we can still do it. We´ve also been trying to pass by inactive members a lot. It´s incredible, apparently (from what I´m told at least) we have about 500 members on our records, and about 40 are active. We even have lunch with two inactive members, although one of them went this week so hopefully they´ll stay active now.
I had my first peanut butter and jelly sandwich in 6 1/5 months this week. It felt really weird just making one after that long, let alone eating it. But it was a happy reunion. Many taste buds rejoiced.
Hey, can you look up any information on Huricán for me? I´ve heard so many different things. Can you just tell me like what league they´re in? Also, did that video work that I sent you last week? This week we had a little more of them celebrating. It´s just so crazy walking down the main road in our area and seeing people waving flags out of cars or on motorcylces and honking at chanting at everyone. We even saw a bus drive by and I swear there was a flag or a hand or a head or leg or something hanging out of every window in the public bus. Haha, it was like every Huricán fan was on that bus, it was way funny to watch. Crazy people and their futból...Except I love it.
This week we ate lunch on Thursday in another area because it was one of the Elder´s birthdays and they were cooking asado and we got invited. Anyways, the hermana asked us to acompany her to school to drop off her little girl in Kindergarten and Elder Hunter and I reluctantly agreed. We got to the gate of this school and he was like, "there´s no way we´re going in there" and the hermana was just oblivious and just sees us as friends and before we knew it we were inside the gate being stared at by probably everyone there. The kids were staring just because we were different and the parents were staring because they wanted to know what these missionaries were doing in a school yard. I felt so awkward. I was just trying to laugh it off at the same time but it was still terrible. Just imagine these two white, light-eyed, tall (handsome) americans dressed in ties and suit pants surrounded by all these little kids asking questions about where we were from and how long we´ve been here and how to say "I like you" in English and whatever else. I was 1 or 2 feet taller than everyone there since it was just a grade school so there was no where to hide. Haha. I kept thinking about those "Wanna get away?" commercials. The hermana even wanted us to follow her in the school and we didn´t want to offend her but didn´t really know what else to do so we followed her in and I felt like i was in one of those movies where the main character is just getting stared at by everyone else. I always thought that was pretty unrealistic but it definitely happened to me. After a teacher somewhat rudely asked "Chicos?" hinting like "What do you think you´re doing here?" I couldn´t take anymore and just told the hermana we´d be outside. I hope you all can imagine that scene. It was terrifying. But funny at the same time?
Welp, I hope that´s all for this week. Thanks for all your updates as usual.