Aight, I just want to take a bit of time and explain holidays here. I don´t really understand them. They have their normal holidays like we have Indepence day etc, but they have some really random ones too. For instance, Wednesday was an offical national holidy entitled "Friend day" haha. I felt like I lost a bit of manliness everytime I told someone "happy friend day!" but I guess it´s good to celebrate those friends we´ve got. Also, yesterday was a holiday celebrating when one of the catholic saints apparently made the earth tremble. (Did he just fall down?) In the US when we have holidays people celebrate by going out to lunch or to a park or just going out with their friends or family, but here all of the businesses are closed and I think everyone just sleeps because there´s hardly anyone out. So, one again I´m doing internet on a Tuesday, because there were no places open yesterday.
Anyways, this week has been pretty good. Elder Guillen and I and getting along well and working well together. He knows English pretty well and has told me he wants to learn so one of the days this week we spoke in English and I made him tell me stories and stuff to practice past tense etc. Haha it was funny because he got a taste of how it´s like trying to talk in a language that isn´t your own and I got a taste of trying to understand someone who doesn´t always conjugate the verbs correctly ect. It also makes you look at your own language differently.
We recived a lot of references from the bishop this week of old investigadors or part member families and so we´re excited to see if any baptisms come from those. A couple of them sounded really good so we have our hopes high. I really want to baptize because part of me feels like I haven´t done very much yet and I´m already over 1/3 done with my mission. But I try to keep in mind that baptisms aren´t correlated with how hard you work, because in the end the people can choose to accept it or not. Still, it would be nice to have more.
On a different note, I cooked beef fajitas this week with that seasoning you sent me and it was incredible. Maybe the best part of me week.
We also saw some weird stuff. We were walking down the sidewalk to an appointment and we saw a little kid next to his mom, hunched over pooping next to a tree. Hahah. It took me a while to realize what was going on. Afterwords I was half laughing half super confused/trying to figure out if what I had just seen had actually took place.
One last story for the week. We were walking by these kids playing soccer and they wanted Elder Guillen to do some tricks and so I was just standing and watching him and then this like 12 year old girl comes up to me and shows me her phone and asks, "Do you know who this is?" And she had just taken a picture of me on her phone! Haha it was super creepy/a bit stalkerish but I guess they just can´t resist my non-brown eyes haha. Still though, weird.
To start out I guess I´ll just answer some of your questions before I forget. The area I´m in now is about a little more than an hour south of Mendoza. You would think that would mean it´s colder because it´s more southern but it actually has almost been like spring here so far. Like in the morning we only wear a sweater and at night we usually have to wear our coats but it hasn´t been that cold at all. Today was the coldest it´s been, it was overcast and drizzling a tiny bit so I felt right at home haha. Elder Guillen is way awesome, he´s like one of the nicest people ever. He always shares his food and candy with me and I think that´s the best quality you can have in a friend haha. He´s also helping me a lot with Spanish slang because whenever we talk with kids or this one family we have lunch with on Sunday it´s harder for me to understand them because they use so many slang words. None of them show up in the dictionary so it´s hard to figure out exactly what they mean but I´m getting better haha. We´ve got one more lunch now, with the bishop every other week, so we´re cooking a tiny bit less but we still have to cook more than I´ve had to in my other areas. The first couple meals were pretty lame I´m not gonna lie, but we´re getting better. When I get back I´m going to be an expert in Argentine cuisine.
Our apartment right now is pretty interesting, it´s a 4 man pench with two bathrooms and two kitchens. Now I know that sounds like it would be amazing but one of the bathrooms and kitchens didn´t have running water until a couple days ago and well sometimes quantity doesn´t beat quality. Actually, one of my stories for the week has to do with the bathroom. It has character for a couple different reasons. First of all, the shower has no head so the water just kinda falls straight down so your like crammed all up against the wall trying not to touch it because it´s really cold but at the same time trying to get the water to rinse you off haha. Also, the very first time I used it the hot water handle came off and water started gushing out of where it was supposed to be. It was just like a movie or something haha. I panic for a second and was like oh no, what the heck have I done. But I guess you can just screw it back it... Oooo, but, the good new is that the members we´re renting from right now need the apartment or something so we have to find a new one. The Zone Leaders (who we live with) have looked at a couple the are closer to the boundries of our area and more central but they haven´t settled on anything yet. So in a couple weeks here I´ll probably be packing up my bags all over again and moving. At least it´ll be an interesting experience haha.
This week we had some people in the church, which was the first time for me in over a month and a half so it felt way good. One of them is a boyfriend and the other is just a friend of some of the bishops daughters. Seriously, flirt to convert works. When I was in the MTC one of the speakers asked people who were converts in the past two years to tell their story and about 80 percent of them started out with "Well I was dating this girl who was mormon..." or "My girlfriend was mormon..." haha. I´m serious though. That stuff works. So I´ll let you know any updates with them. Speaking of the bishops daughters, he has like 7 or 8 of them and all of them but one are really loud. It was hilarious eating with them on Saturday, it reminds me of when Emma or Madeline have like a billion friends over and they´re all screaming except dinner was probably a bit louder. Elder Guillen doesn´t even have sisters so it was an entirely new experience for him but it made me laugh.
Speaking of crazy girls, we talked to this one girl in the street who was pretty crazy. All we did was say hello and she was like, "Did you go by that house" (pointing to a house down the street) and when we told her no she was like "oh good, because there´s demons there" and then went off telling us all these things about demons and witches and wizards and all these documentaries she´s seen at her church and all the things her preacher has told her and how she knew someone who was possessed and how you have to pay like 20 pesos to touch this thing and then you´ll be healed. Then she told us what her preacher had told her about "Jonathan Smith" (I smiled inside when she said Jonathan) and oh man. It´s just sad seeing people so scared like that and how people are making money off of it. We tried explaining to her what we believed but she didn´t want to listen really, just wanted to talk about people who are possessed. It was quite the interesting conversation.
Welp family, I think that´s all I have for this week.
Hello family. I know that´s a pretty gloomy title but it´s what I´ve been thinking about a lot this week. Some weeks I don´t have very much to write about and other I have too much. This week has been one of those weeks that had a little bit of everything in it.
On Friday in the morning we went up to Mendoza for a little meeting with the Mission President, President Avila. He was there with his wife and three of his kids, the youngest of which is only like 10 or 12 or something. He also has a daughter who is married and a son who is on his mission in Washington. The family introduced themselves and then he shared a spiritual thought/lesson with us and that was about it. He seems really nice and it´ll be interesting to see if he makes any changes in the mission, so far there hasn´t been any.
Anyways, the weird part of this story is on the way back we drove by a motorcycle accident and saw a dead man on the street. They didn´t do anything to cover him up or anything. It was a really strange feeling. But the story gets weirder. When we were at a members house later that night they told us someone in the barrio (ward) had died and after talking about it for a bit we realized it was the same guy we had seen earlier that day. And what´s even weirder is that when we were at the Bishops house on Thursday night we had talked about this particular family because they were inactive and we were making plans to pass by his house. We went to his viewing or something on Saturday with the Bishop and it was definitely a situation in which I had no idea what to do. We met the wife and their oldest kid who is only 13. They have more kids, the youngest of which is 4.
Even though we didn´t know him we were still weirdly intertwined with the situation and it made us think a lot about death and life and how it´s so unexpected and just a million other things. We talked about a lot of different things that day because it was a situation and experience that made us feel a lot of emotions that we don´t really know how to handle. In the church it helps that we have The Plan of Salvation, and that we know that we´re going to see those people again someday. But that knowledge only kinda dulls the pain. It´s ironic how the people who suffer the most are the ones that stay behind. I can´t really think of many other situations that have that same effect. Maybe it´s just the fact that it´s so unexpected sometimes that we fear it. But a lot of times in the scriptures they talk about it as a rest from their labors and their going to be with God, and I guess that´s just the part we need to focus on the most. I don´t really know, it was just a really strange weekend for that reason.
On a different note, I guess I should tell you all that I am now in San Martin, which is a city about an hour and half away from Mendoza where I was before. I am now companions with Elder Guillen, who is from El Salvador, so I´m taking the opportunity to improve my spanish as much as possible. He´s really nice and easy to get along with but struggles a bit on obedience sometimes so it´s going to be an interesting transfer or two. But we´ve already had more success in half a week here than I had in a week or even two weeks in my old area. There´s quite a few more neighborhoods here so the people are usually more receptive and will listen. A couple interesting things about the area are that we live like 30 minutes away from where we actually work haha. So we have to take a bus in the morning to work, and then take a bus back if we don´t have lunch with a member (which we haven´t yet...) to cook in the pension and then another round trip bus ride to go to our area and work in the afternoon. So we spend a ton of money of busses.
Happy Fourth of July everyone!!!!!!!!! I hope you are all partying it up with lots of BBQs and fireworks and patriotic celebrations. Over here in our neck of the woods we´re trying our best to celebrate. We´re celebrating the American way by spending more money than our budget allows! Haha. Nah I´m just joking. We started out the day by singing/belting/screaming America the Beautiful, My Country Tis of Thee and the Star Spangled Banner. It was a beautiful moment. Then we went to Walmart where we attempted to buy Snickers but they were all out, probably due to the fact that we´ve bought over 30 there this transfer. So we settled for Twix. They also had some things which look similar to donuts, so we bought some of those and finished off our breakfast with a Coke in a 12 oz can. Man, those things are way expensive here, but if we were at a BBQ in the states, that´s definitely what we would be drinking. The Donuts were nothing like your Krispy Kreme, but they were good enough for us. We´ve actually seen a LOT of red white and blue here in Mendoza today. Pretty cool right? Except all of it is because the Copa de America has started and there´s lots of Chileans here (who´s flag has the same colors) haha. But we pretend they´re just celebrating the good ol´ USA. To finish our Independence Day celebrations we´re going to eat at McDonalds. Walmart and McDonalds, can you get more American than that? You probably can, but in Argentina it´s as good as it gets.
This week not a whole lot happened. Tuesday and Wednesday we spent most of the day going by investigators to try and get someone to church and try to have some that are progressing but EVERYONE was gone or didn´t have time or I don´t even know. We had like all our plans for people to go by, and 5 or 6 back up plans and we literally did not get into one house. We even made plans with people in the morning to come by in the afternoon and when we went back they weren´t there. We also had a guy majorly cuss us out, which was a first so I guess that was pretty...interesting? All we did is knock his door and he came out ready to fight. But I guess that stuff just kinda happens. We didn´t get anyone to church, which means we went a whole tranfer without a single person in church, so we were a little depressed sunday night. But if it was all sugar coated and easy it wouldn´t be as meaningful.
A few more quick updates, we have a new mission President! President Lindahl left friday, and now we have President Avila. We haven´t seen any changes or even met him yet but I´ll keep you all updated on how that goes. Also, we find out transfers later today, and we´re prettyyy sure that I´m leaving. One of Elder Hunter´s friends from Arizona is coming and President said that there´s a good chance that he would train, and he asked questions about how good the area was for someone new etc, so we´re pretty sure he´s training and staying here. But I´ll let you all know next week. If I do go, I´m really hoping I´ll get sent to San Juan which is a lot more North and a lot less cold haha. But we´ll see.
Welp, I don´t really have a whole lot else besides that. Oh, one last story. We live with an Elder from Buenos Aires, and this week he asked me to translate an insult into english so he could say it to Elder Hunter. Instead of saying the real translation I told him it was, "I´m a fat pig face" haha. So he went into the other room and said it to Elder Hunter and I was just dying laughing. He asked Elder Hunter if he said it right and when Elder Hunter told him what it really meant he came chasing after me. He´s a pretty funny guy. I still laughed during random parts of the week when I think of that.
Alright, now for reals I´m out of ideas.
Have fun watching fireworks and drinking soda out of cans.
Hey ya´ll. This week had a bit of everything in it, but before I get into too much detail I want to tell a story. First, if you´ve gotten the July Liahona already, there´s a cool article in there about Latin American Pioneers. Anddd you all should read it, because it has to do with my story, kind of.
In 1923, a man and his family moved from Germany to Argentina. After arriving in Buenos Aires, they realized the church had not yet been organized in Argentina, or in any other South American country. They wrote the First Presidency for two years asking them to send someone down and start the Church in South America. Finally, in 1925, the church sent someone down and the church was organized. This man, who came from Germany, built the first church buildings, and taught and baptized the first 6 members in South America. He had a son, who, unfortunately, fell inactive after he married a catholic women who didn´t agree with the church. They had a son, and even though the mom didn´t like the Church, the dad (who was the son of the guy who started the church in South America) knew it was true and secretely taught his son (the grandson of the guy who started the church in South America) the basics of the gospel, hoping that someday he could baptized. But, then the dad suddenly died, and the boy obviously was never baptized or active in the church because of his mom. Alright, now fast forward to today. The grandson, who´s name is Walter, has a dream in which his grandma, who he only knew through photos, tells him to remember what his dad taught him, that he needs to do what his dad told him. So, after he wakes up, he goes to the closest Mormon church he can find (which was the institute building in downtown Mendoza) and walks in and tells the institute president his dream and that he wants to be baptized. haha. So he calls up the missionaries (he´s in the assistants area) and they´ve started teaching him, his wife, and his kid, and they all have a baptismal fecha for the 9th of July. How cool is that? They´re baptizing the grandson of the guy who basically is the reason the church is in South America.
The only reason I know that story, is because we went on division with the assitants one of the days this week. We had some really awesome lessons with both the zone leaders and the assitants, with the brother and sister of a recent convert and a bunch of their friends who are all around 16. I was pretty stoked because the friends were all interested and had some really good questions and I was sure everyone was feeling the spirit. We had the brother and sister commited to baptism and even had their interviews but, they didn´t come to church. And when we called to see if they were up this man answered who we have never met before and when we asked to talk to one of our investigators he said, "Yeah sure, here she is" and then just hung up. When we called back he was just really rude and wouldn´t let us talk to them and then asked if we were mormons and obviously has some negative feelings towards the church. We don´t know where he came from, especially since the mom is way supportive of her kids getting baptized, so it was really discouraging.
But, on a more positive note, I´ve learned a lot this week. I´ve been thinking a lot about faith and fear. For some reason I´m usually afraid to, or at least would rather not, talk to younger kids. Maybe it´s because I know I still have an accent and don´t talk perfectly or because a lot of them make comments at us as we walk by and stuff like that, but with the really cool lessons we´ve had this week (with kids the same age) I´ve realized that not all are like that. I guess I´ve been thinking about two different ideas that I´ve learned from these situations. First, I like the scripture in Ether 27:12 (I know probably everyone knows it, but I still like it haha) about how weak things can become strong unto us. I also have been thinking about how fear cannot exist with faith. I remember one time we were opening the mouth with this lady and at first I was just feeling the spirit a lot and felt like I could easily testify about whatever and then she started kinda arguing with us and for a split second I doubted myself and felt that feeling I had before leave. It reminds me of when Peter was walking on water, he had enough faith to start, but for a split second he doubted himself and that´s when he started sinking. I also really like the quote by Emerson, "Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain." Sorry those thoughts are really jumbled but I just thought I´d share some of those.
Welp, next week is the 4th of July, so I´m sure I´ll have a bunch of good stories about how we celebrated here. We´re going to go crazy. I´m so stoked.