Monday, October 31, 2011

Playing Secretary

Things here this week after Tuesday were super tranquilo. Tuesday was a little insane though. Like I said last week, I had 7 hours of meetings. Elder Aidukaitis was really interesting. He was VERY straight forward and blunt and a lot of missionaries didn´t really like it but I learned a ton so I felt alright. I think it also helps that I´m not quite half way there yet and still have a lot of time to improve on the stuff he talked about. The big thing he focused on was planning. Apparently up until now we´ve been doing it all wrong...haha. So I guess it was good to start realizing that and start trying to do it the right way. He basically said after our weekly planning that we should have practically all of our agendas filled with appointments and plans for our investigadors. Before we´ve just kinda written down plans in another place and we haven´t done anything nearly as detailed. He read a couple scriptures where it talks about how God planned to create the world and how he´s such a good planner he knows the end from the beginning, it was a really cool priciple and he illustrated it well. I definitely need to get better a not just setting goals but planning out weekely and daily steps that I need to do to reach them.

Other than that this week at the offices was super calm. President and his wife were off doing zone conferences in all of the other zones and Elder and Sister Packer were out with an area doctor and two other office elders who were translating for them touring hospitals that the mission wants to use in the future. So, basically there were only 4 of us here for most of the week. We went rampant like kids with no parental supervision. We untucked our shirts and undid our ties and only ate chocolate for lunch. (see attached picture). haha. Nah, but it was super quiet here and I almost ran out of things to do a couple of the days because my programs are pretty much done. With no programming to do I feel like a soul with less purpose. We´re going to start working on a system that will back up all of the computers daily though so I guess that´ll give me something more to do haha.

I did get to play secretary for a little bit this week since Elder Ostler was out going to all of the Hospitals. I helped an Elder´s mom buy tickets on the same flight as him so after she comes and visits for a while they can go home on the same flight. It was kinda fun doing something different. I was kinda the middle man between her and this guy in Buenos Aires that buys all of the flights.

Also, since last Monday was a little crazy trying to get everything ready for Elder Aidukaitis we didn´t have much of a P-day so President gave us a P-day on Saturday. They just opened up a Burger King in our zone (I think right now it´s the only one in Mendoza) so we went to eat there. It was so classic, they had a McDonalds literally right next to it. They´re both in the super nice mall that also had an Authorized Mac Retail Store soooo I got to touch my first iPad. They also had the biggest most gargantic ginourmous screen I have ever seen in my life. It was love at first sight. But really, it was like the size of a tv.

Besides that this week was kinda boring. We have transfers on Saturday so it´ll be interesting to see what happens there. I don´t think I´ll be companions with Elder Falcon anymore and I might change areas (again!?!?) since we´re going from 6 Elders in the offices to 4 (remember two are being trained like I was last transfer) so one area is going to have to be washed. I´ll let you all know how that turns out next Monday!

With all the love of Burger King,

Elder Lounsbury

Monday, October 24, 2011

Elder Aidukatis

This week has been pretty busy because we´ve been getting ready for a visit from Elder Aidukatis who is in our Area Presidency. It´s going to be pretty intense... Tomorrow the office staff has a short meeting with him for 30 minutes. Then afterwards all of the Zone and District leaders have a meeting with him so I´ll have another two and a half hour meeting. And THEN we have our zone conference, also with Elder Aidukatis. So, basically tomorrow I will have 7 hours straight of meetings with a general authority. It is going to be one crazy day...

This week I got a lot done. I finished making the cards for everyone in the mission that we´re going to start using with this program so that when people come to buy stuff we´ll just scan their cards (which have a bar code on it that corresponds to their Missionary ID) and then scan whatever they´re buying and then we´ll be set. We have almost two hundred missionaries in the mission right now so as you can imagine it was quite the project. I also finished and sent out to everyone an updated program of what missionaries fill out when they´ve had a baptism. It just a couple new things like the numbers of the wards and stakes automatically get filled in and there´s 6 sheets on the bottom to fill out more than one baptism and small stuff like that. I had to make two different versions because some stuff I had in there won´t work on the older versions of excel. Anyways, it was nice finally sending those off because it´s something I´ve slowly been working on ever since I got here. I also finished a search program that we can use to easily find where missionaries are or what their number is etc. It´s really nice because you can type in the initials of a zone and see easily who all is in that zone or type in ZL and easily copy all of the email address to the zone leaders in the mission. Closed projects are always the best. I also had to do aguas de cuyo this week (the mission newsletter thing we have) because zone conferences are this week. Presidente wrote like a two page message so I had to change the whole format and print it out on bigger paper that can be folded like a brochure to fit everything in. Haha.

While I was do augas de cuyo I was checking where all of the newbies are and who they´re with because that´s something we put on the newsletter. I was looking up a missionary who had an arrival date this month but it turns out he´s working in the states waiting for his visa to come through. And he´s comps with Austin Paptriz in Wisconsin right now. I KNOW RIGHT!?!?!!??! Oh man. I flipped out. Such a small world. I realized that this morning I sent out an email to him (because I sent one to the whole mission and even if he´s not here he still gets included) and how crazy would it be if Austin looked over at the computer screen at just the right time and saw this email with my name at the bottom of it. haha. I´m excited to talk to him when he finally gets here.

Other excited news this week is that I did my first baptismal interview! I was a little nervous but in the end it was a way cool experience. In the beginning I asked her how she met the missionaries and just kinda asked her to tell me her story. I always love hear conversion stories. Sometimes the people are like afraid of/hide from the missionaries until one day something changes so the can be kinda funny but at the same time really spiritual because they recognize how God guided them to the truth. The girl who I interviewed had a rough life growing up and for a while didn´t believe in God/was angry at him for stuff that had happened. But she went to school with this mormon girl and she told me her friend would talk to her about the church while waiting for the bus and that her friend just seemed to always be so happy and she wanted to know why. And so her curiosity led her to learn more and more and then talk with the missionaries and now she´s baptised. It was a pretty cool experience to hear it all from her. I wish I could have videotaped it because it was just like those testimonies you see on, especially since they don´t have very many in spanish haha.

Also, this really common grocery store down here called "vea" now carries Snickers and I am in heaven. The first time I saw them in there I seriously bought 25 because usually you can only find them in walmart or the Argentine version on walmart called Carrefour. So....I guess that was the best part of my week.

With all the love of the public bus system,

Elder Lounsbury

Monday, October 17, 2011


Last week Elder Falcon hit his one year mark in the mission so we celebrated by cooking an Asado. I don´t know if I´ve told you all about the Asados here but they´re comparable to the BBQ we have in the states. The biggest difference is that instead of cooking over an open flame they start a fire and wait until there are coals to put the meat over it. They usually only flavor it with salt and maybe some other seasonings but this time we found a cheap version of BBQ sauce and put that on and it was about the greatest thing I´ve had in my life. Maybe it´s just because I miss BBQ sauce but this stuff was incredible.

Also, yesterday was Mother´s day here in Argentina. So, to celebrate the Avila family invited all of the office staff to their house to have dinner...and it was just amazing. They are such an awesome family. They had a ton of food there too haha. We had BBQ pig which was my favorite (you can never go wrong with BBQ right?) then they had some chicken and salads and little half moon sandwich things and it was just a lot of fun being together with everyone. After dinner we just sat around and talked and sung some hymns and sister Avila shared some experiences with us and oh man, I was having a mas o menos day but it just was a 180 turn around. It was way cool. Presidente Avila is hilarious, he´s always cracking jokes. Some are funnier than others and the ones that aren´t funny still are funny because it´s our Mission President that´s saying them haha. We just had a great time.

The week in the offices finally slowed up a little bit. Well, kinda. We didn´t have anything like consejo or random missionaries come or any training meetings so it was rather tranquillo. But that doesn´t mean I didn´t have a lot to do. We got a giant shipment from Buenos Aires which included 50 boxes of Books of Mormon and about 20-30 other boxes of random other stuff so it was a great test for my program to add it all to the inventory. Before I had about 5 spaces you could scan a bar code and then press a button and it would enter all the information in. But I found a way so that there´s just one space and right when you scan the barcode it automatically runs, which makes things go faster. Figuring out a faster way to do things is always great but it means I have to go back and change everything from the slower way to the faster way. I also added something called "Pedidos" which is for people who are in far away zones who call up and ask for things before president or someone else from the offices makes a trip to that zone. We have to keep it separate from the compras because if they don´t end up buying it the inventory numbers get messed up. So, I made a different part of the program where you can put those in and the Pedidos will show up on the corresponding zone list that can be printed off and signed by the people when they actually get the item they asked for. Super fun stuff...

Also, I gave my first district meeting this Tuesday. I was pretty nervous because BOTH the Assistants AND the Zone leaders are in my district so I felt like a little puppy in the midst of grandpa dogs with faces covered in the wrinkles of wisdom. I definitely felt a little inadequate trying to teach them because it seems like there´s nothing I would know that they wouldn´t know but...I think I did alright. I talked about opening our mouths which we call "abrir la boca" here. I read a little bit of what Elder Holland talked about in Priesthood session about how Satan´s "effort to stop the work will be reasonably well served if he can just bind the tongue of the faithful" and later he even talks specifically about missionaries and it´s just a great a talk. Anyways, we just discussed that a little bit and read some stuff from Preach my Gospel about how to talk to the people and I think it all turned out alright. It´s something that sometimes is hard to do in the offices because we only have half the day to work and sometimes we can get caught up in only trying to knock doors or something when we still need to talk to the people around us. Now I just gotta figure out what I´m going to teach tomorrow...haha

Well family. I was great to hear from you all as always.

With all the love of a barcode,

Elder Lounsbury

Monday, October 10, 2011


Alright, so I´m just going to jump right into it...the big news for this week is that MATIAS GOT BAPTISED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh man, it was like the best day of my life. It was seriously sooooo cool to see. He actually got baptised after church because he has like barely an hour free on Saturdays in between work but it was incredible. He had his mom and grandma there with him and of course his girl friend and some of her family and also a young couple who is about to have their first baby who are friends of his. He told me he was a little nervous as I was talking to him before it started but it was kinda of a cool contrast because I talked to him at the end and asked, "how do you feel now?" and he said, "like a new person." ahh, it was just too cool. The baptismal service went really well, we had some nice talks by people and watched a cool video on the book of mormon while they were changing but I think my favorite part is that after we had a little time for people to bear their testimonies and his girlfriends mom got up and kinda told the story of how she got to know Matias and his family and just bore her testimony and I think it really touched Matias mom and grandma because afterwards they were just bawling haha. The last song we sang was "I know that my Redeemer lives" and the spirit was there really strong for that too. We´re hoping Matias is going to be the example for his family and that someday they´ll get baptised too. After it was over he was hugging his mom and they were both crying and you could tell they felt the spirit and I´m just way excited to see what will happen with that family. All because of a 16 year old girl mind you. I went up and congratulated him after it was all over and he just kept saying thank you and he just seemed really grateful and it was just awesome. He´s going to be such a stud.

President Avila even came because he talked to Matias on the phone once and we had talked with him about Matias´ situation. President is such a loving man, it´s incredible. He just takes time to make people feel appreciated. The other day after he had been in a meeting all morning and most of the afternoon with trainers showing them the new training program he came back to the offices and went by everyone´s office and just kinda sat down and talked for 10 minutes. And like yesterday he could have gone to church with his family but he showed his support and love for Matias by going to church in San Ignacio. He took the time to talk to a lot of people there too. He´s just a really genuine person. His wife is really cool too. We don´t get to know her very well because she´s not in the offices as much (she as three kids still in school) but when she´s in her she´s way fun to joke around with. They are both really really cool people.

Besides that not a ton happened this week. I got all of the registros in which is a relief although it was frustrating because soooo many were incomplete and I had to make calls and bug people for information and there was just a lot of stuff that came up but now it´s over and I´m stress free haha. The beta version of the oficial Mision Mendoza Store was tested this week and....everything turned out surprisingly well. We had about 100 compras made in an hour and the financero told me it was going to save him about 7 hours of work so that makes all the work I put in seem worth while. Now I´m working on putting all of the error messages and stuff in Spanish because the Materialista (who is the one who deals with all the materials...if you didn´t figure that one out) is usually a latin and the program does little good if they can´t understand it. I´m also working on adding a part that we can use when people buy stuff away from the offices. For example for zone conference the missionaries will call up and ask for everything they want to buy and then when president and the assitants go they will bring all of that stuff. So we´re going to have some kinda order sheet so we can keep track of what stuff we need to get ready and we´ll pring that and then they can sign it saying they actually got what they asked for and when we get that sheet back we´ll just click a little box and it´ll automatically transfer the compra from the order list to the bought list. Just some fun stuff.

Sometimes there´s some pretty funny miscommunication in the offices. It´s definitely an interesting bilingual atmosphere. One conversation that I overheard this week was Elder Packer talking to President. Elder Packer pretty much always will talk in nothing but English and somehow expect that they´ll understand (which is funny because sometimes he uses words that there´s no way their going to know) and Hermana Packer usually uses a Spanglish mix where some words will be english and some words will be Spanish. Anyways, Elder Packer was leaving and he said to President, "I´m going home to cook some dinner" and President in response said, "Gracias, igualmente" which Elder Packer thought was a proper response to his statement. If any of you remember that email a while back where I talked about that word, you´ll know that basically what President said was, "Thanks, you too" -- which doesn´t exactly make sense with "I´m going to go home and cook dinner" haha. It´s also been fun because my companion is trying really hard to learn English but sometimes says funny things and then I translate it what he said into Spanish and he just starts cracking up because he realizes how silly it sounds haha. For example, he was trying to say "My ears need to get used to [hearing] English" and instead he said "I need to get used to my ear." We had a good laugh about that.

Alright family. That´s about all I got for now. I´m going to go play some soccer and hopefully do a bunch of caƱazos (nutmegs) and badly embarrass some people.

With all the love of a dinosaur,

Elder Lounsbury

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mission Store

How did you all like General Conference!? I loved it to death. There were so many good talks that it just blew my mind into space. I had questions answered I didn´t even know I had haha. Saturday Afternoon and Priesthood sessions were probably my favorite but all of them were way good. I learned a lot of things and set some goals and I just want to go out and conquer the world now. I love how General Conference does that to you. I wish I had my notes with me or I would talk a lot more about all the talks but I don´ maybe I´ll just save that for a different time.

This week has been incredibly busy. Like insanely busy. First, on Tuesday and Wednesday we were getting ready for and then welcoming all the new missionaries for this transfer. I had to give them all the binders we make and give a short presentation on it which was delightful. I´m pretty sure they don´t remember anything because I sure don´t remember anything the Historian said when I got to the mission. I couldn´t even tell you who he was haha. But hopefully they weren´t so shell-shocked and got something out of it. This week was also the last week of the month, and that means time to enter in all the Baptismal Registros in the mission.The mission broke the record for number of baptisms in one month (we got 126) which is awesome for everyone except the guy who has to type those all in to the computer...haha. I also completely redesigned a baptismal program I have been working on because it was being moody and I have to present it tomorrow at consejo (which is a training with all the zone leaders) so that was just one other thing on the list.

A little over a week ago I got this super crazy idea to make a program that would help the Mission Store. Right now whenever people want to buy things like scriptures or scripture cases or church DVDs or whatever they sign up a on a little list and write down how much it costs and their name etc. so the financiero can later subtract it from their mission card. But, people don´t always fill it out right and Elder Kammerman is left guessing who bought it and how much he actually needs to take off and stuff like that, so it´s just not a very productive system. Sooo, this week I made a program that is going to basically do the same process but on the computer. Every missionary is going to have their own card (seperate from their actual mission debit card) that has a barcode on it (which we get from their missionary ID number). Now when they come in to buy stuff they´ll just scan their card and then we´ll scan the barcode of the thing they want to buy and it´ll automatically add it to a sheet that the financiero uses to take money of their cards. We´ve also got it set up so we can keep track of our inventory so when people buy stuff it´ll automatically subtract one from the inventory. Then when we get stuff we have another page to enter it all in. That allows us to know the Net Worth of the store and helps the financiero in budgeting. It will also help the Materialista see when we´re getting low on things and need to order more. I also have a page to easily update the database since the missionaries change every 6 weeks. Haha I even added a PIN number, which is just the missionaries birth date in number form. I thought about it so much last weekend that I spent most of P-day working on it and getting it started haha...even though I´m embarrassed to admit that... It´s been a giant project but I´ve learned a ton and I think it´s going to help the mission out a lot so it´s cool seeing improvement like that because of something you did.

So a little quick update about Matias, he didn´t get baptised this weekend. I don´t really know what happened because on Tuesday I went by with a zone leader and we had a lesson with him and set the date for Sunday and he got his interview and then on Wednesday I started working in a different area. But, he came to at least one session of Conference and now has a baptismal date for this weekend to come. So I´m really hoping he´ll reach that. I´m probably going to go on divisions with the elders in that area just so I can by him and try to get everything set firmly.

Oh, by the way, my new companion is Elder Falcon. He´s from a part of Argentina called Chaco and he´s really fun. I think we´re going to have a good time together.

Thanks for all of your updates!

With all the love of a cheese warehouse,
Elder Lounsbury